Unless otherwise indicated then all images are in JPEG format. The square
ones are 1280 by 1024 pixels in size and the rest are formatted for
widescreen 16x10 and are 1680 by 1050 pixels. It should be fairly easy to
scale these to any screen size required. These images are provided freely for
use as desktop backdrops on an individual basis, however I reserve my rights
for any other use of these images. You wanna do anything else then email
me and we can work something out.
- Alligator Skin
Freshly out of the water this American Alligators' skin makes for a
nice pattern. Taken at the Auckland Zoo.
- Blue Cod under a rock
A blue cod lurking under a rock. Just love the big lips on the fish
and despite it sitting on the bottom a lot it was very alert.
- Butterscotch South Island with Seagull
This is the kind of shot of the South Island I have been trying to
take for years. Various issues like not finding the right lighting,
lenses that simply didn't have the focal length, me not understanding
the right exposure to prevent the island washing into the sky too
well and the like plagued me. I had seen this lighting once before -
it only seems to happen around the equinox where the Sun as it sets
provides enough side and back lighting to really make Mt
Tapuae-o-Uenuku here pop. This is one of two shots I got on the same
day and it is a 1680x1050 size.
This Cactus caught my eye at the Auckland Zoo.
- Cenotaph Statue
Near parliment buildings, in the centre of town (Wellington), there is
a Cenotaph dedicated to the many war dead from the various wars New
Zealand forces have been involved in. (Although it was originally
dedicated to WWI and WWII casualties) This statue is a part of that
monument, one of a pair standing guard over the steps leading up to
the monument itself. It is a beautiful piece of work and I am quite
pleased with how the shot came out, doing the statue itself some
A feature exhibit at the Auckland Zoo this is one of the two cheetahs
there. Constantly on the move when up and lounging about when not
actually getting a clear shot of one of them can be a bit tricky.
Fortunately they had been just fed when I was passing through and
thus were pacing a bit along a regular route. Which let me line him
up for this shot.
- Cloud to the South
Whilst out towards Cape Palliser this cloud hovered out to sea in the
southern sky. With the surf rolling in below it made quite a dramatic
image, at least to my eye anyways. Unfortunately in order to fit this
to 1280x1024 I have had to crop the image slightly and I think it
looses some impact because of this.
- Colour Abstract
This one came from playing with timelapse settings and is partly pure
accident and partly intentional. I knew I would get something
interesting from the exposure of a good one point three seconds but
because it was a handheld shot I suspected the image might have been
unworkably blurry. I'll leave it for the viewer to work out exactly
what I took an image of but I reckon, with this crop, you could
almost add a foreground lunar surface and a shadow to make this the
surface of a very alien world...
Flames in the wind with a dark background. It is a high speed shot
bringing out the texture and complexity of the flames. These three
flame shots all come from the fire sculpture burning at the Pelorus
Trust mid-Winter Fireshow.
This almost could be the shot of the top of a towering inferno,
blazing in the night. It isn't - the scale is somewhat smaller being
only a few meters tall. Again the speed of the shot brings out the
texture in the flames.
This is rotated to provide a nice flame effect for all us out there
who like to have the taskbar along the bottom of the screen. Flaming
- Golden Sunset
This is the sun setting behind the northernmost fringe of the Southern
Island. Just visible in the shot is a cargo ship about to enter Cook
Straight and come in to Wellington harbour.
- Guy Fawkes 2010
Shot from Kelburn near the top of the cable car run during the 2010
Guy Fawkes display. I love how much of the harbour water is lit up
behind the buildings here.
- Kapiti Island
Kapiti Island as seen from the Paekokariki Hills near sunset. It is a
spectacular vantage point and well worth the trip to see. Kapiti itself
is now both a Marine reserve in the waters around it and a bird santuary
which harbours a variety of native birdlife that is now absent from the
mainland. See my Kapiti visit
page for more details on the island and its history.
- Lone Hut surveys South Island
Finally a new backdrop, formated for a 16:10 display at 1680x1050
pixels. (Guess what my current screen is?) This is sort of a reprise
shot of the South Island taken with my new digital camera. Makes for
a nice but not overly intrusive backdrop. The only grumble I have is
that the resizing operation has smoothed the image a little making it
slightly soft. Works for a backdrop but would be annoying for a
- Moon 2011
Taken with a 70-300 mm lens I finally got the focusing right for this.
- Moon 500mm
I got my hands on a second hand 500mm catiodaptic lens, this is the
result of playing around with it. Being a little mirror lens wobble
is almost impossible to avoid and focusing is tricky to say the
least. Thankfully liveview helps but it will be tricky to use this
for anything else astronomical as it is a fixed apeture F8 lens.
Still for a thirty year old piece of kit it does pretty
- Moon and Nightsky
This is just a simple nightsky shot with the moon in it formatted for
1680x1050. Pushing the exposure out to fifteen seconds gives the
clouds a chance to shine in the moonlight filling the sky out nicely.
Naturally this blows the moon out so you lose all detail with it but
I think it works well as an image.
- Oil Tanks by Early Light
Just below work is this industrial zone with oil tanks prominently
featured in it. The shadows and colour of the scene caught my eye,
thus the shot. Odd how something normally so ugly actually came out
looking quite pretty...
- Pebbles in the Surf
Taken out Eastbourne way, this is a shot of some pebbles in the
surf. I like the shadow and texture of it.
- Pebbles in the Surf (part 2)
Yet more pebbles, also out Eastbourne way. This has more motion in
- Plane Over Clouds
Taken from Oriental parade this shot makes quite a nice contrast of
the plane against the vast clouds. Again, in order to preserve the
aspect ratio, I have had to trim the image a bit and it suffers a
little for this. For your interest, the plane is in Air New Zealand
livery and you can just partialy make out the Koru on the tail.
- Red Toadstool
Found on the grounds at work during a particularly copesetic Autumnal
day. For once the auto-focus on the camera worked how I wanted - I
really need to buy a digital SLR back once I have some spare money
again. So here we have a Toadstool formated to 1680x1050 pixels for a
backdrop. Just remember it is brightly coloured because it is
- Red Sunset
Late in 2006, around mid December, the state of Victoria in Australia
suffered a series of quite devestating forest fires. The smoke from
that was sufficient in volume to reach New Zealand and gave us this
quite spectacular sunset. Haven't seen one quite as red in a long
time. Shame that such a beautiful sunset has to come at the price of
such largescale destruction. This is formated to 1680x1050 pixels.
- Rocks in the Surf
Eastbourne again, rocks this time. The colours foiled me a little so I
may redo this shot with a polarising filter to bring the colour up a
- Rock and Water
Rocks in the surf down on the Wellington southern shores. These sort
of shots are pretty easy to do, simply expose for around half a second
and get the timing right. It doesn't hurt to have a tripod and a cable
release to keep the camera shake down but you can, with a bit more
effort, use the camera self timer as well.
Everyone needs a little sand in their life. For the interested this is
Island Bay sand.
- Sea Perch 01
Full body shot of a sea perch.
- Sea Perch 02
Closeup shot of a sea perch. You can see the lovely colour spot
- Snapper 01
Full body shot of a snapper. These fish were around twelve years
old and pretty active at the time.
- Snapper 02
Another full body shot of a snapper. Being silver scaled these fish
changed colour a lot depending on the lighting conditions.
- The South Island
The South Island of New Zealand, as seen last thing at night a little
down the road from home. It is a difficult scene to capture on film and
the automatic camera didn't cope all that well. I hope to redo this
shot with my new, more manual, camera in the near future.
- South Island past Valley
Companion to the butterscotch south island image, yeah I know - dull
names, this tries to frame the South Island a little more with some
foreground imagery to give a little more depth to the composition.
Formatted for a 1680x1050 monitor.
- Tree Leaves
Taken at the Wellington Zoo I got a nice colour tone and composition
for this set of tree leaves. This was right next to a moat like pond
that kept the spider monkeys contained and provided a nice swimming
spot for the Pelicans to putter around in. Formatted for a 1680x1050
Here is what I consider the premier shot from the
'24 hours in
Wellington' photoshoot I participated in. It makes an excellent
backdrop. Of course I could be biased in my assesment.
Planes from the 2009 S.V.A.S. Airshow
- Air Tractor
An ungainly looking plane this remarkable machine can carry about 1.4
tonnes of fertiliser into the air for distribution.
- Catalina (closeup)
As I recall this is the Catalina coming in to land. Until I was
checking the photographs later on I never noticed the guy sitting in
the observation blister behind the wing.
- Catalina (profile)
Here is a more classic profile shot of the whole aircraft. While not
the fastest of planes, which makes it easier to photograph of course,
it was a remarkable plane in terms of flight endurance as well as
being amphibious. Here you can see the wingtip pontoons in their
lowered position all ready to land on the water.
- Corsair banking
Just on the edge of being soft this was one of the better shots I had
all day of this plane. Travelling at top speed the Corsair was just
below the speed of sound and as a result often could sneak up on
troops on the ground before they heard it coming. This quality that
makes it a great ground support aircraft makes it a bit of nightmare
to get a good sharp shot of it maneuvering in the air. Even though
the pilot wasn't really pushing the plane hard. None of the aircraft
on display go much above two thirds of their rated power, being all
older airframes it is wise to not stress them toos much.
- DC3 Dakota
One DC3 Dakota coming in to land with flaps down. Even though this
plane is now in civilian hands it has been painted back with the
colours it had when it was in military service with the
- Fighter Group
I thought I got a little lucky here as the clouds behind the planes
make just such a nice dramatic backdrop for them. Here we see two
Kittyhawks, a Corsair and a Mustang in loose formation.
Two Kittyhawks flying in a tighter formation. A litle telephoto
compression makes it look tighter than it really is but even so they
were flying fairly close together and at a decent clip.
- Red Checkers
Well I say Red Checkers but obviously for the image I mean just the
one, so a Red Check if you will. I was using a polarising filter to
take all of the airshow shots and the downside to that is that you
can't pick the degree of polarising as you rapidly pan with the
planes. Here it was a bit more heavily saturated than I normally
The Navy's new toy, the Seasprite helicopter. Like the Air Tractor it
is as slightly ungainly looking thing but seems to perform very
The DeHavilland Vampire or the, as I like to call it, the
Thunderbirds Jet. Its distinctive jet noise will be very familiar to
fans of the series as is the general shape and design. Always a
thrill for me to see this venerable jet doing it's thing.
The Yak team doing part of their formation flying routine.
Philip R. Banks