Exploring Kaitoke: Kaitoke Regional Park

Exploring Kaitoke, Kaitoke Regional Park is a pretty awesome spot just north of Upper Hutt in the Wellington Region of New Zealand.

It’s full of cool walks and pretty old forest and bush areas, you can also camp here which is next on the list for this place!

Part of this area is what they used as the set of Rivendell in the Lord of the Rings trilogy! So I decided to do a series of some of the images I took and crop these at 16:9 to give them a film sort of look!

Have you been to Kaitoke? What is your favourite part there??

Kaitoke Regional Park Swingbridge Photographer Blogger Wellington New Zealand
Entering The Swingbridge Walk at Kaitoke Regional Park
Kaitoke Regional Park Photographer Blogger Wellington New Zealand
One of the Walks at Kaitoke Regional Park
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We cross the river again 🙂

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Kaitoke Regional Park Photographer Blogger Wellington New Zealand
Trees growing trees at Kaitoke Regional Park
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Swingbridge at Kaitoke Regional Park
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Photoset: Otaki Railway Station (1911)

Enjoyed checking out the Historic Otaki Railway Station, (built in 1911) recently.

Wanted to put this set together for a while,  I chose black and white for the edit…

There are a number of Historic Railway stations in New Zealand, I really enjoy Photographing them…

Otaki Railway Station (1911) Historic Heritage New Zealand Railway

Otaki Railway Station (1911)

Otaki Railway Station (1911)
i quite liked the rear of the building!

Otaki Railway Station (1911) Historic Heritage New Zealand Railway Black and White

Otaki Railway Station (1911) Historic Heritage New Zealand Railway Black and White

Photography Nightmare! I arrived at Hooker Lake with three dead camera batteries!

My three camera batteries were showing as dead as we arrived at the shore of the Hooker Lake…

This popular track was a must do for our trip to the South Island, I was really excited about checking out the valley, the lake and the trail to get there.

On our trip we slept in our vehicle at basic facility campgrounds which meant few opportunities to charge my camera batteries, however we had stayed at a holiday park in Lake Hawea the night previous and I had in my mind I had at least two fully charged.

I had taken a few shots on the way to the lake and my camera was showing a full battery, however this was not the case when we arrived and faced the beauty of the glacial Hooker lake, it’s icebergs and the on-looking Mount Cook!

 All three of my batteries I had on hand I tried in the camera they all showed red and quickly flashed red battery signs and shut off!! – I was pretty mad!

The day was quite warm and we were definitely warm from the one and a half hour walk through the Hooker Valley. The temperature at the lake edge in the valley was really quite hot…

so…

I stuffed my batteries into my jeans pockets and sat in the sun for a bit (with hopes that the warmth may give a bit of charge) and then periodically re tried the batteries in my camera for the next half hour or so.

By some miracle, one of my batteries came through and either revived from some of the heat or just wanted to give me a chance and I was able to get a few shots in.

Composition was pretty tricky as I have an electronic viewfinder and reviewing the shots on an LCD display wasn’t going to happen on limited battery power.

The environment through this valley was absolutely stunning and I was able to play around with some low shots on the shore of the lake.

Hooker Lake, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, Photographer, Landscape, New Zealand
Getting Low at Hooker Lake, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park

 

Our time at the lake was awesome, I got sunburned/snow burned in early spring! And on the walk back to the start of the trail I sneaked in one more shot

This shot below was from the journey back where I set my camera up on a rock cycled through my three batteries, selected my 2 sec timer (very quickly through the menu system!) and one battery had enough charge just to grab this shot (which is probably my favourite) before shutting off!

 

Hooker Valley Aoraki Mt Cook Mount Cook New Zealand South Island Photography
One of my favourite shots of the trip, and an unforgettable event to get it!

 

My next task is to figure out what is going on with my batteries may have to replace some! plus look into a car charging method, do you have any recommendations or tips? I currently run a Fujifilm XT 1 system with two branded batteries and two knock off ones.

Have you had a situation like this?

For me I was initially pretty gutted but super fortunate to be where I was and super happy that I was able to come out with something. – Phil

A Personal Blog: – How to manage time – Photoshoot vs Spending Time with Family featuring images from Days Bay Wellington

 

I have never had a hobby before…

 

NOTE: This post is a personal blog a thought an experience and maybe a conversation. One I felt inspired to share…

 

For me I am 34 years old and I have never really had that thing that I’ve had to make time for other than work, wife, kids and some time for myself, generally just to blob and not do too much.

Approximately two years ago I got into photography, this was when I would intentionally go out to take photos on my own and play with settings and create images to share online, and since then photography has been a big part of my life, always on my mind and always something I wish I would make more time for.

Therefore as someone who works full time, commutes, has family commitments (wife/kids) and needs downtime during the week, this leaves me my weekends.

Maybe I’m not prioritising photography enough or not pushing myself hard enough but truly I don’t want this thing to kill me or be stressful in any manner, because right now, I love anytime I spend behind my camera.

This is where my photography can cross over into important family time, ie, weekend outings with wife and kids, and our small dog.

This was the case this weekend, we had a stunner of a day happen right smack bang in the middle of winter! where up until this day the weather really had not been desirable.

So we packed up and went out, taking the dog also.

After a brief visit to one location (where the weather wasn’t so good) we then went to Days Bay, towards Eastbourne, Wellington. It was Gorgeous, warm, sunny, kids were playing in the water and plenty of people were out and about. It was late afternoon and getting into that beautiful optimum time to take photos.

This creates a challenge, I am bursting to spend a few hours taking photos but then who watches the kids (they are older now so can fend for themselves but it’s nice to interact and enjoy these moments) and who minds the dog.

Historically I have had a great experience fitting photography into our outings I have produced some of my favourite images and experiences with my wife and kids around, or at times we are out together.

Until I have a foolproof solution I don’t think this will ever be easy, but I really enjoy having my family along for these things.

Winter's Evening Days Bay Wharf Wellington Photographer Blogger
Winter’s Evening | Days Bay Wharf Wellington

Then comes editing, at times which can also take up some hours, I generally do at night. Oddly for this set of images the editing process was not long. For this set of images I really enjoyed quite a raw, soft style. Which in one case you are seeing a shot straight from camera, with zero editing!

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Do you have this challenge?

How do you manage your desire to be one with your camera?

 

Winter's Night Days Bay Wharf Wellington
Note: This is the raw shot straight out of camera! Winter’s Night | Days Bay Wharf Wellington

 

Wellington Winter Fashion Shoot – My Second Shoot Using a Model.

This was my second shoot where I have focused on a singular person. In this case I was going for a portraiture style fashion shoot.

I met Georgie in late 2016 and saw she had a look that I could really work with and she was keen to get into modelling. Georgie had done a few shoots before but still considers herself an amateur.

Georgie agreed she was keen to shoot with me, so now 9 months later the last weekend of July the shoot finally takes place.

A lot of this came down to confidence in myself, and getting to a point where I just needed to diversify and grow as a photographer.

It is late July, mid winter for us here in the Southern Hemisphere (we are in Wellington New Zealand) and I think this played a big part in putting the shoot together as I finally had a subject. Winter.

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As we weren’t working with any brands for this shoot I sourced a winter jacket a couple winter hats and a couple of scarves, from some local op shop (thrift shops) this further added to the image and direction I had in my mind for the shoot.

Our location for the shoot kicked off around the Oriental Bay area of Wellington where I was inspired by the diverse range of buildings and housing, a mix of Art Deco and Victorian era housing and apartments, we then walked on to the track the takes you to the mount Victoria lookout – This particular part of the track includes where they shot the ‘get off the road’ scene in the movie Lord of the Rings.


By choosing this track and location we were also we able to play with some of the winding hill climbing roads which lead cars around this area.

Then on our circle back we stopped to check out the iconically beautiful St Gerard’s Monastery (1908)


We were blessed with some gorgeous late sunlight and overall I was really pleased with the shoot. I kept things pretty simple. Not too many tricks or trying to many things. Georgie was an excellent model, and I was able to realise the simple concept I had in mind.


Camera stuff – For the shoot I had a simple kit of my with my Fujifilm XT1 and 18-55mm lens.

Most shots were at the 55mm focal length 4-4.5 aperture ISO between 400 – 1200 max and shutter speed between 1/500 – 1/30 sec. Processed in Adobe Lightroom.

Share your thoughts below, leave a comment would love to know what you think.

If you are in New Zealand and are interested to work with me or collaborate feel free to get in touch philip.windley@gmail.com

 

My First Model Shoot ft. My Thirteen Year Old Daughter

On the weekend my daughter and I enjoyed an amazing experience,

As I decided to put my fears aside and ask that she models for me for a bit of a photo shoot.

My main concern was (mostly a silly thought) that: I wasn’t sure if doing a shoot featuring my daughter who’s just turned thirteen, would fit with where I imagine going with portrait work.

But then I thought; 13 year olds get clothes and goods from somewhere right?

So on Saturday afternoon we were allotted a perfect window of time (as we dropped my wife and younger son off at another event) in local area which is a built up suburban beach access road which also contains a small selection of shops which show signs of age and plenty of character.

Before leaving the house I noticed my daughter was wearing a light pink ribbed woollen type jersey, which I decided would be a great subject to build on and it was an overcast winters day so this would work well.

My decision to focus on the jersey then lead me to seek out textures to play on in the images, we also ventured down to the beach which on this day was surreal with a lot of low cloud and almost a light rain and mist which I feel contrasted the textures and have a soft feel.

My pre reservations about doing a photo shoot with my daughter were quickly dismissed after playing around with a few locations, my daughter was very relaxed in front of camera.

I was also, and was able to give direction (at times not sure where it came from at all!) and it was a completely relaxed event, not to mention a couple of times my daughter stared down the camera like an absolute pro!

 

Now I look forward to my next shoot of this kind,

Do you shoot portraits? how did you practice? who did you practice with.

All shots taken using with my Fujifilm XT1 + 18-55mm and edited in Lightroom 

Are you a model, make-up artist, stylist or brand, keen to collaborate on my next shoot? contact me at philip.windley@gmail.com

 

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