Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrasts

This weeks weekly photo challenge from Daily Post is Contrasts

“This week, in a post created specifically for this challenge, share your own photo showing a CONTRAST.”


Mount Eden, Auckland, New Zealand

This photo contains multiple contrasts. Not only is it a “contrasty” photograph owing to the harsh Autumn midday lighting, but it is a symbolically contrasty image. In the foreground, one of nature’s most formidable representatives of her power, a volcano. In the background, symbols of human power. The Central Business District (CDB) of downtown Auckland with its centres of wealth, commerce, banking and gambling. The most potent of which is the Skytower, arrogantly thrusting skyward, as if to pierce the very clouds above it.

Portrayed here, frozen at 1/500th of a second, both symbols of power seem benign and still, not at all in competition for space or psychological supremacy over the local citizenry. But I believe the tension is palpable. The dormant volcano last erupted 28,000 years ago, long before humans encroached on its sovereign territory. Should the busy, scurrying, activities of these invaders disturb this slumbering power to wakefulness the consequences would be unthinkable. By the same token you can’t help thinking that the city would happily bulldoze this uppity hillock flat and expand its territories given the slightest opportunity.

The final contrast lies in the weather. Dark, brooding, clouds prowl over Mt Eden and the near areas of the city. But sunshine brightens Aucklands North Shore and harbour.

Location: Mount Eden, Auckland, New Zealand
Camera: Olympus E-PM2, M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8; 1/500, f/4.5, ISO 200, 17mm

Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

This weeks weekly photo challenge from Daily Post is Between

“This week, capture something between two things, reflect on the process of transition, or interpret this word in your own way.”


Autumn in New Zealand
Location: Rotorua, New Zealand
Camera: Olympus E-PM2, M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8; 1/125, f/3.5, ISO 200, 17mm

This photo was taken in a geothermal park called Hells Gate, near Rotorua, in New Zealand. My wife (pictured), son and I were on holiday in New Zealand last month (May), visiting friends and family, but mostly site-seeing.

May in New Zealand, situated as it is, in the Southern Hemisphere, is Autumn (or Fall, if you’re of the American persuasion). I’ve always thought of Autumn as a kind of in-between season. For me Summer and Winter are highlights of the year and I’ve always felt a little, “meh”, about Autumn.

That is, until recently. For the last 8 years I’ve been living in Singapore, where we effectively have very limited seasonal variation, being only 5 degrees latitude from the Equator. Because of my extended period of non-contact with Autumn and its astonishing burnt-colour palette of oranges, reds and yellows, I’m now gobsmacked when driving along country roads bathed in strikingly warm tones and hues. I’m now seeing it as if for the first time – as indeed it is for my wife who has lived all her life in the tropics. Together we experienced the full majesty and wonder of Autumn draping the North Island in all its rich vivid finery. A final display of polychromatic exuberance before the sober, cold, grey touch of Winter descends.

Country roads lined with fiery yellow
Location: Turangi, New Zealand
Camera: Olympus E-PM2, M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko II R; 1/200, f/5.6, ISO 200, 50mm


Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra, Extra

This weeks weekly photo challenge from Daily Post is Extra, Extra

“This week, share a photo that has a little something extra: an unexpected visitor, or a tranquil landscape with a splash of color. A lone carrot in a sea of peas. Draw us in with a humorous detail, or find a photo with an added element that makes it an image only you could capture.”


The hunter

My father is a horse trainer by trade but in his spare time he enjoys hunting. When taking his portrait the idea was to merge his horse training and hunting interests. This was achieved by having him don his regularly worn cowboy hat and carefully positioning him relative to the deer bust on the wall behind him. The animal was originally shot by him while hunting in Texas, where my parents lived and worked for 13 years.

The deer seems to be peering out behind him. It is blurred out of focus so as to be more of a symbol, suggestive of a life lived in the outdoors, rather than a distracting detail within the portrait. It is a surprising element often not noticed on first glance at the photograph.

Location: Waikato, New Zealand
Camera: Nikon D90, Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G; 1/60, f/2.8, ISO 200, 85mm

Weekly Photo Challenge: Room

This weeks weekly photo challenge from Daily Post is Room

“In this week’s photo challenge, share your take on the idea of room — it could be an actual room in your house, a favorite gallery in your local museum, a cubicle at work. You could also take this challenge in a more abstract direction, and show us where you feel like you have room — or lack it.”


American Museum of Natural History

The lobby of the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, New York is an absolutely mind blowing room. It is so enormous that it has space to house two dinosaur skeletons as well as ticket queues and general lobby space. The dinosaur featured in this photo is actually the smaller of the two!

This photo was taken on the eve of hurricane Sandy, on 29 October 2012. The “superstorm” was due to make landfall that evening. I was racing around the museum (my first and so far only visit) trying to see all the amazing exhibits before scurrying back to my hotel room in the face of what was to become the second-costliest hurricane in United States history and the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.

All children are fascinated by dinosaurs and I was no different growing up. I had always hoped to, one day, see a full scale skeleton and feel the thrill of being in the sights of one of earths most terrifying predators. I was not disappointed and would thoroughly recommend that anyone visting New York spend an afternoon wandering the halls of the museum in astonished wonderment.

Location: American Museum of Natural History, Manhattan, New York, USA
Camera: Nikon D800, Sigma 20mm F1.8 EX DG ASP RF; 1/40, f/1.8, ISO 1100, 20mm

Weekly Photo Challenge: Split-Second Story

This weeks weekly photo challenge from Daily Post is Split-Second Story

“In this week’s photo challenge, capture an image that tells a full story in a single frame.”



This photo was taken on a warm morning at the “train market” outside of Bangkok, Thailand. This market has been featured on Discovery Channel, I believe, and is a fascinating but sometimes dangerous place.

The market exists along the edges of, and directly over the top of, an operational railway track. All of the shop canvas shades and items on tables must be pulled back just before the train comes through the market. To make this easier many of the tables are on rails themselves so that they can be easy slid back from the tracks. Some produce, not stacked higher than the train clearance, is often left in place to be skimmed over by the carriages.

Shoppers themselves have to have a good awareness that the market is being made ready to allow the train passage through it and must get off the tracks to avoid a nasty surprise!

Location: Maeklong, Thailand
Camera: Samsung EX1; 1/60, f/3.4, ISO 100, 5.2mm