Self-taught Paraparaumu photographer Bernie Velasco has been taking stunning shots of Kapiti Island since 2010.

A Philippine migrant, Bernie was first introduced to photography by his father when he borrowed his cousin's Pentax camera in 1978.

However it wasn't until he moved to New Zealand in 1987 that photography became a big part of his life.

"I didn't really get seriously into it until around 1988 after moving to New Zealand as New Zealand's landscape is gorgeous," said Bernie, a senior IT specialist by day.


"Photography is my passion."

"Being local, Kapiti Island is always a feature in my photos, not only in landscapes but also in portraits."

Bernie has had no formal training in photography, however his skill has not come cheaply.

"I've spent so much money on photography magazines that it would have been cheaper if I went to school."

He learns by analysing the images of others.

"I look at other people's photos and am always trying to figure out how it was taken.

"It helps when the photos are accompanied with their technical details."

Bernie has joined camera clubs to learn and share his knowledge with others.

"I take photos for my enjoyment and it is only very recently that I have started to have them printed for my walls.

"Some of them I upload on the web to share for the pleasure of others," Bernie said, which is how Kapiti News came across Bernie's photography.

Bernie, whose photography is highlighted on the Facebook page BernieVImages, currently uses an old Sony A850 digital camera.

But an old camera is no problem, as Bernie has won a number of New Zealand photography competitions.

Awards include a host of honours at the North Shore Salon of Photography competition and a silver medal at the NATEX Exhibition in 2016, showing that there is still skill involved in capturing stunning photos despite the rise in smartphone camera quality.

Along with landscape photography Bernie volunteers his skills by photographing charity events around the district.

"It's a God-given talent which I'm happy to share."