Yet another new year, and yet another new year’s resolution to post on my blog. Let’s see how long it lasts this time…

Grant and I are back from a few days holiday in Lawrence.  It’s the perfect getaway location from Dunedin, just over one hour drive south of the city – far enough to feel like you’ve got away, yet close enough that you don’t dread the travel time.  We stayed in the lovely little cottage right in the middle of the town.  It’s called Jailbreak Cottage and as the name suggests it was the former town jail.  The building has been restored and converted into a cute self-contained cottage.  They have even kept the original cell for the bedroom – complete with cell door and peephole!

There is heaps to do around Lawrence and we started with a run/bike along the Clutha Gold Trail.  This is one of the ‘Great Rides’ of the NZ Cycle Trail, and stretches from Lawrence to Roxburgh.  We decided that I would drop Grant at the starting point in Lawrence, I would take the car on to Beaumont and leave it there for him to run and pick up, while I biked back to Lawrence.  This plan worked well and despite a bit of rain at the beginning, we had a very pleasant run/bike through the countryside.  The track was in good condition and pretty easy going, so made for an enjoyable bit of holiday exercise.  The main attraction of this section was the Big Hill Tunnel, for which I was very pleased to have my cell phone with me so I could use the torch app!

Gabriel’s Gully sits on the edge of the Lawrence township and is the spot where, in 1861, Gabriel Read saw the “gold shining like the stars in Orion on a dark frosty night”.  There is an interesting track that takes you around the gully with a number of information panels to let you know what life was like in those early gold mining days.

We decided to take a trip along the back road from Beaumont to Millers Flat one day.  I remember driving this route some years ago, but it was not as I remembered.  I think with the addition of the Clutha Gold cycle trail some of the road has been taken over for the cycle trail.  The road was very narrow in some parts and the surface was very rough.  Probably if we had a 4WD it would have been OK, but it wasn’t the best in our vehicle.  Anyway, it was worth the trip to see the lonely graves, and also to visit the historic bridge at Horseshoe bend.  For anyone else considering the drive to visit these spots, I think coming from the Millers Flat end would have been a bit better.

Another must do in Lawrence is a visit to The Lawrence Mint.  We managed a visit on our last day and were hard pressed to make a choice with all the delicious handmade tarts and chocolate truffles on offer.  Luckily it’s not that far from Dunedin – I foresee some day trips for chocolate truffles in our future 😉

Of course Lawrence never disappoints in terms of photo opportunities, and the night before we left I took a stroll around with my camera as the sun was going down.

Update: As this has taken me so long to finish and post, we have since been back and completed another section of the Clutha Gold Trail – between Beaumont and Millers Flat.  This section was a bit longer (24km), and the weather was definitely hotter (maybe about 26 degrees) and so it felt a bit harder than the first section (not so bad on the bike, but definitely for the runner!).  It was much more scenic though, following the path of the Clutha river, and really nice to be riding away from the traffic for most of the time (there are small sections that travel on the seemingly quiet gravel road).

Now we just need to find another weekend to go back and do the last section from Millers Flat to Roxburgh, but I might let my runner catch his breath for a couple of weeks first!

Celebrating 125 years

I’ve been working with a few others for the last few months on getting things ready for the 125th anniversary of the Dunedin Photographic Society.  It’s very cool to be part of something that has been around for so long.

The Society started in March 1890 when a small group of enthusiastic photographers got together with the intention of encouraging amateur pictorial photography.  Today, 125 years later, the group is larger and more diverse, but the intent of fostering enthusiastic photographers continues.

As part of the anniversary weekend we organised an exhibition.  It includes a selection of old photos from the Hocken Library and a selection of mini exhibitions from current members.  It was quite hard to chose what to exhibit in my mini collection, but in the end I went with 4 “street” photos.

We also organised a official opening of the exhibition for members, a dinner and a photowalk.  The photowalk included a visit to the old Dunedin Prison (wouldn’t like to have been stuck in there!) and a wander around the Vogel St area.

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Privateering Light

Well that was fun!  We had a great turnout for the Privateering Light closing event yesterday.  This was a photography exhibition that I helped organise as part of the Dunedin Fringe Festival.

Privateering Light came about from a Facebook post that showed the inspirational work of Joe and Tim from the and their successful “Paper Pirates” photography exhibition. This is a guerilla photography exhibition encouraging participants to: Shoot. Print. Send. Steal. Lead by Warren Millar, a group of Southland Institute of Technology Diploma in Digital Photographystudents thought “we can do that too!” and Privateering Light was born.

As students studying by correspondence, we don’t get to meet other students, nor do a lot of students have an outlet to showcase their work. Privateering Light provides these opportunities and also a chance to interact with other photography enthusiasts.

The 2015 Privateering Light Exhibition was open to everyone with an interest in photography and this year we ended up with photos by 38 photographers from all around New Zealand. The exhibition was on display in the Fringe HQ during the Festival, and we got lots of positive feedback about the images.  We held a closing event when all present got to steal the show and take their favourite photo off the wall and keep it. Lots of fun – I hope we can do it again.

Happy New Year

2015! Time flies! I’m not a great one for making new year’s resolutions – let alone keeping the ones I do make, but this year I am resolved to try and post more regularly on my blog.  Not lots of text, just sharing my photos once in a while. Here’s the first one of 2015, from the 1st Jan when I went on a wee solitary photowalk around town exploring the street art that has emerged recently.



London Streets eBookLife has been somewhat busy lately and while I’ve been taking lots of photos, this blog has been a bit neglected. Anyway, I thought now was a good time to get a post up about my latest thing… making eBooks for sale on Blurb.

I’ve made a couple of print books and have been very pleased with the way they have turned out. However, I find myself reading more and more books and magazines on my iPad these days, so thought why not try making an eBook.  I have made two so far: “London Streets”, and “Dunedin: the land, architecture, and people”

They are really fun to make – I love putting all the photos together and working out which ones fit together best, and it’s great to see the final result.  It’s just a shame that they are only available for the iPhone/iPad at the moment through the Blurb store.

Book Published – Dunedin: the land, architecture, and people

I have just finished creating a book for the final paper of my Photography Diploma.  I chose my home town of Dunedin, NZ as the subject and have focused on the Land, the architecture and the people of the city.

This was a fantastic challenge and I have learnt a lot from the process. We could chose to do a book, exhibition, or website and had about 6 weeks to take and process at least 50 photographs.  Originally I had thought I would do an exhibition, but when it came down to it a book seemed like a nice keepsake from the Diploma.

I have used Blurb for publishing and I’m still waiting for the final hard copies to arrive, but it was really easy to use and integrated seamlessly with Lightroom – I had a collection that I used for all the photos to be in the book and then just created the book from that collection.  There are lots of different page layouts you can use, but I tried not to get too carried away and used only about 3 or 4 different ones in the end.  The hardest part was working out the layout of the images in the book.  I would have an image I liked, but then when I sat it next to another image the clouds wouldn’t match, or the horizons were at different levels and they looked funny.  There were a lot of trips back to some locations trying to reshoot photos to get what I wanted.

In the end, I’m happy with what I have created, and if you would like to check it out you can do so here:

The land, architec…
By Melanie Middlemiss
Photo book