Part of my life as a NZDF Air Force Base Photographer was to photograph some of the sports events that took place at Woodbourne and around the other Air Force Bases and Army Camps around New Zealand.  Sporting events are a rather large part of the Defence Force way of life.  Sports can often represent challenges that we will face throughout our lives and help us to get to know ourselves better.  As well as keeping our bodies fit and our minds sharp, sports can teach us several other things we can benefit from in our day to day lives.

  1. Being a team player.
    Life is tough sometimes.  Sometimes we have to work with people that we don’t know, don’t get along with or just down right don’t even like.  Sports can help us to learn that we need to take in to consideration other peoples contributions and that every member of a team is just as valuable as the rest.  Being a team player is just as relevant in a sports team as it is being an employee, an employer or just being part of a loving family.

  2. Not everyone is a winner.
    Very few people who are successful right now started out that way.  At some point in time everyone hits a road block of either not knowing what they are doing or not being good at what they are doing.  Everyone has been there.  This is one of the very first things that we learn as we grow from a helpless baby into a little person.  To become talented you need to practice.  You need to learn to walk before you can run, and to become successful, first you need to fail.  If it was not for failure no one would ever learn how to do anything!

  3. Learning from others.
    No matter how young we are or how old we get, we are never too old to stop learning.  I think it is pretty safe to say that whether we recognise it or not, we are learning new things each and every day of our lives.  One of the most valuable sources of knowledge that I think we have is each other.  To learn something from someone, we don’t necessarily have to seek them out.  We don’t have to be looking to learn something from them.  We don’t even have to know or talk to them.  By simply observing people doing what they do we can learn.  Whether it is a complicated technique we learn like how to pole volt, or just a small thing like double knotting your laces so they don’t come undone.  Every opportunity is an opportunity to learn.  After all, we don’t know what we don’t know.  Right?

  4. Positivity.
    For me positivity comes a little easier than it might for other people.  I am naturally a glass half full kind of person.  I don’t know if it is in my genes or it was the way that my parents raised me, but positivity is a really important part of life.  Its like the story of the little engine, you know; “I—think—I—can, I—think—I—can.”
    If you believe that you can do something, you have a much better chance of achieving it.  You have one hundred percent better chance than someone who doesn’t think they can do it and therefore never even try.

Sports means working hard, practicing and working toward your goals.  Even if you don’t quite achieve your goal, that’s ok too.  In the end it is about the journey.  The journey can be just as fulfilling and enjoyable as the destination itself.




Sports Photographer Ashburton Christchurch Timaru.  NZDF Hockey.



Sports Photographer Ashburton Christchurch Timaru.  NZDF Softball.


Sports Photographer Ashburton Christchurch Timaru.  NZDF Cricket.

Sports Photographer Ashburton Christchurch Timaru.  NZDF Cricket.

Sports Photographer Ashburton Christchurch Timaru.  NZDF Water polo.

Sports Photographer Ashburton Christchurch Timaru.  NZDF Rugby League.

Sports Photographer Ashburton Christchurch Timaru.  NZDF Basketball.

Among the more traditional things that people in New Zealand got up to this Easter, a lot of my Air Force friends and friends in the Marlborough district attended the Omaka Classic Fighters Airshow.  During my time as the RNZAF Base Woodbourne Photographer, I spent many hours enjoying a front row seat, photographing the aircraft at either this show or the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow.  Going to one of these shows is defiantly an experience that you should have at least once in your lifetime.

Do you remember as a child being at the airport and feeling the rush of adrenaline flood through you watching a huge aircraft taking off?  The sound seemed to vibrate through your entire body and deafen you from the inside out.  My Nana and Granddad seemed to travel a lot when I was younger.  I fondly recall multiple times where as a family we stood on top of the Christchurch Airport Roof and I waved at their aircraft till it felt like my arm was going to come loose.

A year or two ago I took my son to Christchurch Airport to pick up my own Mum who was returning from a holiday overseas.  I was picturing the exhilaration on his face, as for the first time he too would experience the thrill of watching the aircraft land and take off from up on the roof.  However it was not meant to be.  I was extremely disappointed when we walked and walked and just could not seem to find the stairs to access the roof.  At my whit’s end I approached the elderly gentleman at the information desk in the middle of the airport.  I was then informed that since the airports remodel was completed in 2013, there was no longer access to ANY viewing areas inside or on top of the airport.  My heart sank.  What a fantastic experience the latest generation of Canterbury children will now miss out on.

But alas, instead of freezing into ice cubes up on the roof of the airport, we joined the avid plane spotters of Christchurch, parked up nice and warm in our car at the top of Avonhead Road overlooking the runway, eating our fresh hot McDonalds meals.  When we got home I was able to relive a past life and show my son a small collection of photographs of aircraft that I had taken at the airshows I had attended before he was born.  I am looking forward to when he is old enough to really appreciate the history of flight and how it has changed our lives, and the amazing aircraft we are lucky enough to have on display for us each year here in New Zealand.











At 4:30 pm on Friday night I received a message on my answerphone from a very worried Megan who was in search of a new photographer for the Ashburton Highland Dancing Annual Competitions after finding out that the prearranged one was no longer available.

It was a long night preparing to photograph the event and making sure that I made arrangements for the images to be available as soon as possible after the event but I finally got to bed at 2 am.

I am sure that all of the highland dancing competitors must have got more sleep than me because the day was filled with a wonderful atmosphere of joy and excitement.  It was lovely to see so many young people filled to the brim with love and enthusiasm for dancing!  The talent on display was incredible, and if that is what the nationals next year being held in Ashburton are going to be like, it is going to be another fantastic event!

I really enjoyed photographing the dancing, talking to and meeting the competitors and their supporters.  I went to bed that night dreaming of bagpipe music.

The images from the event are available for purchase for seven days until the 22nd of June 2014. We have a special running for the purchase of high resolution digital digital files, buy four and receive the fifth file free!

If you have any issues with viewing or ordering any photographs please make sure that you give me a call as soon as possible.

Ashburton Highland Dancers

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It is that dreaded time of the year again where the weather is never able to seem to make up its mind.  Literally one minute it is lovely and warm (14 degrees!) and the next you are being pummelled with freezing cold rain drops the size of M&M’s, while trying to drag the sheets and the towels off the washing line, all the while being yelled at emphatically by a three year old – who won’t go inside – telling you that they are getting wet because … “It’s raining MUUUUMMMMM!”

So, this month down in Canterbury for the Canterbury Westland meeting we decided to change it up just a little.  Instead of the annual print judging night, we held a very successful Image Critique evening.   Only a small number of members were able to attend due to a repeat of last year’s June meeting weather woes, including flooding and washed out bridges!  Alas, the ones who did manage to make it were rewarded with a productive and relaxing evening filled with pizza, beers and helpful friendly feedback.  Two entries for the evening won the Dick Poole award for the night, each gaining entry into this year’s Iris Awards.  Congratulations to Juliette Capaldi who took out ‘Best Presented’ and Penny Nichols for ‘Most Potential’.  We are all looking forward to seeing these images being judged at the Iris Awards in August.

The day after the Image Critique evening the sun was back out again and it was time to our ‘Printing For Success’ seminar with Evoke Studio’s Sean Dick.  We covered all the important things to take into consideration when printing your work.

– Getting your monitor right to start with,

– The difference between ppi and dpi,

– Colour space,

– 8bit vs 16bit,

– Sharpening and resizing,

– How different papers act when printing the same image,

– And lastly; how to achieve the overall look that you want when mounting your images.

It was amazing the difference in an image simply by choosing the right paper.  It all of the sudden became crystal clear how paper choice and mounting can mean the difference between an image being average and award winning.  With the help of Jason Boa of Aarque Graphics and his Epson 4900 we were all able to see Sean’s printing process from receiving a print file to it coming off the printer.  It was intriguing how the small subtle changes that you can make on your screen have such a large impact on the overall look of your finished work.  Sean is obviously a talented problem solver and has an extremely keen eye for detail.  Everyone was quite enthralled by the whole business, so much so that we lost track of time and were promptly given the boot by half a dozen senior ladies who had the room booked after us for their weekly coffee catch up and book swap.  Richard Linton was able to fend them off (literally!) just long enough for the last print of the day to roll off the printer. Thank you Sean for your time, it was very educational and mind boggling all at once.  I hope that your prints are as successful at this year’s Iris Awards as they were last year.

In the project handbook for the RSA Veterans Portrait Project I recall reading to get the subject of your portrait to look knowingly into the camera.  I have normally been able to catch a few images like that, but the majority of the time my subjects have been smiling, laughing, and sometimes been acting just down right cheeky!  (I photographed another group of veterans in Christchurch yesterday at the Papanui RSA.  It was down the road from my 74 year old Grandmothers house, so I had her meet me there to watch me take some photos and then have lunch.  Have you ever seen 90+ year olds flirt with a 74 year old?!?  It’s very weird!  Anyway …)

These veterans that we are capturing at the moment are a humble lot.  Most of the phone calls or emails that I receive about the project are from people requesting that a member of their family be photographed.  It’s not very often I hear directly from a veteran. The majority of the veterans that I have photographed for the project have been photographed in their own homes or the home of a fellow veteran.  All of them have been very trusting and have welcomed me into their homes without question.  Some have been extremely accommodating, feeding me tea and chocolate biscuits too!

While capturing their Veteran Portrait, I have taken the opportunity to photograph any veterans with their partners or any other family members as well, if they are about.  For the huge sacrifice that these men and women made in order for us to enjoy the freedoms that we do today, taking part in this project and giving something back is the least that I can do.  I have found this project to be really enjoyable.  It has also forced a bit of perspective on me.  ANZAC day has always meant a lot to me, however it will now always mean a lot more.

I have learnt so much from these veterans.  Listening to their stories of the war have helped me to understand a lot, including my grandfather who I never had the chance to meet.  I listened to them tell me stories about the war, about returning home but by far most of the stories have been of life since then.  Tales of more public service outside of the armed services, raising a family, getting back into work after returning from the war, remembrance tree planting ceremonies, school committees, community fundraising, attending years of dawn services, having grandchildren, retiring, learning how to use a computer, growing an amazing vegetable garden, and in general absolutely living each day to its fullest and relishing everything that they fought for.

By photographing these veterans we are showing them that we know how important they are and that we don’t ever want to forget them.

Meanwhile in Christchurch on the 17th of May, Richard Linton opened his studio for veterans to drop in and get their portrait taken.  The team managed to power through 72 veterans in three hours, which is saying something considering that the average age on the day was 96 years old!

Many thanks to Richard Linton for the use of his studio, Janine Ross-Johnston and Paul Willyams for stepping up and helping out, Kate Christie for some awesome organising, Maria Buhrkuhl who was chief crowd controller and Heather Richardson who was in charge of sweet talking and cheek kissing which got the veterans eyes sparkling.

A big thank you needs to go out to all of the Christchurch members who have taken part in capturing these portraits.  With such a huge geographic area to cover there has been a fair bit of tiki touring around the countryside going on.  With emails and phones calls still trickling in I am sure that there are still a few kilometres to cover yet.  Keep up the good work people!

May’s Canterbury Westland meeting was a priceless meeting for anyone who wants to call themselves a professional photographer.  We were very lucky to have with us guest speaker Belinda Canton to discuss and demystify the scary world of, (cue Jaws theme music) ACCOUNTING!

Belinda is an accountant at Moore Stephens Markhams who are the NZIPP national accountants.  Belinda discussed with us what makes us professionals, the skills and standards that that implies we have.  What is expected of you by your accountant and what you should expect from your own.  The harsh realities that come with running a business and the importance of using an accountant and utilising their skills.  This meeting was again well attended, including quite a few students from both the Christchurch and the Aoraki polytechnic.

Next months meeting is our regional print judging event in perpetration for the Iris awards. This year is moving very fast, so hold on everyone and enjoy the ride.

Over the last few years living in the central south island while trying to maintain a steady home life, run a business and in general keep your head on straight throughout the aftermath of one of New Zealand’s most recent natural disasters has been an incredibly stressful task.  So with the arrival of the annual membership invoice in my inbox I took a moment to think about the value of my NZIPP membership.  It is a really wonderful thing to be part of such a vibrant organisation such as the NZIPP.  For me living a wee way out of town, the monthly NZIPP meetings are one of the things on my ‘to do’ list that I really look forward to.  Never underestimate the effect a kind word from a fellow photographer can have on someone.   The value of the relationships that we build as members of the NZIPP are priceless.  So, thank you to all of the members across the country who have helped out Canterbury Westland members during this time.  I am sure that we would all agree that we really appreciate it.

So, here in Canterbury Westland we are on a roll this year, which is so exciting to be a part of!  The start of this month saw the annual AGM.  We were thrilled to have a record number of members in attendance.  Everything was discussed in a jovial manner and we got through the nominations and votes for the committee posts and agenda in record time.  We even had a cameo appearance – albeit a very small one – from the Nimmo’s over the mountains who joined us over the internet on an iPhone perched atop the television at the front of the room.

The 2014-2015 committee is shaping up to be an enthusiastic bunch with a reasonable balance of oestrogen to testosterone.  We welcome Kate Christie as the new regional chair, Rebecca Watson (it’s a bit weird trying to work out how to word this bit) as the secretary, Richard Linton and Paul Daly as joint treasurers and last but not at all least Ann Worthy-Stevenson, Olivia Spencer-Bower and Clinton Lloyd as committee members.   With a lot of very exciting events coming up over the next few months, discussion at the AGM was positive and members requests and suggestions have all been taken on board and the committee will be worked on them in the very near future.

Now the AGM was not the only attraction at the early April Canterbury Westland meeting.  We were all very privileged to have Matt Greenslade join us as guest speaker.  Born and raised in Christchurch Matt moved his family half way around the world to eventually settle in New York City where he is a successful corporate marketing / editorial portrait / interior photographer.  Matt claimed to be very nervous and shy about speaking to us however it transpired that when speaking about his photography his passion and enthusiasm were clear.  Matt has used his classic kiwi can do attitude to help him stand out from the crowd in one of the biggest and most competitive economies on earth.   Matt has managed to remain in business throughout the largest economic downturn in the United States of America since the 1930’s.  As Matt talked us through his thoroughly impressive portfolio of imagery it was clear to see how he is able to secure clients including BMW, Accenture, Thomson Reuters, Ernst & Young and IBM.  His style of photography is bold, simple and sophisticated.  Matt’s photography is entirely suited to the very powerful people that he is often tasked with photographing.   He has perfected his ability to relate to and relax some of the most powerful members of the New York business elite in record time.  It was a pleasure to hear stories from Matt about the often ridiculous hoops that you are required to jump through while working in skyscrapers in the city that never sleeps, photographing people who deal with mind boggling amounts of money on a day to day basis, and dealing with the egos of people who really are some of the wealthiest people in the western world.

Thank you again Matt for your time and sharing with us an intriguing behind the scenes sneak peek of the life of a New York City photographer.

Weddings are such a wonderful time for everyone.  For the couple, the families and all of the friends to all come together and celebrate the joining of two families together.  There is only one thing that can make the perfect day even better … a fantastically fun photo booth.

For Anita and Brent their beautiful wedding reception was held at the Ashburton Hotel.  Just inside the two electronic doors at the rear of the hotel beside the entrance to the reception rooms, there in the corner is the perfect little spot for our photo booth set up.  Out of the way of everyone but close enough to entice people out to try on some crazy hats and feather boas.  From there it is just a matter of time until you start to hear the hoots, hollers and raucous laughter coming from the booth.  The laughter is infectious and easily relived through the images captured forever.  These images can easily be compiled into a proof book to enjoy and share or used as blackmail for cheekier friends.


The McW family and I go back a little way.  The first wedding that I ever photographed while I was still studying photography, was for Rodney and Fiona McW at Riccarton Park Racecourse.  Back then it was simply two lenses, one old faithful canon camera and a dozen rolls of black and white film.  Yes, FILM!

Since then their has been a tropical island wedding and between the families the addition of four beautiful grandchildren for Peter and Gwyneth.  And of course Peter and Gwyneth’s four legged fur baby Mitsy.

So we made our way back to Riccarton Park on a freezing cold January day and found ourselves a beautiful wee sheltered spot and captured some more family portrait for the McW family’s wall.  It was an absolute pleasure to photograph such a happy and loving family, again.

With tips and tricks up their sleeves, wisdom in their back pockets and other handy titbits tucked away in their camera bags it was a great honour to have our experts share their knowledge and experience with us at the Canterbury Westland “Great NZIPP Speed Date”.

This was a members only event where a panel of local experts shared as much information and experience as we could get out of them in each 12 minute time slot.  With ten different experts on hand we had a huge range of experience to draw from.  Their specialties ranged from traditional portrait photography to fun and funky wedding photography, commercial photography to capturing motor sport events, working in Lightroom and working with video.

“The ‘speed date’ meeting was not only informative from a photographic point of view, but as a still relatively new NZIPP member, I found that its true value for me was in getting to meet a range of other members and talking with them on a range of subjects. The Experts were more than happy to share information and answer any questions, also throwing the odd question back at us to encourage reflection on our own photography/businesses. I found it a very positive and enjoyable meeting.” said Kylie who has been a member for just over 12 months.

It was great to see some old members who were able to join us once again, some members having been absent from meetings for over a year or more.   This was a great opportunity for the new members to introduce themselves, shake hands and meet face to face with some of the photographers that they might not speak to at a regular NZIPP meeting.

This is how one of our resident experts, Rachel Callander, saw the event. “What a fabulous night!  From where I was sitting I saw high energy, great conversations, meeting and greeting and a sense that this event really embodied the community and teaching ethos of the NZIPP. It was a hubbub of chatter and laughter.  I loved being able to meet people on a more person level and get to know more about where they are at and what they do.

It was wonderful to be able to help with the variety of questions asked which covered things from “what inspires you” to “what to do about marketing”, to help me with pricing, to crowd funding strategies.  A few of the photographers on the panels mentioned how so many people asked about marketing, which may mean we need to hold an evening on this subject.

It was great to get a sense of where we are at as a community, our strengths, weaknesses and areas we can help and encourage each other to be better individually and as a professional body.

I think that this kind of event will be successful again in the future and everybody I spoke to got a lot out of it and enjoyed themselves.” So here at NZIPP Canterbury Westland we have started the year off with a bang and hope to continue on this uphill journey.  It is a pleasure for us to put our time and effort into bringing our members meeting and events that are so enjoyable and well received.

The next meeting in April is our AGM, however as a reward for attending there is the opportunity to meet and listen to international photographer Matt Greenslade speak about his career in New York City and share some of his photographs with us.