What could you do?

An astronomical panorma in Queenstown NZ


I've worked a fair bit with young people over the last ten years or so. By young, I mean under 24, it's a classification thing when dealing with funders and organisations. When I do have the privilege to work with these young people, I always end up inspired beyond belief. Recently I had the opportunity to hopefully help out a couple of young photographers I know.

I met Hunter in 2016, at the Bike NZ DH Nationals held at Cardrona. He was one of four young fellas who worked their way down the hill with me on race day. Usually it's quite a lonely task sitting trackside shooting, your only company generally comes hurtling past you with very few words of conversation. So it was a breath of fresh air to have some young enthusiastic energy around me. 

I believe it's a fundamental responsibility for us adults, especially those of us who possess specialist skills, to share our knowledge with younger people with these same interests. This particular race day was one opportunity for me to be able to fulfil this role to some extent.  I soon noticed that Hunter has the eye and the bug for taking amazing photographs and certainly has the skills off the camera to transform them even further. Since I first met him, I've followed his progress on Social Media and his skills are continually escalating, especially, in my opinion when he creates moving images to tell his story.

Tomas first appeared on his bicycle at the side of Lake Hayes one early evening as I was out to capture a shot at the InstaFamous wharf. He too has all the ingredients needed of a fine photographer, which are backed up with a staggering work ethic and sense of adventure. He shot LUMA Queenstown like a boss this year, it really was an inspiration to see how he handled this event as well as his photographic captures which clearly showcased the vibe of this incredible festival of light.

A few days ago, Hunter said hello to me in the cafe at The Remarkables ski field. The dark side of the moon was almost upon us and the next evening was forecast to be clear of cloud, and rather cold. It was time for me to offer Tomas and Hunter a ride to shoot some astro.


Winter times #lensBro, don't be too quick to think a shot got messed up

Tomas Whelan-Henderson - @tomaswhphotos


As with all good adventures, adventurous things happened and we ended up parking in the Rude Rock car park and going for a little walk up the hill, rather than where we really hoped we would end up. The cold conditions lead to some rather treacherous road conditions, so you really do need to be ever mind-full of this when you're scaling mountainsides milky way chasing in the dead of winter. 

I've not really shot astro with many other people before. In terms of getting your shot right on your own, it's almost straight forward. When there are other people to consider, it's different. New challenges, which in turn offer new solutions that work our rather well. This is all part of the experience for me, learning about how I can make the most of new situations rather than only ever sticking to the tried and tested, because let's face it, for the most of the time that hardly every gets any of us anywhere near where we would love to be.

We all had ideas for photographs that we'd like to shoot, ideas we'd been thinking about since the last time we'd shot at night. My thoughts have been wandering in the direction of portraits using off camera Flash. I've been experimenting on myself and it's hard lining everything up at night on your own, so being able to utilise someone else willing to stand in sub zero temps completely still a few times in a row, that's real useful indeed.

The skies were dark and clear and throughout the couple of hours we had lots of ideas were tried out. I'm not sure it was most epic night in terms of photography, although I did personally capture some of the best astro shots in my portfolio, for me personally it was about being able to offer something to these two young fellas that's hard to access. For the most part, they've got the skills they need, but having conversation that backs this up with real life examples, that's useful. It's great to be able to input energy into conversations and at other times sit back and listen, which helps me gain a new perspective. Most of all though, what was needed in this situation, was a ride up the hill, reasonable late at night and the willingness to stand outside in the cold for a couple of hours.

I am so looking forward to seeing the shots they took that night.


Hunter Paull - @hunterPaull


You really should have a look at these two young fella's work, and as with many photographers Instagram is best place to start following their adventures.

Hunter Paull - @hunterPaullTomas Whelan-Henderson - @tomaswhphotos