Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A bit of a change ...

Autumn and night time, especially when the temperature cools offers some interesting possibilites with the camera.  I've often been quite taken with the way the street lights make shadows on the silver birch trees in my front yard so thought I'd try a few shots this evening.
It was really quite dark and so exposures were up at about 30 second with the ISO set at 800 and 1600.

Colours?  Ah, well, we've played with these a little.  The shots as imported off the camera were way to red.  The street light is a yellow colour and I think the auto white balance got a bit confused.  Anyway, let me know what you think.

The last shot in this post is of the grass under the tree.  I mentioned that the temperatures were falling and you can pick out the dew on the grass.  I quite liked the sparkles  in the water droplets and the somewhat abstract effect in a closeup shot of the grass stalks.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rico Tali and Oceania Storm

It must be just over a year ago that I first met Rico playing with Allegro at the Osborne Street Bar in Newmarket, Auckland.  There he was, switching between saxophone, flute and bongo drums.  Very talented gent, and I must admit to being very impressed with his skills on the sax and flute.  Here's an old shot of Rico on flute you might like.

More recently I saw Rico at the Stage of Origin event.  There he was playing the guitar!  Haha ... saxophone, flute, guitar, drums and, as it happens, vocals also.  Hugely talented gent.

So, when I caught up with Rico down at Manurewa's RSA it wasn't a surprise to see him on the guitar.  Playing with Oceania Storm Rico switched between sax and guitar as well helping out with the vocals.  It was good, but I wasn't impressed with the lights.

Oceania Storm has more members (12) than any of the other groups with which I'd seen Rico perform previously and the music was predominately of the Reggae style.  The folks at the RSA loved it!  Many folks, young and old, were on the dance floor  having a fine time.

I'll close this post with a couple more shots from the evening.  Exposures were at about 1/50sec, aperture f1.8 and ISO up at 6400.  As I said ... the light wasn't the best.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Hypnotics at the Grassroots Mixer

Jem Jess Matthews at the Otara Grassroots Mixer
Grassroots Mixer again for this post with Anonymouz and the Hypnotics.  These guys were the last band to perform and concluded a superb event.  Congratulations and thanks to all the organisers and participants.

First image in this post is of Jem Jess Matthews.  Of the musicians I've been photographing over the past few years, Jess must be one of my favourite vocalists.  Immensely talented lady with a gorgeous voice.  There's a huge range of music for which Jess's voice just seems to fit.  It's about a year ago when I really got a feel for Jess's vocal abilities when she performed at the Ivory Lounge in Parnell.  You might recall my earlier post?

A bit disappointing was the weather.  It was a bit grey and then we even had a bit of a shower ... neither of which seemed to affect the performances I'm happy to say, but you may notice some raindrops in the other images in this post.  Perhaps it was Wiggidy WayQs short prayer that helped the sun come out later in the day?

The next few images are of familiar band members ... Anonymouz, Deuce and Wiggidy WayQs.



Wiggidy WayQs

Another treat for me was to see Mr Ru on the harmonica.  I first came across James Ru at the AUT Manukau Campus opening.  You may remember this shot?  Quite a few numbers in the Grassroots Mixer set called for the musical talents of James.  Great job James.
Mr. James Ru

Mr. James Ru on harmonica

Mr. James Ru on harmonica

I'll close this post with a couple more images of the other band members.  On keyboards there's Mark Steven, but I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't know the names of the other band members.  If you do ... perhaps add their names as a comment?
Mark Steven

Monday, May 23, 2011


It was a blast.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was seriously impressed.  Stomp out violence.  That was the theme and the dance crews put together some truely stunning performances.  Check out the STOMP2011 website for more details and perhaps get involved.

I took my camera along and managed to get a few shots.  Not the easiest as the performers moved pretty fast and the light wasn't too intense.  I set the camera on manual as the lights played a few tricks.  In general, ISO6400, 1/100sec and f5.6.  Focal lengths between 28 and 300mm.

Perhaps let me know what you think after you've had a look at the shots below ... oh, and don't forget to check out the STOMP2011 website.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


What a treat to see Ria at the Grassroots Mixer in Otara.  Ria has a lovely voice and is a really charming lady.  We were very fortunate to see her at the free concert in Otara on Saturday.  She didn't just sing on stage but came down amongst the crowds and danced with some of the children.  Just like STKS engaged with the crowd, so did Ria.  Great fun and I'm sure the kids loved every minute.

I first saw Ria perform at the Stage of Origin event back in March this year.  I must admit to being very impressed by her vocal talents then, and nothing happened on Saturday to change my view that Ria is one hugely talented young lady.

STOMP 2011 was later in the day and guess who performed whilst the judges were totaling the dance groups scores?  Haha!  You guessed it.  Ria!  This was a real treat for me to again hear Ria's lovely voice.  Oh, and I managed a few more shots as it happens.

I'll close this post with a few more shots of Ria.  The last three are from the STOMP 2011 event.  Quite low light and the ISO was up at 6400, hence the rather noisier images.  Perhaps let me know what you think and maybe check out my Facebook pages for more images?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

STKS ... Rhythm and Brown

Last of the Grassroots Mixer Gigs in Otara today, but what a way to finish!  Great performances by each of the artists even though we had a bit of rain.

Perhaps the most colourful performer with his bright red shirt was STKS.  On stage playing guitar for an acoustic number with Ria and then with his sisters to treat us with songs from his Rhythm and Brown CD.  Great with the crowd and he even managed to encourage some superb dance performances from a few of the youngsters.  I was impressed.

Oh, the CD ... haha!  Take a look at the first shot in this post and you'll not only see what its called (STKS Rhythm and Brown) but you can see what to look out for in the music stores.  Give it a spin ... you won't be disappointed.

We enjoyed other performances from Anonymouz and The Hypnotics as well as Ria.  There's a huge amount of talent here in South Auckland and it's a real privilege to be able to see it for free at events like these.  Well done to the organisers and sponsors.

I'll close this post with a few more shots of the man himself ... STKS.  Keep and eye out for the next few posts where I'll feature some of the other artists.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Music in Otara

The Niu FM crew at Otara ... keeping everything on track and to time.
It was good ... really good.  Here's a few links to shots of the bands on Facebook ... take a squiz and let me know what you think ...  Devolo, VXN, Rosita Vai and Malcolm Lakatani.  So there I was, in the centre of Otara for a free, open air music concert and the weather was good too!  I had a great time and managed to get a few shots of the performers.  It seems ages since I've been shooting the bands and must admit to having a heap of fun with the folks on stage today. 
Devolo on stage in Otara.
Rosita Vai
Lead guitarist with Rosita Vai.
Dylan Elise playing drums with Malcolm Lakatani.
Malcolm's band with, from left to right, Ross Devereux (sax), Dylan Elise (drums), Malcolm Lakatani (lead guita and vocals), Semi Leo (bass guitar) and Karl Benton (keyboards).  Great musicians and a great perfromance.
Mista Lakatani.
Don't forget to take a squiz at the shots on Facebook (links are at the start of this post) and let me know what you think.  Also, next week, same time and same place (10.30am in Otara's Shopping Centre) there's another performance ... different bands, but it promises to be as good as what went down today.  If you're free you should come down!

Monday, May 9, 2011

HDR at Waitomo

The Waitomo Caves Hotel that you can see in the centre of the first image in this post was built in three stages.  The first part of the building, the Victorian part, was completed in 1908 and was originally called the “Government Hostel at Waitomo”.  The architecture is typically New Zealand Victorian but is based on an Eastern European mountain chalet.  Victorian architect loved asymmetry and none of the hotel’s four walls or four corners are the same.  There were only six bedrooms for guests; the other rooms were an office/reception, kitchen, dining room and staff rooms.

By the mid 1920’s the “Government Hostel” was too small for the growing number of visitors to the Waitomo caves.  In 1928 the “concrete wing” was built.  This was the Art Deco period, which took its architectural influences from many sources.  The concrete pillars and facades are in the Cape Dutch style often seen in South Africa.  The use of thick concrete walls, decks and patios are an American influence and come from the Spanish missionary settlements in California.

In 1954 a liquor license was granted and the hostel became a Hotel.  In 1955 the Hotel became a part of the government owned Hotel chain called the Tourist Hotel Corporation.  In 1990 the Government sold the hotel lease to Southern Pacific Hotel Corporation who then sold the lease to Tourism Holdings Limited in 1996.

Click on the image to get an enlarged view .. you may then be better able to distinguish the different architectural styles in this grand old hotel.

The second image in this post is of the Mangapohue Natural Bridge ... you may recall a shot of this natural feature from my last posting.  You can just make out the lower "bridge" to the bottom left of the image and the uppser "bridge"at the top of the image.  The place was somewhat damp ... but still worth a visit.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Te Awamutu ... and beyond!

Marokopa Falls
Off to Te Awamutu for a gymnastics event, but with a bit of time to spare we headed down to Waitomo ... and then further west to see the Mangapohue Natural Bridge and then the Marokopa Falls.  The first shot in this post is a shot of the top of the falls.  This has been tweaked quite a bit really ... but gives a reasonable impression of the place ... and it's well worth a visit if you're close by.  Shutter speed was reduced to blur the water and then the shot has been processed in Photomatix Pro to give that HDR effect.  Back into Lightroom and and bit of sharpening and reduction in the aqua colours as the sky was looking  really quite strange!  So ... what do you think?  Fancy visiting the falls?  Just to tempt you the second shot shows all pf the falls and this view is from the viewing platform a mere 10 minutes walk from the road.

Both images seem a little "fuzzy" or unclear in certain areas.  All I can think is this is due to the spray from the falls.  We managed to get quite wet as we admired the view.

Marokopa Falls
I mentioned the Mangapohue Natural Bridge.  Quite a fascinating "thing".  Apparently this was a cave some time ago but various parts have fallen down to leave what is now visible ... a double arch across the river below.  This is a seriously damp place with lots of ferns and greenery.  Again, very pretty and worth a peep.  The last shot in this post shown the bridge.  Not the best, but it was pretty wet in there!

So, all in all a pretty pleasant day trip out west from Te Awamutu.
Mangapohue Natural Bridge