Saturday, February 27, 2010

Taxi service

Late shifts for one of my children means I'm often required to perform a late night taxi service.  I've often been taken with the way the shopping centre is illuminated at night time.  So, instead of just sitting in the car and waiting patiently, off I went tonight armed with camera and tripod.  The sky was quite clear, so a number of stars were visible.  Hopefully in the first image you can just pick them out?  This is a five shot HDR with the lens wide open.  
The next shot is across the large, usually full, carpark in front of the council buildings.  Sad that you have to visit the shops so late to be sure of a park!  This shot was taken at f8 and I'm not sure what I think about the sky.  Again five shot HDR only this time slightly cropped.  I really quite liked the idea of the Belisha Beacon in the foreground, but after seeing the final image I'm really not sure.  What do you think?

Busy and tired!

There seems to be so much going on at present that I'm starting to feel pretty tired and in need of a rest.  I suppose I had a sort of rest when we headed out to the beach earlier today.  Maraetai, not far from where we live, and always a pleasure to visit.  Not many people there and the water was quite warm ... so I was told!  I tried multiple images with a view to making an HDR shot, but with the waves lapping on the beach the images didn't align very well, and, if truth be told, the view wasn't that special really.  I've attached an image to the post to give you an idea of the place.  There's many more images from South Auckland and Maraetai on my flickr pages if you fancy having a squiz.
After a walk down to Magazine Bay we headed back home in time to collect a daughter from the station.  As usual I took the camera in the hope I'd get a shot of the train.  I tried multiple images again, but people moving made all my images unsuitable to combine ... I just ended up with lots of ghosts on the platform!  The image below is a single shot image of my daughter's train arriving at Homai Station.
Another shot I quite liked, really because of the clouds, is of the train a bit further out of the station.  Again, because of the movement, this is yet another single shot HDR image.  Let me know what you think.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I managed a trip into Auckland yesterday and then a visit to Skytower.  Skytower is the tallest building i n Auckland and provides impressive views around the city.
The picture above looks over the Town Hall and you can pick out Mount Eden and One Tree Hill.  Arriving as evening approaches is the best time to visit as there's a chance of a sunset and then the various city buildings switch on their lights to give a great light show.  The two images in this post were taken just as the sun was starting to set.

Both images are taken through glass, and you may notice a few reflections, nevertheless, you get the idea of the views you can get from atop Skytower.
Five images at one stop intervals from a camera mounted on a tripod with the images processed in Photomatix Pro.  As a result, you may notice some of the boats in the harbour appear more as blurs than boats!

If you'd like to see a few more images, take a look here or here on my flickr page.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Auckland Photowalk with Trey Radcliff

Friday evening downtown Auckland and after a busy day Trey Radcliff (that's him to the left), along with wife and children, met a group of photo' enthusiasts outside the Ferry building for a photowalk around the Viaduct Basin.

Vivian did a wonderful job organising the event and I think everyone came away feeling expectations had been well and truely exceeded.

Many people managed to take shots and there's a flickr group where you can view their efforts.  Have a squiz; there's some pretty good shots by some talented photographers.

After the photowalk a number of people met north of Auckland to hear Trey explain in more detail his technique and display a number of his images.  Everyone had a good time.

Here's a shot from the Viaduct Basin ... a place I've visited on numerous occasions, but never noticed the colours in the footpath nor the textures in the walls.  This is a single image HDR shot.  Original image was taken RAW, then Photomatix Pro "dealt" to it.  A few little tweaks with the options in Photomatix and Lightroom led to the image you see.  With a wider focal length I think the image would be rather more dramatic.

On the way home I stopped off to take a few shots of Auckland's city lights across the Waitamata Harbour.  Wonderful end to a great day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Flaming Tree!

Still heaps to do at work, and I'm still finding it hard to get my act together to take a reasonable shot.  I'm fascinated by how quickly my familiarity with the camera's controls is lost after only a few weeks lack of use.  At work today I noticed a flame tree near the office and thought I'd take a few shots on my way home.  When I noticed the tree earlier there was a lovely contrast between the rich blue of the sky and the vibrant red of the flowers.

When I left for home the sky was cloudy and the wind was picking up making the flowers wander about.  The image I'd "seen" before just wasn't there.
A friend had been asking about HDR and with Trey Radcliff coming out to NZ later this week I couldn't resist doing a bit of work on the images I'd taken.  Hopeless!  My efforts were not good at at; so bad in fact that I saved nothing.  This was becoming quite depressing really.

The colours just weren't working, yet, whilst in NX2, using the colour picker and showing the selection the monochrome image looked rather good.  Much better in fact than my colour image.  If only I could save this monochrome image I'd have something reasonable!  (If you know how to do this please let me know).  The first image in this post is a desaturated version of the original with a bit of blue and green added to the white clouds.  I can't say this looks anything like the gloriously vibrant tree I saw, but the image does intrigue me.  Not perfect, but at least I'm trying to get back into the groove again.

The original image?  That's the second image in the post.  Not as sharp as I'd have liked; possibly due to the breeze I mentioned earlier.  None of the colour contrasts I'd have liked either.  Perhaps tomorrow, if the sky is blue and there's no rain I'll try again :-)

What do you think?  The first image doesn't present the richness of the red flowers, but I'm not convinced the second image does either!  The first looks quite drab in comparison to the second, but is that because your eye can see the brighter colours of the second?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bad back

Ah, I forgot to mention that besides being busy at work there's also been a few tasks to complete at home.  One of these was the removal of old bricks, concrete blocks, clay, scoria and other rubbish that I'd found in the garden under the topsoil.  First image in this post is of the 4.5m3 skip full of concrete that was filled this weekend.  Granted I had a bit of help from the rest of the family, but it was still pretty hard going.

The second image is the medication required to recover from the skip filling activities ;-)

Hopefully, after all this effort we'll be able to do something worthwhile in the garden and get a few nice shots of the wildlife and the flowers.


Wow, it seems to be ages since I posted anything on here!  It's been pretty busy at work and difficult to think of anything other than tasks to complete and deadlines.  Thankfully a number of projects are now coming to a close which means there's a chance to come up for air!

Nevertheless, it's been interesting.  Over the Christmas break I felt quite inspired to take photographs.  I seemed to see photographic opportunities it almost everything and had the enthusiasm to have a go.  More recently, however, with the pressure of work, the camera has stayed zipped up in its bag and even when I've tried to use it, it never felt right.  I've always liked the feel of the camera in my hands but of late the synergy was just not there ... more worrying was the lack of inspiration to take a shot.

I visited a photo studio with some friends one Friday afternoon and took a few shots, but I was tired and really not very inspired at all.  Some shots seem OK, but this was more by good luck than good management.  Since then nothing until this weekend when there was a firework show to celebrate the Chinese New Year.  Again, I didn't feel particularly inspired, but I did feel better than in the photo studio.

So, hopefully, things should improve soon.  This Friday, 19/2/10, there's a photowalk with Trey Radcliff starting at the Ferry Building in downtown Auckland at 6pm.  More details of Trey's trip to NZ here.   Hopefully I'll be more inspired by then!  The event, by the way, is open to anyone who fancies coming along.  There's also a chance to listen to Trey speak a little later in the evening if you get yourself up to Albany.

I'll add a few more firework shots to this post ... let me know what you think ;-)