Cleo and Elias

It was really lovely to meet these two wee cuties – this is Cleo, nearly three, and her big brother Elias, six.

Erena - September 7, 2016 - 11:37 am

They certainly are beautiful children. Butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths if the images are to be believed.

Jane MacKay Browne - September 15, 2016 - 11:28 am

My great niece and nephew- so beautiful. You could have these children modelling and making money!!

Catherine - September 19, 2016 - 5:22 pm

I completely agree, Jane!! :)

Sword swallowers and Samurai – Richard Wood photography workshop

This rated pretty highly on my list of “things I never thought I’d find myself doing” – rummaging around in my laundry cupboard to find a lightbulb for someone to eat. Would Softtone be OK? 60W or 100W?

Renowned photographer Richard Wood hired my studio yesterday to host a creative portrait lighting and post-production workshop, and had organised to have two interesting models come in: Kent aka samurai warrior, and freakshow performer Roxy Paradox. Given that Roxy is not long out of hospital after a sword-swallowing incident, I was very relieved when it was decided that she wouldn’t eat glass after all. In the name of safety she decided to swallow only one sword, not two, and I think all the workshop attendees were gripping pretty tightly to their seats until that sword was out again.

Richard was really good at explaining his approach as he worked, and shared a heap of Photoshop secrets. Now all I have to do is decipher my shocking handwriting and I’ll be able to try some of them out. :)

Richard is a Grand Master of Photography with the NZIPP and is known for pushing boundaries and coming up with some pretty out-there (and often dark) work. You can see some of his award-winning shots here.


Eric, aged 2

I photographed Eric as a baby so it was lovely to get him into the studio as a two-year-old. He now has two books in his name already! His parents have ordered a coffee table book from each photo session, which I think is a really lovely way to live with your photographs rather than just add them to the thousands already on your computer. :)



Erena - August 30, 2016 - 9:41 am

What a beautiful baby. I think I’d have four books by now – two to give away to grandparents. Well done.

Catherine - August 30, 2016 - 2:21 pm

He’s a cutie alright, and it’s lovely to see how he’s developing!

Rediscovering my lensbaby

And to think I nearly sold it! I bought my “Lensbaby” years ago and used to enjoy playing with this funny little lens, which you push and pull around with your fingers to change the focal plane. Later versions got all fancy and let you lock your focal point in once you’d achieved it: mine is of the ‘hold your breath and shoot fast’ variety. Like many special-effect toys it can start to feel gimmicky when overused, and I think I’d got to that point, because it was sitting in the back of my drawer unloved.

But then this last weekend Karolina Stus and I were invited to Mandi Lynn’s house for a weekend of All Things Photography, and I decided to dust off the lensbaby and take it with me. I’m glad I did, because actually not everything has to have that swoopy lensbaby look that I am pretty bored with. It can be a bit more subtle than that, and it’s really fun to shoot with with everything out of focus (instead of having a ‘sweet spot’ that’s sharp). Here’s an example of how much it can transform things – this first shot is a tree with some parts in focus (well, nearly – I’m not good at getting anything tack sharp with this lens!), followed by the same shot with everything out of focus.

Backlit tree-001Lensbaby-003You can see why it’s kind of fun! This next shot of Mandi’s caravan shows the swoopy look that now feels gimmicky to me, but the following ones of her hammock have a bit of that effect without going so heavy-handed, and I do like the results.


Blog-009Blog-006Blog-008A random cow that took my fancy:Blog-007And some afteroon shadows on the corrugated iron (taken with a regular lens but shot out of focus).



The lovely Mandi (in black and white) and Karolina (in colour). We’re still back on the regular lenses here. :)

Blog-001Blog-002And the grand finale – the amazing WOOKIE! He is Mandi’s angora rabbit and he was like a living soft toy. He’s actually washing his face in the final series but I deleted the ones where he was touching his nose, and it looked just like he was clapping. :)Blog-003Blog-004WookieHow adorable is he?? Eva still hasn’t forgiven me for not smuggling him out of there…



Isabella, Tess and Toby

Being the child of a photographer is hard work. Before this shoot I was a little apprehensive that these three kids, who belong to acclaimed Wellington portrait photographer Jo Frances, might be well and truly sick of having a lens pointed at them all the time. Ten-year-old Tess (in the floral dress), assured me with a big sigh: “Yes, it does get tedious.”

Thank you Isabella, Tess and Toby for rising to the occasion for this shoot. You were amazing at taking direction (that shouldn’t surprise me really, should it?) and I had lots of fun. Thanks also to Jo, who turned up with huge armfuls of different outfits and was full of great ideas and child-wrangling skills. Which also shouldn’t surprise me. :)