Farm Jam 2011

After a devastating week for New Zealand with the Christchurch earthquake claiming many lives, destroying homes and business and leaving many too terrified to go back, it was hard to think about anything else. But on Saturday saw the famous yearly mountain bike, BMX, motocross and freestyle motocross competition in Southland, nicknamed as the X-Games of NZ, 2011 Unit Farm Jam. Brothers Kris, Dan and Brett Frew organise this festival of wheels each year on their parents beautiful farm near Winton. It all takes place on sculpted dirt jumps, built meticulously over the years by the Frew brothers.
I headed down on Friday, for practice day to shoot photos for a few editorial commissions I have on the event. Friday saw an interesting day of clouds coming and going, and fun light to play with.

The sheep of the Frew’s farm graze beside the moto x course.

With the light coming and going I played around snapping shots of the incredibly talented mountain bikers and BMX guys… They practiced hard all afternoon and only stopped when it got too dark to … Read Full Post

BASE Jumping the Kaipo Wall – Fiordland

Last week I was fortunate enough to be asked on a trip to Fiordland National Park. This wasn’t going to be the usual touristy sight seeing,¬† leisurely cruise round the world famous Milford Sound. I was going to photograph some BASE jumpers soar off the biggest vertical cliff in New Zealand, the Kaipo Wall. The 4300ft (1300m) vertical drop spans 1.3Km high by 1.8km wide….This cliff is a monster, but a very beautiful one. The crew I was with were very experienced BASE jumpers. Kiwi’s Alan McCandlish, Benny MacPherson and Aussie Jason Cyran (Triple J) had ‘opened up’ (been the first to do) this jump back in 2008 and they were with us to do it again. On the drive to Milford JJJ and Alan told me incredible tales of their first jump of the Kaipo and how beautiful it is. I was so excited but ridiculously nervous to shoot their jumps from the top. With not the best head for heights, I would have to concentrate hard on not falling off the edge and getting the shot!

Milford Sound under the stars
We arrived at about 10pm, and after … Read Full Post

Mt Roy overnight photo project, Lake Wanaka

The weather has not been the most settled this summer, and when I saw a couple of fine days lining up for the end of last week, I decided to do something that has been on the list for quite some time. I managed to recruit a couple of good friends to accompany me on my mission. The mission was to climb Mt Roy, a 1580m peak, which looks over our township of Wanaka, and sleep out at the top. From this very popular tourist walk you get 360 degree views of Lake Wanaka, Mt Aspiring and the Southern Alps. I wanted to shoot photos of the sunset, the stars over Wanaka and the sunrise the next morning. The weather was still and calm, and the skies blue. Perfect.
With my rather heavy F-Stop camera bag laden with camera, lenses and tripod, as well as water and food, sleeping bag and roll mat, extra clothes and essentials, it was a fair old slog up 1300 vertical meters to the top. However the views were not to disappoint.

Looking up over West Wanaka to the Matukituki Valley and Mt Aspiring
… Read Full Post

Central Otago summer time….

Just thought I would pop up a few shots quickly on how beautiful Central Otago is looking at the moment. The summer has been wetter than average, and things are looking more luscious and green this summer than they have in years.
Bannockburn Vineyards – Central Otago
At the weekend I headed to The Point, my boyfriends farm in Tarras. We went and spent a night in their hut they have near the top of the high country farm. The view from there is spectacular, looking back over towards Wanaka and the Southern Alps. The rain was pouring down over the mountains.

Looking over towards Wanaka and the Southern Alps
I decided to play around with doing some HDR (high dynamic range) images. This is when you take a series of images, at different exposures, and put them together in photoshop to form one image. It gives a ‘hyper real’ feel to the photo… I have to say that I dont like the effect. It is a bit of a trend at the moment, but I find the images to look to ‘photoshopped’ and … Read Full Post

Mountain Bike shoot with Conor Macfarlane

Last week mountain bike film maker Pieter Reichwein got in touch to say that pro mountain biker Conor Macfarlane from Queenstown had some features he wanted to shoot in Bannockburn, just outside of Cromwell. I arranged to meet the boys for a sunset and sunrise shoot to get the best light possible. Bannockburn is in the heart of Central Otago, with clay crumbling gorges, mounds and cliffs, perfect for interesting natural bike jibs. The evening was beautiful and we started to shoot. Conor had a multitude of different ideas, from wall rides, hand plants and cliff drops. I struggled at first to get what I was looking for but I started to work with the light and dust back lighting Conor, and began to get the results I was after.

Conor riding into his hand plant jib for the first time

The crew walking up to the next feature in the evening light
We walked up to a new area, and I noticed how beautiful the light was, streaming through the trees. I took some shots and then asked Conor to … Read Full Post

Lismore Bike Park Wanaka

Last week I organised a night photo shoot in the Lismore bike park in Wanaka, and invited some of the local kids to come down and ride. I had to get a series of lights and a generator, to make sure they could see when riding, so after being hooked up by kind friends with the gear, Olly Champan at Kipor Generators, and Kris Mayen for the lights I was ready to go. I had the idea a while back to do a night shoot, and wanted to test it out to see what results I could get, and now its made me hungry to do more… We met at 9pm and set up the lights and waited for dark. About 10pm I started to shoot… Unfortunately one of my riders had injured himself that day and had 8 stitches in his arm, so wasn’t able to ride.

This was the scene after all the lights were set up. I was shooting on the hip you can see in the far right.
It took me a while to find an angle and light combination that I liked, using my … Read Full Post

Back to The One – BASE time

So after a wicked break over Christmas and New Year with friends, I took the opportunity to go and shoot some more BASE jumping. My friend Si Guthrie is back in Wanaka for a few weeks, and keen for jumping. He headed up to The One, up in Mt Aspiring National Park, by Rob Roy Glacier to camp for 3 days and jump of the massive 1000ft cliff. I headed up on Sunday to see if I could catch him jump and snap a few frames. It was a scorching day, and conditions were perfect. It always takes my breath away how beautiful it is up there. Rob Roy Glacier is a 2 hour walk from Raspberry Flat, 1 hr drive from Wanaka.

‘The One’ is on the left hand side of the picture. BASE jumpers love this jump, as it is perfectly sheer and they can see what the wind is doing thanks to the waterfall. They launch from the lookers right of the waterfall.

The waterfall reaches its destination at the bottom of The One.
We arrived after Si and … Read Full Post

The Dart River – An adventure to Middle Earth

Last week I had a commercial shoot up the Dart River, near Glenorchy, for a client that I can’t disclose at this point. It was a very specific location shoot and the only access to the area was by jet boat. Armed with my shiny new Aquatech underwater housing for my Canon 5D mk II, a thick wetsuit, and strong insect repellent, we shot off up the Dart River in search of water… I was very excited about this shoot, as I had not been up the Dart River before, this is where they filmed a lot of Lord of the Rings. Not to be disappointed by the breathtaking scenery, it was to be a good adventure.

The Dart River
With the jetboat full of the crew and gear we wound our way up the beautiful river, stopping often to shoot some photos. We were aiming for a couple of the smaller rivers that fed the Dart. After some very skilled jet boat driving we were at a stunning location where I was to put on my wetsuit and submerge my 5D for the first time.
… Read Full Post

Mountaineering with Alpine Guides at Mt Cook…

A few months ago I organised to do Alpine Guides Mountain Experience Course out of Mt Cook Village, doing travel pieces for the Dominion Post in Wellington and Australian Geographic  Outdoor Magazine. I set of for Mt Cook Village last Sunday, not too sure what I had got myself into, but excited about the thought of learning mountaineering skills and having an adventure around some of the best mountaineering in NZ.

Aoraki (Mt Cook) poking out the clouds I drove towards my adventure…
Arriving into Mt Cook Village and the Alpine Guides desk I was quickly introduced to Martin and Tara, who would be on the adventure with me and then to Mark Austin-Cheval, our intrepid guide for the week. This was our group that we would be eating, sleeping, climbing and learning together for 7 days. We sat down and Mark informed us of the weather and the plan for the week. ‘The weather is great and we are leaving for the Mueller Hut tomorrow morning for 4 days…’ Gulp, straight into it. He then instructed us to pull out all of our belongings from what we had packed and place … Read Full Post

Melbourne – Part two of the Disney Fashion shoot

I thought I would start with a couple of snaps shots I took during my stay in Melbourne that make me smile

The Skydeck at sunset with its viewers, watching the city be put to bed…

A lady chilling out on a bench at St Kilda

For the second shoot for DYou Magazine, Valeria had some more awesome ideas. She had found another amazing location out on the Mornington Peninsula, an hour outside of Melbourne. The beach has really colourful huts along the golden sand. After a lot of organising on Valeria’s behalf, we were there, ready to do the shoot after the models had got out from school. On arrival I was disappointed that the skies had turned gray and it was starting to rain. The huts stood in their glorious colours, but the scene was dulled by the dark sky. I have to say I was pretty disappointed, as it was such a cool location for a beach/bikini shoot, but it was raining… and there was no way to re-schedule.

Mornington Peninsula … Read Full Post