Beyond Photography Workshop Hokianga 2017




Now open for 2017. 9 7 places only on the workshop.

Beyond Photography Workshop Dates: August 27 to September 2, 2017



NgapukiThe Hokianga is a very special and mysterious part of Aotearoa/New Zealand. One of the oldest European settlements in the country (around 1822) , it was the first landfall for the great Polynesian navigator, Kupe, who landed here in the 10th century. However other peoples were here long before that, including Waitaha, who are believed to have arrived here earlier, perhaps around 700AD. And there is evidence of peoples who came long before that. The Hokianga is a rich tapestry of layerings of history and stories. Take a deep breath and you can feel the ghosts of the past  still here.

At night the stars sweep and swirl in the sky. In the dawn, on a still morning, the mist slides down the harbour, coating everything in mystery. Perfect conditions for a photographer.

I am passionate about Hokianga. Well, I should be. I have ancestry here, dating back to Kupe and his first waka (canoe), Matawhaorua. In the short time I have been living here, among my own people, I have heard many wonderful stories, and been introduced to some very secret places, which I would love to share with you. Each day another layer peels itself away and enriches me. Because I am a “local”, I know many of the people in the district, which means we go to places the tourists will never see.

Most are accessible by car.

I would love to share these secret and iconic places with you, and watch the mystery of Hokianga unfolding in your images.


The  photography workshop


Post-production and the digital age of photography offer us possibilities which the photographers of yesteryear could only dream about. We can, if we want to, manipulate a single pixel.

If we want to. But we need to have reasons for doing so.

Over the last few years I have become fascinated by the way a painter works and the different way they approach making a work. One key difference is that a photographer captures a moment in time at 1/60s and then refines it, while a painter begins with a blank canvas and then develops an idea to express an individual vision.

 The great English artist, David Hockney, once wrote:

 In the beginning photography left painting. Now it is returning to it.

 As I have pursued my work in Hokianga, and the desire/need to express its mystery, I have turned more and more to painting as the source and solution for my technical expression. And, as time has gone on, I have evolved my own techniques to facilitate that expression. These days, visitors to my gallery will often ask me whether the works on display are paintings or photographs. The answer is, of course, both.

 I would love to have the opportunity to share as many of those techniques as possible with you and create a chance for you to explore and incorporate them into your own vocabulary.

The workshop will look at ways of moving beyond the photograph as document/record to an expression of perception and intent. Each day we will cover a new approach or technique, and there will be plenty of opportunity for evaluation and discussion.


Topics to be covered will include:

  1. Learning from the Masters. We will look at some of the ideas and techniques of painters like Monet, Rembrandt, Renoir, Perugino and the Photorealists. Learn how painters develop their ideas and then use this to develop your own work.
  2. Capturing the best possible file. Topics such as maximising dynamic range, ensuring the sharpest file and getting the best from your lens.
  3. Understanding the importance of picture-making problems and forming your own solution to them. From this comes personal style.
  4. Defeating the tyranny of depth-of-field. Learn how to break into the zone of focus and manipulate it, using glow and sharpening techniques combined.
  5. Creating a concept and then developing it into a finished image.
  6. Using plugins for PhotoShop to further develop your vision (demo versions will be supplied or bring your own). Learn how to combine these to extend your vision.
  7. Layers and layer masks.
  8. Underpainting. Learning from the Dutch Masters.
  9. The power of narrative. How to develop and extend your own.
  10. The power of memory – incorporating this into a work.
  11. Beyond PhotoShop-Discovering Affinity Photo.  Many of us a re lloking for ways to escape from Adobe’s perceived tyranny. My teaching partner, Jennifer Couldrey, will introduce Affinity Photo and explain how to use it.

This is a residential workshop. We will live together, work together and learn from each other. Each day will consist of field trips, lectures and technical workshops, along with evaluations  and opportunity for discussion. Evaluation is a critical and important part of the workshop. We do this in a collaborative and non-threatening way.

This is an intermediate to advanced workshop. Participants will need to be relatively competent with Adobe Lightroom and/or PhotoShop (CS6 and above), have some understanding of  layers and have some understanding of  plug-ins and sharpening techniques. RAW capture will be a given.



Accommodation and meals


We will stay at the beautiful seaside Copthorne Hotel in Omapere, located at the mouth of the harbour, directly across from the astounding sand dunes. Where possible, you will have a room which opens onto the water’s edge. Wander with your camera at dawn or dusk, or lounge on the deck with a glass of wine and watch the sun set.

Meals will be at the hotel. However, on our field trips, we may well take a packed lunch or stop at a cafe.



There is one workshop available in 2017. This is limited to a maximum of eight participants, to ensure there is time for plenty of individual attention and tuition, in the classroom, on the deck, and in the field.

Beyond Photography Workshop 1 : August 27 to September 2, 2017




Kotare, kingfisher, Hokainga, Northland, New ZealandThe fee for the workshop in 2016, including tuition, meals,  and accommodation, will be $NZ 3000 share twin ( incl GST), or $NZ 3500 ( GST inc) for a single room. A deposit of $500 is required to secure a place. Wives/husbands/partners are more than welcome, and there is a special rate for non-participating partners.  Please contact us for details.

Registration, Booking and Cancellations

To register for the workshop, please fill out the form here or e-mail us on

A booking fee of $NZ500 is payable if you wish to reserve a place. Until that has been received your place is open. First come, first paid, first served. The remainder of the fee is due by 15 August, 2016.

Booking fees are non-refundable after 1 August, 2017. Prior to that an administration fee of 50% will be charged.

After 1 August, 2017, a 20% refund applies to the balance.

If, however, your booked and paid-in-full place is taken by someone else, a full refund less the administration fee will be made.

We look forward to seeing you there.


waharoa, beauty, water, decayHow do I get there?

The Hokianga is approximately 3.5-4 hours drive north-west of Auckland, either via SH 1 and Kaikohe, or through Dargaville and  the mysterious Waipoua Forest. The roads are good and any car should be fine. Alternatively you can fly to Kerikeri and pick up a rental car there. Pickups can be arranged for an extra charge.

What do we need to bring?

You need to bring your camera equipment and a sturdy tripod. Bring plenty of memory cards and at least one spare battery for your camera. You will also need a laptop or desktop computer, card reader, memory stick (Flash drive), and suitable processing software. More advice about that when you register.

Are there any extra costs?

Yes. Getting yourself there, and your bar bill ! We are happy to help you sort out your transport needs. We can arrange a pick-up from Kerikeri for a nominal fee. Contact us for more details.

Is there a priority queue for registration?

Yes. First in, first served.

What work can I expect to make?

What is possible? Why not check out my gallery? I will be sharing many of the techniques I use to make work like this.





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