Capture by A photoblog


"They Were Doing A Pretty Good Job"

by Jonathan Ganley

Anzac Day 2015 will mark one hundred years since the landings at Gallipoli. This time last year, we published a selection of photographs taken by Sergeant James Read during that campaign. Although amateur photography was still a novelty in 1915, Sergeant Read was one of many First World War soldiers who carried cameras to the battlefield, in spite of the disapproval of their superiors. Soldiers in the Second World War continued this practice, and New Zealander Harold Paton was amongst them. When he joined the army in 1940 and embarked for Egypt, he took a camera with him.

Paton had been a cadet photographer for the Auckland Star before joining up, but thought that photography would only be an interesting diversion from the serious business of being a soldier. But in the wake of the 1941 defeat in Crete, Prime Minister Peter Fraser arrived in Egypt. Paton was told he was needed urgently to take photographs of Fraser with the troops. One shilling and sixpence was handed over for film, the resulting photographs from Paton’s Super IKONTA camera were satisfactory, and Paton found himself appointed as official photographer for the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force.

Paton took thousands of photographs over the next two years, travelling alongside General Freyberg as the New Zealanders fought and helped defeat German forces in North Africa, and during the period the New Zealand Division spent in Syria. When his own camera was stolen the army replaced it with a Rolleicord, a camera he described as ‘sturdy’ but ‘lacking the bells and whistles that news photographers use today’.

In spite of the difficult conditions, and the fact that he didn't see most of the photographs until after the war (the processing was carried out in Cairo and the images were controlled by the British Ministry of Information) Harold Paton's eye for a compelling photograph that tells a story can be seen in the selection below. One image of note is of  General Freyberg lying wounded at Minqar Qaim, which was published in Life magazine and brought Paton's work to a global audience.

Harold Paton returned to New Zealand with the first furlough draft  in 1943, but later in the Pacific war he was employed again by the army as a cinematographer. He returned to the Auckland Star after the war and was appointed chief photographer in 1956, a position he held until his retirement in 1979.

Harold Paton died in 2010. A large selection of his wartime images can now be viewed on the National Library site:

The background information for the article above was sourced from the excellent 2002 Penguin book 'Private Paton's Pictures', published in association with the New Zealand Herald.



Aurora Australis

by Ian Griffin & Paul Le Comte

If you were in the vicinity last night, and got to see the amazing Aurora Australis first hand, you are indeed one of the lucky ones. I managed to enjoy it thanks to a few in my twitter stream getting out there and capturing its glory.

Ian Griffin and Paul le Comte were kind enough to share both their photos and some tips for capturing the Aurora Australis.

Capturing the Aurora

Ian Griffin

I generally use a 2 camera set up when shooting the aurora; I like to have a relatively “close up” shot of the main action, together with a more wide field set up that shows as much of the sky and surrounding landscape as possible. Presently I use a Canon 6D and a 5Dmkiii, and normally once I’m happy with framing and exposure I will set them running with an intervalometer to capture as much of the action as possible both to use as stills and also timelapses. I shoot raw, and use Lightroom/Photoshop to edit the frames once I have them.

This particular display was awesome, since there was really bright stuff going on all over the sky. I shot with a Canon 8-15mm F4 at 8mm on the
5Diii and with a Canon 16-35F2.8 at 16mm on the 6D.

Images 1, 2 and 3 were taken with the 16-35mm F2.8 lens, ISO 3200, 2.5 seconds exposure as part of a 600 shot timelapse sequence during the course of the display.

Images 4 and 5 were shot with 10 second exposures at IS0 3200 using the 8mm end of the fisheye. No processing, with colour balance set to AWB which to my mind closest matches what you see. This display was extraordinary with arcs covering the whole sky, which is actually rare in my experience.

I love that using a 2 camera system I have the ability to get the “big picture” story of an aurora display, while at the same time looking at some of the small scale beauty.

Paul Le Comte

The aurora last night was interesting in that a lot of people thought it had peaked after the 10pm display, and we all gave up at 1am. I literally got 5mins in bed and thankfully thought I’d have one last look at the data on iPhone app Solar Monitor, and it was going crazy.

So sure enough back out I went. Dodging showers all night. Kp8 Bz-22 & Bt-32 were all insane numbers. Best naked eye visual Aurora in about a decade, well sustained all night. This event is now over 24hrs long & still going with a Coronal mass heading our way again tonight - hopefully the 2 events will combine right above our skies - that’s what’s forecast anyways.

I made this illustration to help non-space weather folk. 

Image 6 below is Otago Peninsula, the rest are from up on Saddle Hill overlooking Brighton Coast of Dunedin.


Headland Sculpture on the Gulf 2015

by Soon Lee

Reposted with kind permission from Soon Lee's Livejournal.

Went to Waiheke Island to check out the headland Sculpture on the Gulf 2015 today. The forecast was 40% rain but we chanced it anyway. We got there early and apart from the odd bit of drizzle (which wasn't enough to dampen our enthusiasm) it worked out well; minutes after we finished, the heavy showers arrived.

"First step to existentialism" Christian Nicolson.

This is actually the second sculpture. The first was an augmented reality thing called "WindSong" by Nigel Jamieson and Imersia Ltd. which required an app that you run & listen to: it'll show you sights & sounds at certain locations on the trail. None of us bothered to download it because you then have to run the app; it felt contrary to the vibe of enjoying the sights & sounds of the outdoor environment. I guess it was an idea before its time, or we're old fogeys. So "First step to existentialism" was basically several solar-powered traffic lights scattered along the sculpture trail, the first of which was at the beginning. While the people in front stopped to look at the installation, a man behind us got a bit annoyed.

He thought that:

1. The traffic light was really there to control crowd flow.
2. That the people in front had actually stopped for the red light.
3. Given that we had come up with the first busload of visitors of the day, there was absolutely no reason for us to obey the traffic signal and could we please move along. Stereotypical Aucklander...

First step to existentialism "Medley Part I-XIII" Shannon Novak Medley Part I-XIII Shannon Novak This is the first of twelve poles (each one's different). You're supposed to take a selfie at each & send the pictures to a central repository to be woven into a digital structure. In the end we only found eleven; we think the twelfth was stolen; there's been some unfortunate vandalism & theft. "Target" James Wright Target by James Wright A closer look at an arrow. Target by James Wright The target. Target by James Wright The other side. Target by James Wright "The Archive Wine Bar" Dennis O'Connor, a walk-in diorama. The Archive Wine Bar by Dennis O'Connor It's supposed to feature two bottles of wine from each Waiheke Island winery. The Archive Wine Bar by Dennis O'Connor "Flying Haptics" John Hurrell was a bunch of "critters" hanging off trees at different parts of the sculpture trail. Flying Haptics by John Hurrell The Haptics were made from a range of plastics & other materials. Flying Haptics by John Hurrell "Half A Pallett Of Building Blocks" Matt Ellwood. Half A Pallett Of Building Blocks by Matt Ellwood "Princess XL (fountain #1)" Scott Eady. There is a tap that turns on water spouting out of the marrow but when we got there the water reservoir had run dry. You can see the wet ground under the stool. Princess XL (fountain #1) by Scott Eady "Tawhirowhiro" Robert Jahnke & Joshua Campbell. Maori word for spinning/rotation I think. Tawhirowhiro by Robert Jahnke & Joshua Campbell "Artificial Astronomy" Elin & Keino. Pails on poles, each pail labelled with the name of a constellation. Artificial Astronomy by Elin & Keino When you stand under a pail and look up, you see that holes have been made to let in light mimicking constellations. You can tell from the photo that it was drizzly during this part of the walk. Artificial Astronomy by Elin & Keino "Garden of Shadows" Virginia King. Garden of Shadows by Virginia King The sphere, reflection. Garden of Shadows by Virginia King "Tree Hut" Richard Maloy. Tree Hut by Richard Maloy "Kitset sculpture number fourteen ("our beautiful ocean")" Stuart Bridson. Use of recycled materials e.g. empty wine bottles as flotation aids. Kitset sculpture number fourteen (our beautiful ocean) by Stuart Bridson "Landform" Veronica Herber. We walked past it earlier but it was hard to see it properly until we had moved far enough away to look back at it & see the whole thing. Landform by Veronica Herber "the knot

not and the not now" Audrey Boyle. A fence where you are invited to play around with the wires, tangle & untangle them, tie knots etc. Cute. the knot not and the not now by Audrey Boyle "making do(-ing) | on enjoying our gardens and other wild places" Xin Cheng & Chris Berthelsen. This one takes interactivity to extremes: you're supposed to use the materials there (a range of what looks like stuff that's been scavenged) to create something in this space, you can bring items to add to the space or take items away with you. making do(-ing) | on enjoying our gardens and other wild places "Ikebana Bins" Brydee Rood. Looks to be New Zealand native plants in recycling bins, the bins decorated with gold leaf. Ikebana Bins by Brydee Rood "Cr - bovunculae 2014" Tony Bond. Some of the shapes look suggestive... Cr - bovunculae 2014 by Tony Bond Cr - bovunculae 2014 by Tony Bond Cr - bovunculae 2014 by Tony Bond "My Pic Is My Bond" by Anah Dunsheath. Wonder what Sean Connery thinks of this shelfie (h/t )? My Pic Is My Bond by Anah Dunsheath "Flowers of the sky" Tania Patterson Flowers of the sky by Tania Patterson From inside. Flowers of the sky by Tania Patterson "The Precariats" Cushla Donaldson. This was the piece that won the prize of show, but had been vandalised. It's interactive, with mallets so you can "play" the sculpture as a percussive instrument, but it was roped-off with no public access. I took this from the cordon. The Precariats by Cushla Donaldson "Crossed Wires" Sharonagh Montrose and Helen Bowater. Giant wires raised off the ground with hidden speakers providing a humming background sound. Crossed Wires by Sharonagh Montrose and Helen Bowater Attachment ring. Crossed Wires by Sharonagh Montrose and Helen Bowater A bridge. Crossed Wires by Sharonagh Montrose and Helen Bowater Strings. Crossed Wires by Sharonagh Montrose and Helen Bowater "Garden" Suji Park. More pictures from artist's website. Oh hey look: it's James Bond casting his photographic eye over the sculpture! Garden by Suji Park Collection of flasks. Garden by Suji Park Black flask. Garden by Suji Park Figurine. Garden by Suji Park Close-up of figurine. Garden by Suji Park "Field Apart" Angus Muir & Alexandra Heaney was my favourite. It's 36 columns of mirrors & you get a different view with each step you take, not to mention when people walk around you or it. Field Apart by Angus Muir & Alexandra Heaney IMO fellow members of public add to the experience. Field Apart by Angus Muir & Alexandra Heaney Really pleased with this image. Field Apart by Angus Muir & Alexandra Heaney I like the flash of red in

the middle. Field Apart by Angus Muir & Alexandra Heaney More reflective of the overcast sky. Field Apart by Angus Muir & Alexandra Heaney From farther away. Field Apart by Angus Muir & Alexandra Heaney "Parang Param" Seung Yul Oh. It's another of the damaged sculptures. Parang Param by Seung Yul Oh It's meant to be strips of wide silvered ribbons reflecting the sky. Parang Param by Seung Yul Oh Damage. Parang Param by Seung Yul Oh "Sculpture Walk" Paul Radford. You know the way the sculptures merge with the people walking uphill in the background? Totally unintended when I took the photo. Sculpture Walk by Paul Radford Platonic ideals. Sculpture Walk by Paul Radford Sculpture Walk by Paul Radford Sculpture Walk by Paul Radford "Stop the Clock" (Jane & Mario Downes). Giant metal dandelions. Stop the Clock by Jane & Mario Downes Stop the Clock by Jane & Mario Downes Stop the Clock by Jane & Mario Downes Stop the Clock by Jane & Mario Downes Trail of people snaking along the path. Because we started early, we had missed the crowds but it had begun to get more busy as we neared the end of the trail. Visible beside the path is the remaining strip of "Parang Param". People snaking along the path "Colonial Fence - a modern day tinker" Jeff Thomson. It's meant to be a collection of items made out of number 8 fencing wire, meant to epitomise the innovative invention of Kiwis. I think it would have benefited from being in a more open spot; being right on the narrow hillside path made it harder to enjoy. Colonial Fence - a modern day tinker Chair. Colonial Fence - a modern day tinker Spinning wheel. Colonial Fence - a modern day tinker "The Return of Manuruhi" Ioane Ioane. Manuruhi is linked to the origin story of Maori carving. The Return of Manuruhi by Ioane Ioane Manuruhi. The Return of Manuruhi by Ioane Ioane Manuruhi (close-up). The Return of Manuruhi by Ioane Ioane These fans/turbines made from empty plastic bottles weren't listed in the official programme but in the windy conditions were a nice contrast of motion & stillness.Fans made from empty plastic bottles Plastic turbine. Fans made from empty plastic bottles Fans made from empty plastic bottles "Massive Vessel" David McCracken Massive Vessel by David McCracken Close-up. Massive Vessel by David McCracken "Star Mound" Lonnie Hutchinson This geometric sculpture wasn't listed in the programme either. Through the hole. "Shadow" Ben Foster. Of a shark, looks like. 'Shadow' Ben Foster


Laneway 2015

by Jackson Perry

My sixth Laneway, and another year in Silo Park for the Auckland festival.

This year, thanks to Russell securing a media pass for Capture, I got into the pit for the first three songs of each set. I don't think I've ever worked so hard as a photographer, but I had a lot of fun, and certainly got a lot closer to the performers than previously possible.

They had to stretcher me out at the end. Pretty much.

I've got to run off to work, so may add more commentary later. For now, please kick in with your own Laneway photos in the comments.

Capture away.


From the Road

by Giovanni Tiso

Reposted with kind permission from Gio's blog Bat, Bean, Beam.

Our trip down South was a decade in the planning, an idea we routinely abandoned each year around the month of October once we realised that the all-devouring needs of family would foil us again. So this time we just booked five one-way plane tickets to Christchurch as a way of making the trip non-refundable, therefore definitely happening. The kindness of a friend and some fortunate last-minute bookings made sure we had somewhere to stay and the beginnings of an itinerary.

The trip involved a great deal of driving – 2,200 kilometres by my rough reckoning – which fell entirely upon my partner, so I was able to take some pictures. As I shared them on Twitter recently (if you’ve seen them, you’ve read this post), a couple of people suggested I check out Robin Morrison’s The South Island of New Zealand From the Road, a relatively recent (1981) but emphatically out-of-print book that I was able to study today at the Turnbull Library. And a catalogue of beautiful pictures it is, without doubt, yet also oddly skewed. There is not a single image of Christchurch, save for the interior of a restaurant. Nothing from urban Dunedin, either. Its favourite subjects are windswept landscapes and quirky buildings, remote cottages and farmhouses, aging workers and retired couples. It’s a South Island cast by its unique light in stark loneliness, tied to old industries – like mining or crop farming – while progress may be presumed to happen elsewhere. This picture in the Morrison book is indicative of their somewhat bleak geometry.

Our own impression was warmer, less angular. There was of course the quiet shock of Christchurch, more so for Justine who had never been there. And here I didn’t allow myself to take photographs – like Morrison, though for different reasons – save for this stunning remedial trompe-l'œil in Manchester Street. I’m told it’s by Mike Hewson. (When trying to locate the exact spot on Google, I discovered the Street View shots are still pre-earthquake.)

Discretion aside, taking pictures of Christchurch for the tourist is pointless because in no way it captures the experience of moving within the city – which may be why the images from Christchurch communicate little to the rest of us, until we’re actually there. When I visited last August I got lost one evening and stumbled, alone, into Cathedral Square. The giant ruined building seemed in no proportion to anywhere or anything else. Had I been inclined to take its picture, I would have simply lacked the vantage point.

It has a lot of road, the South Island of New Zealand, and a tremendous amount of sky. We hope to be back soon.


1) Carnegie Libraries erected in New Zealand

2) Yayoi Kusama’s mirrored room.