Moeraki Village

Moeraki Village

This is right beside Fleur’s Place in the small village of Moeraki. A place that is known for its outstanding seafood cuisine. However, due to the fact that I don’t have a strong stomach for shellfish, calamari, octopus, shrimp, squid, sole, flounder or any other food source that lives in the ocean, I won’t be eating there any time soon. By all accounts it’s very good with a delightful setting to boot.

All Around The World

Sunrise in Merton – Buy 

This morning for some weird and strange reason I was thinking about world time zones as I published this image. For example, at the time of publishing it was 6:00am, on Wednesday 6th December in New Zealand. However, if you are San Francisco it would have been 9:00 am on Tuesday 5th December. How do I know this? Well, I looked it up on a World Clock! In New York it was 12:00 noon on Tuesday, in Dublin it was 5:00pm and in Moscow it was 8:00pm. In Beijing, China it was 1:00 am on Wednesday 6th December, in Tokyo it was 2:00 am, in Port Moresby it was 3:00 am and in Melbourne it was 4:00am.

So, hello, good morning, good afternoon, good evening or good night depending on where you are.

Palmerston Sunrise

Palmerston Sunrise – Buy 

This is one of those images where I just happened to be in the right place, at the right time. I spied the glow from the sun as it appeared beyond the trees, at the same time creating wonderful beams of light shooting out in all directions. The only issue was the extremely heavy dew, only added to the recent heavy rain, meaning the grass wasn’t exactly stable to walk on.

Flag Swamp Sunrise

Tis A Peaceful Moment For The HeartFlag Swamp Sunrise – Buy 

I grabbed this image while driving through East Otago one morning near the small settlement of Flag Swamp. There are lots of small roads that branch off the State Highway, and they have lots of interesting sights and there are even a few walkways that you can walk along. I used to detour down them a lot, just for the fun of it or if I knew a good location at sunrise. 

Matanaka In Waikouaiti

Matanaka In Waikouaiti – Buy 

Having some time to spare, and feeling like a wander, I called in to the old farm buildings at Matanaka. Dating from around 1840, the Matanaka Farm is Otago’s earliest farm and includes some of New Zealand’s oldest surviving farm buildings. When the buildings were first constructed, owner Johnny Jones had the reddish-brown timber buildings built in Australia before they were shipped to his farm and where they were completed. While there were once many more buildings in the area, now, the buildings consist of stables, granary, schoolhouse, and a three-seater privy.

East Otago From Puketapu

East Otago from Puketapu – Buy 

This is the remarkable view from the top of Puketapu in Palmerston. Standing nearly 350 metres high, the summit offers stunning 360 degree views out to sea and inland to the Shag Valley. During World War II, local Palmerston town constable Bert Kelly ran up Puketapu every morning in full uniform to watch for enemy ships.

Shag Point Sunrise

Shag Point SunriseBuy

This a one of many wonderful East Otago sunrises I’ve caught over the years however I don’t always get to this location in the morning. It’s called Shag Point and it’s home to a large Fur Seal colony and also penguins if you’re lucky enough to spot them. Once you finish at Shag Point you can then call into the Moeraki Boulders which is just up the road.



Silent Observations

Exhibition 2015

Following on from my 2011 exhibition A Rugged Paradise, I was invited to hang a two months exhibition at Dunedin Airport as part of their ‘Artist in the Terminal’ programme in early 2015. The initial planning for this exhibition began in late 2012 with shooting taking place in locations around Otago during 2013 and 2014. After the two month run at the airport ended in March, 2015, the art works went on to be displayed in numerous locations around Dunedin before finding permanent homes across Otago. What follows is a rerelease of my 2015 exhibition, Silent Observations.

Exhibition Introduction:
I was 12 when I first started using my parent’s camera on family outings. I’ll never forget going to a four wheel drive rally and finding just the right spot to photograph the vehicles as they made their way through all sorts of mud puddles and then waiting excitedly for the local pharmacy to have the prints ready. Since then it’s been a constant search, looking for moments of beauty or action to capture for people to view and enjoy.  I’ll also never forget going on summer holidays to all corners of the Otago region, and some of the sights still last in the back of my mind – recalled as I revisit some locations all these years later.

The only time I’ve really put the camera down is when I embarked on my teaching career that has seen me teach primary school both here and in the United Kingdom. These days I try and balance the life of a primary school teacher with the life of a photographer

Once I was well into my teaching career a shift happened between photography growing into a passion and the desire and aspiration to be more creative. Hidden within the cracks and spaces that separate passion, desire and creativity, a transition started to happen – a transition from Photographer to Artist.

At the moment, I’m increasingly viewing the world through an arrangement of shape, colour, angle, perspective and light. For some reason, I’m drawn to the notion of annotating and transcribing the world around me, not as a passive bystander but as an active participant who alternates between participant and observer, exploring and experiencing new places, sights and sounds. I also find that the notion of telling a story in a single frame, making the viewer feel something and documenting through images and words is highly intriguing to me. Rather than chasing the perfect shot, I’m interested in journeys, voyages and stories.

Silent Observations

This collection of images is based on the notion of Silent Observations. These Silent Observations happen in slow brain time, where looking is more important than doing. It’s a story, a moment, a time, a place, a feeling, a state of mind and a sense that time can stand still. This is my own wee corner of the world, where I share the stories behind my images while trying to seeking out and capture the still, silent and timeless places in New Zealand’s South Island. In a way all these images are my observations and annotations, the things I’ve noticed or will try to explain by way of viewing, watching and looking. My notes aren’t taken with a pen, they’re taken with a camera as I quietly watch the world go by for a while.

My images are about the human experience; the curiosity and inquisitiveness to explore; to feel and to hear.  These are my stories, my Silent Observations of this life as I journey from place to place.

I hope you enjoy

John Caswell

There Grows The Human SpiritThere Grows The Human Spirit (2014).
White Island and Saint Clair Beach, St Clair – Dunedin.

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