Rodney Campbell's Blog

Announcement: A Master of The Arcanum…

by on Oct.23, 2014, under Life, Photography

Basically I love photography, I love learning and I love sharing…

The Arcanum

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 31 mm, 1 sec at f/11, ISO 100

When I met Trey Ratcliff recently on one of his trips here to Sydney we got to speaking about The Arcanum and the potential for becoming a master. My thanks must go to a number of friends who are currently Apprentices in the Arcanum who encouraged me to consider becoming a master and to have the conversation with Trey. I’ve long been impressed with Trey’s ability to “see” the photographic universe and the pulse of the community. He gets it and more than anyone he understands the idea behind community and the value of sharing. So I was inspired by his simple way to end our conversation with “…well… you must apply!”.

Fast forward two months and needless to say I was excited but also somewhat overwhelmed to receive an email from Trey inviting me to consider becoming a Master in the Arcanum. The calibre of the other Masters is extraordinary and I’m humbled and overawed by my inclusion with these other people who are literally photographic legends and some of my personal heroes…

If you’re not familiar with The Arcanum and a whole new (& old) way of learning and improving your art – check out The Arcanum

I’m now almost at the end of my Masters induction program at The Arcanum – thank you Ron Clifford for running such an excellent program and for being so patient with us :)

Literally thousands of photographers have applied for membership into the Arcanum and it’s not going to be an easy task for a Master to sort through such a large and diverse range of applications to craft the ideal cohort group.

However if you’d like me to consider you specifically for my Cohort please do update your application, send me a private message and even put my name in your application if you’d like me to find you (we can search by keywords, etc).

It’s the start of a whole new exciting adventure….

Don't forget to Share...Share on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page
Leave a Comment more...

Starry Sunrise…

by on Oct.21, 2014, under Life, Photography

I’d not managed to shoot the starry sky the night before (the half lit moon in the sky and clouds had conspired against me) so I was hoping a sunrise shoot at the same location would satisfy me.

It was just a five minute walk from where we were staying so I set the alarm for 4AM the night before planning for a 5:20AM sunrise and arriving at the location my usual one hour before.

What I hadn’t factored in tho was that the change of daylight savings in New South Wales happened overnight so in fact sunrise was going to be at 6:20AM (effectively an hour later). I didn’t really know this till I got to the location and after about half an hour of shooting – thought to myself – man it’s still very dark with no hint of light on the horizon – whats happening with sunrise :).

Still the sky was very dark and there was very little cloud in the sky so I figured I could try some of those shots of the starry skies I was hoping to do the night before :)

Jagged Milk

Jagged Milk

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 16 mm, 25.00 sec at f/4, ISO 4000

Above we are at 4:25AM and I’ve lit the distant rocks and the tree stump in the foreground with some low extreme side lighting with my zoomable torch and a 25 second exposure wide open at ISO 4000 with the 16-35/4 at 16mm

Below we have a similar composition this time with the Sigma 15mm fisheye – 30 seconds at f/3.2 and ISO 3200

Showin’ the Way

Showin' the Way

NIKON D600 + 15.0 mm f/2.8 @ 15 mm, 30 sec at f/3.2, ISO 3200

I shot some other compositions for another 20 minutes or so and seeing it was still very dark with no hint of sunrise – finally grokked that I was an hour early :)

Figuring I probably had a little time to try some starry trails before twilight came in too strongly I headed over to where I’d shot some interesting southward facing test shots the night before. I climbed up the landward rock pillar once again and setup a shot southward over the seaside pillar of Wellington Rock.

I knew I didn’t have a lot of time before twilight so I quickly worked out a good exposure for the individual star trails shots (60 seconds at f/4 and ISO 1000) and programmed and started the intervalometer. I figured if I was lucky I might get half an hours worth of frames which I was hoping would be enough to at least give a promise of what might have been given a few hours here in the dark.

At 5AM when I started the sequence the skies were nice and dark and the milky way was clearly visible. Just over 15 minutes in I could see the sky was getting noticeably lighter so I stopped the sequence – quickly dropped the ISO to 800 and started the intervalometer again. Ten minutes later I again adjusted the settings down to ISO 500. Just after 5:30AM twilight was really starting to show with clearly deep blue skies and fading stars so I stopped the sequence and hoped that the 29 frames I’d taken would be enough to show the starry trails.

Finally before moving on I did another frame to use for my foreground in the final shot – 61 seconds at f/8 and ISO 400 with some light painting of the rock pillar in front of me. Unfortunately this is where I needed a second person – there is only so far I could reach out from my position to give angled light on the rock. Some side lighting would likely have been more interesting but I was cramped up on a thin ridge on the pillar I’d climbed.

I stacked the star trails in photoshop as per usual (see previous posts for the technique) and blended in my foreground light painted layer for the final result. This is a promise of what starry nights could be and a definite reason to return here someday and do the job properly.

The Promise

The Promise

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 16 mm, 61.00 sec at f/8, ISO 400

Don't forget to Share...Share on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page
Leave a Comment more...

Moonlit Landscapes…

by on Oct.18, 2014, under Life, Photography

I’ve not shot moonlit landscapes at night very often and truth be told I wasn’t actually intending to this night anyway…

We were all away up on the mid north coast of New South wales near Coffs Harbour for a family get together on my wifes side. Before heading up there I did a little checking on Google Maps around the area to see if there was any interesting looking coastline to shoot whilst I was there (assuming I got the approval from SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) :). Actually my wife was VERY accommodating – allowing two rece’s two sunrises and one night shoot during our trip away.

I liked the look of some potential rocky candidates I found on maps and it must have been fate because when I asked my wife where we were staying it turned out to be the closest place to this location – Bonus!!

In fact it ended up being very close walking distance from our accommodation to here – literally a few hundred metres from our door.

So soon after arriving there I went for a bit of a walk during the day to check the place out and the rock formations were excellent as were the really interesting wind swept rock plates next to the sea. In fact this place must get lots of sandy winds because of the way the rocks were worn.

That night after dinner I headed out with the intention of shooting star trails. I don’t get into dark skies areas very often so I wanted to capitalise on my opportunities. The skies had been looking good all afternoon (no clouds) so I was hopeful.

Unfortunately what I hadn’t counted on was the moon was about half full and high in the sky by the time I got here and the clouds were rolling in… Stars were off the menu…

Still I was here and never one to waste an opportunity for a shoot I switched to shooting some moonlit landscapes (with a little light painting thrown in)…

A five (5) minute exposure at ISO 400 and f/5.6 turns the scene from night to day with the interesting shapes of Wellington Rock set sharply against the night sky. I light painted the two rocks with a high powered zoomable torch during the long exposure.

Seeking Day or Night

Seeking Day or Night

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 16 mm, 308 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400

Moving closer to the rocks and getting much closer to one of the inlets of water I spied some fantastic green moss covered rocks just below getting washed by the waves rolling back and forth in front of me.

Moonlit Greens

Moonlit Greens

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 16 mm, 367 sec at f/5.6, ISO 400

In a fit of madness perhaps I decided to climb up on top of the landside rock and shoot southward towards the seaward rock. It’s probably lucky it was dark so I couldn’t see how precarious this might have been :)

Notice that swirl of star movement in this six (6) minute exposure – this gave me all sorts of ideas…

Steadfast Swirl

Steadfast Swirl

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 17 mm, 367 sec at f/5, ISO 250

Lastly – it’s 10PM and I’m figuring I’d pack up soon, time for a selfie before I go… There was this fantastic looking arrow cloud just pointing down into the gap between the two rocks thrusting up out of the rock plate so I setup a shot to line things up with this sweet little rock pool at the bottom of frame. I stood as still as I could for the 30 second exposure with my headlamp shooting up into the sky and wirelessly triggered the shot from where I’m standing (thank god for great technology!). I also did a second exposure where I light painted the little pool at the bottom which thankfully had these nice green weeds in there. Blending the two in post and voila…

Moonbeams

Moonbeams

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 16 mm, 31 sec at f/4, ISO 1600

Don't forget to Share...Share on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page
Leave a Comment more...

Streaky Malabar…

by on Oct.15, 2014, under Life, Photography

A streaky star trails session at Malabar. We’d been to these bunkers once before and figured they would provide a nice foreground interest to the streaky stars. Plus they were right on the cliff edge at the coast so might hopefully have reduced light pollution from the city.

Malabar is in Sydney’s eastern suburbs (just south of Maroubra beach). So I met Gerry around 8PM one evening for the walk out to the bunker. We didn’t remember it being this far, plus the sand on the beach is killer, and the wind!… my god it was blowing a gale (which isn’t so great when you’re trying to shoot something for hours and want a stable platform). Frankly we were expecting a bunch of zig zaggy wavy lines…

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger – so click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer.

Freakin’ Out

Freakin' Out

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 61 sec at f/4, ISO 640 x 117 Frames

The upside…

– it was dark
– there was no moon out
– there weren’t any clouds

We checked out the area for some likely spots to setup – we were hoping for somewhere somewhat protected by the wind – but alas no suitable compos with that.

Facing southwards would give us a nice centre of rotation above the bunker and we’d get a nice aspect on the bunker and rocks as well.

So we setup with the tripods down very low for maximum stability and started with some light painting and steel wool experiments. After three goes with the steel wool Gerry was sick of being singed :) so we started our streaky star trails frames. Intervalometers set – 60 seconds @ f/4 and ISO 640.

Started the sequence at 9:20PM and we figured 2 hours should just about do it (moonrise to the east was due just after 11PM). We headed around to the other side of the bunker to wait… and we waited… and waited… and waited… sigh…

The downside…

– it was a fairly long walk to the location
– it was sooo windy – we were expecting lots and lots of blurry photos :(
– it was a sandstorm – my hair, clothes, gear bags and places you don’t want to know were soo full of sand when I got home
– there was no pizza :(
– even though we were fifty metres up on the cliff above the ocean we were still getting some salty sea spray whipped up here by the ferocious wind so add our gear getting salty wet!
– it was cold and windy and wet – we couldn’t just sit and wait in a nearby warm car and eat pizza
– we must remember next time NOT to face the cameras towards where the airport is before the curfew – I had to manually clone plane light trails out of about 50% of the frames!!

So Gerry – criteria for next time:

1) close to car
2) close to pizza
3) no planes
4) east or south facing to dark skies
5) no clouds
6) no moon
7) no wind
8) no sand
9) no sea spray

11:20PM couldn’t come quickly enough and when it did we were out of there…

Back in Lightroom it was some global adjustments to all the frames – sync the white balance, a little contrast, clarity and vibrance and then off to photoshop to stack.

The result posted here is the stacked streaky trails blended with the EL wire light painting of the foreground plus green light inside the bunker plus a touch of the red coloured torch from another frame.

Don't forget to Share...Share on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page
Leave a Comment more...

A Sydney Day…

by on Oct.13, 2014, under Life, Photography

We had some relatives arrive from overseas (Japan), and my two youngest daughters along with my sister played tour guide hosts in Sydney for a day.

Our Japanese visitors wanted to see the usual tourist locations so we visited the always popular Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and the Botanic Gardens.

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger – so click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer.

The weather forecast predicted rain for much of the day but thankfully it held off for most of the day and we were blessed with slightly overcast conditions till the afternoon when very foreboding clouds rolled in and a massive thunderstorm hit the city.

We started the morning by climbing to the lookout in the southern pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for some spectacular 360˚ views.

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1/500 sec at f/4, ISO 100

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1/1000 sec at f/2.8, ISO 100

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1/320 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100

Harking back to Olden Times

Harking back to Olden Times

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1/250 sec at f/6.3, ISO 100

We then walked around Circular Quay to the Sydney Opera House

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 36 mm, 1/500 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100

and then onwards into the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens (they were keen to see some flowers)

I hadn’t actually brought a macro lens with me this day – I packed light just bringing the camera with the versatile 24-70/2.8 lens. It’s not a macro lens by any means but you make do with what you have in these situations and I was happy with the falloff and background blur I could getting about as close as I could with the close focus distance of this lens along with a wide aperture

Sun Cluster

Sun Cluster

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1/1600 sec at f/2.8, ISO 100

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1/800 sec at f/2.8, ISO 100

Lifted

Lifted

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1/160 sec at f/4, ISO 100

Then we could see some epic dark clouds and rain rolling in from the south west and it was time to make a dash for the city and cover

Echoes of Egypt

Echoes of Egypt

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1/80 sec at f/5.6, ISO 140

Storms Above

Storms Above

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1/80 sec at f/5.6, ISO 125

After lunch we drove around to some good viewing and photographing locations around the northern side of the harbour (Bradfield Park/Kirribilli, Blues Point and Balls Head Reserve)

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1/500 sec at f/4, ISO 100

Don't forget to Share...Share on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page
Leave a Comment more...

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Copyright © 2013 Rodney Campbell

Images contained on this web site may not be used or reproduced in any way without prior permission.