Exponential growth is a scary thing! Our first few photo meet-ups attracted an intimately sized group of up to twenty people. It was a perfect size for spots like Taylors Mistake, Godley Head and Gibraltar Rock.

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The turnout at the forth meet-up took us a little by surprise. Over forty people showed up to capture a sunrise out of Lyttelton Harbour with us. Somehow our Eventfinda listing had made it into various newspapers, and we seriously had to start thinking about how to manage crowds of that size. 

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So the plan for our latest meet-up was to capture a mid-winter sunrise at an easier accessible location. But when 160 people had signed up for our meet-up at New Brighton Pier, we decided to quickly find a megaphone. Seriously, where did all of you people come from?

On the day we were greeted by a dense bank of fog. While previous events had attracted more people than expected, this time our counts showed numbers ranging from 60-80 photo-nuts. After a look out of the window, many must have decided not to bother and stay in their warm beds. I can't say I blame any of them.

So the weather turned out to be a blessing in disguise in more than just one way. First of all we did not need to use our megaphone. We also had the time for a a quick chat with most of you. Sorry if we missed someone, we really did our best :) 

Then, finally, the fog was a great opportunity to practice working with whatever conditions are available. A commentator had pointed out that the pier has been 'shot to death', so the fog helped with putting a spin on things. Between it and the scaffolding we faced unique conditions that might not present themselves ever again. It was one big mystery shooting!

Rob and I did not get a chance to take more than a few casual snapshots due to our duties as utterly charming hosts. Check out the Facebook event to see the amazing results by other photographers, and how they managed to put a creative spin on a foggy morning. There are also a few behind-the-scenes shots that give you a better idea of the size of our little stampede. 

To name just a few: Daniel Bartolo did an amazing job capturing this seagull in midflight. I particularly love how he edited the shot. Harriet Thomas captured a very bold close-up of one of the pier pylons. Watch her doing her thing a few shots above. I quite like Simon Jefferson's architectural shot of the main building's roofline for his creative use of colour grading and lead lines. If you want to have a good laugh, look at what Rob managed to capture swooping in from a galaxy far, far away. The list of amazing shots just goes on and on. Make sure to check out everyone's work

After a quick coffee Rob and I had to say our goodbyes, since our next heroic group of photographers was already waiting for us. And so we moved on to Hagley Park to explore the basics of exposure and focus.

It was a strange experience to drive out of the gloom that enveloped the coast, and into a bright, sunny day.

I just love how most people have Canon cameras. See the shot above? As so often we were hunting for this or that setting in a late-model camera. Who better to point everyone to than Mr Canon Ambassador Rob Dickinson, and enjoy a little more of the glorious sunshine to take snapshots of the group :)

So we went from invading a dramatic New Brighton Pier with its steam-punk growths to exploring the basics of aperture, shutter speed and ISO while almost getting sunburn. Just another day at Hero Enterprises!

A big thank you goes to everyone who made the day so special: All you people who braved a cold and dreary morning in pursuit of creating something unique. Then there are the heroines and heroes of the Essentials. You guys played along with all our silly games like champs. Thanks for allowing us to watch that sparkle in your eyes. Many thanks also to the friendly person who lend us a megaphone that we luckily didn't have to use. I'm sure the residents near the pier are grateful for little mercies.

Interested in future Meet-Ups? We announce these at ever shorter notice to keep numbers in check. Watch our Facebook page and our website for updates. 

If the Essentials sound like they could be for you, we still have a few spaces available in October