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Friday, May 07, 2010

MeAWannaShootaLotta - Day 2

Day # 2 of MeAWannaShootaLotta started early and it started cold. Yes, we saw a relatively clear sky as we woke from our shortened slumbers and decided that the planned sunrise shoot was a Go! We made our way in the cold, dark morning to the bank of the Lake Wakatipu and established our positions. Within minutes we saw colour in the clouds to the east. It was enough for us to know that we could achieve something, that our rise from our warm beds would be worthwhile. This is always the decision to make when you are a landscape shooter. But then again, the landscape shooter is used to not sleeping in. They sleep in the middle of the day...don't they?
Before the trip I acquired a Velbon 730 Carbon Fibre tripod. I must admit, I love this thing. It is strong, tall, sturdy and incredibly lightweight. Kinda like me, really! Anyway...This wonderful tripod, combined the Velbon UC-6 Clamp and Umbrella made sure that my gear was protected from the drizzle that continued while being unmoved by the wind. I also got a chance to dust off my Cokin Grads and use them to balance the exposure a little. As I said in yesterday's blog, it was this week - of ALL weeks - that South Island decided to rain on our parade. All week, it would dog us, taunt us, and make us work for our images. Mind you, I was incredibly proud of everyone. Enduring the early rise, the cold and the damp just to come out and shoot some landscapes makes them my kind of people. I am also proud that they learned to adapt their vision to suit the situation. They produced moody and ethereal landscapes that were in keeping with the prevailing light and weather conditions. In some way I wonder if perhaps it was an advantage that we weren't given sunny blue skies to greet us. We all learned that great landscape images can be made in any weather if you have the desire and a sense of flexibility. I will be the first to admit that I am not a landscape shooter, but I do love creating image, no matter where or how. My travels have taken me to far more inhospitable places and situations and I still enjoy rising to greet the sun and watch the colours assume their roles in the clouds upon the horizon.

With only an instant coffee under my belt, I nonetheless got into the role of instructor and assistant,  helping our friends to 'see' the landscape. There were a few among us who had rarely if ever set out to photograph a landscape and so they were not tuned in to the opportunities of leading lines, foreground interest, lens utilisation and landscape exposure and composition. This all changed by the end of the week, which was very gratifying. However, this first morning reminded me that I have been shooting for a very long time, and that my diverse photographic career and associations has granted me the opportunity to learn how to photograph many things. Being the editor of a photography magazine for thirteen years also allowed me the opportunities to expand my vision in a way that few photographers possibly get. There are times I forget these things and as such, forget how much others are yet to learn. I also have much to learn, but my life as a photographer has placed me in a diverse range of landscapes over the years. Having Mike Hollman along was also a relief and his mild-mannered and warm encouragement meant much to those who stood on the stony shores that morning.
Sunrise over, it was time for breakfast at Joes Garage, and then back to the resort to pick up our models. Today we were headed for Arrowtown and the weather was looking up. This lovely little historic town was bursting with colour as the trees that line its avenues are mostly deciduous. As the group wandered through they were again given opportunities of seeing, framing and capturing the delights of this town. I stayed behind in the park where everyone had just left their unwanted or unneeded gear. But that was ok. There were four models on hand also, and so further opportunities could be created for me, and everyone else. I-Can model, Nikki Bodle brought a wedding dress, so I was just fine. I was given the chance to get my Ricoh GRDIII out and give it a spin. Its 28mm (equivalent) f1.9 lens grants you a 1cm macro option. That kind of closeness combined with the wide angle perspective yields some interesting results. I really love that little thing.
Sunset found us on the banks of Lake Hayes. The sun was still shining and the lake shore is lined with beautiful trees that once again enabled our landscape fanatics to go a little nuts. Having allowed our models to leave, we spent a leisurely couple of hours there until our bellies began to rule our creative desires. By this time, some in the group had discovered my love of the Cokin 173 Polariser, even as I had rediscovered it, and the reasons I love using it so much.
For me, our second day was a relief. We had promised autumnal landscapes and we were able to deliver. It meant much to me that we were able to do so. The faith we had been given was to some degree met. I could eat dinner that night knowing that everyone had taken some dream photographs that day. When you run a photography workshop business, that is at the heart of what you do.

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The Life, Times and Images of photographer, Shelton Muller

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