Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Newcastle Photo Safari; Carrington & Nobbys

I took off into the CBD the other day, intent on getting some pics of the sunset over Port Hunter and to catch the fishing boats leaving the harbour at dusk.

I had quite a few of hours to spend before the Sun was anywhere near setting and went to a spot in Mayfield West that had been tempting me ever since I arrived up here. There is a small overhead railway bridge in Maud Street. Either side it has some very photogenic railway tracks, a tunnel and, some lovely old industrial buildings belonging to a company called Comsteel. Before Comsteel was formed in 1917 and moved onto its' current site, this site was an old brickworks and Maud St was known as Waratah Lane. 

As I still had some hours to kill after I visited Maud Street, I took myself over to Carrington to check it out. A great place with some lovely buildings, Carrington also has a large rail yard that services the huge grain silos that load the ships from all over the world. After speaking to a Port Hunter Authority employee, he directed me to an overhead pedestrian bridge that spans the rail yard. Great overhead perspective has given some good pics. One thing I learned whilst I was up there. These grain wagons must operate on air brakes so that they don't roll down the track. The pressure from the brakes must have to be released every now and then because I nearly had a heart attack from this VERY LOUD hissing sound from each wagon all at once. Even knowing what is was after my initial shock, I was never really prepared for the noise and it got me every time!

After Carrington, I wandered over to Nobbys Beach and then up to the breakwall. I wanted to capture a golden sunset over the Port and the City. Well, as I showed up a heap of clouds began to gather in the West. Not the style of cloud that is high and might reflect the golden hues of the setting Sun, oh no! These were thick clouds that hugged the horizon, blocking off all the colour from the setting Sun. There were the occasional break throughs of streaming light and so I made the best of it whilst I was there with some low profile shots and a Neutral Density filter.

The breakwall is also strewn with driftwood that came down river after recent flooding further inland and so I changed to my 50mm prime f1.8 to get some photos with a very small depth of field and lots of beautiful soft bokeh!

It was a successful day but I do want to return to Carrington & concentrate on the architecture there.

Hope you are all well and have a Happy Easter! If you are driving anywhere, please be patient and drive safely!

As always


Saturday, 23 March 2013

Voigtlander - a new Lease on Life for an old Master

I inherited my fathers' Voigtlander Bessa 1 camera. It was his pride and joy. It is still in relatively good condition although the shutter gets stuck at speeds less than 1/50 and the self timer spring needs cleaning or replacing. I am not really fussed about these things. I try to put myself into a situation where I don't have to use a slower speed and I have the iPhone for selfies - ha ha!

It is a challenge to use because it does not have TTL viewing or focusing. I have a Pollux rangefinder attachment to estimate the distance to subject which then has to be manually set on the camera. I also use a Kontur view finder to compose the photo. It has taken a while but I think I have mastered both.

I don't know the age of the camera. My dad has photos from WW2 and I believe he took them with this camera. Anyway, it would have been a long time ago that he put a film through it. He was fairly prolific when we were a young family with toddlers but as we grew and space for developing and enlarging and printing became less he moved to 35mm which he would leave at the chemists. It was possibly nearly 40 years ago that a film would have been exposed in this camera!

I had not thought it possible to get a film for such an old camera and was ecstatic to  find that it takes a simple 120 format film! SO...... thus begins a new chapter in my photography interest. I only get 8 exposures from a 120 and so have to try and be frugal in its use. The first film showed signs of focus problems but I believe that that may have simply been that I used a large aperture instead of going mid range to get the depth of field to cover the subjects.

I have just got back the second roll of film. This time I had used a colour film to see how the camera presented the colours. Dad had never used colour film, possibly because it was a different kettle of fish when it came to the development and printing. They didn't turn out too badly but the colour seems a bit washed out and there is a mark on the pics that maybe caused by degradation of a lens coating over the years. It is not on all pics so maybe it is affected by the angle of the sunlight as it strikes the lens?

I am really happy that I am getting the hang of the camera. It has brought me back to the basics of exposure and composition and I really have to think about the photo before I take it; once that button is pushed there is no reviewing!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these photos from a very special and very much loved camera that is seeing a new lease on life!

Dad would be extremely happy!

The camera wouldn't recognize these 'kids' anymore. The last time it took their picture they were all children. It would be about 40 years (possibly more) since the Jordan children were captured through this lens! I think I had the distance to subject ok here. This was taken at f4 and, if I had used a smaller aperture the wider depth of field would have brought my sisters into focus. 

This taken from the 2nd floor of my work building using f16 at about 1/125. Cloudy day but the pic is still fairly sharp.

Cloudy day at f16 at 1/125. Still a fairly sharp photo. Getting better with keeping the camera straight  too!

I have to admit to using the 'Sunny 16' theory when adjusting aperture and shutter speed. It appears to be working well!

In this pic you can see the mark on the top right hand corner. I think this is caused by a degradation of the coating on the lens. It does not appear on all photos though.

Nice and sharp focus with the lens set to infinity for distance to subject. The colour appears a little washed out but that helps the pic to maintain an old world charm! 

This colour is more true to original. The sky is a little overexposed but there is not much I can do about that; I don't have a grad ND for the camera!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Newcastle Photo Safari - Part 3 - A day in the Life of........

The finale post for our Newcastle Photo Safari. 

Newcastle is so photogenic! The architecture of the place ranges from the 1820s up to modern times. Mind you, some of those earlier buildings really need a good makeover but, what a huge job. 

Newcastle is no longer the shopping centre of the city, not since the large shopping malls have opened up at Charlestown and Kotara; it needs to reinvent itself.  There is so much to see and do and, our beaches are wonderful. The CBD needs to be redeveloped into a cultural tourism mecca. Art, food, entertainment, all of these should be the drawcard for our visitors to the CBD. We have a port that can take large passenger ships, and yet I am not aware of any tourist or restaurant boats that ply the Hunter River and Port Hunter except on special occasions. 

Irrespective, I am drawn to the CBD with my camera so I can capture some of its uniqueness!

I hope you have enjoyed this little series as much as I have enjoyed putting it together!

Contact me if you have, I would love to correspond!

Hope you're all well as am I!


P.S. Want to see more of Newcastle? Visit this link - Newcastle in black white

Newcastle Now.

The Crossing. Newcastle is actually very hilly!

The Happening. I don't know what was going on but love the look on these faces here.

Somewhere to be. 

Free parking in Newcastle? Not much.

The Mall is open to one way traffic now....sometimes I forget....LOOKOUT!

The bane of the city -Parking meters.

Building Art.  Looks so much better than wanton, malicious grafitti.

Lunch time! This pretty girl eating at my fav placed in the Mall. 'My Baker' makes great pies and coffees!

Walkin the Dog

Symmetrical beard

'any spare change.....?'


The End of the Line

Chillaxin' at Good Brother Cafe

The Newcastle Mall

Locations of Site Visitors

Friday, 1 March 2013

Newcastle Photo Safari - Part 2

We climbed the Port Hunter Lookout Tower to get some shots from 'up on high'. Those tugs looked awesome as they danced around the harbour, doing circle work and basically having fun!

More to come after this lot. Unfortunately my real work has interfered with the job I love best and so the next post won't be for a few days yet!


Very happy with the sharp tones in this photo - what a great place to live!

This is what Port Hunter looks like after weeks of rain in the upper catchment areas. Tonnes of topsoil float out to sea.

Those big ol' diesels start up and belch black smoke! I would love a job on a tugboat I reckon!

Very low cloud base over Newcastle on the day.