Saturday, June 26, 2010

I'm impressed

This 12-24mm lens by Nikon is a gem.  I'm very impressed.  Sure, it's not super fast, nor is it razor sharp when it's wide open, but stop it down at bit and it's sweet.  I wasn't sure at first that there was a huge difference when compared to my 18mm lens.  Well, perhaps I should say I wasn't sure the $2000 price tag of the lens was warranted for the difference it presented when compared with my 18mm lens.   Now, after playing with it a bit more, I'm becoming very tempted to get one of my own.  First shot in this post is at 12mm and f11.  It's a single shot HDR image of the lakes at the back of Druces Road in Manukau City.  We've had a fair bit of rain recently so the lakes are full to overflowing and quite still which has allowed me to get some nice reflections.  The wide angle lens also lets me get more sky and clouds which were quite pretty today.
Switching to portrait allowed me to concentrate more on the rather nice Gum Tree and see some more of the reflections in the water.  I mentioned earlier that we've had a lot of rain, hence the rather murky brown water ... but look at the sky!  Believe it or not we had fog earlier this morning so I really wasn't expecting to see what you see in these images.  This second shot is again a single shot HDR image processed in Photomatix Pro.  Perhaps leave a comment and let me know what you think of the shots?

A little to the left is the view you see in the third shot in this post.  Quite a pleasant park area with some lovely trees.

On the way home down Great South Road we tried some shots of St. David's Anglican Church.  This building is a very old timber structure (from 1880?) and I've never managed to get a shot that pleased me.  I'm not sure I've managed yet, but think I'm getting nearer!
 Again an HDR shot for the church and hopefully the warm autumnal colours come through in the image.

So there you go.  Fun with a 12-24mm Nikkor and hopefully you like my efforts.  Perhaps leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


12mm lens on a Nikon cropped sensor gives an effective focal length of 18mm in "real money" 35mm speak.  That's quite wide!  I was curious as to whether it makes a big difference to my existing 18mm lens and whilst not huge, it's most welcome.  The clouds in the image in the post just wouldn't look the same without the coverage this wide angle lens gives me.

OK, so I've cheated a bit.  The shot is in fact a 5 shot HDR image, but it's not stitched.  If you think the green grass is a bit vivid, well, I'm not sure.  The ground was quite moist and the grass is pretty lush.  Don't believe me?  Come on over to NZ and check it out yourself :-)

I'll close this post with a couple more shots looking over towards Manukau City.  Each of these is again a 5 shot HDR image.  Don't forget to click on the image to get an enlarged view and leave a comment to let me know what you think.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

HDR for a change

I seem to have been spending a lot of time of late taking shots of live musicians and not much else!  Even so, I keep seeing potential photographs as I drive around the area.  One place that's been catching my eye is the dairy in the first image in this post.  This evening it had just finished raining, the light was receding and the colours of the dairy just seemed right.  Five shots processed in Photomatix Pro.  There's a bit of flare in the upper right of the image and there's a bit of a halo effect around the tree above the building.  Nevertheless, I was quite pleased with the shot.  What do you think?
The second shot in this post is of a Sikh Temple on the same road as the dairy in the previous shot.  I've been looking at the temple for several weeks, but only had the time to take a shot this evening.  There's been some glorious sunsets behind the temple which have really set off the temple's colours a treat.  Tonight, well, not the best, but the shot gives you an idea of what's there.  Hard to believe it's South Auckland, New Zealand?  Again a five shot HDR image processed in Photomatix Pro.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Leza Corban at Orborne Street Bar

Wow!  What an evening!  Leza Corban and the Union Band at Osborne Street.  The light was much better than last week, but still required a reasonably high ISO to keep the shutter speed up around the 1/100 second.  Great performances by the musicians ... Osborne Street's fast becoming the place to be on a Sunday afternoon!

I'd shot Leza the previous week in a different part of Osborne Street and both the colour of the light and its intensity led to some rather disappointing images.  This time, even though the ISO was at and above 2500 the colours were much more pleasing.  Red is a real killer, but the lighter yellow/orange and green/blue combination used this time seemed much better to me!  Perhaps let me know what you think.

Most of the shots were taken with my trusty 50mm f1.8 lens, but I tried a few with an 18-200mm zoom.  This, at f5.6 at the long end of its range is really too slow and I'm boosting the exposure in Lightroom after shooting at ISO 6400.  I really need a sponsor so I can get the 70-200 f2.8 ... then we'll get some nice shots ;-)

I'll close this post with a few shots of the other band members (and a guest interloper).  Don't forget to leave a comment to let me know what you think of the shots, if you want any images and also if you know the names of the various performers.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Contagious at the Cock 'n Bull

Contagious ... great name for the band!  Dancing to the band at the Cock 'n Bull was certainly contagious on Saturday night.  Contagious put on a good show and there's some talent in the musicians on stage.

I've been trying to get some good shots of live musicians for a wee while now and I'm often challenged by the light.  It's often dark and pretty monotonous, but not with Contagious!  These guys put on a great light show with a variety of colour and light sources.  Great for me taking shots of the performers!  Mind you, it's not always bright lights.  Sometimes there's quite subdued lighting on the performers, but with a dark background this can give quite a dramatic effect.
The second shot in this post is of Carlos Cameron, the band's lead guitarist.  Carlos often seems to lurk in the shadows and I've found him somewhat tricky to capture "on film".  However, on Saturday night there was a  wee spotlight on Carlos enabling the shot you see.  I was quite pleased with this ... what do you think?

Other members of the band you can see in this post are Birgette Tino (vocals) , Terrence Guillard (bass guitar & vocals),  Frank Ella (drums and percussion) and Brett Robertson.

I'll put some more photos of the band on Facebook should you want to see more of them ... then again, check out their website or better still go see them perform live.  I suspect you won't be disappointed!

Oh, if you click on the photos you get an enlargement.  Perhaps let me know what you think of the shots and if you want any, just send me an email.  Details on on this page.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

APO Remix vol. 1

Saturday evening at the the Otara Music and Arts Centre and Matthew Faiumu Salapu (a.k.a. Anonymouz) was acting as MC for the live performances by students taking part in the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra’s innovative workshop.  Talented youngsters joined APO musicians, the APO’s Composer in Residence (John Psathas) and professional hip hop artists including Anonymouz, Tyree & Jess Matthews to create original NZ crossover music.

The music was good, and it would appear that little time had been available for the composers and musicians to prepare for the event.  This made the quality of the musical performances at the Centre even more impressive.

It only lasted about an hour with just the one performance by each of the students and I was impressed.  The students, APO orchestra members and other musicians just seemed to gel and I think everyone had a good time.  I'll attach a few more shots from the event for your amusement.  There's more shots on Facebook and you can always email me if you want anything specific.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Osbourne Street Bar ... Again

Wow!  What a display of musical talent at the Osbourne Street Bar.  Starting at 4.30pm and playing for close on three hours Allegro and friends put on a show not to be missed.

The format works well.  There's the Allegro band that is supplemented for various numbers by musician friends from the audience.  Some of these people were outstanding.  One minute sitting down having a beer, the next, performing with style on the stage.  Great fun for those playing and judging by the dancers just as much fun for those in the audience.

Light levels were a tad low so the back beat boys on the bass guitar and drums (Semi Leo and Patrick Tanielu) are very difficult to photograph.  Besides some quite dim lights over the stage there were just two spots (green and orange) focussed centre stage.  This wasn't bad for the lead singer, but, sadly, most other folk were in shadow.

Mista Lakatani was there playing lead guitar in the spotlights, so he was reasonably easy to locate!  There was a lovely combination later on in the evening when a jazz guitarist (Lee?) borrowed Malcolm's guitar and Malcolm played Semi's bass.  This was sweet.  They played REALLY well together and this is something I'd like to hear again; not noise but lovely melodies and riffs from two talented musicians.  Very, very nice.  George Benson eat your heart out!

I'll close this post now and head off into the garden.  Heaps of chores to do out there whilst the weather is good.  Whilst I'm gone though you can take a squiz at some of the other performers.  As always, please leave a comment or email me if you like the images, have suggestions on how to improve them or would like copies.  More images are available on Facebook.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Clevedon ... for a ride!

We'd been looking on the map for a new place to ride our mountain bikes.  We'd also been looking at old images of New Zealand on the National Library's flickr page.  Not sure how we managed it, but we found some old photos of Clevedon which isn't very far from where we live.  We found some tracks that ran close to a river, so off we went first thing this morning.

The start of the ride was easy to find, but unfortunately, our map wasn't that good and the tracks we were going to use no longer exist!  Instead of doing a circuit we ended up coming back the way we went, but it was still a very good and picturesque ride.
Not far from where we parked the car was this rather pretty scene looking down the river.  This picture is a 5 shot HDR processed image in which I've attempted to boost the light on the trees on the right hand bank which were in the shade.  It was early morning and the sun was rising on the right of the image making most of the right hand bank very dark indeed.  I've often found HDR to be useful to bring out or enhance images.

I took a backpack for lunch, spare inner tubes and other bike essentials and then my Think Tank  Digital Holster so it was easy to find the camera when a potential shot revealed itself.  I must say I've been delighted with the Think Tank holster.  Very useful.

The third image in the post is of a waterfall a little further upstream.  Again a 5 shot HDR processed image.

All in all a great ride even though it was a bit cold and we didn't manage to go where we wanted due to out of date maps.  It was also quite good fun to try some landscape photography again as a change from bands and portraits.  Don't forget to click on the images to see them a little larger and you could also let me know what you think of them :-)


Botany Town Centre on Friday night in the Cock 'n Bull and Contagious were performing on stage.  I was impressed!  These guys had a great little light show going, videos displayed on a few of screens behind them and they were also a very good band.  Judging by the number of people dancing and applauding I wasn't the only one enjoying the performance.

It was a 9.30pm start and after a busy week at work I was just too tired to stay very long.  The band, however, kept going until 2am; I, on the other hand, was fast asleep by then!

Anyway, the real reason I went to the Cock 'n Bull was to try and get some shots of Dylan Elise.  I've met Dylan previously on a few occasions and tried to get some photographs, but the drummer is invariably at the back of the band, obscured by microphone stands and other equipment and often in the shadow of the other more "mobile" musicians.  I was hoping this night was going to be different and had heard Contagious used a bit of a light show so things were sounding hopeful.

I managed a few shots, but still used a high ISO and the lens was pretty open at f1.8.  As usual, the nifty fifty was the lens of choice.  You'll notice the variety of colours in the images of Dylan, all thanks to the rather nice light show the band was running.

Speaking of the band, here's a few more shots of the guitarist and the lead singer from Contagious.  Let me know what you think and if you want any images just email me.