Way out East

By November 27, 2016Blog, Film
way out east

Way Out East


Finally, in the last couple of weeks I managed to pull my finger out and “kill two birds with on stone”.

The first bird…….It’s been well over a year since I bought the Dodge Ram, my intentions were always pretty straightforward,  a weekend run about and for some extra fun it would be my transport of choice for the occasional road trip. I’ve managed quite comfortably to use it at weekends but getting away had proved more difficult. Now, the time had finally arrived to take it “way out east”.

The second bird……Get a camera out and shoot some more film!!!!! 

So, it was time to pack a bag and hit the open road. Actually, two bags, one for my everyday gear, which in this case is the Wotancraft Ryker and the second bag for my review of the Wotancraft Shadow Warrior which you can read – Here.

Two Cameras, Sony A7r and the Rolleiflex 2.8GX along with some Kodak Ektar 100.

So, where exactly is “Way Out East”?

I’ve included a map for anyone that’s not familiar with the geography of the North Island. From Tauranga it’s pretty straightforward, keep the sea on your left! Opotiki is the last place of any real size, once your out past that things really quieten off.

Developing & Scanning.

  • Digibase C41 Kit – The same chemicals I opened 6 months ago, this is the kit you have to mix yourself. One of the advertised benefits of these kits is the shelf life of the chemicals, the good news is that everything looks fine so far. 
  • JOBO CPP2 – I’ve figured out that I’ve now recovered 50% of my initial outlay on this machine, admittedly it was relatively cheap and I haven’t shot as much film as I’d have liked but it should have paid for itself in the next six months.
  • Imacon 848 – I’m getting closer to a settled workflow……..see below. I continue to be amazed by the scans from the Imacon, if I can get my technique to match the capabilities of the scanner I’ll be laughing.
  • Workflow – I’ll keep this brief but in essence it looks like this – Scan the negative as a positive in the Hasselblad Flexcolor software. Import in to Lightroom CC as this where my photographs are stored. Edit in Photoshop CC and assign the correct colour profile. There’s a seamless integration between LR and PS so this is really no hardship. In PS, I use the ColourPerfect Filter. This is followed by more adjustments in PS/Camera Raw and LR. When you write it down it sounds convoluted but in practice it’s not too painful. The reality is I’d almost be prepared to follow any workflow if it gets me to an end product I’m happy with. 







I get the feeling this truck is going to be photographed all over New Zealand.




I’ve photographed this tree quite a few times, this vista always stops me in my tracks.



Horses are still a huge part of daily life for many people in the East Cape, they are literally everywhere, tied up outside houses, not tied up outside houses, at the roadside and of course you see people riding them on the road. This father and son were off to round up cows, which incidentally also roam freely!

Notice the markings down the centre of the road, an interesting fact about the East Cape is that they don’t drive on either side of those lines, they simply follow it, right down the middle….. unless of course, they are on a horse. Watch out!!


The East Cape Campground (above) In a conventional sense it’s fair to say this is probably not the finest example of what New Zealand has to offer campers. The cabin is locked and full of junk, there is a tap, but no water flows from it. It also has a sink, but as you might expect from what I’ve told you already it’s not actually connected to anything…. Fortunately, what it does have is a long drop toilet, which is really all you need and for $6 a night in the honesty box it’s probably all you should expect.

It’s online reviews are mixed, some don’t see beyond it’s obvious lack of facilities, awkward access and cows for neighbours, very close ones at that! Others, myself included, are more finely tuned to it’s merits, surely the sunrise here will be spectacular?

It took me less than two seconds to decide not to use the tent, those cows really were that close. Instead I’d sleep in the truck, the one piece bench seat is pretty wide and comfortable, fine for a night at least.

Dinner options were limited to the contents of my onboard pantry, sausages and beans cooked on the tailgate of the Dodge Ram whilst overlooking the Pacific Ocean, food never tasted so good. Of course I finished this off with a rather tasty “small batch” bourbon, all very civilised!! As the sun set and the temperature dropped I snuggled up in the sleeping bag and in the company of Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea I eventually drifted off to the sound of the waves hitting the shore.

It was the light woke me, I glanced at my watch, just after 2.00am. I wound down the window and waited for my eyes to fully adjust, as they did the light intensified. Here was the true magic of the East Cape Campground, not the sunrise as I had expected but the night sky. In all my life I’ve never seen a night sky so clear, so full of stars and subsequently, so bright. Then, as if it wasn’t already spectacular enough a shooting star blazed across the night sky, it was quickly followed by another and another, I just sat there in awe and watched the cosmos put on the most amazing display of meteorites. For the best part of two hours I stared to the heavens, transfixed. Occasionally a satellite would join in the display, it’s amazing how many there are, circling the earth. At some point I must have fallen asleep and when I did wake, just before dawn, I immediately recalled the amazing experience. The sunrise, well it was nice of course but not a patch on the night sky!!



The morning after the night before……


Hopefully I can string a few posts together, I won’t make any promises though…..

Thanks for reading.



  • John Lockwood says:

    Not sure what I’m more jealous of, your starry night or the beans & bourbon tailgate dinner!

  • Jason Byrne says:

    Great to see new images from this area. I think I like them more than previous ones


  • Umberto Orsenigo says:

    It’s always nice to see new images from you. The MF film ones are particularly inspiring.

  • Jakub says:

    It is always such a pleasure to see your new set of images and read your posts, wish they would come more often! Love your use of the film and the composition.

  • Hilmar says:

    Hi Jason,

    I’m always happy to see, read and consume one of your posts. This one is very inspiring. As I stayed in N.Z. in 2002 about 10 months to study at the Victoria University in Wellington (and for travel purposes, of course), memories quickly come back. I really want to visit N.Z. now. Very jealous of you. Your photos are so calm and beautiful. I can’t decide whether I prefer the film photos or the digital ones. No need to make a decision though.


    • janrzm says:

      Hi Hilmar,

      It’s good to hear from you and I’m very pleased to know that you enjoyed the post. We’re lucky to be here thats for sure, although I must admit to being a little homesick for some European culture!! Incidentally, my twin daughters are off to Victoria Uni in Feb to begin their degree’s.

      All the best, Jason.

  • Mike says:

    Glad to see the truck got a good run, the only thing missing was a a fishing rod?? Great images Jas, think we should do a boys weekend away, now that summer is here!!

  • Rodney Allen says:

    Hi Jason
    Nice set of photos, Quite relevant for me because Im heading up to the East cape at the moment, hope to see the campground in a few days.


    • janrzm says:

      Hey Rodney, thanks. You’ll have a great time there, I’ll keep my eye out for your photos, sure they’ll be great.


  • Guilherme says:

    Hi, I’m planning to go to the East Cape Campground by the end of this year so, after a couple o searches I got to your website. How does it work over there? Does it need booking or just show up is fine? I suppose it will be pretty busy once is close to the East Cape Lighthouse. I was thinking about the sunrise but after read your post I’m really excited a out the. Ight sky. Do you have any more information about the campground?

    • janrzm says:

      Hi Guilherme,

      Congratulations, you are going to love it!!

      You can’t book it, you just turn up and you leave your payment in the honesty box. It’s quite a large field so there will be plenty of room, don’t panic about finding space, it’s a very basic campsite by anyone’s standards and whilst that appeals to some it also puts others off. As I wrote in my post the only facilities on site are the “long drop” toilet, that is basically a hole in the ground with a shed over it. There’s no fresh water or food so take everything you need with you. There is a store in Te Araroa where you can buy supplies, that is the last place to buy things. The campsite is probably 20 minutes past that.

      It’s maybe a ten minute drive from there to the lighthouse, that is also worth doing.

      I hope you get a clear night and a beautiful sunrise. Enjoy your trip!!

      I’m not sure where else you are going but the Tongariro Crossing and White Island are also must see’s for any trip to NZ. HERE

      Any questions just ask.

      • Guilherme says:

        Thanks… I think it cover my question. Already did Tongariro crossing, never been to white island… These time the plan is get to know a bit around Hawkes Bay once we never been around there. Thanks for your help.

  • Andrew Gemmell says:

    Just catching up on your posts! The last one was great and this as well. Just had 8 nights in Queenstown. Ticked off all the tourist adrenalin items but also did a night in a hut at 1800m. Was great and your post on doing the pass reminded me of it (though wasn’t quite as barren as it looked in you adventure. Have one photographic adventure this year to India for 8 days. No where nearly long enough but I’ll do what I can. Thinking about using film only on that trip (Portra 800) but struggling between 35mm and MF (Mamiya 7). Heart says Mamiya, head says 35mm for convenience!

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