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Blog Archive

Check out some of my recent work, and my essays on Photographing The Arts!

The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King World Premiere - 15 years on

Has it really been fifteen years?

As I mentioned this time last year (and the year before!), not long after I moved to Wellington in the late nineties, Peter Jackson started filming the Lord Of The Rings right in our neighbourhood of Seatoun, where I was living at the time. By the end of principal photography, I had been an Elf, an Orc, a Gondorian and a Rohan - most of them dead, some of them killed by the person I'd been playing the day before - on sets all over the Wellington region.

By the time the films came out, I was also a photographer - and by the premiere of the third film, there were a few more of us there…

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Photographing the arts: is your photographer part of your creative team?

Theatre, dance, opera and music are some of the things I most enjoy working on as a photographer. But surprisingly often, I get a call or an email that starts off, 'I know this is short notice, but' - and it can be anything from 'we've just realised we need a photographer for next week' to 'our dress rehearsal is in an hour, can you make it?'

Often, this isn’t the production's fault - they had someone booked, something happened, they need to find another photographer on short notice. But it got me thinking recently, what's the best way to involve a photographer in a show? In an ideal world, how & when would I like to be contacted…?

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Elinchrom Skyport Transmitter Pro with Hi-Sync for Fuji Cameras - a brief introduction

For photographers who use the Elinchrom lighting system, one of the appealing parts of the kit has been the ability to take portable studio lights into the field, and do (more or less) whatever we could do indoors with them, out in the wild.

The Quadra / ELB battery powered system has been around for a while now - I started using it a few years ago with my Canon gear, but when I switched completely to Fujifilm’s X-Series cameras earlier this year, it limited a few of my options in terms of how I could trigger the lights. The high speed options went away - but as of now, late September 2018, they’ve released the Fuji version of that trigger; so naturally, I got in line to get my hands on one as soon as they arrived…

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Chronicle90 project at the Kage Collective

Over the past few weeks, we've embarked on a new project over at the Kage Collective - we've called it Chronicle90, and we're posting a new essay every day for three months straight.

As there are currently seven of us in the collective, it's broken down relatively easily into a different person each day of the week (though we did swap days after the first month).

In the course of those first seven weeks, I've been over to Canada and back again; so my essays so far have been in and around those travels, visiting family and friends where I grew up before moving to New Zealand and Australia…

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Photographing the arts: testing & transition

I've written before about the friction of change when you upgrade or change photographic equipment; how getting a new camera can actually make you a worse photographer for a while, as you re-learn everything you've done by instinct for a long time.

Well...I've done it again. (Hopefully it doesn't show, except in a good way!) But sometimes, everything just falls into place.

I worked with Alex Berlage back in January on his marvellous show, There Will Be A Climax - so I was really pleased when he got in touch a little later to talk about his next project, and see how I could get involved on it...

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Photographing the arts: inclusion & exclusion

For me, this show started in a warehouse, lying on the floor.

The director, myself, and a model needed to put together an image for the Mardi Gras brochure, before casting was even underway; so we worked together (on the floor) to come up with a look that could say something about the production, without revealing too much - either in terms of the show, or the body.

Because we did know at least that - there were certainly going to be bodies, on stage...

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How to hashtag (and photo credit) #likeaboss

I get it. I do.

It's hard to remember to credit the photographer every time you post something on Instagram. There are so many hashtags and tags to include, plus the location, not to mention the caption - something sometimes gets missed.

But...what if it wasn't that hard? What if you could automate your hashtag / photo credits, for every show? And what if it was actually EASIER than typing them on your phone, even ONCE?

Oh, but it can be. It really, really can.

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Life at 320FPS & Life Between Trains at the Kage Collective

In November 2016, I spent ten days travelling in Japan - my first time in the country, and also my first few days with a new camera, the Fuji X-T2, so naturally it was a great way to test out and bond with the new equipment.

I only took three lenses, the same three I've used for a few years now - 18mm, 35mm, and 56mm, which work out equivalent to 28mm, 50mm and just under 90mm - a classic travelling kit of prime lenses.

The result of the trip is a pair of essays I've posted at the Kage Collective site, Life at 320 Frames Per Second in December, and Life Between Trains more recently in January...

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There Will Be A Climax at the Old Fitz Theatre, Sydney

"An assorted few are convinced they are stuck on a spinning revolve."

So that's pretty much all I knew about There Will Be A Climax, going into the dress rehearsal. There's a revolve - noted. Be ready for movement.

Over the past few months, I've been testing out a new camera, the Fuji X-T2, specifically to see whether I could use it for things like theatre - whether the autofocus would work in low light, whether it would be as good as the Canon gear I've worked with for the past fifteen years.

I'm pretty sure this show proved it is - and then some...!

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The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers Wellington Premiere - 15 years on

Has it really been fifteen years?

As I mentioned this time last year, not long after I moved to Wellington in the late nineties, Peter Jackson started filming the Lord Of The Rings right in our neighbourhood of Seatoun, where I was living at the time. By the end of principal photography, I had been an Elf, an Orc, a Gondorian and a Rohan - most of them dead, if I'm honest - on sets all over the Wellington region. 

By the time the first film came out, I was also a photographer, with red carpet access for the Australasian premiere at the Embassy Theatre; and a year later, I was back - this time, with considerably more people lining the media pen, and Courtenay Place...

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High Fidelity at the Hayes Theatre

Over at the Hayes Theatre in Potts Point, they do keep busy. It seems like every few weeks there's a new production opening; most recently, the musical High Fidelity, from Highway Run Productions & director Neil Gooding.

As with everything I've seen at the Hayes, the cast and production are exceptional - in a lot of cases, they've come straight from a much larger show to work in this ~100 seat venue, so there's certainly no shortage of available talent in Sydney, at every level of production.

And the reviews reflect that; so of course, the challenge for me is to make it look as good - or better - than it did on stage, so the images that go to reviewers underscore the points they're making about the production, in a positive light...

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Wasted by Kate Tempest at the Factory Theatre, Sydney

When I got a call recently about a show at the Factory Theatre, and the director described it as 'written by an English slam poet', I didn't exactly know what to expect.

I mean, I've seen the occasional performance poet (Christian Bök at the NZ Festival springs to mind) - but it would be interesting to see how that translated onto the stage, and via the mouths of actors, into characters in a story.

Turns out, there's no question - Wasted is a play, that's clearly written by a poet; and that's fine, actually...

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