Rodney Campbell's Blog

Eye on the Land…

by on Apr.30, 2016, under Life, Photography

I had to keep an eye on the time with this one. I was aiming to get both a horizontal composition with the stars along with longer trails.

The horizontal composition with the 14mm ultrawide would help some with the longer trails. The further the stars are from the centre of the rotation the more they would appear to move through the sky in the same amount of time, and thus the trails would appear longer. Thus the trails to the far left and right of the frame which were at almost 90 degrees to the centre of rotation would appear to have relatively much longer trails.

However it was shooting more frames over a much longer period of time which would also give me longer trails. The previous evening I’d started late and shot 90 minutes worth of trails. Tonight I started my sequence at 8:47PM and left the camera and headed to the cabin to continue editing other images whilst I waited.

Eye on the Land

Eye on the Land

NIKON D750 + 14.0 mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm, 61 sec at f/2.8, ISO 1250 x 152 Frames

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.

Pro Tip: When shooting with dewey conditions it is worth taking steps to prevent dew and moisture buildup on your equipment. My camera was bare the previous night and was quite wet by the end of the 90 minute sequence (water was literally dripping off the camera). In the past I’ve done things like wrap my lens with a woollen sock to keep the camera warm and prevent condensation. This evening I used my new raincover to cover my whole setup (camera body, lens and tripod) and it appeared to do a very good job with my camera remaining completely dry this time.

This evening I let things run till 11:22PM and by then I had 152 x 61 second frames (a little over two and a half hours).

Sleepy Trails

Sleepy Trails

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 70 mm, 1/80 sec at f/8, ISO 500

In the morning I rose early (tho not quite early enough to shoot before sunrise :)). Wandering out to the track near our cabin where I’d taken the trails the previous evenings, I took a few morning shots just after sunrise.

Morning DeLight

Morning DeLight

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 150 mm, 1/160 sec at f/8, ISO 800

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Crossing the Stars…

by on Apr.28, 2016, under Life, Photography

Day two of music tour and we’re up early for a busy day ahead. Today we’d be criss crossing town travelling to some local schools to play some concerts.

Avenue of Trees

Avenue of Trees

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1/160 sec at f/5.6, ISO 500

Travelling to and from town (Bathurst) I’d seen this fabulous section of the road with this avenue of trees that I thought might make a good image. Traveling on a double decker bus with all the children it wasn’t really possible to just stop for me to take a photo so… it was improvisation time. I headed upstairs in the bus and pushing the shutter I shot this through the front window as we travelled on the road back into town in the afternoon. We were on our way to the bowling alley for the kids to let off some steam :).

As it was shot from a moving vehicle I was pretty happy with the final result – it’s obviously not super sharp zoomed to 100% but I got roughly the composition I wanted.

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.

Of course the kids had a ball at ten pin bowling – having the entire place and all the lanes to ourselves with the retro disco lighting and music was pretty damn fun :).

Bowling

Bowling

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 56 mm, 1/60 sec at f/5.6, ISO 4000

I headed out a little earlier this evening to continue looking for the starry skies. Again the clouds were fairly minimal with just a few streaks right on the horizon. I got out just after 8:30PM and decided to just do a star trails set from around the same spot I’d shot the previous evening. Having quickly looked at the previous evenings result I decided a horizontal framing would work better.

I tested a couple compositions and settled on this one. I took a couple frames with light painted foregrounds (again to blend in with the trails in the final image). Here is a 30 second shot at ISO 6400 with some gentle lightpainting.

Crossing Paths

Crossing Paths

NIKON D750 + 14.0 mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm, 30 sec at f/2.8, ISO 6400

Pro Tip: Light painting the foreground when shooting at High ISO’s (like 6400) you need to use a very low power setting on your torch. My headlamp torch has an extremely bright High mode (1020 Lumens) which is very useful for lighting things very very far away and for lighting massive areas when shooting at Low ISO’s (e.g. 100). You cannot use this more for light painting when shooting at High ISO’s (the image will overexpose to white in moments). My headlamp also has a Low mode (3.5 Lumens) which is down near moonlight mode which is ideal for lighting the foreground when shooting at High ISO’s.

I started my star trail sequence at 8:47PM and went back to the cabin to do some other things. At 11:22PM I returned and packed up with 152 x 61 second frames in the can.

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Bathurst Stars…

by on Apr.26, 2016, under Life, Photography

Staying on a farm property to the south of Bathurst gave me some pretty ideal conditions for some night time star shooting if the weather was willing. Being to the south of town I could face south with very little light pollution and thus have some pretty dark skies to work with. Our first night here and the weather was almost perfect with very few clouds in the sky and the moon was over the horizon.

After the kids had gone to bed I headed out around 9:45PM to capture the milky way whilst the conditions were still good.

I took some frames for a stitched panorama (which I’ll process at a later date) and then explored the hill behind our accomodation for some other compositions.

Here I’d revisited that cool rock in the grass that I shot during the day. The skies were nice and dark allowing me to shoot at ISO 6400 (and f/2.8) with the fabulous Samyang 14mm ultrawide lens.

Fallen Star

Fallen Star

NIKON D750 + 14.0 mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm, 30 sec at f/2.8, ISO 6400

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.

At the top of the small hill there’s some water tanks and this feeding trough for the animals. I’ve tried using if for some foreground interest whilst adding a bit of light painting to lift it from the darkness.

Milk Trough

Milk Trough

NIKON D750 + 14.0 mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm, 30 sec at f/2.8, ISO 4000

Then I headed back down to the bottom of the hill and setup on the side of this path through the paddock as a leading line into the image. This point was literally just ten metres from our cabin so I setup for some star trails.

I light painted a single frame to allow me to blend in the foreground into the final image. That done I setup for star trails mode (being dark skies I was able to shoot at ISO 1250) and let the intervalometer run. It was a quarter to eleven and I was already pretty tired after a long day. I let the sequence run for about 90 minutes and a quarter past midnight and 86 frames later I’d had enough – it was time for bed :).

Eye on Greener Pastures

Eye on Greener Pastures

NIKON D750 + 14.0 mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm, 61 sec at f/2.8, ISO 1250 x 86 Frames

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Music Tour to Bathurst…

by on Apr.24, 2016, under Life, Photography

Each year I usually help out with a number of events and at least one overnight camp for the local primary school that my daughters all attend(ed). Late last year it was time for the tri-annual music tour. Each of my daughters has learnt and played a music instrument in band at the school. Every three years a music tour is planned to allow the members of the senior band and strings programs to experience travelling and playing together at various venues.

This was my third and probably last music tour for the school (I’d been on each of the music tours for my three children). These are pretty big events travelling with 60+ children and all their luggage and instruments to various venues to perform.

Our tours are four day trips with about half the time spent performing and the other half doing other fun activities for the kids. This year we were travelling west to Bathurst and Orange. It’s hard work for both the kids and adults but it’s fun and rewarding. My usual role on tour is to be the “official” photographer, to capture moments and document our journey.

Georges Plains

Georges Plains

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 92 mm, 1/100 sec at f/11, ISO 220

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 vast majority of the images I take during these trips (usually a couple thousand images) is of the children and their activities. If the locations we are staying at are conducive however, I also like to spend some free time late in the evening or early in the morning doing some landscape photography.

This year we were staying on a property on a farm to the south of Bathurst and a quick check with some shooting apps like TPE and PhotoPills showed it to be pretty ideal for some night time star shooting if the weather was willing. Being to the south of town I could face south with little light pollution and thus have some pretty dark skies to work with.

Heaven and Earth

Heaven and Earth

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 28 mm, 1/30 sec at f/16, ISO 180

Before we get to the stars I took a little late afternoon stroll up the hill behind our accomodation to recce the area.

Fire

Fire

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1/640 sec at f/2.8, ISO 100

After dinner we all enjoyed a nice bonfire in the paddock, toasted some marshmallows and watched a lovely clear skies sunset over the hill behind us.

Jump for Joy

Jump for Joy

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 48 mm, 1/50 sec at f/5, ISO 4000

Having around twenty five willing kids on hand to perform the classic Toyota ad move at the top of the hill for me was as they say… priceless :)

Oh What A Feeling

Oh What A Feeling

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 36 mm, 1/40 sec at f/5, ISO 4500

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Telegraph Station…

by on Apr.23, 2016, under Life, Photography

After leaving Hamelin Pool we went to the nearby Telegraph station on Shark Bay and had lunch there.

Shark Bay World Heritage Area became Western Australia’s first world heritage listed area in 1991. It is one of two World Heritage areas within WA and one of only 16 Australia wide.

Here there is a small museum featuring relics from the days when the site was a repeater station on the Old Telegraph Line can be visited on tours run by the telegraph station staff. There is also a stromatolite display explaining the significance of these formations.

Shell Block Quarry

Shell Block Quarry

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 112 mm, 1/125 sec at f/9, ISO 110

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.

There is also a nearby Shell Block Quarry which you walk to from the Telegraph station.

A shell species known as the Hamelin cockle is so prolific in Hamelin Pool that the shells have become compacted into a solid mass that can be cut into blocks. Some Shark Bay buildings, such as the old Pearler Restaurant and St Andrew’s Church in Denham, were built from this material and the quarry site can be seen along the Boolagoorda Walk.

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