Rodney Campbell's Blog

Sunset at Camp Cove…

by on Aug.29, 2014, under Life, Photography

Gerry invited me to a sunset session at The Gap at Watsons Bay

The Gap is an ocean cliff on the South Head peninsula in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. The area faces the Tasman Sea and is in the suburb of Watsons Bay. It’s an extremely popular destination for visitors as you can get all round views of both the ocean, the heads as well as the harbour and the city. Unfortunately it has also gained infamy for a few suicides

I met Gerry there and we rece’d the area but basically found nothing suitable – at least not with the conditions we had. Undeterred we headed to nearby Camp Cove which was a mere two minutes drive away

Note: These images (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.

Camp Cove is a popular spot for photographers – great for sunsets as it faces west into the harbour and towards the Sydney CBD (to the south west). Finally and most importantly it has this fantastic little lifeboat shed out in the water at the northern end of the beach which makes for great foreground interest

Setup for some classic compositions on the rocks near the shed and started things off with this four (vertical) frame stitched panorama with the sun on the right of frame just setting in the west (5:10PM) and the Sydney CBD just to the right of the shed to the south on the left of frame

Lining the Cove

Lining the Cove

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 16 mm, 1/2 sec at f/11, ISO 100

Keeping the vertical orientation I added the Lee LittleStopper (a 6 stop ND filter) for a long exposure with the clouds moving nicely in the sky. With this frame I’m also light painting that tiny little pool of water filled with nice green weed in the foreground (with a small LED torch)

Cove to City

Cove to City

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 16 mm, 60 sec at f/11, ISO 100

Moved up and back to shoot more down towards the shed and take in the larger scene with a horizontal compo – again with the LittleStopper – tho it was getting darker quickly by this stage (5:30PM and twenty minutes after sunset) but we were getting some fantastic twilight colour

Campers Pointing the Way

Campers Pointing the Way

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 173.00 sec at f/8, ISO 100

Finally just before we left I switched to the longest lens I had with me at the time – the 24-70 and racked out to 70mm for a closer view of the Sydney CBD skyline from the side (normally I’m shooting the CBD from the northern or western sides – here we’re getting the view from the south eastern side)

Skyline

Skyline

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 6.30 sec at f/8, ISO 100

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Mona Vale… No Wait… Newport…

by on Aug.26, 2014, under Life, Photography

Planned a quick sunrise session at Mona Vale Ocean Pool with Gerry but when we arrived at the carpark next to the beach we noticed at least a dozen other photographers with tripods already heading down to the pool. There’s really only a couple locations to shoot this pool at this location so we decided to give it a miss and head to the next beach/tidal pool along – Newport

The Damned Log

The Damned Log

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 19 mm, 8 sec at f/11, ISO 100

I’d shot at Newport tidal pool once before and it was already pretty late by the time we got out and down the beach to the pool (it isn’t very close to parking, etc). As is pretty common here in Sydney there were already a few brave souls swimming in the pool (in the darkness mind you)

It was another morning with crap clouds – a heavyish bank right down on the horizon out to the east and no high clouds to get any colour – we’d have to make do with some pastels if they eventuated

We headed straight past the pool and around the headland to do a little rece to check out what was there – lots of interesting rocks is about all – and this huge driftwood tree. Gerry and I figured if only it was much closer to the water we could at least use it for some very interesting foreground interest since the sky was not…

We spent about ten minutes almost breaking our backs trying to move it – we got it a few metres closer but eventually it was too hard to get any further and we gave up in frustration; the image at the top at 6:48AM and ten minutes to sunrise

I started heading back towards the tidal pool and along the way found another driftwood trunk on the rocks – this one was smaller and easier to move and eventually we got it into the water. As it happens – too far into the water as the tide was rising and threatened to wash it away (eventually did)

We had to grab shots quickly and making compositions wasn’t easy since the waves were shifting and spinning the log around with each ocean surge!!… sigh… around 10 minutes after sunrise

Washed & Churned

Washed & Churned

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 1/2 sec at f/11, ISO 100

and a few minutes later with the sun just peeking up above the cloud band

Tumbled

Tumbled

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 24 mm, 1/2 sec at f/11, ISO 100

So we had an interesting morning of back breaking log shifting at Newport with a few moments for photos inbetween :)…

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Spidery Fingers…

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

I’d been on the lookout for some nice bare spidery winter branches for some time – of all places I found these trees in the courtyard of a school where my daughters were performing at a dance eisteddfod :)

They weren’t ideal – there was quite a bit of merging going on – I was hoping for a clear path across the middle of the frame. I guess I could do some very painstaking cloning out in photoshop… but that would be cheating… :)

Anyway I was pretty happy with these as my first effort – converted to monochrome of course :)

Spidery Fingers

Spidery Fingers

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 26 mm, 1/125 sec at f/8, ISO 100

Fragile

Fragile

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1/200 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100

Now if only I could find some of these standing alone at the top of some bare snow covered hill…. Oh wait it never snows here in Sydney… right… :)

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Macquarie Panoramas…

by on Aug.20, 2014, under Life, Photography

A strange thing happened this day… My two youngest daughters actually asked me “daddy can you take us somewhere nice to take photos of sunset?”

After I’d picked myself up off the floor… we chatted a little – it turns out there was a photography competition running at their school and they wanted to take some shots to enter (normally their interest level in taking photographs is… well lets just say they aren’t happy waiting around when I’m taking photographs anywhere :))

They mentioned some other shots of mine they had seen and suggested we go there – this happened to be Mrs Macquaries Chair on Sydney harbour which has a great view west over the water towards the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge

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.

Macquarie Scribbles

Macquarie Scribbles

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 34 mm, 25.00 sec at f/11, ISO 100

It’s hard not to get a pretty good shot from this location at sunset, but like any “famous” location and including two of Sydney’s most iconic structures has been well and truly done to death. However it’s a very nice spot and very easy to get to (you can drive and park metres from where you shoot – although you do pay dearly for the privilege :))

So my three girls and I made our way across the city to Mrs Macquaries Chair and setup on the rocks just above the water looking towards sunset. It was a pretty high tide so much of the rocks was actually covered today but the clouds looked to be shaping up quite nicely for a colourful sunset

I setup for some stitched panoramas with my D600 and the 24-70/2.8 along with my awesome new Really Right Stuff BH-40 PC-LR pano head. I also setup my older D7000 with the 18-200 on my old Manfrotto tripod for the girls to use

I took my shots and the girls did their own thing – all I really did was setup their camera to use Aperture priority and set the Auto Area AF for them

Meanwhile the clouds were putting on a very nice show of colour for the first stitched panorama of five (5) vertical frames at 34mm at ten minutes past 5PM (a little after sunset). With the image at the top of the post I’ve just used the Formatt-Hitech 3 stop reverse GND for some 25 to 30 second exposures

Only a couple minutes later and the bright red clouds are fading fast as twilight is starting to take over. Another five frame stitched panorama with 57 to 93 second exposures this time due to the dropping light

Smokey Paradise

Smokey Paradise

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 34 mm, 57.00 sec at f/10, ISO 100

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South Curl Curl…

by on Aug.16, 2014, under Life, Photography

Another day, another sunrise session… not quite…

I wasn’t actually planning to shoot sunrise this morning – my camera gear was all packed for a trip away but I was actually planning on a good nights sleep. However for some bizarre reason I woke early – very early – I tried to go back to sleep but I was probably thinking about shooting sunrise since I was awake well before dawn. After about half an hour I gave it up as a lost cause and got up and headed out to see what sunrise brought

Note: These images (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.

Having not actually planned somewhere to shoot I decided to try somewhere I’d never shot sunrise before – South Curl Curl on Sydney’s Northern beaches

There’s a nice tidal pool there at one end of Curl Curl beach with some nice rocks beside the pool

Early on it wasn’t looking all that promising – there was a nice band of rich red on the horizon with deep blue skies above but no clouds to be seen. I was on the beach and setup at 6:15AM (about 45 minutes before sunrise) – this one at 6:25 using a little light painting on the foreground rocks

Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 19 mm, 103 sec at f/11, ISO 200

I headed over to the pool itself to try some shots there – it was very quite and peaceful at this time of the morning – it’s part of what I really enjoy about sunrise photography – a fantastic time of the day

Out of nowhere some clouds started appearing out to sea – we could get lucky I thought – bring it on…

Morning Silence

Morning Silence

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 18 mm, 10.00 sec at f/11, ISO 100

Headed back to the rocks and was searching for some nice composition with great array of green moss covered rocks in the foreground with the water rushing around and over them just as the sky began to light up. Awesome – about 15 minutes till sunrise and just what the doctor ordered

Pink and Green Curly

Pink and Green Curly

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 18 mm, 13 sec at f/11, ISO 100

ten minutes to go and we’re getting fiery red clouds and more of them

Reflections of Fire

Reflections of Fire

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 17 mm, 2.50 sec at f/11, ISO 100

the tide was rising and the sun was going to hit the horizon soon – the colours and textures changed – it was just enough time to move to a new spot and setup some interesting compositions of clouds, stones, swirling water and sand

Candy Curls

Candy Curls

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 18 mm, 1.60 sec at f/11, ISO 50

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