Saturday, 13 August 2016

Rose Pedal

Gosh it has been a while since i last posted anything of note, but today while cruising around Ardmore airfield I came across a great little box car.

"Rose Pedal" is the carts name and is owned and operated by a local groundsman who runs the lawn mowing business for all the private owned hangers at Ardmore.

Great little cart and a great way to move around the airfield with your lawn mower in tow. speed 35km when he gets it cranking :)

f8, 1/250, ISO200, 50mm

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Clear skies in the Far North

During a recent visit to the far north of New Zealand, i was blessed with clear sky's during both the day and the night. 
This provided me with a great opportunity to have a crack at some starlight photography. 
The area I stayed in had no street lights which was fantastic, and being the middle of winter the population was down to just a handful of local residents so it was extremely quite and peaceful.

However mother nature did provide good natural moonlight, which may be what you want for star photography, but i wasn't phased really otherwise I would  not have been able to see where I was walking :)

Taupo Bay has a wonderful cliff face which wraps itself around the bay and provided me with the perfect backdrop to complement the night sky. 

My equipment

Canon 7D
Benro Tripod, with centre 2kg weight bag (just in case the ocean winds picked up)
Lens 17-50mm Sigma DC  f2.8 
-2 and -4 ND Filter
Remote trigger
Head torch
glasses (i'm getting old :)

Shot 1 - Moon Light on the Bay (time 7:00pm NZT)

An important thing to do is always review and understand your surroundings before you start. As i had 4 nights at this location, I could afford to do a reconnaissance on my first evening. This provided me with the knowledge on where to position myself, the direction of the moon movement and the tide line.

My first shot I focused on the effects of the moon reflecting across the bay.
This final shot is actually 2 images joined together. My first shot was under by -1 exposure, the second over by +1. Exposure time variation was minimal and i used manual focusing and Live View for accurate control of my composition.

f2.8, ISO100, 24mm, 3.2secs, +1/-1 ev ( digital cropped)
In terms of post processing I kept it to a minimum. The only adjustments made where to the wave caps where the moonlight reflects off. The exposure time was enough to smooth the water flow to a point where it still had detail, so using the sharpness brush, and focusing on the highlights only i brushed a little more detail in.

Shot 2 - Stars (time 1:30am NZT)

With the temperature dropping just after midnight it was time for a stiff brandy and after warming up it was  star time. I popped on my -2 ND to assist with reducing the amount of light the moon was projecting just behind me. 

Again using the rock formations as my backdrop, and holding my current position as the tide was retreating, I refereed to my pocket exposure reference table to make sure i was using the right settings.

As my 7D is a crop sensor, a focal length of 17mm is equivalent to approx 27mm on a full frame camera. I also had to take in account the amount of natural light generated from the moon, and factor the reduction of light infiltration to my lens from my ND filter to gauge what settings i will need to use to avoid star streaks (natural earth rotation)

After a series of test shots I opted to use the following;

Focal:  17mm   AV: 2.8.     Exposure Optimum ranges Min18 secs - Max 28 secs
ISO between 400 - 800ISO  Focus: Manual

f2.8, ISO800, 17mm, 25secs,

I'm happy with my results and liked the fact i had a good backdrop to work with. I realize that I might not be show casing any amazing galaxy or nebula images but this was not my approach, for me it was about the landscape at night and Taupo Bay certainly provided a wonderful backdrop.

A fantastic few days and having been blessed with excellent conditions I certainly learned a lot around how I will approach this photography subject in the future. thank you for stopping by my blog.

See more  visit our website

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Weighing In - Stability

With our winter months creeping up, our nights are drawing in and the temperature is getting cooler, Excellent!!!, so it's time to head back into our city and tackle some night photography.

Over the course of the next couple of months I'm going to work clockwise around the city, and look to capture images from as many aspects as possible. To mix it up a little I will look to work across both high and low ground so as to bring variation to the subject matter.

My key focal point will be centred around the sky tower. Nothing unusual here as I'm sure there are 1000's of other photographers who have done the same thing, but the sky tower does add depth to the skyline and is a predominant feature of our city.

f11, 20secs, ISO100, 20mm, (Cropped) custom WB
So what's with the title "Weighing in - Stability"?,  good question, well on Wednesday night I headed into the city, and during my walk I came across a nice vantage point on a motorway over bridge. Visibility of the city skyline was good, the motorway lanes provided additional subject matter (as well as light trails, albeit the traffic was low at 9:30pm), the Sky tower could easily be placed in the frame, and as a bonus the new cycleway was lit up providing a nice contrast.

However I had a problem....While standing on the bridge looking for the ideal composition a bus and several cars went by. 
Vibration and wind!!!!, the latter I'm not referring to myself!!!, I was slightly in an exposed place and obviously on a main transport route, and I did not have anything to weight my tripod down.

This did not deter me from completing the task, all I had to do was re-align myself on the bridge and move down slightly so that my tripod sat above one of the bridge foundation poles, and being slightly lower the effects of the cross wind would be reduced slightly.
To compensate further I had to flick on IS on my lens, and be extra vigilant around my exposure times just in case the number 54 bus came roaring back across again :).
Here is an earlier shot taken from a higher vantage point. Zooming in on a section of street lights, you can clearly see the issues the environmental conditions can have on long exposure times. Even on a tripod.

f7.1, ISO100, 20sec, 70mm

Although this might have been a minor hindrance it did prompt me to always remember to check conditions before leaving and carry my make shift weight bag....a 3kg dumbbell on a string.

make shift weight bag

Friday, 22 April 2016

Three Kings United Res vs Tauranga City Res

Winter is on it's way so it is back into sports photography mode.
This week I covered local Three Kings United Res vs Tauranga City Res.

Weather was outstanding so glad I took my polariser to help keep the glare in check.
Three Kings eventual winners 5-2, with a well taken penalty by Three King player in the dying seconds.
Tauranga will now have to face a long 2 hour drive back to Bay of Plenty, so plenty of time to contemplate what might have been.

For those interested in the Camera tech details:
pretty much all photos used the following settings

f5.6, ISO800, 1/500 (average), -1 ev, 50 - 300mm, custom WB.


Saturday, 9 April 2016

Japan Day

Well the morning started out beautifully as my wife and I caught the ferry to the city to enjoy and celebrate Japan day.
The event was held at Queens wharf.
There were food stalls everywhere selling traditional Japanese food, and of course real sushi.
....well no sooner had we started to walk around the displays, the rain came sweeping in like a Tsunami. Excuse the pun but it was no fun.

The photography outside became limiting as the rain got heavier, but I did managed to get a Taiko Drum session in which was extremely powerful and full of energy.

Soon afterwards it was time to head for shelter so we headed indoors along with about 10,000 other Aucklanders.

Real shame as there was a lot supposed to be on display outside, including Kendo, Karate, and Aikido demonstrations just to mention a few.

So we moved slowly through the crowds but it was difficult to gain any decent position to take in the wonderful scenes
I couldn't get any decent angles for the tea ceremony and missed out on the Kimono fashion walk.
..I did however warm myself up on some 50 year old Saki, and enjoyed throwing a few shurikens which I have not done for a very long time.

So too the photos.
Very limited I'm afraid and not having my wide angle and flash I really had to switch to auto ISO and let my camera help out. I also had to battle the crowds but luckily I did managed to sneak into a few good areas (before being told off :) but hey it's worth it.

Camera settings range between f4 - 6 with the average ISO being around 400 for external and 3500 for internal.
I will certainly mark this on the calendar and hope that next year it will be a sunny day.

This one I have played around with in Photoshop :)

Digitally adjusted