Filming the Molesworth Station Book video. A blog post explaining the adventure is here. Have a read, then watch this (Caution: it contains hard work, adventure, some skinny dipping, some excitement, a lost dog that gets found in the end, and a great watch):
June 14th, 2012 § 13 comments - add yours
Filming the Molesworth Station Book video. A blog post explaining the adventure is here. Have a read, then watch this (Caution: it contains hard work, adventure, some skinny dipping, some excitement, a lost dog that gets found in the end, and a great watch):
June 11th, 2012 § 28 comments - add yours
“You should come on the May autumn muster to Lake McRae.” said Jim Ward, Manager of Molesworth high country Station.
What an invitation; for those that know Molesworth Station you’ll understand the significance of such an invite! For those that know Lake McRae (see map at bottom), many will regard this as a holy land of sorts. To join in on the annual cattle muster to push 400 cattle over the Inland Kaikoura Ranges to their traditional winter pastures is epic. Not only is it regarded as one of the highest cattle musters in the world (at over 1400m/4700ft), but it’s also one of the most remote seldom visited spots in New Zealand. With three stockmen & horses involved, and small backcountry hut, it’s also a very few lucky folks that have ever participated in this 100 year tradition. More folks have climbed Everest than been here. This is not a commercial trip, but a unique rare opportunity to join the stockmen on part of their annual work programme in the high country.
“Would love to Jim, thanks” was my response, adding “I’m a bit of a green horn on a horse though. “Don’t worry, there are horses that don’t like people too” Jim shot back as I was leaving. I just hope I’m not given one of those horses I thought. This is the story of the amazing adventure, including learning to ride, that followed (youtube video of trip now available, so have a read of this & then click here to view the short vid to get a real feeling for the place)…
For the last 18 months I’ve been working on a book about this historic high country station with Harry Broad. Lance McCaskill wrote a seminal book about the first 50 years of Molesworth history. We’re bringing the history of this fascinating iconic high country run up to date. It’s New Zealand’s largest farm at 500,000 acres and sits nestled amongst mountain ranges between Blenheim, Hanmer Springs and Kaikoura.
Back at my office in Wellington, Nina, my Business Manager, was excited. She’d grown up with horses and rode professionally back in Sweden. On weekends she trains riders and horses. You will be fine, I’ll teach you she said.
So started a wonderful bi weekly programme designed to advance me from newbie to competent horse rider in less than a month, but most importantly to toughen up my softer spots. Each Tuesday and Thursday we shut the office at noon, headed for Wainuiomata and climbed on horses. My third lesson as cantering bareback. They pushed me hard to learn on the crash course but I’m very grateful now. Luckily I apparently picked things up fast, learning I think more about animal behaviour and psychology than staying on Red, Ray, or Teddy, the three boys I learnt to ride on. Bruce and Kelly’s property in Wainuiomata had a great variety of steep hills and trails to explore between flat work. Things started to arch and hurt in places you’d normally only see with a mirror; apparently a sign you’re doing it right. Weird that.
One Sunday night the phone went; it’s Jim. “Can you get down tomorrow? We’re bringing it forward due to weather”. I hurriedly finished my GST tax return, a quick pack and assemblage of equipment and I was on the ferry heading for the South Island.
I arrived late evening, got a bit of gear organised, hit the hay around midnight, to be up a 4.30am for breakfast with Jim & Tracey and the three stockmen that I’d be riding with for the next 3 days, Andy McLachlan, Cory Hollister and Tom O’Sullivan. Nine months before I’d met these guys on their first week on Station as they learnt horse shoeing from visiting farriers so they could look after their horses in the remote out stations through the year (a skill we’d rely on later…
April 23rd, 2012 § 0 comments, Add the 1st
Nice to be involved with the Department of Conservation / Air New Zealand joint venture partnership announcement.
Had one of my photos used as a giant backdrop to the Prime Minister of New Zealand’s announcement speech Friday night. A large mid air panorama photo (big enough to be printed 7m x 3m) taken hanging out the door at 5000ft. For health and safety reasons the sexy black AirNZ plane filled with very rare bird and animals was added later…(yes, that’s a Kiwi in the cockpit). Here’s the media for it on Stuff.
More stunning Milford Sound, New Zealand images here if you’re after a bit of eye candy from an amazing place - just a tonic if you’re at your desk we think.
January 13th, 2012 § 0 comments, Add the 1st
December 16th, 2011 § 4 comments - add yours
Some things stand out in my working photographic career; but having a photo tattooed onto skin, as a living memorial, has to be a remarkable compliment.
Nick Johns contacted me for permission to use a photo as a memorial to his brother. Some things cross boundaries, and this does for me - creating an image someone feels is good enough to permanently etch onto their body in honour of someone they have lost, is very humbling.
Nick wanted to tell everyone that his brother died as a consequence of drug addiction. ” We are all addicted to something in this life. But the trouble with drugs for the addict is they progress, as Tim did from the so called harmless drugs, Marijuana etc to eventually the hard drugs, in Tim’s case Methamphetamine. The only good thing to come out of this, is it has shown the next generation in our families how drugs will destroy lives. It destroyed their awesome Uncle Tim whom they all loved so very much.”
Thank you Nick for wanting to share this, and for creating a very humbling experience for me, from what is a very sad experience and loss for you. We’d both love to hear your comments if you’d like to post any here.
You can learn more about how the image was originally captured for the cover of NZ Geographic Magazine, and how it was also used by a church with a great sense of humour. There are more photos of this remarkable species, the New Zealand Falcon, here, and we’ve created a special quality canvas print. Further, we selected it to be used as preface to Majestic New Zealand book because it’s a special shot that captures the essence of a remarkable but endangered creature.
September 28th, 2011 § 5 comments - add yours
So the buggers put me on the cover, freezing my bits off. I can’t be too upset, testing a new outer shell garment for Swazi Apparel can lead to trouble when you push the limits, but you’re going to get an experience out of it too. Here’s the shot, a quick story behind a beaut experience.
I set off with Bia Boucinhas (a Brasilian friend training as a mountain/Antarctic guide in NZ) to climb Mount Taranaki and get some winter photos. Davey Hughes of Swazi had stuffed a newly designed goretex lightweight ‘Narwhal’ anorak into my hand and told me to test it the day before. Of course I’d said. Little did I know what a testing it, and we, were going to get. The day had been fine as we set off to climb to Syme Hut on Fanthams Peak for the night, before climbing Mt Taranaki the following day. As is often the case here, the weather changes very fast despite the best weather forecasting, and sure enough we were pushing through cloud and wind by the half way mark.
Approaching the summit of Fatham’s Peak we were hit by hurricane strength winds and a freezing southerly which made it very hard to stand up. Visibility dropped to 3 metres making it very hard to find the white ice covered hut in a total white out where visibility was 2-3 metres. Things were getting serious at this point as our core body temperatures were plummeting fast in the… > > > Continue reading : full post + comments > > >
September 15th, 2011 § 0 comments, Add the 1st
I’ve been photographing a book about Molesworth Station; New Zealand’s largest station at 200,000 hectares (500,000 acres!).
The dramatic changes in landscapes, colours and seasons are imperceptible to our human time scale. I’ve just compared 3 photos taken 5 months apart and watched the richness of colour fade out to a stark reality of a barren winter landscape. Beautiful.
So, merged, the top two look great:
Looking forward to the spring colour flush…
September 9th, 2011 § 2 comments - add yours
Rob Suisted was interviewed again by Sarah Bradley on Good Morning TVNZ, yesterday morning.
He was talking about his 8th & 9th books just released. Let us know how you think the interview went. All the best.
September 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments, Add the 1st
That time of year when our calendar publishers unveil there collections. Here are a few dedicated Rob Suisted titles and covers you’ll see in all great stores around New Zealand:
This year would be one of the best looking line ups of retail products we’ve done. Rob is very happy with the quality - they look really good. The New Zealand Panorama title is especially delicious - full of his heartfelt favourite panorama images.
August 29th, 2011 § 0 comments, Add the 1st
Cameron Williamson, travel editor of the DomPost, kindly did this interview about Rob Suisted and his 9th new book release.
August 18th, 2011 § 2 comments - add yours
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.
August 17th, 2011 § 5 comments - add yours
Just got advance copies of my eigth and ninth books arrive. Smaller softcover titles this time. Especially like the Mount Ngauruhoe cover; Beaut. You should see these in shops in the next week or two.
Also - I’m judging the NZ Geographic Magazine Photographer of the Year awards again in 2011. Make sure you get your entries in by 14 September 2011 here
August 3rd, 2011 § 0 comments, Add the 1st
I love most the unexpected nature of photography.
Yesterday Garry Glynn contacted me to photograph a family heirloom piece. Other photographers he’d contacted weren’t interested; I assume it being a small paying private job. I had a hunch that there was something more interesting about it, took it on, and luckily I was proved right.
89 year old Garry arrived and delivered to my hand a small simple heavy brass drinking cup similar to many I’d used in India. Nothing special except it had engraving around the outside. It carried a story that I’m still thinking about today; a story of history and horrific human bloodshed.
Turns out Garry’s relative (Col Sgt J. Barry, 39th Dorestshire Regiment) was present at the Battle of Maharajpore, India, on the 29th December 1843. He was lucky to make it. 5000 people did not make it that day! In a nutshell, Central and Northern India had fallen to British forces in 1818, but Marathas in Gwalior saw the failed British campaign in Afghanistan as opportunity to regain independence. The battle ensued. It’s believed that nearly 800 Bristish soldiers and 3-4000 Marathans were killed; an unbelievable slaughter of human beings in one day. The significance of this event for the British is remembered with the Gwalior Star campaign medal.
Garry is passing this family ‘war trophy’ or heirloom down to the next generation and wanted a photo showing all the cup’s text to give to his relatives. My job was to attempt that. Given the circular object with concave face, and the highly reflective nature of the surface, the job wasn’t straightforward. But I love a challenge, and I reckon it could be done.
First up was to prepare the vessel. A good polish brought out a good shine, and a closely held candle flame sooted the surface up nicely, and another shine left a little soot in the engraving. Next was figuring out how to light the face of the vessel with even light. No problems there, get an Elinchrom studio light out and pop on a softbox, but trouble is that you can’t get a camera in there without interrupting the clean lighting. I tried a couple of tilt shift lenses attempting to shoot off the central axis, but this just distorted too much. Then I figured the concave front face would let me lower the softbox and shoot over the top without breaking the clean reflection - great.
Once a nice even light was sorted, next was to carefully rotate the vessel and photograph ovelapping images. Another lens base proved to be the perfect stage.
I ran this through a panorama stitching programme and gave it a clean up. Garry just called around today and seems very happy with the result:
But I’ve been thinking about the cup since: what horrors and good times it has witnessed, and what route it has taken to arrive in my hands? Garry tells me that a number of ‘retired’ seasoned British soldiers were offered land in New Zealand in exchange for being willing to fight in the NZ land wars if necessary. They become known as ‘The Fencibles’, and this is the route in which the cup arrived in NZ.
I also found this gritty, stiff upper lip, description of the battle by Henry Man. It’s a short honest read that gives you an appreciation of how gnastly that day must have been. Please take a moment to read it if you can.
So, all in all, a photo job that paid for itself in not only in dollar terms, but that was also rich in knowledge, experience, and technical challenge.
April 15th, 2011 § 1 comment - add yours
My day was brightened with an email from room 12 of Marina View school in Auckland. They wrote explaining they were studying artists, and this week for photography were using my photography as inspiration. They sent me some of their work, and today proudly gave me permission to share some of their photos.
The pupils are year 3, which means in NZ they’re 7 year olds. I’m impressed. Thanks Room 12, and thanks for recognising me.
My favourite is the palm fronds because it has a really nice strong design, but I think you’ve all done very well. Keep up the great efforts. Who knows, I might just see you out and about photographing nature one day?
March 25th, 2011 § 0 comments, Add the 1st
Things have been really busy since returning from Antarctica; I’ve been a little remiss on updates amongst the exciting jobs.
I’m working on three new books at the moment. One book is on a well known high country station which I’m really enjoying. I had another visit last week and again met great people, great scenery and it was nice to photograph hard working people in dusty dry conditions; hard on photo gear, but good atmosphere. Here’s an image that evokes one of the mornings with the stockmen.
I also had the pleasure of meeting the Bush’s of Bush’s Honey, Blenheim. They’ve been beekeepers since 1916, and are very nice folks - I’ll be buying their honey from Moore Wilson’s from now on. They put me in a bee suit to take some photos of working their hives. They’ve developed their craft without the use of smoke to calm the bees, necessary in a very high fire hazard zone in the high country. Fine for them, but I soon discovered that bees (when there are millions of angry ones) are experts at exploiting weaknesses. If I put my camera too close to my eyes they could sting through the veil mesh, and after 2 hours their tally was 4 stings to my face. No probs at the time, all part of this job. But, a day later I was feeling very sorry for myself. An extremely swollen face was testament to the poor lymphatic drainage abilities of our faces; I was the elephant man incarnate and scaring small children and some adults. I was unrecognisable! I’d post a photo here, but seriously it’s not good for PR. Thankfully the swelling has pretty much left now after a week, and I found out that if I was allergic to bees I wouldn’t be here to write this. It was surprisingly extreme photography, very exciting with hundreds of bees smashing into the body aand face mesh, while trying to take photos. I now understand why the Bush’s take safety so seriously. Thanks for the amazing experience guys - and the honey sandwiches!
I’ve also been working up the Whanganui River, with a spot of walking, jetboating and canoeing with Bridge to Nowhere tours. A great place somewhat off the beaten track, and some great images. A highlight was calling into the old convent at Jerusalum near Pipiriki early one morning. Such a peaceful place with sun forcing through the river fog on a windless morning, surrounded by trees groaning under the weight of ripening fruit. A little paradise.
Some nice news this week. My book Majestic New Zealand just won runner up in the Whitcoulls pictorial book of the year awards at the Travcom conference. Simon Mcmanus (VP at Travcom) kindly let me know that the judges said it was very close to judge. So, I’m proud about that, and grateful to Travcom and Whitcoulls. The book is available signed via my website bookstore and here’s a short youtube clip of the book. Sorry about the music, but I’m a photographer….
February 28th, 2011 § 3 comments - add yours
Commissioned commercial photography is something I really enjoy. It’s time to make a dedicated website for the commissioned side of my photography business. I’ve been privileged to work with some top clients, on some truly challenging and great jobs around New Zealand over the years. This new website showcases some of that work and touts for more.
I’ve worked across an immensely diverse suite of photographic projects: from remote aerial filming, Antarctica & the Arctic, editorial photographic work for magazines and books, portraits (corporate or candid), travel photography, working with animals and children, and even filmed emotions.
Experience has taught that the only constant in photography is uncertainty (every job is unique and different) and that drawing from a diverse range of experience and ‘tricks of the trade’ while adding in fresh ideas is the key to figuring out and excelling at the next photographic challenge. I love it and will be doing more alongside my Nature’s Pic Images business.
I’d love to get your feedback on version 1.0, or hear any bright ideas you have to make it better. Thanks.
January 25th, 2011 § 6 comments - add yours
How do you sum up Antarctica with one photo? Tough? Impossible?
I’ve done over 15 expeditions to the Ross Sea, Adelie Coast and Antarctic Peninsula, but took my first photo last week that nearly captures the essence of Antarctica for me. Here it is:
I had about 30 minutes to myself amongst an area of stranded icebergs. The sky was heavy with no wind. Magic starts to happen. I had to find it. Slowly I weaved my zodiac boat amongst … > > > Continue reading : full post + comments > > >
December 20th, 2010 § 2 comments - add yours
Bianca Edwards doesn’t do things by halves. But her back was broken in halves. Her story is as remarkable as her attitude. Several weeks ago I shot the New Zealand Geographic Magazine article on ‘Happiness’. Bianca was part of this story. I enjoyed meeting her, and thoroughly enjoyed working together on an image that captured her remarkable spirit. On the drive back to the office, my assistant Aliscia Young spoke about the inspiration we’d both experienced. Let me tell you about it.
Bianca was a top athlete, competing in multi-sport events, and while training, was hit from behind by a van at 100km/h. Her back was shattered and she was lucky to survive. What followed is a remarkable recovery led by determination, optimism and, I think above all, the unwillingness to be a victim to her situation. The article by Dave Hansford focuses on how Bianca was able to readjust her expectations; from expecting to win events, to making simple steps, like wiggling a toe. A trait that some research suggests is key to being happy.
So, knowing this, how do you approach a photo shoot that gives dignity to the subject, captures their spirit, and avoids creating another cliched photo of a disabled person toiling against obstacles?
Discussing angles on the phone with Bianca was a joy - full of ideas and keen to give it her best, we threw around ideas about the things that were important to her - fitness, swimming, study, Ducatis… Motorcycle riding was key, especially with her friends and fellow Ducati owners Carla and Fiona (friends like this that Bianca rates in her recovery) . Hang on….from not being able to walk, to riding big motorcycles?! The angle fast became clear. But, how to shoot a portrait that captured this story?
Bianca’s story in the happiness article for me is one of ‘freedom’ - freedom of movement, but also freedom of mind. So, it was important that we had a very dynamic image to portray freedom. We tried to accomplish this with an open face helmet, but the freedom died. With considerable care we took this without the helmet. I think we caught Bianca’s spirit in the image below. What do you think?
TECHNICAL SPECS: We pottered very slowing along with a 1/8th sec shutter with ND filter, while using my aerial photography gyro stabiliser to maintain sharpness but achieve a blurred movement. I super-clamped and magic armed 3 strobes to the back of the vehicle, and shot from the rear hatch. Canon 1dsMk3, 16-35mm, ND filter, 3 canon flashes, Kenro gyro.
December 16th, 2010 § 2 comments - add yours
I just had the opportunity to photograph some remarkable animals. Kaimanawa wild horses can polarise people. They made me think.
I was a professional conservation manager before I was a professional photographer. I am well aware of the issues with these introduced animals living in an environment of high conservation values, such as these horses. This issue touched me years ago as minute taker for one of the advisory meetings on mustering the horses back in the 1990’s when scientists and managers nutted out the operational plan to manage their numbers. I’ve also studied zoology, and animal behaviour is a huge interest area given my photography. I’ve never gone out of my way for horses, and really haven’t had much to do with them.
Why am I explaining you this? Well, my recent experience was a surprise. I discovered a spirited animal with interesting behavioural traits I hadn’t expected. The horse, domesticed by man over thousands of years, again returning to a wild state & rebuilding its wild traits. I discovered a huge difference between domesticated horses, and those that run free.
The word ‘broken in’ refers to spirit I feel. I saw colts and stallions galloping kilometres across open tussock to challenge each other, and then race back. I saw stallions protecting their herd, and a mare cautiously introducing her new foal to her herd. I saw piles of horse poo stacked high as a territory or social marking. But, beyond all I saw spirit. Of course, I’m in two minds - I’m into conservation, but I can also see the other side of the argument to retain some of these animals; to have a wild animal running free - for their spirit but also ours as humans. A quandary alright; one that touches on our conservation ethic, but also strums spirited chords deep within our psyche. Both have value.
I went to photograph horses. I found a lot more.
I’m pleased to make my favourite image from the day available as a high quality canvas print. He’s really fired up and full of himself, and the flowing mane and glare in his eyes says it all.
Thank you to Peter Cosgrove for his generous gift of time and hospitality to make this trip possible. What is your view about these animals?
December 8th, 2010 § 1 comment - add yours
Just had a week shooting an article on ‘Happiness‘ for the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of New Zealand Geographic Magazine.
A bit outside my normal beat, but despite initial trials and tribulations, it became a most satisfying and challenging week. Meeting, filming and spending time with such a varied group of people interested in happiness, really made me happy. Not surprising really - from a buddhist monk to a philosopher, brain researcher and even an athlete who has learnt to walk again and now shes rides ducatis for fun, it was very inspiring. I hope my images do them all justice. Here’s a hint of what’s coming. And here’s another teaser from NZ Geographic http://twitpic.com/3bf5ed. Have a look out when the next issue arrives, and let me know what you think. I’ll be writing more on this subject. All the best, Rob
November 22nd, 2010 § 1 comment - add yours
We’re very pleased to annouce the launch of a quality canvas photo print range by Rob Suisted. It’s been a huge task selecting prints we’d be proud to see on peoples’ walls.
With Christmas shopping underway, we wanted to make these great gifts available as soon as possible. We also hope that people will just enjoy browsing amongst beautiful images from around New Zealand. We’d love for you to pay a visit and give as any feedback or improvements you feel warranted (we’ve had some great ones so far). Visit: www.RobSuistedonCanvas.co.nz.
October 29th, 2010 § 9 comments - add yours
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 > > >
September 20th, 2010 § 3 comments - add yours
UPDATE 29 Oct: WE WON our section! …… We’ve become a finalist in the 2010 Magazine Cover awards! I worked with New Zealand Geographic Magazine to create a special image to showcase our threatened New Zealand Falcon.
I’m very proud of the image and how NZ Geographic treated it. Obviously other people agree and of course, I’d love it to win the title. If you agree it would be great to get your vote here: http://www.themaggies.co.nz/vote-now/ (and there’s a $5 discount incentive on subscriptions). Fingers crossed.
August 9th, 2010 § 0 comments, Add the 1st
Michael Kerrisk contacted us for a cover photo for his new book. He’s very smart, and he’s a Kiwi doing good stuff in a far off land. Naturally we thought it great to have iconic kiwi image gracing his book cover and pitched a fresh fern koru image.
Michael loved the idea, in terms of what the koru represented, the clean fresh NZ link, and the obvious fractals pattern association (you’ll need a big brain to understand that apparently).
So here it is - a NZ connection to a new book on Linux Programming. Judging by the spine, she’s a tome and a half.
Congratulations Michael. It was a pleasure to help add the finishing touches of the New Zealand connection.
Want to see more stock photos of New Zealand fern korus?