ISSUE 9, July 2018
WITH KEN WRIGHT GETTING TO KNOW NIFTY FEW & FMC
2 GAME-CHANGING LIGHTROOM TOOLS HOW TO CAPTURE: WINTER LANDSCAPES WITH RICHARD YOUNG
FINDING ADVENTURE IN GREAT BOULDER
by Brendon Gilchrist1 July 2018
General Info: NZPhotographer Issue 9 July 2018 Cover Photo by Ken Wright lightwavegallery.co.nz Publisher: Excio Group Website:
Group Director: Ana Lyubich email@example.com Editor: Emily Goodwin Graphic Design: Maksim Topyrkin Advertising Enquiries: Phone 04 889 29 25 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org About NZPhotographer Whether you’re an enthusiastic weekend snapper or a beginner who wants to learn more, NZ Photographer is the fun e-magazine for all Kiwi camera owners – and it’s free!
WELCOME TO ISSUE 9 O Dear Readers, I hope you’ve been taking lots of wonderful photos over the past month, if not, I’m sure this issue will get you inspired to get out there and snap some scenes - We announce our Winter Competition on page 39 so now is the time to get out there and show us what a New Zealand Winter looks like to you. In this issue, we find out about not one, but two NZ groups you might be interested in joining. NiftyFew is encouraging creatives to push the boundaries whilst FMC members (Federated Mountain Clubs) explore and protect New Zealand’s Backcountry. Meanwhile, Brendon takes us on an adventure to Boulder Lake, Richard gives some tips on capturing winter landscapes, James explains 2 gamechanging Lightroom tools, and we get to know Ken Wright of LightWave Photography. Last but never least, your photos grace the end pages with Readers Submissions – Enjoy!
Editor NZ Photographer
James is an amateur photographer from the United States who recently moved to New Zealand for soccer. He has taken a keen interest in photography having lived in five countries over the past few years.
Brendon is the man behind ESB Photography. He treks from sea to mountain, and back again, capturing the uniqueness of New Zealand’s unforgiving landscape.
Richard is an awardwinning landscape and wildlife photographer who teaches photography workshops and runs photography tours. He is the founder of New Zealand Photography Workshops.
© 2018 NZPhotographer Magazine All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material appearing in this magazine in any form is forbidden without prior consent of the publisher. Disclaimer: Opinions of contributing authors do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the magazine.
OF NZ PHOTOGRAPHER MAGAZINE
INTERVIEW WITH KEN WRIGHT
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INTERVIEW WITH KEN WRIGHT
BEHIND THE SHOT WITH MARTIN MCCRAE
NIFTY FEW - THE CREATIVES PUSHING BOUNDARIES BEHIND THE SHOT WITH MARTIN MCCRAE FINDING ADVENTURE IN GREAT BOULDER by Brendon Gilchrist
2 GAME-CHANGING LIGHTROOM TOOLS by James Hickok
HOW TO CAPTURE: WINTER LANDSCAPES
FINDING ADVENTURE IN GREAT BOULDER
by Richard Young
FMC - JOIN THE VOICE OF NZ'S OUTDOORS PEOPLE PORTFOLIO BEST READERS' SUBMISSIONS THIS MONTH
HOW TO CAPTURE: WINTER LANDSCAPES
Interview with Ken Wright of LightWave Photography designer and creative director, I have art directed numerous excellent photographers both in the UK and NZ. Design wise, my claim to fame is being principle designer and team leader for the millennium banknote. After a health scare, I left the design industry in 2011 to focus purely on photography.
WHAT ARE YOU SHOOTING WITH? Currently, I am shooting on a Nikon D750 which is about a month old. This replaced a D610 which alongside me took a bath in the sea! Thank goodness for insurance. I have been with Nikon from the beginning and I guess it’s a bit like the Ford and Holden cliché. Out of preference I mainly shoot ultra wide angle with a 16-35 Nikkor lens.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY STYLE?
KEN, CAN YOU TELL OUR READERS ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR DESIGN + PHOTOGRAPHY BACKGROUND? I am originally from the UK. I lived in the City of Lincoln and went to Lincolnshire College of Art and Design from 1976-80. During my four years at Art College, I studied Graphics, Illustration, Exhibition Design, and Photography. I had not encountered photography before Art college and was instantly hooked. After a strange set of events in the UK, one of which was my mother passing at age 56, we made a monumental decision to leave our home and country and move to the other side of the world. It was one of those OMG moments, what if, someone told you that it’s all over at 56? What would you do? We left everything and everybody packed 5 suitcases, and with two boys (7 and 4) and my wife Karen pregnant with our third (and on the last week that she was allowed to fly!) we came to New Zealand to start a new life. That was 21 years ago, we are now citizens and love New Zealand. I have been very fortunate to have spent 35 years in the creative industry. During my time as a senior
I would describe my work as “in your face”. I like my images to be close to the action. I want my viewer to feel that they can walk into the image. So most of the time I am shooting from right in front of the tripod to the horizon. I believe it’s what makes my seascapes more dynamic. I said at my first exhibition “If you are not wet, you are not close enough” however, as I found, there is a difference between being close and a drowned camera. Also, I would describe my work as “full spectrum colour”. We live in a world of intense colour and I like to bring that out in my images.
YOU’VE SPENT 35 YEARS AS A GRAPHIC DESIGNER… HOW DID PHOTOGRAPHY BECOME YOUR CAREER? During my career, I have either art directed or taken images for brochures/adverts etc. In the early days, as a designer working remote, (and I don’t mean location - I mean before computers and internet) a designer was expected to cover all disciplines so there were many occasions when there was no ‘photographer’ to hand and you just got on and did the shot your self. How I came to be doing what I am doing now is another story. About 11 years ago I had a run in with bowel cancer and this stopped me in my tracks. With several months recovering I had time to take stock of my life and what I wanted to do. It’s easy to get caught up in life’s perpetual treadmill of career, house, car, toys etc when life is really about living.
KAIKOURA WINTER SUNSTRIKE F16 ,0.4s, ISO100
OTARA BAY SUNRISE F22, 1/6s, ISO50
I changed my working week to give me Fridays off so that I could spend time on photography. This was more to do with doctors orders to find something less stressful than being Art Director and part owner of a Design Group. In 2009 my friends pushed me into having an exhibition which became the catalyst for change. The final push came when my wife Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer. We decided to pull the plug on life’s treadmill and step off the grid. So here I am in Papamoa running photography workshops and living a simple life with Karen (we’ve been married for 32 years) and boomerang kids (28,24,21), 2 dogs and 4 cats!!
WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO OUR READERS WHO ARE HOPING TO QUIT THEIR DAY JOB TO PURSUE THEIR PHOTOGRAPHY PASSION? If you are really passionate about doing something else, don’t wait for something nasty to force your hand or worse stop you. Life is for living and exploring it’s not a rehearsal. There is a lovely poem on a bronze plaque at the Blue Springs walk near Putaru which sums it up – Look up “Dust if you must”, and you’ll realise how much of your time is slipping away on things that are not important. Make it happen!
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR WORK… AND THE WORST? The best thing is finding new locations or routes to places beyond where someone else would venture, meeting interesting people, and sharing knowledge and locations. I enjoy spending most of my time outdoors far away from my old office life. The worst thing is the mental torture of seeing a location with a fabulous shot and not being able to find a way to get there, it’s the stuff of nightmares!
HOW DO YOU FIND LOCATIONS? Locations come from all kinds of sources. In the early days I had no process, now with Google maps, PhotoPills, LighTrac apps, tide times, weather etc all on my phone, it’s a lot simpler to plan a trip. When planning a road trip I will spend quite a while moving LighTrac around on Google maps so I can plan which beach to be at and what time for the best light etc. A recent location is a secret ‘hot water’ waterfall which I saw a picture of in a book at a motel. The author didn’t give the exact location but just enough to get me started - I managed to get within 15 meters without knowing I was right. So I bought the book and found that the author had included the GPS location in the footnote, game on! This waterfall is hidden in plain sight and it’s my fave spot to shoot right now.
HOT WATER FALLS F14, 2s, ISO50
ANY FUNNY OR INTERESTING STORIES TO SHARE? I had this idea to purchase a GoPro to film some of the more remote locations that we visit. So GoPro purchased, I’m off on an adventure with my friend Steve Allan who tags along for the ride - He is not into photography but loves the outdoors and I take him for support in remote places, helping me to cross rivers, passing me gear in precariously balanced positions etc. So the idea was to have Steve film these events but then he pointed out that the moment Karen, my wife, were to see where I was going and what I was doing I wouldn’t be allowed out to play any more! So, I have the most unused GoPro in the business!!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY CLASSES… Originally I didn’t intend to do the classes at all. When we had the gallery (Lightwave Gallery), I kept getting asked for tuition and always avoided it. Once the gallery closed it seemed a natural progression. So now we have classes and workshops that cover the whole range of levels. We do one-day Novice, Intermediate, Lightroom, and Photoshop classes. (Interestingly enough, graphic designers were using Photoshop 10 years before we had digital cameras, I have been using Photoshop since version 3). There are also several one and two-day workshops, 2-day Kaimai Mamaku Forest Waterfalls and 2 days in the Bay, Seascapes and Waterfalls ~ dawn till dusk has been very popular. The best thing about the classes and workshops is seeing people “all fired up” to go and take better photographs. There are no secrets, I tell students exactly how I would do it and how I process the images. We have several students that have returned to do other workshops and as a result have become friends.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE OWNING THE LIGHTWAVE GALLERY? The gallery was a pipe dream that we made happen. I wanted a space to exhibit my images. Initially, we exhibited at The Cargo Shed in Tauranga. This opened the door to a group of like-minded creatives that also needed a quality space to exhibit. We had the gallery for two years and it was a blast. We undertook projects that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do otherwise. I created a large photographic piece of the Matapihi Rail Bridge (seven canvases bolted together) which is now part of the civic art collection and hangs in the ASB arena. Sadly, owning a gallery is not what it seems, the romantic version is very different from reality. The reality is two-fold, once you stop being a
photographer and you become a shopkeeper, the other is a financial reality, in a seaside town you make money during the summer then use it to stay afloat during winter. In the time we have been in the Bay of Plenty we have seen numerous galleries close for similar reasons. Don’t get me wrong it was a great time in our lives and we wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT IN PHOTOGRAPHY TO DATE? This has to be being asked to be the guest speaker at the 2015 PSNZ National Convention which was held in Tauranga. It was an honour to be on stage with Christian Fletcher (Australia), Guy Edwards (UK), Juliane Kost (Adobe USA) and Kevin Clark (Christchurch). I must say I did feel slightly “the poor relation” but their work inspired me to create better images. I have also made lasting friendships with people at the Tauranga Photographic Society who often ask me to speak at club nights.
‘PAINTING WITH LIGHT’ CERTAINLY SUMS UP YOUR WORK - WHAT TIPS CAN YOU OFFER OUR READERS FOR CAPTURING SUCH STUNNING SCENES? Firstly, can I say, I’m not in the business of selling ‘photographs’, I’m in the business of selling Art, capturing the light is the starting point for my images which I call “painting with light”. Early on I got frustrated with not being able to capture all the information in one frame and that’s because in extremes of light the exposure difference between the sky and foreground can be numerous stops. Even with expensive filters you still get “blow out” around the sun so inevitably I would need multiple exposures to capture the whole dynamic range which then gets reassembled in Photoshop to give a higher dynamic range. Most cameras only capture about half the dynamic range that your eyes see. I have my own way of doing HDR using layers and multiple exposures which has now lead me onto image stacking using a series of short exposures to record the travel of a wave as it spills and crashes over the rocks. Layering all the images tells the story of what happens in that location. This is where a 5 second exposure would turn water to mist but 10 half second exposures or less layered up will show the dynamic movement of the water. The black and white image of Otarawairere Bay waves is a combination of 5 images. The morning that I took this workshop there was very little wave movement and a flat sky, I showed my students how to take a series of images like a time lapse.
OTARAWAIRERE 5 WAVES F22, 1.3s, ISO50
JAMES BOND PANO THAILAND F9, 1/100s, ISO200
Each wave exploding or spilling with a view to blending all into one image. The sky was about 30˚ to the left so after the wave we rotated to capture that image, the sky was there it just wasn’t in line. This is an exercise in creating a piece of art in a location that’s not playing ball. Christian Fletcher summed this up with his sky replacement argument. If you have gone to Iceland and you’ve paid a fortune to get there and there is terrible weather or lack of a good sky at the waterfall you want to shoot, do you not bother or do you shoot it with intent to add sky later and save the image? With this in mind I managed to save an image from Thailand of James Bond Island, 10 days and no sunrise or sunset, just a milky grey sky. So using his technique I salvaged a handheld 5 image panorama with a new sky and a desaturated look to create a dynamic image.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? Through a strange twist of events and a random phone call to Richard Young at New Zealand Photography Workshops I will be joining forces with his team to help run workshops in Tongariro National Park and other locations. This is a development which
I am really looking forward to and feel honoured to be asked to join the team.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT TO SHARE? I think it is only right to acknowledge some people that have helped me significantly and supported me through my transit from designer to photographer. Firstly, Karen my wife who I have known for 38 years. She has supported me, has been a friend and soul mate through thick and thin. Lindsay Keats and Lance Lawson both professional photographers based in Wellington, thank you for your support and advice. Tony Gorham and Richard Brooker for helping with trial runs for workshop scoping.
www.lightwavegallery.co.nz www.500px.com/kenwright www.facebook.com/lightwavegallery
PAPAMOA GRASS STARS F22, 1.6s, ISO50
THE CREATIVES PUSHING BOUNDARIES
Founded by Stephen Duffin and Hannah Walton in 2017, Nifty Few was created to showcase New Zealand’s incredible creative talent whether they be photographers, videographers, or graphic designers, and to build a community of like minded individuals who inspire one another. Founder Stephen Duffin tells NZP how he was inspired and what the group are up to now.
noticed that New Zealand’s creative talent is prominent on social media (Instagram in particular), but that many of the talents were flying under the radar, and from what I believe, not receiving the recognition or exposure that they deserve. It was evident to me that these young creatives and myself included, are inspired by one another’s works, but how incredibly difficult it is to connect with this local talent amongst the large masses of people on social media channels, not to
mention social media’s unfavourable algorithms. So, the NIFTY FEW group was born! When I was thinking of the name, I wanted it to tie it back into the scene. I was looking at Jargon/Slang names used in photography and the term ‘Nifty Fifty’ stood out to me. The term is used to describe a 50mm lens, one that is seen as being the best value piece of glass you can add to your kit, offering versatility and quality. Nifty Few was a play on this term. When
looking at the definition of the word Nifty, I felt it embraced what the creative scene was - definition: particularly good, skillfull, effective and their work attractive and stylish. The word Few, was added to provide exclusivity – recognizing that not everyone can produce what they’re creating. Most recently the group held it’s first Instameet and Photo Walk in Auckland with a turn out of approx. 100 people. The night was an opportunity for our community to link up with other local creatives and shoot at locations with models and props. www.facebook.com/niftyfew
We collaborated with a number guest hosts (some of whose photos you can see on the following pages) and models with incredible portfolios who have a strong following within the community. This was a fantastic way for their followers to meet in person, be inspired and learn new techniques. We have a hashtag #NIFTYFEWMEET on Instagram where you can view events of the night. Anyone can follow or join NIFTY FEW, our events are open to everyone no matter age, skill, or use of device (camera, phone etc) so we hope to see you in the future! www.instagram.com/niftyfew
It was a beautiful clear night so Dylan and I decided to head out to the Muriwai gannet colony to shoot the night sky. After realising that where we were taking photos was directly South facing we thought it would be a perfect spot for a full circle star trail or Vortex as I like to call them. Using the Photopills app we figured out how long we had to leave our shutter open to give us the correct exposure.
Scouting out locations is one of my favourite parts of photography. As I walk I am forced to really take in my surroundings with my focus specifically on contrast in colour and light, as well as an element that will provide depth to the image. Once I find a scene I want to shoot I usually set up my camera on a tripod, start an interval timer and place myself in the frame.
This year I've set a goal to capture at least one sunrise a month. Here's the sunrise on top of Mt. Eden in May. Sunrise is probably my favourite time of the day to take photos because you never know what you're gonna get. The weather, the tone of light and colours, the cloud formations; anticipating all of these variables and seeing what you can do with the conditions is what makes it fun.
This photo was taken one night while me and a friend wandered the backstreets of downtown Auckland after the rain had just settled in. As we passed an empty alley with neon lights it felt like I was in a scene from the movie Blade Runner. There's something about futuristic cityscapes which resonate with me.
Thereâ€™s nothing like a stroll through the city on a moody winters day. Some like to shoot only on fine weather days, however, I find that the city can come alive in some of the worst conditions.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if people started their day with your photos? Don't wait for people to come to you, become an integral part of their life.
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BEHIND THE SHOT WITH MARTIN MCCRAE
MARTIN, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY?
who are always slightly behind the eight ball in terms of the latest technology.
I was born in Singapore in 1958 of a British Army family and New Zealand is one of many homes I have had in my sixty years. Having met my partner Pippa in London in the 80’s and creating Fox, we moved here in 1998 for a couple of years to see how it went. Twenty years later…. still here!
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU USE?
My dad took loads of photos; slides which I am still converting digitally, he set up a darkroom in his hall cupboard and I learned some basics from him. I did some photography including darkroom developing during my Fine Art degree in 1996. I used my dad’s pentaprism 35mm SLR camera, with a pop-up metal viewer that you looked down into to see what you were photographing, and then had a bog standard 35mm SLR. I got my first digital camera in NZ. $500 was the most I could afford. A Samsung 3.2mp and a 5 x zoom, 3cm screen and an 8gb SD card, point and shoot. Marvellous! I ditched the SLR. Next came my first real DSLR, an Olympus E-500 Evolt. 8mp four thirds and a 2.5in monitor. It was ok but really, I wanted a Canon Eos. I’m probably like a lot of hobby photographers
After having gone through a few Canon’s I’m now at the mirrorless stage with a Canon Eos M5. This came with a 15-45m kit lens which I don’t use but was cheaper to buy with than without. I already had a Tamron 18270mm, all in one telephoto and a cheap Canon 50mm portrait lens, so I bought a Canon adaptor to fit them. I added an Eos M 11-22mm wide angle lens built for the Eos M5 and for those wide landscapes that I’d never really been able to get before. With its wide angle the Eos M5 is still pretty small, does everything I really want and probably best of all is the ability to zoom right into the picture for getting the focus sharp, an important factor for someone always pressing their glasses up to the screen or electronic viewfinder!
TELL US ABOUT THIS PHOTO... “Makara rainbow” was taken in my back garden looking towards the hills that separate this coastal enclave from Wellington. I was pottering about in my barn (really a very big shed) in which I make my sculptures, going back and forth to the house when I saw the rainbow.
It was quite arresting and dramatic, reaching across the far hill like a force field. Obvious things drew me to want to photograph this natural phenomenon. The light was stunning due to the stormy atmosphere which emphasised the drama and intensity of the display and like any kid at heart I loved being able to see it’s start and finish, the pot of gold just over the hill. So I rushed inside for my camera. I took a few pics and viewed them on the screen but they didn’t do the scene justice so I decided to try a panorama. I wanted to capture its brilliant colour, the complete rainbow from end to end, but I also wanted to play with my landscape lens and incorporate that total end to end look in a panorama. Not having a tripod and not wanting to miss the show, I hand held the camera and took something like eight overlapping images, trying to keep as level as possible and keeping the same exposure throughout the process.
HOW MUCH POST PROCESSING DID YOU DO? I put the images through my Lightroom panorama merge process and used various degrees of tone curve, cropping, vignette, colour correction adjustments etc, etc. Lightroom enables me to play around with images and try out both pre-set styles (HDR, monochrome, duo-tone) and/or build an image around what I want the result to be from what initially drew me to take the photo in the first place. So, the image becomes hopefully a representation of what I felt about what I was looking at if that makes sense. Sometimes a photo can come out disappointingly because I haven’t captured what I feel I can see, but post-processing enables me to conjure a facsimile of those feelings I get when looking at the world.
GIVEN THE CHANCE AGAIN, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO IMPROVE? I would have liked a bit more detail in the foreground where there is a paddock to give some scale and put the rainbow more in the landscape, but that was lost in the panorama cropping. I think the Macracarpas are too cut off and the flax at the bottom of the image would have stood out from the dark clouds.
YOU’VE RECENTLY JOINED EXCIO, CAN YOU TELL OUR READERS ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE SO FAR? I was inspired a while ago to get my images online… I set up a Facebook page to let the world see. The trouble is, I don’t use or like Facebook, so my images are seen only by a few close people! I also have a sales account at mychillybin.co.nz which provides a platform and a few sales, but they want New Zealand focused images with barely an adjustment, vanilla if you like. Excio lets me show my images, how I like them, how I want them to be seen and is not restricted to just New Zealand. I don’t feel that I have to be a professional or produce the most technical material. I have freedom and while I know that in exhibiting my work I will have to continually improve because there is an audience to supply and I have standards to meet, I can be an amateur photographer, I can explore the craft and my interests and at the moment do it on my terms. It’s not exclusive or elitist or expensive and does the trick for me - I’m am glad I joined it. I have three collections on at the moment; Nature, Human, and Landscape Just search my name and you’ll find me.
FINDING ADVENTURE IN GREAT BOULDER by Brendon Gilchrist
F16, 1/100s, ISO200
Life to me is about adventure, going to new places and pushing yourself to the limit in everyday life. It is those moments when you are breaking when you grow the most. My Dad and I have been going on adventures for many years now, some easy, and some a little more challenging like our hike in Great Boulder. The challenges come and go but the rewards stay with you forever. DAY 1
We drove 474km from Christchurch to Takaka and stopped at a couple of places on the way for food and a beautiful short walk at Riwaka Resurgence where a stream flows out of the side of the mountain, an ingesting sight. That night we finished packing our bags and loaded the car ready for an early start and a long 8 hour walk.
As the sun rose on the first day of our hike, the weather looked great with not a cloud in the sky. We had breakfast, made our final preparations, and said our goodbyes to civilization for 5 days. As we drove towards the end of the road the golden morning sun rays were kissing the Wakamarama Range.
F1.8, 25s, ISO10000
F14, 1/125s, ISO320
I was surprised that the track started earlier than noted on the map but with a huge sign saying ‘Boulder Lake Track’ we knew we had arrived. We stopped the car, signed the intention book, put our boots on, locked the car and loaded our packs on our back... Heading off into the bush. We walked over what I thought was a newly cut track, It didn’t seem right but we kept going, walking for hours with a few breaks here and there for water and snacks. I had this vision that there might be more places to view the mountains but I was rather wrong about that. One section of the track is called The Castles but I had no idea why it was called that until we came across big gaps... It is a Karst landscape mostly of limestone, a little challenging to get across with 5 gaps in total, some big, some small. As the day went on and with only one clearing we decided to have lunch, a small view over onto another mountain range
but nothing spectacular. As the day got on and the sun slowly lost its light we had no other choice but to stop and put the tent up, we were hours away from the hut and we needed shelter and rest. As the night went on I thought I saw flashes of light, I said to Dad “Is that lightning?” he said “I hope not!” next minute a big BOOM of thunder rumbled so loud you could hear the ground shake. It was a beautiful sound but I was so thankful to be in a really good tent. The storms passed as the night went on, impressive and powerful as they are, it was amazing how simple a tent becomes.
DAY 3 As the sun rose, we got up and made a decision to leave the tent by the track as we knew no one else was coming and planned to be at the hut for the next 2 nights.
We left some food and gas in the tent too which made our packs lighter. We headed off, still slowly walking uphill with no views in sight. It surprised me how hard that was mentally, not seeing any views of anything for hours on end, something I am not used to at all. We finally broke through the bush line at a place called Cow Saddle, but still, we could not see the lake we were aiming for. As we got higher in altitude the wind got stronger, there was one point when we were being blown uphill which was really helpful for a time! By this point, we could see the lake or part of it, and we could see the hut, still so small but we were getting closer with every step. Reaching the hut was an amazing feeling. A French guy was there and he said he had been worried about us the night before as he did not know we had a tent with us. He said the lightning over the lake was beautiful, I was a little jealous that he got to see it - OK maybe a lot! It would have looked amazing on camera. After checking out the old hut at the back and the cool little waterfall we started to settle in, unpack, get organized, and get some warm food into us. As night fell the weather was still looking pretty good for some night shots over the lake and at the waterfall. I managed to get a few good shots of the waterfall with the stars and some of the hut, but not much else. Later that night the rain started to fall and it did not stop for the next 30 hours. There were a few spells when it stopped enough to go and photograph the waterfall but overall, it was hours and hours of rain.
DAY 4 The day came to leave. We only had a short walk to the tent but that morning was one of the best of the trip. Dad was up stoking the fire and he said “I can see it’s raining but I can’t hear it” he looked outside and said “Oh no, it’s been snowing all night!” That got me out of bed fast! I grabbed my camera, put my boots on, and went out to see what I could capture which, to be honest, was nothing so I got the cell phone out and took some videos of the snow falling around me. That does happen sometimes, you’re in remote places like this and there’s nothing to photograph as it’s dark gray clouds and not much else. I was lucky though, it cleared and the light was amazing. I managed to capture some cool shots of the grasses and the mountains behind with very cool looking clouds and nice light shining through. We couldn’t really mess around too
much as I could see that the weather that was coming looked a bit nasty and we had a very exposed saddle to cross plus a lake to walk through and around. After packing up and tidying the hut we put the packs back on and headed out the door for the last time. Walking through the lake I have never in my life had such cold feet, my toes were numb and I could barely move them, not a situation anyone wants to be in no matter what your experience level. I ended up changing my socks in the snow to dry warmer one’s hoping that during the time we were walking higher, into deeper snow, that it would help warm my toes up. I still had shorts on but over the next few hours my toes warmed up a little, enough for me to feel them again! I stopped to take photos and capture the good weather we had and the view before we dropped back into the bush. When we got back to the tent all I wanted to do was get my feet warm so I got into my sleeping bag even though it was still early in the day and we ended up sleeping for most of the afternoon as there was not much else to do.
DAY 5 The last day was the hardest day. The tent was soaked making it heavier than before, the track was also soaked and very slippery, and The Castles, that we had to almost jump over, were slippery and dangerous but with caution, we passed them. The very last section of the track was a flowing stream and even more slippery than the rest of the track. We couldn’t get any pace as the track was just so wet, plus the rain did not stop at all. Once we got near the car big claps of thunder started and not long after we drove off, it started hailing. We were thankful by that point that we were in the car and on our way back to Takaka!
3 TIPS FOR WILD PHOTOGRAPHY
• With a large landscape, a person walking towards you or away from you adds a sense of scale and makes the viewer feel a part of the scene. • A grad filter helps to blend the sky and the foreground, making your exposure more balanced on camera (saving you postprocessing time later). • Have something in the foreground that is of interest whether that’s a rock, a dead piece of wood, some grasses, or your hiking buddies.
2 GAME-CHANGING LIGHTROOM TOOLS YOU MUST MASTER TODAY
by James Hickok
In this issue, I want to dive head-first into fully understanding histograms as well as what photographers consider to be one of Lightroom’s most useful, yet sometimes heavily underutilized, tool: the graduated filter (linear or radial). HISTOGRAMS
Before we begin, it must be made clear that there is a real difference between the Lightroom CC (cloud) and Lightroom Classic versions of the histogram. The CC version can only aid your image by having you look at the graph visually, while the Classic version of the histogram can tangibly aid and edit your image by way of “clipping”. Either way, having a complete understanding of how histograms work will undoubtedly be beneficial to you as a photographer. To put it simply, a histogram is a map of luminance, measuring the count of pixels at every given tone of gray on a scale of 0-255 (0 being absolute black and 255 being absolute white). A higher frequency of instances (y-axis) at a certain intensity (x-axis) in the photo will cause that point to increase, creating the rising and falling “bar chart” that we are so accustomed to seeing in a histogram. The top of the histogram represents the limit of signal saturation, where the intensity is too great at the given tone to be visible, while the bottom of the histogram represents an absence of light at that tone altogether; the former of these two extremes is known as
highlight and shadow clipping in Lightroom which we will return to later. Lightroom also provides a histogram line for each of the composite colors (red, green, and blue), which quite nicely indicates the distribution of colors in your photo as seen on the left. Horizontally, a histogram can generally be divided into five dynamic f-stop ranges that each contain a designated set of luminosities, with the middle range of tones being defined as the camera-standard 18% gray reference as seen below. This 18% gray reference is usually automatically set by the camera itself, but it can be adjusted. Each of the f-stops below represents a doubling or halving of the amount of light hitting the “film” in the eyes of your imaging chip, but our human eyes actually don’t perceive light linearly, so a doubling in intensity would not be seen as twice as bright to us.
Now, should you be worried if your histogram has a high concentration to the left, to the right, or has lots of different spikes in it? Unfortunately, the best answer to that is: it depends! Histogram charts are not like scientific charts in the sense that they are not useful in being compared to one another; it’s hard to say that a histogram chart looking one way is better than another looking a different
way. In other words, there is no such thing as a “bad” histogram, but rather, they just are as they are. That’s not to say that histograms can’t be used to improve your image though, Lightroom Classic’s highlight and shadow clipping feature on its histogram is highly useful. As seen in the first image, Lightroom Classic's, Lightroom Classic’s histogram has two arrows on it – one in the top left corner and one in the top right corner – these represent shadow clipping and highlight clipping, respectively. Shadow clipping, or blocked shadows, are when an area of your image is too dark to be seen by the human eye and thus appears black. Highlight clipping, or blown highlights, are when an area on your image is too bright to be seen by the human eye and thus appears essentially white. Pretty simple right? Lightroom Classic can warn you of where these two areas exist in your image simply by pressing the “J” key on your computer or by actually clicking on one of the arrows in your histogram. After doing that you will see that the shadow clipping is colored in blue and the highlight clipping is colored in
red – these are the affected areas that most likely need to be fixed! There are a few techniques that can be used to fix these issues, with it mostly coming down to personal preference or the degree to which these areas of clipping affect your image. The first, and easiest, way to fix clipping is to use the shadow or highlight sliders until the right balance is found. The only issue with this is that it affects all of the shadows or highlights in your image, which you might not want. If you’re only concerned about a small area of your image, adjusting the shadows/highlights sliders with the brush tool will allow you to brush over only the selected area that you want. Furthermore, I find that using the Tone Curve Panel to adjust highlights and shadows can be a lot more dynamic and creative rather than just the simple sliders. As seen in the image below, the shadow clipping (top left arrow in histogram) is colored in blue, while the highlight clipping (top right arrow in histogram) is colored in red.
Other than the fact that the affected areas are shown to us by Lightroom, the histogram also tells us that there is clipping in the image because of how the chart spikes to the top at both the left and right ends. As we covered before, when the pixel count is too saturated at a given tone, it shoots through the top of the histogram and represents a blocked shadow or blown highlight. Unfortunately, this shadow/highlight clipping feature does not exist in Lightroom CC (the cloud version), which is why I felt it was important to review how histograms work in general so that you can be the judge for yourself where clipping is occurring in your image.
GRADUATED (OR GRADIENT) FILTERS
Graduated filters can be used in so many different ways across every type of photography, which is why whether the fact that you shoot landscapes, portraits, wildlife, or events doesn’t limit their usefulness. Lightroom (both Classic and CC) offers linear or radial graduated filters, with the linear filter allowing you to affect an area horizontally or vertically, and the radial filter allowing you to affect an area in a circular or oval shape. While graduated filters are probably most commonly used to adjust exposure, the limit of their capabilities is entirely up to you and what you wish to accomplish. Before I go into the best way to use these filters and how to get the most out of them, here are a few quick but important things to know: • Once your filter is selected by clicking on the blue dot, pressing “O” once, twice, or three times will toggle showing the areas that you have masked with the filter in red. The options are: “Hide Overlay,” “Show Overlay,” or “Show Overlay and Selected Mask” • Holding “Shift” will make a filter perfectly straight at 0 or 90 degrees
• You can re-edit these filters by clicking on the blue dot on your image where you originally applied the filter • It is possible to stretch and change the shape of the radial filter away from a circle • Once a filter is applied, you can click “Invert Mask” to reverse the affected area (think of reversing a radial filter to only affect everything inside the radius you’ve created around a subject) • You can use the Brush Tool to erase areas that you didn’t want to be affected by graduated filters Opposite you will see you will see one of my own images where I have applied a linear gradient filter in Lightroom CC (this is shot at Hamner Springs!). I was looking to fix the sky and clouds without editing the rest of the image which I was fairly happy with. I chose to drag a linear gradient filter from the top down, which means the mask becomes less intense as it approaches the part of the image where the sky meets the mountains. Editing distinct skylines or foregrounds is one of the most popular uses of a graduated filter, most likely due to how significant the difference in composition and light can be between these areas. I chose to reduce the highlights further and increase the clarity and shadows in order to bring out more of the clouds and have them stand out among the bright blue sky. For the image on the right I used an inverted radial filter of oval shape in order to only affect the area that has my subject in it (thanks Annika!). I decided to reduce the highlights and whites while increasing the shadows and contrast. This image is also probably a candidate to use a linear graduated filter on the low-hanging clouds as well, but we’ll save the full image editing walk-through for another article! The applications for graduated filters are truly limitless, which is why I highly recommend that all photographers make greater use of them whenever they have the chance.
Now, it’s time for you to open up Lightroom and give some of these techniques a shot yourself! I have certainly benefited and grown as a photographer by talking to the best photographers I know about these particular tools, so there’s no reason you can’t make use of them as well.
HOW TO CAPTURE: WINTER LANDSCAPES Winter Photography Tips with Richard Young
Frozen River, Tongariro National Park
F11, 1.3s, ISO 64, 18mm
PICK YOUR SUBJECT:
WATCH WHERE YOU STEP:
While grand snow-covered vistas work well, sometimes smaller more intimate scenes can make the best photographs. Pick an interesting subject, so you don't just have a field of white snow. Small frozen streams often make great photographs and snow in the forest is always a magical thing to capture.
When you are walking about on the snow, trying to find the best angle, be careful that you do not walk through a scene, thus having footprints all over that virgin field of snow. Sometimes a well-placed set of footprints can add to the shot, leading the viewing into the photograph.
EXPOSING THE SNOW:
GET UP EARLY:
A snow-covered landscape will often confuse your camera’s light meter, snow will come out grey instead of white in your photographs. You need to increase your exposure by shooting in manual mode, or using the exposure compensation (‘+/-’ button) to make the snow a crisp white.
As soon as the sun gets up in the sky, snow can start to melt really quickly. If there has been snow or a hard frost overnight, head out early before it melts. It pays to be to staying in a hut or camping so that you are within walking distance of the location you want to shoot to get there without a drive in icy conditions.
IMPROVE YOUR WINTER LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY ON A WORKSHOP AT TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK: 17TH-19TH AUGUST OR MT COOK 14TH-17TH SEPTEMBER WITH NEW ZEALAND PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS
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JOIN THE VOICE OF NEW ZEALAND’S OUTDOORS PEOPLE
Federated Mountain Clubs (FMC), founded in 1931, represents over 80 clubs, 20,000 members and 300,000 people that regularly explore New Zealand’s Backcountry by foot, bike, canoe and kayak, seeking beauty, challenge and friendship. Reaching some of the most incredible corners of Aotearoa, many members love to capture the landscape, flora, fauna and action of their journeys on camera. FMC advocates for the interests of outdoor recreationalists and patrols the blurred line between conservation and development. They have achieved increased protection of NZ’s natural landscapes through National Parks, Conservation Parks and Wilderness Areas and have celebrated and enhanced the recreational opportunities in those special places. They continue to defend the precious legacy of the Backcountry hut and track network, seeking further public access to public conservation land and contributes to farsighted conservation planning processes and have proven that they’ll fight against unwise projects, like the Haast Hollyford Highway and Fiordland Monorail. FMC are a democratic organisation, with thinking that is clear, transparent and open to debate. Freedom of the hills, stewardship of the land and a belief in egalitarianism in the mountains are principles that shape the leadership they provide and the actions
they undertake. Their strength comes from active participation in outdoor recreation, an enduring connection with the land, a wide membership and the commitment of their volunteers. Each year they run a photo competition with 6 categories: Above Bushline (With and Without a Human Element), Below Bushline (With and without a Human Element), Historic, and Native Flora & Fauna which NZP readers are welcome to submit to. Nonmember photos are judged separately from members photos before the top shots are into the main competition. In 2017, a total of 428 entries were received, you can see 4 of the winning shots on the following pages. The stunning images from these special locations are used by FMC inspiration and evidence; illustrating the priceless value of these places, for when they are fighting those who wish to exploit, diminish or over-use them.
2017 WINNER OF BELOW BUSHLINE WITH NO HUMAN ELEMENT ROUTEBURN, PARADISE F8, 1/4s, ISO100
2017 GRAND PRIZE WINNER COSY MOUNTAIN RESCUE, MT SOMMERS F2.8, 20s, ISO6400
2017 WINNER OF BELOW BUSHLINE WITH HUMAN ELEMENT HOPE-KIWI TRACK, LAKE SUMNER, NORTH CANTERBURY F8, 1/400s, ISO100
2017 WINNER OF ABOVE BUSHLINE WITH NO NUMAN ELEMENT OLD GHOST ROAD, LYELL F4, 1/500s, ISO100
With Winter now in full-swing in New Zealand, we want to see your best Winter photos and discover what winter means to you. Is it all about exploring snowy landscapes? Marvelling at the patterns the frost makes? Experimenting with reflections in puddles? Capturing the grey skies or curling up indoors enjoying a good book? Whatever it is, we want to see your best winter photos.
1 - 20 July 2018
1st place will win a timer remote
See full T&Cs on www.excio.io/winter
BEST READERS' SUBMISSIONS THIS MONTH
LEAF BEETLE Ankan Das
AUTUMN IN MCLAREN FALLS F3.2, 1s, ISO50 McLaren Falls reserve showing off its spectacular Autumn colours.
Annemarie Clinton 44 NZPhotographer
KIRSTENBOSCH YELLOW F11, 1/80s, ISO800 The Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, set on the Eastern slopes of Table Mountain, South Africa is ranked as one of the best gardens in the world.
LIMITED SHELF LIFE MAIRANGI BAY F18, 1s, ISO200 Here’s a shot I’ve been wanting to get for a while. I’ve had a few attempts but each time there’s been an obstacle; grey skies, slightly off on the tide or no swell at all for a few waves. When this happens all you can do is put it on the shelf and wait for the right conditions to try again. It’s pretty satisfying when you finally get something close to what you had in mind!
PAINTED DESERT ARIZONA, USA F8, 1/350s I always think of the forces that occurred to produce these geological scenes.
DESERT ROAD F16, 25s, ISO100 Mount Ngauruhoe captured from just off the Desert Road summit.
MOUNT RUAPEHU F11, 1/80s, ISO100 A hastily captured image of Ruapehu as the summit appeared briefly in the low foggy cloud enveloping the mountain.
LAKE PEARSON MIST F11, 1/100s We went up to Lake Pearson hoping to find some hoar frost, but the temperature was a little too high. The lake was shrouded in mist...
SOPHIA F7.1, 1/200s, ISO100 Close up of a Protea, this flower left me pretty homesick, Proteas are so common in South Africa.
Marina de Wit
DELL This is Dell, one of the Tui's at Nga Manu Nature Reserve. Dell was found injured and raised by hand and is now a permanent resident of Nga Manu. My photos try and capture the vivid colours, and shapes of the residents of Nga Manu. My images are donated to Nga Manu Nature reserve for use in advertising and merchandise so that they do not have to spend money on photographers to showcase the reserve.
LADY IN BLACK F11, 1/125s, ISO400 I saw this image awhile ago, and waited until I was doing a low key photoshoot to do this with my own touch, by adding a mask to the model.
Gary Reid 60 NZPhotographer
THE MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING TARANAKI Probably one of the hardest shots in terms of driving around finding the perfect angle. I wanted a road leading towards Mount Taranaki to give the mood of 'the mountains are calling'. It required some planning on Google maps trying to find the best strip of road. Eventually we came across this spot and and decided to make the most of golden hour by capturing some unique angles from this location. The planning was worthwhile and this is hands down one of my favourite roadside captures.
GRAHAM'S BAZAAR CARTERTON F1.4, 1/640s, ISO1000
SOUTH ISLAND KAKA
Whilst on retreat on Stewart Island, this awesome friendly native NZ South Island Kaka came to visit us each morning. It was a joy to interact with this Kaka each time he/she landed on our balcony, and to be able to get up close for some very special pictures.
HOAR FROST F10, 1/125s, ISO400 This image of Butchers Dam is known for the hoar frost. At the end of the dam I was pleased to see the reflection, and the mist.
WINTER MAGIC F7, ISO400 Taken at Conroy's dam on a very chilly misty morning. This was shot in Raw and converted into B/W.
Jacqui Scott 68 NZPhotographer
AMISH WOMAN AND BABY F7.1, 1/160s, ISO640 An Amish lady cradles her baby under cover of a tent on a rainy day at a central Pennsylvania auction.
Todd Henry 70 NZPhotographer
TONGARIRO NATIONAL PARK The mountains of New Zealand on the rare occasion like to spew out the universe. This was my first Astro shot of the year, and itâ€™s by far one of my favourite shots ever captured. I used @photopills to plan the shot, which I recommend to anyone whoâ€™s into Astrophotography. I was slightly off with the position initially and had to wait patiently in sub zero conditions, but it worked out perfectly in the end!
FIRST SUNRISE OF WINTER BUFFALO BEACH, WHITIANGA F22, 1/500s, ISO200 Gulls playing in the foggy sunrise.
Karen Moffatt McLeod
WHITIANGA WHARF F16, 1/128s, ISO200 Fog shrouds Whitianga wharf on the 1st day of winter.
Karen Moffatt McLeod
AS COLD AS ICE F7.1, 1.4s, ISO400 With the first of the good frosts down here in Invercargill for winter, the last of my flowers were frozen in ice-ial beauty never to recover.
LOST IN THE LIBRARY A composite of many, many photographs... I started with quite a clear idea of what I wanted the final result to look like, so started with a portrait series, then many dozens of photographs of old books, individually & in stacks from different angles; added floor, added table, added window, added ambiance, found & photographed vines ~ cutting (masking) those out was a lot more work than anticipated! The end result, as always, evolved during its creation from my original vision into something quite different...
DECAY IN MOTION F6.3, 1/400s, ISO100 I loved this Japanese Anemone, I was fascinated by the flowing petals and the early stages of decay.
Marina de Wit
OMAMARI BLUE F6.3, 1s, ISO100 This was taken after sunset and before dark, the colours were a rich dark blue with some streaks of gold. I moved the camera from left to right as the shutter was open.
Noel Herman 82 NZPhotographer
A LIGHT FIESTA BY THE LAKE F11, 4s, ISO200 Festival of Lights.
Follow Peter's collections on Excio
ALPHONSO F11, 1/60s, ISO200 The storm was vicious. It pounded the mighty ranges with gusto, scraping muddy debris off the mountains into the pristine waters of Lake Rotoiti. It signed off its passing with a murky stain still visible on the edge of the image. The calamity rattled a few feathers, literally, including the ones belonging to a little mysterious visitor who made Nelson Lakes National Park its home. A rather curious aberration for a country with a stringent biosecurity system in place. The Mandarin duck, a native of East Asia, has been a resident for a while and turned into an attraction for tourists and locals alike. They affectionately named him Alphonso, I believe, as the most common Chinese name they could think of.
Follow Peter's collections on Excio
SPOILS OF THE HUNTER F8, 1/160s, ISO160 This is Kaitlin, a local bodybuilder who I did a shoot with in March. Her husband is a hunter and this was her her spin on a special photo for himself. I was recently informed that this image has been awarded top prize "Photorama Trophy" (Best In Show) in a photography salon in Sweden (1st Photorama Digital Sweden 2018 - TRADITIONAL) The theme was traditional photography, no manipulation or adding or removal of elements, no special effects etc.
LAKE TE ANAU F4.5, 1/200s, ISO200 As we were walking along the shore of Lake Te Anau we spotted this bright red toadstool from quite a distance. It was a bright flash of red compared to the hues of blue and green in it's surroundings. No goblins or fairies were harmed whilst taking this photo!
Pippa de Court
REFLECTIONS ON RIVER CLYDE F4, 13s, ISO200 The photo was taken during a short two day trip to Glasgow while on sabbatical at the University of Leicester in England. The image was taken from the SSE Hydro side of the River Clyde. The entire bank is picturesque with beautiful reflections of the architecture on both sides.
STAG F5.6, 1/125s, ISO400 The photo of this beautiful wild deer was taken at Bradgate Park. It was late Autumn / early Winter last year and the animal looked straight into my camera as if was posing for me.
STAG F5.6, 1/125s, ISO400 The photo of this beautiful wild deer was taken at Bradgate Park. It was late Autumn / early Winter last year and the animal looked straight into my camera as if was posing for me.
Prashant Joshi 94 NZPhotographer
MORNING GLOW F8, 1/160s, ISO200 Early morning light at Glentanner holiday park near Mt Cook.
SOUTH ISLAND ROBIN F4, 1/250s, ISO400 The NZ South Island Robin / Toutouwai is endemic to the south island. Length 18cm, weight 35g. It feeds on insects including stick insects and wetas, grubs, spiders and earth worms. It may live up to 14 years where no predators exist. Pairs have territories of 1-5ha. They're very friendly and trusting, when you see them on the track they just stop and stay still. They will then come very close to you and may even sit on your shoes.
CRAFTY GANNET F2.8, 1/6400s, ISO400 It's really hard to catch a Gannet in full flight, so I'm really happy I managed to! I wanted to capture a Gannet gathering sticks and things to build it's nest. I was very lucky to capture one with some grass in it's mouth and the black sand rocks as a back ground.
AS YOU'VE NEVER SEEN HER AGRA, INDIA F14, 1/250s, ISO100 You would probably know this iconic monument in a second if this shot were stock standard, but from this angle can you guess her name? It's the Taj Mahal!
MOTHER GANGA (GANGA MATA) RISHIKESH, INDIA F10, 1/200s, ISO12.800 On a still late afternoon a soft sunset commences over the River Ganges.
MEERKAT SENTRY DUTY TRAINING WELLINGTON ZOO At Wellington Zoo watching the adults train the meerkat pups to do sentry duty. Like all children they tend to fool around.
Photographer: Richard Young
FH100M2 Long Exposure Kit The FH100M2 Filter: It is designed to hold both square and circular filters, with the ability to freely rotate an attached 82mm CPL filter after installation. It will hold up to 3 square filters, and ultra-thin 82mm CPL simultaneously, without creating vignetting on lenses as wide as 16mm. Includes: FH100M2 holder (incl FR1010, FR1015, 77mm and 82mm adapters) FB100M2 case 0.6 Hard Grad 6-stop ND 10-stop ND CPL Filter FR1010 Frame 82-72mm Stepdown ring 82-67mm Stepdown ring
Progear www.progear.co.nz 3 Railway St, Newmarket 09 529 5055
"PHOTOGRAPHY IS THE EASIEST ART, WHICH PERHAPS MAKES IT THE HARDEST." LISETTE MODEL
Whether you’re an enthusiastic weekend snapper or a beginner who wants to learn more about photography, New Zealand Photographer is the fun...
Published on Jun 30, 2018
Whether you’re an enthusiastic weekend snapper or a beginner who wants to learn more about photography, New Zealand Photographer is the fun...