Making sense of my photography hobby in retirement

Archive for July, 2010

Imagining Takapuna e-Book Project

This project started with a problem.  What do you do with your growing collection of photographs that have a common theme to them?  When you create the images you don’t necessarily have a specific project on mind.  The shot presents itself, you frame it and press the button.  Maybe you then post the resulting interpreted image on Flickr or a photo blog.

The idea of a photo e-book began to grow when some friends gave us a photo book of a popular local holiday spot .   Maybe I could produce one for our local area, I thought.  At about the same time one of my sons suggested that I look at Scribus, a piece of open source desktop publishing software.  He had used it to produce an in-house newsletter at his workplace.  Further investigation found that it could produce output in a PDF format.  This had some appeal as the final document could be output a PDF and sent to a book printer such as Blurb, provided it complied with their requirements, or it could be published as a viewable or downloadable PDF on the web. A project had been born.

Imagining Takapuna proved to be quite a learning experience, which can be broken down into the following stages:

  1. Learn how to use Scribus – This required finding and then following a on-line tutorial on page layout and import of text and images;
  2. Map out a book idea – Determine a storyline, themes, master layout, etc;
  3. Explore image portfolio to find image candidates for inclusion in the book;
  4. Build the pages with images and text;
  5. Edit, not once, but at least three times.  You can get too close to the project and overlook even obvious errors;
  6. Review – Have someone not related to the project to review the “finished” article and offer constructive feedback.  This will raise questions about why text or images have been included, and why others have not.  Maybe the text mentions something that is not represented by an image.
  7. Time out – Set the project aside for a few days to divorce yourself from it and clear your mind.  Then come back and take a fresh look.  It is amazing what you see (or not) after a break.
  8. Finalize – It is easy to tweak forever.  Reach a point of finalization and call it quits.
  9. Publish – Put your head above the parapet and await response.

This e-book “sort of ” follows the above process.  While it attempts to follow themes, it is by no means a comprehensive representation of Takapuna and what it has to offer.  It is more an experiment in production and a learning experience for the future.  It has helped to arm me for more intentional projects in the future that can be planned and deliberately executed.  If you view it in that light then maybe you will forgive me for any shortcomings in this first production.

Images in the e-book include sunrise and sunset, surfing, stand up paddling, Sunday and Christmas markets, Takapuna Criterium, cliffs and reef.

Imagining Takapuna can be viewed by clicking here on the cover image above. It is best viewed by downloading the file and opening it in Adobe Acrobat and following these viewing tips.

PDF Viewing tip
Make sure you’re viewing this in 2-page spreads if you want this to look its best.
In Acrobat go to: View > Page Display > Two Up.
Select “Show Cover Page During Two Up” to make sure the pages aren’t out of sync.
Select “Show gaps between pages” for the final touch.


Getting out of your own way

I always take my camera when I’m on holiday.  I don’t always have it with me when I’m driving or walking around the city.  I always mean to take time out to wander around looking for interesting images but, you know, things seem to get in the way.  When last year’s Scott Kelby photowalk came into my view I took the opportunity to sign up to force myself out of my complacency and have a more intimate look at my city.

Furniture for Flats

Over the years I have driven past this shop many times.  Its not the type of place I normally visit.  It is in the heart of an older part of the city where many students flat and the general culture in the area is a bit Bohemian.  We passed right by the shop while on the walk so I had no excuse not to take this image.

No Nuclear Fire for Amber

On the adjacent corner opposite the shop this billboard appears on the side of one of the City’s reservoirs. It sums up some of the prevailing sentiments in the Ponsonby area, and those of many other New Zealanders as well.  Would I have taken these images had it not been for the photowalk? Probably not, especially when driving as parking in this area is difficult.  I’m glad I did the walk to allow me to get a more leisurely look at an interesting part of Auckland.

Magazine Covers

Whenever I pass a news agent’s shop I am always amused by the hyperbole of magazine cover headlines.  The women’s gossip magazines are some of the most outrageous – picking on even the very slightest rumours or misdemeanours of the celebrity crowd and blowing them way out of context and sence of importance.

Healed His Heart - Magazine posters on a newsagent's window

I passed this window on last years’s Scott Kelby Worldwice Photowalk in Auckland.  For me, it sums up the culture that surrounds these types of publications.



This is another image from the 2009 Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk.  The triangular handles on a playground swinging frame in Auckland’s Meyers Park made an interesting repetitive pattern.

Mini Spare Parts

It was during Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk in Auckland last year that this car was spotted.  The day was wet, although it stopped raining during the walk.  Apart from the zigsaw pieces, the window sticker was interesting.

Spare Parts Mini

Goodbye Pork Pie was a 1981 New Zealand movie directed by Geoff Murphy and is considered by some to be one of New Zealand’s most popular films.  The Mini in the movie was a yellow 1978 Morris Mini 1000 assembled in New Zealand for British Leyland by New Zealand Motor Corporation.In January 2009 The Pork Pie Run was organised by the Whangarei Mini Owners Group to celebrate a half-century of the Mini’s debut and followed the route from Whangarei in the North Island to Invercargill in the South Island taken by the Blondini Gang in the film.

Stand Up Paddlers

A noticeable trend at our local beach over the past 18 months has been the increase in the number of people who paddle large surfboards in a standing position.  I have come to understand that this “stand up paddling” (SUP) originated in Hawaii and has recently become a new opening for people who can’t surf anymore, or want to extend their surfing experience in a new form.  Non-surfers are also taking up the new “craze” as a different form of recreational activity.

Stand Up Paddlers - Takapuna Beach, North Shore City, Auckland, New Zealand

I was walking along the beach in the early evening several weeks ago when I saw these three SUP’s coming ashore after a late afternoon paddle.  What first caught my attention was the setting sunlight reflecting off the boards and the shading on Rangitoto Island in the background.  Mark, one of the paddlers, saw me take the photographs and asked for copies.  I was happy to oblige.  It turned out that Mark, the chap with the yellow board, imports and distributes stand up boards and is a prime mover behind getting more people involved in board paddling.  He has been behind promoting a number of community events for paddlers.

It seems that not all people in the surfing community are happy with this new phenomenon.  There have been dismissive articles in some surfing publications where SUP’s are accused of creating a danger in traditional surfing areas ‘especially beginners who cannot handle these new large boards in a responsible manner’.  This reaction reminds me of the debate that raged in ski areas when snowboards first came on the scene.  Unlike ski areas that are managed by ski patrollers however, surf areas are not regulated and the old and new breeds of surfer are having to find their way towards a manageable working relationship, perhaps with a few “understood” rules of the sea.