As a child growing up in Australia, Mark Gee was captivated by photography. 

“My uncle had an interest in photography – he shot a lot of black and white images, and I was always amazed at how compelling the images were,” recalls Gee, now 50. “He took me to an auction when I was 15 to buy my first film camera.”


Gee would ride his bike for miles, lugging his camera in his backpack, to photograph scenic locations in his hometown of Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales coastline. He would then develop the film in a darkroom he had set up in his grandma’s laundry.

Today, Gee – a New-Zealand based visual effects artist who does photography on the side – still travels for miles for the perfect photograph. But instead of photographing the charms of a sunny coastal town he is now focusing on the night sky.


The allure of night

Traditionally, photography has struggled in low light conditions – especially after natural light has faded. Not so anymore. For a new generation of photographers, night-time provides an exciting canvas for them to work.

“I tend to venture out to the darkest and most remote locations I can find and spend hours (usually alone) under a sky of millions of stars,” Gee says. “Time just seems to stand still, especially when you’re continually gazing up at the stars. You feel minuscule in the grand scheme of things, like you’re the only one on Earth.”

Valley of Stars

Gee has made a name for himself in New Zealand not only in the film industry, where he has worked on movies ranging from The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King to King Kong, Avatar, The Hobbit, and more recently Alita: Battle Angel, but as an award-winning astronomy photographer. He loves both the solitude of shooting at night and the buzz of capturing something so ephemeral.

“From our point of view on Earth, the night sky is continually in motion, so planning a composition with a landscape feature and the night sky isn’t always an easy thing to do,”  Gee says. “You usually only get a few opportunities a year to capture each planned shot, and if you miss out due to bad weather or even equipment failure, you will usually have to wait until the following year to try again at that location. This is why astrophotography can be the most frustrating, but also the most rewarding form of photography.”


Unleashing creative freedom

While Gee is entirely self-taught, he has brought his experience working in movies to his photography, with a visual signature that can only be described as cinematic.

“Years of working in the film industry has certainly been an influence on my photography, and when I shoot, I look at compositions and elements which could convey a story where my images are more than just a photo of the night sky,” he says. “I also tend to shoot a lot of panoramas and use the same aspect ratios that are seen in cinema, and take that same influence into the processing stage, usually processing with slightly lifted blacks and split toning.”

Trained in graphic design, Gee believes that being entirely self-taught as a photographer has allowed him more creative freedom. “I think the advantage is that you start out with no rules and experiment to see what works for you and develop your own style,” he says.

When Gee began to shoot astrophotography he says it “was almost like starting over again, as it was technically a challenging subject to photograph and totally different to what I had shot in the past.”

“Even the simplest thing of getting your focus correct became a challenge, as you can no longer autofocus in the dark and have to do it manually. Many of my earlier astro images were certainly not as sharp as they are now, and it was all trial and error to get it right.”

Experimentation has paid off. In 2015, Gee won the People’s Choice Award at the New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year, and in 2013, the prestigious Astronomy Photographer of the Year. His short-film Full Moon Silhouettes – a real-time capture of the moon rising over Mount Victoria from a vantage-point in Wellington, New Zealand – has also garnered attention around the world.

Moon Silhouettes


Technology to push boundaries

The right technology – and a dramatic improvement in camera quality over the years – has helped. 

“Since I’m shooting at night, I’m mainly looking for a camera with great low light performance and good dynamic range so I can pull detail out of darker areas of the image in the processing stage,” Gee says. “Camera technology has certainly come a long as far as that’s concerned. These days even the entry-level cameras have good low light performance, and that was only available in the higher end cameras ten years ago. This has made the pursuit of night photography much more affordable and accessible to anyone interested in trying it.”

The Hyundai i30 sedan takes its cues – from design to technology – from this same ethos; building, improving and reimagining what has been created over the years. The newly launched i30 sedan takes Hyundai’s award-winning small car, the i30 hatch, and repackages it as a statement-making sedan.

Hyundai i30

This is a car that – like a DJ exploring new tunes or a photographer turning to the night sky – does not settle for the norm. The all new Hyundai i30 sedan not only looks the part, with its modern blend of assertive, edgy and sleek lines and sculptured rear end, but also showcases all the latest innovations.

In the Elite variant, this includes wireless smartphone charging(1), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility(2), and a 10.25-inch multimedia touchscreen display. Then there is the rear-view camera, dual-zone climate control, satellite navigation, smart-key with push button start and Bose eight-speaker premium audio system.

The bold and elongated headlights and wide, cascading grille puts the finishing touch on the sensuously sporty front-end design. 

Safety, too, is front and centre with Hyundai SmartSense™ – a cutting-edge suite of driver safety technologies that includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance(3), Driver Attention Warning and more.

Like Gee's approach to photography, the all-new i30 sedan has pushed past preconceived rules, experimenting with technology and design to create a driving experience that is entirely its own style.


1. Wireless smartphone charging requires a Qi-enabled smartphone or adapter to operate.
2. Apple CarPlay™ requires an iPhone 5 or subsequent model to operate. Apple and iPhone are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. Android Auto™ requires a device with Android 5.0 operating system or subsequent version to operate.
3. Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance not available on manual variants.

The all-new Hyundai i30 Sedan

Introducing the all-new i30 Sedan, a bold new expression of the award-winning i30 hatch. Sculpted with edgy and aggressive lines and shapes, heart-racing performance, class-leading safety and cutting-edge tech – for when only a sedan will do.

Explore the i30 Sedan