Sky On Fire over Christchurch Estuary

Sky on Fire over the Estuary at Sunset – click to embiggen

Went out hoping for a nice sunset with a lot of norwester clouds in the sky.  Tide was out in the Estuary but still enough water around to reflect the pretty colours in the sky.

Processed in LR with some local adjustments to intensify the colour a bit, and an ND Grad to add a bit more texture and colour to the clouds.

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My One Four Challenge Entry Week 3

Week 3 Challenge Entry – click to embiggen

Ok this week I was completely outside of my comfort zone.  Beyond normal editing in LR and BW conversion in Silver Efex, I never do any other kind of editing.  My preference is for natural realism rather than the creative approach.

So this time I loaded my Week 1 entry up to Nik COLOR EFEX (which hardly ever gets used) and worked my way through the presets to find something that looked good with this image.

The preset above is Midnight – I liked the cooler tones and the soft hazy effect, like I am looking at the statue under the light of a full moon.  Tweaked the brightness up a smidge as it was quite dark and thats all really.

I did want to add a lighter vignette over top of this but couldn’t figure out how to do it in Color Efex, it kept substituting the second preset and removing the first, and I have been having major computer problems and got tired of trying to beat it into shape so here it is, my Week 3 challenge entry!

All feedback welcome!


Details on the Challenge are here for those who missed Week 1 and 2

Above are my Week 1 and Week 2 images for comparison


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Yachts in Redcliffs Bay

View from Redcliffs Bay

A couple of weeks ago with a friend, we walked from Redcliffs to Sumner and back, with a stop for a drink and a nibble in Sumner.  Was a lovely evening and a great opportunity to scout out photo opportunities.

Today was quite bright and sunny but with enough clouds in the sky to make it interesting, so I headed out to Redcliffs Bay next to the Yacht Club and took a few images.  This one I particularly like the layers of clouds in the sky, giving you a feel for how flat and open it is here.

This bigger yacht was further around and you can see the surf from the mouth of the estuary behind it.  I liked all the shapes of the mast with all the lines coming off it.  Yes the sky really was that shade of blue and the sea really is blue/green like that :)

Processed in Nik Silver Efex

Of course I had to do a BW treatment on this image, processed in Silver Efex with a Dramatic preset and then a Landscape preset, didn’t bother to tweak further as I liked what I go above.

I hope you enjoyed a touch of sunshine today, esp those feeling the first fingers of winter reaching out to embrace them up north :)

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Melbourne 2010 – More Architecture

Have I said how much I enjoy the new perspective editing functionality in LR5?  Click one button and it does all the adjustments for you, analysing the image and straightening it and all the clever stuff!

It would help if I had framed up my images better, it has been an interesting experience editing images taken 4 years ago and wanting to smack myself back then, for not doing a better job :)  In reality, this kind of photography is not really my thing, have no real experience in it, but certainly feel like I could have done a better job if I was to go back now!

Take this image of the church archway for example, took two shots, one cut the stairs off so wasn’t useable, but this one chopped of the top of a spire on the left hand side even tho I did managed to capture the main framing above, it was all the stuff around the edges where my lack of attention to detail is revealed.  So frustrating!

So many wonderful building details, this decorative arch framed with fancy lamps – do they call these carrige lamps?

And from the inside looking out, notice the security camera.  It must be noted the importance of shooting RAW here, when you look at the unprocessed file, it is completely black, looks like a silhouette with no detail.  However when I started playing a bit with LR, tweaking the exposure and shadow sliders a bit further than usual, some detail in the brickwork was revealed.

Was the first time I tried editing an image that I would have considered unretrievable normally, and a testament to how powerful Lightroom really is.

I hope you are enjoying my trip down memory lane through these images, I certainly am!

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Melbourne 2010 – Architecture

One of the things that surprised me on this trip to Melbourne was seeing so much wonderful old stone buildings and architecture in the city centre.  I spent a lot of time walking the streets so I saw many of them and did my best to capture some images.

I have little experience and knowledge of architectural photography and even less 4 years ago, so forgive me if these images are a little quirky.  In trying to capture the interesting bits without power poles, cars, buses and people, my compositions are a little on the creative side.

I think this is the Theatre

Colourful planters outside the Theatre

Melbourne is a lovely city to walk in, the central area is not huge, and there are many sites to see and alleyways to duck down and explore.  The pavements are laid with slabs of a hard grey rock that I found very tiring to walk on, my calf muscles ached all the time I was there!

Manchester Building

So many of the older buildings were really creatively build, with much decoration and detail to make them stand out from the bland facades of modern buildings.  One even had gargoyles!

Detail of the top of the Manchester Building

I follow the lovely Leanne Cole’s blog and she lives in Melbourne and does lovely architectural images.  From her I realised that the inside of many of these buildings is also well preserved, but it never occured to me to go inside as many of them were clearly office or apartment buildings in use.

Taking photos of buildings in a busy city is hard!

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Melbourne 2010 – Pig statue

No idea where this lovely pig is in the city but he had his own mud puddle – click to embiggen

Back in Sept 2010 I was in Melbourne for Worldcon – Aussiecon having a lovely time going to panels and readings, meeting authors and other fans and not getting near enough sleep.  Up until 4th Sept when I was woken by a text early morning to be advised that Christchurch had just had its first earthquake.

Fortunately no loss of life but a fair amount of damage, and the citizens were, quite literally, shaken.  It kinda took the shine of my holiday but I did spend a LOT of time walking the streets, seeing the sites and lugging my camera EVERYWHERE :)

It has taken this long but I finally feel ready to go back and start working on those images, so be prepared for a deluge of Melbourne based posts as I cover off all the places I went and the things I saw.

Starting with this handsome fellow, I have no idea where I ran across him but he was lovely and so photogenic with his mud puddle.

Amazing what 4 years more experience has taught me, now I would have composed the shot with much more space at his feet  and tried to crop out the distracting grass in the top right corner.  Looks like this is a good angle to get all his wrinkly detail.

Processed in LR, left exposure as it was OK, increased contrast and shadows, decr highlights, added black and white points, a smidge of clarity and vibrance and a faint vignette.  Toned down some too bright spots with local adjustments.  Pushed to Nik Silver Efex, added a Fine Art preset and slight lens falloff, back into LR for another light vignette addition and voila!

I hope you enjoy my Melbourne images, its been such a long time since I was there!

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Why do you Shoot?

What drives you to pick up your camera?  What inspires you to get up at dawn for a sunrise or spend days hiking over mountains and through snow or streams?

Whats your reason for being a photographer?

I became a photographer by accident mostly, at the time my passion was bellydancing and was trying to capture images of my fellow dancers with a low grade camera that didn’t do them justice.  At that point I made a promise to myself, if there came an opportunity and sufficient funds for me to invest in a proper DSLR then I would.

Eventually that day came, and I made a second promise to myself, that the kit would NOT sit on a shelf and collect dust, but efforts would be made to properly learn how to use it.  5 years later those efforts continue but the most interesting journey for me has been my relationship with the world and nature.

Suddenly the world appeared new and fresh to me, as my skills in composition developed, and my appreciation for light improved, landscapes became places of opportunity to stop and investigate, not drive through.

Holidays were planned to new and photographically interesting destinations.  I forced myself to stop and explore frequently, taking time out to find opportunities for images (like the moss and spiderweb above)

Very occasionally a delightful surprise would be encountered, like the toadstools at a cemetary (first image) or nearly driving past NZ’s very rare and rarely seen Native Falcon (image above).

But for those surprises to happen you have to make the effort to be open to them, to go to new places, be prepared to stop and take in the vistas, pause for a side trip to a waterfall or simply be somewhere new and be prepared to explore.

Photography has added so much richness to my life, taught me new things about the world, nature and to my surprise, myself.  I have made many new friends, gone new places, seen amazing things and best of all, made images that I can bring back and share with the world.

I shoot to capture those moments no one else would ever see otherwise, and share them so they can be enjoyed.  I shoot to challenge myself, to improve and grow as a photographer. I shoot to take myself out of my comfort zone and push my boundaries.

I shoot because this world has amazing creatures and places and I want to see and enjoy as many as I can, and share what I do see.

Why do you shoot?

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