Zee’s Photo Challenge #1


I’ve been listening to some photography podcasts, and watching some YouTube videos. There’s a lot about settings you can change on a DSLRs that simply don’t apply to me, so I’ve been trying to pick out the information that does (mostly composition). With both my painting and my writing, the point (other than creative satisfaction) is to encourage the viewer to feel something, which is what I’m leaning towards with my photography. There’s also something Jane Thorne said in her interview for I Am An Artist, that she notices things that other people don’t necessarily see interest or beauty in (to quote, like “a gorgeous brick wall”). I hope that my photos can bring attention to some things that are otherwise overlooked.

Crit #1a: Drosera binata

1a: Drosera binata

I took this photo after a re-potting, as documentation of my sundew (Latin: Drosera) collection. They are very small plants, but the close up and focus tries to show how delicate the ‘dew’ (mucilage) is on the plant.

I think this could have benefited from an even closer shot, with a darker, simpler background. I am not sure how effectively I can do this when I eventually swap to my point-and-shoot camera.



Crit #1b: Ponsonbyย sapling

1b: Ponsonby sapling

I was sitting on a bench getting my earphones out when this little green thing caught my eye. This was actually the second of two shots – the first had too much debris close to the sapling, which drowned it out completely.

I like this shot. Slightly off-centre seems to work, even though it’s not quite rule-of thirds (Ro3) either. I think because the green is such a juxtaposition against the grey/brown, it doesn’t need to be in the centre / Ro3 to show that it is the subject.


Crit #1c: Hunua Falls

1c: Hunua Falls

This was about the third shot. I first took one over the railing off the falls, and thought that it’s no different to any other photo of the falls, so what’s the point? I already have some good photos from the last time I visited.

I remembered something I’d heard about giving context with foreground, so I tried keeping the railing in the shot, and was pleased with the outcome. When I look at this shot, I feel like I could be back at the balcony right there in the photo. I’m not sure if a flash illuminating the railing would have worked better – it does seem a bit dark.

On exploring point-and-shoot photography


I remember getting my first camera as a child. It was our first holiday to India at eight years old (I was born in India, but moved to New Zealand that same year so didn’t remember what it was like). My sister and I were both given these pink-on-pink Barbie cameras, and it was one of the presents I loved the most. The whole process of photography was exciting – finding things that interested me, framing the shot, hoping I hadn’t done anything wrong, and waiting to see how it turned out.

For me, photography has been just for fun, though like many I harbour a desire for professional skills. Like writing, I just never thought I’d be good enough (and also in this case, afford the gear), but this year I am moving forward in my own hands-on, experimental way. I am using 365Project as a way to encourage me to photograph every day, and will be signing up for the 100 Days Project for the same reason.

Thus far the photos I’ve taken have been digital photos taken on my phone, but I have bought an old 35mm film point-and-shoot camera off TradeMe (for non-kiwi readers, that’s our version of eBay), and am just waiting for the film to arrive. I look forward with a nostalgic glee to using an actual viewfinder, having to be creative with less control, and the cross-your-fingers-and-wait aspect of film photography. Fun times ahead!

My new old film camera!


Introducing photographer, James Stonley


A friend shared James Stonley’s Facebook page, and I was instantly attracted. At the time, the images were largely street photography. From just one photo, it seemed as if you could read the story of the subject being photographed – no small feat – and I became more interested in James’ work.

Images from jstonley.com

I met James later on, and it took a while to register that he wasย theย James Stonley from the photography page! Regardless, it was great to connect, and share our stories of art, culture, and following our passions – which, after all, is what life is all about.

Since then, we’ve connected more, and he surprised me by taking on the role of photographer at my first launch party (which was fortunate, as my other photographer’s camera had decided to pull a sickie).

Images by James Stonley

At my next launch (on the 20th of June, for Lucy’s Story: The End of the World), James will be holding a photo booth! He’s got some awesome ideas brewing, but they’re just ideas for now so you’ll have to visit on the day to see what he gets up to – or catch the photos here afterwards ๐Ÿ™‚

Want to know more about James Stonley? Visit him on Facebook, Instagram, Flickr –ย or visit his website:ย jstonley.com

James Stonley is definitely in my good books... no pun intended!

James Stonley is definitely in my good books… no pun intended!

James is a photographer originally from Liverpool in England now living in Auckland, New Zealand.ย He specialises in portrait photography and street portraits.