Category Archives: Wellington

Breaker Bay: 15 July 2001

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In a time before Google Street View (back when there paper maps and everything!) I got bored one weekend and walked the length of Wellington’s Breaker Bay and documented every house. For locals it’s great to see how much the bay has changed!

I have long since lost the original photos but there is still a low res version online – click here to view and scroll sideways.

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

 

Company of Giants – now playing at Kermadec

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The Company of Giants theatre group are now playing their amazing show“Rangitahua, The stopping off place” at the Kermadec exhibition in Wellington. Weaving their way around the artworks and audience, they tell the wild story of the Kermadec Islands.

The show plays at 2pm and 7pm until Tuesday at the Academy Galleries, Queens Wharf, Wellington. Book at iticket.co.nz.

A video of the highlights from the Gisborne performance is here

Kermadec exhibition opens in Wgtn today

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In celebration of the government’s announced intention to create the Kermadec Marine Sanctuary (only the 4th biggest in the world!) the Kermadec artists have put together a ‘final’ exhibition here in Wellington.

Hosted by Pataka, the show is on at the Academy Gallery on Queens Wharf from today

All the original artists (Phil Dadson, Bruce Foster, Fiona Hall, Gregory O’Brien, John Pule, John Reynolds. Elizabeth Thomson, Robin White and me of course) are represented, most with new works. I have new photographic works and a video instillation.

I would also highly recommend coming to one of the shows put on the the theatre group Company of Giants, who will be performing Rangitahua from the 15th until the 19th (2pm and 7pm). Book at iticket.co.nz. It is a great show that weaves it’s way among the audience and exhibition telling the story of the Kermadecs.

More on the Kermedac project

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.

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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.

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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.

 

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.

#projectweed moves into the shed

shedWith the exciting discovery of the Kermadec seaweeds in Wellington I am going to go small scale and work from the home studio to be closer to a ready source of fresh seawater. So I am converting the garden shed to a photographic studio for a while.

Yes – I am going to experiment with weed in the garden shed! A teenage boys dream job. The twitter jokes will be flowing my way.

Back to the 50litre fish tank I used for proof of concept. It seems tiny after the 900 litre tank at the university.

And moving the project has the added advantage of making me clean the shed!

More about Project Weed

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The shed becomes studio: Before and after cleanup and blacking out windows

Project Weed: Lighting tests

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I haven’t been focussing on composition at this stage – just learning how various weeds behave and what different moods I can create with the lighting.

On the whole this have been pretty successful … well even failure is just discovering was not to do it I guess.

I can definitely  overcome the 15mm glass to make the subject look like it isn’t underwater if I want. Some weeds float and some don’t. I suspect I am getting more sinking because I am using fresh water. The large tank is at the university so it is impractical to fill it with 900 litres of seawater regularly. Some of the weeds cloud the water quite quickly so I need to change it regularly. I suspect some of the weed is behaving differently because of the difference of buoyancy between fresh and salt water.

It is amazing, but not surprising, how differently the weed behaves underwater. The humble Sea Lettuce (Ulva pertusa) goes from being like a clump of snot out of the water to being a delicate and translucent element in the photos (it’s the bright green one in  these photos).

Low environmental impact approach

I am trying to maintain a low environmental impact approach on this project. Gathering most seaweed off the beach directly after large swells and only taking what I need. Where possible all materials are returned to the source. Most will be collected in Breaker Bay Wellington and obviously nothing from the nearby Taputeranga Marine Reserve.

I hope to shoot some incidental marine subjects (e.g. anemones) and these will be shot in a small marine tank in my home studio (within 50m of the point of collection. These will be collected with great care and returned asap.

weed_goboLighting

I am using a set of Nikon Speedlights (flashes) to light everything. They give me complete control and help to keep reflections to a minimum. They have the added bonus of reducing the amount of mains electricity on what is a times a wet set. From previous projects (Lilly was a nice girl) I have developed a set of light modifiers and techniques that work very well on this project too. I have made a set of gobos and barn doors for the speedlights using card and straws. I get the best results if I avoid any lights hitting the front glass of the tank – if all the light hitting the lens is coming to it through the front glass there will be no reflections (he said crossing his fingers)

Some samples:

Remember I am not working on composition yet. Nice to see the ability to get dark a moody or white and contemporary. I have tested using my home-made lens with a glass from a camera that is 100 years old which give a wonderful softness to the shot.

More on #Projectweed

 

No place like home

Breaker Bay WellingtonBreaker Bay Wellington 2013

Even though we had a lovely time in Auckland for the opening of the Kermadec “Hands to Bathe” exhibition it is great to be back in Breaker Bay. A stunning, dark, rugged place that we have been lucky enough to call home for over 12 years.

Limited edition prints available. Image size 350 x 232mm. Framed $600. Unframed $300.

Ripple @ Cecil Veda Gallery

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RIPPLE is a photographic exploration of water. An eclectic wee mix of my recent work and a few old favourites. A nice way to ease into 2013.

It is on at the lovely Cecil Veda Gallery
82 Para Street, Miramar, Wellington, New Zealand
from 5th February until 2nd of March.
Hours: Wed-Fri: 10am-3pm. Sat: 10am-4pm or by appointment

www.cecilvedagallery.co.nz

See a full list of works here >

Deep at Deluxe

The Deep

I have a small exhibition on at Wellington’s Deluxe Cafe (the best coffee in Wellington if you ask me – in the Embassy Theatre building on Kent Terrace)

The work is an extension of the Kermadec Project. On my return to Wellington I was given the opportunity to explore  and photograph the invertebrate collection at NIWA in Evans Bay. All specimens photographed in the show were collected or can be found on the Kermadec Arc, collected from depths between 200 and 1900m.

Some of the works can be seen on a previous posting

Also on display is my hand painted Wakey Wakey Wakey poster.

And of course the main Kermadec exhibition is still currently on at City Gallery in Wellington until February.

Deluxe Cafe

Wakey Wakey Wakey Wellington!

Wakey Wakey WakeyThe Kermadec exhibition has finally made it to Wellington! Nothing bets a hometown crowd and what a crowd it was at the opening – absolutely packed!

We take over the entire ground floor of Wellington’s City Gallery for the next 4 months. 4 October 2012 – 10 February 2013.

This time the show is titled “Wakey, Wakey, Wakey” – a call for action to the politicians of this fair land that it is time for action. Time to create the world’s largest marine reserve around the Kermadec trench (learn all about it on the Kermadec website)

The show features work of all 9 artists: Phil DadsonBruce FosterFiona HallGregory O’BrienJohn PuleJohn ReynoldsElizabeth ThomsonRobin White and me of course.

I will join some of the other Kermadec artists in a floor talk this Saturday 6th October at 2pm. Please join us – it’s free!

See my work from the show and learn more about the project in the works section of the site.

Wakey, wakey, wakey" opening 3 Oct 2012

“Wakey, wakey, wakey” Opening night 3rd October 2012