Another "Before Work" Adventure

28 05 2007

Today I was due to fly out to Brisbane on the 8AM flight. I figured I might have time to sneak in a quick sunrise shoot somewhere near the airport. After last weeks success with the Homebush Shipwreck photos, I figured it was worth it, and it certainly puts me in a great mood for the day.

So I went out to La Perouse and started shooting some shots of the pier out to Bare Island.

La Perouse

When I came to shoot this shot

La Perouse wharf 2

I set my tripod up down near the water, and I was standing about 6 inches above water height and framing up my picture. I wasn’t too concerned as I was in Botany Bay and not out on an ocean facing headland. The next thing I feel is water washing over my feet at about ankle level. I grabbed my camera and bolted for higher ground.

I couldn’t believe it!!! Two outings in a row! I got some strange looks at Sydney airport as I squelched my way up the Jetway to get onto the plane. Luckily my socks pretty much dried out before I got the client meeting in Brisbane @ 11AM.

Note to self: Buy gum boots and keep in car for these occasions.

My Photographic Locations Map

25 05 2007

Google Maps now has a very cool bit of functionality that allows anybody to create their own custom maps.

I have started building my own map which is a guide to photographic locations that I have been to, or a list of photographic locations that I want to go to. Hopefully this map will be useful to visiting photographers coming to Sydney. I can just shoot them off the link and they can browse the photos by geography.

Click Here to go visit the map now.

Lovely Morning… But Still No Sunrise!

20 05 2007

Well, it’s been 4 in a row… that is 4 lousy sunrises for one reason or another…. Don’t get me wrong, yesterday and today were beautifully warm mornings, but from a photographic perspective there was very little colour in the sky.

I decided to go to Narrabeen Lakes and shoot this morning. Despite the lack of cloud cover, I got three images that were worth while.

DawnOver Narrabeen Lake

Golden Tree in Water

Narrabeen Sunrise

Tomorrow morning I am going to go out and shoot some sunrise shots before my client meeting out at Homebush… I might take a crack at the old shipwrecks in Homebush Bay. Not sure if I can get a good shot at them from the banks though. Tonight it was a pretty good sky for sunset… great clouds… great colour…. now I just need that one morning and I’m sure I’ll get some great pictures.

Better Than Last Week…

19 05 2007

Well this week I went out for another trip to try and get a decent sunrise over Long Reef.

The Good News was that I didn’t screw up the tides this time and there was plenty of the reef exposed.

The Bad News was that the sunrise was pretty boring. Not a cloud in the sky! One of these days I have to get a half decent sky when I am down at Long Reef…. However it continues to elude me thus far.

Long Reef Wakes Up

I took a few photos that still came out OK. This photo was taken with my D200 and Tokina 12-24mm lens @ 12mm and f11. I created an HDR composite from 7 frames that ranged from 1/2sec up to 1/125sec.

Regarding my workflow, for this print I did the following.

  1. Create HDR Composite and Tone Map in Photomatix
  2. Save as 16bit TIFF
  3. Open TIFF image in Photoshop CS2
  4. Apply RAW Presharpening @ 50% (using Nik Sharpener 2.0)
  5. Apply Velvia settings through Alien Skin Exposure (@ about 70% opacity)
  6. Apply local contrast Enhancement through Unsharp Mask (50%, 1pixel, 0 threshold)
  7. Brighten cliff shadows a bit with some selective curves
  8. Apply vignette using levels and masks
  9. Duplicate to new image and flatten
  10. Re-size to about 1200pixels wide for Flickr
  11. Prepare for web (convert to sRGB profile, 8 bit image)
  12. Apply output sharpening via Nik Sharpener (Display sharpening @ 27%)
  13. Save as JPEG

Got a couple of other similar looking images. Here’s one more.

Long Reef Dawn 3

Lets hope that tomorrow the sky is a bit more interesting. I think I might venture down to Narrabeen Lake tomorrow and try my luck with some lake shots.

Preparation…. Preparation… Preparation – NOT!

15 05 2007

Well last weekend I reminded myself of an important lesson about preparing properly for a photo shoot.

Saturday – Went down to Long Reef to try grab a half-decent sunrise over the reef. Every time I have gone down to Long Reef to try to grab this picture I have been foiled by clear skies or totally overcast skies and I have not captured the image that I know is possible at this stunning location. This was my best effort so far.

Dawn over Long Reef

Now this isn’t a bad image, but the sky is barren and pretty bland…. I just KNOW that I can get a stunning image if the sunrise gods are with me.

Anyway, Saturday morning I turn up and I had two problems
1) The tides were just a wee bit too high and
2) A totally colourless sky.

So I thought I would try again on Sunday morning. However this is where I learned my lesson. I didn’t bother to check the tide tables for Sunday. I just assumed that the tide would be lower on the Sunday (not sure how I reached that conclusion). Anyway as I was hiking down to Long Reef in the pre-dawn darkness I was looking up at the sky and looked like it had great potential…. high whispy clouds and already an hint of colour on the horizon.

Then my heart sunk as I looked at the reef and discovered that it was high tide… That means:
No reef walking
No spectacular water pools or formations
No images!!!

So the lesson learned was – Do your homework… check sunrise times, tides, weather forecast, make sure your gear is all ready to (batteries charged, lenses cleaned etc.)

If I had have checked the tides, I would have changed my location to Narrabeen Lake and probably got some good images instead of returning empty handed.

Lesson Learned!

First trip away with my new camera – Blue Mtns

8 05 2007

Well I just got back from my first trip away with my new Nikon D200. What a lovely camera! I went up to the Blue Mountains for a trip with Ben & Tim’s school and ended up camping out each night and getting up early for some sunrise photography.

I went out on Saturday morning to Wentworth Falls lake for some sunrise shots. However conditions weren’t the best… there was a reasonable wind blowing which created a lot of wind on the lake, and the sunrise was a bit dissapointing.

That evening however I went to shoot a sunset shot of the Old Blast Furnace in Lithgow. Unfortunately I got there a bit late and just missed the golden sunlight (there was a big hill to my West which meant the sun disssapeared 15 min early!) However I scouted the location and decided to drive back in the morning. Boy am I ever glad that I did. I probably had the best morning’s photography I have ever had…. It started out with the pre-dawn shots… the sunrise was glorious. I shot the follwing two shots before the sun peeked over the horizon.

Old Blast Furnace 3

Old Blast Furnace 2

Then once the sun came up it cast a lovely difuse yellow light on the ruins and the sky was absolutely perfect (beautiful clouds that didn’t dominate the scene). I shot the following two shots just after sunrise.

Old Blast Furnace 1

Old Blast Furnace 4

I finished up my weekend going to Leura Cascades and enjoyed a lovely hike in the mountains. When I arrived at the lake the light wasn’t right, however with no kids tailing me, I sat down, had a picnic and waited for the sun to get higher in the sky. I recorded this image.

leura cascades

All in all, it was an absolutely beautiful weekend away with my new camera.