Shoot the Northern Lights with an astrophotography master

gee_fulllife_dphoto_oct14 A trip to the Arctic and Norway sounds like a pretty great trip in itself, but combine it with seeing the Aurora Borealis performing incredible light shows, and learning how to capture it on camera, and you're heading into the realms of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Mark Gee, a Wellington-based photographer and one of the country's leading astrophotographers, leads the Northern Lights photography masterclass, The Art of Night, from December 12–18, 2014.

Participants will learn from the world-class digital visual effects artist, who will condct daily hands-on workshops, as well as experiencing once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like dog-sledding expeditions, nightly Northern Lights hunts, close encounters with wolves, and reindeer-sledding in the Arctic landscape.

Plenty of Mark's night photography secrets will be shared with attendees while capturing the light shows, which will not again be as vibrant as during this expedition until 2024.

There are only six spaces left so if this trip sounds like a pre-Christmas trip for you, book now.

Photography fundamentals underpin digital art

Mermaid The idea of covering your dining room table with fish to capture a shot is a level of dedication that a special type of photographer will go to. But it’s exactly what Richard Wood did to capture the above shot from his 2014 New Zealand Professional Photographer of the Year portfolio.

In the latest issue of D-Photo, we talk to Wood about his ability to produce images that come out as works of illustrational art. But his process is not without its critics due to the way Wood embraces digital post-production techniques.  He says it saddens him when people don't appreciate the fundamental photographic skills underpinning his work, but he knows the level of detail and technique that have gone into the shot.

“I’ve provided before and after images of some of my shots, and you can see the image looks as if it’s painted on the back of the camera,” Wood says. “It’s purely how you light it that well, and light it spectacularly.”

Wood will be sharing his knowledge and techniques about studio and on-the-run lighting in his full-day workshop coming up on November 30 at Kingsize Studios in Auckland.

In the ‘lighting on the run’ section you’ll explore Wood’s methods of quickly and effectively lighting subjects without having to worry about heavy or expensive equipment. While in the ‘Rembrandt painterly light’ section Wood will give you an insight into his methods of creating a beautiful fall of light across the face. Finally, Wood will host a lecture about his methods and philosophy on releasing the creative power of your mind to come up with outside-the-box ideas.

If you’re interested in signing up for this workshop, which runs from 10am–5pm and has an early-bird special of $495, visit to register.

Upskill in geothermic paradise

mead (2)These days there are loads of photography workshops available to the ambitious enthusiast, but few are offered in quite such a sumptuous environment as the upcoming Rotorua photography workshop. The three-day workshop, taking place in early September, will enable hobbyist photographers to lift their craft in a wide range of areas amidst the unique backdrops of geothermal parks, lush native forests, and charming local markets.

Led by renowned local photographer and long-time D-Photo contributor, Mead Norton, the workshop will leave attendees confident in capturing a diverse range of genres, including landscapes, action and portraits. Other fundamentals covered include composition, picking your moment, natural lighting and digital processing.

“Rotorua provides a fantastic backdrop to learn how to work with your environment to get a dramatic and thought provoking image," says Norton.  "We have the mystique and intrigue of the geothermal activity, the tranquil lakes and moody forests."

As well as being treated to all the natural splendour the area has to offer, attendees will also be staying in luxury at the opulent Peppers on the Point resort, with three-course gourmet dinners, breakfasts and lunches included in the package.

The workshop takes place on September 5-7, and costs $1200 per person. You can browse the full details of the workshop here, and contact Norton on or 021 202 3042 for further enquiries.

Light like a pro

svn-shotgun1bannerIf you've been giving serious thought to lifting your lighting game, next month brings Aucklanders the opportunity to learn the ropes direct from one of the country's best photographers. Richard Wood, Grand Master of Photography with the New Zealand Institute of Photography, is travelling north on July 12 to teach one of his popular lighting workshops at Grey Lynn's Kingsize Studios.

The one-day course will cover the principles of lighting, techniques to create ranges of softness and contrast, as well as Wood's own unique approach to achieving painterly Rembrandt light. The workshop will include studio lighting setups as well as solutions for beautiful lighting with minimal equipment wile on the go.

The hands-on event will also feature a live creative shoot for students to put into practice their new skills and techniques.

The photographer's recent workshop in Wellington sold out quickly, so head to his website to reserve your spot at the Auckland date now – it costs $350, with a $50 deposit required to save a spot.

The workshop kicks off at 1.30pm on Saturday, July 12 and runs until 5.30pm at Kingsize's Studio One.

Image: Richard Wood

Make light work of Lightroom

lightroom 9One of the country's most respected photography educators has just expanded its programme to include a workshop on getting the most out of Lightroom's organisational and image-enhancing features. Three Little Wishes, which already offers a variety of photography workshops and Photoshop courses, launches its one-day Lightroom workshop in May, with an introductory special for those who book a place this month.

The course, aimed at beginners and requiring no previous experience with Lightroom, will cover all aspects of Adobe's powerful imaging software – from the user interface, importing files, and organising folders to exposure adjustments, re-touching, converting colours, and exporting files.

If you make a booking for one of the May Lightroom workshops before April 30 you'll can secure a spot for a special introductory price of $250 – click here for details.

The first workshop commences on Saturday, May 3 at Photogear in Albany, Auckland. It runs from 10am to 3pm and you'll be required to bring a laptop and mouse (and basic understanding of how to use them) along with a copy of Lightroom on the computer.

To make sure all attendees get the best learning experience possible, Three Little Wishes guarantees there will be no more than six students per tutor, so you can be assured of plenty of practical assistance and learning at an enjoyable pace.

As well as this new Lightroom workshop, Three Little Wishes offers a range of exciting photography courses in both Auckland and Wellington – including beginners, intermediate and advanced photography workshops – and comprehensive training in Photoshop.

Shooters at the Writer's Fest

Benge_HarveyThe Auckland Writer's Festival might not be the most obvious place to go for photographic advice, but a couple of events in this year's programme, in May, will be of keen interest to photographers. First up, local art photographer Harvey Benge will host a workshop entitled Stories with Pictures, in which he'll be sharing his considerable wisdom on how to tell a photo from bad, in our imagery-saturated world. Here's how the Festival puts it:

With more than 380 billion photographs taken each year, each telling a story, almost everybody these day considers themselves a photographer. But while seemingly easy, taking a great photograph is anything but. Art-based photographer Harvey Benge published his first photobook in 1993; twenty years on with more than 40 publications to his credit, Benge can spot a great picture from a dog. In this workshop he explains the distinction.

The event takes place from 2pm to 3.30pm on Friday, May 16 at the Goodman Fielder Room at the Aotea Centre – you can pick up tickets here.

Secondly, New Zealand bird photographer Brent Stephenson takes part in a weekend gallery session called The Great Avian Chase, in which he will tell tales of his extensive birding experiences throughout the country:

Brent Stephenson, birder extraordinaire and photographer for the wonderful Birds of New Zealand: A Photographic Guide takes Festival goers on a journey of love, loss, close calls and rediscoveries in our avian kingdom. From the huia and the takahe, to the magenta petrel (Chatham Island taiko), Stephenson charts the highs and lows of our local skies.

His talk takes place from 10.15am to 11.15am on Sunday, May 18 at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki – you can book tickets here.

Images: Top – Harvey Benge, bottom – Brent Stephenson


Workshop Wednesday 13.03.14

There are a wealth of photography workshops available these days across a wide array of subjects -- each Wednesday we round up a list of upcoming events from the photographers D-Photo trusts to deliver an exciting and educational experience.

Rotorua adventure

Mead Norton

Expert lifestyle outdoor photographer Mead Norton is running a weekend workshop ranging around scenic Rotorua. Kicking off on Friday evening, March 28 and wrapping on Sunday, March 30, the workshop includes dynamic training sessions on composition, natural lighting, elements of a successful image, environmental travel portraiture, tailored gear advice, image critiquing and advice on digital editing and printing.

The workshop is suitable for photographers of all levels and is limited to 12 participants – head to Mead's website for his credentials and shoot him an email on for further details and to secure your place.

Portrait workshop savings

Paul Petch

If you have been meaning to brush up on your portrait technique now would be a good time to commit – commercial photographer Paul Petch is currently offering a 50 per cent discount on any of his Auckland-based portrait workshops as long as you book in the month of March.

Paul's three-hour workshop at Bethells Beach is designed to help photographers capture beautiful, moody outdoor portraits, whether you're a photography newcomer or an expert looking to develop outside of the studio. Check the website for details.

Naked knowledge

Bianca Duimel

If you haven't swung by the Naked Robot already you should definitely give it a look – run by a team of top photographers, the website has a host of helpful blog tutorials as well as listings for some exciting upcoming workshops.

Beginners can learn the ropes with Harry Janssen's Digital SLR workshop over three half-days on consecutive Saturdays, beginning March 29, and those looking to get a little more imaginative with their imagery can book in to Bianca Duimel's Shoot Your Dreams workshop for creative photography.

You can even score a 10 per cent discount by entering the coupon code DPHOTO03 at the checkout.

Are you a reputable photography professional hosting a workshop? Email with the details and we'll see about getting you into the next Workshop Wednesday round-up.

Upskill for the New Year

Kingsize workshopsIf you've ever thought about getting into fashion photography or taking the online world by storm as the country's next top blogger 2014 might be the year to cease upon those dreams, with a pair of intensive workshops running this month on those very subjects. Auckland's Kingsize Studios will be holding two one-day practical workshops, one on how to produce a world-class blog and the other an introduction to the world of professional fashion photography, in late January.

The blogging workshop sees the authors behind four of New Zealand's most successful blogs – Foureyes, Rag Pony, Aych Blog and Katherine is Awesome – discussing their experiences and dishing out advice on writing, photography, design, branding and more.

Hosted by convivial fashion photographer Oliver Rose, the blog workshop will be held at the Grey Lynn studios on Saturday, January 18 running from 10am to 4pm, with admission at $135.

The following Saturday, January 25, sees Rose teaming up with Kingsize's Luke White to teach an intensive introduction to a career in fashion photography.

The event will cover all aspects of the creative and technical side – posing, lighting, camera technique, styling, video – as well as the practical business elements, and is ideally suited to school leavers, tertiary graduates, bloggers and anyone looking to kick start a fashion photography career.

The workshop runs from 10am to 4pm and costs $155 – or you can book both the blogging and fashion photography workshops for a combined price of $269, and really blow through that New Year's resolution list.

Visit the studio's education website for more details.