The Broken Wharf

The Broken Wharf

The Broken Wharf

Meiklejohns Bay lies at about the halfway mark between the two namesake towns on the Queenstown to Glenorchy Road on New Zealand’s South Island, near a little hamlet called Paradise.

The stunning Remarkables mountain range looms in the background of this beautiful mountain lake, while the cloud formations bring meaning to the nickname for New Zealand—the Land of the Long White Cloud.

The broken wharf, also known as Old Paradise Wharf1, is a stunning feature, easily accessible from the road. Take your time, try different compositions and consider using a polarising filter and perhaps a graduated ND to help bring out the most in the sky and the water.

And bring insect repellent.2

View this image in my Photo Gallery or on Flickr

#Image Data

  • C: Panasonic Lumix DC-G9
  • L: Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4
  • E: Lightroom CC Classic, Luminar 2018

  1. The image on the linked page was shot on the same day, but at a different time of day, and with different cloud formations. I like them both. 
  2. Six months later I still have strong memories of the insects, and the bites I sustained at this great spot. 
Frankton’s Golden Arm

Frankton’s Golden Arm

Where have I been?

I’ve been posting a bit to my Micro Thoughts Micro.blog site, but have been a bit slack in processing photos. Therefore, nothing new has been posted here for a wee while.

I still have a backlog of New Zealand images to post, and we got back from the land of the long white cloud in April. Since then I’ve been shooting a bit with the Panasonic G9 in Australia, and we had a wonderful trip to Japan last month.

I plan to post weekly1, and to include some narrative on a exploration or photography related topic before the weekly image.

So there’s a bit to come here…

Talking of the Panasonic Lumix G9.

I love it. And my new Panasonic Leica 8-18mm and 12-60mm lenses.

I’ve also been playing around with a Cactus remote flash system in an effort to do some lighting effects.

Frankton’s Golden Arm

Frankton's Golden Arm

Frankton Arm on Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu is an awesome place for sunset image creation.



The twin mountain ranges converging in the background here provided brilliant lighting, with the setting sun casting its rays down the valley, lighting up the distant range, while the nearer one was silhouetted beautifully.



The glow of the sun on the lake provided lovely colours.



The shooting location was at the end of a suburban street, and can be easily worked out with some simple planning in Photo Pill’s, TPE or a similar app.

View this image in my Photo Gallery or on Flickr


  1. When work commitments allow. Sometimes I may not have the bandwidth (literally or figuratively) to post. 
That Wanaka Willow

That Wanaka Willow

Commonly known as thatWanakaTree, the Wanaka Willow is a tree that grows out in the waters of New Zealand’s Lake Wanaka.

Supposedly the most photographed tree in the world, the Wanaka Willow attracts dozens of photographers each sunrise and sunset to capture imagery of this rather unique vista.

As with all of our experiences on the South Island, Wanaka was a wonderful place to stop and make images of mountains, lakes and of course #thatWanakaTree.

Wakatipu Reflections

Wakatipu Reflections

A trio of images from the Queenstown area of New Zealand, featuring the stunning mountain ranges as a backdrop to the magic foreground of Lake Wakatipu.

The scenery around Queenstown is simply breathtaking and would keep any landscape photographer happy for years.

Wakatipu Reflections

Wakatipu Reflections

Magnificent reflections on Lake Wakatipu. Driving back from Glenorchy to Queenstown we spotted this great vista, smooth surface and great reflections, and pulled over as soon as it was safe to make some photos.

Old Paradise Wharf

Old Paradise Wharf

Roughly half-way between Queenstown and Glenorchy is the hamlet of Little Paradise, Mt Creighton. There’s not much there – basically just a lodge and the old wharf. This last site is a magic foreground for photos.

SUP Wakatipu

SUP Wakatipu

Taken from the Queenstown Gardens with the stunning mountains backdrop to the standup paddle-boarding and other water activities taking place on Lake Wakatipu.

A New Zealand Adventure Begins

A New Zealand Adventure Begins

Flightpath to Queenstown

Queenstown, a city on New Zealand’s South Island, is sometimes referred to as the ‘adventure capital of the world’, a title it has earned through the variety of outdoor and adventure activities that can be pursued in and around this alpine city.

Even the flight into Queenstown is regarded as the world’s most scenic approach, as well as one of the ultimate landings for thrill-seekers.

This is due to the need for the pilots to fly in over Lake Hayes, navigate through some very mountainous valleys and finally land on a runway that seems to lead straight into Lake Wakatipu.

Runway to Lake Wakatipu

The image at the top of this page shows one of the valleys through which arriving aircraft must fly, and a careful look will reveal an Air New Zealand Boeing 737 on final approach. The second image, just above shows the final valleys and peaks to be navigated, with the runway of the airport leading to Lake Wakatipu.

Skilled pilots of major New Zealand and Australian airlines regularly and safely make this flight, but it is nonetheless an amazing arrival for first time visitors and residents returning home alike.

Middle Earth

It is thrilling arrival to the start of an adventure to some of the incredibly picturesque landscapes in the world.

Diving PNG

Diving PNG

Belinda and Elephant Ear Coral by Des Paroz on 500px.com

I was surprised today to see blog post from DeeperBlue on Diving Papua New Guinea, featuring one of my images from a trip my wife and I made there in 2006.

We love PNG, and have dived at Kavieng, Kimbe Bay (Walindi), Milne Bay (Tawali) and Tufi. These are all amazing diving locations, and I am happy to see one of my images being used to promote diving in this part of the world.

With that said, a bit of advance notice and link back would have been nice!

Passage to the Castle

Passage to the Castle

Passage to the Castle by Des Paroz on 500px.com

Castel Sant’Angelo must be one of the most photographed sites in Rome. Given that Rome is one of the world’s most photographed cites, that is really saying something.

Having captured several of the classic vistas of Castel Sant’Angelo, I set about finding different angles. This street leading up to the bridge across to the castle presented an interesting composition for an afternoon image, with the shadows in the foreground, and the brightly lit castle behind.

This image was shot hand-held, and some work was done in Luminar to get the lights and colours to match more closely the scene I saw on the day.

Image Data

  • C: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7
  • L: Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO
  • E: Lightroom CC Classic, Luminar 2018

View this image on 500px or Flickr

Colourful Clarke Quay

Colourful Clarke Quay

Colourful Clarke Quay by Des Paroz on 500px.com

Singapore is a colourful city.

I didn’t tropical business-hub to be so vibrant and vivid, so as a photographer I was delighted to experience not just the modern architecture mixed with Asian heritage, but also the colourful expression of city’s colonial past.

We explored the city mostly by foot, but a boat tour from Marina Bay to Clarke Quay was a great way to explore a variety of locations, and to scout things out.

Along the river several colourful areas were quite photogenic. With the sun direction on the day, Clarke Quay proved particularly attractive.

I created this photo in the middle of a bright, sunny day. With the sky and the water, my polarising filter was critical to getting a good base image. I did some colour correction in Lightroom, and a little bit in Luminar and the resulting image represents the picture I saw on the day quite nicely.

Image Data

C: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7
L: Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO
E: Lightroom CC Classic, Luminar 2018

View this image on 500px or Flickr

Pre-setting your camera for likely images

Pre-setting your camera for likely images

My photographic origins in the underwater world have taught me the importance of thinking through the photographic objectives for a shoot (dive), and pre-setting your camera.

In underwater photography one key mantra is to get close – minimising the amount of water between subject and your camera1.

For this reason, and the fact that lenses cannot be changed underwater2, most UW photo situations revolve around one of a small number of basic setups.

  1. Wide angle lenses that allow the photographer to get close to large subjects.
  2. Close up lenses that get the photographer close to small subjects.
  3. Macro lenses that allow images to be made of small to extremely small subjects.

In reality a good macro lens is also a very capable close up lens, further reducing the number of setups to just two.

Before a dive I spend time setting up my camera rig for the setup – not just the lens and ports, but also choosing strobe (flash) arms and getting everything about right for the dive. I make sure that I have a formatted

As I became a more experienced UW photographer it dawned on me that I could extend the preparedness concept to include camera settings. In each different style of photography I could reasonably anticipate the settings, and then prepare accordingly, saving the need to fiddle with adjustments underwater. The following table shows some examples of common pre-sets that I use:

Macro Close-Up W/A – Reef/People Big Fish, Moving Fast
Lens 30mm 30mm 7-14mm zoom 7-14mm zoom
Port Flat Flat Dome Dome
Strobes 1-2 1-2 1-2 0-2
Arms Short Short-Medium Long Long
Camera Mode A A A S
Likely Aperture f/16-f/22 f/11-f/16 f/5.6-f/11 N/A
Likely Shutter Speed N/A N/A N/A 1/125–1/500
ISO 200 200 200-400 200-400
Strobe Power ¼-½ ¼-½ ¼-½ ½–Full

Before I enter the water with a close up / macro right, then I will likely preset as follows:
– Shutter mode: Aperture Priority (A)
– Aperture: f/16
– ISO: 200
– Strobes: ½ power

Chromodoris lochi on the march by Des Paroz on 500px.com

With this setup, any changes for the first subject scene I come across are likely only to be a click or two on a dial or two. I have similar checklists for my wide angle photo scenes.

The concepts extends to my topside photography:

Landscape Seascape Street
Lens 12-60mm 8-18mm 20mm
Mode A A A
Starting Aperture f/8 f/11 f/6
ISO 200 200 400
Image Stabilisation 3 Off Off On

Obviously the above table can (and should) be extended to different lighting situations – blue hour, golden hour, daylight, night, etc.

I hope this post seeks to provide some insight into how I think about my photography before a shoot. There are variations to the above, and equipment, shooting genre, artistic style, etc, should all influence how you pre-set.

In any case, thinking ahead and creating simple checklists including these settings and perhaps a reminder to have a formatted memory card, fresh battery and even to check the camera’s date and time settings, can help to allow you to focus on your photography when on a shoot.


  1. Water filters light, removes colour and refracts light in a way that causes a subject to lose sharpness and colour, as well as adding gunk (technical) terms that further kills the quality of an image. 
  2. There are some low quality or super-expensive rigs that do allow changing of lenses, but the majority of setups do not. 
  3. For landscape and seascapes I am generally shooting on a tripod or clamp, so stabilisation should be off, while shooting handheld (i.e. street) stabilisation should be on. 
Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay Sands

I love spending time around the Downtown Core area of Singapore whenever I visit the exotic Asian city.

The island nation has developed a unique combination of the old and the new, of Asian and western and of formal and casual.

Photographically, the Downtown Core is a dream. There are many buildings, bridges, and other structures to make images of and the waters of Marina Bay provide a delicate balance to the formations and the sky.

This image was made mid-afternoon, so a polarizing filter helped to reduce the glare.

Singapore is a great destination in its own right and is a comfortable stopover for travellers flying between other Asia-Pacific destinations and Europe. Well worth a visit, and for photographers, there are some great camera stores to be found with reasonable prices.

Image Data

C: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7
L: Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO
E: Lightroom CC Classic, Luminar 2018

View this image on 500px or Flickr

My Mirrorless Experience

My Mirrorless Experience

I made the switch from DSLR cameras to the Micro Four Thirds (m43) based interchangeable lens system in about 2014. My last dSLR was a Nikon D200, and I switched to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 that I am still using.1

IMG 1170

The switch to m43 has been awesome.

My personal photography revolves around underwater, seascapes, landscapes and travel photography. For all of these genres a balanced and lightweight rig provides an a lot of advantages for me.

Advantages of m43

Travel is getting more restrictive, and there is a clear move by airlines and security agencies to increasingly limit the amount of gear we can travel with, particularly carry on. Many of the destinations I go to are accessed by small aircraft, placing even greater restrictions on the kit that can be carried.

In my photography, I tend to move around a lot, and the smaller rig allows me to more easily carry all my kit in one bag.

I can also use a smaller, lighter tripod to stabilise my rig – important in my photography.

The m43 gear also tends to be ahead of the curve, compared to most DSLR gear, in terms of introducing new tech.

This is not an exhaustive list, but some of the key things that work well for me.

Disadvantages and Mitigations of m43

IMG 1081

Clearly the smaller sensor size (compared to the misnamed ‘full frame’ cameras) means lower resolution. My GX7 is 16 megapixel2, and to be honest I’ve never found a scenario where I have wished for more. For most photographers, anything upwards of 12 megapixel will be more than enough.

Autofocus on (most) mirrorless cameras is slower. If I were to be shooting high speed subjects (e.g. sports) this would be a concern. For my shooting, not so much.

Bokeh is more difficult on smaller sensors. I won’t go into the maths, but the depth-of-field is actually greater for the same f-stop, so you need a bigger aperture to achieve the same result3. To meet this requirement, some manufacturers are now making super fast lenses for m43 and other mirrorless cameras. One of my favourite lenses is the Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7, and there are at least a half dozen lenses with a maximum aperture in the order of 0.95.

Final Thoughts

IMG 1475

The move to mirrorless has been the right move for me. I am glad I started down this path, and will stay the course with m43. If I was starting over I would happily choose m43 again, although would consider the Fuji mirrorless system.

I also find that I make more photos, more regularly, because I really have fun shooting mirrorless.

I am not advocating m43 (or other mirrorless) cameras as the perfect solution for all photographers, but for landscape, travel and underwater photographers there are many reasons mirrorless should be considered.

What is certain is that we are in an exciting time for photography when we can choose a wide range of cameras and accessories to make wonderful images.


  1. I am in the process of upgrading to the Panasonic Lumix DC-G9, but will keep my GX7 as a backup and second scene camera. 
  2. My upcoming G9 will be 20 megapixel. With some smart hardware/software magic 80 megapixel images can be made. 
  3. On the flip, the mirrorless depth-of-field is outstanding for my macro photographs. 
Wangi Falls

Wangi Falls

Wangi Falls in Litchfield National Park is a spectacular place to visit for great photography opportunities. During the Top End’s dry season it is also a great place to swim and enjoy cool, clear water.1

Waterfalls provide an interesting range of shooting opportunities, with my preference being for silky smooth water as seen in this image.

This image was created in the middle of a bright, cloudless day, so to achieve the silken look I used a Lee Big Stopper 10-stop ND filter. This resulted in a 25-second shutter speed at f/8.0. This slow shutter speed also resulted in a smooth surface on the lagoon, and enhanced the reflection of the waterfall.

View this image on 500px or Flickr.

Image Data

  • C: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7
  • L: Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO
  • E: Lightroom CC Classic, Luminar 2018, Photoshop
  • F: Lee Filters Seven5 Big Stopper; Lee Filters Seven5 Polarizing Filter.

  1. Always check and heed signage at all swimming spots in Litchfield – dangerous undertows can be present, and this is an area where saltwater crocodiles are regularly seen in the Wet Season, resulting in the lagoon being (sensibly) closed to swimmers.