Just a quickie today. Three new Guinea Pigs arrived into the world today, here is a pic of them a couple of hours into their teenie-tiny lives.

We are renovating so space is at a premium. To take this shot, I put the Guinea Pigs in the bathtub, grabbed an extra lamp and bounced a flash off the roof so I could get a decent f-stop and not have to crank up the ISO.

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I thought I’d share these on here as they are a good example of two different ways to tackle a scenario. When I got to this beautiful spot at the river I knew I wanted to go wide. With the boys in bright colours and the 20mm already attached to the camera I decided to start with a panoramic shot. The dog and the boys were in different frames, but they didn’t overlap so the shot worked out quite well.

I would of liked to rotate it to the left a little more, but I was starting to cut the frame more than I wanted. This image was made up of four frames.

From the viewfinder the shot seemed like it would come out well, but I was curious how the bend would come out with the 8mm Fisheye attached. Turned out I could get the whole bend in without having too much sky or foreground. Because of distortion I framed this one so that the scenery was the main focal point.

Both shots give quite a different feel. Even if you don’t take the shot, it can be worthwhile sticking on an alternative lens and having a peep through the viewfinder.

Mornings. I hate them!

Seriously, I don’t understand morning people. How do you wake up feeling ‘peachy’? Is it something to do with the black arts?

Unfortunately for photographers, the light in the morning is amazing. While I was staying in Tinui, as per my previous post – my goal was to wake up early for a sunrise at Castlepoint beach. Alarm set for 5:30 and a cold Red Bull ready in the fridge, I went to bed absolutely dreading getting up in the morning.

When the morning came, for some reason my alarm didn’t go off. Somehow I managed to wake up only 15 minutes later than I had planned. Shower. Clothes. Red Bull. Car. I was on my way. I have to admit, the temptation to roll over and go back to sleep that morning was almost too much.

Of course, I got stuck on a narrow country road doing less than 10km per hour behind a tractor pulling a boat. I could see the sun starting to rise in the distance and some great colours in the sky. I was really stressed, getting up so early cannot possible be for nothing. The car was almost still rolling as I grabbed my bag and tripod and went sprinting to the beach. The colours had gone, but the early morning light was fantastic all the same.

After taking a couple of versions of this panoramic I climbed up to the lighthouse and the sun was still very dramatic. I got up there pretty quickly hoping to make the most of it. I tried a couple of compositions. Some shots with a single frame, some with a couple, and a couple of wider ones. Then repeated, but with the top of the lighthouse much higher than the horizon which I felt balanced the image much better. The final shot I went for was two shots stitched together from my Sigma 20mm prime.

The next shot I really wanted to bag was on the rocks by the lagoon. I took an early afternoon shot here last year. I always wanted to get back for a sunrise or a sunset in the same place though. While the shot could of done with some people like the previous shot, I pretty much had the place to myself.

I was pretty much ready to jump back in the car and drive back, but I still had some time left before the family woke up, so I decided to go on a little hike. I’m glad I did as this was the view from the track:

Mission complete, and all before 9:30 am. Time for an icecream on the way home.

Tinui is a small village located in the Wairarapa, New Zealand. It’s barely a blip on the map on the way to the beautiful Castlepoint beach. I couldn’t think of a better place to spend a couple of nights. Although Tinui village is small, it’s very scenic, peaceful and importantly, it has a fantastic pub with great food and a pool table.

I recently stayed a couple of nights in a cottage here that backs onto the first Anzac Cross erected in New Zealand. As well as being a great base to get to spots such as Castlepoint and Riversdale, the walk up to the cross behind the farm is worth the trip itself.

The village has a scattering of interesting buildings such as this beautiful little church and a craft shop. I really wanted to get a shot of the fire station too but will need to get that next time as the side of the building I want was in shadow when I was there with the camera.

Below is a photo looking from the town back to the vantage point the first images were taken:

Staying a few nights in Tinui has definitely opened my eyes to how neat some small towns are. Next time I got through a small village in the middle of nowhere and I have some extra time, I’m going to get out the car and have a stroll around for sure!

More on Tinui and the history of the first Anzac Cross erected in New Zealand.

After my last post about roadtrips, I thought I’d continue the theme and find some amazing photo’s from Flickr that just inspire you to drive. Roads are not generally regarded as being pretty, but if you ask me they can add an element to a landscape. Roads can be used as strong composition elements, leading lines or for viewers to imagine themselves travelling into the image.

The Flame – by Daniel Bosma

Mountains can add an enormous sense of scale to an image. Here the road leading straight to the mountain makes for some great symmetry. I also love how the image is mostly grey and blue, apart from the brilliant yellows to the side of the road. The yellow and amazing light really make this image pop. Looking at this image, I just want to be at this location myself.

Ash filled sky during “Grimsv√∂tn volcano” eruption #3 – by Sverrir Thorolfsson

Seeing this on Flickr was an instant favourite. The light is amazing, making the rocks to the side of the road really stand out. I love images with dark sky’s and sunlit foregrounds, and combining this with such a harsh alien landscape makes for a really dramatic image. The road adds contrast and interest to the foreground.

Road in Namib-Naukluft National Park – by Kuba Abramowicz

Beautiful colours and exotic wildlife give this landscape a lot of appeal. I love the balance of this image and moody sky. I bet following this road leads to some more amazing places.

I love road trips. There’s nothing like grabbing some good tunes, your camera and maybe some mates and hitting the road. It’s a good way to recharge your batteries as well as your creativeness. Sometimes you’ll have shots in mind, sometimes you will just go with whatever comes up. Either way, not being on a strict scheduled and seeing new places will create a huge amount of good photo opportunities.

Be prepared to pull over to investigate anything interesting and make sure you are out in the early morning and late afternoon light as much as possible as this is when landscapes really start to light up magically. This will maximize your chances, but don’t write off other ¬†parts of the day, or even sub-par weather as these can show off other aspects of the landscape, or even compliment them also.

The great thing about Roadtrips in New Zealand is that the country seems to have a lot of micro-climates. You don’t seem to have to drive far in any direction before the landscape differs dramatically. If you are stopping or passing through somewhere, try to get off the beaten track a little. See if you can figure out what is unique to the area and if you can capture it in an image. Going for a walk is great to stretch the old legs, but it may also give you a new angle.

One thing is for sure though, if you can afford a tank of gas and some snacks, it sure beats sitting at home on your day(s) off.

I’d just like to thank anyone that has followed, liked or commented on this blog so far. Hopefully everyone has a great Christmas and is looking forward to a brilliant New Year. It’s been busy for me around this year, so I haven’t been able to get out and shoot much.

It’s been a few months since I started using Wordpress and writing this blog and I’m looking forward to working on it a lot more int the New Year and reading everyone’s blogs too.

Keep Happy, keep safe, and don’t eat all the chocolates!