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.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Waiting for Bats

Last Saturday night I heard an unusual sound outside so grabbed my camera, mounted the 80-400mm lens and rushed out onto the back verandah.  I had recognised the sound and as expected there was a model aicraft circling around overhead in the glow of the setting sun.  I couldn't remember the last time it had flown by and wasn't sure how long it would be up there and wanted to use the opportunity so began shooting away, concerned that if I took the time to add the flash the opportunity would be missed.  There was still a bit of light in the sky so the ISO got cranked up instead.

Canon 7D, Sigma 80-400mm Lens @ 400mm, 1/640 Sec @ f5.6, ISO 1600, No Flash, Hand Held

Canon 7D, Sigma 80-400mm Lens @ 400mm, 1/250 Sec @ f5.6, ISO 1600, No Flash, Hand Held

Canon 7D, Sigma 80-400mm Lens @ 400mm, 1/250 Sec @ f5.6, ISO 1600, No Flash, Hand Held

It was a real challenge and while the photos are not good enough to use otherwise, it did give me a reason to get out the camera and press the shutter.  It was not easy to locate and focus on the moving subject however I enjoyed the challenge as it was so unique.

So much so that I recalled seeing a swarm of bats fly overhead a few nights earlier when I had taken Sam the dog for a walk so I mounted the flash with the Better Beamer flash extender to wait and see if they would return.  I also remembered that every time I had seen the bats previously it had been shortly after sunset when the sky was dark so I went back onto the verandah and waited......  and waited......

After standing...... then sitting out in the cold for an hour and a half, having glimpsed only one bat I decided enough was enough but I will not give up and hopefully will be able to post a successfull take soon.  All was not wasted though as I had been able to practice a technique I have used successfully before to get a small moving subject into the frame quickly by watching it with my left eye as the right eye looked through the viewfinder and moving the lens so both eyes were aligned and the AF could kick in.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

A Sign of Winter Approaching

Just happened to look out the back door and noticed one of the first signs that the weather is getting colder.  It has been cooler for a week or so but more so this last couple of days.  The neighbours had obviously just lit their fire  to warm the house and the smoke was billowing out of the chimney as the fire got itself into gear so I had to get my camera to capture the moment.

A Smokey Scene
Canon 7D, 24-105 Lens  @ 105mm, 1/640 sec @ f/4.0, ISO 200, Hand held

I liked way the smoke was hanging in the air and waited until the wind swung around to allow the chimney to be seen clearly so there would be no doubt as to the source.  It was only a minute or so later that the fire got up to temp and the air cleared leaving only a pleasant, soft scent to remind me of the moment.

I came across a new tool to count the hits on the blog and illustrate the source on a world map so decided to give it a go.  I am really pleased that since I started in late January there have been almost 340 visits.  While I did expect hits from Australia where I live there have also been a surprising number from such places as America, Malaysia, Germany, Switzerland, France and even Namibia and Singapore.  The internet certainly makes the world a smaller place.

Thank you to all who have taken the time to stop by.  I would love to get your thoughts on the project so please leave some comments.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Photos From the Mudgee Farm

It's been over two weeks since my last post and while I have given photography a lot of thought in that time I haven't been very active with the camera which I feel guilty about.  This blog is intended to give me cause to take photos on a regular basis and I have let myself down.  Of course I could go back through my files and pretend to myself but that would defeat the purpose.

Over the Easter weekend we went to help our son and his family at their getaway property near Mudgee.  It is a nice quiet few acres and I love going there to enjoy the solitude as well as lunch at the Mudgee pub or one of the many wineries in the area.  But even more so I love the photo opportunities which the area offers.  I have identified about a dozen different bird species on the property not to mention eagles and hawks in the surrounding countryside as well as kangaroos and other wildlife and the Australian native flora and landscapes.

This time the purpose of our visit meant we did not get a lot of free time but I still managed to get a couple of snaps one day.

Foggy Morning ar Fugly Park
Canon 7D, 24-105mm Lens @50mm, 1/60Sec @ f/4.0, ISO 200, Tripod

Although we expected we might get some rain the weather was great and I managed to get out of bed early one morning to capture a few shots of the one fog we had just before the wind got up and blew it away.

Peron's Tree Frog Litoria peronii
Canon 7D,  24-105 Lens @ 88mm, 1/250 Sec @f/4.0, ISO 200, in-camera flash, hand held.

That same night when I went to the bathroom and turned on the light, I found this frog perched on the bathroom wall.  It had been spooking the grandaughter because it was living in the toilet bowl and would dive into the drainage whenever the lid was raised.  Because it was on the wall, I was able to get the camera and the frog and take them both outside where I released the frog onto a tree.  It hopped from branch to branch before settling down to pose quietly for me.

The more I use the 7D, the more impressed I am with what it can do and how it can do it.  I was happy with the 40D and still carry it as a backup but the 7D gives more of a taste of what professional photographers use and although it is not a full pro camera I fully understand why they are prepared to pay more for their gear when their livelihood depends on it.

Friday, 15 April 2011

A Visit to the Royal National Park

We had a delightful visit to the Royal National Park on Wednesday and I came home with some shots I am pleased with.

First we revisited the path where I did the Seniors walk in March and came across several different fungi.
Fungi on a rotting log

Canon 7D, Focal Length 100mm, 1/25 sec @ f/13, ISO 800, Flash
These were the smallest of the different types of fungi we saw (smaller than a five cent coin) and I liked the way the orange stood out from the green moss growing on the tree trunk.

After we drove to Bundeena for a delightful lunch at the RSL Club we travelled down to Wattamolla where we chanced upon a film crew setting up to shoot the waterfall.  They were a friendly lot and happily talking to us and explaining what they were about.  It was interesting to hear people who are just as passionate about their profession as we are about our hobby.

As the sun began to set in the west, I noticed colour start to come into the clouds over the ocean on the eastern horizon.
Looking out see over the lagoon at Wattamolla

Tripod mounted Canon 7D, Focal Length 24mm, 3 shot bracket exposure 1/50 +-2 Stops @ f/11,
ISO 800, No Flash

I liked the way the palm tree leaned over the water and framed the entrance to the lagoon.

The film crew waitied until it got dark before they began filming and while their lights were set up to illuminate the waterfalls I took the opportunity to take some bracket shots to try to keep some detail in the scrub on the top of the cliff.
Wattamolla Waterfalls
Trippod Mounted Canon 7D, 24mm, 3 shot bracket exposure 0.4 Sec +-2 Stops @ f/4.0,
ISO 800, No Flash

  1. By now it was quite dark as it was heading for 7 o'clock so we packed up and had a nice drive home after spending a pleasant, relaxed day just taking things as they came , never suspecting we would spend time with such interesting people.

The HDR images were processed using a Beta trial program,  Oleono PhotoEngine which is a free download until the end of May.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Cronulla Dawn

After photographing the sunrise at the Mahon Pool at Maroubra last week we did a follow up dawn shoot down at Cronulla last Thursday.

Having been to Cronulla before and given the earlier experience at Maroubra I had a better idea of what might be achieved this time.  It was certainly a different result as the tide and sunrise were not as well aligned.

As the sky began to brighten I arrived and set up, at first concentrating on the water in a similar way to the week before.  But once the sun rose up behind the low cloud bank I reframed the scene to capture the unexpected beauty emerging in the sky.

From the sun first rising until the colours faded was only twelve minutes.

The colours in the sky were enthralling and the rays of the sun were spectacular.  The other photographer was a bonus.

Canon 7D, 17mm focal length, 1/20sec @ f/11, ISO 100, 3x ND Grad filters.
Cropped out foreground to create a scenic panorama
Normally I shoot in RAW format and so was able to import this single file into Oloneo PhotoEngine and give it some HDR treatment as even with the ND filters I didn't have enough dynamic range in the initial image to do justice to the sun's rays and felt the photo needs to have some detail in the foreground to balance the colour in the sky.

Oloneo PhotoEngine is a new HDR program which is still in Beta mode and available as a free download from the Oloneo website ( ) until the end of May. 

Friday, 1 April 2011

Sunrise Photography

We went out to the Mahon Pool at Maroubra on Wednesday to catch the glow of sunrise with a high tide.  This was a new experience for me as although I have taken sunrise shots before this time I went out with a plan to catch both the colours in the sky and the action in the water in a more creative way.  Of course I could have chosen a more personally convenient time as I had a photo walk with friends around the Rocks during the day planned and an appointment to judge a camera club competition way on the other side of town that same night which made it a long day but did not want to miss the opportunity.

Arriving just before 7:00am we each scouted to find a location which suited our personal conceptions.  I have seen many photos of water flowing from the wall of seaside pools so wanted a different perspective which was to catch a wave as it crashed across the rocks.  To achieve this, I got down close to the shore for a low perspective with the rising sun in the background and used the cameras burst mode to increase the chance of getting the shot I wanted.

I like the misty effect of the water washing over the rock
Canon 7D, 24mm, 0.3sec @ f/16, ISO125, Tripod, Burst Mode.
Cropping and tonal adjustments in Lightroom

As the tide came in I noticed the turbulence of the water and the action of the incoming waves

Canon 7D, 1/13sec @ f/11. ISO125, Tripod, Burst Mode.
Cropping and tonal adjustments in Lightroom

Even though it ended up being a very long day, it was an enjoyable one.  As well as Maroubra, we had a pleasant walk in the Rocks and I spent the evening with another group of people who share my passion for photography.  As a matter  of fact, a couple of the competition entries at the club gave me reason to consider the landscape format for these two images.

I achieved something new and got a nice selection of shots I am happy with and plan to explore this style of photography a bit more.  What I really need to do now is remember to get out of bed early enough.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Camera Club

Last night was another good night at the camera club with a good roll up and a judge, who is new to us, to evaluate and comment on our competition entries.  The judge did not waffle on as some do and so, after she had finished with the print entries, we all had more time to intermingle and discuss our photography over a cup of coffee before vewing and hearing the comments on the digitally projected images.

I was happy with the results for my two entries in the Colour Print Section.  A photo taken of our Portraiture Workshop during a demonstration by the presenter focusing her camera on the model before capturing her shot gained a Merit (our highest award).  You may view this photo in my blog posted 15 March, 2011.

And one I took during last years trip to Roma in Queensland for the Australian Photographic Society Convention (APSCON) gained a credit.  APSCON is held every year and is an opportunity to meet people interested in photography from all around Australia (and even overseas) and to hear experienced photographers, both amateur and professional, give talks on all things photographic.

One everning, three of us took the opportunity to drive out of town to capture a sunset.  We were assured of clouds as there had been a lot of rain before our arrival and and they had flooding shortly after we left so the weather patterns were conducive to photographing sunsets.
As Shot in RAW file format exposed for the highlights
Canon 40D, Shot at 1/8+sec@f/11, Sigma 18-200mm lens focal length 21mm, ISO 400, No flash, Tripod.

Rather than take a number of frames and blend them in software to achieve what I had envisioned when I pressed the shutter button, I made another version of the original file to give detail in the foreground and pasted the two selections together.

Original RAW file adjusted for the foreground
Blended image with crops from first and second files

Once I replaced the foreground in the original image I then tidied up the scene and adjusted the contrast to really bring out the detail in the sky.  Files created from the original RAW file were 16bit TIFF.
Final result
Shooting in RAWallowed me to work in 16bit colour space which I could not have done with a JPEG format.  I like the final result with the muddy road leading off into the storms brewing on the horizon.  With the events which occured in Queensland earlier this year the photo takes on added impact for me.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

The Big Day Arrived

The Big Day finally arrived yesterday and the four of us from our camera club got there early to make sure to be ready to guide our tours of people wanting to learn about photography as we took them on pleasant strolls along a path in the Royal National Park.

Crowds arriving at the registration booth

We were responsible for three separate sessions in all over the day and each group was slightly smaller than first indicated which allowed us to form more personal relationships with individuals and, after giving a brief introductory talk before each walk on what to look for when choosing a subject and how to compose a photo, we ambled off at a leisurely pace looking for photo opportunities.
The first Photography Walk group head out down the forest path

One of the locals keeps an eye on the events of the day

The kyakers enjoy some time on the water

Tai Chi was another extremely popular activity

Flowers  were hard to find but we were blessed with mushrooms

It was all very enjoyable and we walked further than I have for quite a while, talking all the time so I was weary by the end of the day but really appreciate the opportunity to be part of a team helping interested people get more out of their cameras and to meet such a variety of friendly people.  The overall event was very professionally run by an exceptional team which ensured we could focus on our task without having to be particularly concerned about our safety, security, meals or refreshments as these things were all taken care of.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

A Photo Walk in the Royal National Park

Our camera club volunteered to conduct a photography walk in the Royal National Park tomorrow for Seniors Week.  We shall be giving guidance on how to use a camera and what to look for when taking photos.  It is also hoped that the walk will encourage some of the participants to join our club so everyone benefits from the day.

We went down to the venue today to check it out, plan our strategy and identify where we might be able to point out subjects to illustrate our comments and hopefully have the participants go home with some satisfying photos.  With a bit of luck there might also be some wildlife as we experienced today.

For me it was also a liitle bit of a throwback to the day at Lane Cove National Park with Kookaburras and Water Dragons.  There were some young Kookaburras which have obviously learned that people sitting at a picnic table are good for a bite to eat and as we walked along a track a Water Dragon skittered down to the river.

Water Dragon
Canon 7D, 24-105 Lens @105mm, 1/20sec @ f/4.0, ISO 100, Hand held.
Cropped to approx. 1/3 of the frame.

I couldn't resist this shot of a walker in the park framed by the trees with the red top and blue backpack contrasted again the green foliage.  The colours, the dappled light, the leading lines of the path and arch of the trees all contribute to focus attention on the walker.

Canon 7D, 24/105 Lens @ 58mm, 1/100sec @ f/4.5, ISO 100, Hand held.

Can't wait till tomorrow when it's "Game On!".

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Tabletop Photography

While scanning through the blogs I suscribe to I came across an example showing depth of field and how it can be controlled by adjusting the aperture.  The demonstration used a piece of timber with nails partly hammered in about 5cm apart with the timber running away from the camera.  With wider apertures (lower f/stop number) the depth of field was more shallow than when the aperture was closed down (higher f/stop number).  This was illustrated by how many nails were sharply in focus as the aperture changed.

I have been aware of this for some time as Depth of Field and the Focal Length of the lens used is so critical in macro photography.  But it made me think how I could use depth of field creatively and it occured to me that if I used a knife and fork on a plate I could have tips sharp and fade off to the back of the plate and the handles of the utensils.  I set up my el cheapo trusty cardboard lightbox with some desk lamps and got to work

This first shot illustrates my initial idea of the knife and fork sitting on a plate.

Canon 7D, Canon 50mm Lens, Av Mode 1/100sec @ f/2.8, ISO 100, No flash, Tripod.

It then occured to me that it could be improved with an additional element so on raiding the freezer some peas were found:-

Canon 7D, Canon 50mm Lens, Av Mode 1/60sec @ f/2.8, ISO 100, No flash, Tripod.

Was one pea enough?
The fork was also turned over to make the tines more prominent
Canon 7D, Canon 50mm Lens, Av Mode 1/30sec @ f/2.8, ISO 100, No flash, Tripod.

I am quite pleased with the excercise and already have plans to try more variations on the theme.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Brushtail Possum

The weather has not been condusive to outdoor photograhy which caused me to cancel a trip with our camera club to the Moss Vale Show over the weekend.  But tonight, while locking the house up before going to bed for the night we heard soft growling sounds which appeared to be coming from the trees at our back fence.  So being a dilligent photographer I grabbed the torch and camera before heading off with the dog to investigate.

After searching along both sides of the fence I moved further away and found this Brushtail Possum in the neighbour's gum tree.

Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula)
Canon 40D, Sigma 18-200mm @ 200mm, 1/60s @ f/6.3, ISO 800, Flash ETTL EV+-0, Hand held.

The challenge here was to aim both the camera and the torch together to get enough light on the subject in order to manually focus until the auto focus could kick in for a sharp image.  Certainly not the most flattering angle but I did enjoy the experience.

Friday, 18 March 2011

St Patrick's Day

Had lunch at St George Motor Boat Club for St Patrick's Day overlooking the George's River.  I did not take my camera but the view out the window has always enticed me so I couldn't resist taking this snap from the dining room looking over part of the marina towards Tom Ugly's Bridge.  I couldn't get out onto the balcony so it was shot through the glass using the camera in my mobile phone.  I was surprised by the image quality.

iPhone, standard camera app fully auto mode, hand held through the window.
Removed flag pole and adjusted contrast in Photoshop.

Every time I go there I promise myself I will go back to take a similar scene in the evening light.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Fantastic Portrait Workshop at Camera Club

After a terrific photographic weekend including an outdoor portrait workshop where we were shown how to deal with harsh outdoor lighting I was delighted to attend our camera club last night for an indoor 'studio style' portrait workshop.  It was rather fortuitous for me that the subject on our Annual Syllabus just happened to coincide with the weekend event.

Our guest speaker is a professional photographer which truly showed in her presentation and the young lady who attended with her performed wonderfully in spite it being her first time before a camera in this manner.  Following a walk-through of the background and lighting setup we were given a detailed explanation of how to use our camera and interact with the model.

In order to get a different perspective, I chose to use the occassion to practice my personal 'photo journalistic' style and shot from the back and sides of the room to record the interaction between the photographer and her subject which I pre-visualised would presented it's own unique opportunities.  Because I chose not to use flash and the room was in total darkness apart from the tungsten modelling lights of the strobes in the soft boxes, I had to explore the capabilities of the Canon 7D.  Where the 40D struggled at ISO 800, I decided to push the 7D to its limit and ended up shooting in manual mode at ISO 6400 in order to shoot hand held rather than be restricted by using a tripod.

I was blown away by the result!  Whilst the darkest areas of the images were certainly noisey, this was easily dealt with during processing of the RAW format files in Lightroom 3.  Three of the resulting photos are posted here for your comment.  I would have been happy to get one good shot.

This first shot shows the studio setup in our club room around which our members were able to view the action before trying their hand.
Canon 7D, 24-105mm Lens, Focal Length 40mm, ISO 3200, 1/30Sec, f/4.0, No Flash, Hand Held.

Here I caught the photographer framing and focusing before capture.
Canon 7D, 24-105mm Lens, Focal Length 55mm, ISO 6400, 1/50Sec, f/4.0, No Flash, Hand Held.

The model was relaxed and preparing for her next pose when this shot was taken.
Canon 7D, 24-105mm Lens, Focal Length 105mm, ISO 6400, 1/50Sec, f/4.0, No Flash, Hand Held.

I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.

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.