A quiet Sunday, a need to get out of the house, and a long time since I last went to Muriwai lead to a quick trip to check out the sunset. It started out promisingly, but a band of clouds killed off any real sunset opportunities. So I just ambled around the rocks at the base of the Gannet colony, checking out some of the interesting textures and the few people still out fishing. Quick post for a quick shoot, because I'll forget about it if I don't do it now..
Shipwreck Bay is on the outskirts of Bluff, at the bottom of the South Island. I spent part of a day with my friend Blaine walking around the bay and Bluff township. The bay is filled with wrecks of old steam ships, most of which have rotted down to skeletons and the odd piece of steel, or in one case a whole steam boiler sitting among the wooden spars. We also checked out the fishing pier and factory at Bluff, where I assume the famous oysters are landed..
Bluff town itself is pretty (very) quiet, but with a few interesting old buildings in various states of repair. I also took the opportunity while down south to check out the town of Riverton, and the adjacent rocky beaches of the Rocks and Colac Bay. The beaches themselves are pretty rough, which made for some interesting images with the surf crashing into the steeply sloped shores.
This year I've started shooting weddings with friend and now business partner Sven from www.bokeh-monster.com. We are planning on a joint photography brand and website soon, once we have built a bit more portfolio, but for now here are my pics from Jon and Anita's wedding. Jon and Anita are good friends of Sven's, and also becoming my friends as well thanks to gatherings at Sven's house, and discovering Jon's passion and knowledge of coffee surpasses my own ;)
The wedding was held in Fraser Park, in Parnell, Auckland, with a cake and (excellent) coffee gathering in the adjacent La Marzocco coffee warehouse next door. The wet-weather options were limited, but luckily the rain on the day was mostly light, and even added extra interest to some photos. Following the coffee and cake we took the bridal party down the road to the Mainline Steam rail depot for an 'urban' setting around the tracks and disused equipment. We then hurried to make a quick trip out to Long Bay for the classic beach shots, before heading back for the evening dinner reception, speeches and dancing. This is just a small selection of photos throughout the day, and you also check out Sven's shots here.
We both had good fun shooting this wedding, and hopefully there will be a lot more of these coming! And congratulations of course to Jono and Anita!
The big idea was to head out again to the 'wild' west coast, to Muriwai beach, one of our regular and favourite locations, in the afternoon before Cyclone Pam was due to strike NZ. We were hoping for dramatic skies, and both Sven and I had dreams of long-exposure landscapes with clouds streaking across the frame. This was not to be, unfortunately, as Pam veered out to sea a bit and hardly touched NZ. After giving up on our first plans, we instead played around in the sand dunes and also the edges of Woodhill forest.
I had a good time playing with a recent acquisition - a 1970's era Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AI lens, which as well as being dirt cheap is also excellent for shooting video due to the smooth and direct manual focus ring. Most modern lenses are terribly difficult to manually focus, and are not at all repeatable shot-to-shot when filming video, so collecting vintage lenses is both very worthwhile and significantly cheaper than modern options. Even though I bought it for video, it still takes quite an admirable image in still photography too. It is a bit soft wide open at f/1.4, but very sharp from f/2 onwards, and even the soft vintage look wide open can be fun sometimes too.
Lens geekery aside, it is always good to get outdoors and explore places with a camera, even when it's a location we've visited many times before. This time we pushed a bit further up the beach onto the horse tracks, and around the edge of the forest in parts we'd quickly walked past before. Just goes to show there is always something new to see if you look hard enough, which is not always easy to do in familiar locations.
English beaches always surprise me with just how much 'stuff' is on them. In New Zealand, beaches are basically sand + water, maybe a cafe up the road if you're lucky (not counting Mission Bay or Takapuna of course). But at Weymouth, there are a million beach chairs for hire, changing sheds, rental paddle boats and kayaks, organised games of football and volleyball, fairground rides, minigolf and even Punch & Judy is still around. Maybe I'm spoiled by the large amount of sandy real estate on our beaches, but in summer Weymouth is packed almost from edge to edge. Not quite Copacabana, but far beyond what Muriwai looks like even in the peak of summer.
All this action on the beach does make for interesting sight seeing and people watching, and in fact I made the video above to show a bit more what it looks like in person. And for something to do to keep me entertained for an hour or two one afternoon. These pictures look quite different to those from my last visit in the UK winter, which you can see here. I also enjoyed checking out the old fashioned Punch and Judy show, which i guess is quite an idiosyncratic British type thing.
Not much more to say about this really... just a selection of images to show Weymouth in all it's summer glory. Definitely a lot more going on here in summer rather than winter, and a lot more pleasant to walk around and explore. Check out the previous blog post for a quick history lesson about Weymouth including the royal holiday visits from King George, making this one of the first modern tourist destinations. Oh, and potentially the site where the Black Death first reached the UK!
Last weekend I took a road trip out to Whatipu, at the very southern point of the Waitakeres with regular shooting buddy Sven (www.bokeh-monster.com), with no particular goal in mind other that to see what there was to photograph and hopefully get some nice light later in the afternoon. It is a bit of a long drive from the North Shore, and a rather hot day, but we eventually made it out there with some limited energy left to walk around and explore the quite wide open spaces out there. We started out at the campground end towards Paratutae island, but without much photographic luck in the bright sun. It was a longer walk than it first looked to the other end of the bay by Ninepin Rock, but the sun was getting lower by this time, and we had a lot more fun exploring the low sand dunes and scrubland next to the beach.
While we didn't discover any amazing new locations or photos, it was quite an interesting looking beach (although hardly any of my photos show the beach landscape itself!) and a good change from our usual beach visits to Muriwai. Looking at the map, it turns out we only explored the very Southern bay of the beach, which stretches all the way North up to Karekare, so there could well be some more trips out here and more to see. Although I did bring two shoefuls of sand back home last time, which I'm still enjoying.. next time I won't be wearing my street shoes!