Greenpoint Shipwreck Graveyard

I was recently invited to a good mates engagement party in Invercargill (congratulations Simon and Ash) so I thought I might squeeze in some landscape photography while I was there.  To be honest, I had no idea Invercargill had a shipwreck cemetery.  The only reason I found out was because while I was researching possible locations for my photography adventure I came across a shipwreck image.  I was immediately hooked.  I set myself a goal to take at least one keeper from the location.  I travelled down from Dunedin to Invercargill a day early, to have a catch up with Simon and maybe check out the shipwrecks.  It was the afternoon when I arrived and Simon, (who hosts More FM the only local radio breakfast show in Invercargill) had finished work for the day so we headed out together to see these shipwrecks up close and personal.

The Greenpoint Shipwreck Cemetery is located about 20 minutes drive out of the city on the state highway to Bluff.  There are signs, and with google maps, it's fairly easy to find.  Can I just say the local council should take a bow.  They have spared no expense in creating a stunning boardwalk surrounded by wetland fauna. The walkway gently meanders along the shoreline to the cemetery.  The walk takes about 15 minutes and is fairly flat the whole way.  At the end of the enjoyable stroll there are even a few steps to deliver you onto the beach with the shipwrecks pretty much right in front of you.  Again, this is brilliant.  I appreciated the information boards about the history of the shipwrecks, plus details on the stunning rock formations on the beach.

As it was late in the afternoon I didn't think I'd get much of a shot, but I have to admit I got my first keeper on that stunning blue sky afternoon.  As Simon was my host, I'll call it 'Shipwrecks for Simon'.  

 

 These two ships moored together formed the basis of my subject matter for the location.  There are older more skeletal shipwrecks, but I found the size of these 2 really appealing.

These two ships moored together formed the basis of my subject matter for the location.  There are older more skeletal shipwrecks, but I found the size of these 2 really appealing.

So all that was left was to return the next morning and shoot the location.  After navigating my way through morning fog on the road to the location, I was hoping for some haunting fog to add some atmosphere to the images.  But that was not to be, maybe next time.

 I wanted the images to include the natural life on the beach.  This helps put the shipwrecks in context to their natural environment.  Here the beads of seaweed makes for an interesting foreground texture in the composition.

I wanted the images to include the natural life on the beach.  This helps put the shipwrecks in context to their natural environment.  Here the beads of seaweed makes for an interesting foreground texture in the composition.

 A similar image to the one above but further up the beach and about 15 minutes later.  Some of New Zealand's oldest rocks lead your eye toward the shipwrecks. 

A similar image to the one above but further up the beach and about 15 minutes later.  Some of New Zealand's oldest rocks lead your eye toward the shipwrecks. 

If you are ever visiting Invercargill I cannot recommend enough this simple day trip to Greenpoint Shipwreck Cemetery,  suitable for the whole family.  If I ever take my ten year old along I'll be sure to weave in tales of pirates, gold and sunken treasure. 

The Singing Cow

If I was asked to identify the most important quality of a photograph it would be one I could not see.  The image itself means nothing if it lacks this one simple truth.  A quality only each of us can bring from within our hearts and souls.  Simply put, the photograph and I are able to form a connection.  Without a connection, ultimately I am left standing wooden and cold before it.  I can admire it's composition, use of light and subject matter.  However, unless a spark of wonder,  joy or recognition forms within me, the image will just pass on to the next. 

As the photographer it's easy to make a fairly good connection with an image, hell I took it, I should at least have some sort of paternal love for my creation... But that is not always the case. 

Some of the landscape images I take will never affect me in a way others do.  They are nice but, well, they just don't have that special sauce.  But all is not lost, these images can often provide connection for someone else.  A sale of an image is always an indicator of some level of connection. If I am lucky the customer might share with me their own connection; the special place they are taken too, a childhood memory, a loved family member's special spot and so on.  When this type of connection happens, it is likely to be even more satisfying, it's like the joy of giving, and you get to hitch a ride on their rollercoaster.

So I suppose I should include an image I connect with.  Connection can come from left field.  This image of cattle in fog was taken on the Taieri Plains in Mosgiel.  To me, when I look at that cow with his mouth open, I see Frank Sinatra in full swing.  In my late teens I fell in love with Sinatra music and would listen to it on my CD walkman player.  He became a music hero.  I remember clearly where I was the day Frank Sinatra died, and yes, boom, this picture takes me to a rainy night in Austria.  All that connection from a singing cow. 

 

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Trev Hill is a Dunedin Based Photographer 

 

Photographer at a crossroad

I am very lucky to have the rugged and beautiful landscape of Otago to photograph.  Not only is the local scenery stunning, but, I am also spoilt at times with glorious and colourful sunrises and sunsets.  There is something magical about being fully immersed in spectacular light as clouds and sky burst in a symphony of colour all around.  Sometimes, I feel like I should just put the camera down,  completely free myself of the task of taking images and just enjoy the show.  But, that is easier said than done. 

 Fuji XT2, XF56mm 1.2 

Fuji XT2, XF56mm 1.2 

Recently I have been thinking more and more about what I want to get out of my images.  How I want them to affect me when I look at them.  While I love the colour of sunrises and sunsets, I have been becoming increasingly wary of pinks, oranges and reds in the sky.  These are images I believe work extremely well in a social media environment, but somehow fall short when printed. Popular photography platforms give us the opportunity to binge on stunning images, to wow and be wowed by each others work, carefully crafted and digitally developed images are consumed and then forgotten in seconds.  So I stopped posting images on 500px, it kind of just got pointless for me, and I don't miss it.  

 Fuji XT2, XF14mm 2.8

Fuji XT2, XF14mm 2.8

So I came up with a plan.  Moving forward I want my images to focus on atmosphere. To celebrate the weather, whether that be rain, wind, fog, or snow.  I don't need my photography to sing with colour, perhaps it can be more earthy and grey.  From this colour palette I would like to tell stories.  

 Fuji XT2, XF23mm F2

Fuji XT2, XF23mm F2

That is my plan, and I like it as it gives my photography purpose and direction.  I'm not sure if this is a path I will stay on, but for now it sits well with me.

 Fuji XT2, XF 14mm 2.8

Fuji XT2, XF 14mm 2.8

All of the images I have shared in this blog were taken after I decided to move in this direction.  So far so good, and I look forward to what is to come.  It does make me wonder whether there are other photographers out there who have similar feelings.

 Fuji XT2, XF 14mm 2.8 

Fuji XT2, XF 14mm 2.8 

Trev Hill is a photographer based in Dunedin, New Zealand.