BUDGET TELEPHOTO ZOOMS

Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM

Like the Nikon 55-200mm and Pentax 55-300mm lenses on test, this Canon telephoto is designed for DSLRs with APS-C format image sensors. It’s physically longer than both competitors, at least when not in use, because it doesn’t share a retractable design. On the plus side, it’s immediately ready for shooting without you having to first extend the barrel. It’s also fairly light at 375g, thanks in part to a plastic rather than metal mounting plate. Compared with the previous edition of this Canon lens, no longer rotates during autofocus and enables manual override, via an electronic coupling. Image stabilisation is rated at 3.5 stops.

 

 

GET STARTED WITH STUDIO LIGHTS

There’s a certain clarity and crispness that you get with

HOUR studio flash which simply can’t be achieved any other way – look at the detail in the model’s amazing tattoos here. For those just getting started, things can seem a little daunting. But studio flash is no black art, just a combination of basic lighting principles and camera skills.

You don’t necessarily need a studio – any fairly large room will do, so the best place to start is at home, with a home studio flash kit. A kit like this offers a range of benefits. It gives you full control over exposure, while the high flash power means you can use lower ISOs and consequently produce images with less noise.

A studio flash kit also effectively gives you control over depth of field, as increasing or decreasing the power lets you open or close your aperture.

The biggest advantage, however, is the control that studio flash gives you over the quality of the light. You can choose whether it’s diffuse or harsh, spread wide or in a narrow beam, and you can choose to have it emitting from any angle. Let’s get started…

Honeymooners

When it comes to food for the soul, head to Coco Beach Spa where internationally trained therapists deftly perform massage, therapy and beauty treatments. Honeymooners often partake of the “With Love From Coconuts” package that includes soothing massages followed by a soak in the flowerfilled pool while sipping champagne.

No holiday is complete without great dining, and Mika’s Restaurant provides that, and more. Mike Pirics (Mika in Samoan) was a culinary genius. He sadly passed away recently, but his legacy lives on with plates of fresh, innovative island cuisine amazing guests daily. You’re welcome to join others in the main dining room or enjoy a little more privacy with a table in the sand with only the stars for company.

The actively inclined can make use of complimentary snorkel gear, go kayaking in the lagoon or the neighbouring mangroves, or try your hand at stand up paddle boarding. On Saturdays don’t miss the Samoan Culture Day activities that include story telling and demonstrations by the staff and a visit to the neighbouring village. The staff can also guide avid surfers to the best breaks; guided surf tours are available and you can hop in the boat right at the resort’s beach.

Weddings and honeymoons are a true celebration at Coconuts. Ask any of the team and they’ll tell you that “Coconuts loves Honeymooners … and Honeymooners love Coconuts”.

Let them know you’re a honeymooning couple and you’ll enjoy an island fruit plate on arrival, a bottle of wine and a bouquet of flowers in your room. You’ll also be gifted two hand-painted t-shirts and a hand-painted kava ceremonial cup. A special treat are the Honeymoon Ramos Fizzes, a breakfast cocktail, and a hand-woven floral head tiara.

Coconuts Beach Club Resort and Spa truly is what Samoa is all about … relaxation, serenity, peace, harmony and pampering.

COCONUTS BEACH CLUB RESORT & SPA

Coconuts Beach Club Resort & Spa truly embodies all that is unique and wonderful about culturally-rich Samoa. Ideally situated on Upolu’s southern coast, enjoying amazing sunrise and sunset views, the resort is inspired by it’s South Pacific location and boasts Samoa’s only over water fales (bungalows).

You won’t find a TV in your room, and there’s no phone. This is a resort where you can really get away from it all and rejoice in each other – a distinctive, relaxing, romantic and casually elegant experience. It’s the sort of place where, on arrival, you kick off your shoes and remove your watch.

Accommodations come in four styles. There are six beach fales complete with thatched roofs that are located just metres from the water’s edge. These have large lounges, a spacious covered terrace, al fresco bathrooms with lava rock walls and waterfall showers. The suites offer up fantastic views with the treehouse variety being extremely popular. Slate, hardwood and expansive decks with loungers and hammocks are complimented by a two-person tub with a view.

The three Royal Beach Villas are the most spacious in Samoa. Two are single level while the third is an immense two level gem. The exterior walls are constructed of timber poles and glass, and they enjoy 180 degree views. These villas, while private, may also be booked as an entire suite.

And then there are the over water fales – what could be more romantic for honeymooners than hearing the waves lapping below as you drift off to sleep. The six fales have been designed so that each enjoys the ultimate in privacy while still oozing breathtaking sunset vistas, beach and ocean views. Enjoy relaxing on your private deck in a comfy lounger, or open up the full length sliding doors and stay in bed much longer than intended. The open air bathrooms are unique and ingenious.

WEDDINGS ABROAD

You’ve no doubt seen glorious wedding photographs plastered over social media. The most recent which blew me away are shots by Charleton Churchill of James and Ashley, the first couple to exchange vows at the Mt Everest base camp in a wedding gown and tux. I’ve never seen a more breath-taking set of images. The scenery was overwhelming! It got me thinking though, about the time and effort that all three of them (and I’m sure many more) put into the planning of this adventurous wedding. In his blog he mentions how they trained for a year in preparation for the big event!

So, is a wedding abroad really all its hyped up to be? If you’re contemplating a wedding in an exotic land, then Ithere are a few things to consider in preparation.

The Legal Documentation Depending on which country you’re eyeing up to get married in, it’s always worth firing up the internet and browsing for the legalities of that country – and ensure the site is current. It would be a heart breaking tale if you tied the knot, and then found out that the marriage was void because the country’s policies were not followed. When in doubt, you can always contact the country’s embassy, and request all the information you will need.

Planning Many people have shared stories in the past about using wedding planners, or planning it themselves. So which one is right for you?

While it might be exciting to plan things yourself, take into consideration the following points.

Firstly, do you speak, or can you communicate in, the native language of the country you are visiting, and will you be comfortable contacting local suppliers?

Perhaps take some time to visit the location you are thinking of to get an understanding of where the localities are. For example the hotels, the markets, or even the local church, should you need it.

If this is a country you’ve never visited before, and it’s not within your budget or available time frame for a pre-wedding visit, you might be best to book things through a wedding travel specialist.

Do you have the necessary budget? It might be an obvious question, but ensure you have plenty of expenditure in case you need to spend more than you were hoping. It would be tragic if you ran into any issues and didn’t have any funds in reserve to cover it.

If you were to use a wedding travel specialist, you could discuss things like insurance and other safeguards, as well as feeling secure in the knowledge that someone is doing the tedious legwork for you. While there is a cost usually for their services, these wedding travel specialist will have the professional skills to organise an incredible wedding, without you having to lift a finger. You can also check if particular resorts have their own in-house wedding planners. Both wedding travel specialist and weddign planners can assist you with the necessary legal documentation, which they will submit and file at the correct times.

The Outfit The smaller accessories of your wedding outfit will be easy to take with you. Wedding shoes, jewellery, headpieces etc can fit comfortably into your luggage. An ornate wedding dress is another story – there’s bound to be an extra cost for the excess weight. So consider your style of dress carefully if you intend to travel with it. Otherwise, an alternative could be purchasing the dress at the location. If you were visiting the locality on a recce visit, you may be able to select a dress at a shop and have it fitted. That way the dress will be waiting for you when you arrive.

The Party One of the biggest concerns for a wedding abroad are the guests. Amazing as it would be to be able to fly everyone with you on one budget, its frankly, out of reach for most couples. So compiling a guest list is essential. It might be that for the ceremony abroad, you only invite close family, and have a second celebration at home at a later date. Be sure to give invited guests plenty of notice, and even go as far as suggesting hotels in the surrounding area and providing price comparisons. It might make it easier for them to say yes!

Finally, take into consideration any holidays, either at home or at your wedding destination. A wedding during an annual fesitval sounds like fun, but you should understand that it might be difficult in terms of suppliers as well as accommodation availability.

Leave no stone unturned when planning for this day, even if you are using a wedding planner. Bounce ideas around and ask questions of them – it will give you peace of mind and help to create the perfect wedding abroad!

ELEGANT WEDDING VENUES

From an intimate ceremony to the most lavish banquet, The Langham Auckland’s elegant venues provide the perfect backdrop for your wedding.

The Crystal Room The elegant and romantic Crystal Room is perfect for medium-sized weddings for up to 200 guests for dinner and up to 240 for cocktails. Four beautiful crystal chandeliers set a romantic tone while the private foyer creates an ideal space for pre-reception cocktails. Crystal also divides into two separate rooms and offers an elevated stage for the bridal table and a separate dance floor.

Chandelier Opulent Chandelier is perfect for more intimate weddings with stunning banquet-style seating for up to 70 guests and cocktail parties for up to 130. Sparkling chandeliers and classic furnishings create an exclusive and luxurious atmosphere. Chandelier also has its own private bar, making it ideal for receptions.

The Great Room This magnificent room is the perfect setting for a lavish wedding celebration, with seating for up to 900 guests or 1400 for cocktails, a private entrance for a grand arrival and a large pre-function room for pre-reception cocktails. The Great Room can also be divided into four smaller rooms, which when coupled with the latest technology, exquisite cuisine and distinctive service, easily sets the stage for great weddings.

SKY DREAM VILLA

KOH SAMUI, THAILAND

The 5 star Sky Dream Villa, is truly captivating. Located high up in the hills of Chaweng Noi, you will find yourself, surrounded by phenomenal views.

The Villa boasts four bedrooms, sleeping up to 8 people, and has the most relaxing, beautiful infinity pool for sheer bliss.

This impressive property opens up over two floors and has been perfectly designed with a very modern and stylish décor and natural light throughout. It’s a great place to be, up in the hills with breath-taking panoramic views of the ocean, of the islands and of Samui. There are glass panels which are positioned along one side of the property, ensuring you never miss those beautiful views.

Chawen offers so much for honeymoon couples. It is one of Koh Samui’s most popular locations with so many things to do. You can opt for a quiet restaurant, not too far away from the Villa, or you can hit the exciting nightlife that Chaweng has to offer. We recommend that you try out the cooking classes or, if you are really daring, there is the Chaweng Bungee Jump!

American breakfast is included, along with airport transfers, fully stocked mini bar and full-time staff. A Private Chef in your villa (from a Euro or Thai menu) is also available, on request.

Inside you’ll discover air conditioning, exquisite linens, wireless internet, satellite cable television, rainshowers and bathtubs and a ton more!

HONEYMOON WARDROBE

Let’s be honest, we all love an excuse to shop for clothes and, in reality, there’s no better time to purchase a completely new wardrobe than when planning your honeymoon.

From shorts and tees to lingerie and cocktail outfits, no one wants to pack up clothes they’ve worn for the past year or longer on such a special trip.

Your honeymoon of choice might be a ski lodge in Queenstown or Switzerland that offers up many long nights of sharing a red wine or two in front of a roaring log fire after a day of off-piste action. Or you may long for the warmer days and balmy nights of a getaway in the tropics perhaps Bali or Fiji – where you can swim, snorkel and sip cocktails till the wee hours.

No matter what style of honeymoon you’ve set your heart on, and whatever the destination, we’ve discovered the ease of replenishing a wardrobe at Ezibuy!

The selection is amazing, the quality great and the prices are incredible! Thus, over the next few issues, we’’ll bring you our picks of what’s on offer at Ezibuy – from lingerie and swimwear, through summer and winter, and even onto the home front and gift giving!

Happy shopping – simply click on an image and go directly to that featured product on the Ezibuy website!

ON TIME … EVERY TIME

Corporate Cabs provides both dressed and undressed bridal and wedding car hire. They have a group of drivers who have been specifically trained in bridal work who take great pleasure in providing a reliable, professional and fun service for the bridal party.

Whether it be calming the nerves of the bride or assisting with both planned and unplanned last minute events, they do it with a smile and considerable pride.

Their extensive fleet of wedding cars enables them to supply multiple matching vehicles, so no matter how many you need they will be able to help.

They can be booked by the hour for your special occasion, and they’re the best when it comes to picking up relatives and friends arriving at the airport. They also provide a tour service so that you can treat your guests to something truly special, whether that is a city highlights trip or a long distance out of town tour.

A Corporate Cab and professional driver is the perfect way to tour wineries, enjoy a chauffered shopping trip with the girls, or enjoy a round of golf with the lads. Tours are available on a hourly or daily basis.

When you need more than just a taxi company, we’d highly recommend Corporate Cabs! Contact any of their locations in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown or Dunedin for a quote on your wedding car service.

TEN EMBARASSING KISSES TO AVOID!

1. THE OVER-SNOG The one where it just goes on far, far too long. Hey, remember us? Your guests! You’re not on film now, but we’re all watching. Lessen the length for the sake of embarrassing us all (you included) … please.

2. THE BRIDGE SNOG The kiss just feels so right … but you’re 10 feet away from each other. This happened at my own wedding and the photos looked so bad. There should be no bridge. Build one and get over it. Closer together is all the rage.

3. COLOUR ME PINK There’s nothing worse than seeing smudged make-up over your partner. Or yourself for the matter. Think of the photos … tragic! Get yourself some lipstick that won’t ‘kiss off’.

4. THE PECK You’re not a bird, show some passion!

5. THE WATERFALL This refers to your eyes. Make sure you have a tissue handy and wipe away your tears (or your partner’s) before going in for the kiss. Drips falling from your mouth are not the waterfalls we want to see. Ever heard of the makeup finger sponge? Perfect to dab away those tears, lipstick and running mascara.

6. LICKETY LIZZARD This one speaks for itself. There’s no need to search for food down your partner’s throat. Remember … guests! If this is one you’re into,keep it for ‘business’ time!

7. THE SLEEVE For heaven’s sake, don’t wipe your hand across your mouth right after that first kiss! It’s kind of cute for the bride to lean in and wipe her lipstick off her groom’s cheek, but better to avoid that altogether by having the finger sponge ready or wearing that kiss-proof lippie!

8. THE HOLLYWOOD Planning on surprising your guests with the dip and full-on Hollywood snog for a laugh? Great, just follow it up with a passionate one, too.

9. THE OLD SHIFTY This refers to the eyes. If you’re an eye-open kind of kisser, make sure you’re not eye-balling your guests. Awkward!

10. THE BIG BITE Biting lips is cute – especially in Fifty Shades. But this is not Fifty Shades, it’s your wedding. Keep the biting for the cake.

Remember … the ‘Best Kiss’ is the one that has been exchanged a thousand times between the eyes before it reaches the lips.