Sunday, 26 August 2012

Darby St Twilight Festival

The Darby St Twilight Festival seemed to be a good opportunity to get out and practice some night photography.  I did not want to use a flash.  I wanted to make the most of the hues and lighting from the streetlights and any other lighting that may be on hand for the festival.  I also wanted to test the waters using a high ISO for night shots; something that I have never really played around with.

The festival was a great night.  Awesome smells from food stalls, food tasting stalls from local producers, craft stalls, the local shops and restaurants open 'til late and, entertainment.  Unfortunately, we didn't find where they were doing the wine tasting; I was sure it was on the list!  Hhmmm.....maybe it was just as well! 

As the name suggests, the Festival started at 3pm and finished at 9pm. A few blocks of Darby St were  closed off to vehicle traffic and I had a ball just wandering and snapping off shots. These are only a sample of the photos I took; you can view the rest on my Facebook Page or on Google +.  I actually took over 200 photos but, some I just weren't happy with composition wise, and others just didn't work because I was experimenting with settings.

I started out using my Canon 18-55 zoom because I figured I could get close up with that and also get some wider angle shots in.  I changed to the 55-250mm after a while to get those candid long shots where people would not be so self conscious when they saw a man with a camera.  (Actually, there were quite a few people of a same mind as myself wandering around with their cameras also!)  After a few shots with that, I changed back again because, when using the longer zoom, I found that I couldn't couldn't position myself in with the crowd and get in quick enough for a shot if there was anything happening closer to me.

As you will notice, most are in Black and White because I love it like that!  There are those that I have left in colour, particularly the one of the girl with the fluoro green hair!  That photo was a little frustrating because I could see her walking through the crowds (her hair did stand out!) At the time I had the 55-200 zoom on the camera.  I had lined up the photo but too many people at that distance were just walking into shot between us.  Luckily, I had counted on something like this happening and had set the camera for continuous shooting so I just kept clicking.  Finally, there was a clear space and I got the photo.  Funny part about it was, she was looking straight at me when I took it!  I love it though because at f5.6 the DOF from the big zoom worked out wonderfully.

Another of my favs from this Photo Safari is the shot of the Girl on a Music Box. I hadn't realized that on the side of the box there was a wind up key.  All the kids kept running up and winding the key to watch her dance. For this wide shot, there was only one young lady winding and I had a clear view of her and the music box dancer whilst capturing the onlooking crowd either side. At one stage, it was 3 deep in children wanting a turn at the winder!

I hope you enjoy these because I had a ball taking them!


Note - none of these photos in this particular blog are for sale.  

Friday, 10 August 2012

The Pelicans of Pelican

I am sitting in my study looking out the window at gale force winds, intermittent sunshine in between heavy rain squalls and a temperature of 11 degrees celsius. I have my fav tibetan beanie on to warm my bald pate! We are in winter here in Australia but, yesterday was the most gloriously mild day with clear blue skies from horizon to horizon and I am so glad that I made the most of yesterday afternoon for a couple of hours.

I visited Pelican. A small community on the eastern shore of Lake Macquarie in New South Wales. It has lovely parkland along the shore complete with free public BBQs, boat ramps and a to die for view across the lake.

I am always drawn to the Lake on Sunset. The gorgeous golden hues and haze that hangs over the distant hills. Each set of hills casting its' own shadow as it approaches the far shore before meeting the water which glows from the reflection of the gold in the sky.

And then, there are the Pelicans at Pelican.

If you hadn't noticed, I love Pelicans. So ungainly waddling around on shore with their short stumpy legs and huge beaks. But, get them into water and they are so graceful as they swim. Put them in the air and they are even more graceful still, gliding lazily on updrafts with large outstretched wings.

I met up with these as they sunned themselves on the park boat ramp. I approached slowly and quietly but a couple were spooked and took off; much to my excitement, as I was able to aim and shoot to get a couple of wonderful take off shots. I walked up the shoreline a short way to a clump of trees where I used the trees to frame a couple of shots across the water.

When I returned to the boat ramp, there was a fisherman there cleaning his catch and throwing the fishguts and cut off bits to the Pelicans. It was inevitable that we were joined by some seagulls 'mine....mine....' who were doing their aerobatics to catch the fish as he was throwing them. I managed to get a couple of awesome silhouette shots of the seagulls in mid flight against the glow of the sunset.

I hope you enjoy this series, and that you are all well as am I.



Click on the first photo to enjoy them all in full screen.

These photos are available as prints or on canvas. Please contact me via the Contact Page here on my blog, send me a private message via my Facebook photography page or simply Email me if you see something you like.  If you visit my Facebook Photography Page, please click the 'Like' button at the top of the page so you can keep up with what I am up to.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

A Photo Safari - Hamilton, NSW, Australia

Our car was in for a service and I had an hour or two to kill.  I could sit at some sidewalk cafe with a  cappuccino and watch the world walk by or, I could take the camera and get busy.  Of course I took the bloody camera; what self respecting photography phreak wouldn't?

One of the first places of call was the beautiful Wesley Uniting Church in Beaumont Street.  Lovely architecture complete with steeple, the church was built in 1928.  Around the back of the church I found a picturesque portal under the shade of some trees.  It reminded me of the doors one might find in an English Castle.

Next I found a building that, originally, I had thought was an old theatre on the corner of Tudor and Milton Streets.  It appeared that it may have been adapted to be used as a cinema in later years.  It is abandoned and is deteriorating badly, covered in pigeon feathers and pooh.  It has the year 1888 posted above its entry.  My investigations revealed that it was originally called The Mechanics Institute.  It was built for educational purposes when the mining industry was starting to boom in the Newcastle area, and there was a shortage of engineers and mechanics to take up positions in the industry.  In 1952 it was converted to a club premises and was known as Anzac House, possibly the forerunner of the late Hamilton Returned Services League whose abandoned clubhouse stands next door.

The architecture of the building appeared vaguely familiar and, it turns out that the architect of the building, Frederick Menkens, was also the architect who designed the lovely Baptist Tabernacle Church in Laman Street Newcastle.  

After there, I wandered onto Beaumont Street.  Beaumont Street is a wonderful street full of cafes' & restaurants and the footpaths are awash with al fresco dining tables.  There is a great vibrancy to that street and you walk, wonderful smells of food and coffee inviting you to sit and eat.  

I only had 1 disappointment for the day.  I had this great photo of a local resident, squatting on his haunches outside a shopfront.  He was rolling his cigarette and had a schooner of beer at his feet.  It was 8.30am.  I took a photo using my 55-250 zoom but alas, the shot was blurred.  I have had the devil of a job getting used to using this zoom due to movement blur.  I have the IS turned on but after today I think I have found the problem.  I usually shoot in AV mode and this sometimes tends to calculate a slow shutter speed which is not good when zooming hand held shots.  I just have to remember to change modes and use a faster shutter speed that will not pick up any shake.  At least that is the theory!

Anyway, hope that you enjoy these.  I was hoping to get more of the street photo variety but the car was ready earlier than expected and my time was cut short.

Hope you are all well



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