Friday, 28 December 2012

ND8 Filter Trial

One of my Christmas gifts this year was a Neutral Density 8 (ND8) filter. Woo-Hoooo!

Full of excitement, I headed off to Speers Point on the beautiful Lake Macquarie, my mind full of images of silky smooth, misty water and long, wispy dreamlike clouds.

I was a little disappointed at first, because I was not able to get the long exposure settings that I wanted without blowing out the exposure entirely. It wasn't until the Sun started to go down and the light softened and faded that I was really able to achieve the water effect that I had anticipated. The longest exposure I was able to achieve was 20 seconds at f36. The rest were between 1-8 seconds. I was using a Canon EFS 18-55mm lens. I did notice that if I zoomed in to the 55mm that I was able to set a smaller aperture. Not sure why that is but I have obviously got a bit more homework to do!

I think another factor in not gaining that silky smooth look before dusk set in is because the water in the Lake wasn't 'running' very fast; it just ebbed and flowed from the occasional boat going past. I think that given the same time of day on some beach rocks, the motion would be more noticeable at a shorter exposure simply because of the speed of the water from the waves.

Another thing I did not expect was the lovely hues and colour of the sunset through the filter! Really beautiful golden hues and lovely deep blues.

One thing I did not try on this Safari was to stack the ND8 and my Circular Polariser. That may be interesting!

I intend to buy an even darker ND filter once I have mastered this one. I also need to master the Bulb setting on my 600D. Another Photo Safari on the horizon; empty streets!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Stay safe for the New Year!

regards to all


Thursday, 6 December 2012

After Dark - Series #2

I hadn't been out with my Canon 600D after dark, and decided that a night shift presented the perfect opportunity!

I walked the fire stairs to the highest rooftop of the work building that I could access, given the limited time I had available in my break.  The photos here are the best of the bunch.  It was blowing a stiff gusting wind up on the roof and I ended up with a little too much movement in the other photos. 

These particular photos turned out awesome!  I am really pleased with the light reflected off the low cloud over the city and how the slow shutter speeds have given the cloud that dreamy soft look.

This exercise has given me a scathingly brilliant idea for a new Photo Safari; get up high into other tall buildings (day or night) and capture the city and the movements of the people wandering below!

Hope you are all well and not suffering too much pre-Christmas stress!



Monday, 19 November 2012

Leave, the Central Coast and other 'Stuff'....

I have been on leave since late October. It has been great these past few weeks not to think about getting up to work in the morning (or leaving home in the evening for the night shifts!)

Didn't have that much planned really, getaway down to the Central Coast, clear up odd jobs around the house and, of course, get in some photography time.

Kim and I had a wonderfully relaxing time on the Central Coast. It is only an hour or so down the road from where we live but, we hadn't really taken the time to have a look. We spent 4 days there and still didn't get around to see the whole place. 

Our favourite place would easily have been Hardys Bay and Killcare area. Some gorgeous picturesque spots. If you're in that area, you must try a pie or sausage roll from The Fat Goose restaurant at Killcare. They were just the BEST! We also lunched at the Patonga Pub which has a beautiful bar area and outdoor dining which looks out onto Brisk Bay. 

Got some awesome photos. On one particular day we went to the Mt Ettalong lookout. I am setting up the camera gear when Kim says...' Has someone put a rubber snake on that tree or is it real?'.... Check out the wonderful pics of the 'rubber' snake I got! A beautiful Green Tree Snake - non-venomous of course!

The weather was perfect, we ate out each night.....Unfortunately we had to return to reality..........

We managed to get some work done on our courtyard area. It was looking a little bland and needed something to theme it up a bit. We found some great looking wrought iron and wood decorations that we hung on the fence in between our potted Portwine Magnolia bushes. The place has a nice Tuscan feel to it now and once the Magnolias get larger they will cover and soften up the fence a lot; it was pretty stark looking.

I also managed to get in some other small jobs, you know, the ones that sit around waiting; they are not urgent but every time you are doing something else they nag you about how slack you have been! The big job I had hoped to get done, doors on the wardrobes in the bedrooms, is still not done. It is coming up to Christmas and really, spending the money on doors right now would curtail our festive season funds! They can just bloody wait until next year!

I have also decided to go back to basics with a bit of film photography as well. One can get a bit lazy with the new digital cameras these days and, although I love my Canon 600d, film is a challenge because you only get one chance to get it right! I loaded 2 films. 1 into my Pentax A3 35mm SLR and an Ilford 120 film into my Dads' Voigtlander Bessa 1 bellows camera. Both are B&W films, which is exciting!

I got the 120 film from a bloke in Speers Point, Les Porter Photography. What he doesn't know about cameras and photography isn't worth thinking about. He had a good look at the Voigtlander and pointed out a few things. Now, this camera is about 60 years old. We found that at shutter speeds of 1/50 or less, the lens diaphragm will stick open. The self timer spring probably needs a service and lubricant because it too, gets stuck. These are things I can live with though because I just want to take portraits with the camera and won't be using it on any shutter speeds in the 1/50 or less bracket nor will I need to use the self timer.

Anyway, that is it for this update. I still have 6 days 'til I reappear at work. Friday night is our street Christmas Party. Luckily now, I am off on the Saturday so I can enjoy a good catch up and will at least have one day to fully recover prior to returning to the Torture Chamber!

I hope you are all well. It is coming up to the silly season and the traffic is getting worse as people hurry to catch the shops (already!) 

Take care everyone.


p.s. One last addition here which is of our latest addition. Meet 'Rocky' - Chihuahua x Miniature Foxy - a 21st present for our daughter Rhiannan.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Firing Party

There are many things I am proud of in my life. Not big, media grabbing achievements, but those smaller personal things that I cherish as being such an important time in my life.

The happiest & proudest moments of my life would be marrying my beautiful Kim, and the birth of our 3 children, holding them for the first time and then, over the years, seeing them grow to adulthood.

There is one event that will forever hold in my memory; not a family matter but, sort of, related.

On 11 November 1993 on the 75th anniversary of Armistice Day, I was involved in something that stopped the Nation. Something that will never happen, ever again. On that day, the Unknown Australian Soldier was buried at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. This man represents all those who have died in service to Australia, in armed conflict. 

The Unknown Australian Soldier is carried through to his final resting place; home on Aussie soil.

I put my hand up to be a part of the Firing Party; 14 military personnel who would fire 3 volleys in salute as the coffin was lowered into the Soldiers final resting place. Day after day for weeks on end of drill movements and command practice all came down to this one day. I made sure I ate a good breakfast!

Hundreds of RAAF, Army and, Navy personnel milled around Constitution Avenue in Canberra on the morning, outside the RSL Headquarters. In no time we had formed ranks and waited for the cue from the main band that we would be stepping off.  We slow marched down Constitution Ave and did a right turn up Anzac Ave to take us up to the War Memorial. The main Guard of Honour, Catafalque Party and Coffin Bearers marched straight ahead and formed up in position at the front of the War Memorial in the vicinity of the Stone Altar. Our Firing Party left the main parade, turning left onto Limestone Ave and then, (still at the slow march) turned right up the driveway into the War Memorial grounds. After 3 kms of slow marching up hill, we did a left wheel up the stairs and into the Memorial and took up position on the left hand side of the Pool of Remembrance where we stood at ease for over 40 minutes whilst the ceremonies took place at the front. 

The Firing Party - Entombment of the Unknown Australian Soldier.  That's me, front rank nearest the camera.
At the sign that the coffin and dignitaries were moving into the War Memorial, we stood to attention and the present arms. Once the coffin had passed we turned and marched up the stairs to the topmost parapet at the front of the War Memorial. From our vantage point there, we could see tens of thousands of people lined down Anzac Pde and, in the distance, the old and new Parliament Houses. As the coffin was lowered we fired 3 rounds in salute. Once we finished the salute, we turned and faced inward looking down over the Pool of Remembrance and up to the Hall of Memory where the Unknown Soldier had just been interred. It was then the bugler started playing and the moving sounds of The Last Post echoed around the walls of the War Memorial; it was an experience I will never forget and, the highlight of my military career.

Lest we Forget

Note: I was lucky to get these photos. I had made enquiries with the Australian War Memorial and, luckily enough, was able to secure these photos of the Firing Party lined up inside the Memorial on the day. That is me in the front rank, closest to the camera. 

Monday, 5 November 2012

Catalina Festival 2012 - Rathmines, NSW

What an awesome weekend I had! On Saturday I went to what was arguably one of the most unique Airshows I have ever attended!

Rathmines on the shores of the beautiful Lake Macquarie, is the site of an old RAAF Base. During WWII it was the home of the Catalina Flying Boats. These aircraft were used for special operations in the Pacific and Asia during the war dropping mines in Japanese held harbours and also for delivering and recovering special ops 'Z-Force' troops behind enemy lines to carry out their missions. They were also used to re-supply the brave coast watchers; intelligence officers and members of the local communities who reported enemy movements and positions to the Allies from behind enemy lines. The Catalinas were also used in search and rescue operations for downed airmen.

The Catalina was a slow aircraft and was not heavily armed therefore it had to rely upon stealth in its' operations. This meant that most of their operations were carried out after dark. Hence they were painted a dull black colour and became known as the 'Black Cats'. The original aircraft built for the USN had heavy armament fitted to help against fighter aircraft attack. To extend their endurance and flight time for missions, the RAAF stripped them of this armament. This gave the aircraft an endurance time of 18-24 hours! 

This festival held special significance for me. My dad served at Rathmines during WWII. He often talked about the Catalina flying boats and their crews and so it was great that I was able to be at Rathmines to see this wonderful old warbird fly in.

Apart from the obvious attraction of the day, the Festival-goers were also entertained by a restored Wirraway Warbird doing some fantastic aerobatics overhead. A squadron of Tiger Moths from Luskintyre in the Hunter Valley also made an appearance overhead. One thing that interested me was the number of small experimental ultra light sea planes. These looked awesome and I can see myself  ensconced in a lakeside house with jetty and a sea plane, rather than a boat, tied up at the mooring!  [Dream on!]

There were many market and food stalls to occupy the masses, and 2 stages set up for live entertainment. The various emergency services had set up information booths and displays of equipment which proved very popular.  I couldn't begin to estimate how many people would have attended on the day, but my guess is in the 10s of thousands. 

The basis of the festival was to raise funds to build a hangar on the site of the old RAAF Base. Some of the original building still stand and the hangar would be used to display war time memorabilia as well as fund the restoration of a Catalina flying boat and have it based there also.

Congratulations to the committee for such a well organized function!

Hope you and yours are all well as we are!


Thursday, 1 November 2012

The 26th Annual Cranky Handle Rally

You may well ask what a Cranky Handle Rally is?  I had to think about it myself when I saw it advertised in the local paper. Well, it is a rally for 'machines' that need to be started by a crank handle but also covers many historic engines.  On display were machines such as old time tractors to smaller engines such as water pumps, corn huskers, chaff cutters etc etc. There were also some steam engines on show as well.

Enthusiasts came from all over at the invitation of the Hunter Valley Vintage Farm Machinery [H.V.V.F.M.] Club. The attendees really showed off their love and dedication to this now fading trade and engineering aspect of our past. I really hope that their skills and knowledge is not lost as we move to the future. 

To see these machines in action reminded me of a time where life was not as fast paced as it is today; a simpler time when the work was more labour intensive and physically harder. 

To wander around the displays, smelling the hot oil and listening to the gentle putt putt [and the not so gentle PUTT PUTT!] of these machines took me back to my grandfathers' farm; waking to hear the milking machine putting quietly in the hours before sunrise. I would get out of bed and walk to the shed to 'help out'. Pa would always welcome me with a very cold glass of fresh milk and a short time later my Nan would arrive to cook bacon and really fresh farm eggs on the old frypan for both of us! My Pa died before my 6th birthday, so these memories are from my very early childhood but they are still so vivid in my mind!

Anyway, it was a great day! I snapped some awesome machines, capturing polished copper and brass detail with movement of fly wheels, had some great conversations with old time engineers whilst indulging in a lot of nostalgia!  I still have more of these machinery photos to review and post over the next few days.

It has taken me a few days to get these photos up; Kim & I have just returned home from a few nights away on the Central Coast. Some well needed R&R! No guesses as to what my next blog will be covering ha ha, I have heaps of photos to review, process and post! Also coming up this weekend at Rathmines on the beautiful Lake Macquarie is the Catalina Festival. Watch this space for [hopefully] a few photos of a Catalina Flying Boat which I believe is making an appearance at the Festival.

Hope you have all been well as we have!



Sunday, 7 October 2012

Mattara Hill Climb 2012

I had an awesome day at the Hill Climb last Monday of the long weekend!

I wanted to practice and perfect my panning techniques and, at the same time, use manual settings on my camera (I usually shoot in AV mode but want to get out of that habit and learn a bit more!)  Panning is the art of following a moving subject with the camera.  If done correctly, it gets the subject in perfect sharp focus whilst the still background is blurred due to the movement of the camera.  It is a great effect to highlight movement and speed.

Whilst I am very happy with these photos, I think I could have used a slightly slower shutter speed to allow for more movement blur in the background.

This is a great event to take the family to.  Apart from the excitement of the loud noise of the racing cars, the smell of high octane and burning rubber, it is an awesome venue.  Soft grass and shady trees mean for a lazy afternoon out, although if you want to get a little closer to the action, there is a lovely grassy spot up on the hill.  You will have to remember to take a hat and sunscreen as there are no trees for shade in that area.

There is food and drink in the form of sausage & steak sandwiches, egg & bacon rolls, cold drinks, a coffee vendors van provides lovely hot beverages or, you could take along a picnic lunch and enjoy the gardens in King Edward Park for lunch!

The venue is so beautifully picturesque, Shortland Esplanade and York Rd wind up steep hills through the park and the backdrop is either ocean or the beautiful beaches of Newcastle.  The updrafts around the high bluffs in the park also provide great lift for the numerous para & hang gliders that hang lazily on the breeze, getting a birds  eye view of the proceedings!

These are only a few of the photos that I have developed from the day.  You can view more on my Facebook page, Life with Jordy Photography Why not visit me there and 'like' my page.  That way you can keep up with all of my other little projects as well.

Hope you enjoy these!



Friday, 21 September 2012

Minimalism - Less is More

Well.....I have been sitting around home today with absolutely no motivation whatsoever!  I think that the hayfever that has caught up with me this spring is sucking all my energy out of my body!

Possibly,  the fact that our daughter was up at 4am to drive the 7 hours to Wagga Wagga to visit her long distance boyfriend may also have had something to do with it!  Thankfully, she has arrived safely!

I had to find something to do to that required little expenditure of energy (Yes! a Minimalist activity!) and, decided I would review some of the photos that I have snapped over the years.  After scrolling through them, viewing some with pride, and also shaking my head & chuckling at some of my earlier work, I saw that some of my work could be considered minimalist.

There are many facets to creating a Minimalist Photograph.  The creation of an empty space, using aperture to create significant depth of field, positioning through composition, the use of colour, shape, lines and textures, all of these can be used to highlight the subject.  The main object I guess, is that there are no other distractions that will take away from the main subject. 

Hope you enjoy these!  At the bottom of this status, there is a link to more Minimalist Photos in slide show.


The photos on this subject here are available as prints.  If you wish to purchase anything from my site here, you can contact me via My Contact Page or you can send me a private message via My Facebook Page or, simply email me

04 July 2008 - Kim and I were at the Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens for a picnic lunch.  A beautiful sunny winters day!

I was so stoked to get this shot!  One of my very first attempts at panning.  12 April 2009

Taken at Merewether Rock Pools just a few days ago.  Use of aperture captures the subject clearly.

Merewether Bluff a few days ago.  I want to do this one day!

Again at Merewether.  Flying serenely on updrafts around the bluffs.

This is one of my fav photos. Taken at Tarcutta in spring 2008 whilst taking Rhiannan out for driving lessons.  Mind you, my hayfever was 10 times worse then!

This one turned out just awesome!  12 April 2009

The Hunter in the shallows of Lake Albert, Wagga Wagga.  15 June 2008

I can't remember what type of aircraft this is! 12 April 2009

A 3 exposure HDR.   I love the simplicity of this photo.  15 February 2012

The sea has eroded the softer rock into train tracks which are now filled with other rocks and  shells. Taken recently at Merewether.
Want to see more?  Click on the link to view these and more in a slide show from my Minimalism Album on Picasa Web Albums.