First Blog of 2014. Update, Awards and some thoughts

23 June 2014

The reality of life with a job and a young family is paucity of time, meaning hard choices having to be made and hence the change from regular blog to periodic one and so this is the first blog of 2014.
Nevertheless this  has been an eventful one for me. My main focus was on my Fellowship  Submission but despite several looks over by myself and trusted others some technical faults were present and so it was rightly declined by the judges. Funny thing though with photography (which is often a metaphor for life when drawing philosophical lessons) beyond the  current failure lies the next success. And so the phone rang to inform me that my entry to the Natex exhibition (which I’d virtually forgotten about) “From Rialto Bridge” had won the George Chance Open Print Award. To get an acceptance in the Natex is an achievement but to win the supreme award a reasured honour. Tne neat thing is that you receive a trophy where your name is added to a list of prestigious names within the New Zealand Photographic community, which i think is a wonderful legacy and tradition that the Photographic Society of NZ have created. The names preceding mine include: Mattheson Beaumont, Brian Curtis, R. Woolfe, Eric Bell and in more recent times fellow Southlander Barry Harcourt to name but a few.
That was April.
Since then I have had my book Fiordland Landscape and Life accepted by the Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge( thank you Simon Woolfe) and have entered the same (Venice) image into an international competition with high hopes. It did OK but was pulled up for a few blemishes on the digital file I submitted.( A lesson to you all, check and double check for blemishes). I received that news this weekend Saturday when I was laid low with winter illnesses. Forward one day (ironically outside the pharmacy ) my cellphone goes to inform me that my image “Infinity” had won Gold in the Monochrome section of the countries Premier Salon competition the North Shore Salon. So for what its worthI’d like to share the words of Tony Hewitt, (Australian Photographer of the Year 2013 “Don’t be scared to be creative and to fail…if you win it’s because you keep having a crack at it and in having a crack at it you get better and that is the real win”

What stands out for me is the nuanced shift of emphasis from ego to growth and enjoyment of the medium.

What he encapsulates here is the shift of emphasis from ego to growth and enjoyment of the medium.
I’ve been asked to post the images that got awards of some sort.
To share stories behind the images.


Infinity. Gold Medal North Shore Salon Monochrome, 2014

. Taken from Long Island back to Manhattan in the middle of a blizzard on long exposure without a tripod from memory! The challenges here were the finding of the location in a foreign city, working with the conditions, being able to improvise to create a “solid” level platform (I used sheets of paper from my bag (that became soggy sheets and my gloves form memory!). My vision was for a very simplified composition and when theses came together I was able to go to roughly the right place and then make my own luck and execute the vision.
Mountain Shadows

Taken during a photo stop during the recent PSNZ pre conference tour through the Molesworth. I found it particularly frustrating to be in such stunning country but being limited to being couped up in a minibus. However, one stop coincided with the onset of an approaching front and so some changing light. About 20 photographers reaced out of the bus and pointed their tripods to a scene consisting of shady and featureless grass foreground a valley floor mid ground and the distinctive Kaikoura range as a background. At the foot of the mountains were some willows at their height of autumnal yellow. I sarted by shooting the basic scene (70-200 lens) but the shots whilst pleasing were a tad boring. We only had 15 minutes but as I allowed myself within this short timeframe to observe the landscape and try and make sense of it it became clear that the trees were a distraction and the real magic lay within the shapes of the mountains and the changing light. The Kaikoura ranges at this location appeared as a series of repeating triangle shapes. I shot several images and this was my favourite because the subject triangle is in shade and the supporting triangle illuminated, counter intuitive, but more dramatic perhaps.
Nervous Resolve

Nervous Resolve Highly Commended North Shore Salon 2014

My impressive wife is training for the 2015 Wanaka Iron Man. She is not confident about her swimming, her shoulders or her ability to tolerate the cold. She wanted me to document this event. Whilst I took several worthy images this one has captured that expression that gives light to her feelings. Not bad for a landscape photographer!
Homeless on 52nd

Homeless on 52nd. Silver Medal 2014 North Shore Salon

There is a Post Office on 52nd. This chap takes residence close to here and gently encourages passers by and shoppers to push some charity his way. Having been burnt in Nepal for not being completely clear that No mean No. I am pretty blunt now in my response to such approaches and so it was for this chap. When I returned to the hotel I was filled with a mixture of compassion and entreprenerialism. We had to return in the morning. If he was there I’d pay him for his picture. He duly agreed.Cold shooting someone in 30 seconds is not easy in low light and when its not your normal genre. But nothing ventured nothing gained. After 30 seconds he started getting edgy and wanted more money so we left. I dwelt on the interaction for a while beyond that. What is his story? How did he get there? What is his life like? Can he be helped? Can I help him or those like him? How aware are we of those at the less attractive parts of town? At the very least a photograph serves as a reminder of those thoughts and feelings and if it causes them in others we have succeeded as photographers.

Here are the remaining images.

Towards the Wild. Honours North Shore Salon 2014


Hawkduns in Winter. Highly Commended North Shore Salon 2014


Elemental.Acceptance North Shore Salon 2014

Solitude> Acceptance North Shore Salon 2014

Shipwreck. Acceptance North Shore Salon 2014

Contemplation. Acceptance 2014 North Shore Salon.