Rodney Campbell's Blog

A Wider view of Bradleys…

by on Feb.06, 2016, under Life, Photography

Whilst down at Bradley’s Head for sunrise I took a few sets of images for stitched panorama’s whilst I was there.

The first was a spur of the moment thing when I saw Gerry out at the end of the stone pier at Bradleys Head. He was shooting across the harbour towards the city and was positioned pretty nicely for me to shoot this quick sequence of images just ten (10) minutes before sunrise.

Taking in the View

Taking in the View

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 58 mm, 8 sec at f/13, ISO 100 x 9 Frames

This was a stitch of nine (9) vertical frames taken at a slightly longer 58mm focal length with the very trustworthy 24-70/2.8.

I’d stacked the 3 stop Lee ND grad with the Heliopan CPL for this shot. Normally I don’t advocate using a polariser when shooting panorama frames but sometimes I just can’t be bothered to remove it and this time with a longer focal length it doesn’t matter as much.

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.

As with all things panoramic there’s an option to panospherise it to see what you get…

Life Raft

Life Raft

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 58 mm, 8 sec at f/13, ISO 100 x 9 Frames

Before going to Bradleys Head I had an idea for a shot in my mind – where I’d shoot very long exposures with both a vertical and a panoramic view of this Bradleys Lighthouse looking straight out from up on the headland looking out and down onto it. The idea being to have just the misty water behind the lighthouse for a super simplified scene.

Alas my plans were bust when I discovered the view from up top was pretty much obscured by some large vegetation. My idea wasn’t going to happen without some serious deforestation going on… probably not a great idea in a National Park :)…

So it was from down the bottom instead that I had to shoot.

I took seven (7) vertical frames at a mid 48mm focal length again with a 3 stop Lee ND grad stacked with the Heliopan CPL.

Gerry’s excellent Navigation at the edge where he’d completely cloned out all the city and land skyline behind was very much along the lines of what I had in my mind. So inspired by his super simplified rendition I figured I’d try the same with the editing of my own panorama. The result with near cloudless pastel skies goes quite a way towards what I’d originally had in mind…

Isolated at the End

Isolated at the End

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 48 mm, 2 sec at f/11, ISO 100 x 7 Frames

One other thing I can say about this final result – thank the lord that I’d taken one central test exposure before taking my pano sequence. The centre frames of the pano sequence were taken at 6:54AM and the single test frame was taken at 6:53AM. This was just a few minutes before sunrise this morning. Somehow that beautiful green light on the lighthouse must have automatically turned off in the minute between the central test frame and the pano sequence and thus in my pano the light is not on. I was able to simply layer my test frame on top of the final pano and align the images in photoshop and paint in the nice lit green light. I love it when a “plan” works :).

At the Edge of the World

At the Edge of the World

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 48 mm, 2 sec at f/11, ISO 100 x 7 Frames

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Laneway to the Heavens…

by on Feb.04, 2016, under Life, Photography

So as luck would have it after another overcast day and a nice cloudy sunset the clouds once again cleared at night. So after driving back from Mount Gambier and dropping the rest of the family off I headed out to those little laneways I’d visited the previous evening to see if I could rectify my mistakes :).

Heavens Laneway

Heavens Laneway

NIKON D750 + 14.0 mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm, 30 sec at f/2.8, ISO 5000

I first went to the corner of the paddocks where I’d stuffed the frames for a panorama the previous evening and tried once again. Learning from my mistakes I both took more frames with better overlaps and also moved back a little this evening (to get a better view and angle of the rough dirt laneway going off into the distance in each direction).

This time eight (8) vertical frames encompassing around a 200+ degree field of view did the trick. I’m saving the final result for a potential candidate for inclusion in a forthcoming exhibition later this year.

With that in the can I moved on to the next location. One with a fabulous laneway through the tall grasses – two white lines left by vehicle tracks running over and over head off into the distance through the grass.

The spot I chose was perfect for what I wanted in almost every way. The tracks ran up a slight rise into the distance. We had lovely straw coloured grass on both sides and down the middle. The chalky white of the worn paths contrasted so well against the grass. The horizon line was relatively flat and the grass spreading out evenly and flatly on both sides. There was this nice shaped silhouette of a tree in the middle in the distance. The only downside was we were facing a little south east which meant facing towards the light pollution from Mount Gambier in the distance. Ah well you can’t have everything I guess :).

Up top my test shot for a stitched panorama at this spot with a little light painting of the foreground.

The final panorama consisting of seven (7) stitched vertical frames is excellent (IMHO) and unfortunately again I’m definitely saving this one for the exhibition :).

Driving a little further along the laneway and after it curves slightly to the left we shift the Mount Gambier light pollution off the frame to the right but incur other problems. The path is on more of a left to right downward slope so both the horizon and the foreground slope downwards. Still a single silhouetted tree right at the vanishing point may save my composition.

Farmers Drive

Farmers Drive

NIKON D750 + 14.0 mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm, 30 sec at f/2.8, ISO 5000

Here I present two versions of this composition. One just with the foreground lit with warm torchlight. With the second, well…

I’ve taken out some of my new EL wire I recently purchased and made into some light painting tools. Selecting the vibrant green I bought I’ve lit just the tracks vanishing into the distance for this more surreal effect. This one for my enlightened friends…

Enlightened Cosmos

Enlightened Cosmos

NIKON D750 + 14.0 mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm, 219.00 sec at f/6.3, ISO 100

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The Blue Lake…

by on Feb.03, 2016, under Life, Photography

On of the most notable things about the city of Mount Gambier is that it is located on the slopes of an extinct volcano. Even more remarkable is the the Blue Lake – a large monomictic crater lake located in the volcanic maar associated with the Mount Gambier maar complex. During December to March, the lake turns to a vibrant sapphire cobalt blue colour, returning to a colder steel grey colour for April to November.

We all decided to drive into town near sunset so that we could do the 3.5km rim walk around the top of the crater in the cooler evening rather than in the heat of the day.

Lake in Blue

Lake in Blue

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135 mm, 1/160 sec at f/6.3, ISO 900

I of course took the camera and just the 28-300mm lens and shot some handheld images as we went around :).

The panorama below is the view from the southern side looking north across the blue lake with the main part of the city of Mount Gambier behind. The eight (8) vertical frames for this pano were taken handheld at 85mm so I was pretty happy it stitched :).

Blue Lake

Blue Lake

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 85 mm, 1/100 sec at f/5, ISO 1800

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.

When everyone finally got back to the starting point there’s a spot with all sorts of gym and exercise equipment setup in the park. Of course my crazy family indulged in the twilight :).

Twilight Gym

Twilight Gym

NIKON D750 + 28.0-300.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 100 mm, 1/100 sec at f/5.6, ISO 4500

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Milky Ribbon…

by on Feb.01, 2016, under Life, Photography

I’d just finished my sequence of frames for a star trails sitting over this windmill. As if it wasn’t late enough already (12:30AM) didn’t want to waste these dark skies and I wanted to try again to get a decent static milky way ribbon streaking through the sky above the windmill.

Milky Ribbon

Milky Ribbon

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

At this time of the year the milky way runs approximately north south and at this time of the night it is quite high in the sky running almost vertically overhead. Unfortunately the core of the milky way is also over the southern horizon so we don’t get to see that massive galactic cluster. Still the ribbon of the milky way in the dark night sky would have to do :).

I’d also mentioned before that the light pollution from Mount Gambier about 50km away was still quite strong on the horizon.

In the end I opted to face directly at the light pollution on the horizon but cover most of it with the water tank at the base of the windmill. I’d figured this would give a nice rim light to my tank and windmill whilst hiding the worst of the glow and give me a half decent angle on the windmill and stars.

Because the angle of the stars is quite steep I decided to go with a vertical panorama. This consisted of five (5) vertical frames taken at 14mm. This covered from almost at my feet in front of the tripod to a little behind me looking straight up.

Red Ribbon

Red Ribbon

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

Having completed the sequence of frames for the pano I also decided to try one with red lighting of the windmill, tank and foreground. I didn’t bother taking the whole sequence again – instead I just took a single red lit frame facing the tank for the second of the five vertical frames and used the same other four frames I’d already taken for the stitch.

This worked and the red result is above. I believe I prefer the more natural light version overall but I do like how the windmill stands out against the dark skies when it is lit with the red light.

So here is a single vertical frame version with some red light (taken from roughly the same spot – just in case my panorama failed me :)).

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

It was now 1AM and I was wrecked :) – time to head to bed…

But not before stopping on the main road for just one more shot… those galaxies spinning in the darkness are just too good to pass up – 1:10AM – really time for bed :)

The White Line

The White Line

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

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Navigating Bradleys…

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

Six months ago…. :)… after a bit of a last minute discussion about potential locations for a Sunday sunrise shoot we opted for a quick trip to Bradley’s Head to shoot the Navigating Lighthouse there.

Our deliberations for a shooting location roamed far and wide from jetty’s and piers way down south to way up north, to seascape locations along the coast.

In the end we (Gerry, Deb and I) opted for convenience (somewhere very close by :)) and hoped for the best :).

Navigating Bradleys

Navigating Bradleys

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 32 mm, 41 sec at f/16, ISO 100

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.

Bradley’s Head is a headland protruding from the north shore of Sydney Harbour in the suburb of Mosman and is quite close to Taronga Zoo.

I’ve shot here on a number of occasions at sunset and it’s a quite popular spot for that because the sun sets behind the city and Harbour bridge to the south west and you have a great view across the water of the harbour.

There are a number of very interesting things at Bradley’s Head. There’s a large amphitheatre area leading down to the waterfront and in front of that leading out into the water is a very old stone pier with old train rails in it.

The foremast of the cruiser HMAS Sydney, renowned for taking part in the Royal Australian Navy’s first ship against ship engagement in World War I, is also mounted on the headland

Finally also on the headland is an active lighthouse to aid in navigating ships, Bradleys Head Light, constructed in 1905.

I’d never shot at this location at sunrise and it was this navigating lighthouse that I wanted to include in my shots here this time.

There’s actually a good reason why this location isn’t a popular sunrise location… The area has a reasonably long promitory of land sticking out into the harbour and theres a single road which leads out and down to the end. There are gates up at the top of that road which are usually locked at at night and reopened in the morning.

This means that you don’t want to be shooting a late sunset at certain times of the year lest you get locked in and likewise we didn’t expect to be able to get in in the morning and planned to park outside and walk in (about 20-30mins).

The location gods smiled on us today – the gates were open and we could drive right down. However this mean we were on location much earlier than we were expecting so it was very very dark :)

Still after a recce of the area and messing about with the parking machine which gratefully accepted our credit card donations but didn’t actually print us any tickets! :) we all headed off and looked for our first compositions.

The three of us actually headed off in different directions this morning which is pretty unusual. As the clouds decided not to appear making us almost wish we were back in bed instead :), Gerry looked to shoot towards the city from the stone pier, Deb went in search of the details and I headed around the point to the lighthouse I wanted to shoot.

Bradleys Light

Bradleys Light

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 32 mm, 134 sec at f/14, ISO 100

This shot is actually the first frame of the morning taken at 6:27AM and still 30 minutes till sunrise. No test exposures here I winged the 134 second exposure on the fly and either skillfully interpreted the ambient light and the rough exposure required OR got lucky and the exposure was just about spot on – you pick :)

The shot up the top of the post was taken just six minutes later and the light had increased significantly – even stopping down a little further the exposure time is reduced to 41 seconds.

As you can see there really wasn’t much cloud about but what there was was sitting right on the horizon – which is at least a small saving grace since that generally means nice smooth toned pastel skies like these…

Having now bagged one of the compositions I was looking for this morning I headed over to the stone pier where Gerry was shooting a sweet panorama of the city.

I quickly took my own (including him out on the pier) and then headed up top to setup for the other composition I wanted to try with the Bradleys Lighthouse of navigating goodness :).

What I really wanted here was a decent amount of cloud and windy conditions so that the clouds were either moving towards or away from me. Alas the skies were clear but I figured I’d still try the Lee Little Stopper long exposure to mystify the water. This one taken just a little after sunrise but it was still hidden behind the cloud to the left.

Navigator

Navigator

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 36 mm, 123 sec at f/13, ISO 100

Then the sun came up and breached the clouds and it was time to head down onto the rocks here which were being lit up nicely by the warm glow of the morning sun.

This is the last shot of the morning before packing up. I’ve stacked my new Format Hitech 1.2 (4 stop) ND grad with the Lee Little Stopper for some early daytime long exposure loveliness. It was hard to get the composition working how I wanted in this cramped spot (I’ve got the tripod down at the lowest position and I’m jammed up against the rock face along the coast). Still I liked the end result at a pretty wide 18mm.

Up and Down

Up and Down

NIKON D750 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 18 mm, 62 sec at f/13, ISO 100

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