There Grows The Human Spirit

There Grows The Human SpiritWhite Island and Saint Clair Beach, St Clair, Dunedin Buy 

Historical Note: The Esplanade at St Clair is a lovely area of coast with some outstanding Bars and Restaurants. It’s also home to White Island and ‘The Poles’ on St Clair beach which have become an icons in their own right.

Photographic Note: Instead of making ‘The Poles’ the focal point of this image, I wanted to make them a part of it. Personally, I love the way White Island sits just of the coast of St Kilda and St Clair, appearing to be in a constant state of flux with the light and sea forever dancing around it.

The Silent Breath Of The Still Morning Air

The Silent Breath Of The Still Morning AirOtago Harbour, Portobello Road, Dunedin Buy 

Historical Note: The Otago Harbour is a stunning setting that never fails to inspire from any location. Along Portobello Road, there is a great collection of boat sheds that vary in all shapes and sizes as the road twists and turns its way around the bottom of the peninsula.

Photographic Note: Capturing this was an exercise in patience. Over the weeks I’d had a number of false starts, knowing the shot I wanted but not getting the light I’d hoped for. Then one morning, it all came together when then sky cleared and lit up in an amazing display of colour.

Waiting In Light In Time.

Waiting In Light In Time.Lawyers Beach, Tomahawk Beach, Dunedin Buy 

Historical Note: Lawyers Head separates St Kilda Beach and Tomahawk Beach on the east coast of Dunedin City. It gets battered and buffeted with wind and rain during winter and hit with warm dry winds in summer. It also offers spectacular views of the South Pacific Ocean and the whole East Coast of Dunedin.

Photographic Note: I clambered onto the rock face of Lawyers Head to find this vantage point of the surf at Tomahawk Beach. On this particular morning the suns reflection bounced off the waves with a lovely golden glow. You’ll often be told to not shoo t into the sun, but if you select your moments the results can be astonishing.

Behold The Light And Whence It Flows

Behold The Light And Whence It FlowsOlveston, Royal Terrace, Dunedin Buy 

Historical Note: Olveston was built for Dunedin businessman and philanthropist David Theomin, his wife Marie and their two children Edward and Dorothy. Olveston was a family home from the time it was built in 1906 until 1966. Since then it has been maintained as an historic house museum depicting the life of a wealthy merchant family in the early part of the twentieth century.

Photographic Note: This photo was all about showing off the Olveston gardens as well the building itself. The gardens are full of colour and they complement the building magnificently. I searched the grounds high and low to find the right view and this perspective showed it all.

For A Gentle Light Does Move The Heart

For A Gentle Light Does Move The HeartDunedin Railway Station, Dunedin – Buy 

Historical Note: The Dunedin Railway Station was built in 1903 and remains one of New Zealands most photographed buildings. It stands in an elegant and grand location in ANZAC Square at the end of Stuart Street.

Photographic Note: There are many views, scenes, moments and situations when I’ve photographed the Dunedin Railway Station. By far, my favourite view is looking across ANZAC Square to the front of the building when the flowers are in bloom, the sun is shining and the sky is a brillant blue.

Follow Now The Rivers Hum

Follow Now The Rivers HumMcLean Falls, The Catlins, Clutha District Buy 

Historical Note: On the bushwalk to McLean Falls, there are a number of smaller waterfalls that the river passes through. They all look pretty nice, and they are also accompanied by some interesting features in the river, like this whirlpool.

Photographic Note: There was a good six to eight photographers around me all photographing a small waterfall in very much the same way, from the same position. I wanted something a bit different, so I turned around.

Once A Dream Did Weave A Light

Once A Dream Did Weave A LightPurakaunui Falls, The Catlins, Clutha DistrictBuy 

Historical Note: I heard it, before I saw it. I saw it and I just stop and stared! I stared some more and I just thought wow! The bush walk was a short (10 minute) stroll that took us through some outstanding forest before reaching a truly impressive sight.

Photographic Note: I wanted to show as much of the falls as possible, in a way that captured the beauty and power of the water and the falls. I wanted to capture the rough plateau of rocks at the bottom while also bringing out a mysterious, mystical feeling that the area seemed to hold.

From The Memory Of Delight

From The Memory Of DelightFlagstaff, Pineapple Track, Dunedin Buy 

Historical Note: There are two places to start the Pineapple Track that runs along the Dunedin City skyline. The starting points however are 5 kilometres apart and it takes over two hours to get from point to point. Towards the Southern end, the track starts to pass through tussock high above the city tree line and along Flagstaff Hill. The Flagstaff Hill vantage point, high above the harbour and inner plains, was used during pioneering times to signal when a ship was entering the harbour. A flag was raised on the hill signalling the ship’s arrival to the people on the plains and surrounding areas.

Photographic Note: This vantage point offers a 360 degree view of Dunedin City. From viewing down the Peninsula, to St Clair beach and inland over the Taieri plains. The main decision is which direction to photograph first. On this day, I timed it so I’d had a wonderful view back over Dunedin City.

Does Not Hide It’s Pride And Joy

Does Not Hide It’s Pride And JoyMitchells Cottage, Alexandra, Central Otago Buy 

Historical Note: Mitchells Cottage is a superb example of what living would have been like in the 1880’s in Central Otago. It was built by gold miner, Andrew Mitchell, for his brother and sister-in-law. Building began in 1880 and he used local stone and stone masonary techniques he had learned from his father.

Photographic Note: There were so many different ways to photograph this wonderful old building it was hard to decide which image to choose. What drew me to this one was the fact that you get a real sense of the hillside and the harsh surrounds.

Beyond The Embrace Of The Sea

Beyond The Embrace Of The SeaCatherdral Caves, The Catlins, Clutha District  – Buy 

Historical Note: Getting to the caves was an experience in itself. First, we had a pleasant 20 minute walk through a native forest before a 10 minute stroll along Waipati Beach. The caves themselves rise (in some points) an amazing 30 metres from the ground and are only accessible at low tide.

Photographic Note: The caves are almost always filled with people, so in this case it was a choice between photographing the caves with people walking around or waiting till they had moved on. I went for the without people option, as I wanted to show just the natural features of the caves.

With Silent Delight

With Silent DelightFields of Yellow, Palmerston, East Otago Buy 

Historical Note: These fields of rapeseed often become a local attraction when the plants flower and huge fields turn into a sea of yellow. When you see it on a nice summer day with the green surrounds it really does become a wonder of colour.

Photographic Note: This composition took longer to find than I thought it would. The tricky balance was getting the right amount of yellow and green at the front, while not leaving the rest of the image to tight. The clouds also brought another dimension to the image.

Now Return And Smile With Thee

Now Return And Smile With TheeMcLean Falls, The Catlins, Clutha District  – Buy 

Historical Note: McLean Falls is at the end of Rewcastle Road which is about 3 kilometres from the main road. Since it was a nice day, we decided to walk the 3 kilometres to the start of the walking track. After a few uphill climbs with the sun getting warmer, it was definitely nice to see a cool river before having to walk back!

Photographic Note: At the falls, the river plunges an astounding 22 metres into a ravine. This meant I wanted a slower shutter speed to give the water a candy floss style look, but not overexposing the surrounding bush at the same time.

Waiting …. Upon The Land of Beauty

Waiting .... Upon The Land of BeautyKaritane Coastline, Karitane, East Otago Buy 

Historical Note: Exploring around the coastline of Karitane and the Huriawa Pa was really fun. I found myself clambering over rocks, past seaweed and even stopping to view a few rock pools. It was like revisiting my childhood. Mind you, I couldn’t have picked a windier day to do it!

Photographic Note: I instantly knew I wanted to do this shot in black and white. The textures of the rock and the wood when added to the early afternoon light meant my mind was thinking and seeing in black and white.

Where No Sea Runs, The Things Of Light

Where No Sea Runs, The Things Of LightShag Point Coastline, Shag Point, East Otago – Buy 

Historical Note: I was happy to see the sun come up over the rocks with the sea slowly drifting in and out. The local sea lions weren’t as happy to see me! They seemed to be in a grumpy mood, so I kept a respectful distance and found a spot that was away from where they were.

Photographic Note: I tend to leave wildlife alone. When wildlife get close, I often put the camera away and just let them be. On this occasion I focused on something else. I did need to keep one eye open however as they were all moving and starting to look for breakfast.

Sometimes When I Watch The Trees Sway

Sometimes When I Watch The Trees SwayWaikouaiti Field, Waikouaiti, East OtagoBuy 

Historical Note: I was driving home late one evening through East Otago, after a very long day. As I drove, I watched the sky change and evolve as the night drew closer. I finally decide to stop and found myself a nice spot beside a tree that opened out onto a field.

Photographic Note: I wanted to frame the picture on the right with the tree, drawing the eye into the field with the long grass. At the same time capturing the colours that were changing in the sky and keeping the green glow of the field.

Cold He Wander’d On High

Cold He Wander'd On HighMacraes Flat Field, Macraes, East Otago  – Buy 

Historical Note: The area around Macraes really has to be caught in a dramatic light. In a nice light or moody conditions, the landscape starts to take on a different façade. The tussock, rocks and barren features all become interesting structures on their own.

Photographic Note: We’d been driving around the area near Macraes Flat for an hour or so without any luck. There was low lying mist and while it was very atmospheric, there wasn’t much happening in the way of interesting scenes. That was until we came around a bend and saw an old, unused carriage.

And I Feared Not The Wind That Blew

And I Feared Not The Wind That BlewWebsters Lane, Ida Valley, Central Otago – Buy 

Historical Note: The wind was fairly whistling through the Ida Valley when I saw this view from the car window. It was a moment that seemed typical of the Ida Valley.

Photographic Note: I took the opportunity to take this from a low perspective as it gave the image a different feeling and mood. Once the horizon was lowered the image instantly changed and made me start to wonder ….

A Silent Invisible Traveller Did Come By

A Silent Invisible Traveller Did Come ByPoolburn, Ida Valley, Central Otago – Buy 

Historical Note: Getting to Poolburn is an adventurous drive up the Old Dunstan Road that twists and turns through part of the Ida Valley. Once you get there, it’s like an Oasis or a well-kept secret with the old huts scattered around a marvellous lake.

Photographic Note: I played around with all sorts of compositions at Poolburn and I fell into the trap of over thinking what I wanted to capture. The final result (which I’m pretty pleased with), came after putting the camera down, stopping and asking myself, “what unique view speaks to me?”

That I Wandered This Far From Home

That I Wandered This Far From HomeHome Hills Runs Road, St Bathans, Central Otago Buy 

Historical Note: There are many roads around the St Bathans and Ida Valley area like Home Hills Runs Road. They seem long and deserted, yet they still have their own unique sense of calmness and wonder.

Photographic Note: Once I dropped the horizon down and let the sky and road take centre stage this image started to give the sense of what it really felt like, standing in the middle of an empty Central Otago Road.

Here We See These Visions Are Big

Here We See These Visions Are BigLake Dunstan & Clyde Dam, Clyde, Central Otago Buy 

Historical Note: The trip to the top of the lookout about Clyde is a pretty spectacular drive, however I ended up doing it in the middle of winter, in the dark, with a decent frost on the ground. About three quarters of the way up I had to abandon the car (due to ice) and finish the journey on foot!

Photographic Note: This shot was an exercise in patience. Once I found the spot I wanted it was a case of getting the settings and calculations correct and waiting for cars to head along the road beside Lake Dunstan while hoping the sky lasted.

Whose Awakening Fills These Waves

St Clair Beach, St Clair, Dunedin – Buy 

Historical Note: I was hoping to get a few more people surfing in this shot than I did. There had been a large number in the water, but by the time I had scrambled up a bank to get an evaluated view, they had all headed into the beach.

Photographic Note: I was timing this shot with captuirng the waves as they were building, before breaking. There was also a challenge with getting two waves breaking together before the sun hit and the colours blew-out.

You Will Close Your Eyes, In Order To See

Haast Pass, Mount Aspiring National Park – Otago  – Buy 

Historical Note: Driving over the summit of the Haast Pass from Makarora to Haast, I was greeted with heavy rain. Returning back to Makarora three hours later the whole area was covered in thick, heavy mountain snow. What’s more, there were lots of tourists in the area with cars sliding all over the place.

Photographic Note: I was standing in the middle of road when I took this. Meaning, I hand to work quickly. Not having the time to set up a tripod, I got 8 photos taken before I had to move. The first two were blurry due to movement in the trees. In third and fouth shots the composition was all wrong, resulting in four in usable images to choose from.

And What We Do Not Know.

Clarks Mill, Maheno, Ōamaru – Buy 

Historical Note: I took this photograph all the way to the point of publication, despite feeling there was something about it, that didn’t seem right. Then, I realised what it was. I didn’t like the image at all. I’d done a terrible job in processing it and the finished product looked nothing like what I had imagined. So, I scrapped the entire image and started over. Now you get to see a much better photography, and one I’m actually pleased with.

Photographic Note: The milling of wheat and flour was a key component of the early North Otago economy and Clarks Mill near Oamaru was an important part of that production. Opened in 1867 for the New Zealand and Australia Land Company, Clarks Mill was originally equipped with grinding stones powered by a water wheel. Since the mill was in a rather awkward location beside a bend of the Kakanui River, it required the construction of a long water race to power it.

The Regent Theatre

The Regent Theatre – Buy 

This is the view from the stage at Dunedin’s Regent Theatre. It must be a surreal feeling to walk out on stage when the place is full with its 1600 seat capacity. In fact, the theatre’s stage was the largest in New Zealand until the Aotea Centre in Auckland opened in 1990.

Dating back to 1928, The Regent Theatre was registered as a Category 1 historic building in 1987 meaning it is a national place of outstanding historical and cultural significance and value. It’s also reported to be haunted with ghost stories including tales of “the lady in the dressing rooms.”

And I Must Seek For Mine,

Fairley Street – Buy 

Lies of life step forth, 
Like lost faces in the night.
Forgotten memories with musketeers, 
In the dawn I would rewrite.
Silent voices echo, 
Void in space and time.
Absent beliefs of innocence,
Hidden and doubtful, sometimes.

Light in darkened shadows,
Guard the empty road ahead.
Before the places nothing moved, 
In the moment that I fed.
Thoughts bring forth confusion,
Voices echo within a technicolor dream, 
And I must seek for mine,
Hidden and doubtful, It would seem.

Watching The Immortal Beach

Watching The Immortal Beach – Buy 

Well, it’s fair to say that on this occasion I hadn’t really been staying in one spot for very long until the sun dropped below the horizon. Not being able to settle in one spot, the scene of a low skyline with the silhouette of the hills in the distance formed in front of me. It was then that I found a place to stop for a moment.

The Tucker Box

Here’s a quick selection of images I’ve taken at the beach over the years.

Daily Photo

The Tucker Box– Buy 

It occurred to me the other day that I might have drifted off topic a bit on my blog. My intention had been to photograph, write and blog my way around my own backyard and beyond, by chronicling my trips through words and pictures. To get back on track, I  began to make plans for all the trips I could take in the upcoming weeks and months but it became too big and complicated. Then, a voice in my head said, ‘heck John, go for a walk on the Wharf!’ So that’s what I did.

Alleyway On Musselburgh Rise

Alleyway On Musselburgh – Buy 

This is the last image in a series I completed based on a section of the Dunedin street, Musselburgh Rise. Recently, I’ve been thinking more about images in series. I like the idea of creating artwork in series as it allows me to explore a particular theme or subject matter in greater detail. In this case I wanted to focus on an ordinary, suburban street and photograph it at night for a different feel.