Inside this issue
Scenes from the Lounge
10 years of images in Manchester Place Queenstown, NZ.
Mike is a New Zealand born, multi-award winning international landscape and travel photographer. He has been a professional photographer for over 35 years and an International Awards judge and lecturer for 25 years. Mike’s passion is travel/Landscape photography and travel book publishing, with over 26 books to his name. He is a Grand Master and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) and a Grand Master, Honorary Fellow and Life Member of the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP). He is also a Canon Master and an EIZO Ambassador.
Jackie Ranken is an Australian born, multi-award winning landscape, art photographer now living in New Zealand. She has over thirty-five years’ experience within the visual arts and has been an international awards judge since 2002.
She combines her art practice with teaching and is a presenter in workshops and seminars internationally. Exhibiting and instructing nationally and internationally. Her passion is the creation of multi-layered narratives via in camera multiple exposures and intentional movements.
She is a Grand Master of both the Australian Institute of Professional Photography and the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography, a Canon Master and EIZO Ambassador.
Photography duo Jackie Ranken & Mike Langford are well-known for their symbiotic photographic projects that have resulted in many photographic exhibitions and books, have now produced a new book titled 'Scenes from the Lounge' where they both photographed the view from their lounge over a period of ten years while living in Queenstown New Zealand.
Right from day one of moving into this view with a house, we had it in our minds to make a book of it.
This fits with our philosophy of always thinking about the final product before taking the first step into a new project. Without this way of thinking the book would have lacked structure and direction and would have probably never been fully realised.
This very selective body of photographic work spans a period of ten years while living in Queenstown in the South Island of New Zealand.
Most of the photographs have been made from inside the lounge looking out, or just outside the lounge from one of the two balconies looking over the view of the tourist town of Queenstown, the magnificent Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkable Mountain range beyond.
It was the storms that got us most visually excited.
From the safety of the lounge we would watch them grow – then quickly leap out onto the balcony to fire off a few frames before getting soaked by rain or beaten by the wind – then retreat to the lounge once more, still watching and waiting in case some more magic light appeared. Not long after a storm had completely passed, we would start shooting again. This is the period of what we call ‘Quiet Light’, when everything becomes soft, gentle and dream-like and you are left feeling like life is about to start over again. There was always a little tingle of excitement that came then.
We loved it!
Some of these images were made early in the morning, but as we really like our late morning sleep ins, it was mostly in the evenings that we would set up our tripods and wait and watch. That’s when the light expressed itself most eloquently as our view was mainly to the south and southwest.
Most of these images are true to each of our thoughts and emotions at the time of making them and not reconsiderations during post production. However, when we first recorded one or two of them, we captured them as black and white in the JPEG capture – mainly because of the drama it added as stand-alone images. We still both like this effect when they are hung on the wall as art pieces. Jackie also likes to do in-camera multiple exposures that add to the visual excitement of what was happening in the scene.
When reinterpreting the collection for the book, we felt that the images needed to be connected to each other, showing the differences in the scenes and not the processing styles. As a result, we returned to the raw capture from the camera and processed them again in colour. We both felt that this makes the book more cohesive and adds power to it as a body of work.
We have written a brief description of what was happening at the time of photographing to support each image. Hopefully, it also tells you something about Queenstown and what it was like for us to live there.
The images featured here illustrate only some of the visual stories made from the lounge many of which are in the book. We both photographed the TSS Earnslaw at least two or three hundred times over the ten years. Picking which photograph to use for each subject was the most difficult part of the edit.
The requirement was for each image to tell a new story that added to the whole. Each one needing to be different enough to keep the visual story interesting and compelling.
Seasonal changes are very dramatic this far south with temperature changes from the thirties Celsius in summer to minus numbers in the winter. The temperatures are tempered somewhat by the adjacent Lake Wakatipu, the waters of which sit between eleven and thirteen degrees all year round due to its depth. Each season is also very distinctive with dramatic changes in colour and foliage.
Our friends tease us that the hardest part of the making of these images for us was having to put down our evening glasses of New Zealand wine to take the photographs.
So, this is it – the changing play of light over a decade in time, as seen from one room – during what was the happy story of our lives in Queenstown New Zealand".
Scenes from the Lounge book is available to buy on their website, NZ$30.00 plus postage.
It is fitting that this first image is a six-frame panorama stitch of the scene from the lounge made on the day that we moved in. This visualizes the foundation for what follows and gives context to the story.
This photograph isn’t a usual way of seeing, as it shows everything at once, yet at the same time, it shows nothing specific at all. Most times we like to make images that are more singular in content, more specific about a single idea or vision so that when you look at each image you know exactly what it is saying.
As an opening image, this encapsulates the essence of what it felt like living with a view over Lake Wakatipu and the mountains beyond. Regardless of the weather or season, it was always breathtakingly beautiful The little dark speck on the lake to the left is the TSS Earnslaw making its way to Walter Peak Station on the other side of the lake from Queenstown. It gives a sense of scale to the vastness of the scene before us.
The long summer evenings regularly produced plays of light either on the mountains or over the lake in this case in the form of crepuscular rays over Walter Peak Station.
An in camera multiple exposure helps create a dream like vision of the TSS Earnslaw leaving Queenstown Bay and the mountains beyond.
Details of summer light caressing the mountains on the opposite side of the lake with the shoulder of Cecil Peak on the left and the top of Walter Peak on the right.
This storm came in from the north, which is behind us and in a direction, that we seldom get storms from. Even though we could smell the rain approaching, it suddenly just got dark and then it was there, coming over our shoulder like a heavy cloak of rain and darkness.
This is one image that changed our thinking about the book. Originally it was captured in monochrome, as this made the crepuscular rays, as well the signature smoke from the TSS Earnslaw more dramatic. We now also like this version, as it also talks about the soft pastel light of autumn that adds a tranquility to the scene.
Skyscapes are huge and spectacular in the Wakatipu Basin. When you have lived in Queenstown for a while, you get to read and know what they mean, so you can prepare for what is going to happen next and sometimes what clothes to wear.
An early morning shot of a steaming Lake Wakatipu. This doesn’t happen very often but when it does it’s a spectacular and exciting sight. This phenomenon only occurs when the air temperature is dramatically cooler than the water temperature.
The view looking south on a winters day. This is the direction that very cold weather comes from. It comes up the lake from Kingston in a rush, turning the surface of the lake into a froth of white caps. The sky grows dark and ominous and the clouds feel menacing. Snow mostly comes from this direction, sometimes even in the summer months. It brings with it a sense of excitement!
Spectacular gusts of wind from the west whip the surface of the lake into a visual frenzy, indicating that wind speeds are over 100 kilometres an hour. It’s sudden changes in conditions like this that make Lake Wakatipu such a dangerous lake for watercraft.
Another violent summer storm this time coming from the south. Adding to the spectacle is the contrasting tranquil shaft of warm light coming through from the west in the background.
Summer north-westerly storms regularly come down the lake from Glenorchy and show their raw power best as they crash into the buttress known as Walter Peak, where they can curl back into themselves creating powerful graphic shapes in the clouds. On this occasion, there was a gap in the clouds further up the lake that let a shaft of light illuminate this phenomenon in an especially dramatic way. The low angle of the light is what has given the scene the warm and glowing colour that separates it out from the cooler colours beyond in the background.
We couldn’t put together a book of images from the lounge without including a super saturated red sunset. We photographed many over the ten years and it was like each sunset was trying to outdo the previous one in its grandness.
Winter snowstorm blanketing the town and the valley. The snow seldom settles on the lake shore for long due to the moderating temperature of the lake which is only 300 meters above sea level and at 45 degrees latitude south.
The hazy tranquility of the change in season looking south down the lake towards Kingston in early summer.
New Year's Eve from the balcony. Queenstown has always been a party town!