Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The honeymoons over mate - cowboys and drunks

Well the honeymoon period following the MFA graduation is over, now it is time get my proverbial together and crack on and deliver on some of the ideas/ projects I want to undertake.
Top of the list is to earn some good bucks and set up the teaching operation here before heading back to India and other places to do some more work.
 Over the weekend I undertook a 10 km charity walk and managed to complete it in 1.35 hours, a cracking good time. Felt a bit sick at the start, something to do with a party I attended with Kath the night before and some dodgy curry I guess, anyway after a pit stop at the half way point I emerged feeling a whole lot better and quickly recovered all the lost places and finished strong. Thanks to the team at the Sports Otago Green Prescription team of Liz and Ross who over the past ten weeks have helped a group of slow and overweight (me included) learn to walk again, and take charge of their own health.
Green prescription is a fitness program designed for those with weight, health or mobility/disability issues. 
 The other day while standing around trying to warm up on a cool autumn morning at the Queens Garden area of Dunedin while I was waiting to start a shoot for the local council on bike safety and cycle routes in Dunedin, I noticed that the light was really golden so I snapped off a few frames on the older buildings surrounding me. I found the while the light was wonderful with a strong intensity and magical appeal to it, it was however very contrasty and the overflow of yellow did at times affect the metering and some of my shots are too over saturated.
 Over the weekend the local student population took it upon themselves to party hard at the annual Hyde Street keg party. A good idea, get dressed up as your favourite cartoon character and have a few beers and fun. However over the years it’s has grown into a feature of the student year. This year more than 4000 took part in this annual supposedly fun event on a small street near the University of Otago that is only 100m long. Cops and OUSA block off the road and enforce a glass ban, (a good idea after my first experience with it in 2008 when I was showered in broken glass at only 2pm in the afternoon), however this time I was on standby for Fairfax to shoot if the expected riots took place later that night but the cops shut the party down at 3pm after several roofs fell in under the weight of students jumping up and down on them. How or where these students get the idea that it’s okay to smash up their rented houses and piss all over people while getting so drunk they run the risk of alcohol poisoning gets me. They don’t do it anywhere else in the country, just here and they scream and moan if anyone tries to shut them down. My advice is a total booze ban and enforce it with truncheons but the cops and officials here are too PC and let them away with it every year.
The photos on offer by just 10am in the morning are always going to images of the students getting dressed up in fancy dress and being stupid. I got hassled by the cops a couple of times for being there with my camera  in the morning but I had every right to be there as I am still a card carrying student and it was a public event. After the cops started to shut it down at 3pm it rained hard putting a dampener on the whole affair so I didn’t have to go back.


Kath and I went over to Lawrence to snap some frames on the annual rodeo there and this year it was the final of the national series so everyone was there and it was good fun until it rained as usual. 2012 is going to be a wet year so I better get used to it. My new EOS1D Mk2 worked real well and I managed to grab some good action shots despite the rain.

Isn’t it funny how Mother Nature dictates rapid change in the work place sometimes?
While up in Christchurch recently I was chatting to my brother who is the Picture Editor at the PRESS newspaper there and he was explaining how since the devastating quakes last year they have revised all their policies regarding photographers there.
Now the two satellite phones are rotated between photographers who carry them home instead of being left in the office pool gear locker (that’s where the last two stayed because the building came down on them and a whole heap of expensive gear). All the photographers got new MK4 gear and a new equipment scale which sees them all carrying the Canon 100-400mm zoom for general work rather than 300/400 f2.8. These and the 600’s are still in the pool locker for major events but each photographer is expected to use the 100-400’s for general work as the ISO expansion of the MK4’s is so good. Each photographer is offered a GRIFFGEAR Sugar Glider or The Ringtail photojournalist equipment shoulder bag (costs about  AUS$140 to $180 depending on the model).
The Ringtail and Sugar Glider are designed to rest on your right shoulder and cross the body to your left hip. Made in Black Denier 600 ripstop waterproof material the bags can hold a variety of lens, and or flashes. It has dedicated pouches to hold both Canon and Nikon pro series batteries, note books, pens, press release size paperwork, compact flash cards, and space for accessory needs with a large clear sleeve to accommodate ID and accreditation passes.
They make an easy way to carry your gear instead of using a shoulder bag and more importantly allow you to a: run fast and b: jump in and out of cars and vans without having to remove them.
Check them out. At http://www.griffgear.com/

The next things was the adoption of the Eye-Fi cards working via the SD card slot in the Mk4’s and connected by Wi-Fi to the photographers iPhones  using the Shutter Snitch app.
As you shoot and then edit the images on the rear LCD, if you hit the protect button on your 1D it automatically transfers that protected image over to your iPhone and queues it up for transmission when you can. A great system that means every photographer is tied into the papers network  despite their location in Christchurch during a disaster or major event etc, freeing up them to keep on shooting instead of trying to find somewhere to open their laptops and run an image management program and then transmit etc.
A well thought out system I think, one that addresses the needs of the paper to get good pics fast without wasting time. Now it’s time to earn some more money and hook into this new way of thinking.

 A cool action photo of LCPL Scott Moses dragging an 'injured' cadet Danielle Booth out of danger  during a skill at arms competition the local NZ Army held last weekend.

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