Category Archives: Landscape

Antarctica FridayFoto #12

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Beware the crossed flags! 

Scott Base Field trainer Mike Lundin and Mike Rowe check out the sea-ice ahead of our Hagglund vehicles. Regular routes are marked with lines or flags that have been scouted out. Hazards like hidden or active cracks are marked with crossed flags and the field trainers check them out before driving over them. Cracks are often only visible as faint changes in the texture of the snow (see below) … if you’re lucky! In white out conditions visibility can make them completely invisible. Before crossing dodgy cracks they drill holes to expire the thickness and shape of the ice.

Big ups to these guys for keeping us safe!

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Antarctica FridayFoto #11

 

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A three-for-one deal this Friday… just because I love the progression between the these shots.

NIWA diver Rod Budd trudges through a building wind to the field kitchen as he brings in gear from our field camp on the sea ice at Cape Evans, Antarctica. It would have been about -25°c but with wind chill easily more like -35°c.

Antarctica’s historic huts

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Shots of the historic huts in Antarctica – mostly from Scott’s hut and Cape Evans with a few from Shackleton’s Cape Royds thrown in. This is a working edit so will change over time.

Scott’s hut is the iconic base associated with Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s British Antarctic (Terra Nova) Expedition 1910–1913 and his second, and final, famed attempt for the Geographic South Pole.

I wanted to capture the feeling of visiting the hut rather than concentrating on accurately documenting the site and artefacts, after all, many very good photographers have done this already (including the outstanding work of Jane Ussher in her book Still Life: Inside the Antarctic huts of Scott and Shackleton). I found it quite liberating to know I could take a totally different approach. See her video from TEDx at the bottom of this page.

 

When we entered the hut it was very dark with snow covering many of the windows. We had to wear head-torches which created an eerie pool of light in the inky dark, revealing a small bit at a time. To try and get the feeling of the experience I shot with combinations of head-torch and snooted flash lighting and using my homemade lens on a modern Nikon DSLR. The lens is made with the element from a 100 year old Kodak pocket camera very similar to that used by the photographer from Shackleton’s expeditions, Frank Hurley.

This video of Jane Ussher speaking for the recent TEDx Scott Base gives a fantastic heartfelt context to the place, her work and then how my photos contrast to her work.

The Antarctic Heritage Trust has a very good website that goes into great detail about this and the other historic huts in Antarctica https://www.nzaht.org/explorer-bases/scotts-hut-cape-evans

 

Antarctica FridayFoto #3

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Camping in the New Zealand summer … Antarctica style. After a three hour ride in the Hagglund we arrived at our campsite for the final part of our field survival training. This shot was taken about 11.30 at night and this is about as dark as it got. The tents are pretty much the same design Scott used during his fatal 1912 journey to the pole. In the background is the ever present Mt Erebus. On the left Warren is recording the sound of the flagpoles squeaking as the move in the snow.

To learn more bout the camping see my earlier video post.

Antarctica FridayFoto #2

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Our Scott Base Hagglund makes it’s way to the field training campsite. These all-terrain vehicles are the work horses of Antarctica. We travelled across the sea-ice in them for hours at a time. It’s far to say that they are not exactly luxury travel but by Antarctica stands they are bloody brilliant transport 11 people (5 in the front and 6 in the back) with ease but I think the Swedish army squeezes in upwards of 16 pax! In a worst case scenario they can even float – a feature we fortunately didn’t need to test.

For some reason it seemed an appropriate pick for the last FridayFoto before Christmas … hang on! … That’s it!

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Merry Christmas Scott Base

 

Antarctica project: editing begins

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The wall of my MDes office is slowly being taken over by small prints from the Antarctica: Sixty Shades of White project. It represents a tiny proportion of the 1TB of data, stills and video I collected while on The Ice in October. It is still very early days but at least five possible collections/projects are emerging … this will keep me going for years!

Interview with Anne Noble

Ok … So the Collage of Creative Arts, at Massey University is a busy place, full of talented people doing amazing projects and that means sometimes you miss out on talking to the people you work with … that’s the excuse I’m going to use because it wasn’t until I stumbled upon this interview with my fellow CoCAnut Anne Noble (Distinguished Professor Anne Noble to be correct) that I really got some great insights into her work and realised that we have similar thoughts particularly on the environment, science and process.

We really need to have that coffee.

Trinity Roots

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I had the great privilege  of being commissioned by one legendary New Zealand band Trinity Roots to shoot some new promotional material for them. Inspired by the bands’ focus on whakapapa and relationship with the land, I came up with the concept of them standing in the swirling waters of Cook Strait (near Breaker Bay) to represent their oneness with people and place.

I thank them for their patience as I made them stay in the freezing waters for half an hour as we waited for the light to  light to be perfect. Exposures were long and combined with remote flash units setup on an old tripod in the sea.

Below are a few ‘behind the scenes’ shots taken by my son and young assistant Morgan (who weeks earlier had modelled for test shots) and one of the ‘straighter’ press shots we took in the Breaker Bay Hall.

The lead singer Warren Maxwell was also in the photos I took for his other project “Pass the Gat” with Louis Baker and Thomas Oliver

 

Crossings: Only two left … make that one

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“Crossing Series #1” 2011
Limited edition Triptych of Lambda digital master photographic prints on Kodak Archival Paper. 700 x 465mm each. $2500 nzd framed for the set of three.

Update! Subsequent to this post I have sold one set. There is now only one left (currently on exhibition with the touring Kermadec show but I’m happy to sell it and release when the tour is complete)

There are only two sets of this limited edition triptych left. Shot from the deck of the HMNZS Otago after leaving Raoul. By then travel on the ship felt very much like home. The long exposure captured the endless passing of the water but by now this was (or at least seemed) like a smooth rocking, as if slipping over silk.

Contact me if you are interested

Crossing in Tauranga Art Gallery

Lighting test: Tarakena Bay

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Once again my ever patient son Morgan was coerced into being a model for a lighting test for a shot I have coming up in a few weeks. This time he stood knee deep in the chilly waters of Cook Strait while the sun set behind the Kaikouras. A slow shutter speed blurred the water and a Nikon Speedlight with a homemade snoot lit his face. The flash is sitting on an old modified tripod (heavily weighted down) and is triggered remotely via infrared.