Last December I spent a few days around Mount Cook collecting stock photography and experimenting with time-lapse photography. It certainly helped that I knew the locations and the area well, because carrying two cameras and tripods slowed me down a bit. Finding time to sleep was also challenging. When the weather is obliging, time-lapse photography is effective any time of the night or day, and sleep doesn’t seem so important when the weather is putting on a great show.
Processing done in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, Timelapse video processed in LRTimelapse and Premiere Pro.
I’ve recently purchased a slider (dolly) which will add interesting camera movements – and weight to carry unfortunately.
I’ve just completed a virtual tour of the Christchurch Airport airbridge murals I have photographed over the last few years. Make sure you try the full screen option on the tour above!
Virtual tours are a great use of photography and something I plan to do a lot more of over the next year. I have been putting together 360 degree panoramas for years so it makes sense to add the virtual tours as a service. The ability to incorporate video, stills, sounds and interactive elements in a virtual tour is exciting.
I have put a considerable amount of time into researching the best software solutions for producing these tours and ensuring they are user friendly and play on nearly all devices.
I am currently working on a separate portfolio website to market the virtual tours, along with some virtual tours of the new artworks around Christchurch.
Jacqui and I rented a campervan recently for a short tour around Northland. As a photography vehicle, I’ve always been a bit wary of campervans, thinking it would be a bit tricky getting down some of the gravel roads I like to explore. As it turned out, it was great for this trip. Fully catered evening and morning photo shoots, plenty of room for gear. There is a lot to like. I wanted to get up on that high roof but the $7500 insurance excess put me off that. There weren’t any gravel roads that needed driving down and I backpacked along a few trails and up a few hills. It was a really relaxing way to have a holiday/photo trip.
We had seven nights and decided to spend a minumum of 2 nights at each stop, so we’d have time to revisit locations in different light. On the advice of some Auckland friends we chose Mangawhai Heads, Tutukaka, and the Karikari Peninsula. A small part of Northland I know, but better to see a small area well than tick off destinations. We chose to stay in commercial campgrounds rather than freedom camp, not for ethical reasons but because it was easier and campgrounds were quiet at this time of year.
I took more gear with me than I used, mainly because I’m experimenting with time-lapse and video. I found that it was tricky to do both time-lapse/video AND stills well, so after the first afternoon at Duder Regional Park in Auckland I just concentrated on stills.
I did manage to get this little time-lapse experiment in though…
Last month I completed photography of the new Trimble New Zealand building. It is an impressive structure and many of its design features are clearly born of the recent earthquakes. Incorporated into the design are three damage-avoidance technologies, developed jointly by the University of Canterbury and the Structural Timber Innovation Company.
What I found interesting was the artful way these technologies are incorporated into the visual design of the interior. Little glass windows give views of large steel bolts. Large laminated timber walls and supports are visible throughout the building.
Creative Spaces, who were responsible for the interior design, did a great job of blending in navigation features (Trimble is predominantly a navigation technology company), and local geography. Scattered throughout the interior are large GPS location numbers running from floor to ceiling on walls and timber support beams. The lined carpet design is a reference to navigation and it also features occasional squares and triangles. Various meeting rooms are named after local landmarks and feature window graphics of native flora and fauna, braided rivers and mountains.
Here is a series of portraits of players in the Christchurch earthquake recovery scene. They were taken on assignment for The Australian Newspaper weekend magazine and completed in time for the 3 year anniversary of the February 22 earthquake. I believe the paper have used an image of Ann Brower as the feature image. Hers is a great story of recovery and hope after being pulled from the wreckage of a bus that was crushed by the rubble from an unreinforced brick building.
The photos were all taken with prime lenses and mostly in existing light. A small LED panel light was used in a couple of the interiors to highlight the faces.
It was a pleasure to work with reporter Brendan Nicholson from The Australian who will have done a great job of finding the story I’m sure.
There is a new welcome mural at the international arrival area of Christchurch International Airport. I was fortunate to do the portrait and the background photography, as well as the post-production to put it together. At 2.8 metres high by 17 metres long it’s pretty big and the images look really good at this large size.
Thanks to Hamish Southcott from Fountaine Design for the excellent concept; Steve from DT Signs for the superb printing; and the adventurous marketing team at Christchurch Airport. Also thanks to the very obliging models, and the helpful staff at Ko Tane Maori Cultural Experience, Willowbank.
The latest airbridge completed for Christchurch Airport is the Mackenzie night sky. This was one of the most challenging airbridge installations to date. Night sky photography pushes the capabilities of cameras and lenses to their limits. The images also needed to be good enough to be printed to 2.8 metres high. I enlisted the help of Fraser Gunn, a specialist astrophotographer from Tekapo, who supplied lens heaters (to keep dew from forming on lenses), telescopes and tracking mechanisms. Fraser was very generous with his time and expertise. If you happen to be travelling through Tekapo, I thoroughly recommend booking one of Fraser’s small group night sky photography tours: http://www.astrophotography.co.nz/html/lesson.html
Fraser Gunn and John Doogan near Lake Alexandrina
The photography was shot over two trips totalling around 11 nights. The phase of the moon, clear skies, and windless nights, were just some of the aspects that needed to line up to make the photography successful. Some things were hard to plan for – like the army sending up flares from behind Lake Alexandrina on one particularly clear night. No point in complaining about that one. One night we had a reasonable fall of snow, which meant the foreground was much clearer in the photographs for a few nights afterwards. I also hauled some gear up to Mueller Hut above Mount Cook Village for one night’s shoot.
Christchurch Airport airbridge 19 – aircraft end
The installation is over 30 metres long and includes many tiny lights in the ceiling to give the feel of a night sky. Jean Michel Jarre’s Oxygene Part 4 is the soundtrack that plays as you walk down the airbridge. I think I had that album back in the day (the 70s).
Last year I went along on a New Zealand Tourism video shoot as a stills photographer. The location was Marlborough and it was loosely themed around The Hobbit movies. It was an action-packed two days and a fun assignment. Horse riding, mountain biking, wineries … My wife Jacqui came along to help out and ended up doing everything from holding reflectors and monitoring traffic on a one-lane bridge, to making up the numbers on a horse trek and at a wine tasting. My job was to work around the video team to get a series of stills that could be used on the www.newzealand.com website. Thanks to Zaina from Tourism New Zealand for a well thought-out brief and superb planning.
The sheep farm-themed murals that run down the length of one of the Christchurch Airport airbridges.
One side of the airbridge features lush pasture and close ups of sheep, lambs, dogs and the farmer.
The other side of the airbridge features a day working with sheep and dogs in the yards.
Earlier this year the Canterbury sheep farm-themed airbridge was installed at Christchurch Airport. The airbridge features a panorama of sheep and lambs in pasture on one side; and the farmer and dogs working sheep in the yards on the other. I spent several weeks in late spring 2012 researching locations for photography and chose a farm near Parnasus in North Canterbury. I am very grateful to the farmer, Hamish Haugh, who was very accommodating during a busy time on the farm.
It was a fun project to be involved with, although I discovered sheep don’t take direction well! One of the biggest challenges was getting close enough to the sheep in the fields. The sheep would scarper to the perimeter fence after seeing me enter the paddock. The solution was to build a ‘sheep hide’ and give them time to get used to it. Initially, I didn’t allow for the sometimes fierce wind on the plains, and a couple of early designs went west so to speak. The final design featured a semi-enclosed lid which I could lift and rotate from inside the hide, allowing me to photograph a 360 degree view.
The installed murals in one of the airbridges at Christchurch Airport.
The airbridge murals featuring Marlborough wine country have been installed and they look great! Each side is 31 metres long by 2.4 metres high. Putting them together was the most challenging airbridge to date. Each row had to be photographed separately by moving the camera along one row at a time. In addition, each row required six exposures to provide sufficient depth of field and to capture the width of each row. It took 30 minutes to photograph from one end of the 15 rows to the other.
In the end, the most difficult thing to accommodate was the weather. The day of the shoot was the third attempt for a cloudless day. It was a relief to wrap it up, as I was required back in Christchurch the following day.
A lot of planning and testing went into this image. I am very grateful to the staff at Brancott Estate who helped out behind the scenes and acted as models on the day of the shoot. I am also indebted to Diana Dobson from Marlborough Falcon Trust who posed with Fern the falcon for the mural. Marborough Falcon Trust are sponsored by Brancott Estate and operate from buildings on the Estate near where this mural was photographed. If you buy some of the Brancott Living Land Series of wines, $1 of each bottle goes to the Marlborough Falcon Trust.
Enlarged areas showing detail from some of the rows.
John Doogan is an award-winning landscape and commercial photographer based in Christchurch, New Zealand. Services include: rights-managed stock photography | fine art prints | commercial and advertising photography | workshops and tuition.