GOPI 2018

I entered the Guardians of Pauatahanui Inlet photo competition again this year and managed to get my best result so far with winning photos in the Recreation and Artistic categories along with three highly commended photos in the Recreation, Artistic and Scenic categories (I’d previously won the Wildlife category back in 2013). Alayna and I attended the prizegiving (Keryn was in Auckland for the weekend taking a well deserved friends weekend) and it was nice to see Alayna taking pride in the winning photo that featured her and also clapping me as I went up to get my certificates.

There will be a few photos in the Whitby Newsbrief newspaper June edition. The winning photos are below. Over the past year I’d visited the inlet a few times, always looking for a new angle. A lot of times I was trying to get photos of the fernbirds now resident in the reserve but none of the photos I got of the fernbird were worth entering, the great photos will come! In previous years the competition judge, Geoff Marshall, had suggested a few things to try such as the following:

“If you see a good image it is often worth returning when the light is at its best and repeating the photo. This is usually early in the morning or in the late afternoon.”

I’ll often visit in the late afternoon for this reason, the light is better and there is a chance for some nice colour in the sky around sunset. The fernbird also seem to be more active around dusk but its difficult to capture the elusive little birds when they like to keep to the vegetation. Capturing the great shots will come, I just have to visit more often.

On the boardwalk - Winner in the Recreation category

On the boardwalk – Winner in the Recreation category

Dusk toe toe - Winner in the Artistic category

Dusk toe toe – Winner in the Artistic category

Reeds in motion - Highly commended in the Artistic category

Reeds in motion – Highly commended in the Artistic category

Fire above - Highly commended in the Scenic category

Fire above – Highly commended in the Scenic category

And Jump! - Highly commended in the Recreation category

And Jump! – Highly commended in the Recreation category

The Strait Feronia

Recently the Wellington ferry company Bluebridge announced that they had purchased a new ferry and it was sailing its way from Sweden to arrive on the 1st June. There was an associated photo competition to capture the best photo of the Strait Feronia’s Wellington arrival so I figured we’d get out and see if we could get some good shots. With a bit of pre-planning and the help of an app on my phone that tracked ships (MarineTraffic) we set out on the Monday morning towards Seatoun to capture the Strait Feronia as it entered Wellington harbour.

We parked near the start of the Benoit Trail above Breaker Bay and then walked up through the Oruaiti Reserve to the gun emplacements that were part of Fort Dorset. With panoramic views over the harbour mouth this was a fantastic viewpoint for watching the Strait Feronia arrive. The ferry was a dot in the distance as we arrived but soon enough she was cutting past Baring Head following a pilot boat. It was a still and overcast morning and we were surprised by a bit of rain which had us heading back to the car. There was time for a quick few photos of the Strait Feronia nearing Matiu/Somes Island and then we were driving towards Mt Victoria to see if we could catch the ferry reach its new home.

Watching the arriving Strait Feronia

Watching the arriving Strait Feronia

Entering the harbour past Baring Head

Entering the harbour past Baring Head

Sailing past Matiu/Somes Island

The Mt Victoria lookout only had a few people in attendance and we got there in plenty of time to watch the Strait Feronia be introduced to Wellington. There was a tug boat in attendance spraying a fountain of water and two helicopters circled around as well. The cloud was starting to break up and then the sun came out to shine on the harbour. I got a few more photos and then we enjoyed some sun at the summit while Alayna played around.

A proud display

A proud display, my competition entry

This morning I got a phone call on the way to work from Priscilla at Bluebridge telling me that I’d won the photo competition with my entry above! Keryn and I now have some planning to do as we’re won a Britz campervan for 5 nights plus accommodation and petrol costs and of course return ferry fares as well. Goes to show that a little preparation can pay off :).

A summer holiday – Hamilton

We had a couple of nights in Hamilton and we spent our free day wandering in the city and later on going for a walk to visit Adam’s school. I had told Bridget about a photo competition I am looking at entering which has a theme around tea in an urban setting. Bridget though the Lido Cinema would be a suitable spot for some photos so Keryn and Bridget got to enjoy some tea while I pottered around taking photos.

Tea at the Lido

Tea at the Lido

Alayna enjoyed the Lido as there was plenty of space to crawl around. Adam had the pleasure of using my camera for a while to take a lot of photos of the Lido and all of us. I let him use it as we left the Lido as well and wandered back through Centerplace towards where we’d parked the car.

Posing for Adam

Posing for Adam

The youngest Guardian of the Galaxy

The youngest Guardian of the Galaxy

In Garden Place there was a large Christmas tree and also a large frame for Christmas themed photos. Adam wasn’t impressed so much at being the subject rather than the photographer (I know that feeling). Alayna was happy to be let loose on the grass and also later enjoyed riding a rocking horse found in the library.

Somewhat Merry Christmas?

Somewhat Merry Christmas?

Exploring garden place

Exploring garden place

GOPI 2013

Keryn and I attended the prizegiving for the Guardians of Pauatahanui Inlet (GOPI) 2013 photography competition. I was lucky enough to be chosen as the winner in the nature category and had 3 photos highly commended across a few categories as well. The photos entered improve every year and I think I’ve been learning from the results of previous years where I’ve been highly commended, enough to win a category this time around. Now to spend the rest of year taking more photos for the 2014 competition.

IMG 2045Photo by Brendon & Keryn

My winning photo in the GOPI 2013 photography competition.

In addition to certificates I also got a lovely canvas print of my photo and also some prizes from Jackson Clarke Real Estate, Bright’s Mitre 10 Paremata, Duck Creek restaurant in Pauatahanui and Flaming Frog coffee. Well worth entering I think.

Competition results, a book and a calendar

I’ve been slowly thinking through what I might enter for two of the bigger NZ based competitions coming up, the DPhoto Amateur Photographer of the Year and NZ Geographic Photographer of the Year. For the NZ Geographic competition I can take some encouragement from the Flickr group they promote. The editor and photo editor are regularly going through the submitted photos and choosing favourites and every two months three photos are selected to be included in the next published magazine. One of my photos was selected for the latest magazine, issue 115, and I got paid for the privilege as well which is always a bonus.

Night glowPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

The Balloons over Waikato night glow, as seen in NZ Geographic issue 115.

Kudos must go to my sister Bridget. We visited Hamilton after our Auckland trip, staying just one night that happened to coincide with the night glow event. Keryn and I were blissfully unaware that the balloon event was on until Bridget suggested we attend. It was a pleasant evening watching the crowd grow and then the balloons first inflate and then glow in time to music.

Also coming out shortly from NZ Geographic is a book celebrating New Zealand using a selection of photos from the Flickr group submitted over the past 12 months. The book was to be called Image Nation but now has the name Southern Exposure, it may change again. I’ve got a photo in the book, a shot taken at the Malaysian Night Market in Wellington last year.

Malaysian Night Market in WellingtonPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Opera House Lane transformed for one night into a food market.

I’ve also had success in a couple of recent photo competitions. As last year I have been highly commended in the Guardians of Pauatahanui Inlet photo competition for 2012 in the wildlife section with following portrait of a pukeko.

MG 1840Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A pukeko in the reeds.

And yesterday I found out I won the landscape category of Tiritiri Matangi 2012 photo competition with the Lighthouse and Stars photo. The photo will probably be included in the Tiritiri Matangi 2013 calendar so I’ll put a link up to where it can be purchased once its available. I suspect I’ll be using that photo in a few other competitions this year (terms and conditions allowing).

Tiritiri Matangi LighthousePhoto by Brendon & Keryn

The lighthouse and the stars.


The 2011 Canon Photo5 competition is underway and the first category closes for entries today. The category asks for creative close-up photos of foam and these are a few of my attempts, with my entry the last.

Playing with foamPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Multiple colours.

Playing with foamPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Contrasting colours.

Playing with foamPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Narrow depth of field.

Playing with foamPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Getting very close.

Playing with foamPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Fluro caviar.

All the photos were taken using a macro lens with the camera on a tripod and a cable release used to minimise shaking. The foam was made using the packet of soapy glycerine provided by Canon in the Photo5 box. I mixed this with water (using Keryn’s hot chocolate whisk, shhh!) to make lots of bubbles and then scooped off the bubbles onto a white tile. Food colouring was added and then I just rotated the tile looking for interesting angles. Next up will be the low light and panning categories I think, if I get time.

The Great Weta Race pt. 3

There were a number of different groups who went out during the day on the Great Weta Race and as they all came back to the Weta Cave their photos were put on display so everyone could see the fantastic efforts of all concerned. Once the final group came back and the last photos had been viewed there was a period of deliberation and then prizes were awarded. There were various categories including best dressed, most locations visited and more. Keryn and I won for best use of social media for our live blogging of the adventure and the prize was a one-off book Ian had printed (through Blurb) of his favourite photos over the last couple of years. It’s a lovely book and probably the most appropriate thing we could have won so we’re very happy. We thanked Ian and got our new book signed (along with the new guidebook we’d bought in the morning) and then headed home.

Great Weta Race - A PrizePhoto by Brendon & Keryn

With Ian and our prize.

The sun was setting as we drove through Mana so we had a short diversion to the beach at Plimmerton to watch the setting sun. A beautiful end to the days adventure.

Sunset on the beachPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Keryn on the beach.

Sunset from PlimmertonPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Sunset on the beach at Plimmerton.

For any who may wonder how we performed the blogging, a quick outline. I took photos as usual in RAW format and started downloading them as we left Kaitoke onto the laptop we had with us. I set my phone up as a wireless access point, connected wirelessly using the laptop and uploaded the photos to Flickr after processing and exporting using Lightroom. I had typed up text in notepad earlier and used this to create the wordpress blog entry, linking in the flickr photos and published the blog. The second entry was done outside the Weta cave before we went inside using the same process. It was all quite easy in the end.

DPhoto Amateur Photographer of the Year 2011

The 2011 DPhoto Amateur Photographer of the Year competition is running until April 26th but I figured I’d get my entries in now, you can see them below. There are six categories and I’ve entered a photo in each.

This year they’ve done away with the silly voting system from last time around and now have a simple facebook like button with each entry (the terms and conditions have also been changed to indicate that votes may not have any influence on judging anyway). If you click the like button you will get my gratitude but also a rather boring entry posted to your facebook wall (which can be deleted without the vote being lost). Lastly, the site tends to load very slowly (because there is no optimisation of images, they are resized on the fly from the original entry).

With all those caveats if you’d still like to vote the links are below each image preview below:

IMG 1777Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Dphoto “Monochrome” category entry:

Entry for the People categoryPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Dphoto “People” category entry:

Entry for the Heart of New Zealand categoryPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

DPhoto “Heart of New Zealand” category entry:

IMG 9095Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Dphoto “Travel” category entry:

Entry for the Landscape categoryPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Dphoto “Landscape” category entry:

Entry for the Creative categoryPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Dphoto “Creative” category entry:

Additionally my younger brother Richard has also entered in the People category with a photo of his daughter Keira, his photo here:

Keira and the WobbalyPhoto by R_Doran

Richard’s Dphoto “People” category entry:

An excuse for photos

There are a couple of photo competitions that I’ll be looking at entering over the next month or so. The DPhoto Amateur Photographer of the Year is back and this year sponsored by Nikon. They’ve done away with the silly voting scheme from last year as well which is good. I’ve also recently found out about the Guardians of Pauatahanui Inlet annual photo competition. Seeing as I’ve been taking photos around the area for nearly a year now I figure I should enter that as well.

So I’ve been thinking about photos that I already have that can be entered and also looking to take a few more shots. Here are some Pauatahanui Inlet photos from the last week.

MG 1823Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Farmland bordering the inlet.

Rainbow over Pauatahanui InletPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

A rainbow arching over farmland…

Rainbow over Pauatahanui InletPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

…and coming down over the inlet, appearing to touch down at Whitby.

MG 1963Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Nearing sunset.

MG 2030Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Quiet on the estuary at low tide.

Walking Locally

The opportunity finally presented itself (good weather, the tide was right, we were both available and willing) for a chance to walk the coastal path between Pukerua Bay and Plimmerton on the weekend just gone. We caught the train from Plimmerton to Pukerua Bay and then headed down to the Bay before following the coast all the way around until we arrived at Plimmerton, a walking journey of around 12km. There is a good description of the track, named the Wairaka Walkway, on the website.

MG 1082Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Near the start at Pukerua Bay.

The coast here is rocky and for the most part we were walking over rocks, be they craggy peninsulas or long curves of smooth stone beaches. The only other people we encountered along the coastline were either fishing or snorkelling for seafood. Out to sea there were plenty of small boats containing hopeful fishermen, the more successful identified by accompanied flocks of seabirds. We saw plenty of seagulls and terns, the occasional gannets and on turn sad occasions came across dead little blue penguins lying on the rocky shore near the high tide mark. I spotted a few rays out amongst the seaweed but otherwise we didn’t see much sea-life, a few small fish and anemones in rock pools the exceptions.

MG 1093Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Fishing with Kapiti Island on the horizon.

MG 1101Photo by Brendon & Keryn

One of the unfortunate penguins, no visible reason for its death.

MG 1103Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A long stretch of stony beach.

Keryn kept herself busy by collecting paua shells as we walked along, washed up on shore from previous gathering and eating. It wasn’t a difficult walk, sometimes it was tough walking across the longer stone beaches where each step sank into the stones and we had a few sections of hoping between larger rocks. With plenty of water and a few snacks we had plenty of energy to make it to Plimmerton. Closing in on Plimmerton the cliffs to our left were soon covered in toi toi and we then passed a quarry and a few batches made out of shipping containers. The sandy beaches at Plimmerton were in use by a number of people making the most of the warm and calm weather.

MG 1108Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Toi toi on the cliffs.

MG 1110Photo by Brendon & Keryn

A large rock on the beach, Mana Island in the background.

MG 1126Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Pirates and shipping containers.

MG 1130Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Summer on the beach at Plimmerton.

I’ll end with some morning photos from a few weeks back, the sun rising over the Pauatahanui hills and beaming through the heavy atmosphere to moody effect.

Early morning light IIPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Early morning mood.

Early morning light IPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Shafts of light.

I found out that there is a local photo competition themed around the Pauatahanui Inlet, by happy coincidence I’ve got nearly a years worth of photos to enter. More details on the competition can be found on the Guardians of Pauatahanui Inlet website.

Entered, almost

I’ve pretty much run out of time to take more photos for the Photo5 competition so I’ve uploaded four of my five entries. You can see the entries by clicking on the Photo5 image below.

photo5 entries

My photo5 entries

The one photo I haven’t uploaded is for the Inspired by Sound category. I want to enter the following photo but the terms and conditions require subject approval before upload, and I have no idea who this guy is to ask. I’ve posted notes on a couple of surfing forums on the off chance he is recognised. Otherwise I’ll have to choose another photo.

Who is this man?

Who is this man?

Photo5 2010: Confetti in motion

A lovely morning with light wind had me out on the deck shooting another idea, this time for the Confetti in Motion category.

It took a lot of tries to get decent confetti action, not so easy without an assistant to let the confetti fly, hold out my hand and fire the camera. In the end the camera was on a 10 second timer.

It also took a while to sort out the correct focus, out of shot is the chair I used to mark the correct distance for the hand. On the ground was a blanket so picking up the confetti would be easier, though picking up the confetti between shots was still not fun. The off camera flash was propped up on a monopod leaning against the camera (itself on a tripod).

The most boring video you might ever see, but at least the music is good.

After all that I still had to clean up a few things in photoshop and crop the image. Thankfully the best photo wasn’t the one with Earl’s tail poking up into the frame, that would have taken a lot more work to remove. I think it came out OK in the end.

Photo5: Confetti in MotionPhoto by Brendon & Keryn

Confetti in motion.

Oh, I found the confetti at a shop off Lampton Quay in Wellington at a party supplies shop in the mall that contains the Homeware shop and access to Borders.