Want to know what you get when you mix fifty children who’ve just graduated from and just finished their last day at primary school with a truck load of shaving cream cans…
Well imagine no more…
One of my daughters who is finishing year 6 this year and is off to high school next year is joining in on the fun in what has become a bit of a tradition on the last day of the year…
and so it Begins
anyone for a shave?
Who Am I?
Celebrate our Last Day
and as soon as I put my camera away I’m free game…
One more from dawn at Long Reef on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
It’s 5:56AM and just eight (8) minutes after sunrise – though even that is still a little blocked by the cloud right on the horizon to the right. Still the sun’s golden light of dawn is beginning to shape the landscape and soon the rocks of long reef are bathed in it’s golden glow.
I ran an impromptu session recently for my Arcanum cohort on filters for landscape photography.
As part of that I went through some of my recent imagery to find some examples of the before and after affects of applying some of these filters.
I used the following three frames to highlight some of the effects of applying various filters. Primarily in this case the use Graduated ND filters to balance exposures and the use of a strong ND (Neutral Density) filter to significantly increase the length of an exposure during the day.
It is quite a bit after sunrise at Lurline Bay (tho it still isn’t even 7AM yet :)) but it’s bright and the sun is already rising fairly high in the sky behind us so Gerry and I have opted to add some heavy ND’s to the scene.
As I mentioned to my cohort for this image I have used:
– the CPL to really pop those white clouds off a nice blue sky and pop all those nice colours in the scene and improve overall contrast
– the two (2) stop Grad ND filter over the sky to darken the sky portion by two stops whilst not changing the foreground (land and sea) exposure – this is to more evenly balance the sky and land
I’ve stacked just the CPL and the 2 stop Grad filters with exposure settings (f/11 @ ISO 100) appropriate to get me a shutter speed somewhere in the 1/4 to 1 second range. With rapidly moving water as we have in this scene, shutter speeds in that ballpark range generally result in water with nice texture to it. Basically the fast flowing water turns streaky and the crashing wave motion gives us nice streaky white lines set against some deep greens of the water.
In the next image I’ve used the same two filters as above along with the 6 stop LittleStopper – this adds a significant amount to the shutter length and shooting at f/16 and ISO 50 I’ve added an additional two stops to take my exposure out to 76 seconds. With shutter speeds of this and much longer duration the fast moving water churning below me turns more to foggy mist. Whilst the slowly moving water further out where it’s just slowly rising up and down due to wave motion turns instead to a flat glassy lake. Finally the slow moving clouds in the sky turn to subtle streaks of white set against the blue.
So here I’ve stacked the Lee LittleStopper (6 stop ND) along with a 2 stop Lee Grad ND (Graduated Neutral Density) and the Heliopan CPL (Circular Polariser).
Two very different feels from the exact same scene and composition.
Lastly below I have the first test shot I took – this with no filters (except for the CPL I believe) and is the straight out of camera RAW image. You can see here in comparison with the shot above how the grad filter has worked to even the exposure between the sky and land.
Tell it to me Straight
Sometimes there’s lightness even in the darkness…
After more than half an hour of lovely pastel colour and some lovely subtle pink in the high whispy clouds overhead the sun finally rose over the low band of heavy cloud on the horizon. The world became a significantly brighter place and changed all that.
I’d just completed a couple sets of images to stitch into a panorama of the scene (just before sunrise). I tried a couple quick images just as the sun peeked over the clouds but once that was done I moved out into the field of stones in the shallow waters. I was looking for my next composition – one which would work with the black glass – the name many long exposure photographers use for very strong ND (neutral density) filters. I have two of these that I use regularly – the Lee BigStopper (a 10 Stop ND) and the Lee LittleStopper (6 Stop ND).
Leading With Green
Jason was already using his 16 Stop Formatt-Hitech Firecrest ND (for some insanely long exposures). However I didn’t have hours to wait so opted instead for stacking the BigStopper with the 3 Stop Reverse Grad for some exposures more in the five (5) minute range.
Adding these very strong ND filters turns the view to complete darkness through the lens. The ten stop ND allows just 1/1000th of the light to pass through to the sensor. This results in allowing very long exposures even during the day – turning day into night, lightness into darkness.
Wandering through the rocky scape I spied this lovely patch of green that I thought I could incorporate into a composition. I needed to point anywhere but east (away from the sun now risen in the sky) so I’ve faced a little east of south here.
I don’t normally take test shots with long exposures – I usually just look at the normal exposure through the viewfinder without the BigStopper and then calculate the translation in my head and then wing the shot by feel. For some reason I took one lone test shot – 0.8 sec @ f/11 and ISO 100. It was so lucky I did – the tide was rising very rapidly so by the time my 260 second long exposure at f/8 had finished the water had risen and half submerged my patch of green. In the end I’ve blended the two frames in Photoshop taking some of the rocky green patch in the foreground from my test exposure and blended it into my long exposure take.
The final result is up the top – sometimes luck is just on your side…
The tide was now rising rapidly and covering the rocks on the reef, at high tide they would all be completely covered. The light was still good (some low cloud was being side lit and warmed by the suns low rays) so it was time to find another composition and quickly.
Just behind me I’d spotted this very interesting lone rock. It was very unlike most of the other rocks as it was more rounded (whereas most others were more jagged) and it had this patch of very green moss growing right in the middle of the top surface – perfect…
I envisaged this shot in my mind – the moss covered boulder all lightness and glowing sitting in a pool of darkness of the water around it.
Again I’d taken a couple “normal” test shots of the scene without the BigStopper and then with the filter of darkness applied I waited for the 324 second exposure to run it’s course.
As before it was lucky I had a test shot to use – I blended in the moss covered foreground rock from the “normal” frame with the long exposure. Why you might ask – exposure wise the rock looked perfectly fine in the long exposure shot and this time the rising water hadn’t covered the rock. However the rising water had slightly bumped the tripod rendering the foreground rock slightly unsharp at pixel peeping levels.
A bit of photoshop blending and we’ve the final result…
It’s the Lights of Christmas St Mary’s Cathedral time again in the heart of Sydney’s CBD.
Each night from now until Christmas from 8:30PM to midnight the walls of St Mary’s cathedral will be lit up with projections celebrating the festive season.
The Lights of Christmas
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.
The Lights of Christmas are told in three parts.
1) The Joy of Giving
The Lights of Christmas examines the joy of giving and of service. Serving, or put simply, ‘doing things for others’ is one of the greatest gifts we can give someone that costs nothing.
2) The Twelve Days of Christmas
The Season of Christmas is a time of anticipation and celebration, especially for Children. Young and old can count down the days to Christmas as we are treated to a fun and specially designed animation of the traditional melody; The Twelve Days of Christmas.
3) The Madonna and Child
We are reminded of the devotion to service that the Madonna endured throughout her life and can reflect with images created by some of the world’s greatest artists.
Madonna & Child