Tag Archives: portraiture

Space to Escape

14 June ’13

Last Sunday afternoon, Cat, Gran and I drove up the Pohangina Valley to check out the exhibition of  local artist, Jill Walcroft. I didn’t take my camera with me, so no photos in this post.

We’d driven up to County Fayre the previous Monday, Queen’s Birthday, in the hope of seeing the exhibition.  But sadly there had been some miscommunication between the venue and the person who organised the advertising – they’re not open public holidays.  It didn’t matter, it’s a lovely drive.  Especially at this time of year with the last of the autumn leaves still clinging to the trees.

This time we arrived to find several other patrons enjoying the afternoon tea on offer at the cafe, and Jill herself was there to great us.  She introduced us to her exhibition, Space to Escape.   Jill’s paintings range from flower mandala and  landscapes, to floral depictions and portraits.  Sales are going well, with about half the paintings already sold – a great result so far.

Jill Walcroft - Artist

Space to Escape

The painting that’s depicted on the flyer is my favourite, I like it very much.  In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that the colours in the painting would clash with the decor in my living room, I think I’d convince the Lovely Man that we should buy it!

While we were there we had a look at the historical photographs and maps that decorate the walls of the cafe.  I love old maps, it was fun trying to figure out what has changed up the valley in the hundred years since the maps where printed.  We indulged in a Devonshire tea – perfect fluffy scones with jam and cream. Delish!

The exhibition runs until the end of June – take the drive up to County Fayre and have a look – you’ll be pleased you did.

WeekSeventeen – ANZAC Day

22 – 28 April ’12

 They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

April 25th every year sees the commemoration of those who have sacrificed their lives to ensure our freedom.  In Ashhurst the community gathers under the spreading oak trees in our town center.  We share hymns, prayers and songs to mark the solemnity of the occasion and we are drawn closer.  And these achingly young men stand head-bowed and silent in memory of their fallen comrades.

NZ soldier


F-stop                f/6.3
Exposure time   1/250 sec
ISO speed          ISO-200 
Focal length      50mm

There has only been one ANZAC day in recent times where the weather has been bad.  It seems that Mother Nature wishes to encourage us out in to the glory of her autumn sunshine each year.  This does provide a bit of a challenge – bright sun light and dappled shade.  And I did not feel that I could use my flash at this solemn occasion – I get enough dirty looks just having my camera there.   So I’ve boosted the brightness under the brim of this soldier’s hat to lighten his face.

WeekFifteen – Him again?

8 – 14 April ‘ 12

Easter weekend at Weka – the traditional Easter Egg Hunt yielded a huge haul.

Billy missing a tooth

"I loves me some chocolate!"

F-stop                f/5
Exposure           1/200sec
ISO speed         ISO-200
Focal length      35mm
Flash                 Flash fired

 I am not at all happy with this shot.  I know it’s a poor tradey who blames her tools, but I’m really struggling to make the 18-125 focus correctly. This picture’s only redeeming feature is Billy the Kid’s gap-toothed grin.  One for the album on the strength of that missing tooth.

WeekFourteen – Girlie-go-round

1-7 April ’11

On Sunday Ashhurst School held a Gala to raise funds for the end of year camp.  The weather was perfect and there was an amazing turnout.  Locals and out-of-towners turned up to enjoy an old fashioned country fair.

This little girl was having a wonderful time whizzing around on the  playground.

Girl in a play ground


F-stop                   f/10
Exposure time     1/200sec
Focal length        125mm
ISO speed             ISO-200

It’s just been announced that the Gala raised a whopping $10,000.  What a fabulous effort, well done guys!

WeekThirteen – Cookies!

25-31 March ’12

As part of his ANZAC homework assignment, Billy had the option to bake some cookies.  I figured I could document the event so he had something to hand in.

I love the light that comes in my kitchen window in the afternoons.

ANZAC cookies

Baking cookings

F-stop                f/3.5
Exposure time   1/60 sec
ISO Speed         ISO-320
Focal length       50mm
Flash Mode       No flash 

WeekTwelve – An Engineer in Training

18-24 March ’12

To celebrate 100 yrs of the railway station in Woodville a vintage train traveled through the Gorge and was giving rides.  The Lovely Man and I stopped in to check out the action on our way through to Greytown.

This young man was one of the train engineers.

Train Engineer

F-stop                f/7.1
Exposure time   1/200sec
ISO speed         ISO-200
Focal length      65mm 

Possibly not really a portrait, but I felt the train needed to be in the picture to add context.

WeekEleven – Certification

11 – 17 March ’11

Having a hard time making myself use my strobe, especially in public. Here’s Matt being presented with his Three Year Certificate at the Fire Brigade’s “Christmas Dinner”.

Fire Brigaee 3 year certificate

Certification presentation

F-stop                f/5.6
Exposure time   1/80sec
ISO speed         ISO-320
Focal length      50mm

WeekTen – Beach Babe

3 – 10 March ’12

True to form, the Manawatu puts on a stunning Autumn.  After a complete fizzer of a summer, we finally see some sun.  And the beach beckons.

We packed up the kids and a picnic lunch and headed for Himitangi.  Along with half the local population.  Boys tossing rugby balls, girls on horses, kids with kites, and a few brave souls who ventured in to the water – the beach was humming.

A  wee tot, with her Grandma in tow, was checking out the sand.  I am not sure she was too impressed with this gritty stuff.

Baby at the beach

Beach Babe

F-stop                   f/8
Exposure time      1/320sec
ISO speed              ISO-200
Focal length         125mm 

I didn’t take my flash with me to the beach, so I’ve had to brighten the shadows some in post.

WeekNine – I need a new model

26 Feb – 3 March ’12

Another week of experimenting.  This time the point is to illustrate how different intensities of light can affect ‘depth of field’ of the light captured. That is, keeping the subject correctly exposed, but varying the amount of light which hits the background.

Billy - Losing it

Though I understand the concept, I don’t think the execution was much good.  The background barely darkens through the series, and the subject is not well exposed in any of the shots.

Something I do notice is that the closer/brighter the flash the more significant it is in the picture.  Which makes sense.  The first shot (far left) is almost completely lit by the flash at camera right, whereas the last shot (far right) is influenced to a far greater degree by the window light at camera left.  Again, this is obvious in theory, but nice to see in practice.

I need to find myself a new model.  This one slowly lost his grip on reality as we went along….

WeekEight – Let there be light

19 – 25 Feb ’12

Not really a portrait this week.  More like lighting practice.  I figured it was time to get serious about learning how to use my new light.  I’ve been reading Strobist, and this is the result of the first exercises  from Lighting 102.

Lighting experiment 1

Lighting experiment 2

Lighting experiment 3

Lighting experiment 4

This was a great experiment to illustrate the difference that lighting position makes.  Though I’ve been studying lighting in theory, it’s good to start making pictures in practice to appreciate how light works.

With thanks to my model for her patience.  Good on ya, Cat!