Kia Ora (Hello) and Haere Mai (Welcome) to the Custom Vision Photography website.
My name is Dean (friends call me 'Karlyn') Connolly, and I set up Custom Vision Photography to promote the beautiful little country of Aotearoa (New Zealand), and raise awareness for all of our children’s charities at the same time.
I began this venture on the 01.02.2010, when I rode a homemade mountain bike around New Zealand on a 91 day adventure I called “Cycle for Life”, which is why both Custom Vision Photography, and my Cycle for Life, are mentioned on the cover page of this website.
The idea to ride a bicycle around New Zealand was inspired by a woman I saw on TV who jogged 60 km's to celebrate her 60th birthday, and it was whilst watching her on TV that the initial thought formed that I should be able to ride a bicycle as far as she had run. That if I could actually do it for one day, I should be able to do it for more than one day. Then I somehow jumped to the possibility that I might be able to ride around the entire coast of NZ, with no previous tour cycling experience, sponsorship, or support crew, and so that is exactly what I did.
In 2010 I cycled 6237 km's in 91 days around the entire coast of New Zealand, and in 2013 (when I did it again) I went even further and cycled 6482 km's. I towed a heavy homemade trailer on the back of my bike with everything I needed in it to sleep and eat on the side of the road, and because I apparently needed a reason to do it, I raised awareness for children's charities all over New Zealand, by encouraging people I met along the way to help organisations directly that had helped them. I did not collect any money, and had no idea what I was doing, but I quickly learnt.
I loved what that initial bike ride achieved so much that when I finished I was motivated to do even more, thus Custom Vision Photography was born, and officially registered as a New Zealand business on the 11.02.2011.
I have the simple idea that one person is able to make a difference in the life of another, and I want to continue to do my part to make the world I live in a better place. Ultimately, my goal is simple. I want to help children discover that no matter who they are, that they all have options, regardless of who they are.
This is the second version of my website. My original website was created just before I commenced my first bike ride around New Zealand, and it allowed me put a few words and pictures together somewhere I could direct people who were interested in what I was doing, somewhere they could discover more about who I really am, but I was never completely happy with it, as it only told part of my story. This time I want to give you more, and as a result this website is not only more complete as you look at it now, but it is also something which, like me, will continue to grow as new content is continuously added, and/or updated.
I said to someone many years ago that a picture may paint a thousand words, but without words that picture remains undefined, it is simply eye candy, good or bad. Every image ever created (especially those in our minds) has little meaning until we each define it using our own words. Some images require a university degrees to even begin to understand, and other images are much simpler, much easier to define.
On this website therefore it is my intention to combine the use of my words, and the images I have created, to highlight who I really am and paint the perfect picture so to speak, a kaleidoscopic collection of pieces of who I am that hopefully combine to accurately define what I am doing beyond just sentences, words, and colourful images.
My story is not pretty, I have seen and done a lot in my life, but I am still astounded that in the world in which we live today people are happier to ask for, or even expect, someone else to help them when they need it, than they are to return any help given, and even fewer people volunteer their help without wanting something in return. Through my eyes is not how things should be, so I am doing something about it.
This is not about money. Money can’t buy love. I help the organisations that help New Zealand kids by encouraging the people I meet to do something positive for their community, then encourage the people that they meet on their journey to do the same. I ask people not to ask for anything in return, because doing something good for someone else has its own rewards, it also tips the balance, and allows good things to create more good things.
What makes me so special? In short. Nothing. I am no different than most people. I have had more than my share of bad luck, events in my life have occurred, and I guess prevented me from settling down and living happily ever after, but as I have grown older I see that my life has taken me somewhere I would not be if things were different, and as a result I see my life as something positive. My life has literally taken me from one adventure to another, and now get to to share that here, with you.
Ultimately I would like to settle down. I think I would like my own café/gallery somewhere nice that I can call home. Somewhere that creates amazing homemade food, promotes local organisations directly, and encourages others to do the same, but regardless of where my life takes me next, I am not afraid to continue doing what I need to do so that others may benefit from my choices. But it is nice to have finally have a goal, and this something I am now working towards achieving.
There is a lot of information on this website. I will tell you all ‘About Me’, and the adventures I have had that have moulded me into who I am. I will share with you ‘Images’ and ‘Videos’ that I have created, hoping to show you some of the beauty that I see within this amazing country I am lucky enough to call home. I will tell you about my ‘Cycle for Life’ and I will even find ‘Extras” that I want to share with you. And all I ask from you is to do something positive with the information that I give you.
I would love for people to go to my “Donate” page and discover what the organisations there actually do by simply going to their websites, and then tell other people about those organisations. I would love people to donate their time, or money, directly to their favourite organisations, or any other organisation that helps children grow, but that is now your choice. I am just providing you with an option.
I really do hope you enjoy my website, and thank you for taking the time to look at what I have put here. You have just allowed me to achieve my first goal, which is to tell you who I am, and what Custom Vision Photography was set up to do, for which I am genuinely grateful.
If you have any suggestions, comments, requests, or enquires, please use the appropriate resource to contact me.
Dean 'Karlyn' Connolly