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.

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.