New Zealand D-Photo - - INSIGHT | BELLAMY HUNT - Reg­is­tra­tions to the PSNZ Cen­tral Re­gional Con­fer­ence close on Wed­nes­day, Septem­ber 20. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit cen­tral.pho­tog­ra­

PSNZ’s Cen­tral Re­gional Con­ven­tion of­fers keen pho­tog­ra­phers across the coun­try the op­por­tu­nity to cap­ture the cen­tral re­gion’s un­spoiled scenery and im­prove their skills through in­struc­tion, out­ings, and guest speak­ers. We catch up with the Strat­ford Cam­era Club, this year’s or­ga­nizer, to find out what’s in store

For nat­u­rally cu­ri­ous pho­tog­ra­pher types, it’s go­ing to be hard to pass up the in­vi­ta­tion to ex­plore a ‘for­got­ten world’. That is the call that the Strat­ford Cam­era Club has put out for this year’s edi­tion of the Pho­tog­ra­phy So­ci­ety of New Zealand’s (PSNZ) Cen­tral Re­gional Con­ven­tion, invit­ing pho­tog­ra­phers the coun­try over to dis­cover the nat­u­ral trea­sures of the cen­tral re­gion’s un­spoiled scenery. Strat­ford acts as a gate­way to the State High­way 43 her­itage trail, also known as the For­got­ten World High­way, which snakes through pris­tine sub-trop­i­cal for­est and na­ture pre­serves that ap­pear un­changed from pre­colo­nial times. The lo­cale it­self is an ir­re­sistible draw for na­ture lovers, but the pho­tog­ra­phy club will also be rolling out a se­ries of speak­ers, work­shops, and field trips, guar­an­tee­ing that there will be some­thing for pho­tog­ra­phers of all stripes. Sue Mor­ton, head of the club’s or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee, has en­sured that there will be am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties to cre­ate life­long mem­o­ries — both photographic and ex­pe­ri­en­tial — over the event’s run, Septem­ber 29 to Oc­to­ber 1. One of the big-ticket items on the agenda is a ride on the self-driven rail carts of For­got­ten World Ad­ven­tures, some­thing which Sue thinks ev­ery­one should find the time to do. “It’s a chance to see back coun­try that you would never other­wise see, go through tun­nels, and catch up on lo­cal his­tory, with chances to stop for pho­tos and just re­lax with good com­pany,” she en­thuses. The de­com­mis­sioned rail track winds through the hilly ter­rain con­nect­ing Taranaki to the King Coun­try, rolling through tun­nels carved by pick­axe over the line’s 30-year con­struc­tion, be­gun in 1901. Vis­i­tors take con­trol of the cart’s ac­cel­er­a­tion and de­cel­er­a­tion, mak­ing the rus­tic five-hour tour an ideal way for pho­tog­ra­phers to ex­pe­ri­ence the re­gion’s lush pas­toral of­fer­ings. “I have done it in the pour­ing rain and still had a whale of a time,” says Sue. Other field trips planned for the con­ven­tion in­clude a visit to the in­no­va­tive Tawhiti Mu­seum, where past eras are recre­ated in life-size re­con­struc­tions and su­per-realistic scale mod­els, and the ex­plo­ration of se­cluded Tarata Farm on the Waitara River. “The hosts are hard cases and will give a brief taste of hill-coun­try sheep and beef farm­ing and, weather per­mit­ting, a jaunt around the prop­erty of the back of farm ve­hi­cles,” ex­plains Sue. “Host Bryan Hock­ing is af­fec­tion­ately known lo­cally as the Mayor of Tarata.” As well as sam­pling the am­ple tourism of­fer­ings of Taranaki (Lonely Planet didn’t name it the sec­ond-best re­gion in the world to visit for noth­ing), the con­ven­tion will also pro­vide vis­i­tors with the op­por­tu­nity to hear from a hand­ful of the coun­try’s most ac­claimed pho­tog­ra­phers. Shar­ing top billing at the event are Newell Gren­fell and Ron Willems, both among the most-awarded shoot­ers in Aotearoa. The pho­tog­ra­phers will present talks that probe the big ques­tions in pho­tog­ra­phy, as well as hands-on work­shops on extending the photographic process. Join­ing th­ese vet­er­ans will be New Zealand’s first re­cip­i­ent of the Grand Mas­ter of Pho­tog­ra­phy ti­tle, Tony Carter; cre­ative por­trait and land­scape ex­pert Kevin Bone; PSNZ past-pres­i­dent Shona Jaray; and one of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s highly hon­oured pho­tog­ra­phers, Bruce Gird­wood. As well as be­ing a prime op­por­tu­nity for at­ten­dees to up­skill and find in­spi­ra­tion for their pho­tog­ra­phy, the Cen­tral Re­gional Con­fer­ence of­fers a venue for like-minded artists to net­work, so­cial­ize, and forge friend­ships. In this vein, the con­ven­tion’s ban­quet is an event not to be missed. Ac­knowl­edg­ing Strat­ford’s con­nec­tion to Shake­speare (the district is named af­ter the Bard’s 16th-cen­tury birth­place, Strat­fordupon-Avon, and the town’s glock­en­spiel clock tower plays out a scene from Romeo and Juliet four times a day), the ban­quet chal­lenges guests to don El­iz­a­bethan garb for the night — con­ve­niently, cos­tume hire is avail­able near the venue — with a prize for the best char­ac­ter, and themed en­ter­tain­ment along the way. It will cer­tainly be a jaunt to re­mem­ber, but for those still on the fence about at­tend­ing, Sue has some pointed ad­vice: “Just do it. It will be a fun week­end im­mers­ing your­self in pho­tog­ra­phy with no dis­trac­tions, meet­ing lots of fun peo­ple, and vis­it­ing Taranaki — the world’s sec­ond-best place to visit.”



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