Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Return from Exile....

Well, not exactly an 'exile'........

More like, crap weather, work and other commitments, plus the fact that I came down with the dreaded lurgy that ended up being Bronchitus and a bad lung infection!  

It has been 2 months since I posted last. But I will try and catch up with what has been going on.

The first thing I would like to mention is that there is the lovely sound of a new shutter in my house!  I had been stalking eBay, and now I am the proud owner of a 'new' used Kodak Retinette 1A 35mm camera.  Made in 1959 it comes with a Schneider-Kreuznach Reomar f3.5 50mm lens.  It is in perfect condition with nary a scratch on it; there is a lot to be said for the leather carry case of the bygone years!  Anyway, I have not had the time to play with it a lot just yet but hopefully over the coming weeks I will give it a good workout.  

I have loaded an Ilford FP4 Plus 125 (B&W) film into it and can't wait to take it out!

My latest acquisition!

I attended the inaugural China Festival in Newcastle.  Organised by the Confucius Institute (Chinese Students studying at Newcastle University) and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.  Beaumont Street in Hamilton was closed off for the festival.  I had been contacted by a member of the Chamber of Commerce who had seen my work and invited me to attend.  There had not been any mainstream advertising of the event (that I had seen) and it was good to get a heads up.  Aspects of Chinese culture (dance, music, costumes) were on hand as were numerous food & general market stalls.  THE FOOD - salivating as I walked around, wanting to try everything!

It was a great day for a Street Photograpy lover to be out and about with a camera!  The event turned out to be huge and may possibly be a yearly event from now on.  It was exciting to simply wander about and get involved in the experience. 

Emma and her friend Lucy try on some traditional costumes.

This mandolin player was a picture of beauty and serenity; music to meditate by!

The Dance Troupe came from China to perform especially for the event.

I went for a safari along the beaches of Newcastle one day, in particular to get some long exposure photos of the Bogey Hole.  The Bogey Hole is also known as the Commandants' Baths because Lieutenant-Colonel Morisset wanted a private swimming hole and he had the convicts hew out a swimming pool from the sandstone and conglomerate rock at the base of Shepherds Hill.  It is 10 x 6.5 metres and 1.5 metres deep.

The Bogey Hole had been closed for some time because the stairs and hand railing were badly rusted from the constant salt water drenching.  The Newcastle City Council renovated the stairs and also installed a steel deck with stanchions that were cut deep into the rock.

As I walked to the Bogey Hole I was dismayed to see that it was closed off.  Recent ocean swells from storms to hit the Newcastle area had ripped off the steel decking and bent the support structure so it was no longer safe.  I had to lean over the safety fence as far as I could to simply get a photo because I was determined to at least get one photo!  Well..... the Bogey Hole isn't  going anywhere in a hurry and there will be plenty of time to visit once it has been repaired!

Not the best photo of the Bogey Hole but you get the idea.  I don't know how the convicts did this work
considering that at times, the waves are large and come smashing over the rocks!

One other thing I have been doing is playing around with some new photo editing software.  I purchased the NIK Collection!  This is software that plugs into Lightroom 5 and Photoshop Elements.  It has a great range of presets but also has the ability to fine tune the presets with separate slider controls.  I find that I use the Silver Efex (for B&W conversions) and the HDR Efex (for bracketed exposure shots) the most so far.  I am very happy with the HDR plugin; it beats the Photomerge Exposure on Photoshop Elements hands down with it's sharpness.

I have been testing the NIK software on older photographs.  It certainly does breath new life into some but I am trying not to get into that 'revisit and renovate' on some of my older portfolio work; that is just too easy.  I want to plan my safaris so that I shoot for a certain subject that will suit a specific course of editing with a determined outcome.

For the time being though, here are some that I revisited and played around with.

Re-edit using Silver Efex (B&W conversion plugin) from LR5 - I really like the grainy finish!
Re-edit using the HDR Efex plugin from LR5.  Much more detail on this
than in the original.

I did stopover one afternoon about a week and a half ago at Kilaben Bay.  It was coming onto sunset and there was just enough cloud about that would probably have guaranteed a golden sunset.   Well....  that 'just enough' cloud turned out to be a cold change arriving and by the time the Sun was setting it covered the entire horizon.  

There was a fair wind blowing and the surface of Lake Macquarie was very choppy.  I got the idea to take a long exposure shot, and test my knowledge of my camera for a shot taken on bulb with a calculated time and EV setting.  Well.... I surprised myself!  Here is the result, a 75 second long exposure, edited in NIK and LR5.

Kilaben Bay on Lake Macquarie, Australia.
75 second exposure at f22 with the EV set at -2.
Well, that's about it for now.  Once the weather improves I will be out and about more often.  I have a few safaris in the back of my head!

Regards to all and I hope you have all been well!


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