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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I 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.
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.
Something about the placement on these water tanks took my fancy.
While I have travelled fairly extensively through the North Island it is very rare that I do a trip that has no purpose other than to see the country. However after many comments from my wife we decided to head away for a week and drive to New Plymouth.
As we decided to travel by unusual routes we started by taking the most direct route out of Upper Hutt which is via the Akatawara Valley. This road is very windy and not one for the faint hardy. At the top we discovered this site.
The en route to New Plymouth you pass through many small towns and wide areas of cultivated lands.
At Patea we tuned off and drove down along the river and parked opposite the ruins of the freezing works. The works closed a long time ago and are slowly collapsing. We were surprized though at the state of what must have been wharfs on the opposite side of the river.
As you move further up the country there are lots of examples of where businesses have closed and the structures left behind.
The only thing that I did want to shoot in New Plymouth was the Te Rewa Rewa bridge. The bridge is part of the coastal walkway and it both a functional structure and a piece of art. We waiting until we had golden light to shoot it. The biggest challenge with something like this is to ensure that you take something different.
On the last night we were in Whanganui I was at a loose end, as my daughter was attending the social that occurs once all competition is over. As it is much too embarrassing to have a parent present I dropped her off and went for a drive round the city.
Final shot is several hours after the previous three. Lights from the city and Taupo Quay reflect in the river.
I am usually the short of driver who gets in a car and drives straight to a location. It is the bain on my wife you likes to shop and take photos along the way. I often tell people that she has got very adept at shooting landscapes at 80kph.
Today was quite different. We had some spare time in Wanganui and as i wanted to find old buildings for a competition next year we decided to spend some time driving out along the Whanganui river towards the small settlement of Jerusalem. The road is fairly windy and in parts more closely resembles a driveway than a state highway.
With the amount of time available we never managed to get all the way to our destination but we did find some unusual and worthy subjects which are presented below.
Over the last weekend my daughter took part in a skating squad in Palmerston North and I drew the short stray to take her up there. Now as I had no plans of spending 2 whole days watching her skate, I arranged to do a model shoot on the Saturday using the old brick kiln factory as a backdrop.
That didn’t pan out when the model didn’t show up. I did, however manage to spend some time with photographer David Lupton. The shots below were taken on two drives out of the city looking for interesting locations.
It is also amazing what you can find if you go into the alleyways in the city.