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

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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An adventure to Baring Head – Abandoned cottages, a light house and the wild Wainuiomata coast.

So last weekend I planned a forecast gap in the rain to head out to Baring Head, to check out this area which i’d seen some pretty nice looking photos come out from and as a bonus a lighthouse to check out also.

The last couple of weekends have really been so-so for photos, grey and dull so this day I was keen to get out regardless.

So I headed out, Baring Head is located on the coast out from Wainuiomata, Lower Hutt Wellington. The rain was clearing through the area and there was nice, pretty epic looking low cloud hugging the hills of the valley. The road is a bit of a country road, narrow and full of action. But relatively flat as it almost mimics the adjacent Wainuiomata River

Wainuiomata Valley
Wainuiomata Valley

There was plenty of action I could have stopped and photographed on the way but I knew from the forecast my time of no rain probably wasn’t going to be massive and I was just within 2 hours away from sunset and I knew I had over an hour to hike to the lighthouse.

I made it to the coast, and the beach area which wasn’t where the starting point was to start the hike, but was nice to check out and is definitely on my list for some seascapes one day. I then drove back up the road to the starting point to get going to the lighthouse.

The access point is small carpark which is signposted (East Harbour Regional Park, blueish sign with a lighthouse graphic by memory) and has a loo.

The walk to Baring Head lighthouse is timed at one hour and fifteen minutes with a pump house to see on the way, there is also World War II bunkers and to bouldering activities on the beach accessible by extended tracks.

My decision to go to Baring Head on a day like this, though rather grey and pretty touch and go from rain I feel was perfect the whole walk and views back through the valley were just awesome and really showed of some of the tones and characteristic of this landscape. I read somewhere (can’t remember where, possible on the sign at the start of the trail) that there are volcanic properties to the landscape. Through parts of the walk there had been some recent slips to navigate over and this displayed the dark sediment and rock types that I have only seen before around central plateau region of New Zealand. I’m not a geologist but I definitely noticed this.

Wainuiomata Valley
Wainuiomata Valley

 

The track is well signposted with posts displaying orange triangles, there is a small climb to get up and over to the greater location which contains lighthouse and its accompanying now abandoned houses (I had no idea these were here!)

The area of the lighthouse and its cottages was super interesting, by the time i got there the sky was colouring up a little but not a burning sunset at all, looking down to the beach area it was stark and black almost of what you see of Iceland and it was blowing a gale! I mucked around for a bit taking a few shots of the bits and pieces around the place, saw the biggest magpie i’ve seen in my life and had staring contests with some sheep.

Following this after taking a bit of a beating from the wind as I felt spits of rain and with light fading, it was time to head back down the trail through increasing darkness and go home. –

 

Here are some images, Hope you enjoy.

 

Have you been to Baring Head? What was your favourite bit?

 

Wainuiomata Valley
Wainuiomata Valley

Wainuiomata Valley

Wainuiomata Valley
Wainuiomata Valley
Wainuiomata Valley
Old Pump House at the Eastern Harbour regional Park Wainuiomata Valley
Wainuiomata Valley
Wainuiomata Valley
Baring Head Wainuiomata Coast
Baring Head Wainuiomata Coast
Moody Baring Head Wainuiomata Coast
Baring Head Wainuiomata Coast
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Abandoned Cottage
Cottages at Baring Head Lighthouse Wellington
Abandoned Cottage at Baring Head Wellington
Cottages at Baring Head Lighthouse Wellington
Abandoned Cottage at Baring Head Lighthouse Wellington
Cottage at Baring Head Wellington
Abandoned Cottage at Baring Head Wellington
Cottages at Baring Head Wellington
Abandoned Cottages at Baring Head Wellington
Baring Head Lighthouse
The Petite Baring Head Lighthouse
Abandoned Cottages at Baring Head Wellington
Abandoned Cottages at Baring Head Wellington
Abandoned Cottages at Baring Head Wellington
Abandoned Cottages at Baring Head Wellington

 

A cloudy day at Colonial Knob

After weeks and weeks of telling myself I needed to, I was bursting to take a walk up colonial knob.

At 468 metres (1535 feet) located in Porirua, which is in the Wellington region of the North Island, New Zealand (where I live) colonial knob offers a lot!

From the top the views can go as far as Mount Taranaki on a super clear day, The South Island, Wellington areas of Tawa, Johnsonville, North to Waikanae and seaward to coastal islands, Kapiti Island and Mana Island.

The conditions were pretty clear, it had been a while, I was hoping to go up and see these beautiful views for myself much like the first time I had done this hike. This would be my second shot at getting to the top, this time I was walking the 4 x 4 style track as I was really keen to make it to to the top and didn’t need the deep forest experience as is featured on the other two tracks.

So I set off on the summit (4 x 4) track and it was a gradual climb just on gravel road sort of material, so it was pretty relaxing this time, it was beautiful and clear I could see out to neighbouring suburbs and housing areas as the afternoon started to wind up and start to move closer to sunset.

As a photographer I was tempted to stop for some preliminary compositions but my main focus was to get to the summit to watch the sun go down and check out these awesome views which I still had in my mind.

I carry on, passing sheep and cows and the odd person coming down. It is still clear until I take a few corners and see the communication/radio style masts which top some of the peaks starting to take on some mist and low cloud. This did not get any better…

So instead of standing atop a peak and seeing for hundreds of miles in each direction I was left to try and console with a few sheep who came in and out of visibility (they were pretty cool about it and continued to eat grass in between giving me odd looks).

Although this was not the experience I was expecting it did make for a nice series of low cloud/mist photos, I also had some pretty nice little pockets of evening sunlight.

And also there is something about standing in the clouds that makes you feel alive!

For this series I have given these images probably a different kind of style than my normal, I feel it is a good fit for these and the ability to try something new, much like this experience taught me.

Have you been up colonial knob??

What was your favourite experience of going up?

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Colonial Knob Porirua Wellington
Summit track, Colonial Knob Porirua Wellington
Colonial Knob Porirua Wellington
Rural setting including sheep among low cloud, Colonial Knob Porirua Wellington
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Rural setting among low cloud on Colonial Knob Porirua Wellington
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Sheep among low cloud on Colonial Knob Porirua Wellington
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Communication masts among low cloud on Colonial Knob Porirua Wellington

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Colonial Knob Porirua Wellington
Rural setting amongst low cloud on Colonial Knob Porirua Wellington