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Worth a Detour ?

This was my last night in Franz Josef. The next day I was planning to go to Queenstown via the Haast Pass. Unfortunately it started to rain that evening, and that was an under statement . In Wellington we do have very heavy rain but that tends to last less than an hour. Here in the West Coast it was pelting down and the sound was as loud as a jet taking off! It didn’t help having an iron roof at the motel. Apart from not being able to sleep I was thinking of flooding blocking the roads and whether I could get to Queenstown. I reassured myself that this is the West Coast and they are use to heavy rain and “she will be right”. The rain was continous all night and all morning. My favourite government website at the time -“Waka Kotahi” gives up to the hour transport conditions. The news was grim. There was flooding at Haast Pass and the road was blocked. There was no indication on how long it would take to open so I assumes it would be all day considering it was still raining heavily.. Honestly I cannot recall being in such heavy continuous rain before.

So what does an impatient photographer do. He just wants to shoot something (very american). He also hates waiting and queuing. Does he keep on driving south to wait near Haast . Does he find a pub in Franz and wait out the rain drinking water all day?

I rang my friend Ricky who I was meant to pick up at Queenstown airport and said he would have to make his own way to Glenochy where I booked 3 nights. Then I decided to make my way to Queenstown the long way around, back through Arthurs pass, down to Tekapo , traverse the Lindis Pass to get to Queenstown . I said I might have to stay a night half way as it was over 800Km!

1. iso 100     70mm   f6.3   1/40sec   Nikon 24-70 f2.8
2.iso 100   24mm   f8     1/15sec
3. iso 100   135mm   f6.3   1/80sec   nikon70-200f4
4. iso 100   150mm   f8.0   1/15sec  
5. iso 100   24mm   f2.8   0.4sec   Nikon 24-70f2.8
6. iso100   24mm     1/3 sec  Nikon 24-70 f2.8
7. iso 100     f5.0   1/4sec   Nikon 70-200 f4
8. Nikon D800   iso 100   98mm   f4   1.6 sec  nikon 70-200f4

The Journey

It was constant rain all the way to Hokitika and through the Arthurs pass. The little Ford Fiesta handled the conditions very well with the Michelin tyres remaining grippy in all the puddles. I met a truck driver at the Arthurs pass toilet stop (I know what you are thinking…) and he said he hadn’t seen this much rain before. The braided river that runs along the pass (Waimakariri) looked more like a lake! The rain stopped on the Canterbury plains. Then I had to contend with a fallen tree on the highway and snow on the Lindis pass. But I made it to Glenorchy around 10 pm that day.

If I had a lesser car I probably would have stayed at Tekapo one night. But the Ford Fiesta is one hot hatch that chews up miles for breakfast. It handles well and has enough power to over take long trucks. It also helps to have only a few cars on the road and many breaks. The photos I managed to get were between Geraldine and Lake Tekapo. Worth the detour ? “Oath !! ”



Street Photography

6 January 2024

People often ask me what sort of photography do I like to do. My usual answer, to keep it simple, is landscapes and people. Then the conversation changes to something else.

My websites theme is mainly Travel photography and that comprises mostly of  two parts- landscapes and people. I travel to do landscape photography or experience a different culture. I don’t travel to do street photography. That just happens because I’m holding a camera and I don’t have much else to do apart from trying the street food or waiting for someone to exit a shop. So in my case it is sort of a default position.

One of my favourite photographers died recently. Elliot Erwit was a fantastic street photographer. He had that eye that could spot something amusing or interesting in an ordinary, everyday street scene. Some photographers (like me)  feel they need to go somewhere exotic to get a good photo. Examples of this are littered on my website- South Island NZ, Myanmar, China, and other parts of Asia. If I was to be absolutely cynical (who me?) I would say if you go somewhere that is different, preferably more extreme that your normal living environment, and you know how to operate a camera,  there is a good chance you would get a photograph you like enough to publish or print. However good street photographers just go outside the front door and start clicking. They can capture things in that fraction of a second when random subjects come together to produce something amusing, or interesting to the eye that will never be seen again. However that image lives on forever thanks to silver halide, or a digital sensor.  This is one example on how I define a great photographer. It is someone who can produce an image out of nothing. By nothing I mean the mundane stroll through everyday life as opposed to standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon.  BTW did I tell you I added Morocco, and Patagonia to my list to try and get great photos?



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Travel Portraits

6 January 2024

The theme of this months posting is street photography. Most times I prefer to do candid rather than someone posing. However there is a time and place for everything. Over the months I will add to this blog images from the past which I haven’t published before or are buried in the archives. This is a bit like the greatest hits album.


Back in 2010 I was taking my daughter down to Dunedin for university study. I forgotten where the cafe was but we came across this couple from Auckland who were taking a road trip in this Classic car.


This photo and the one below were taken in Vietnam. We took an overnight train to Sapa from Hanoi and did a days trek. The group of girls was taken outside a photographic studio and I think they were waiting for some prints. The before and after shows the value of cropping an image with digital enhancements using Adobe lightroom.


The last three images were taken at various times when I managed to get backstage during a Chinese opera performance. The opera is held annually (with the exception of Covid) in my wife’s village, New Territories, Hong Kong.