Street Sleeper

I do like a good juxtaposition, and they don’t get much better than this.

Street Sleeper

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A juxtaposition occurs when you place side-by-side two objects that wouldn’t normally be seen together. Doing so emphasises the properties of each object by contrasting it with the other. Imagine that you’re at a fashion show, watching (allegedly) glamorous models striding down the catwalk: after seeing the fiftieth fancy outfit they all start to blur together and none stands out. Suddenly, a car mechanic dressed in oily overalls appears in the middle of the line of models and strolls along with them. Now you are acutely aware of the fancy femininity of the models’ outfits because when they are juxtaposed with plain, dirty overalls your senses are awakened. Moreover, you notice the overalls far more than you do when you walk into a garage, and you’re likely to think about the differences between the lifestyles of models and mechanics. The juxtaposition has made you much more aware of the nature of models and the nature of mechanics, and done so on more than one level. If you made a photo that showed the mechanic among the models the juxtaposition would make the viewers engage with the photo, i.e. spend longer looking at it. To put it another way, the photo would be far, far more interesting than one of models on a catwalk. Successful (i.e. appealing) photos are ones that people emotionally engage with and spend time looking at, and a juxtaposition can make a photo successful.


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Superb Steve McCurry slideshow

Click on the four arrows to go full screen. If you’re on a slow internet connection click “HD”, but keep the “HD” blue if you can.

Hat tip TOP.


Photo trip: Raglan 5-12-10

The Waikato Photographic Society (WPS) arranged a trip to Raglan and kindly invited the Manukau Photographic Society (MPS) to join them. I’d never been to Raglan before so I had no preconceptions: this was a good thing, because preconceptions tend to stifle creativity and make it harder to see photographic opportunities. When we’ve seen a place often we’re less likely to notice what is around us.

Practical tips: The photos are displayed here so in a small size so I can merge them with a story: click on any photo to enlarge it and you’ll get a nicer display of all the photos (once you’re there click on any photo to enlarge it further). Photo titles are in bold italics and appear above the relevant photo.

En route to Raglan a few of us stopped off at the St Albans church in Waingaro…

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Black Takes White: putting action into chess

Black Takes White chess street photography

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I saw these two guys playing in a shopping mall, and seeing people playing with huge chess pieces is unusual enough to make an interesting photo. The challenge was to find some action and life in a game not known for thrills and spills.

When something in a photo has the potential to fall that object gives tension and life to the image. The way that the guy on the right is leaning over does this, as does the swinging white chess piece. I like the way that the guy on the left is nonchalantly leaning against the wall as yet another of his pieces is captured, and he adds a bit more tension to the image by contrasting with the action of the guy on the right.

I particularly like photos that contain a complete story, and this one falls into that category.

I carry a camera at all times, and that is what made this image possible.


Photo trip: Piha 28-3-10

I went to Piha (map) on a fine Sunday afternoon with a group from Manuaku Photographic Society. It’s a well known surf beach and the photo on the right gives you an overview: Lion Rock is to the right of the boy, South Piha is on the near side of the rock, and – wait for it – North Piha is on the far side of the rock. All the on-beach photos that you’ll see here were taken in an area that is slightly north of Lion Rock.

Please note that all the photos can be enlarged: just click on a photo, then click again.

Piha is a very dangerous beach for swimmers and just before we arrived a boy went missing: we saw helicopters, a small plane, a jet ski, and surf lifesavers searching for him. The next five photos show scenes from that search, including lifeguards in red and yellow uniforms:

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Photo trip: Narrow Neck 15-1-10

In my ongoing search for photos I headed to Narrow Neck, which is a safe swimming beach in Devonport on Auckland’s North Shore (map). As I write I realise that I should have taken an overall photo of the beach for you, and I’ll endeavour to remember to do this next time.

One of the interesting things about Narrow Neck is that you can see the ships coming down the channel as they prepare to enter the Port of Auckland. They’re about 2.5km/1.6mi offshore, and in the photo below the ship looks a lot closer than it really is because I used a powerful zoom lens (650mm):

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Ships are well and good, but I went to photograph that peculiar species called Homo Sapiens. These two larrikins asked me to take their photo…

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Storm Dancing

Storm Dancing on Princes Wharf, Auckland, NZ

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This guy is leaning into the wind on Princes Wharf, Auckland, NZ during the storm of 26-7-08 when the winds were gusting to more than 110kph/69mph: imagine what the wind is like when you’re driving down the highway, then increase it.

Princes Wharf juts out into the Waitemata Harbour and was completely exposed to the winds. People were being blown backwards and the rain felt like a barrage of needles; even though I was kneeling behind a large pillar I was literally getting knocked around by the wind. At the time I thought that this was as close as I’d ever get to combat photography, because the conditions were so extreme and the screaming of the wind so insane. Taking photos whilst avoiding injury to myself and my camera was quite a task. The storm dancer had no idea that he was being photographed, rather he was just enjoying himself.