Claire & co in the wilderness

7707. Claire & co at Whatipu

7707. Claire & co at Whatipu

A discrete chair in the Whatipu wilderness puts you one step ahead in the relaxed model stakes – as does a warm coat – but the secret ingredient to portrait work seems to be having an accomplice, one who distracts the subject with lively conversation while the photographer pretends to poodle around with his tripod and settings. In this case, Yana is standing close by, so that Claire remains face-on to camera. For portrait work my Nikon 85mm lens is an obvious choice, and it’s a sharp lens for a soft (though wintry) light. As backdrop I like the filigree of flax and the rock, and Claire’s good twin has also come by – note the different colouration –  for a final appearance.

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Signs and sacrifices

7790. Signs and symbols

7790. Signs and sacrifices

A pause in readings from the Little Book of Sacrifices. A simple lateral flick-trick found online has brought out some unexpected imagery, while a slight re-framing avoids complete symmetry. A warm duotone was selected after conversion from the colour original. The hand-colouring is hardly brilliant, but this looks to be a hard-wearing image with many possibilities for future embroidery. The rosary was Claire’s suggestion, although her own tastes appear to be more literary than gothic. (Would authors of such fiction, however, please communicate).

N.B. No small animals were harmed in the making of this image.

Ben at sundown, Back Beach

0958  Ben, above the beach

0958 Ben at sundown, Back Beach

Continuing the evening portrait theme is this “one-take” shot of our UK visitor Ben, in 2010, taken on the cliff above Back Beach in New Plymouth. The light is striking, but the effect is enhanced by the “da Vinci” background of Paritutu Rock, pylon and blue sky. I would not call this twilight photography, as the sun is still at the horizon, although softened in a summer haze. Although most portraits benefit from low contrast, a little more has been added here in post-processing, plus some vibrancy.

Renee on the coast

5957. Renee

5957. Renee on the coast

Sunset and twilight glows are great times to photograph people, as the light is warm and lateral, rather than cool and overhead. Long exposures are sometimes necessary, true, but using the tripod slows you down to give each frame full consideration. It was a full moon and Be Kind to Photographers Week when my old chum offered a walk along the coast from Wellington’s Owhiro Bay. This spot by a lichen-encrusted boulder was away from the unseasonal breeze. Exposure was 1/4 sec at f11. The 28mm wide angle is not a lens normally used for portraits, but distortion is minimal. Thanks are due to Geraldine for the robe and Renee for her patience.

Reading the Little Book of Calm

7780. Readings from the Little Book of Calm

7780. Reading the Little Book of Calm

Or something like it. Claire is distracted with readings from a good book. Light ent., relief and engagement shine through as the drizzle descends. Low angle with tripod; wide angle lens predictably highlights her fine hands; her hair is emphasised by post-pro desaturation and selective re-saturation.

An important ingredient of memorable portraits is the capture of micro-emotion, those inner feelings which flicker on the silver screen of our faces. These are surely basic to our primate biology. Even if as here the occasion is fictitious, we immediately recognise the human reality of expression. In this curious blend of fiction and fact we see the genetic relationship of the portrait with the novel. (This observation can’t be original, but at least the occasion was.)

Moment of decision at Kaitarakihi

7772. Basic emotion

7772. Moment of decision at Kaitarakihi

No pressure Claire, it’s your decision – students of basic emotion or human expression will find much of interest here. There had been a bit of talk about fine art prospects but what a miserable day this turned into… so late on a winter’s afternoon, so unsuitable in so many respects. In the distance, for example, is the noisy pump of the sewage truck making a long line to the long drop at Kaitarakihi Bay (the truck had followed us from Whatipu, where we became aware of it long before we saw it).

Effective people shots don’t come easy. What makes them stand out from the million others we see daily? My favourite portraits always seem to be framed the same way: 1. someone facing the camera, engaged or conveying some expression; 2. a sense of place, or at least of backdrop; 3. an easy, soft light, and a soft camera setting. Among the many hazards to a good portrait is one that is barely 15 years old: the high contrast setting on digital cameras, which flatters artistic landscapes but ruins portraiture – if you forget to change your settings.

 

Claire and pal at Whatipu

7701. Claire and pal at Whatipu

7701. Claire and pal at Whatipu

Whatipu is a vast expanse of beach and wetland on Auckland’s west coast. It’s a wild place and amazingly changed since my first visit over 40 years ago – wider and wetter, it is now also far more vegetated. On a winter’s afternoon we barely sampled the place – there’s hours of it. After only a short interlude of sporadic sunshine, threatening cloud suggested a retreat to the car. Here Claire and her faithful doppelganger appear to enjoy some brief relaxation, in between rays. With thanks to Lucy for the chairs and Yana for other assistance.

Spirit of the river

1979.63a A cry from the north

1979.63 Spirit of the river, Sandhill Creek

RETROSPECTIVE, with thanks due to T.S. Eliot for the title (Ash Wednesday). An unusual sea fog was just lifting when we stopped at this rustic spot, on the road to Anatori in NW Nelson. Only the bridge made this viewpoint possible, plus of course the endearing co-operation of my model. All for art – with a large towel soon to hand. The highlight of a great summer, on this trip four of us camped out of a Morris Oxford. This image is a conversion from a colour slide.

Bush contrasts: colour & duotone

6495.a Bush contrasts

6495.a Bush contrasts

Monochrome is so often the first choice for nude studies, especially for outdoor venues such as the beach or the bush. These are big on texture but typically have only limited palettes. However when we start with colour, before converting to monochrome in post processing, we can see that the case for colour can still be strong. The example below is not strictly b&w, of course, as the duotone option allows numerous combinations of tones.

At 1200 x 1920 pixels, this image suits desktops with 16:10 aspect ratios. Downloads for non-commercial use only.

6495.b Bush contrasts

6495.b Bush contrasts

NEWS: Shroud, 1980 fronts PhotoForum publication

Shroud, 1980

Shroud, 1980

This monochrome from the summer of 1980 is to grace the cover of an anniversary publication for PhotoForum NZ. The print was selected by author Nina Seja from the PF archive, where it has lain since publication the same year. It is one of two memorable images from a rainy afternoon in the western Wairarapa. After a dip in the Waingawa River, Jane kindly took cover under a large sheet of plastic. The camera was a Yashicamat 124G, using roll film in a square format. The book is announced at http://photoforum-nz.org/index.php?pageID=93

Flax woman at the bay

6385b. At the bay

6385b. Flax woman at the bay

In post-processing this simple image transforms, giving two quite different versions. In the image above, I dialled back the saturation and increased the contrast (80% in each case), to mimic the current glossy style. In the monochrome below, each colour channel was separately modified in the conversion process, so the flax has come out lighter (the green & yellow channels) and the towel darker (blue channel) – and Claire’s lips also (magenta). The towel merging with the background means the image is now somewhat over-flaxed, while 22-year-old Claire looks even younger than before.

6385a. At the bay

6385a. Flax woman at the bay

Claire at Kaitarakihi Bay

6361a Holly at Kaitarakihi Bay

6361a Claire at Kaitarakihi Bay

A change of tack now, as I pick up another theme from my early years of photography – the portrait. For people shots I’ve always liked simple set-ups by available light – and a timeless look. However there was no fooling Claire, who immediately nailed this as “Retro”. The location on the northern Manukau bears the New Zealand stamp I was after. A strong, cold sou-wester blew in from the beach and the sunlight was very patchy, yet Claire warmed to the task. However I only got the right vibe when I tried some frames as monochrome conversions, as in the sepia version below. So much of a portrait can be communicated in form, tone and texture. Colour is only occasionally essential.

6361c Holly at Kaitarakihi Bay

6361c Claire at Kaitarakihi Bay

These 16:10 images can be downloaded as wallpaper, for screens with that aspect ratio. Permission is for personal use only. Copyright 2014 by Barney Brewster.

January 2014 Nightscapes

5295 Moonlit squall over New Plymouth

5295 Moonlit squall over New Plymouth

5307 Mt Taranaki by moonlight

5307 Mt Taranaki by moonlight

6642 New moon at Arrowtown

6642 New moon at Arrowtown

5899 North from Breaker Bay, Nelson

5899 From Breaker Bay, Nelson, high moon

Copyright images in 16:9 wide screen ratio, posted for free download as background wallpaper on your desktop (a right-hand click of your mouse over any image will show this option). Downloads are for personal use only.

December 2013 Nightscapes

Deep twilight from Mt Moturoa, New Plymouth

5017 Dusk from Mt Moturoa, New Plymouth

 

0183 Lunar eclipse, Taranaki spring

0183 Lunar eclipse, Taranaki spring

 

5170 Evening, Carterton, Wairarapa

 5170 Carterton evening, Wairarapa

 

Crescent moon from Mt Moturoa

 5068 Crescent moon and Venus, from Mt Moturoa

Copyright images in 16:9 wide screen ratio, posted for free download as background wallpaper on your desktop (a right-hand click of your mouse over any image will show this option). Downloads are for personal use only.

 

 

November 2013 Nightscapes

DSC4086 - Mokau Highway

4086 Mokau Highway, Taranaki

 

_DSC8542

 8542 Moonlit horses, Awhitu Peninsula

 

2010-10-20_9308

9308 Tank farm, New Plymouth

 

2-28-1128 Moonrise angel

 1128 Angel at Puniho, Taranaki

Copyright images in 16:9 wide screen ratio, posted for free download as background wallpaper on your desktop (a right-hand click of your mouse over any image will show this option). Downloads are for personal use only.

 

 

2014 Nightscapes calendar – Good Evening from NZ [Sold out]

2014 Calendar front cover

2014 Calendar front cover

2014 Calendar back cover

2014 Calendar back cover

210 x 297 mm. Sample layout below.

ANNOUNCING the publication of my nightscapes calendar for 2014! In the same format as previous years, the calendar shows evening scenes and cameos from both islands of New Zealand, over the seasons. A mailing envelope is supplied within.

Price $NZ20, post-free within NZ; $A20 for Australian orders, also post-free. Postage will be quoted for elsewhere overseas. Payment by direct credit or cheque (or Paypal for purchasers without NZ bank a/c).

* SPECIAL OFFER #1: Four free greeting cards (blank, folding + quality envelopes) will be supplied with each purchase. From a new series of 8, many of which appear in the new calendar. 

** SPECIAL OFFER #2: Calendar + 8 cards + book. Buy a copy of my Night Visions book (signed!) along with the calendar for $55 all up, post-free, and I’ll put in all eight (8) greeting cards as a bonus… this offer adds up to $89 retail value. Each makes a great gift on its own, while the cards will prove very handy around the holiday period.

ORDERS now taken. 100 copies only for sale, for Tuesday 5th November 2013 release.

To purchase calendars, please email me directly: barneybrewster@xtra.co.nz

Good Evening - April 2014

Good Evening - April 2014 Month

 Good Evening – April 2014 sample

October 2013 Nightscapes

4478 Motunui rustic, Taranaki

4478 Motunui rustic, Taranaki

4500 Onaero Beach, Taranaki

4500 Onaero Beach, Taranaki

4613 Moturoa from Back Beach

4613 Moturoa from Back Beach

 

3718 Twilight at Turakina Cemetery, Rangitikei

3718 Twilight at Turakina Cemetery, Rangitikei

Copyright images in 16:9 wide screen ratio, posted for free download as background wallpaper on your desktop (a right-hand click of your mouse over any image will show this option). Downloads are for personal use only.

June 2013 Nightscapes

145.2481 Moturoa hilltop, New Plymouth

2481 Moturoa hilltop, New Plymouth

 

 

 

 

 

144.2408 Outskirts, Eltham

2408 Church camp, Eltham, Taranaki

 

 

 

 

 

147.2930 High tide at Mangawhai

2930 High tide at Mangawhai, Northland

 

 

 

 

 

143.2039 Angel at Waikato

2039 Angel at Pukerimu, Cambridge

 

 

 

Here begins a new series of recent images in the 16:9 wide screen ratio, posted for free download as background wallpaper on your monitor. (A right-hand click of your mouse over any image will show this option). Most of the work I have yet to show for this must be cropped from 24 x 36 frames, but those to come from my Lumix LX3 are taken in 16:9 ratio. Downloads are for personal use only.

 

297. Up 233 moonlit steps

233 steps by the moon

Up 233 moonlit steps, Back Beach, Taranaki. 10.07 pm, 27 March 2013

To Barney’s pulpit rock I climb / Where the sea aisles burn cold / In fires of no return / And maned breakers praise / The death hour of the sun.

James K. Baxter, In fires of no return

28mm; ISO 2000. 30 seconds at f11

 

296. Perfect evening, Ngamotu Rd

Perfect evening, Ngamotu Rd

Perfect evening, Ngamotu Rd, New Plymouth. 10.17 – 10.21pm, 25 March 2013

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow / Out of this stony rubbish?          Son of man, / You cannot say, or guess, for you know only / A heap of broken images    – T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

85mm; ISO 500. 4 minutes at f16

293. Blue of larkspur, Spotswood

Blue moment in Spotswood

Blue of larkspur, Spotswood, New Plymouth. 9.08pm, 25 March 2013

Made cool the dry rock and made firm the sand / In blue of larkspur,                            blue of Mary’s colour / Sovegna vos  -  T.S. Eliot, Ash Wednesday IV

85mm; ISO 2000. 4 seconds at f9. Sodium vapour light balance

 

292. Half moon with cricket song

Half moon with cricket song

Half moon with cricket song, New Plymouth. 9.20 pm, 22 March 2013

 Let us go then, you and I / When the evening is spread out against the sky /            Like a patient etherised upon a table  -  T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

28mm; ISO 2000. 5 seconds at f5.6. Flash

291. There are no eyes here

There are no eyes here

There are no eyes here, New Plymouth. 8.21 pm, 14 March 2013

There are no eyes here / In this valley of dying stars / In this hollow valley /                This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms  -  T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men

85mm; ISO 500. 30 seconds at f16. Incandescent light balance

 

 

288. Whither Michael Smither?

Michael Smither country

Whither Michael Smither? Waiwhakaiho River at Alfred Rd. 10.56 pm, 27 February 2013

 In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.  -  Alfred Stieglitz

85mm; ISO 2000. 25 seconds at f8. Incandescent

284. Moonlit minutes at Morere

Ten minutes of Morere moonlight

Moonlit minutes at Morere, East Coast. 10.31 – 10.41 pm, 25 January 2013

 Most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities.  -  Dalai Lama

28mm; ISO 2000. 629.4 secs (10.5 minutes) at f11

NEWS: New ebook / photos by BB

Pocket Book of Men's Wisdom vol 2_Page_01
Volume 2 of the Pocket Book of Men’s Wisdom has just been published; the title page is shown above. Ably compiled and produced by Hannah Samuel, the quotes are from New Zealand men in support of the mentoring organisation Big Buddy.
As with Vol 1, all the photos are mine; they showcase my daylight work as well as selections from the after-dark variety. Please click the links to take a look:
It’s a free publication (for non-commercial use), which readers are welcome to forward as they please. The first page of the body of the book is shown below.
Pocket Book of Men's Wisdom vol 2_Page_05

 

275. My meditations, my musings

Maitai moonlight, Nelson. 10.08 pm, 28 November 2012

My meditations, my musings are never more enchanting than when I am able to forget myself.  -  Jean-Jacques Rousseau

NEWS: My 2013 Night Visions calendar has now sold out. The NIGHT VISIONS book is still available direct, at $40 post-free (signed copies, with 4 x greeting cards as a bonus). The book has had some favourable notices: “A unique, often eerie, new perspective” (D-Photo magazine); “Enchanting” (Nelson Mail); also in North & South magazine (November issue: “a bewitching mix of rural and urban landscapes”).

85mm; ISO 2000. 5 seconds at f8. Flash

274. Echoes from Whaler’s Gate

Echoes from Whaler’s Gate, New Plymouth. 9.13 pm, 20 November 2012

I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.

85mm; ISO 1000. 5 seconds at f11. Flash