Aitutaki Island - Published in National Geographic Traveller Magazine

Aitutaki Island - Published in National Geographic Traveller Magazine One of the joys of being a photographer for a living, is the diversity of what you get to photograph. While this site is all about my wedding photography work, I do in fact have another photography business in Christchurch - Thomas Pickard Photography Ltd.

Unlike this site, Thomas Pickard Photography Ltd is focused on creating imagery for magazines and business clients.

I recently picked up a new magazine client - National Geographic Traveller Magazine. The yellow-bordered magazine is without doubt the gold standard in travel magazines.

National Geographic Traveller Magazine published a nine-page photo spread of my work. Titled 'Dive In', it is a photo story on Aitutaki Island in the Cook Islands. You can see the nine-page spread below.

As a photographer it is always great picking up new clients, especially one's like National Geographic.

If you are reading this and thinking about having a wedding in Aitutaki Island in the Cook Islands, then make sure you check out my Cook Island wedding with Elena and Michael.

If you like my work and are off to the Cook Islands to get hitched, then don't hesitate to connect. It wouldn't take much to get me back to the islands for a week!

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Additional Links:

Cook Islands | Aitutaki Island

Cook Islands | Spear Fishing Aitutaki Island

Christchurch Commercial Photographer - Thomas Pickard

Aitutaki Island Spear Fishing - Personal Work

Aitutaki Island Spear Fishing - Personal Work I love photography and I love creating visual stories. One of the stories I really wanted to create while living in the Cook Islands, was a day in the life series on a local spear fisherman.

I was drawn to the subject of spear fishing for a couple of reasons:

One, I have a growing interest in understanding where people's food comes from.

Two, I love shooting above and below the water with a water proof housing for my camera.

Three, I'm genuinely interested in meeting local people in the islands and learning more about their way of life.

A big part of shooting personal work such as this, is actually finding a local who spear fishes and who is okay with having a photographer shadowing their every move for a day or two. That may sound easy, but it is often harder than you may think.

After putting out the word, I was incredibly fortunate to meet Campbell Cecil. Campbell is a local on Aitutaki Island, who goes out spear fishing a couple of times a week. He does it to put some extra food on the table. He was exactly the type of person I was looking to meet.

The day of the shoot dawned clear and blue with barely a cloud in the sky. After meeting Campbell at his house, we drove our bikes down to the lagoon edge, carried his dinghy to the water's edge, then slowly rowed it out into the lagoon. As I readied and checked my water housing seals, Campbell donned his flippers and mask, grabbed his spear fishing gun and quietly slipped into the water. I followed him and for the next three to four hours', he patiently sum around the lagoon, searching for and spearing fish in amongst the lumps of coral.

When I'm photographing a story like this, I'm always thinking of how the images will look in the final story. After years' of taking photos, I instinctively know when I have a great shot. When that happens, I begin thinking about what the next shot should be. A big part of this process is thinking about different points of view. Creating imagery with different points of view is critical to a visually interesting story. Such an approach keeps the viewer interested in the photos.

Ways of doing this are many. For this shoot some of the techniques included:

- Changing the height of my camera relative to Campbell. Some photos I make the sky the background (that's a low point of view). Others, I make the sand the background (that's a high point of view).

- Varying the focal length. This is quite hard with a single water housing as my surf housing doesn't allow for an adjustable lens. I did however open my housing part way through the shoot and manually adjust the focal length.

- Capturing a variety of different shots. The photos below are a mix of action (opening photo), overview (photos three and four below), closeup (photo five and eight) and detail photos (photo nine). Taking photos of Campbell doing distinctively different things throughout the session, not only helps tell the story of what he is doing, it also keeps the story visually interesting.

Meeting Campbell and having the opportunity to photograph him spear fishing was an incredibly satisfying experience. I hope these photos provide an insight into part of Campbell's life as a Cook Islander.

View all the photos from this shoot: Cook Islands | Spear Fishing Aitutaki


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Aitutaki Island Part I - Personal Work

Aitutaki Island Part I - Personal Work In 2010 I was incredibly fortunate to live on Rarotonga Island in the Cook Islands for a year. During our year-long stay, we decided to take a holiday in the very idyllic Aitutaki Island.

Outside of Rarotonga, Aitutaki is the most visited island and for good reason - it is simply stunning. Combine that with a laid back vibe and super friendly locals and you have what I consider a must-visit destination in the Pacific.

Aitutaki's jewel is its lagoon.

At the time, it was being called the best lagoon in the world by various people on Trip Advisor and other travel outlets. Having lived in the Maldives for two-years, which is renowned for its lagoons and world class atoll formations, Jane and I were a bit skeptical. We figured there was only one way to really know, so we booked our inter-island flights on Air Rarotonga

Mid-way through our stay I booked us on a lagoon cruise, complete with three snorkelling stops, a BBQ lunch stop and the obligatory stop on One-Foot Island - the most photographed island in the Cooks.

Much to our surprise, the lagoon didn't disappoint. In fact, it was the exact opposite. We were blown away by the scale and sheer beauty of the lagoon and the deserted islands. As for the snorkelling, it was world class. The water was gin clear and the fish were plentiful. Our second snorkelling spot featured Giant Clams dotting the sandy floor. As for lunch, it was a true island feast. The kicker of course was walking around One Foot Island, the very image of what an idyllic tropical island should look like.

Yep, Aitutaki Island is something else. Can't wait to return.

Until then, here are some photos from our week on Aitutaki Island.

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