My Wave – Looking For Creative Options When Photographing Nature

Abstract Wave Image Moeraki Beach, Otago New Zealand

Abstract Wave Image Moeraki Beach, Otago New Zealand


I don’t usually give away photo advice – nobody seems to ask for it – and I don’t know if I can articulate the advice that I want to give. Photography for me is a mindset combined with some craft – it is golf with a camera.

At the recent Queenstown Photowalk #qtphotowalk +Scott Kennedy remarked to me that if 25 people are pointing their cameras one way – he will be pointing his the other.

I consider this to be great creative advice, although I apply it metaphorically, rather than literally.

I think that there is a lot to be learned by shooting the really popular photographic scenes – they are a fantastic creative benchmark.

Once you find that you can shoot the big popular scenes as well as your photographic heroes have (euphemistically called emulation – it is actually copying) it is time to move on with your skill set.

After a while you will actually find yourself copying yourself – that gets quite de-motivating. That’s when it is time to :

  • Look within the scene
  • Look behind the scene
  • Twist the scene
  • Mess with the scene
  • Walk away from the scene
  • Find a new scene

The real lesson is to not follow the herd.

This image was made pre-Christmas. I was tired and on a sales trip and my day had ended at the incredibly photogenic Moeraki Boulders

I was feeling completely demotivated towards re-shooting the boulders so I drove 2 minutes down the road to another beach and spent an inspirational hour taking nothing but shots of dark waves and dark clouds. It was awesome.


Cheers – Todd

+Chase Jarvis writes fantastic posts on his blog about creativity – as most of you will be well aware. If not put him in your reading list.


Russell Lupins – Mackenzie Country, South Island New Zealand

russell lupins lake tekapo mackenzie country New Zealand

Roadside Drift Of Lupins Near Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

We don’t have fields of  native wildflowers here in New Zealand.  Our most showy native is the coastal Pohutukawa tree – which is of little use if you live in the middle of NZ like I do.

Fortunately, a crafty farm wife in Lake Tekapo decided to do something about this dismal situation and set about spreading lupin seed throughout the Mackenzie Basin.  The plan was so successful that lupins are now officially an invasive weed.  Most people, myself included, consider this to be a load of fun-wrecking bureaucratic nonsense – so much so that there has been a plaque erected in Lake Tekapo celebrating this woman’s efforts.*

Lupine Field, Ahuriri River, Mackenzie Country, South Island New Zealand

Lupine Field, Ahuriri River, Mackenzie Country, South Island New Zealand


Lupin flowering peaks from late November through Mid December.  The 2011 season was spectacular – with huge drifts of pristine blooms evident from Lake Tekapo through to the Lindis Pass.

We are planning to run Lupin workshops during the 2012 flowering season – we will keep you posted with the details.

Cheers – Todd



* I didn’t know I’d be writing this post – so I forgot to note down her name.

Sunrise Portobello Harbour - Otago Peninsula, Dunedin, New Zealand

Room A Thousand Years Wide

Sunrise Portobello Harbour - Otago Peninsula, Dunedin, New Zealand

Sunrise Over Portobello Village - Otago Peninsula, New Zealand

This image was made just down the road from my old crib in Broad Bay on the Otago Peninsula.

I was going to entitle this post Cellulite Skies but for some reason the Soundgarden song title seemed more inspired :-)

Nikon D2x 

Nikkor 12-24mm

Singh-ray 3 stop grad


These days I would probably dispense with the grad filter and blend a couple of exposures in a situation such as this where the ridgelines are so complex and the range of tonality so deep.


Cheers – Todd


How To Photograph Reflections in Nature – Part 1 – ‘Get Down & Dirty’

This gallery contains 2 photos.

How To Photograph Reflections in Nature – Part 1 – ‘Get Down & Dirty’ This is part one of a series of tips on how to make visually stunning photos of reflections in your nature photography.  It is a follow … Continue reading


The Power Of Reflection

This gallery contains 2 photos.

This is not another of my ‘psycho-babble’ photographic-mindset posts dedicated to the virtues of navel gazing and cosmic contemplation.  It is instead a quick discussion of the power of a reflection in landscape photography. The idea for this post came … Continue reading


How To Make Great Landscape Images Part ii – You Gotta Show Some ‘Flex’

Sunrise Mt Taranaki / Egmont, New Zealand, a photo by Todd Sisson (nee Crimson Kiwi) on Flickr. I have just posted this image to my Flickr account. This is another good example of the key principle that I blathered on … Continue reading