Category Archives: Photoshop

Seismic: 1&2

Yesterday we hung my latest works in the Kermadec: Discoveries and Connections exhibition which opens in Wellington this weekend.

Seismic 1&2 are large scale photographic prints onto Aluminium Composite Material (ACM). It’s the first time I have used this technique and Imagelab has done a great job of printing them.

As with previous explorations recently, they are inspired by a map I was given by The Pew Charitable Trust showing the migratory routes of whales through the Kermadec region and the geography created by the collision between the Pacific and Australian Plates.


I imaged what mapping millions of years of migrations and geologic activity might look like and experimented extreme close up shots of bubbles moving through water taken with a long shutter speed to create the appearance of intertwined fibres. To create twisting paths and add drama and depth to the compositions I pushed the bubbles with mirrors.


I tested printing onto raw aluminium, which added a nice sheen but at the expense of image detail, so went with a matte white ACM for the final prints.

Nothing beats seeing the detail of a large print in real life so make sure to come to the show in Wellington if you can!

Kermadec: Discoveries and Connections is on 9 – 20 April at the Academy Galleries, Queens Wharf, Wellington. In partnership with Pataka. It features  works by Phil Dadson, Bruce Foster, Fiona Hall, Gregory O’Brien, John Pule, John Reynolds. Elizabeth Thomson, Robin White and I.

I will post photos of the works in situ after the exhibition opens.


Seismic #6


Another new Kermadec inspired work has evolved out of my investigations into photographing streams of bubbles moving through various liquids. Originally I was inspired by whale migration tracks but as played with rippling the water I realised I was making seismic waves and the idea built from there. The Kermadec region is the home to over 50 submarine volcanos.

Click on the image above  to enlarge. As you can see from the detail below there is some lovely detail when you look close. Will make a fantastic large print.


Project Weed – Proof of concept

Having successfully borrowed a small fish tank (many thanks to Oliver Townend at Massey CoCA) I have been able to create a make-shift studio to do some quick ‘proof of concept’ tests.

The goal: To learn the behaviour of seaweed in a tank and determine if I can make the tank/water ‘disappear’ and for the arrangement look like it is not underwater.
The outcome: Not bad. See the results below.


  • By using flashes located to the side/top/behind the tank I am able to have great lighting control with minimal reflections and no heat.
  • Left for a few minutes the seawater (collected from across the road from the house) clears nicely – but left too long condensation forms on the glass.
  • Lots of crap floats off the weed etc – rinsing and cleanliness will be important if I am to avoid hours in Photoshop.
  • Bubbles do form on the inside of the glass and objects over time but are pretty easy to wipe off.
  • The seaweed seems pretty much neutrally buoyant as expected
  • The small tank (600 x 300 x 300) is very limiting. Only suitable for small seaweed. Certainly no good for anything like kelp.
  • I think this is going to work but “we’re going to need a bigger tank”.
  • I have shot colour but envisage that the final prints will be black and white.


See more on Project Weed

NZSO: The Rite of Spring

It may not feel like it in Wellington today but spring has arrived so it seems timely to show ‘the making of’ one of the images I created while I was at Insight Creative for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

With five stock images and a few hours in photoshop hopefully I have something that represents the dark beauty of Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring”

Stravinsky’s avant-garde 1913 ballet score sparked a riot in the theatre on its Paris premiere. This famously controversial work, full of savage force and fiery beauty is summed up in Stravinsky’s own description of his inspiration: “I had a fleeting vision that came to me as a complete surprise … I saw in imagination a solemn pagan rite: sage elders, seated in a circle, watching a young girl dance herself to death. They were sacrificing her to propitiate the god of spring”.

This is one image from the 2015 Season seres for which Insight has been made a finalist for in this years Best Awards.

The NZSO performances of this start in November this year (see website for details)

Lily was a nice girl

A preview of works from a new series I am working on. Taken with my homemade lens using old glass from my grandfathers camera. I am working toward an exhibition of these as very large prints but I will do a smaller edition of each as well. Watch this space.

Anyone interested in pre-sales should contact me.

DSC_0846 DSC_0793_crop DSC_0783 DSC_0663 DSC_0623

Man cave of the year


Well actually (as far as I know) there isn’t an award for “Best Man-Cave” but the photo I took of the classic Ingmar Relling ‘Siesta’ chair in my garage was a finalist in the D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year Competition 2013 (in the top 10 of over 2600 entries) and came second in the “Creative” section. Choice!

One of the judges Andrew Hales said: “I love how the scene has been crafted, the use of light and level of post production. I actually wanted this one to win.”

Click here if you want to see how it was shot

In case you’re wondering “amateur” is defined by photography not being my primary income … Yay for the “day job”

Married to Raoul II

Married to Raoul II

Married to Raoul II 2012, Photographic print 329mm x 483mm – For Sale

A new work from a photo shoot last year. Part of the Kermadec Project

In 1875 Tom Bell, his wife and six children moved to live on remote Roaul Island (then Sunday island). The family lived on the island in almost total isolation for 35years enduring incredible hardship at times.

After visiting Roaul and reading of the family (in a book called “The Crusoes of Sunday Island”) I was deeply moved and decided to create this shot to tell the story of the oldest child “Hettie Bell” who lived in isolation for the best years of her life.

She wears period clothes and holds a ‘bouquet’ of seaweed to represent her ‘marriage to Roaul’. This photo was shot with a homemade lens with glass from a 100year old camera on a Nikon D300s to further add to historic link. In this print I have used multiple shots to gradually build up the picture – much like the little historic glimpses I have gained into the life of the real Hettie Bell.

It was shot on Breaker Bay Beach in Wellington which bears a striking similarity to Roual Island’s Denham Bay. Using my daughter Lauren to model  seemed even more approprate because when I heard Hettie’s story it instantly made me think of her. I think she did a great job of capturing the quiet determination that Hettie must have had.

I am happy to say that since over the last year I have had descendants of the Bell family contact me – absolutely fantastic!

Click here to see the “Married to Raoul” – Originally posted in September 2011

Learn more about the Kermadec Project and see other works from it.

For Sale: Limited edition prints of this photo are available – $600NZD framed. $400 Unframed. Contact me for enquires.

L’Esperance Rock

The evening before departing NZ for the Kermadecs the artists had dinner in Auckland. Discussion ran at a fever pitch about what lay before us. One of the many topics covered was that of L’Esperance Rock. We were told of this tiny island and how it was used as a fuel dump for emergency flights to Raoul.

I was gutted when we passed it in the night without seeing it. In my mind a Dr Suess like tower of 44 gallon drums was balanced  on a barren rock.

On return to NZ I just had to create my interpretation of it.

I have no idea what it actually looks like and have no real desire to find out.