Sunday, 14 August 2011

Wallaby Walk in Royal National Park

I fell into another photographic slump slump over the past couple of weeks which is why there have been no posts here on the blog but have been re-invigorated again so accepted an invitation to take part in a bushwalk with a group in Royal National Park last Thursday.

The 5 kilometre walk started up at Waterfall and after organising our vehicles to provide appropriate transport at each end of the walk, we set off on the Waterfall - Couranga Track.

Setting out on the first stage of the walk
Canon 40D, Sigma 18-200mm Lens, 1/500sec @ f/5.6, ISO 400, Hand held

The weather was overcast however predictions of rain did not eventuate.  The cloud cover provided nice, even light and the first section of the track was relatively easy.

Further into the walk, the bush closed in on the track.
Canon 40D, Lens Sigma 18-200mm, 1/160sec @ f/5.6, ISO 400, Hand held
 Gradually the track narrowed and the foliage grew taller as we descended into rain forest.  The foliage was varied and I was amazed at the different types of fungi.  The diversity of colourful native flowers in bloom was also impressive, particularly given that we are still experiencing wintery conditions.

After a couple of hours which seemed to have flown by, we arrived at the old causeway to enjoy our lunch with a restful view.

Lunch and reflection during the walk
Canon 40D, Lens Sigma 18-400mm, 1/1000sec @ f/4.0, ISO 400, Hand held

All in all it was a good day where I met some nice, friendly people who made me feel welcome and I look forward to spending more time in their company.  I have also identified some places I wish to return to with my tripod and more time to practice my photography.

Click to view more photos from this walk

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Gymea Lilly

We are fortunate that our children all live neaby so we are able to mainatain a good relationship with them and given my interest in photography they often let me know of photo opportunities I may not otherwise see.

One of those opportunities is a Gymea Lilly coming into bloom in the Royal National Park across the road from the home of one of our girls.  As she lives on the edge of such a wonderfull natural environment I often get calls to photograph wildlife which occassionally strays into their backyard.  This time it was a Gymea Lilly immediately across the road from them and I checked it out while we were there for the birthday b-b-q but thought it would not go down well if I wandered off so I returned last night to see what I could achieve.

Gymea Lilly Faces
Canon 40D, Sigma 80-400mm Lens @ 200mm, 1/60sec @ f/5.6, ISO 400, Flash, Hand held.

Because it was late in the afternoon the sun was low behind the plant which caused me to use the flash to seperate the subject from the background.  This worked reasonably well but created a shadow which I had not anticipated, as you can see in the shot above.  I shall be returning to record the flowers as they open and will also be playing around with off-camera flash to eliminate that shadow.  So this subject will certainly be an interesting excercise giving me an opportunity to practice the remote slave flash control function of the 7D.

The Gymea Lilly is an extremely tall plant  so it's not often you get to look at it eye to eye but because this one is growing on the a slope falling down from the road I am able to do just that.  But even so, another element I had not anticipated when I pressed the shutter was the faces so clearly visible here.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Candle Row

We had another family birthday to celebrate on the weekend so we all got together on Sunday for a barbecue lunch on the back verandah of the Birthday Boy's home.  Through the course of the afternoon I noticed something I had seen many times before during our previous visits but this time my creative eye recognised a photo opportunity.

The family regularly entertain and use their barbecue so the verandah, which is nestled between the house and a rock cliff, is decorated by a row of candles which are lined up in a row along a cleft in the rock face.  The candles have had a lot of use so the wicks are almost to the bottom which means the flame is not openly visible but instead make the body of the candle glow from within.

Candle Row
Canon 7D, 24-105 Lens, Manual 1/25 sec @ f/5.0, ISO 400, Flash @ -1/16, Hand held

I wanted the candles to appear to be floating in the night so flash was hand held off camera by my grandaughter in manual mode as it allowed me to reduce the power of the light to give the effect I was after.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Crested Tern

It's been a busy couple of weeks but some matters have been resolved so I should be able to focus on taking more productive photos and re-igniting my passion for photography.  Of course that also means I will be devoting more attention on this blog.

Our Wednesday Group Did our usual again yesterday with a return trip to the Royal National Park.  On our previous visit (See the Post here) we had a lovely walk at Audley and also met a professional photography crew at Wattamolla who were on a shoot for an advertisement assignment and it was interesting to chat with them as they waited for the light to change.

This time the weather forecast was a bit 'iffy' but we persisted and headed down to take a look at Garie Beach.  The weather on the day was overcast with infrequent patches of blue sky and regular heavy showers but we found that hadn't stopped a couple of fishermen from wetting their lines.

Watamolla Fishermen and Friends
Canon 7D, 24-105 Lens @84mm, 1/400 Sec @ f/8.0, ISO 200, Hand held.
What appealed to me here (apart from the fishermen ignoring the freezing wind and rain) was the flock of Crested Terns keeping them company.  The few seagulls present seemed content to wait on the sand while the Terns spent time in the air watching for an opportunity.

Crested Tern Sterna bergii
Canon 40D, Sigma 80-400mm Lens @ 400mm, 1/640 sec @ f/9.0, No Flash, Hand held
The Crested Tern is a common seabird around the coast of Australia and the brown tinge to the feathers of this bird indicates it is a juvenile. 

After we had lunch further down the coast at Stanwell Park we called in to Watamolla on the way home.  It is an interesting site with many things to photograph.

Red Flowers
Canon 7D, 24-105mm Lens @ 85mm, 1/60 Sec @ f/4.0, IAO 400, Flash
I had a couple of tries at this colourful flower growing on the edge of a rock cliff before the flash froze the movement caused by the constant wind.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Coffee Break

The Wednesday Group had a return trip to Cockatoo Island today.  We have been there twice before and as usual we had a pleasant day in spite of the weather.  Cockatoo Island is the largest island in Sydney Harbour and is an interesting environment with a colourful past. Formerly an imperial prison, industrial school, reformatory and gaol it best known today as the site of one of Australia's biggest shipyards before it's closure in 1992.  Many of the island's buildings and facilities have been demolished although there are still strong reminders of the former activities.

Today Cockatoo Island is utilised as a holiday site with various grades of accommodation including tents on the lawn to units in the historic buildings and is a popular site from which to enjoy the fireworks over the harbour on New Years Eve.  As well as the accommodation, Cockatoo Island hosts many artistic exhibitions which is a reason our group keeps returning.  It gives us an opportunity to gain inspiration from the exhibitions and then use our cameras not only for the harbour views but also ouside and inside the historic buildings and  the cranes etc as well.

Of course no Wednesday photo shoot would be complete without a lovely cup of hot coffee and Cockatoo Island is no exception.

A Fat Cap and a Flat White
Canon 7D, EF24-105mm f/4L Lens @ 32mm, 1/400Sec & f/4.0, ISO200

Given the horrendous weather we have been experiencing this past few days it was good to get out and hear the sound of the camera shutter instead of rain on the roof.

Find out more about Cockatoo Island at the government website :

Friday, 10 June 2011

A Visit to Callan Park

Went out today to see a photographic exhibition at Leichhardt.  It is the AIPP Group Show, Celebrating Women in Photography.  All the photographers are women with a large selection on show and a large variety of styles.  Most of the images were inspirational however there were a couple of images some may regard as graphic art rather than photography.  Certainly enjoyable to view but unfortunately the line between photographic art and graphic art is becoming increasingly blurred.

Following the Gallery was a visit to Callan Park which is a historic old site, originally Callan Park Hospital for the Insane which became known as Rozelle Hospital in 1994 before closing in 2008 .  Walking around looking at all the old stone buildings and gardens was very interesting, evoking thoughts of what life might have been like for those who needed the services provided and whether those who might otherwise be here as inmates are better off since it's closure.
Kirkbride complex building
Canon 7D, 24-105mm Lens @ 24mm, 1/100sec @ f/8.0, ISO 200, Hand held

It was an overcast day and the lighting was not very favourable but this added to my feelings as I walked around the grounds.  This shot was framed to include the leafless tree on the left to signify the end (death) of the original purpose for the building's existence and the potential for it to fall into disrepair and ruin, contrasted with the green tree on the right to signify a new life as the facility is put to use in the modern world which is currently as the Sydney College of the Arts, the fine arts campus of Sydney University.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Back From a Break

I've been slack by not posting any notices here for over a week which was not my original intent.  Although we have been busy organising our camera club activities including our Annual Photography Exhibition and Awards Night that is no excuse.  I have been slack and must get motivated again.

Yesterday was our Wednesday Group day out so we took a ferry ride to Circular Quay to photograph the Vivid Sydney 2011 festival of light, music and ideas. We had a lovely dinner before the lights came on for the spectacualr display.  Vivid is an annual event where patterns and images are projected onto a number of iconic Sydney landmark buildings around Circular Quay and The Rocks, the most prominent of which is the Sydney Opera House.

Lights on the Sydney Opera House
Canon 7D, Canon 24-105mm Lens,1/5sce @ f/4.0, ISO 3200, No flash, Tripod
I had framed my shot when a tourist positioned herself in front of me while her partner took her photo.

I must admit to being anxious about taking tripods with us given that there has been much debate and even protests about 'Photographer's Rights' when tripods are set up to take photos in the Opera House precinct but that was certainly not the case last night.  There were tripods everywhere, including on external upper levels and no intervention from the security personel present.  It made for a wonderful experience.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Shucking Oysters

Our Wednesday Photo Group paid a second visit to the Sydney Fish Markets last week.  There were two reasons for going there again.  The first was obviously the photo opportunities (although the inclement weather meant we were confined indoors) and secondly for the food, as in eating on site as well as buying fresh produce to take home.

Shucking Oysters
Canon 7D, Canon 50mm Macro Lens, 1/250 Sec @ f/2.5, ISO 400, Handheld
 I have read that it is a good excercise to use a 50mm lens for urban walks so opted to go with that and not use flash during the outing in order avoid being a distraction to those around me.  The shucker was a very interesting man and we had a friendly conversation into the bargain.  So much so that I felt guilty about taking up his time and moved on instead of exploring the use of slower shutter speeds as had been my original intent.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Wednesday Photos at La Perouse

Our Wednesday Group had a lovely day wandering at La perouse this week and as well as the photography we enjoyed morning tea at the Boatshed Cafe.

Strolling along the shore we came across a bridal couple going through their paces for the photographers.

Bride and groom posing for the two photographers and assistant holding strobe.
Canon 7D, Sigma 80-400 Lens @ 400mm, 1/1250Sec @ f/5.6, ISO 400, Monopod

We wandered on taking more photos of the flotsam, the sea birds and enjoying the lovely sunshine.

Having had a pleasant morning tea, we returned to the Boatshed for a delightful lunch and were not disappointed. In fact we decided to allow our main meal to settle and return later for dessert with afternoon tea.  There was much to see and we walked out onto Bare Island where there were fishermen and scuba divers practising the skills.

As we walked back along the bridge to the mainland who should be there taking advantage of the wonderfull scenery but the wedding photographers with their enthusiastic subjects.

Taking advantage of the sun with a reflector
Canon 7D, Sima 80-400Lens @ 88mm, 1/1250sec @ f/5.0, ISO 400, Handheld.
This shot was taken over four hours after we first saw them and so our Resident Bridal Experts (AKA Wives) concluded it was not a bridal shoot but really a professional modelling assignment.  They certainly got up to some enthusiastic antics, running, leaping and multiple other poses which were enjoyable to observe each time we passed by.

Now it was time for dessert so off to the the cafe we went and were wlecomed back like long lost friends.  All day we had been looking over to the Port Botany shipping terminal with the cranes and other structures set against the blue sky and so it was only natural that we decided over dessert and another relaxing cup of coffee to wait for sunset.  Through the day a bank of clouds had been gradually building up in the west and the scene looked set for a colourfull end to the day.

We were not to be disappointed.
Canon 7D, Canon 24-105 Lens @ 105mm, 1/200Sec @ f/4.0, ISO 200, Hand Held.
I was intrigued by the giraffe silhouette rising up above the other structures being carefull to capture the two people fishing while I waited for a seagull to fly by.

All in all it was another pleasant day made all the more so by the pleasant, friendly company.  I look forward to our next excusion.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Catching Up

I have had quite a busy week so it's time to catch up.

On Monday morning we woke to the sounds of heavy machinery setting up for a day's work on the construction site across the road where a new house is finally being built.  The site has been virtually vacant for most of the 25 years we have lived here apart from a short while when the then owner moved into the old, small fishermans hut style building down near the shoreline.

Finally the site is being developed by the new owner and we were greeted on Monday by a hive of activity as the crew set up their crane for a day's work.  The block is fairly steep and in order to provide space for the new house a number of trees had to be removed.  The crane was to be used to help achieve that.  The dogman attached the shackles to each tree in turn and it was then raised up to the street where it met it's fate.

The first of the trees rises up
Canon 7D, Sigma 18-200mm Lens @18mm, 1/320 sec @ f/10, ISO 200, Hand held

It lands on the road, dwarfing the workmen
Canon 7D, Sigma 18-200mm Lens @18mm, 1/320 sec @ f/11, ISO 200, Hand held

Once on the road the tree loppers move in to do their bit.
Canon 7D, Sigma 18-200mm Lens @18mm, 1/200 sec @ f/8, ISO 200, Hand held
It didn't take long
Canon 7D, Sigma 18-200mm Lens @21mm, 1/320 sec @ f/9, ISO 200, Hand held

All photos shot in Canon RAW format and processed in Lightroom 3.

I had mixed feelings about seeing the trees go.  On the one hand I feel I witnessed an example of how humanity is destroying our planet and on the other I cannot be hypocritical given that we all need somewhere to live and to do that we must invade the natural environment.  Indeed I built our own home on what was bushland.

Over all I was impressed with the efficiency, and the attitude of the people involved.  And I am fortunate enough to have access to one of the largest national parks in the world right on my doorstep.

About Me

This Blog is about my journey as I try to rediscover photography and all it's pleasures. I took up photography with a passion following my retirement from work and have had ups and downs as I aspired to learn and become the best photographer I could be. I have no interest in becoming a professional in the field, merely that others may enjoy the results of my achievements.