Last week my trusty Nikon D70s decided that after 8 years of being thrashed that enough was enough.
This post is a dedication of sorts to all the fun we have had together over the last 8 years…
This is the last shoot it ever took… Finishing up the shoot for Spook The Horses on a rooftop in Wellington… You will be missed 😦
Constructed in 1891 to support Wellington’s main coastal defense site at Fort Ballance, the Kau Point Battery is a rare remaining example of an unmodified battery constructed to protect New Zealand from attack after the second Russian scare of 1885.
During the first World War, Fort Dorset became Wellington’s main bastion of defense against attack. Despite this, Fort Ballance and its supporting batteries remained operational throughout the War. In 1922 the gun at Kau Point was decommissioned and removed. The site was then used solely as an ammunition store, and from 1942 served the new emplacement at Mount Crawford Anti Aircraft Battery on the next promontory of the peninsula. The fort fell into disuse after the Second World War and, now surplus to army requirements, is not maintained. (http://www.historic.org.nz/TheRegister/RegisterSearch/RegisterResults.aspx?RID=7542)
I have been looking for this one for a while as its the last fortification in the Wellington region that I haven’t been to… Lets just say that it didn’t let me down.
The entrance (not the best photo but have still got to develop the other films) is a small hole just behind the pit where the disappearing gun sat is the only entrance but after you have slid down it opens out to full height tunnels and rooms.
The still glowing glow-stick meant that someone had been there in the not to distant past and it certainly had an eerie feeling especially the side room that had obviously had a fire and then been written all over…
All shots were taken with a tripod and a 10W torch 🙂
Emily had her ballet show last weekend and she want me to take some pictures of her in her costume before it had to be taken back. Sam got in on the act also 🙂
(Sorry to Facebook people who have already seen these).
The start of my Mustache for Movember 🙂
Last night Fergus (Cunningvision) and I revisited Fort Buckley for a bit of night shooting. Aside from camera malfunctions (D70 is definitely on its last legs losing about 10 shots and having to have the battery removed a couple of times to make it work again) it was a pretty good shoot. Although none of the images are spectacular, they definitely have promise and with a bit more planning could be pretty cool.
It’s unusual for it to snow enough for it to settle in Wellington but we had a couple of storms pass through and there is still snow on the ground this morning.
Yes I took some on the Rollei and Half Frame but you have to wait for them 🙂
Ok so this isn’t a normal type of post but it was a fun experience so I thought I would share.
About a week ago Emily suggested that we make gingerbread houses (I’m pretty sure she meant real life sized ones, or at least dolls house sized ones) since every couple of weeks we make gingerbread men while Samantha has a lunch time sleep and then decorate them the next day at the same time. Sam usually wakes up once we have done most of it but there are always things left for her to do as well (usually eating the decorating things and left over dough as well as cutting the last few shapes out).
So I thought what the heck lets give it a go…
I drew out a quick sketch (thank you 5th form technical drawing) to make sure it was kind of what Em was thinking and then made up a small model to check it would work and also to be used as a cutting template.
We made the gingerbread like normal and just after we had finished making it Sam woke up so she got to help ( I secretly think that she knew we were doing something fun and woke up so she wouldn’t miss out).
We made enough parts to make 4 gingerbread houses (since this was a trial run) and the rest got turned into a conglomeration of Christmas trees, teddy bears, people etc…
Into the oven they went and 15 minutes later we had some slightly distorted but still entirely usable house pieces …
At this point the story was put on hold due to the fact that the next day when we were due to ice and decorate them Samantha had a blinding 30 minute tantrum and didn’t go to sleep and was grumpy for pretty much the whole afternoon.
Friday comes round and things go to plan, Sam goes to sleep and we mix up some icing ready to decorate (I was going to make the usual pink icing but Emily insisted that I make chocolate icing). I put together the first house but made the mistake of putting the walls on the inside of the ends which meant the roof didn’t fit so it had to be pulled apart and re-done which made it look a bit messy before we decorated them.
After they were all put together we put them in the fridge for 30 minutes so they would set and started decorating the rest of the gingerbread.
We each decorated 2 houses and I think for a first try at making them they turned out pretty well.
So there is a bit of a winter storm happening over New Zealand at the moment so when the first snow flurries started to hit I decided it would be a good time to head to the south coast and get some images as the storm rolled up from the south island.
Its school holidays which meant that Amanda was home to look after the kids as I put on as many clothes as I could find and headed out.
The great thing about owning an aging digital SLR is that you don’t mind so much if it gets a bit wet so even though the spray off the waves was pretty bad I still got some shots. I also took my F5 which was pre loaded with some expired Ilford Pan F+ 50 ISO film so it will be interesting to see how they come out since I was getting up to about a 10 second exposure, hopefully I will develop that roll in the next day or two.
Some shots of Fort Buckley. I stress these were just test/location shots as the day I went the light was super bright 🙂
Fort Buckley at the entrance to the Kaiwharawhara gorge housed a couple of guns for defense of the inner harbor and was originally built around 1885.
When I was there at the end of 2009 it looked like the area was getting an upgrade with a new walking track down to the gun pits.
More location shots of bunkers again today. This time above Seatoun, these were to protect Port Dorset which lay on the other side of the ridge and the harbor entrance.
There are some old images of it HERE although the two gun pits are pretty much just rubble.
These were by far the most overgrown battlements and it looked like someone had been living in one of them. I especially liked how the metal shutters on one of them had rusted to look like lace.
In some places houses have been built only meters away from some of these structures so it makes you wonder how much longer they will last…
On the front of Fridays Dominion Post there was an article about the military wanting to sell off the land that a number of the historic fortresses are on. A few years ago I decided to go and investigate all of the old forts and battlements around Wellington and found this one while looking for something else… I think these were taken around 2008… I have kept meaning to try and get actual permission to go back since this one and a couple of others are on Military land but have never got round to it… Possibly because I have no idea where to ask 🙂
Here are some shots of Fort Balance which was built in the 1880s. There is a good article HERE which details most of the history of the fort.
As I have mentioned a couple of days ago this Alley has been gated off and the graffiti painted over. A friend sent me THIS ARTICLE which says the whys and hows. I have to say the whys are pretty dumb…
Anyway here goes some shots from the last couple of years…
I did a lot of film processing last night but didn’t get a chance to do any scanning of my rugby sevens films so here’s another filler.
This one was taken last week at the Karori Cemetery with a ND8 filter (3 Stops) and a torch… I was playing around trying to make it look more like daylight than at night…
The ND8 filter has quite a nasty?nice? magenta cast so I had to convert it to Black and White.
The Rugby Sevens wrapped up last night(apparently New Zealand won) with a street party on Courtneay Place.
The party was supposed to start around 7 so I got there around 730 while it was still light because I wanted to try out Rollei with my Nikon SB80DX Speedlite and once the light drops its pretty much impossible to focus (photos still need to be developed). Lets just say it was pretty dead until 10 when people started surging in from the stadium at the other end of town.
Things started to get good around 11 and I ended up bailing round 12…
Somewhere in the midst of it all one of my developed films went missing from the side pocket of my bag which is pretty gutting especially since I don’t know if it was stolen or if I was just a dumbass and let the pocket open… It was a roll of black and white Ilford Delta 3200 which is a pretty rare film to use and only one place in Wellington develops it so I will give them a call on Monday and see if it turns up… Fingers Crossed.
Anyway here goes a quick selection of shots from D70s… Enjoy
The rugby Sevens are on in Wellington at the moment. Its one of those great times where people dress up get drunk and want there photo taken.
Up outside the stadium we were getting dark stares because we weren’t taking people’s photos and lots of “thank you” when we did… It was a bit weird
Its been a while since I have done any light painting so when Fergus and I were out shooting the other night I spotted this cool piece of art and decided to give it a bit of light treatment.
Unfortunately the Rollei lens wasn’t quite wide enough to catch the whole mural but I have some shots with a 19mm Lens on my F5 which should give quite a bit more angle.
Colour Image: Nikon D70s, 19-35mm Lens, ISO 200. f16 @ 15 Seconds
Black and White Image: Rolleiflex 2.8 E, Ilford HP5+ 400 ISO Film, CanoScan 9000F Scanner. f16 @ 30 Seconds
Was talking to someone the other day about taking images of giraffes and he was complaining about not being able to get a close shot even though he was using a 300mm lens… So I was at the zoo the other day and after I shot a couple of shots on the Rollei (which I still have to develop) I threw a 50mm lens onto the D70s to see what I could get…
Lets just say I got a bit of a surprise when he came up and tried to eat my camera strap 🙂
I had to stop shooting because he came too close and was closer than the minimum focusing range of the lens…
More shots from Somes/ Matiu Island. These are taken with my trusty Nikon D70s and with an 18-70mm Len.
Most of these birds have nests at the best vantage points on the island…Places I wanted to go to take some nice panoramic shots of the island from high up… needless to say I didn’t get to take the images I wanted but made do with taking shots of the gulls instead.
No gulls were hurt or nests disturbed during the capturing of these images.
Nikon D70s, 18-70mm Lens, ISO 200, f4.5 at 1/4000th of a second
Happy New Year to all!
Here is a quick breakdown of my first year (or not quite a year) of Blog action…
First Post on 03/03/2010
295 Posts since then
Top Post for 2010 : Wellington Zombie Walk followed closely by the other 2 posts about the Wellington Zombie Walk
Top Google search: Pigeon Houses
Top Referer: Facebook
Most used Camera: Early year Nikon F5, Later in the year Rolleiflex
New Tattoos: None…
New Piercings: One
Bones Broken: None
Money made from Photography: (Not counting Assisting or working at a camera shop) Less than $1000 NZ
New Years Resolution: Shoot more and put together an exhibition
Let me know what you’ve liked, what you want to see more of and what you think sucked…
All in all a pretty good year…. Lookingf forward to 2011.
Peace out! 🙂
This was my entry… Just incase you missed it 🙂
Anyway the brief was…
This brief has one rule:
Feature bubble gum in a portrait. How you or your subject use the bubble gum is up to you. If you need more gum, visit your friendly local convenience store.
Note: For this competition we’re defining a portrait as any shot where a person is the main subject.
Once again it seems simple enough….
I wanted to do something that was entirely pink but a real soft kinda pastel pink which would tie in with the colour of the bubble being blown.
After a couple of days thinking about it I kept coming back to the idea of someone blowing a bubble while being surrounded by bubbles… I know it seems like an obvious conclusion to make but I wanted it to be shot and lit super well which I hoped would make the concept stand out from any other entries which used a similar premise. Not that it worked out in the end after not making it to the finals and public voting…Not that I’m bitter or anything 🙂
So I scored a reasonable sized cardboard box from recycling at work went and bought close to 100 pink balloons and 1 pink (very pink) wig.
For once Amanda was pretty stoked to be in the photo since she liked bubblegum anyway.
Using my 2 500W Electra Studio Lights both pointed at the ceiling (one of the few ways I can use them to get a softer light since they only have full and half power) I put the box in the middle of the room with a pink piece of material over it (with 2 daughters there never seems to be a shortage of pink material around) and got Amanda to lie with the head and shoulders in it.
The light was metered at f11 at 125th of a second using ISO 200.
Amanda spent quite a bit of time on the makeup which needed to be pretty thick due to the close nature of the shot… I think she did a pretty darn good job of getting what I wanted from what I told her.
I ended up only blowing up about 25 Balloons and after Amanda lay in the box they were arranged around her head to make it look like she was entirely surrounded by pink bubbles.
Anyway this is how the set looked…
So after a lot of false starts and misblown bubbles we started to hit our stride… To get the angle I wanted I needed to be directly above her which required me standing on a chair and at some stages of the shoot standing on 2 chairs, which when 1 moved I nearly did some serious damage to my groin… mental note to self: when standing on 2 chairs always make sure they are well anchored.
The angle ment that you can see me taking the photo quite clearly in Amanda’s eyes
Anyway here goes some more shots that didn’t make it but that I still liked… Enjoy… Oh and if you don’t hear from me again Amanda has killed me for putting up more photos 🙂 Dont call the police it’s just the risk I take 🙂 and the girls need at least 1 parent.
Nikon D70s, 50mm f1.8, 200 ISO.
Went out shooting last night with Fergus to Titahi Bay with the idea of doing some long exposure shots after the sun went down. While we were scouting various locations a game of football started up so we stopped and took some images while the sun went down.
It was lucky we did cause none of the long exposure stuff really came out… You win some and you lose some 🙂
Here goes another how it was done post, this time on my Photo5 entry I called “Smokin Grater”. The finalists are announced today sometime and then the other contestants vote on who they think should win. There are about 8000 entries so I’m not holding out too much hope of being a finalist… but you never know 🙂
For those of you who missed it here goes the image I submitted.
So the brief was as follows:
Incense/Black and White
This is a moody brief. Use smoke from the incense to create ambience and atmosphere in a black and white photo. It’s not just about shooting smoke, but capturing the essence of black and white photography in a dramatic way.
Once again this seems simple enough:
Thanks to my new scanner I can now show you my pre shoot thoughts 🙂
So the original idea was to sit a camera on a board with the lens above a hole and let the smoke rise up and around the lens. Taken from a slightly high angle where you couldn’t see the hole it would like the camera was smoking.. I also had plans to throw a stack of photos so it looked like they were exploding out of the back of the camera…
Anyway after a bit more thought I thought it would be more amusing to use a cheese grater and make it look like it was smoking due to over grating…
I really like the aesthetic of photographer Caleb Charland and wanted to try to emulate his clean images (turns out it’s really really hard to make images look as clean as his 🙂 )
So the idea was to use a long exposure to give a very hazy smoke presence…
I put a snoot on a speedlight and placed it under the table and had another speedlight bouncing off the ceiling.
After adding a pile of melted cheese (which ended up being melted by a fan heater after all else failed) I started playing around with the incense to see what kind of smoke effect I would get… About an hour later there was still no sign of smoke and I was starting to get a bit frustrated….Grrrr…
About now I throw my hands up in despair and walk away and go have a shower…
When I come back I decide to scrap what I have done and start again.
I decided to use a black background and a light globe on one of my speedlights and see what happens.
This is how the setup looked at this point:
After quite a bit of playing around I found the best way to show smoke up is to backlight it… It was a lesson hard learned and if I had known this previous it would have saved me many an hour 🙂
A slight re-jigging of the composition and …
Nikon D70s, 50mm f1.8 Lens, ISO 200. SB24 Speedlight with Globe and SB80DX with Snoot. Black reflector as backdrop and Silver reflector as bounce.
Took the day off work yesterday to do a fundraising photo shoot for my local Playcentre (its kinda a parent run pre school centre)
This was the flyer we did a pre-shoot for a couple of weeks back that was designed by one of the other dads.
Since my lights weren’t really up to the task of running all day we had to borrow some from local photographer Adrian Heke who lent us a set of Hensel 1000Ws… Cheers Adrian!
So basically we shot family portraits from 9am til about 4pm (we did have a bit of a break in the middle)…. So needless to say it was a pretty long day, not to mention the just under 2000 images I still have to edit and post produce 🙂
And then if I wasnt tired enough already I went and hung out with a whole bunch of Zombies on a Zombie walk for a couple of hours… the press guys who I am starting to get to know a bit better still find it amusing that I am shooting film and lets just say the Rollei isn’t built for speed but put my first roll of 3200 ISO film through it so will see how it comes out.
I think I currently have a backlog of 5 x 120 films and 1 x 35mm film to develop so hopefully I will get a chance to do them soon.
finally got round to uploading some of my Canon Photo5 Entries.
Still have to do:
Inspired by sound
Only about a week to go so will have to crank it up to get the last two done… Wish me luck