May 15, 2019 … grinding of teeth

I spend a lot of time agonising over my photographic ability. I get lots of positive feedback from you, gentle readers and I thank you for it. But my severest critic remains unsatisfied. My best images still fall far short of the best images in the competitions I occasionally  enter.

The infuriating thing is that most of their winning images are within my technical capability. What my images usually lack is their genius way of seeing, of extracting something extraordinary, and usually very simple, from the banal complexity of ordinary life. A self-inflicted handicap is my tendency to shoot in broad daylight rather than in the dramatic low light of the blue and golden hours associated with the start and end of each day. Perhaps I need to get up earlier.

Wanting some images to submit for two prestigious national competitions, I spent half a day skimming through the 5,500 or so images I have retained since January 2018. I make far too many images and retain far too many “snapshots”. In case you are unaware, snapshot is a very derogatory term in photographic circles. I extracted about 50 images that would not embarrass me. I reduced that to 14 images a very few of which might be deemed worthy of acceptance for display. As an accredited judge myself, I am aware of the mercurial fate that makes a judge like or dislike an image so more in hope than expectation I have entered the two competitions and will let you know in due course how I fared.

But as for now, I am engaged in culling the sad images that I should never have kept and am trying even harder to see with the eyes of genius to which I aspire. But enough of the flagellation, here are some shots made since I last wrote.

Autumn colour

Pastoral scene in Silverstream

Silverstream is one of those Hutt Valley places settled early by homesick pioneers who were desperate for the sights and colours of their distant homeland. Seeds were planted and a century or so later we see the lovely colours of deciduous trees in Autumn. It is a brief splash of colour and I needed to position myself carefully to exclude power poles and the severe evergreens of native bush in the background.  I might have gone for a square format to show just the foliage. On the other hand the fence and the horse tell part of the settlers’ story.

Tide

Incoming tide at the boatsheds, Hutt estuary

Many times before I have shown images from the Hikoikoi reserve, so the boats and the boatsheds may be familiar. In my opinion, each visit is different. The boats swing, the tide comes and goes, the clouds and the light vary and each visit offers the chance to see the same place in a new way. I used a wide angle lens (equivalent to 18 mm on a full frame camera) and positioned the camera very close to the sand, I was so intent on the visual aspect of the incoming tide that I didn’t realise how fast it was coming until it seeped through my shoes into my socks.

blue

Blue on blue … the new Lyall Bay Surf Lifesaving club’s premises

Wellingtonians who have been away for a while may recall the surf lifesaving club’s wooden building on Lyall Bay. The old building is dead and gone, and a vividly coloured replacement now stands there. The child in the picture was incidental but I like his red hat. For anyone concerned for his welfare, his father was seated around the corner out of sight, keeping a close watch. I liked the geometry of the composition and blue of the sea and sky and the many shades of blue in the tiles,

Harbour

Captain Herd of the Settler ship Rosanna said in 1826 of Wellington Harbour “Here all the navies of Europe might ride in perfect safety”. He was presuming they wouldn’t shoot at each other.

Stillness always appeals to me, especially on the water. From my son and daughter-in-law’s housein Maungaraki,  I borrowed their front balcony which offers a great view of Wellington’s inner harbour. The light was a little flat, but there was a glittering quality to the water which made it worth the shot

Nga Kina

The closing gaps and the art works

Town planners speak of “view shafts” by which they mean the ever-declining number of places from which their citizens can see between the high-rise buildings to the waterfront and the sea. I fear that this gap at Queens Wharf gates at the bottom of Whitmore St is endangered. I remember in more innocent times being allowed to wander on the wharves alongside ships even as cargo operations were in progress. Alas the parts of the port to which the public have access seems to shrink each year. However, the authorites allow and even commission art works in the remaining areas to soften the blow. In this case, the fibreglass reinforced concrete work in the foreground is “Nga Kina” by Michael Tuffery. I used a neutral density filter to allow a 20 second exposure to tame the water.

Pukeahu

Though it symbolises the “Red Heart of Australia”, the 300 tonnes of sandstone in the memorial were sourced from Agra in India.

The Pukeahu national war memorial  park is located in front of the old Museum part-way up Taranaki St.  One of its feature memorials consisting of 15 red sandstone columns with inlays of New Zealand grey basalt was gifted to the people of New Zealand by the people of Australia. It’s a struggle to see it from other than the obvious angles so I laid my camera on the ground between the columns and fired it remotely. It was quite a challenge to find a view spot that did not include unwanted external items.

Bee

“How doth the little busy bee improve each shining hour …” (Isaac Watts)

Earlier in the year I reported a visit to the cherry blossoms at the Aston Norwood gardens to the North of Upper Hutt. Mary and I went back there a few weeks ago for lunch, and to seek Autumn colour. There was some, but what caught my eye was the industrious honey bees working on the lovely expanse of flowering yellow shrubs. I had a long lens mounted, and this shot was made at a 300 mm equivalent

tree

Standing against the wind

The South Wairarapa district calls me often, and I love it all the more when there is mist in the background. This shot was made on the Lake Ferry Road looking Westward to the Rimutaka ranges. I tried hard to make that weather-worn tree separate from the backgrounde

Autumn

Red carpet

My last shot in this edition is to re-affirm that Autumn is here, and indeed almost over. These leaves are from one of the two Japanese maples (Acer palmatum) in our front yard. It always amazes me how little time passes between the first browning of the summer leaves to a full blown dump of dead red leaves. But each season has its beauty.

So ends another edition. Constructive feedback is always welcome

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About wysiwygpurple

Retirement suits me well. I spend much of my time out making pictures, or at home organizing and refining my pictures. This blog provides me with a platform from which I can indulge my passion for improving my photography and at the same time analyze my thoughts about what I have seen, where I have been and what is happening in my life. My images set out to be honest, but that does not mean I have not adjusted them. I use software to display what I saw though the viewfinder to best advantage. My preference is for landscape and nature, and is mostly centred around my hometown of Wellington, New Zealand.
This entry was posted in adversity, Architecture, Art, Bees, Cook Strait, flowers, harbour, History, Maritime, Reflections, Rivers, Trees, Wellington. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to May 15, 2019 … grinding of teeth

  1. John Beveridge says:

    Thank you for continuing to forward your photographic account of in and around the Wellington area etc. As one who was born and grew up in the area and emigrated to Canada back in 1959, it is always great to see my Home town from time to time.The last time I was there was back in 2016 and with so many changes it is hard to keep up. Thank you again John Beveridge Ottawa Canada

  2. davidgsi says:

    I understand your photographic challenges Brian. I learnt to cull back in the days of slide film, when storage for slides (ie proper cases) was expensive and not to be wasted on also-rans.

    In the attempt to avoid ‘snapshots’ or ‘record shots’ I try to ask myself “What is it that draws me to this potential image? What element is it I am really seeing?” This helps me work on drawing that aspect out of the photo, be it by position, angle focus exposure or post-processing. Does it work? Only occasionally!

  3. Margaret Jorgensen says:

    I can relate to your woes. I have decided to shoot for myself and not to enter any competitions apart from working on my Fellowship at some stage. Although I may do Camera Talk and NZ Camera as they do not cost anything.

  4. nzvideos says:

    I believe that one of the negatives to digital photography is the ease at which photos can be taken. This results in a great number of culls, not that we didn’t have culls with film, but many, many more with digital. For someone such as myself who, unfortunately, does not reside in the Wellington area, most of your shots are welcomed, regardless of artistic quality. But I still appreciate the artistic quality of some of your shares. For example: this time your ‘Pastoral Silverstream’ shot is excellent, as is the ‘Red Heart’, ‘Bee’ and ‘Standing against the wind’.

  5. Greenwood-Boot says:

    Pastoral scene in Silverstream – is amazing! i have come back a number of times to see it 🙂

  6. Adam Rosner says:

    I completely understand the sentiments you express in regard to never quite achieving that inspirational standard. I struggled with it too and in the end it ate away enough at my enjoyment of photography so much that I pretty much stopped doing any, apart from when I travel.
    What is the solution? I see two solutions. Improve, or lower one’s standards. Either way, I stopped comparing my work with that of others. As my grandmother used to say: “Comparison is Odious”.

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