Niue, a tiny island about three hours flight north of New Zealand, demands to be photographed differently to anywhere else I’ve shot in the South Pacific.

No stretches of white sandy beaches and swaying palm trees here. Instead, it’s coastline is a battlement of jagged, volcanic cliffs, rising sharply from the ocean. In a dwindling light, the island stands brooding, moody and defiant of the thunderous waves that crash against her walls.

The assignment brief was to photograph to the tourism authority’s new promotional tag line,  “Nowhere like us.” They wanted images that stood out from their South Pacific competitors. The pictures had to be appealing to a mature demographic (45 and over), they had to be “real” (ie no posed shots or exadurated colours), and they had to capture the “feel” and “personality” of Niue. On the Shot List: Scenery, a traditional cricket tornament (Kilikiki), scuba diving, tourists soaking in ocean pools and engaging with the locals. And at least one “hero shot.”

Here’s a small sample of the photos supplied:

For more photographs of Niue captured during this and a previous assignment, visit the Niue Gallery of our library at


Now, I’d have to confess I was a tad anxious (read ageing rapidly) about the shoot a day after my arrival. The talent, I was to learn, was to be wherever we were lucky enough to find them, the forecast promised bad weather for most of the week, and the distinct visual culture I was seeking – that singular element I’ve shot with some degree of success in the past to differentiate one country from the next – simply didn’t exist as the local population (1,742 at the last census) is a melting pot of Kiwis, Tongans, Samoans and Cook Islanders. Added to that, it poured on the first day I spent driving around the island looking for insipration, the only visual distinction I could make of the largely flat, heavily vegetated landscape was that it was strewn with delapidated houses; and I had seven million billion tracks leading down to the ocean I had to explore to divine the best picture opportunities. Oh, and when it came time for the diving, I was off to photograph an underwater trench teeming with the world’s most venomous sea snakes.

So, yes, you’d be right to assume this was a long way from my earlier assignment … Tahiti.

But, here’s the thing, I thoroughly enjoyed my time on Niue because it really is so different to the rest of the South Pacific. And, as the days progressed, I became grateful that there was only a single flight a week linking Niue to the outside world as it gives visitors like me little option but to explore the island and look beyond that first impression.

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From a tiny speck in the South Pacific, comes this quick pic (below) of one of its natural attractions – pristine Limu Rock Pools, carved into the largest uplifted coral atoll in the world (….a big status for such a wee island you’d have to say) .

Tomorrow we head beneath the surface to swim with some of the world’s deadliest sea snakes (I’m told they don’t bite), explore underwater caverns and traverse two giant underwater ribbons of white sand in what, surely, has to be some of the clearest water you’re ever likely to dive in.

More (including, hopefully, a super-serious hero shot) later.

Yakel Village, Tanna Island

Today’s the day that the movie Tanna – shot entirely in Yakel village on Tanna Island, Vanuatu –  takes out the academy award for best foreign film (hopefully, he adds).

I was just listening to the radio and was so excited, I wanted to rush back and quickly write this post. The movie’s Ni-Vanuatu co-star plans to attend the ceremony in little more than a grass penis sheath and a feather is his hair “This is my Kustom, I am proud of it,” he said.

Well, we’re all proud of you – all of you – and I look forward to seeing that gold logie sitting in your nakamal the next time I’m there.

Co-incidently, I was doing a tourism shoot in Yakel Village when the movie was being shot and met the producer and his family who were building the makeshift accommodation they planned to live in for the next three months while they shot the movie. You can see more photos of the village – and our friendly hosts – by clicking the photo above.


Over the next few weeks, we’ll be rolling the library out into each the destinations featured. Press releases are being sent out, a major direct mail campaign is underway to just about everyone we’ve ever dealt with, and – importantly – we’ve begun our program to expand the library to become the largest On-line commercial photo library ever created on the South Pacific (no mean feat, he says).


CLICK on the picture above to take you to our new Photo Library

Library Features: 

  • Thousands of magazine quality photographs ready for immediate downloading.
  • Fully automated system (browse, click, buy and download).
  • Average Price $50 -$200 a photo (depending on size), with  more than 95% of our images Royalty Free.
  • A 50% discount for local tourism operators through our Tourism Industry Assistance Scheme.
  • Package deals for media, publishers and travel agents.
  • Quality Guarantee.

Special Launch Promotion: We’re launching the library with a “Buy-One-Get-Five” Promotion. As you will read in the introduction to our library, the average price of a Royalty Free Image is between AUD$50 and AUD$200. However, if you jump in before our launch promotion expires on March 1, 2017, operators looking to update their web sites will pay just AUD$25 for five photos (click below for details).

Click above to read more about our Five-for-One Launch Promotion.

Tourism Industry Assistance Scheme (T.I.A.S): We’ve also begun working with tourism authorities throughout the South Pacific to involve them in our Tourism Industry Assistance Scheme which will see a range of benefits extended to elevate the profile of their destinations including access to the library for promotional purposes and a 50% discount to local tourism operators on an on-going basis.

A special package providing virtually free access to the library will also be extended to small operators who qualify for special assistance through their tourism authority.

Click above to read more about our Tourism Industry Assistance Scheme

Media Deals: And, of course, we’ll be looking to do package deals with media, publishers and travel wholesalers to access a parcel of images.

Click above if you want to contact us about buying a parcel of images.

So, click on the following link to have a look around our new library.

It’s just the beginning and, well, you never know – one day, you just might need quick access to a high quality photograph of the South Pacific (or the other countries in our library).

Next Project: My assignment cycle begins this week on the tiny South Pacific island of Niue. I’m looking forward to it.

Some time on a hot Brisbane Sunday last year – in between the gardening and looking for excuses to get out of it – I wandered into the office and surfed the net to discover the world’s richest photography competition- the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photographic competition (HIPA for short). It was calling for entries.

No big deal I discovered; just a matter of sending in a pic and a few details over the internet that related to the theme “Challenge” and I could be in the running for the AUD$25,000 first prize.

So, I trawled through the archives and sent in this picture (below) thinking little more of it – until today when I received this message: “Your photograph has qualified for the final stages of the judging.

Now I may well be a long way from that first-class ticket to Cuba but, given the entries it would have attracted worldwide, I’m feeling pretty happy to have come this far – particularly as it’s the first international competition I’ve entered.

I’ll keep you posted…..hopefully from Havannah.

“The contender”