Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Hi everybody
Interested in whale photography field trips in the Bay of Plenty? Read on ...

WHALE PHOTOGRAPHY TRIPS   October and November are whale months here in the Bay of Plenty. Over the last few Octobers we saw whales pretty much every time we went out: blue whales, pygmy blue whales, sei whales, Bryde’s whales, minke whales, and occasionally other species. This year I have organised two whale photography trips with expert whale finder [and good friend] Graeme Butler on board Gemini Galaxsea. Last year, the Rena wrecked our whale trip plans, but the two previous years had been exceptional.

Coming back from an overnight visit to Motiti Island in September 2009, we encountered both a Blue Whale and a Pygmy Blue Whale [a subspecies of blue whale that “only” grows to 24 metres in length – compared to Blue Whales which reach 33.6 metres]. The highlight for me was photographing a full-sized Blue Whale rising out of the sunset-lit sea, with The Mount in the background a mere 5-6 miles away. This was truly amazing – the Blue Whale is the largest animal ever to have lived on Planet Earth, considerably bigger than every known dinosaur. And here was one feeding - with the buildings of Mount Maunganui in the background.

The following year was even more amazing. Every time Graeme went out in October 2010 he saw whales, often Blue Whales. Graeme and I organized a special “Whale Photography” trip, and some of you now have life-long memories of close encounters with a mother Blue Whale and her calf, a third Blue Whale, and a pair of Bryde’s Whales. Not to forget the largest numbers of shearwaters and storm petrels I’ve ever seen in one place – all feeding on the dense krill schools that turned the sea a dark brown, almost black. This year I’ve organized two “Whale Photography Trips”, one on Sunday 14 October, the other on Saturday 3 November, and am ready to organize a few short-notice trips. 
I’m compiling a “Short notice list for whale trips” of people I can contact at short notice if Butler is seeing whales and the weather forecast looks good. If you want to be on this list, please email me 
These trips will leave Tauranga Bridge Marina at 8.30 am, and come back late afternoon. The day will be spent on board Graeme Butler’s 18 metre motor ketch, “Gemini Galaxsea”, a stable comfortable photographic platform.  Can we guarantee that you will see whales? I’m afraid not, nature’s not predictable like that, but the Bay of Plenty in October is the right place and time, and Butler and Stuart Rendall [his business partner] are better at finding whales than anyone else. Looking back through Butler’s log book, the last year Butler was out at sea during October [2010] he saw whales every single trip.

The October-November whale-hunting trips are “no-frills” – for $135 you get a full day at sea looking for [and hopefully photographing] whales and whatever else the day brings: typically dolphins, seals, albatrosses, other seabirds, and penguins - but without the fresh coffee and muffins and sea photography tuition/hand-out of our traditional “Cap’n Butler/Dr Kim Sea Photography Trips” – but don’t worry, we’ll run more of these next year. If interested, contact Mary Butler at freephone 0508-BUTLER or 07-578-3197 or Email   Website:
Sunday 14 October - $135. 
Saturday 3 November - $135
Other October-November whale-hunting trips - $135, dates to be announced at short notice.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Hi everybody - there's a great nature photography tuition weekend coming if you live within driving [or flying] distance of Tauranga on the shores of the beautiful Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. Read on ...

 Kim Westerskov
6-7 October 2012
[the last Nature Photography Weekend for 2012]

This is Numero Uno, the biggest workshop I run: a full weekend of workshops and field trips, followed by an assignment and an evaluation evening about 3 weeks later at a time that suits everyone.

Part 1: Saturday and Sunday 6-7 October, 9.00 am - 5.00 pm. Both days will be based at Kim’s studio but we’ll also take some time to head out into the field [to a local park, wetland, or shoreline] in the afternoons. The main theme is CREATING GREAT NATURE PHOTOGRAPHS. A mix of modules with summary hand-outs, live demonstrations, screen-projected images, and questions answered.
Topics include:
  • The equipment, techniques and approaches needed for getting great nature photos
  • Photos that win competitions
  • Landscapes and seascapes
  • Wildlife photography [including birds]
  • Composition – the rules, and when to ignore the rules
  • Telephoto vs. wide angle – getting the most out of each
  • Dealing with scruffy foregrounds & problem skies
  • Specialised techniques for night/dusk photography and aerial photography,
  • “Secrets of the pros” - yes, quite a few
  • Creativity, commitment, how to get lucky, working a subject
  • Wonderful silky waterfalls
  • Digital workflow – from camera to great photos as painlessly as possible. Backing up, archiving
  • Photoshop & Lightroom
  • Photo impressionism creating art in your camera.
  • Getting emotion, atmosphere and ‘soul’ into your photos
  • Checklist for critiquing photos
  • Copyright, photo competitions & the law
  • The 4 main things holding photographers back – and how to deal with each.

  • Part 2: Photo assignment – in your own time over the following 2-3 weeks.

  • Part 3: Evaluation and critiquing of your photos [this can be done by email if you’re from out of town]. We meet at Kim’s studio again for a few hours at a time that suits everybody, probably an evening.

  • Cost: $475. The Early Bird special is $425 if you register before 30 September [I’ve extended this deadline a bit to give more people the chance of the lower rate]. The fee includes the workshop, follow-up, hand-outs, Vivienne’s yummy refreshments and lunches on both days. Special rate for fulltime students - $225.

We put a lot of time and thought into preparing and running these workshops. Class numbers are small, allowing for considerable individual attention. For anyone living outside the Tauranga area, there are three motels within 5 minutes’ walk of Kim’s studio. The workshops are held at Kim’s comfortable studio at 18 Greerton Road, Gate Pa, Tauranga. Contact Kim at the email address in the underwater image in the previous post. He's love to hear from you!