Category Archives: Assignment Notes

Notes taken while on assignment

Today I was travelling along in the back of a crowded open truck having my face whipped by the grass shroud of a Tambuan (customary guardian) from the Maprik area of the Western Sepik (we were transporting two of them and five performers to a nearly location where the light and background would be more complimentary).

While I’ve still got a few days to go of the Melanesian Cultural Festival, I’m down with a stomach bug so I thought I’d take the afternoon off and process some of my images before I leap into it again tomorrow. Of course, the cultural performances on the various stages have been lively and colourful, but I’ve found the venues where everyone’s getting ready (churches, schools, government offices) providing some of my best photographic opportunities.

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I reckon there would be nearly one hundred different cultural groups at this festival, including the foreign representatives of the Melanesian countries…..and Indonesia. Each of PNG’s 22 different provinces have sent at least two groups (from what I can see, most have actually sent three) and there’s a big local contingent.

Unfortunately, the daily program is a bit up in the air (you who shoot PNG look surprised). It’s only being issued at about 10 am daily, then you’re left to interpret it and work out what group is performing at which of the five city venues.

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Don’t you love it when the commissioning tourism authority sends you the travel section of Vogue Magazine as part of your brief and says, simply, match this (no matter you won’t have a stylist, you’ll have to scrounge for wardrobe and props, and that the talent will be local “ring-ins” – only available between taking the kids to school or when they’re not working. Oh, and it’s a big region; you’ll need to travel several hundred kilometres to cover everything on the eight page Shot List.

…And so began the seven day shoot I’ve just completed of the Daylsford Macedon region of Victoria which is centred about an hour’s drive north of the state capital, Melbourne.

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With more than 100 gigabytes of images from the South Africa shoot (largely from me running amok in the game park), it’s been hard to choose the best photos.

The tourism authority has asked me to provide 10 images for a photographic exhibition in Sydney to raise money for a South African charity but I’m yet to make the selection as I’ve also shot a few “arty” photographs which I think will sit more comfortably in a buyers home. I’ll post my favourite contenders later.

In the meantime, here’s a short preview of some of the promotional images I’ve processed so far (click on the e-card below

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Not since wandering the world as a travel writer more than two decades ago have I written a property review. Nor do I give tips for service unless its exceptional – really exceptional (it’s an Australian thing. We’re all cheap).

However, I will have done both by the time I leave the Shamwari game park in the morning.

Like the opportunities I’ve had to photograph the wildlife, my experience at Shamwari’s AUD$550 a night Eagle Crag Lodge has been exceptional. “Please follow me sir, we have arranged a table by the fire for you to enjoy your breakfast,” was how it began – and it just got better from there. Luxuriously appointed common areas, one of nine sumptuous private villas to retreat to (below), and food that was consistently exquisite.

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