Monday, March 30, 2015

Balloons over Waikato Festival 2015

 This is the third year in a row that I have travelled over to photograph the balloons in Hamilton.
I got up at 4am to get ready to meet members of the Rotorua Camera Club at 5.15am 
I did not get a wink of sleep all night so I wasn't  exactly chirpy or perky 


But as soon as I set sight on the balloons my spirits lifted and I had the best tine.
We arrived so early half past six to see the very first ones inflating
I dare anyone to stay on a bad mood when surrounded by balloons of this creative magnitude

This is a close up of one balloon that I thought looked really colourful
For the first time we were allowed to go inside a partially  inflated balloon. 
This was magical  and eerie because it was like being in a tent
Lots of people joined in to play and pose
This guy had a ball which he left inside for people to play with.
The concept of  scale came into play which felt dramatic.
I enjoyed taking shots of people interacting with each other and of course taking photos posing inside this balloon

This is one of my favourite photos.
 Young kids with i-pads taking photos of it. 
The  plastic surround of these i-pads that makes it really child friendly 
What a great interactive way for kids to be creative. 
Memories like this stick in kids minds for years. 
I remember my first Santa Parade at two years of age. 
Balloon Festivals emit the power of wonder and splendour.
I played around with Nik software with some of these photos to see what effects I could get
Some of the HDR effects make the images grungy and hyper real
 Less natural but different
Black and whites with graphic backgrounds like this can draw attention to the subject without the confusion of colour 
But I still think they look a bit low key
The balloon Fest is such a colour Fest, it's a shame to wash it out.
When everyone dispersed  and only the ball was left it felt a bit lonely
Outside balloons had been inflating like crazy
This was a parrot pirate balloon and my overall favourite.
 The detail like the ring in the ear.
 Imagine how difficult this would be to design
There were balloons a upon balloons in this one. 
So intricate  
I have never seen anything so amazingly creative in balloons before.
This is the third time in a row I have been to this festival
Wouldn't I have loved to be up in that balloon ?
Up up and away
It would be hard to find anything more beautiful than that

Look how small the men in the baskets are.

I am really in awe of anyone who makes, owns and flies a balloon
There is a lot involved like ground crew to inflate it and air crew to fly it.
This lion  and Noahs Ark were also favourites
They looked like they had stepped out of a kids story book
And I think that's part of the wonder of balloons as they have a strong resonance with all of our childhoods. 
They are a way of people being able to access their inner child. 

 A festival of this size  and calibre in New Zealand 
It's pretty special when  you think about it

And they float away and you feel like you want to be with them and its a tiny bit sad to see them go.

But then theres another one going up and it's all on again

There are so many everywhere it's a wonder they didn't have a collision

A lovely view when one goes right over the top of you

The dramatic launching of this Resene one showed the flames going in. 
Just imagine if you misdirected.
 A whole balloon going up in smoke.
But it showed me close up how much expertise and brute strength you have to have. 
Men have to hold onto these giant ropes until its inflated.

I like taking shots of other photographers .

Another favourite of mine came from Taiwan.
 It had pictures that kids had designed. 
I  think this is an excellent idea for a balloon

Kids drawings are gorgeous and how respectful to put them on a balloon

This balloon was owned by a womanI think the only woman owner.
I can see why not many women have them
The design was simple yet very effective. 
Ladybird dots, how empowering.
And they had a woman Compere this year and she was very good.
 I hope they have another one next year because she was easy on the ear and gave a different perspective.

 Creative Quote of the day

 I would love for Rotorua to have its own Balloon Festival and I  think someone could design a Maori themed balloon in the shape of a Waka with a sail on it. 
Complete with Maori warriors. 
Like out of the famous scene of Lindauers the men making it to NZ in the first canoe. 
Or failing that some Maori  Kowhaiwhai designs. Red black and white would be good. 
Stairway to heaven patters like on the Kowhaiwhai panels
What about the Birdwoman and Hatuputu?  
The themes and ideas are endless.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Aria's Farm adventure with Kerris Browne, Jonathon, Hagger and Ruebin Hagger .

Jonathon Hagger Ruebin Hagger and I went over to see Kerris Browne at her farm. It's called Aria's Farm  and is named after her daughter, Aria. 
Kerris and her husband  Chris run a farm stay business where people pay to stay in the nice  houses they have on the property and can have the opportuntiy to converse and interact with the animals.
They attract a lot of families  from out of town and overseas with kids that have never been on farms before.
 Pigs are one of my favourite animals.
Because they are caring, brainy and cute.
I asked Jonathon to come with me ( next door ) to Aria's farm to  pose for my camera, kissing a pig.
I figured he'd be a good model because he is a marathon runner and he and Kerris already knew each other because they often run the same marathons and I think they both belong to the Rotorua Athletics Club
Jonathon had never held a pig let alone kissed one before but he was very brave following the instructions Kerris gave him to avoid being scratched.
I thought he had a natural and obvious rapport  with animals. He could have been a vet in another  life or maybe even a photographic model for sportswear!!!!
They stopped squealing almost immediately and settled down to be nurtured and admired.

It was so adorable it was hard for me to reject any of these photos.
I think this is one of my favourites.
The pigs are called Saddlebacks
And they grow up to be as tall as your hip. I don't know the exact weight.
They are reputed to be as intelligent or even more so than dogs.
And as long as you put a ring in their nose when you put them into a paddock they wont root it up so that it becomes a bog
They are really affectionate and respond well to being talked to and scratched
They like being handled

And they appear to like very much being around people and each other
 They are surprisingly soft to touch , especially around their ears
And providing you hold them correctly they wont bite or scratch you

They respond well if you genuinely like them and they even appear to smile

They are totally adorable and I love living near them
Look at those cute little trotters and snouts

Look at the cute curly tales
Their area is very clean and well looked after, so it doesn't smell awful
Their mother is very willing to feed them and feed them. She is an excellent mother.
And quite attractive in her own way
Other pigs on the farm are long time pets

They enjoy interacting with their owner Kerris
And sometimes personalities start competing for her affections
So dramatic times can occur
Rivals are chased off
But there is always plenty of love to share around

Because this is a farm where animals are free range, not locked up in some overcrowded prison

The pigs have a good life

Roosters are also prized pets

And serve as early morning alarm clocks that I can hear from my bedroom window
They have been handled so much that they are also tame
Although Jonathon didn't quite manage to pick this one up

Another one was obtained by Kerris
And this proved to be very serene
The photography session of this  encounter went on for quite a while and he let them stroke his comb and wattle.

You could tell Jonathon liked the  roosters as well

He didn't peck Jonathon at  all and as long as Jonathon held the powerful legs in check, all was well and safe
The ducks looked clean and happy
They proved to also be friendly
And  were fantastic layers and providers of eggs
Kerris with the help from  Ruebin washed the eggs that she very kindly gave to us 
They came out so startlingly white from what colour the were in the beginning
It gave me an appreciation for the amount of work that goes into providing people with food.
We walked back next door to my place and they handed me the eggs.

Graham my husband made us scrambled eggs for breakfast using half duck eggs and half chicken eggs and I couldn't taste or tell the difference between them.
 They were really delectable and fresh
Thanks to Kerris for a great hour and for being such a willing and healthy looking model
Thanks to Jonathon for being such a brave model and Ruebin for his help.
Thanks to all the lovely natured animals.
You are all  stars.

Creative Quotes of the day

The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.