Category Archives: Landscapes

Walk around the city

Scott Kelby is a Photoshop expert from the United States who runs a very successful training operation. If you are serious about Photoshop and photography then it is likely that you will have come across one of his books or videos. A number of years ago (7 in fact) he came up with the idea of getting photographers in groups, worldwide together on one day and encourage them to walk along a pre-planned route and take images and then share the results.

This year the 7th Photowalk occurred on October 11 in 1,052 locations around the globe with some 20,164 registered to take part. In reality that number was probably a lot larger as people showed up without registering.

The Wellington walk was organised by Hutt Camera President Brian Harmer and covered some of the alleyways and lesser travelled lanes in central Wellington, and the up an over the lower slopes of Mount Victoria, around the inner harbour finishing for a drink and snack at Mac’s Brewbar.

Now there is a saying “that you can’t beat Wellington on a good day” which is quite true, however the reality is that those days can be limited. Fortunately we struck the jackpot at the day was brilliantly fine and with next to no wind.

The walk was scheduled to start at 5.00pm and run through to 7:00pm so we ended up shooting in almost perfect light. All up there were around 35 people gathered at the starting location. It had originally been just me joining the group but I managed to convince my wife to come along.

While we started off all together it did not take too long for the group to spread out and by the end the stragglers came in nearly 45 minutes after the first group. They all seemed to have really enjoyed themselves.

Below is a sample of the images that I ended up taking. It was quite amazing how much diversity there was in quite a small location within the city.

At the start of the walk the alleyway is lined with old brick building
At the start of the walk the alleyway is lined with old brick building

Modern high rise apartments
Modern high rise apartments

Old suitcase outside a junk shop in Dixon street
Old suitcase outside a junk shop in Dixon street

Retro is very much in fashion in Cuba street
Retro is very much in fashion in Cuba street

The cafe culture in Cuba street is very much alive
The cafe culture in Cuba street is very much alive

The Havana coffee shop in Wigan Street.
The Havana coffee shop in Wigan Street.

The late afternoon lights creates pattern on this apartment block
The late afternoon lights creates pattern on this apartment block

In need of some TLC is this house in Elizabeth Street
In need of some TLC is this house in Elizabeth Street

The early evening light and conditions were perfect
The early evening light and conditions were perfect

Melbourne – At Night

My daughter’s partner Nathan is a keen photographer as well and so the two of use set off to go down to Williamstown and shoot the city across the harbour. The day had been cloudy and by 5.15pm it was dark enough to clearly see all the lights in the city. Unfortunately the low cloud created an issue in that it was reflecting a lot of light from the city below so you could never get the really dark contrasts.

A tighter crop of the city enabled a stronger contrast in the colours.
A tighter crop of the city enabled a stronger contrast in the colours.

This is not pin sharp but I really liked the light coming through the trees.
This is not pin sharp but I really liked the light coming through the trees.

An expanded view of the city. There was too much light reflecting off the cloud to get a really dark image.
An expanded view of the city. There was too much light reflecting off the cloud to get a really dark image.

 

At the very left of the last image is the Melbourne Star which is a giant ferris wheel along the same lines as the London eye. During the day it is fairly ugly but at night it is lit up in light show. I tried to get a better image from it but from our vantage point it was just too fair away. As luck would happen the next night on our way to dinner my daughter showed us a place where we could stop and shoot the ferris wheel from a bridge in the city. Of course when she said this the cameras were in their bags back at the house.

Melbourne – Buildings

While I do not like shooting rural landscapes I absolutely adore the urban landscape especially if there is a lot of variety in the buildings. Therefore I just love Melbourne.

The city was founded on the back of the gold rush and therefore there was a lot of wealth that went into its construction. Over the years many of the original buildings have been replaced with more modern ones, however sufficient old ones remain to provide a huge diversity.

Melbournes many narrow alleys
Melbournes many narrow alleys

Ornate facades can be see on many buildings. These ones are in the suburb of Seddon
Ornate facades can be see on many buildings. These ones are in the suburb of Seddon

I have seen small butterflies on building but not one this size
I have seen small butterflies on building but not one this size

This rather impressive house was in Church Street
This rather impressive house was in Church Street

Many of the building in Fitzroy had elaborate facades but you could only see  them from across the road.
Many of the building in Fitzroy had elaborate facades but you could only see them from across the road.

The art often extended to the verandas
The art often extended to the verandas

Buildings came in all shapes and sizes
Buildings came in all shapes and sizes

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This pub in Fitzroy appears in the guide for the area. Its exterior is definitely long overdue for a paint
This pub in Fitzroy appears in the guide for the area. Its exterior is definitely long overdue for a paint

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A lone single story building on Coliins Street is dwarfed by its neighbours
A lone single story building on Coliins Street is dwarfed by its neighbours

Many of the inner city building run to several stories but are no wider than a single room
Many of the inner city building run to several stories but are no wider than a single room

Although this looks like it could be on a gothic church it is actually a building in Bourke Street in the CBD
Although this looks like it could be on a gothic church it is actually a building in Bourke Street in the CBD

One thing that really impressed me this time was how many of the modern buildings were actually being turned into pieces of art in their own rights. This was done either with the colour the glass on the windows, or panels in differing colours. I also took a look inside one of Melbourne’s shopping malls called “The Emporium”. While the shops themselves did not interest me that much I loved how the line and curves of the open areas created appealing shapes.

I believe that this is a carpark but the use of external panels turn it into an abstract art object.
I believe that this is a carpark but the use of external panels turn it into an abstract art object.

The exterior of part of RMIT
The exterior of part of RMIT

The name and location was too appealing
The name and location was too appealing

Inside one end of The Emporium
Inside one end of The Emporium

Shop fit outs in the Emporium
Shop fit outs in the Emporium

The other end of the Emporium
The other end of the Emporium

Starry, Starry Night

For the last three days we have been experiencing glorious weather for this time of year. There has been little wind, the days have delivered clear blue skies and that has carried on into the evening. Overnight temperatures have been cold. It was therefore the perfect opportunity to try to shoot the winter’s sky, which was something I have longed wanted to have a go at.

In order to escape the light from the city I biked out along the Pencarrow coastline from Eastbourne out to the Pencarrow Light. I thought that the distance was around 5km but it turned out to be more like 8. I have emptied as much stuff out of my camera bag as I could and had a study tripod strapped to the side of the bag.

I should have remembered to pack to head mounted light rather than rely on my bike light.

I knew that I had to shoot at least 30 second exposures and I started with F9 at ISO 2500 and using my touch to light up the lighthouse.

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From the back of the camera I was not getting very good results so I opened the aperture to F2.8. I was now seeing a lot more detail and didn’t need to use the touch. The images did have an orange tinge to them which I was disappointed with.

StarryNight-5I should have realised that what I was seeing on the back of the camera was not what I could achieve once I got the images back into Lightroom on the computer. The exposure in most was ok, although those taken at F9 had to be adjusted by two stops. I applied noise reductions at 50 on those that included the lighthouse and this really sharpened up the image. The bit change though was in white balance. I have it set in my camera at 5500k (which is daylight). I pulled the balance down to around 3000k and I started to see the actual colours of the sky and all of a sudden what I was seeing out there started to appear in the photos.

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Roadtrip as far as you can go

I have been really slack on posting to the bog later so I promise that over the next couple of days I will bring it up to date with everything that has been happening since the last posting in December.

Christmas this year was very special in that we got to spend it in Auckland with my family including my new granddaughter. During the time we left my youngest daughter there with her older brother and my wife (Vicky) and I did a road trip up north. In fact over the fours days we were away we went as far north as it is possible to go in New Zealand. Right up to Cape Reinga.

Now I do not profess to be a landscape photographer and therefore the images below basically cover aspects of the trip that sparked some interest in me along the way.

The east coast beaches contained mixtures of trees and mudflats. This shot was taken just north of Whangerei
The east coast beaches contained mixtures of trees and mudflats. This shot was taken just north of Whangerei

One of the things that is very attractive on Northland beaches are that the Pohutekawas grow right down to the sand. This is taken a Whale Bay
One of the things that is very attractive on Northland beaches are that the Pohutekawas grow right down to the sand. This is taken a Whale Bay

Light streams through dark bush
Light streams through dark bush

Occasionally you would see where people had a sense of humour.
Occasionally you would see where people had a sense of humour.

All over New Zealand you will find fences that people have adorned with objects. This one was just north of Kaitaia
All over New Zealand you will find fences that people have adorned with objects. This one was just north of Kaitaia

This boat had definitely seen better days.
This boat had definitely seen better days.

The shells on this beach clearly indicated that the environment was fairly healthy.
The shells on this beach clearly indicated that the environment was fairly healthy.

Ratana Churches are fairly distinctive. This was at Te Kana
Ratana Churches are fairly distinctive. This was was at Te Kana

Just south of the Cape are giant sand dunes that people sled down. The tiny dots in the image are people to give you some idea of scale.
Just south of the Cape are giant sand dunes that people sled down. The tiny dots in the image are people to give you some idea of scale.

My tracks coming down the sand dune.
My tracks coming down the sand dune.

Very much a classic tourist shot but you have to include one from the location that you are driving to. I was surprised how high on the cliff that the lighthouse was.
Very much a classic tourist shot but you have to include one from the location that you are driving to. I was surprised how high on the cliff that the lighthouse was.

The environment on the Cape is very bleak and extreme and as a result the vegetation is stunted.
The environment on the Cape is very bleak and extreme and as a result the vegetation is stunted.

Something about the placement on these water tanks took my fancy.
Something about the placement on these water tanks took my fancy.

Sunset on 90 Mile Beach. We drove down a forestry road to get to the beach and once there my wife was actually unimpressed with it.
Sunset on 90 Mile Beach. We drove down a forestry road to get to the beach and once there my wife was actually unimpressed with it.

We had been led to believe that we would see lots of abandoned buildings and vehicles up north which I thought would be great as I like to shoot these. As it turned out we saw very little.
We had been led to believe that we would see lots of abandoned buildings and vehicles up north which I thought would be great as I like to shoot these. As it turned out we saw very little.

This is "Matua Te Ngahere" of "Father of the Forest". It is the oldest living thing in New Zealand estimated to be 3,000 years old.
This is “Matua Te Ngahere” of “Father of the Forest”. It is the oldest living thing in New Zealand estimated to be 3,000 years old.

I loved how the owned of this Kumara processing plant has made it more amusing with characters on the roof
I loved how the owned of this Kumara processing plant has made it more amusing with characters on the roof