Melody Sky Photography: Blog http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Melody Sky Photography contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) Fri, 14 Nov 2014 12:03:00 GMT Fri, 14 Nov 2014 12:03:00 GMT http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/img/s/v-5/u240774350-o259011705-50.jpg Melody Sky Photography: Blog http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog 120 60 Sri Lanka - Starting at the end.... http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/11/sri-lanka_starting-at-the-end I thought a month in Sri Lanka would be enough, but only now do I feel I am starting to know the people and appreciate the wealth of love and family values in this country.  I have visited the most poverty stricken families in the slums and tsunami-affected areas to the most luxury hotels. At no point have I ever felt threatened or uncomfortable.  And there has been a consistent characteristic in all here and that is happiness.

I have had many long and interesting conversations with the locals in Sri Lanka, sometimes with the very poor.  One person made me really think when he told me even though he is extremely poor that he has everything.  Everything being family and love.  He couldn’t understand why we in the western world work every minute of the day to have as much money and material possessions as we can, sometimes (and much of the time) sacrificing time with family and loved ones.  This is one thing I have always battled with myself, and I can totally appreciate how he could be happy with ‘nothing’, he actually did have everything.  Love and family - That sums up the smiling faces of Sri Lanka.

My blog posts are going to run backwards as I have been either shooting or editing every minute of every day (he would tell me off for this) and have not had a chance.  I have added on one more week here to get some downtime and absorb and write about my trip and the wonderful people I met and the incredible projects in place here to help the sick, elderly, tsunami affected or towards education.

I am currently sitting in the Vivanta by Taj Hotel in Bentota of which I must mention because the managers and staff have been the most amazing and have insisted on making me as comfortable as possible in order for me to sit down and write and edit.  This is the most beautiful setting with the most incredible customer service around.  I will definitely be back.  Thank you Taj!

 

So please take the time to read my posts as there will be certain days in which there is important information which will give you the chance to help Sri Lanka’s worst off in some way.  Thank you to Ro, Lee, Mohan and Celine for making this happen and introducing me to the real people of Sri Lanka, and for being some of the most incredibly giving and selfless people I have ever met. You are the best! xx

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contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) Bentota Melody Sky Photographer Photography Sri Lanka Travel Photography Vivanta by Taj http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/11/sri-lanka_starting-at-the-end Tue, 11 Nov 2014 08:15:00 GMT
Sri Lanka - Colombo Wedding http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/10/sri-lanka_colombo-wedding People always ask me what my photography speciality is and I always answer action sports, travel and lifestyle.  From time to time I shoot the odd wedding, usually of people I know. Weddings are not generally something I do a lot of, however when I do them, I really enjoy it and manage to join in and really have a great time and get some great shots! 

Last winter I was asked to be the wedding photographer for two amazing people.  Lee Fieldsend and I had met many years ago on one of my earliest ski seasons in Tignes in France.  Years later he turned up in Verbier where I had based myself and we re-connected.  He is an excellent chef and now turning his hand to writing.  When he introduced me to his wife to be Ro, I instantly knew that we would become friends.  There was something very special about her and she was drop dead gorgeous with a killer smile!

I don’t shoot too many weddings, but this was one I couldn’t turn down.  Firstly it was to be in Sri Lanka, which would of course be amazing.  Secondly, Ro is a stunningly beautiful lady and would be wearing a Sari.  I was excited to shoot her (and you too of course Lee ;-)…).  Lastly, following several conversations about it, we started to discuss other documentary style photo journeys.  I would meet and become involved in incredible local projects that her mum and dad run in Sri Lanka.  I had heard much about them from Ro, and I became incredibly interested in what they were doing.  I will speak more about her mum and dad on my next blog.

There were to be two weddings.  The first would be a Catholic ceremony in a grand Colombo church with mainly Sri Lankan guests and the bride and bridesmaids would be wearing Saris. One week later there would be a second wedding where many friends and family would travel from Europe and there would be a Buddhist ceremony in a beach setting.

The first wedding was in Sri Lanka’s capitol city Colombo.  I was warned that there would be a lot of people around and that the family was huge.  I wasn’t quite prepared.  The brides preparations usually involve a hair and makeup stylist, the bridesmaids and the mother.  At the preparations with Ro, I felt like I was on a movie set.  There was of course the mother and the bridesmaids and then additional family members, people of whom at the time I had no idea who they were, drivers, a 5-man film crew and a whole host more.  It was quite an experience – but fun!

I fell in love with Ro’s hair and makeup stylist.  He was the best I have ever met at a wedding.  And I have never seen such an amazing transformation from beautiful to jaw droppingly stunning.  At one point I found myself staring at Ro and forgetting I had a camera, the next minute I realized I had just shot about 800 images and we hadn’t even made it to the wedding! 

Here are a few images of the day....more to come!

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contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) Catholic Church Colombo Lee Fieldsend Melody Sky Melody Sky Photography Rowena Samarasinhe Sri Lanka Wedding Wedding Ceremony Wedding Photographer Wedding Photography http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/10/sri-lanka_colombo-wedding Sun, 26 Oct 2014 11:55:00 GMT
Faction Artist Series http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/10/faction-artist-series Last summer I was asked to film and photograph a very creative, interesting and fun project.  I joined artists Kay Leggott and Rosalind Monks, both artists and skiers went to Capbreton in France as they painted six enormous canvases. The resulting designs have been redeveloped as ski graphics and beautiful linings for the 14/15 women’s line by Faction.  Here is a short film of the very creative project:
 
 
For more information and to view the collection visit their website: factionskis.com/collections/artist-series
Find more about us on factionskis.com // facebook.com/faction // twitter.com/factionskis // instagram.com/factionskis
 
 
 
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contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) Art Faction Faction Skis', Kay Leggott Melody Sky Photography Rosalind Monks Series" Ski Photography Ski designs http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/10/faction-artist-series Tue, 14 Oct 2014 18:45:44 GMT
Long time no see blog! http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/10/long-time-no-see-blog Wow, I just realised how long it has been since I last blogged.  It has been a crazy summer with trying to take over the world....well, building new business ideas.  So this summer I have being doing a little less shooting to work more on the building blocks and foundations.  Here are the exciting projects I have been working on:

Timeline Missions (www.timelinemissions.com)
Myself, Matt Hollis, Xavier de le Rue, Guido Perrini, Tero Repo and Mathieu Giraud decided to join forces on building a production company in Verbier. Timeline Missions is a full service, creative led, production house where action sports and the natural environment are in our DNA. Based in the Swiss Alps we are an international company of award winning Cinematographers, Photographers, Directors, Producers and Professional Athletes. Producing feature films, documentaries, TV, print and digital advertising for a huge range of clients, we are dedicated to realising the dreams of amazing athletes and bringing you stunning images from around the world. 

I am so proud to be working with such an amazing team.  We are currently developing a stock footage and photography archive of the highest quality for launch this winter.  In addition we have a few interesting expeditions and productions in the pipeline.  It looks to be an amazing and interesting winter!


 

Melody Sky Photography (www.melodysky.com)
So as Timeline Missions has the focus on Action Sports, Melody Sky Photography will also be re-launching but focussing on travel, lifestyle and the environment.  Next week I leave for a month in Sri Lanka where I will be shooting a few of Sri Lanka's most amazing charities (http://www.spicesrilanka.org.uk/, http://s-h-a-r-e.org/) and in addition whales and elephants.  

On my return from Sri Lanka, I will be working on a new website also with stock photography archive.


 

VIP (www.verbierinteriorphotography.com)
This summer I launched VIP with Matt Hollis.  We have been shooting beautiful interior films with the use of cranes and dolly's to get some stunning imagery.  There is a lot of movement in the films and gives a real idea of the scale and the beauty of the properties.  This winter will see the use or drones for arial filming of chalets in the snow also.  The films will be used for chalet owners and companies alike to promote, sell or advertise these exclusive properties.  It's early days, so not so much to see as yet, but come December when it launches properly, there will hopefully be lots to see!


There are two more projects on the cards, but as yet I am not ready to reveal.  Will update once I get back from Sri Lanka:-)

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contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) Bagnes Interior Films Melody Sky Photography Switzerland Timeline Missions Valais Verbier Verbier INterior Photography http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/10/long-time-no-see-blog Tue, 14 Oct 2014 18:11:13 GMT
SUP Waterfall Creek to Ruby Island with Mistral http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/5/sup-waterfall-creek-to-ruby-island-with-mistral I took an early walk along the waterfront at lake Wanaka.  The water was dead calm and looked alluring, although I knew the temperature was cold.  There were ducks and seagulls doing their enviable daily routine of floating on the water, bathing in the sun, hanging out with friends, eating and drinking.  They skated onto the water and left a clean drag line on the water where they came into land.  I could have stayed there forever but had to get on with my day.  I began with my usual breakfast in Kai and then bumped into Kingsley and Karen who I haven’t seen for about 14 or 15 years since I did ski seasons with them in Tignes, France.  They are still exactly the same and totally content with their life here.  And I’m not surprised when they describe it to me.  It’s perfect.

SUP Lake WanakaSUP Lake WanakaStand Up Paddle Board from Waterfall Creek to Ruby Island, Lake Wanaka SUP Lake WanakaSUP Lake WanakaStand Up Paddle Board from Waterfall Creek to Ruby Island, Lake Wanaka

SUP Lake WanakaSUP Lake WanakaStand Up Paddle Board from Waterfall Creek to Ruby Island, Lake Wanaka Kingsley took me out for a bit of a tour.  First we went to Waterfall Creek which is just past and below Rippon Vineyard. The creek is a lovely secluded spot where you can launch your boats or Paddle Boards and get easy access to Ruby Island in the middle of the lake.

SUP Lake WanakaSUP Lake WanakaStand Up Paddle Board from Waterfall Creek to Ruby Island, Lake Wanaka

SUP Lake WanakaSUP Lake WanakaStand Up Paddle Board from Waterfall Creek to Ruby Island, Lake Wanaka Following our stop off there Kingsley decided to take me to the opposite side of Wanaka to the suburb he lives in called Albert town.  We visited Dublin Bay, which gave a totally different aspect of the lake than I was accustomed to visiting.   Dublin Bay seems to be never ending with shallow water and various trees to take shade under.  An expanse of stone beaches, willow and poplar trees. 

SUP Lake WanakaSUP Lake WanakaStand Up Paddle Board from Waterfall Creek to Ruby Island, Lake Wanaka

Next we drove to Kingsley and Carols house that has a panorama to die for.  I can imagine when the sun sets and the mountain tops go red, it’s quite remarkable.  We popped down to the Clutha River.  This is yet another of my favourite spots.  The river is turquoise blue and I notice that there is no algae on the rocks. Staggeringly clear and pure water - Pure New Zealand!

SUP Lake WanakaSUP Lake WanakaStand Up Paddle Board from Waterfall Creek to Ruby Island, Lake Wanaka

Kingsley had to get back to work and I had to get back to meet Pru and Roo. The girls and I headed back to Waterfall Creek with the Mistral Paddle Boards.  They are amazing; so light yet so stable.  I actually braved taking my Canon 5D Mark III on the SUP without the underwater housing.  We paddled around for about an hour or so and then on the way over to Ruby Island we were passed by a speedboat towing a parasender.  I was afraid the wake from the boat would knock myself and my camera off the SUP but I faced straight into it and as the SUP handled the rapids on the river, it was solidly stable in the wake. 

SUP Lake WanakaSUP Lake WanakaStand Up Paddle Board from Waterfall Creek to Ruby Island, Lake Wanaka

SUP Lake WanakaSUP Lake WanakaStand Up Paddle Board from Waterfall Creek to Ruby Island, Lake Wanaka SUP Lake WanakaSUP Lake WanakaStand Up Paddle Board from Waterfall Creek to Ruby Island, Lake Wanaka SUP Lake WanakaSUP Lake WanakaStand Up Paddle Board from Waterfall Creek to Ruby Island, Lake Wanaka We did some yoga on the boards out on the water.  It was such a stunning scene to do this.  SUP Yoga is a rapidly growing trend.  I was in New Zealand making a short brand film for Mistral and had some of their 11"5 Kailua Fit Boards with me.  So we filmed a yoga session while the sun was getting low in the sky and creating some really nice light.

SUP Lake WanakaSUP Lake WanakaStand Up Paddle Board from Waterfall Creek to Ruby Island, Lake Wanaka

SUP Lake WanakaSUP Lake WanakaStand Up Paddle Board from Waterfall Creek to Ruby Island, Lake Wanaka SUP Lake WanakaSUP Lake WanakaStand Up Paddle Board from Waterfall Creek to Ruby Island, Lake Wanaka Doing yoga on a surface that is constantly in motion fires up your core muscles and strengthens muscles that aren't used in everyday practice.  In addition it's great to be doing this in such an amazing environment.  The boards are very stable, but occasionally you fall in, like Roo did tonight.  It was pretty hilarious!  But definitely cools you down during a heated session.

SUP Lake WanakaSUP Lake WanakaStand Up Paddle Board from Waterfall Creek to Ruby Island, Lake Wanaka

SUP Lake WanakaSUP Lake WanakaStand Up Paddle Board from Waterfall Creek to Ruby Island, Lake Wanaka We decided not to jump off on the island but instead we hooked the boards together and cracked open a beer and watched the sun set over Treblecone.  This is the life!  I love my job.

SUP Lake WanakaSUP Lake WanakaStand Up Paddle Board from Waterfall Creek to Ruby Island, Lake Wanaka

SUP Lake WanakaSUP Lake WanakaStand Up Paddle Board from Waterfall Creek to Ruby Island, Lake Wanaka

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contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) Lake Wanaka Melody Sky Mistral New Zealand Photography Ruby Island SUP Wanaka Waterfall Creek http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/5/sup-waterfall-creek-to-ruby-island-with-mistral Thu, 27 Mar 2014 21:00:00 GMT
Packing our Douchebags but going nowhere... http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/5/packing-our-douchebags-but-going-nowhere Sad day - I woke up and packed my bags ready to board the flight in Queenstown…but that was never going to happen.  By 9am I verbally announced my decision to stay.  I wasn't getting on that flight!!  I was so happy with my decision!  Poor Beanie, she was now leaving alone.  We cleaned up the lovely Suzie Perrie’s house and then we packed Big Red and popped into town to have a quick meeting with Brent from Base followed with Hamish, Hannah and the crew from Mons Royale.  There are so many talented entrepreneurs in Wanaka.  It’s inspiring.  Just many one of many reasons that make me want to stay. 

Eventually with little time to spare Beanie and I started making our way to the airport in Queenstown where I would drop her off.  We had a quick stop off for lunch at the Cardrona Hotel.  Everyone knows the Cardrona Hotel and I think anyone who has been to Wanaka has a photo.  

The drive to the airport is usually about an hour.  But we were slightly late and in true Beanie style she put her foot down and put Big Red to work.  The fumes inside the car always made me a little light headed which probably isn't that healthy.  After I had dropped Beanie off, I made my way to Totally Tourism for a quick meeting.  Kellie was very efficient and her enthusiasm for New Zealand made me very keen to publish as much as possible of the area.  And of course I am looking for any excuse to come back.

I stopped off for a quick toxin cleansing juice (yes Flossie, I’m still being very good) then I hit the road.  I laughed in the car on my way back as Beanie’s words came back to me…”It will take you at least 3 hours to get back to Wanaka”.  She knows me too well and predicted quite correctly how long it would take with all the photo stops I would do. 

That evening, on my way home I had to pull over otherwise I was definitely going to crash the car.  I have never seen stars so bright and so clear.  It was like I was looking through a telescope at the Milky Way.  We don’t see the stars like this in Europe.  It’s a different perspective and looking at the Milky Way is as clear as looking at it through a telescope.  The galaxy right there.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it.  I got out and climbed onto the bonnet of the car and lay on my back.  It was outstanding.

I selected various spots to shoot. It was pretty cold as the temperature had really dropped over the last couple of days.  So Big Red’s heating got tested for the first time.  I kept putting the camera on a long exposure then jumping back in the car and listening to some outrageously bad radio station whilst shooting stars…literally.  I saw a shooting star and a satellite moving rapidly through the sky.  Then along the beach right in front of me walked a labrador sized cat.  Are there wild cats in NZ?  I later discovered that yes, there are wild cats in NZ and they can be a bit of a pest as the only indigenous animal life in New Zealand are birds and all the creatures that the Poms brought over have been hunting the local birds down….a bit the same as humans really!  Unfortunately I was in the middle of a time lapse so didn't stop the camera to take a photo of the cat, but was afraid he may come and bite me anyway:-) So I stayed dead still as he passed.  An interesting night all in all.

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contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) :"Cardrona Douchebags Hotel" Melody Sky New Zealand Photography Wanaka http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/5/packing-our-douchebags-but-going-nowhere Wed, 26 Mar 2014 15:00:00 GMT
Skateboarding and Douchebags... http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/5/skateboarding-and-douchebags A sunny autumn day in Wanaka is pretty special.  It was a calm evening and we decided to go for a sunset skate.  We had a few more stills to shoot for Douchebags so we seized the opportunity and combined it with some skateboarding.  Jase led us to an elevated location above the lake where we got some really nice lens flare shots and a few physical grazes for the girls.

Just in case you're wondering about Douchebags, they are an amazing selection of travel bags for the avid sports traveller/explorer.  I was making a short brand video for them in New Zealand.  Here is a little text from their website to explain how the idea was developed:

The concept was born in the summer of 2009 during a week of sunny glacier skiing and epic surf in the beautiful western part of Norway. During that week, twin-tip legend and GS skier Jon Olsson met up with product engineer and entrepreneur Truls Brataas, and the two discovered a mutual passion for action-sports, traveling and smart product design. With the exclusive goal of having fun, while creating outstanding products, the two initiated the Douchebags project.

With Jon traveling more than 300 days a year for the past 10 years, the two knew right from the very beginning that they wanted to design new types of travel bags that reflected the needs of a modern explorer. The two interviewed 150 skiers, snowboarders and surfers to find out what the core user really wanted in a travel bag. They even went to airline companies and worked together with baggage handlers to learn how to make bags better suited for travel.
 
All of this research resulted in the discovery of five important needs that a modern gear bag should address:
 
Length adjustment system, so one bag will fit every type of gear
Low weight, to accommodate the needs of travellers and airlines
Solid protection, to make sure your gear come out all right
Compressible design, to solve the storage problem when not in use
Innovative, new carrying system
 
To fulfill these needs, the two had to develop new technology. By involving ski bum and award winning product designer Per Finne and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the team developed a patented technology that made all of their traveling dreams come true.
 
The founders sewed the first prototypes themselves, before new ones were made in a laboratory at the University. These prototypes were then brought to a firm that manufactures bags for the Norwegian military where they were inspected and improved to make sure the construction was as durable as possible. New prototypes were made and unveiled to the public for the first time, and ended up becoming a finalist for Innovation of the Year at the largest sporting goods trade show in the world, ISPO, in Munich, Germany. Sales went through the roof, and the company went global within its first winter selling out all products in only two months.
 
Today, the company is based as close to the Norwegian mountains as possible, and we are working with what we truly love:
 
“Providing the best travel equipment for epic adventures, all around the world.”
 
 
I had spent years travelling with a ski bag, a travel bag a camera bag and hand luggage.  Getting on and off trains was a nightmare with 4 separate bags.  Even in airports with the convenience of a trolley, I still had to push with one hand and drag a ski bag behind.  Steering was near impossible and getting on and off elevators and escalators...well, that was also interesting.  On this trip to New Zealand we travelled with the same amount of bags (including SUPs), but this time we just hooked all the Douchebags together with ease.  Finally someone had developed what I always wished existed.  So now I never go anywhere without them!  I hear surf and golf bags are in the pipeline.  Then world travel bag domination. Thanks Douchebags!
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contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) Douchebags Melody Sky New Zealand", Wanaka Photography http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/5/skateboarding-and-douchebags Mon, 24 Mar 2014 16:45:00 GMT
New Zealand - Glendhu Bay http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/4/new-zealand-glendhu-bay I’m pretty impressed with the speed we get ready for our adventures.  There’s never any long planning, just a few suggestions and then everyone is on the move. Last night there was a suggestion that Olly take his boat out on the lake.  In the morning we had three boats packed with Mistral Paddle boards, beer, wine and delicious healthy treats from Soul Food.

We drove to Glendhu Bay, which is quite near the road to Treble Cone and also the Mt Aspiring National Park. The Bay is an enormous and scenic area of sheltered waters with some spectacular and serene beaches and views up the valley to Mt Aspiring itself.  There were quite a few water skiers and wake boarders on the flat calm water and it was hot and sunny.  Perfect boating conditions. 

Beanie and Flossie were in Ollys nippy little boat and I got into Chris and Daisy’s boat.  I filmed and photographed as they sped in and out of our wake, passed us, got behind us.  It was a lot of fun.  The scenery was jaw dropping yet again.  I wondered if everyone realised how lucky they are to live in such a beautiful place.

We stopped off at a secluded beach on the lake.  There were no other boats and no other people.  Charlie put the music on his boat and we cracked open a few cold beers.   We got the SUPs out and everyone took turns at getting out on the lake.  I stopped shooting when the girls got quite far out but just as I put my camera on, a gaggle of geese took off into the air.  They weaved in and out in the air above, teasing me as it was just too distant for my 400mm lens to catch and look as impressive as it looked through my eye. 

It was time to shoot some more for Mistral.  I had waited for the sun to be on the right side of the lake.  However the water was now getting choppy and the wind was blowing in the direction of the beach and they were struggling to get out.  So Olly suggested towing the girls with a rope attached to the back of the boat.  Olly and I got on the boat and Beanie, Iona and Charlotte grabbed the rope.  It was tricky for them not to fall off the boards with the wake and the choppiness.  I was impressed with how they were handling it.  Iona was at the front and looked very nice with the wind in her long blonde hair, then splash!  One minute she was there and all of a sudden she wasn’t.  Iona went under.  It was hilarious and we all laughed a lot at her expense.  Sorry Iona.  So Olly and I pulled the rope in and left them to their own devices. He put the foot down and we zigzagged through the water, then he skimmed the shallow waters edge. I didn’t know you could do that in a boat!  I later discovered that this is what jet boats do.  He expertly did sharp turns practically on and off the beach.  It was great fun. 

After a day on the beach, we packed up and headed back.  But there was one last stop off on the water to a cliff dive where Si, Jase and Ed went to demonstrate their bravery and manhood.  It was pretty high and we were all impressed:-)

I popped into the office again to do a bit of work and then headed out to meet everyone for a bite to eat in Relishes.  The food in Wanaka is incredible.  I haven’t yet had a bad or average meal.  In such a small town there is something for every taste, Thai, Japanese, Indian, Korean, Vegan and local cuisine with the best lamb and venison variations I have ever had.  Each morning I tend to start in Kai, which is a bohemian café bar with incredibly varied clientele from backpackers on a budget to multi millionaires.  Bought over by UK born Roger North 4 years ago it has become a melting pot on the Wanaka scene.  Relishes is very close to Kai and probably both where I spend most of my meal

A glass of wine in Relishes and I was close to passing out.  Time for bed!

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contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) Glendhu Bay Lake Wanaka Melody Sky New Zealand Photography Wanaka http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/4/new-zealand-glendhu-bay Sun, 23 Mar 2014 16:30:00 GMT
New Zealand - Motatapu Gorge http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/3/new-zealand-motatapu-gorge This morning we sat in Colab (Jase Hancox & Will Lascelles film production office) and discussed today’s adventure.  We were going to pack some beers into a cool box and head to the Motatapu Gorge, which is on Shania Twain’s land not far from Wanaka.  The gorge is a pretty spectacular narrow section of the Mototapu river, a tributary of the Matukituki river near Wanaka.  The walls are very steep and the water that runs through them is the most beautiful deep turquoise.  The water was pretty chilly but too good to miss out on taking a dip.

I couldn't find much information on the Motatapu Gorge itself on the internet which is pretty unusual, but I did discover that along with neighbouring areas Soho and Glencoe it is privately owned, so I guess this is why it there are not many photos of it online, plus there was nobody else there when we were.  However there is some great information on a 4 day walking route in which you can download a pdf here.  In recent years these three areas of land have returned to single ownership and the owners have been instrumental in the success of the well know Mototapu outoor sports events by giving once a year access to the stunning and scenic rugged terrain.  You can read all about these iconic events and many elite athletes who participate here: http://www.motatapu.org.nz/

The smooth rocks around the pools create a multileveled area perfect for relaxing and the higher ones perfect for jumping into the water.  Of course the boys had to compete with who could do the most ridiculous jump. 

I put Jase’s wetsuit on then put the underwater housing on the camera and hung out in the water as they dived.  It was really quite cold and anything but a quick dip was almost too much to handle.  But it was nice in the wetsuit.  I didn’t get anything really worth much but it was great to hang out in the water with my camera.

When we left on the drive back across farmland and bush,  I got out to take some photos of some lucky chickens who had the best roosting pen on the planet.  What a view, and what a place to live.  I would have been content living in their house if I was a chicken.  The view of Lake Wanaka on the return never stops making me gasp.  It's a special place!

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contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) Lake Melody Sky Motatapu New Zealand Photography Pools Wanaka http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/3/new-zealand-motatapu-gorge Thu, 20 Mar 2014 21:15:00 GMT
New Zealand - The Clutha River SUP float with Mistral http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/3/the-clutha-river-sup-float Today had to be the best day, but I keep saying that every day and then Wanaka pulls out another.  Today we were commencing with filming a brand film on Mistral SUPs (Stand up paddle board's) so we had to find a good location to shoot.  Jase suggested the Clutha river.  The water is clear blue azur.  I don’t think I have ever seen water clearer and there was a surprising lack of algae on the shining stones at the bottom.  It was gorgeous!

SUP Lake WanakaSUP Lake WanakaStand Up Paddle Board from Waterfall Creek to Ruby Island, Lake Wanaka

The Clutha is the second longest river in New Zealand at 338km long.  It reaches from Lake Wanaka all the way to the Pacific ocean.  We started at where lake Wanaka runs into the river and took it as far as Albert town where the Clutha River meets the Hawea River.  Next time the Pacific ocean;-)

 

We inflated the paddle boards with ease on the river bank.  The journey was going to take around 40 minutes and I would follow and shoot alongside on my mountain bike along a biking path that followed the snaking scenic river.  You can view the track here: www.lakewanaka.co.nz.  I had a camera over each shoulder; one to film with and one to photograph with both with different lenses on, plus a back pack with more lenses and a tripod.  I swear I am getting shorter with the weight I constantly carry on my back!  It was tricky on the uphill!

Jase, Tori and Flossie floated down the river with the stunning surrounding scenery.  I shot through trees and clearings from the side and from the front further on getting some lovely angles. It was Flossies first time on a river float but she conquered the rapids.  She even started doing head stands on the paddle board – but fell in a few times, much to the amusement of us all.

At the end of the float, Beanie joined in.  She has been on bridesmaid duties beforehand.  I did a few more shots with her and shot some scenic shots along the way.  I was envious of them all in the water and wished I had my underwater housing with me.   I’m certain Jase has housing though as I have been hearing of his filming escapades with the navy.  Jase is one of a kind!  So tomorrow I think we will hit the river again.

We headed over to Hamish and Hanna’s place for a drink.  Hamish and Hannah own the amazing thermal underwear brand that is growing massive in popularity all the time.  If you haven’t seen it yet, then have a look here -  http://www.monsroyale.com/

After about half an hour I got the pleasant surprise of Si Guthrie turned up.  An old friend from Verbier and talented and courageous (or crazy) base jumper, Si is now back in NZ and settled with the most amazing girl, Abbey Lewis.  I hadn’t seen him for a few years.  He too was really surprised and it was really great catching up.  We all headed out for Sushi and then a game of pool over at Woody’s.  I had a streak of luck and won every game.  Don’t know how that happened!  Maybe everyone else were playing extremely badly.  Another day finished off well.  Thanks guys!

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contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) Clutha River", "Beanie Milne Home", "Flossie Williamson", "Jase Hancox", "Tori Beattie", "Melody Sky", Lake Wanaka Tourism MIstral Melody Sky New Zealand Photography SUP Stand up paddle board Wanaka http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/3/the-clutha-river-sup-float Wed, 19 Mar 2014 14:45:00 GMT
New Zealand - Rob Roy Glacier http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/4/rob-roy-glacier There was a big crew of us today.  We drove in convoy on the 54km journey along the river in the stunning Matukituki valley into the Mt Aspiring National Park. The drive alone is a photographers paradise, and certainly today with the combination of mist in some areas with the light sparkling through and touching the contours of the hills surrounding the flats, it was a dramatic scene.

The road is definitely better with a 4x4 car with creeks, fjords and washouts all the way along which I’m sure would make it an exciting drive in stormy weather.  The expansive shallow turquoise riverbed snakes down the valley.  The only way I can think to describe it is like when you first start to twist and mix white and turquoise childrens plasticine and it goes streaky. This is the route the road follows all the way to the Raspberry Creek car park and is also a great entry point to the Mount Aspiring National park - an area of spectacular alpine scenery, snowfields, glaciers, sheer rock cliffs and waterfalls.

From the car park the walk begins.  About 5-10 minutes from the Raspberry Flat car-park, there is a swing bridge crossing over the Matukituki river, downstream from the Rob Roy Stream junction. After the bridge the hike leads through a small gorge into an amazing variety of vegetation from beech forest, into alpine vegetation.

It’s the strangest combination of falling glacier and velvety ferns and mosses.  It was unusual for me having come from the Swiss Alps to land in a country with this diverse ecosystems working close together.  You hardly expect to be hiking in your shorts and t-shirts in dense rainforest to arrive at the foot of a glacier. 

The hike is fairly easy although I was doing it with a camera bag and tripod so it was a little tiring, but nicely tiring when I knew the rewards.  At one stage I slowed down to shoot some shots for Douchebags with Tori Beattie, and then told her to head on and catch up with everyone else whilst I shot some of the forest.  I walked alone for around 15 minutes and the peace and the sounds of the forest and the birds was euphonious.

Once I had shot some forest images I rushed to catch up with everyone.  The trees suddenly cleared and revealed a massive white glacier with a massive waterfall to the left.  We were above the dense forest and the panorama that stretched out in front of us was exceptional.  It was well worth the 3-4 hour round journey.

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contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) Beanie Milne Home Flossie Williamson Matukituki River Melody Sky Mt Aspiring National Park New Zealand, Glacier, Wanaka, Douchebags, Rob Roy Glacier Tori Beattie Travel Photography http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/4/rob-roy-glacier Tue, 18 Mar 2014 15:15:00 GMT
New Zealand - Diamond Lake http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/4/diamond-lake Last night I checked the weather and saw that today was going to be a little stormy, so I thought there may be a chance that I could capture some moody low clouds over Lake Wanaka on camera.  I got up really early and checked out the window and sure enough it looked stunning.  We are really lucky to be staying in the apartment we have overlooking the Lake.  Thank you Suzy Perry!  The weather wasn’t too bad actually, but the colours were really nice and there were some spectacular cloud formations.

I went for a long walk with all my camera equipment and tripods and ran a few timelapses, which I will post when I finish the videos for Douchebags and Mistral.  There were clouds as low as the ground filling in contours in some places in the distance and some real contrast between the light and dark clouds.  New Zealand always reminds me of Scotland, only the weather gets much hotter in the summer and colder in the winter. Plus there’s a lot more land with some really remote and magical landscapes.

In the afternoon we took a walk up to the Diamond Lake lookout. We took the circuit track up which is the shortest walk there at approx. 2.5km.  It was about a 40 min hike up in the rain, which was a little miserable.  But actually the view when we got there was pretty impressive with the looming clouds.

Diamond Lake and the surrounding area was formed by Ice Age glaciers.  In the summer the small cliffs and steep outcrops are popular with climbers.  Apparently its too dangerous in the winter when there is ice and I can imagine it is treacherously slippy then.  There is a longer walk to the Lake Wanaka outlook also, but we could still see it in the distance and it was pretty impressive!

 

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contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) Beanie Milne Home Diamond Lake Douchebags Flossie Williamson Lake Wanaka Melody Sky Mistral New Zealand Photography Travel Photography Wanaka http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/4/diamond-lake Mon, 17 Mar 2014 13:45:00 GMT
New Zealand - The Catlins http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/4/the-catlins-new-zealand The Catlins is somewhat remote.  Nearby Owaka has the largest population in the area with only 400 habitants.  It’s rugged beaches and dense native temperate rainforest are abundant with wildlife including endangered species such as the yellow-eyed penguin, which I was lucky enough to find and photograph.  In addition fur seals, Hooker sea lions and Hector’s dolphins can be found here...oh, and Great White Sharks.

The CatlinsThe CatlinsThe Catlins, New Zealand

It wasn't a bright and sunny day as yesterday had been but the dense low cloud cover and the haze added to the already rugged and remote feel. The Catlins exposed location leads to frequently wild weather and heavy ocean swells, which is an attraction to surfers.  I had heard about the many surfers who had ridden the waves with the dolphins and hoped to get some shots with the girls and the dolphins.  I wasn’t to be so lucky to catch this shot today, which just gave me another excuse to come back again.

The CatlinsThe CatlinsThe Catlins, New Zealand

So the girls put on their wetsuits and got in the water, the beginners having some lessons and the more advanced hanging out the back break.  There had been a Great White shark attack a couple of weeks ago…the first ever in the Catlins, so everybody was feeling a little nervous.  However that didn’t keep any of the girls out of the water.  They all felt safe with the knowledge that it was very unlikely to happen again.

The CatlinsThe CatlinsThe Catlins, New Zealand

The team got the Mistral SUPs inflated which go up very quickly.  We had some 11"5 Adventurer's which are a good all round board.  It is a compact Cross Over board that can be used anywhere from flat water in a lake or river to choppy water conditions in the sea.  So it was the perfect board for us to be using in all the locations we were visiting in NZ.  Roo was already out back on hers along with Beanie on her surfboard and they spotted dolphins soon after getting in the water.  In the distance Daisy and Jordi had gone exploring the cliffs and rock pools.  The waves crashing against the rocks made them look tiny.  I hurried to join them and this is where I met Jeff the Yellow-Eyed Penguin. The CatlinsThe CatlinsThe Catlins, New Zealand

The CatlinsThe CatlinsThe Catlins, New Zealand

The CatlinsThe CatlinsThe Catlins, New Zealand

Most people imagine penguins living on ice bergs, but that’s not the case in the Yellow-Eyed penguin!  They can be found in their preferred nesting areas of the deep and secluded coastal forests of southern New Zealand. I found Jeff on a high cliff side in the scrub.

The CatlinsThe CatlinsThe Catlins, New Zealand

He was moulting and looked a little weak.  I discovered that in February the chicks fledge and go to sea.  It is an extremely hazardous time, with fewer than 20% surviving to maturity.  Then in March and April (which is now) the parents must recover and put on weight before beginning the annual 3 to 4 week moult. They are confined ashore as they wait for their old feather coat to be replaced. This is a very dangerous time as energy levels are low and there is always the threat of starvation and attack by predators.  I was able to approach Jeff without him moving.  I did of course stay a little distant so as not to frighten or stress him.  But I’m sure this is a terrible time for the penguins with less caring or respecting human visitors and predators.

The CatlinsThe CatlinsThe Catlins, New Zealand

There is a Yellow-Eyed penguin trust where you can donate money to help protect this species.  If you are interested you can find them here (http://www.yellow-eyedpenguin.org.nz/passion/support-the-trusts-work).

The rest of today must remain a secret and will only be discussed in the 20 strong group of wonderful ladies of whom I spent the weekend.  But it was an amazing sunset and when it got dark....it got interesting! :-)

The CatlinsThe CatlinsThe Catlins, New Zealand

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contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) New Zealand The Catlins Yellow Eyed Penguin http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/4/the-catlins-new-zealand Sat, 15 Mar 2014 10:00:00 GMT
New Zealand - Queenstown to the Catlins http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/4/queenstown-to-the-catlins We’re all settled into the Kiwi pace of life now and kick stared the day with a bit of skateboarding and a supermarket visit in town.  Today we were heading to the Catlins to spend time with an amazing bunch of girls on Camillas hen do.  The itinerary includes surfing, paddle boarding, penguins, dolphins, and a lot of drinking and eating.

The Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins in New Zealand

The Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins in New Zealand

We left Wanaka in Big Red early in the morning.  Big Red (not the car above!) was already old when abandoned in Wanaka a couple of years ago by Claire Hughes.  The old Subaru Legacy car from the 90’s was dug out from under the snow by Camilla and Tim who decided to give it a new lease of life.  Big Red is a now and gives friends and visitors in NZ freedom to explore.  However on this occasion we were scared it may choke attempting to get us all the way to the Catlins, so we headed to Queenstown to swap Big Red for Sexy Kate.  Kate had just arrived from Australia and had a spanking new hire car. 

The Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins in New Zealand

We stopped off to sample some organic food in the Vudu Café in Queenstown and then dropped off some sample Faction Skis in a well-known ski shop in town of which we of course delivered in our Douchebags.  We looked a little strange walking through town in the summer with ski bags!

Then the road trip began; From Queenstown the drive to the Catlins runs 258km and takes around 3 hours.  However, we would be stopping off for photo opportunities along the way, so of course it would take longer.  We drove along the Wakitipu Lake (Finger lake), which is New Zealands longest and third largest lake.  It stretches a massive 80km with a maximum width of 5km.  At 230m deep it is an immense body of water and is spectacular to look at.  It is surrounded by mountains and is renowned for its scenic beauty.  The well-known Remarkables mountain range lies along its southeastern edge.  It did remind me of Loch Ness and apparently has doubled as it in a movie.

The Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins in New Zealand

The Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins in New Zealand

The Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins in New Zealand

We passed farmland, mountains, rivers, sheep, sheep, more sheep… Finally we arrived at the Catlins where we stopped by a little church in the middle of nowhere and picked up some fish and chips from a road-side chip van.  How convenient!

The Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins in New Zealand

The Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins in New Zealand

The Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins in New Zealand

We made our way to the spectacular and rugged Curio Bay. The sound of the ocean in the open expanse of windswept coastal trees and ocean swells crashing over the rocks just outside the bay is impressive. Walking along the beach you feel so small and so far away from the modern world.

The Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins in New Zealand

The Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins in New Zealand We stayed at a selection of the ‘Catlins Surf’ best holiday houses along the beach.  But really we spent most of our time at Camilla’s ‘Dolphin View holiday house’ on the beach.  It’s called Dolphin view as the Catlins are famous for the dolphins enjoying the surf and are regularly spotted in the bay.

The Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins in New Zealand

The Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins in New Zealand It wasn’t too heavy a night as we had passed a long day.  However I did manage to run a few timelapses and shoot the night sky.  A perfect finish to a perfect day.  

The Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins in New Zealand

The Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins, New ZealandThe Catlins in New Zealand

 

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contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) Catlins Lake Wakatipu New Zealand Queenstown Wanaka http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/4/queenstown-to-the-catlins Thu, 13 Mar 2014 23:30:00 GMT
The Journey to New Zealand http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/4/the-journey-to-new-zealand The journey has begun!  2 pretty girls, Mistral paddle boards, skateboards, Douchebags and the awe-inspiring environment in New Zealand...oh and most importantly a wedding. One of my favourite photographers and good friend Camilla Stoddart is marrying a Kiwi farmer!   

The trip will include the production of two short brand videos; the first being for Mistral who are one of the most reputable SUP makers in the world.  ‘Mistral is today playing a significant lasting role, in the evolution and development of stand up paddle boarding (SUP) a vehicle of phenomenal possibilities and endless adventures’.  We would be travelling with a combination of inflatable ‘Adventurer’s’ and ‘Fit boards’.

The second brand video is for Douchebags. Twin-tip legend and GS skier Jon Olsson and product engineer and entrepreneur Truls Brataas, have design new types of travel bags that reflected the needs of a modern explorer. They interviewed 150 skiers, snowboarders and surfers to find out what the core user really wanted in a travel bag. They even went to airline companies and worked together with baggage handlers to learn how to make bags better suited for travel. Myself and the girls were about to put the bags to the test on our trip to NZ.

New Zealand - The journey overNew Zealand - The journey overTravelling from Verbier to Wanaka with Mistral and Douchebags

We made our way to London’s Gatwick airport a couple of hours before our flight and then checked in with Singapore Airlines.  I was amazed at the ease of travelling with our Douchebags and Paddle Boards.  At only 7kg, and folding up compactly, the SUPs fit into our Douchebags easily along with the light foot pumps.  The DB hand luggage attaches firmly and with ease to the travel bag which then attaches to the Ski bag.  That’s the idea, you only travel with one piece.  Finally someone has come up with a solution to my years of uncomfortable travelling with skis, travel luggage and camera equipment. 

New Zealand - The journey overNew Zealand - The journey overTravelling from Verbier to Wanaka with Mistral and Douchebags

The food and service is always very good on Singapore Airlines so we were pretty excited about getting comfortable with a good movie and a glass of wine.  We were really lucky to be able to get a row each in which to stretch out and sleep on the first leg from London to Singapore which is 14 hours. 

Once in Singapore I bought yet another camera and tripod and then we all went for a swim.  Singapore Airport has a rooftop swimming pool at the cost of $13 (Singapore $) which is always an amazing way to refresh before the next flight. 

We boarded the next Singapore Airlines flight, this time to Brisbane.  We were not lucky enough to get any empty seats next to us this time and the 8 hour flight was a little less enjoyable. At Brisbane we had a couple of hours and then we were on our next flight to Queenstown. 

New Zealand - The journey overNew Zealand - The journey overTravelling from Verbier to Wanaka with Mistral and Douchebags

Finally Queenstown! The flight in is pretty spectacular with the view of mountains and glacial lakes.  Camilla was at the airport to meet us.  It was so good to see her!  And she was looking amazing – ready to get wed!  The drive from Queenstown to Wanaka brought back loads of memories from my previous trips there and I started feeling awake with excitement. 

New Zealand - The journey overNew Zealand - The journey overTravelling from Verbier to Wanaka with Mistral and Douchebags

We arrived at the Alpine Resort where our friend Trev’s mum, Susie Perry was there to host us.  Susie P (as we call her) is the most lively, kind and spirited person's and we are so grateful to her for hosting us in such a beautiful house.  She has two appartments one above the other.  The downstairs was to be our place to stay for the next few weeks.  A modern two bedroom with a lawn overlooking lake Wanaka and a shared swimming pool.  We were pretty stoked. Susie P was going to be upstairs in the bigger apartment with Watty, Emma, Carthy, Pat and Tom.  It was always entertaining and never lonely!  Thanks a million Susie P!!

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contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) Beanie Milne Home Douchebags Flossie Williamson Food from Flossie Mistral New Zealand Queenstown SUP Singapore Airlines Stand Up Paddle Board Wanaka http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/4/the-journey-to-new-zealand Mon, 10 Mar 2014 12:15:00 GMT
Rock hopping ladies from down under...and Swiss Slash http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/2/rock-hopping-ladies-from-down-under

It has been a pretty strange season with the snow conditions being the way they have this year and I haven’t been as eager to get out and shoot with so many avalanches happening.  And for my mum, I am the last person to fold under peer pressure or the lull of the deep white fluffy powder just to get a shot (had to add that in for her peace of mind).  But there are still some nice areas to get to that don’t require long exposed hikes and standing around on a steep open face with a camera.

I just had an amazing day with some pretty impressive female skiers. I only had one day with Volkl international team rider Nat Segal from Australia so I had to make the most of it and despite my lack of muscles due to shortage of mountain time this season, I accepted struggling with the lactic acid and got on with it.  She is an amazing and powerful skier and pretty much smiled on every shot. I could tell she was loving being up on the mountain, which made my job even more enjoyable. Nat, also having a BA in Fine Arts has a great eye for composition, so she was so great to work with and I felt totally in tune with her.

Anna Smoothy from New Zealand I have shot with before and again her humor and total comfort in this environment makes her a pleasure to be around. Luckily I have her all season so we will hopefully have a few more of these days. It was my first time up with Hanna Fisher from Australia and she just made everything look effortless. You would imagine Australians growing up where the sun is cooking constantly and wouldn’t expect them to turn up and look like they were born and bred snowy mountain goats. Hanna did just that.

After we had exhausted Col de Mouche, Swiss rider Jeremy Migliaccio joined the ladies. He's a lucky man! We decided to drop into the Backside of Mt Fort which is where we nick named him Swiss Slash (which is quite a tongue twister).  I was cold and tired and trying to explain to him where I would like him to do a slash turn...and in my best french just said give us your best 'Swiss Slash'.  It sounded so good I had to repeat it and everybody else followed suit. It's funny what gets you through a day.

All in all it was a special and fun day.  I think anyone who has skied with these girls before will know what I mean. They rock. Thanks girls (and that includes you Jeremy although you are definitely all man!). I can’t wait until the next time!! xx

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contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) Anna Smoothy Backside Mt Fort Col de Mouche Freeride Hanna Fisher Jeremy Migliaccio" Nat Segal Powder Ski Ski Photography Skiing Switzerland Verbier http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/2/rock-hopping-ladies-from-down-under Wed, 19 Feb 2014 08:41:43 GMT
Choucroute des Patrouilleurs Verbier http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/2/choucroute-des-patrouilleurs-verbier

Choucroute des Patrouilleurs

Yesterday I was asked to shoot photos of the ‘Choucroute des Patrouilleurs’. This is far from my typical days photo shoot, but the eclectic mix of local mountain men, politicians and businessmen was certainly something interesting to be involved in. The event is in celebration of the history of the infamous and arduous event the Patrol du Glacier.  I was privileged to get an insight into this historical event and was pleased to spend a day with the guests, organisers and some of the inspiring partakers of the earliest events.

 

A little history on the PDG
The ‘Patrouille des Glaciers’ dates back to World War II where its origins resulted from the Mountain Brigade 10 being prepared to fulfil its mission to defend the southeastern part of the Swiss Alps. The concept transpired shortly before World War II and was the brainchild of local Valaisannes Captain Rodolph Tissiere and Captain Rodger Bonvin (who subsequently became a Federal Councillor). 

The idea of the competition was for the soldiers to demonstrate their formidable team capabilities in a challenging environment. The pioneers of the event selected the already infamous haute route touring 63km from Zermatt to Verbier for the year 1943 patrols.  There were 18 teams in total; each consisting of 3 members and the route, which normally took four days, was to be completed in one stage. In 1944 the numbers had increased to 44 teams but unfortunately until 1949 there were no more races organised due to the war.

The race was picked up again in the spring of 1949, but was tragically brought to a halt due to the deaths of three participants (Mauritius Crettex, Robert Droz and Louis Thétaz).  The military team from Orsières fell into a crevasse on the Mont Miné Glacier and their bodies were not recovered for 8 days.  The profound occurrence resulted in the race being prohibited by the Federal Military Department; A ban that lasted 30 years.

The PDG was never forgotten and the legendary tales were passed on down the generations.  In 1983 general Roger Mabillard acted upon the requests to bring the event back to life and he authorised the revival.  In the spring of 1984 190 teams were at the ready to follow strict safety guidelines that would ensue the future of the event.

The event now occurs every two years and is open to civilians as well as the military that have priority due to an obligation to fulfil technical and physical requirements specifically for the acceptance into the competition. The numbers for this endurance race have increased dramatically over the years as with its popularity and world recognition.  In 2004, a foreign team won the race for the first time.  With 2934 participants, this was a huge achievement and proud moment for the team. 

This year the 2014 event will start on 29th April, which is my Birthday, so it will certainly be an interesting day! The event will finish 3rd May.

 

Back to the Choucroute des Patrouilleurs

The day’s event commenced in the Musee de Bagnes (museum) in le Chable where the Patrol du Glacier exhibition is taking place from now until the end of the winter.  The museum is showing equipment used during the PDG, and also photographs and video. A historical peak of the event. The president of the commune, Mr Eloi Rosier introduced the day to the guests and from there we headed up the new Chable-Bruson ski lift with the managers of Televerbier and enjoyed a brief few runs in the picturesque resort across the valley from Verbier.

It was an eclectic mix of interesting characters from the region.  I enjoyed skiing with people who have grown up here, skied here all their lives and been part of making history in the region.  I too hope I have captured a piece of history in capturing today in photographs. 

After a brief ski and a glass of wine (or two) in Bruson, we headed over to the ‘salle de sejour’ at Ruinettes to dine on a very local meal of Chou croute by Monsieur Bernard Gabioud.  Here the guests were welcomed by Monsieur Jean-Pierre Morand, the president of Televerbier, followed by some words by Eric Balet, the Director General of Televerbier SA and subsequently Monsieur Jean-Pierre Morand.  My French is not perfect but I believe what took place next was a roll call to the missing persons (deceased). The deep resonance around the room of all of the men responding to their absence in unison was quite moving.  Monsieur Morand then introduced the song “La Vielle Garde” which was in homage to Rodolphe Tissieres and Roger Bonvin.

After dessert, Monsieur Max Contesse (the new commander of the PDG) and Oscar Freisinger (state councilor) spoke before singing ‘Mon Beau Valais’.  And the finale was the singing of ‘Etoile de Neige’.

All in all it was a very amiable and interesting collection of people.  It was predominantly men with high standing or deeps roots in the community.  I felt privileged to experience the day and was pleasantly surprised at the warm feeling of camaraderie and respect amongst the guests.  Good luck to the upcoming PDG 2014!

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contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) Bagnes Bruson Choucroute des Patrouilleurs Melody Sky Musee des Bagnes Patrole du Glacier Televerbier Valais Verbier http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/2/choucroute-des-patrouilleurs-verbier Sat, 11 Jan 2014 23:30:00 GMT
New Year 2014 in Verbier http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/1/new-year-2014-in-verbier

For many years I have frequented the famous Farinet Lounge bar in Verbier to celebrate the New Year.  The balcony terrace looks over Verbier's Place Centrale where the whole of Verbier gather to see in the New Year.  It is something that has to be experienced.  Somewhere between 20-30,000 people fill every inch of street in every direction.  DJs play music and crowds cheer as the fireworks are let off all over the town.

The place Central was electric. Champagne was spraying into the air in every direction, rockets were amazingly being let off left right and centre within the crowd, people were climbing the lamp posts, and the constant roar of cheering and very happy lively people got your heart thumping. 

The Farinet Lounge Bar is a very good place to be at New Year as you are slightly elevated above the crowds and have cover for when it gets cold.  Many a celebrity is spotted in there joining in with the buzzing atmosphere.

However, this year I decided to do something different, something that I’ve wanted to do for years, but as I didn’t want to miss out I didn’t in the past. I drove up high to Sonalon and with my head torch on I walked up towards Marlenaz where it was elevated and dark enough to get the most spectacular view of the snowy village, lights and fireworks from above.

My parents had bought me a camera shaped hip flask for Christmas.  So I filled this with some good red wine. A nice drink combined with the warmest ski kit I own, I was cozy and content camping out with two cameras on tripods; one filming the midnight explosion of colours in the sky, and the other to shoot stills of the vivid pyrotechnics 

It was amazing how the sound carried. Way up there on the mountain I could hear the crowds from down below in the village.  And the fireworks!  They were just amazing from up above.  I don’t regret missing out on the midnight kisses this year.  I still made it down for a late night drink and a wee tipple with friends.  And I saw something that few did.

Happy New Year everyone!  

 

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contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) Farinet Fireworks Marlenaz Melody Sky New Year New Year's Eve Photography Place Centrale Verbier Ski Resort Switzerland http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/1/new-year-2014-in-verbier Wed, 01 Jan 2014 00:30:00 GMT
'Mountain Sky' Photo Exhibition in Nanuq Gallery Verbier http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/1/mountain-sky-photo-exhibition

Sunday 29th December saw the opening evening of the ‘Mountain Sky’ photo exhibition at the Nanuq Gallery in Verbier, Switzerland.  The exhibition includes exclusive 2m wide Verbier, Chamonix and Zermatt landscapes printed on stretch silicon fabric, 3m light boxes and 2m high vintage ski style images on photo Perspex.  There is also the option to order more images exclusive to the Nanuq gallery.

The opening evening invited guests to enjoy a few glasses of wine in the stylish surroundings whilst browsing the images. I was very happy with the turn out to the exhibition of people that were both visiting Verbier and also of the support of the locals.

Verbier is an inspiring setting with the most dramatic backdrop and is host to a number of incredibly talented creatives. My favourite fellow Verbier photographers Marko Shapiro, Yves Garneau, Tero Repo and Seb Albert whom I have learned much from with regards to shooting in a mountain environment over the years were there to support. I am always impressed and happy at the positive and supportive vibe there is between all of the photographers in Verbier.  I hope one days soon that we can all perhaps do an exhibition together…watch this space;-)

The Nanuq gallery is fairly new to the Verbier scene.  It’s exclusive feel and friendly staff makes it a welcoming milieu to visit.  The gallery is run by Canadian born Natalie Howe and situated within the lavish Solmai Spa.  Natalie hopes to bring many well-known and reputable artists and photographers to the gallery and I am certain that it will become a highlight for visitors and locals alike.

Many thanks for giving me this opportunity Natalie and Nanuq.  The 'Mountain Sky' exhibition will be running for the whole month.  The gallery is open between 10:00 and 18:00.  Please fee free to drop by and browse the art work on display.  Thanks also to Rob Hill for the quality printing as usual.

Keep an eye out for my next exhibition that could cause a bit of a stir! ;-)

www.facebook.com/nanuqgallery

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contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) Art Melody Sky Mountain Landscapes Mountain Photography Nanuq Gallery Photography Photography Exhibition Ski Resort Switzerland Verbier Winter http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2014/1/mountain-sky-photo-exhibition Mon, 30 Dec 2013 16:00:00 GMT
W Hotel Verbier http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2013/12/w-hotel-verbier

Wednesday 11th December saw the inauguration of the new and highly anticipated W Hotel in Verbier, Switzerland. The exclusive and contemporary hotels are known for their cutting edge design, stylish lounges, blissful spa’s, innovative cocktails and cuisine, and energetic nightlife where the hotel’s locations are always carefully selected. The Verbier vibe is apropos to the W’s philosophy and therefore an ideal choice. What makes it even more special is that the W hotel in Verbier is the world’s first ever W alpine ski retreat.

The inauguration commenced with speeches in the big white ‘studio’ space ideally suited to this sort of event with high ceiling adorning huge windows with spectacular mountain backdrop. From here the guests moved down through the large glass atrium to the piste facing rooms where they could gain an elevated view of the unveiling of the ‘W’ – a large rotating W situated in the Place Blanche outside the front of the hotel.  Tight rope walkers were performing across ropes stretching between the 4 chalet style buildings and in the middle the staff of the hotel were in place each holding letters on plaques spelling out ‘11.12.2013, W, 14.15’, marking the official date of the inauguration.

Following champagne celebrations on the room terraces the guests were directed into the Arola restaurant where two Michelin-starred Spanish Chef Sergi Arola and executive head chef Torsten Sallstrom have created some innovative and diverse tapas style dishes.  Every elevated table space including the 25m bar facing the open kitchen was abounding in a colourful array of ordoeuvre’s.

There were various entertainments going on throughout the hotel. Outside on the south facing terrace an attractive ice skater was dancing elegantly in a stylish pink tutu whilst the guests sipped champagne in the sunshine. On the other side of the atrium is a vibrant red tunnel leading to the hotels ‘Carve’ nightclub.  In here dancers all dressed in white were performing impressive moves with juggle clubs and balls.

My day shooting photos at the W concluded with a quick glimpse into the ‘Away Spa’, where 9 deliciously cosy treatment rooms were beckoning.  But nothing was more inviting that the half in/half out swimming pool.  That’s where I want to be!  Good luck W and we wish you a welcome start to many successful years in Verbier.

http://www.wverbier.com/

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contact@melodysky.com (Melody Sky Photography) 5 star Alpine Hotels Bagnes Boutique hotels Hotels Verbier Luxury Hotels Melody Sky Mountain Photography Photographer Photography Ski Hotels Ski Photography Ski Resort Snow Starwoods Switzerland Valais Verbier W W Hotel Verbier Winter http://galleries.melodyskyphotography.com/blog/2013/12/w-hotel-verbier Wed, 11 Dec 2013 17:15:00 GMT