WORTH 1000 WORDS

New Zealand D-Photo - - CONTENTS - Pho­tog­ra­pher: ROBERT DOWNIE Lo­ca­tion: North­ern Bri­tish Columbia, Canada

Dis­cover the story be­hind three stun­ning pho­to­graphs

D-Photo: What’s the name of this photo?

Robert Downie: Muri­wai Gan­net Colony

Can you de­scribe where you were when you cap­tured this image?

[I was at] Muri­wai Gan­net Colony, Muri­wai Beach, North Is­land, New Zealand.

What stood out to you that this would make a great shot? What in­spired you to take this pho­to­graph?

A lot of my work at­tempts to use the nat­u­ral com­pres­sion dis­tor­tion that comes with a tele­photo fo­cal length to cre­ate per­spec­tives of na­ture and land­scapes that are not im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent to peo­ple. This par­tic­u­lar shot was an at­tempt to play with the ap­par­ent depth per­cep­tion be­tween the three ver­ti­cal lay­ers of the fly­ing gan­net, the nested gan­nets, and the ocean below.

How much plan­ning went into it?

Very lit­tle! I was vis­it­ing fam­ily who had moved to Muri­wai Beach. I had never been to the colony be­fore, so I sim­ply headed down with

my cam­era and spent about an hour down there watch­ing.

What is the mes­sage that you hope peo­ple take from see­ing this image?

The mes­sage is sim­ply for peo­ple to re­al­ize the di­ver­sity of life on our doorstep. It’s in­cred­i­ble that this colony is only an hour drive from the cen­tre of a ma­jor city [Auck­land].

Can you out­line the gear you used when tak­ing this pho­to­graph?

It was taken hand­held with a Canon EOS 50D and Sigma 70–200mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM lens.

What did you do to edit this image, and why did you make the ad­just­ments that you did?

Min­i­mal edit­ing was un­der­taken to this image, other than mi­nor ad­just­ments to the bright­ness level of the high­lights in the gan­nets and the white wa­ter below.

What in­ter­ested you in pur­su­ing photography?

As a keen trav­eller and ad­ven­turer, I have been fas­ci­nated by photography from an early age, and have 20 years of ad­ven­ture travel photography ex­pe­ri­ence across more than 30 coun­tries. The abil­ity of photography to in­spire ac­tion in the viewer by shed­ding light on the more re­mote and frag­ile parts of the nat­u­ral world has driven most of the ma­jor con­ser­va­tion ef­forts over the past cen­tury. Equally im­por­tant is its abil­ity to high­light di­ver­gent cul­tures and philoso­phies, and help fos­ter tol­er­ance in an oth­er­wise in­tol­er­ant world.

If peo­ple want to see more of your work, where can they find you?

My port­fo­lio can be viewed at robert­down­iepho­tog­ra­phy.com, and I can be found on so­cial me­dia as @in­trepid­pho­tos on In­sta­gram and 500px, and @robert­down­iepho­tog­ra­phy on Face­book. I am also the founder of in­trepid.pho­tos, an ad­ven­ture photography re­source cen­tred around per­sonal in­ter­views with world-class pho­tog­ra­phers.

D-Photo: What’s the name of this pho­to­graph?

Rachel Ste­wart: Win­ter Sun­rise amongst the Ice­bergs, Tas­man Glacier Lake.

Can you de­scribe where you were when you cap­tured this image?

I had just made a mad dash to the Tas­man Glacier Lake — run­ning, trip­ping, slid­ing on ice, fall­ing over boul­ders — to get down to the river out­let. The sky was al­ready start­ing to change colour when I ar­rived at the car park. The walk usu­ally takes around 20 min­utes — I’m pretty sure I made it in five!

What stood out to you that this would make a great shot? What in­spired you to take this pho­to­graph?

I saw [that] there was a re­flec­tion, ice­bergs, and a rocky fore­ground. The colour was start­ing to light up the tip of Mount Cook, and the sur­round­ing moun­tains framed the com­po­si­tion nicely. I was im­me­di­ately in­spired by the in­cred­i­ble scene that was un­fold­ing in front of me. This was na­ture at its finest.

How much plan­ning went into it?

I didn’t have a lot of time to think, as the sky was chang­ing colour quickly. I looked for the best spot where I could get the re­flec­tion, and where I could cen­tre some sheets of ice in my fore­ground. I also needed to make sure I could get Mount Cook in the frame. Luck­ily, this spot is pho­to­genic from any an­gle, and doesn’t re­quire too much plan­ning.

What is the mes­sage that you hope peo­ple take from see­ing this image?

I hope that they can see just how in­cred­i­ble na­ture is, and how beau­ti­ful our coun­try is. I also hope that this image can be a re­minder of how frag­ile our planet is. The Tas­man Glacier Lake didn’t ex­ist in the 1970s, and now grows by 500mm–800mm per year, with the re­treat of the Tas­man Glacier. Global warm­ing is a real threat to our moun­tains and glaciers.

Can you out­line the gear you used when tak­ing this pho­to­graph?

Canon 6D Canon F4L17–40 Man­frotto 190 Go! car­bon-fi­bre tri­pod LEE fil­ters lit­tle stop­per LEE fil­ters 0.9GND soft Self-timer

What did you do to edit this image, and why did you make the ad­just­ments that you did?

I pro­cessed this image through Light­room. In edit, I brought out the shad­ows, brought down high­lights slightly, ad­justed and cor­rected colour, con­trast, and sharp­en­ing.

Be­cause I use fil­ters with most of my photography, they some­times ei­ther leave a colour cast that needs cor­rect­ing, or they slightly dull the nat­u­ral colours that were there. I guess I also have a cer­tain style or look to my pho­tos, and my edit process is sim­i­lar with all pictures.

What in­ter­ested you in pur­su­ing photography?

Dur­ing my 20s, I did a lot of trav­el­ling and hik­ing over­seas through­out South East Asia, USA, Malaysia and Bor­neo, Aus­tralia, and the Pa­cific Is­lands, but of course I never had a good cam­era with me — al­ways the way! I loved tak­ing pho­tos, how­ever, and it wasn’t un­til a few years later, while tak­ing snaps along the beach at sun­set, that I started to re­ally grow a love for it. Photography be­gan as a pas­sion for me, a hobby. I could not have imag­ined that it would grow to what it has.

Na­ture has al­ways been my num­ber-one in­spi­ra­tion when it comes to photography. I love ex­plor­ing the un­known and find­ing the all-im­por­tant el­e­ments that con­nect hu­mans with na­ture.

If peo­ple want to see more of your work, where can they find you?

You can find me on: rsnzpho­tog­ra­phy.com in­sta­gram.com/rach­stew­artnz face­book.com/rach­stew­artnz

D-Photo: What’s the name of this pho­to­graph?

Ma­reea Ve­gas: Un­ti­tled (from the se­ries Houses on the Coast).

Can you de­scribe where you were when you cap­tured this image?

Where the houses meet the beach in Orewa, there is a grass walk­way that can be used by the pub­lic. From the per­spec­tive of this image, it may seem as though I’m ac­tu­ally on this prop­erty, but due to that frontage be­ing very open, and with no fenc­ing, I was able to shoot quite tight on the sub­ject.

What stood out to you that this would make a great shot? What in­spired you to take this pho­to­graph?

Well, I would say that light is per­haps my big­gest in­spi­ra­tion. And I’m not sure that there are many peo­ple who don’t love look­ing at im­agery in­spired by our beau­ti­ful golden hour. Whether I’m shoot­ing or not, I of­ten wake up early just to sit and med­i­tate on the ris­ing sun over the ocean, and as we now live out at the beach I’m usu­ally walk­ing most sun­sets. There’s that time right in be­tween — dusk — where I’ve al­ways felt un­com­fort­able. Things are fad­ing into dark­ness, and not ev­ery­thing can be eas­ily made out. I guess I took this shot just be­fore then. The light was bril­liant that night, and lately, I’ve been feel­ing more in­clined to cap­ture our beau­ti­ful coastal houses and bachs be­fore they are pos­si­bly re­placed by lookalike sub­ur­ban de­vel­op­ments. This sun­set brought out so much de­tail on the side of this house: re­flec­tions of power lines that are cre­at­ing sym­me­try in the shot, a re­tired camper­van parked on the street, long­ing for more sum­mer ad­ven­tures, and the sil­hou­ette of an in­stantly rec­og­niz­able Nor­folk Pine. There’s a lot of de­tail in here, and on a more ba­sic level, the feel­ing of the image leaves me yearn­ing for a good ol’ Kiwi sum­mer. There’s some­thing I also love about the old beaten-up wire fence and the space to the right. So many of th­ese awe­some de­tails are dis­ap­pear­ing, and the space is dis­ap­pear­ing. So, per­haps I am find­ing a way to con­tinue to con­nect with a New Zealand that we are rapidly los­ing.

How much plan­ning went into it?

No plan­ning at all.

What is the mes­sage that you hope peo­ple take from see­ing this image?

Beauty is ev­ery­where.

Can you out­line the gear you used when tak­ing this pho­to­graph?

Nikon D800 with a 50mm f/1.4 Nikon Nikkor lens.

What did you do to edit this image, and why

did you make the ad­just­ments that you did?

I warmed the image up a lit­tle to sat­isfy that feel­ing of a beau­ti­ful sum­mer sun­set, added some con­trast and blacks over­all, and some clar­ity to the win­dow to ac­cen­tu­ate the de­tail in the re­flec­tion. The image was cropped in cam­era, as shot.

What in­ter­ested you in pur­su­ing photography?

Orig­i­nally, my fa­ther taught me as a young girl on his 1967 35mm Pen­tax Spot­matic. We would shoot out at Muri­wai Beach al­most ev­ery week­end, and I re­mem­ber it as a time where I re­ally learned how to man­u­ally use a cam­era and com­pose a shot. Once you re­ceive a few rolls of blank or over­ex­posed film back, you learn pretty quickly. I took art sub­jects through col­lege and went on to ma­jor in photography at art school in the mid ’90s. That’s where I then learned how to de­velop film, dark­room tech­niques, as well as cre­at­ing con­cep­tual works, etc. I find the act of photography it­self al­most like a med­i­ta­tion. Through the lens, and a sin­gle mo­ment, I am able to con­cen­trate solely on the present.

If peo­ple want to see more of your work, where can they find you?

ma­reeave­gas.com, In­sta­gram: @ma­reeav­ague­ass, or on Face­book: face­book.com/ma­reeave­gas.

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