Shooting the Strait

Blog entry by Nicholas White

A few weeks ago I had been gifted the task of driving a Camper from Christchurch to Auckland, alongside me; a fellow Kiwi photographer, a German, and an Austrian. In exchange, Dylan (the Kiwi) and I were to document the journey, capturing scenic photos of the van along the way. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity. I had never before travelled the upper South Island and the prospect of a free adventure was far too alluring. 

If this multicultural expedition was not strange enough already... We all had to sleep in a camper the size of a small Hiace, along with our luggage, camera equipment, two tramping packs & food. The Camper was clearly designed for two people, something we did in fact acknowledge but couldn't be bothered addressing until the time came.

(from right) Dylan the Kiwi, Kira the German and Gabe the Canadian, who camped with us our first night in Lyttelton. Unknown whereabouts of Lena the Austrian.  Olympus MJU + Agfa 400.    I believe Gabe's expression is something along the lines of, "You're all f*cking sleeping in here??"

(from right) Dylan the Kiwi, Kira the German and Gabe the Canadian, who camped with us our first night in Lyttelton. Unknown whereabouts of Lena the Austrian. Olympus MJU + Agfa 400. 

I believe Gabe's expression is something along the lines of, "You're all f*cking sleeping in here??"

Well, when that time came, we were so tightly packed there was bearly enough room to lay our arms aside. At the base corner of the bed protruded a small sink and fridge, leading our legs into the bent shape of an L.  I remember at one point I actually fell asleep with both my arms extended straight out behind my head, frozen stiff.  It was an interesting arrangement of which I definitely could not get used to. 

Anyway, I set out to write a post about our boat ride. The rest of the story I'll try add later. 

Our journey was to last all of 6 days. I bought with me 6 rolls of film, an Olympus OM4T-I, an MJU & a Pentax P30t. My film stock consisted of whatever I could get my hands on (thanks to Toi Turama), Portra, Ektar, Agfa & an Expired roll of Kodak Gold. I could have easily burnt through three rolls a day, however, I was forced to shoot rather conservatively and had two rolls spare by the time we reached Picton. 

We set up camp in the silliest of places, a public parking lot in the middle of town. However, it was close to the terminal which meant there was less of a chance we'd miss our ferry. When morning arrived, we were greeted with the most incredible sunrise, not a cloud in sight. One of those cosy mornings where you're cold yet comforted by the early warmth of the sun. We swiftly unfolded the bed, grabbed the gas cooker and covered the foreigners to hide them from the authorities. As we approached the terminal, Dylan and I were half asleep with a lit gas cooker balancing on the glove box between us. Assisting it's balance with a hand every now and then as we approached a speed bump. Unsurprisingly, we were the last to rock up. We poured our coffees and chilled for a bit whilst anticipating the inevitable vehicle inspection. The scenes were beautiful, to our right was an old steam train, it's smoke illuminated by the low streaming light.

Olympus MJU + Agfa 400

Olympus MJU + Agfa 400

Upon rethinking, we decided it would be smarter to leave some of the curtains open, perhaps making it slightly less obvious. After a few minutes, the man had worked his way to our camper.  He greeted us good morning and asked us a couple questions. With a smirk, he then commented on our make-shift kettle and sent us on our way. Easy.

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We each agreed another night in the van would be too much, so we planned to stay one night in Welly with a friend, then head straight to Ohakune where Dylan owns a bach... Meaning we'd miss the Lower North Island and I could afford to use the rest of my film, plus get a decent nights sleep. 

The ferry was beautiful, a retro white exterior which paired well with the orange lifeboats & blue surrounding scenes. I found myself getting really creative, and ended up shooting an entire roll of Ektar on my OM4T-i. Here are the results, I hope you enjoy.