August 18th, 2011 §
Rob Suisted has photo guided from Pole to Pole, and a few places in between. He’s never done it locally.
He’s offering a casual, free, photo walk on the Wellington south coast on the morning of Saturday 10th Sept, followed by a group breakfast.
It’s great meeting new people, and sharing creative inspiration and knowledge. Coming into spring is a great time to get motivated! Click here to read about it
It’s limited in numbers, so register your interest now. Pass it on.
Wellington's wild south coast
Rob Suisted photo guiding, Greenland, Arctic. Join us in Wellington
October 29th, 2010 §
Recently I helped judge the New Zealand Geographic Magazine Photographer of the Year awards with Andris Apse, Arno Gasteiger & James Frankham. Some interesting things stood out, but one in particular really surprised.
I’d guess 50% of images submitted in the landscape / scenic section had overly heavy use of HDR (high dynamic range) or some other overworked tonal mapping technique. For me it’s becoming the ‘graduated tobacco coloured sunset filter’ of the 80’s; obviously fake, overblown and often used pointlessly. It knocked how I felt about current landscape photography for a number of reasons…
Nature blesses us with remarkable beauty. We should seek to be good enough to do her justice in a photo. Sure, it can be tough dealing with the light she gives us, but we should rise to the challenge and learn how to capture it with strong technique and novel ideas when you’re out in the field, and then maybe touch it up with a light hand back home on the computer. We learnt good field skills before digital was invented.
Now it seems many just bracket shots, run them through an HDR program, wiggle a few sliders and output a terribly… > > > Continue reading : full post + comments > > >
June 23rd, 2010 §
“The only way to divine happiness is by helping others” is a saying I heard years ago.
Last week I was asked to talk at a pre-school. My initial thought was that I didn’t have time to prepare and do it, and anyway, being used to speaking to adults, what would 3-4 year olds get out of it?
Courtney from Evan’s Bay Preschool said, “these kids love playing at what you do for a job – they’d love you to visit”. I remembered the saying above and reconsidered; and was very pleased I did.
I took along my polar outfit and… > > > Continue reading : full post + comments > > >
April 21st, 2010 §
This month I gave a speech at the Photographic Society national conference. I chose to talk about how photography can add to an exceptional life.
Partly I talked about how I’ve learnt that serendipity is a very important index to monitor in life and business. True to form a nice bit of coincidence appeared while researching my speech. It’s this that I want to tell you about, and why I’ve found it so vital to have.
What is serendipity? I know it’s fortuitous coincidence, but what is it really? And why do some people have more of it than others? I’m very interested.
My speech was titled: ‘Shooting from the Heart – seeking an exceptional life via photography’. Of course, photography is my income, but it pays me richly in many better ways; I’ve been lucky to meet some amazing people, wildlife, visit some special places, and share great experiences so far in my life. The ‘juice of life’ is what I call it now, and it’s something that should ideally be enjoyed and sought in a pure sense, not driven by necessity or ego.
I’ve found that the more I try to discover this in a pure sense, without selfish interest, the more serendipity or coincidence appears. It might sound a bit flaky or woolly perhaps, but I can assure you that there is a sensible reason for it, and here in lies what I have learnt so far, and wish to share.
Creative professionals know that creativity comes from an open still mind. A mind that contains stress or fears becomes closed and creativity suffers. Same with opportunity, same with serendipity. I think that we all have similar portions of coincidence in our lives, but an open mind simply sees more of it. I have the confidence now to use serendipity as a powerful defacto indicator that my mind is more open, and therefore probably more receptive to opportunity and creativity. Make sense? Watch out for it and tell me what you think. Does it happen to you also? I’m very keen to know more.
A nice piece of historical serendipity to share
By happy coincidence, while researching my speech, I discovered a little bit more about an ancestor Laura Jane Suisted (1840 – 1903), and an unexpectedly fascinating link between us that spans the globe, and a century, appeared…… > > > Continue reading : full post + comments > > >
March 12th, 2010 §
New Zealand Geographic featured a nice article about Rob’s TankCam, otherwise known as RoboCam (nice touch guys!). If you’re interested in a behind-the-scenes look of the Fairy terns shoot please check out the article here and Rob’s video here.
Let us know what you think, it’s always great to hear your feedback!
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March 2nd, 2010 §
Mark Carwardine and Stephen Fry had the classic ‘encounter’ with a frustrated male Kakapo bird which has since become gold on YouTube. 1.7 million views last count (see video below).
I came across old photos of my own encounter with a friskly Kakapo recently. The famous person around at the time was Don Merton (famous enough), but unfortunately there was no video camera. Fame and glory were not to be this time, so you’ll have to make do with this image:
- Rob Suisted being Kakapo’d by an over enthusiatic ‘Trevor’ on Maud Island. Photo by Don Merton. Kakapo are one of the rarest birds on earth (123 birds), the heaviest parrot, the only nocturnal one, and a Lek breeder.
Remarkable experiences. Conflicting demands. How to make the most of them & life?
I’m lucky in my life, and work, to see and experience some remarkable things. The trick is not to take this for granted. It’s easier said than done when the object of the experience usually must be shot with camera. There are fundamentally opposing demands here and I want to explain a solution I’ve found to this problem….
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January 8th, 2010 §
I had an ephinany this morning. I poured my first decent bit of Latte Art. After months of learning and trying hard, this one just popped out without fanfare or conscious effort. I’m proud as, and its got me thinking…
Rob's first latte art fern
Several things have been drawing coffee and photography together for me over the last few days so I’m going to make a caffeine fueled comparison.
It would be fair to say that coffee has become quite important at Nature’s Pic Images. Over the last year a brand new Vibiemme Super E-61 group head espresso machine has become a shrine to which morning work schedules often bend around. Before actually owning a coffee machine of any quality, I enjoyed a good coffee at a fav local cafe (Cafe du Parc), but I had no idea of the skill employed by Georga, Terry, and the team when making a consistently good brew. There is a lot to know and a lot of variables to deal with. I now tip my hat to a good barista.
So, why the hedonistic comparision between coffee and photography?
Both are, at the same time, technically intensive, and creatively infused. It’s an interesting blend and one that I love. To make the perfect photograph is impossible; to make the perfect brew is impossible. What do you think?
I was reading an article (for the life of me I can’t find it now) by a life long barista where he claimed to have only poured about 30 ‘God Shots’ in his career. God shots would be an espresso pour to die for I guess? There was no definition….. > > > Continue reading : full post + comments > > >
December 15th, 2009 §
TANKCAM (‘Rob-o-cam’). Tough assignment to film NZ’s rarest bird – the Fairy Tern for NZ Geographic Magazine. Less than 40 birds known, they nest in the open and human disturbance may stop breeding.
Solution was to build a remote control vehicle that I could very slowly inch towards the nest over an hour while we monitored the birds’ reaction and leave it set up to capture intimate scenes (very, as you’ll see below!). So that’s why I built TankCam. We’ve kept the highly successful assignment under wraps until now. This video tells the story and gives you an idea of three days worth of filming, behind the scenes. Please view and post your comments – it’s great to get your feedback:
Why not use a large telephoto lens you might ask? … > > > Continue reading : full post + comments > > >
November 26th, 2009 §
It gives me the willies when we have icebergs turn up around the New Zealand coastline and tourism operators go wild. Silly stuff happens and I’m worried someone’s going slip up without good knowledge. I’m always up for a laugh, but from experience people don’t know what they’re playing with. The worst will happen sometime, it’s an odds game and there’s no warning before things get serious. Icebergs seem beautiful and benign, but so did the mythical Sirens of Sirenum scopuli luring mariners with their song. Check this out….
Temporary (?) New Zealander shearing Shrek on fragile iceberg! ©NHNZ
Why do I worry? I’ve had a load of experience showing people icebergs and I’ve learnt and seen a few things that would make the hair on your neck stand up. I’ve had over a dozen trips and over 6 months of taking people to see icebergs in Antarctic and the Arctic and I’ve seen and photographed some unexpected things from the close up of the zodiac boats I drive around them. We’re trained to read them and work with respect.
Major misconception: Icebergs don’t melt away – they die, often violently. Bits break off, the balance changes, and they start rolling. When they roll, more bits break off and a chain reaction starts that can ultimately break a big berg into many small bits very quickly. The forces are unbelievable. Check out this photo I took in cold water off Antarctica of a ‘new’ iceberg (not a rotten weathered berg off NZ in warm water) collapsing without notice.
Click for full size showing diagram of collapse
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November 2nd, 2009 §
I’m regularly asked about making money from stock photography. Here are some thoughts:
Producing quality stock photography requires a huge commitment. The business models are changing continuously and will continue to change in the future, but through your hard work, keeping the faith and producing quality work then it might just work.
The trouble is there are plenty of places to flog your work for a pittance (or likely a big loss) these days such as the micro-stock industry like I-stock, and it’s becoming harder to find a sensible route. Photography has been commoditised* and if you want to make some dough you need to figure out a way around this problem. It seems like everywhere you turn there’s a chance to make a few cents from your photos – but a little thought easily uncovers a major problem:
Recently I met a Canadian chap (not a local canadian boy whose name rhymes with ‘potatto’ I should stress) who proudly told me that he’d licenced 268 images. I was impressed because I knew he took the odd photo, so I was keen to learn more. He proudly told me he’d made “$67.00″ total for all 268 images through an online microstock website! I asked him why he bothered for that tiny amount given the huge amount of work and expense he’s put in? “To make some money” was his reply. $0.25 per license isn’t making money – it doesn’t even cover the time taken to upload the images (let alone equipment, travel, or even make some income), but this seemed irrelevant to him. In his mind he’d made some money. I wondered if he’d ever work willingly for someone on this return? I bet not – so why had he been taken advantage of so easily? … > > > Continue reading : full post + comments > > >