Category Archives: Photography

Photography tips and tricks, work done along the way

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Little india at home cookbook

Over a few months of 2013 , I was involved in producing photography for book in association with Penguin books about the Little india restaurant chain .

Little india at home cookbookLittle india at home cookbookLittle india at home cookbookLittle india at home cookbook Little india at home cookbookLittle india at home cookbook

The purpose of the book was to introduce the story and history behind the restaurants to the public and to show some of the food that the restaurants produce in detail . Reading the recipes in the book will give someone reading it confidence in the quality of the food at little india restaurants. Pictures of the interiors and some of the staff at work were taken to complement the images of the food and help tell the story of the restaurants. Styling was doe by Athena Sommerfeld. Part of the brief was that we didn’t use bright traditional indian colours as that would detract from the colour in the food , making it less prominent

. Little india at home cookbookLittle india at home cookbookLittle india at home cookbookLittle india at home cookbookLittle india at home cookbookLittle india at home cookbook

Pictures of the interiors and some of the staff at work were taken to complement the images of the food and help tell the story of the restaurants. These were used for chapter openings and other illustrations in the book.

One of the hotter meals being cooked

One of the hotter meals being cooked

Retrieving breads fom the Tandoor

Retrieving breads fom the Tandoor

Naan bread in the Tandoor

Naan bread in the Tandoor

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken

Naan breads from the Tandoor

Naan breads from the Tandoor

Operating the Tandoor oven

Operating the Tandoor oven

Speedy service

Speedy service

Restaurant interior - little india Glen Eden

Restaurant interior – little india Glen Eden

 

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Polynesia magazine

When I were a lad , we used a thing called FILM! Smalll canisters with rolls of silver dye covered plastic inside  that we would put inside a camera to give us up to 36 Shots! We would take it to the laboratory and they would process them to things called transparencies? You don’t see quality like that today with your fancy new digital gadgets  on your iPhone app.

Ok , it wasn’t quite that long ago, but its been a while.

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From 1996 -2000 I worked alongside designer Athena Sommerfeld and Journalists Shona Jennings and Stephen Knight to produce a quarterly inflight magazine for the then National airline of Samoa, Polynesian airlines ( since amalgamated into Virgin blue).

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Market stall proprietors at Maketi Fou, Apia

The brief was to sell Samoa as a destination, not just the white sand beaches and sunshine ( and there was plenty of that ) but also to show the way Samoan people lived and worked at an everyday level as well, and to create a vehicle which conveyed the experience of Samoa. Rather than the resort style of island holiday , we were also promoting a more cultural “ecotour” type of experience.

While we always planned ahead with regard to articles and features we would be working on. We needed to have a lot of flexibility as situations often changed and many fresh opportunities presented themselves during our stays there . Magazine layouts were planned out in advance and we talked about what sort of aspects of Samoa we wanted to illustrate and in what kind of style they might be best represented in .

I used 35mm and medium format film cameras. I really enjoyed using the Pentax 6x7cm camera  . It was big and slow to use but the colour and saturation it produced often reproduced so much better in print than 35mm and gave great separation of subject matter from the background.  Fuji film was used , usually Velvia 50 or 100 .

Sunday Church , samoa

Garden produce , Samoa

Umu preparation on Savaii, Samoa

Umu preparation on Savaii, Samoa

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Sunday in Church , Savaii, Samoa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The sea around Samoa

 

Maketi Fou, Apia

Maketi Fou, Apia

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Longboat racing in Samoa

 

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Fish and produce market , Apia

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Dancer in traditional costume , American Samoa

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Islands around Samoa

 

 

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Tonga was another Polynesian destination .

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The beautiful and friendly Manono island.

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2013 The Complete New Zealand Seafood Cookbook – the upgrade!

 

cpmpleteseafood coverOver late 2012 to mid 2013 , Alongside the Auckland seafood school and Penguin books, I worked on The Complete New Zealand seafood cookbook  . I promise its all delicious! An update to the earlier book , it is a MUCH bigger (288 pages , hardback) and thoroughly comprehensive review of New Zealand seafood recipes.

Styling and propping again was by Athena Sommerfeld .

Chefs involved were : John Campbell, Steve Roberts, Colin Doyle,Mark Dronjak, Marco Edwardes, Petra New and Steve Roberts.

One of the bigger challenges on this shoot was to keep the images light and airy to give a sense of the delicate flavours on offer. A range of backgrounds was created and adapted for use , some out of stuff found at the side of the road. As the shoot progressed  as recipes were finalised , decisions would be made as to which backgrounds would be used, with care to make sure the backgrounds didn’t over whelm the food.

As before , natural light with some modification was used. I think it maintains the natural colours of the food much better than studio flash.

Grilled Caesar salad with barbecued scallops and prawns.

Grilled Caesar salad with barbecued scallops and prawns.

 

Tea steamed salmon with Thai red curry  and coconut cream emulsion.

Tea steamed salmon with Thai red curry and coconut cream emulsion.

Moroccan- baked chermoula fish with couscous

Moroccan- baked chermoula fish with couscous

 

Whole steamed snapper with ginger , basil and chili.

Whole steamed snapper with ginger , basil and chili.

White bait flan

White bait flan

Seafood chowder

Seafood chowder

Asian crab cakes with peanut and sweet chili dipping sauce.

Asian crab cakes with peanut and sweet chili dipping sauce.

Market fish with butter bean puree, scallops and chrizo with salsa verde.

Market fish with butter bean puree, scallops and chrizo with salsa verde.

Chapter opener  Barbecues and grills.

Chapter opener Barbecues and grills.

Petra cooking moneybags

Petra New steaming moneybags

Frying fish!

Frying fish!

Marco Edwardes

Marco Edwardes

Steve Roberts

Steve Roberts

The complete New Zealand Seafood cookbook

Snapper with green pea puree and crispy shrimp polenta.

Snapper with green pea puree and crispy shrimp polenta.

Snapper and chorizo tacos

Snapper and chorizo tacos

Parmesan and olive wafer stack with seared tuna

Parmesan and olive wafer stack with seared tuna

The complete New Zealand Seafood cookbook

Poached monkfish in potato and tomato casserole.

Poached monkfish in potato and tomato casserole.

Citrus paua with herbed butter

Citrus paua with herbed butter

Seafood crepes

Seafood crepes

Crispy tiger prawns with lime and chili

Crispy tiger prawns with lime and chili

 

Colin Doyle

Colin Doyle

BBQ squid

BBQ squid

Snapper with green pea puree and crispy shrimp polenta.

Snapper with green pea puree and crispy shrimp polenta.

Grilled crayfish

Grilled crayfish

Snapper and chorizo tacos

Snapper and chorizo tacos

Flounder Papiettes with prawns, spinach and lemon beurre blanc

Flounder Papiettes with prawns, spinach and lemon beurre blanc

Seafood soup with garlic crustini

Seafood soup with garlic crustini

Crispy tiger prawns with lime and chili

Crispy tiger prawns with lime and chili

Mussels steamed in thai red curry with citrus.

Mussels steamed in thai red curry with citrus.

Citrus paua with herbed butter

Citrus paua with herbed butter

Grilled crayfish

Grilled crayfish

Baked market fish with white bean puree, fennel salad and orange oil.

Baked market fish with white bean puree, fennel salad and orange oil.

 

 

Colin Doyle

Colin Doyle

 

John Campbell

John Campbell

Steve Roberts

Steve Roberts

 

 

 

 

 

Spicy scallop and noodle soup

Spicy scallop and noodle soup

White bait flan

White bait flan

Prawn , fish and steamed moneybags.

Prawn , fish and steamed moneybags.

Herb and panko crumbed fish fillets

Herb and panko crumbed fish fillets

 

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2008 The New Zealand Seafood Cookbook

the-new-zealand-seafood-cookbookIn 2008 , I worked with Penguin books and the Auckland seafood school to produce the New Zealand Seafood Cookbook . A large book and project , it covered 191 pages and 66 recipes.

Styling and book design was by Athena Sommerfeld

A number of different chefs were employed by the school to produce the recipes, with support staff from the school who sourced products and did prep work.

Keeping the food looking fresh was a priority. Natural lighting was used ( somewhat modified with reflectors and diffusion ) because it really seems to maintain the natural colours and tones better than artificial studio lighting.

The work was shot over two weeks . Consistency with the light and also the different styles of the chefs who worked on the book was  a priority , also selecting the appropriate dishes and materials for the shots. Sometimes seasonal food considerations became an issue .

The book has sold  well and now is almost at the end of its second edition .

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Chapter opener – pies , one pot casseroles and bakes.

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Chapter opener – pasta , rice and noodles

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White baked alfonsino with seasonal vegetables

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pan seared gurnard with seafood and tuscan olive risotto

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chapter opener – pan seared, deep fried and sauteed

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simple grilled leatherjackets

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sesame crusted tuna with asian greens

scampi

grill- fired king prawns with a fresh asian salad and mango / chilli lime dressing

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citrus stuffed fish parcels

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paddle crabs

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Asian style barbecue oysters

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ocean fresh snapper kokoda

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pacific rim fish cakes with citrus/coriander dipping sauce

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sensational seafood chowder

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thai pipi,cockle,mussel, lemon grass & coconut broth

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trevally baked in a citrus salt crust, with mustard and tarragon aioli

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the ultimate fish pie

seafood book

the ultimate fish pie

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mediterranean barbecued kingfish skewers

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salmon foil parcels

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crayfish bisque

seafood book

white bait fritters

seafood book

salt and pepper scampi

seafood book

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Tindall foundation 2012

Supported by the Tindall trust

A practical session in the clinical training and education centre at Middlemore hospital.

Supported by the Tindall trust

Demonstration of airway clearance

Supported by the Tindall trust

Midwifery student Katerina Komene with Ripeka Kururangi, her daughter Shelyn and newborn son Tureia Joseph.

Supported by the Tindall trust

Members of the roundabout Meadowood, a group supported by Know your neighbors.

Supported by the Tindall trust

New Zealand housing foundation homes are designed to support healthy , stable communities

Supported by the Tindall trust

Cui Yu Ling and Liu hai Ying in an English for the elderly class.

One of the small but interesting jobs I completed in 2012 was the annual report and calendar for the Tindall foundation .

I was working with Peter Dowling and Alessandra Zecchini from Oratia media.

 

 

 

The purpose was to illustrate some of the work the Tindall foundation  funds in the community.  The groups supported by the trust included healthcare and housing , also language for immigrants and an Midwife programme .

 

 

 

Supported by the Tindall trust Supported by the Tindall trust

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Miss Melicious Cupcakes 2012

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Approximately the middle of 2012, I worked with the very talent Missy Fleming and Penguin books to produce a book of cupcake recipes.

For those of you who may not know her , Missy runs a cupcake shop called Miss Melicious Cupcakes, in Te Atatu, Auckland where she bakes cupcakes from early in the morning until late for a growing and satisfied clientele. As a sideline , she also makes the most fabulous custom cakes for special occasions.

With Missy’s grand plan, some simple props and styling assistance from Athena Sommerfeld, a series of scenarios for each style and flavour of cupcake was created, from the Elvis , to the Colin and Cherry bomb. From the selection below, which do you think is  your favorite?

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

Bailey’s baby

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

Cherry Bomb

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

French toast

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

Gingerbread man

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

Flaming apricot

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

The Fat Elvis

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

The Colin

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

Pupmkin Pie

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

After 8

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

Beet Box

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

The Aloha

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

Lady Grey

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

Feijoa

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

Hello Kitty

Miss Melicious cupcakes!

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The New Zealand Gluten Free Cookbook

glutenfree14February 2012, I completed photography on the New Zealand Gluten free cookbook , published by Penguin books. The recipes were produced by gluten free chef Jimmy Boswell with assistance from Penny Oliver, who stepped in to complete the book when Jimmy had an unfortunate accident.

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The food was photographed in natural light to preserve the appearance of the natural colour and texture. Styling by Athena Sommerfeld, was kept simple and uncluttered so the attention stayed on the food, the look and lighting consistency was maintained despite having to deal with changing locations and weather

Glu tten Free cooking

Gluten Free cooking

The challenge , as always , is to keep the food looking appealing and interesting, keeping it fresh while in front of the camera.

The range of food was quite extensive , from baked products to meat and pasta dishes. It didn’t necessarily follow that angle and lighting on one dish would work for the next.

Glu tten Free cookingGlu tten Free cooking

Glu tten Free cooking

Glu tten Free cooking

Glu tten Free cookingGlu tten Free cooking

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bradburymckegg

Recently I photographed some Urban Paths in the Rosedale suburb of Auckland for Bradbury Mckegg, Landscape architects who specialise in the integration of landscape, infrastructure and architecture. Shared cycle and pedestrian path winds through parks and suburbs creating a convenient space for exercise or transport.

Landscap path designs
Landscap path designs

Landscap path designs

 

Landscap path designs Landscap path designs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some retouching was necessary to bring the exposure of the land and sky into balance , but the early morning light gave the  location a modern and interesting atmosphere.

Landscap path designs

Landscap path designsLandscap path designsLandscap path designs Landscap path designs

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White ribbon campaign 2012

 

In 2012 I was commissioned by Mission Hall design in Wellington to produce three portraits for the  white ribbon anti domestic violence campaign. The look was to follow the style of a portrait of a film director, David Lynch.

After experimenting with lighting before the shoot  I came up with a classic  style of lighting reminiscent of the Vermeer style of painting . It gave a gravity to the portraits that suited the direction and purpose of the campaign.

Sox Teng, the makeup artist, was briefed to give and even and natural look to the subjects.

The original shots were shot a little  wide to give space for cropping to different formats and adding text later. Lighting was planned so that text would be placed on the same side as the shadows on the face. A range of images were taken of each model , also different styles of clothing were used in case a rage of similar images were required .
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The images were then cropped and imbued with a grain texture to add further drama.

grahameguy3harryngataThe images have been used extensively in media, web  and location advertising.

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Food Photography

Shellfish for the New Zealand Seafood cookbook

www.foodphotography.co.nz

The New Zealand seafood cookbook

 

 

Food photography.

(more examples available at www.foodphotography.co.nz and www.seanshadbolt.co.nz )

The number one rule in food photography is the food must look fresh and inviting. Generally if it can’t look fresh, it means it isn’t fresh and is very difficult to make it look otherwise. Food only stays suitable for photography for a few minutes after being prepared, so you need to be ready in advance to photograph it.

There are very few tricks involved. For consumer law reasons, you have to be able to eat what is photographed. The most common technique is to spray water or oil on to the food to keep it looking moist, but even this is not often used. Food can be manipulated with tweezers and arranged to make it more camera friendly and don’t hesitate to do this if you think it means a better picture.

Equipment and technique.

Professional food photographers generally use expensive medium format digital camera equipment to produce photography. It gives a very high quality result for books and magazines.

Continue reading

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The 50mm lens effect

I was recently reading an article where a photographer received criticism from another that he used zoom lenses too much .His point of view jumped around all over the place and he might do better to stick to single focal lengths and to develop a more singular  point of view.

I was coming to the same conclusion over the last couple of years. Modern zoom lenses are great quality and have their place . they can be incredibly useful if you are stuck in one position and unable to move in closer  or out further, I use them a lot in aerial photography as it saves having to continually manouver the helicopter to the right position.

Modern point and shoot photography has also become very convenient with zooms that go from wide to ultra telephoto in the flick of a switch. But there is nothing like a few boundaries to help develop your own point of difference.  A lot of my still life photography is based on one lens and I wanted to see if this could apply in other situations.

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How to take a portrait photograph -the simple version

This is a video I was involved with a while ago for a Friend to help promote their business of prints on canvas( www.my canvas.co.nz) It was shot by Duncan Mcadams ( www.mcadams.co.nz ) . It gets the message across with simple instructions, and if you are looking at it , you might actually find some useful hints in there. Duncan did a great job of making me sound good with his editing skills.If you still need a professional to do the work – I’m still there at www.seanshadbolt.co.nz

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Generic images

So you thought those cheap istock photos were a good way to keep costs down? what about the actual value of the campaign? Isn’t the image the first point of contact ?

An interesting article from the New York times…

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/02/study-shows-people-ignore-generic-photos-online/

“Invest in good photo shoots: a great photographer can add a fortune to your Web site’s business value.” After all, most sites are full of “fluff — of which there’s too much already on the Web.”

What about lashing out a bit more and using some original photography!

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South Island photographs, all about the light

alexandra bridge pylon, South Island , new zealand

invercargill

thistle rolled oats works , gore

Building early morning , bluff

Church for sale , bluff , South Island

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have just been going through some of my images I have not had time to really look at and found these of the south island of New Zealand that I took a couple of years ago . The light really was so clear and colours intense , it really is like no other place. Bluff had this wonderful faded splendour quality to it , and so many other places had been spared the development that seems to destroy the character of many New Zealand towns and cities.

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Group portrait photography 2

The Kiwi spit roast barbecue king

This image was of one of the people working at the kiwi spit roast barbecue king company, a photography shoot I did for a commercial mayonnaise brand promotion . I used the wonderful 85mm 1.2 canon lens to control the backgrounds with its wide aperture and ability to make interesting things out of areas that may not look so good in focus – of course the wide aperture also gives the opportunity to be more flexible in low light areas so there is less fiddling around with lights etc making the subjects nervous.

The AUT team for Cook book Credits

Continuing on with the people theme , this was taken earlier this year as a portrait of the production team for a cookbook I was working on . It was carefully staged to look natural – I prefer to work that way so usually pick the location and relax the subjects into it . I used available light and a little bit of flash to compensate for the overhead lighting . I was Pleased with the result as commercial kitchens can look a bit grim sometimes.

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Group portrait photography 1

photographed this group of property agents in Epsom the other day out side their offices in a prominent building of the area. It was a great opportunity to do something a bit different from the regular corporate shot and also to use black and white. The brief was to have them moving and not looking too static , and to fit a panoramic format as that was the size of the promotional piece they were planning. a quick visit to the site and some initial planning to work out the angle. Then it took a little direction to get them moving the right way and the biggest issue was yelling over the noise of the traffic! We were all very pleased with the outcome.

Ray White Group

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Creative photography

Summer in The bush , Piha , Auckland city

After raving on about large format and quality in a previous post . I should point out that sometimes its better to be there and to shoot with what you have. I took this shot of my nephew last summer clambering over rocks in a stream. Its not sharp , but it has something, the colour and the movement are interesting and its a great picture of him in the environment. This time the camera was a Canon G10 . I bought it as its one of the very few smaller cameras that shoots RAW digital files, and unlike the other cameras,while they aren’t a huge step up from the jpegs out of the camera, they give just that little bit more in terms of quality and richness.

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Aerial Photography in Auckland

Aerial photography in Auckland is something I produce on a regular basis, Mostly for the bigger property companies around the Auckland area and shooting industrial property and commercial office buildings to give a sense of the location in regard to the rest of the city for prospective investors.
Shooting from the air is never entirely predictable and an apparently suitable fine day can be spoiled by a thin layer of cloud covering the area that is only visible when flying overhead. Wind can be a factor and it can be a lot different 1000 feet up to to on the ground , not to mention cold, even in summer.

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Ballast exhibition catalogue – John Edgar Sculptures

John Edgar sculpture

Sometimes the ability to retouch photographs is quite a relief. I’m not really a big fan of retouching , more of a photographic purist and like to get things right in the camera . But if you need it to tell the story , it is essential.

"Flagstone" A sculpture by John edgar for the "Ballast" exhibition.

This was a shoot I did with John Edgar(www.johnedgar.co.nz) , currently New Zealand’s premiere sculptor. He had produced a series of sculptures that centred around his Scottish ancestry. Pieces of New Zealand and Scottish stone were bonded together to represent both nations.
Originally we had this idea we could take them out to photograph in the landscape in various locations, but weather and the problems of moving pieces of 100kg stone , along with the impending deadlines of having to ship them to Scotland for an exhibition precluded this possibility.

 

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To video or not to video? Video with stills work.

cooking , cookbook production

Shooting video while doing stills is a great idea, but as in this instance it nearly went wrong. Anticipating a bit of action when the pudding was set on fire I took a video at the clients request , not a big deal , maybe for web use, but a video needs a beginning and an end, a photograph captures the moment.

As it turned out , the flames weren’t that strong and the brandy refused to ignite unless thoroughly heated. While distracted by the video process , I almost missed the moment! Everything was well prepared so it was just a matter of pushing the button and getting a sequence with the Medium format camera , but next time video will be better catered for with perhaps the assistant in charge.

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