Archive for June, 2010
Woke up this morning and during breakfast noticed that our back lawn appeared to be a winter wonderland (we don’t get snow in Sydney!) – the girls were very impressed with the scene. No wonder it felt super chilly – apparently it was the coldest morning in Sydney since 1998.
Never one to miss a potential photo op I grabbed the D90 and whacked on the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 lens and grabbed some shots.
Frozen blades of grass:
a lonely little tree in a sea of white in our neighbours front lawn:
Last night I noticed that we had a very full moon in the sky and what I had initially noticed was that the clouds on the horizon as seen from my window were very lit up (by the strong moonlight) even to the naked eye. I looked up and saw the moon above in full glory so decided to grab the camera and tripod and take a few shots.
This time I took my sharpest longish lens (my Tamron 90mm f/2.8) and setup my Nikon D90 on the Manfrotto tripod at the window and started taking some shots.
I took my first test shot in Aperture priority mode (1/4 sec @ f/4.0, ISO 200) – however since my camera was still in Matrix Metering mode the moon was massively overexposed with a huge halo around it so all I ended up with was a large blurry white fireball to burn out my retinas – plus the moon appears to move fairly quickly across the sky (you only notice this when you’re pointing a zoomed camera at the moon on a tripod and notice that it moves between shots and you have to reframe) so even at 1/4 sec I expect we’ll see the movement.
OK brain kicked into gear – of course with a smallish bright object surrounded with dark black the camera was going to try and average the scene brightness to get the exposure.
I then set my camera to Spot Metering and again focused on the moon and took the shot (1/200 sec @ f/4.0 and 1/25 sec @ f/11) – better but it’s still just a solid white ball – at least the edges look sharp now.
OK time for some exposure compensation. I started at first with -2EV (1/100 sec @ f/11) and then the following at -3EV (1/250 sec @ f/11):
and then finally -4EV (1/500 sec @ f/11 and 1/3200 sec @ f/4):
I havn’t post processed any of the above images other than to crop them – I’m pretty happy with how they turned out given it was my first attempt at shooting the moon.
Oh and that skyline with the cool looking clouds lit by the moonlight that drew me to this in the first place 🙂 – this is the view looking across at Chatswood city and this shot from memory pretty much approximates how it looked to the naked eye:
and finally – playing with a bit of Bokeh – I manually focused my lens and purposely moved it a fair bit out of focus whilst pointing at the lights of Chatswood in the distance to see what I’d get and…
Continuing our trip around western New South Wales we spent a few more days with relatives on their farm.
The following two images were taken in the cool crisp morning with a clear blue sky. It was time to drag the Manfrotto tripod and my D90 with the Sigma 8-16mm ultra wide angle lens out into the paddock opposite the farmhouse and take some wide shots. I have to say however that my two younger daughters who I also coaxed into this little outing weren’t quite so pleased with having to walk through head high (for them) grass and thistles 🙁
The following photo is a High Dynamic Range (HDR) image I generated from three bracketed shots at 0, -2 and +2 EV. I took this on the tripod rather than handheld which has resulted in a much sharper final merged image. I purposely included the sun in the corner of the frame (which also added those interesting lens flares across the image):
Also using my tripod I took 8 shots at 45 degree intervals with the camera oriented vertically with my D90 and Sigma 8-16mm ultra wide angle lens set at 8mm. These were then stitched into the panorama below – in this view the left and right edges join (creating a cylinder) to complete a 360 degree view.
As is usual for a panorama I shoot in full manual mode and the exposure for all the shots is locked beforehand (choose appropriate Aperture first, lock the ISO at something sensible and then select your Shutter Speed) so that we don’t end up with radically different exposures across the frame which won’t blend correctly (this is especially important for shots which have the sun or shadows in them). You do however have to choose an “appropriate” exposure which is going to “work” across the range of images which are shot in a full 360 degree circle. This can be very difficult when one or more of the shots are directly into the low sun (as is the case here – these were taken around 9:45AM). Choosing a “correct” exposure for the sun can mean all the others are extremely dark (underexposed) and likewise choosing a correct exposure for the darkest shot can mean the sun ones are just totally blown out – it is a tricky balance – start with an exposure somewhere towards the middle and then perhaps take the shutter speed a stop or so above that.
In this shot my girls look tiny and far away whereas in reality they were only standing just over a metre from the camera (extreme wide angle and a stitched pano pushes everything away). If you’d like to view the panorama “as if you were there” then click on the link or the image below to view it as a fully interactive 360° virtual reality view that you can pan around and up and down as well as zoom in and out of as if you were standing at the centre of the scene.
Later in the morning the whole family took a trip to a more remote part of the property to have a nice family picnic and barbeque (and to toast marshmellows on the bonfire – which the kids loved 🙂 ).
A lucky grab of pure joy on the face of my nephew as he was climbing on the old fallen tree (taken with my favourite portrait combo D90 + Tamron 90mm f/2.8 lens):
and a couple of my girls:
and a handheld almost macro of the grasses with the sky and clouds as the blurred background:
Finally at the end of the day just after sunset the following was taken during twilight from just outside the back door of the house. It was very VERY cold outside so I didn’t want to walk very far 🙂 and even the horse was very obliging standing in the shot for me 🙂
This is another HDR generated from three bracketed shots at 0, -2 and +2 EV and on a tripod.
Our family was on a bit of a road trip around western New South Wales over the past few days.
The following image of the dish was taken with my D90 + Sigma 8-16mm UWA lens:
We stayed in Dubbo that night and early the next morning we spent a few hours out at Western Plains Zoo.
The last time my eldest daughter and I were at Dubbo Zoo we were on a school band camp and it was 47+ degrees celcius (117 degrees farenheit for you North Americans) – today it was between zero and 10 degrees celcius.
All the following photos were taken with my D90 + Nikon 18-200mm UltraZoom lens.
I was pretty happy to catch a shot of these baby Giraffe’s “kissing”:
We were lucky enough to get up pretty close to the Zebra’s which enabled me to capture this close up front on (in hindsight I wish I’d switched to my Tamron 90mm f/2.8 lens – it’s sharper and has a nicer Bokeh which would have been perfect for this photo – you live and learn 🙂 ):
In the bird sanctuary these black swans and the cygnets created a perfect frame for the following photo:
The following shot was taken in colour and then converted to greyscale in Adobe Lightroom:
… and continuing with my autumn leaves:
The following is a full 360 degree panorama I took in Hyde Park late yesterday afternoon (just before coming home after work). As it was quite late in the day – just before sunset it was actually fairly dark in the park.
In this view the left and right edges join (creating a cylinder) to complete the 360 degree view. In reality the left hand side of the image looks across the pond in front of the war memorial and down Hyde Park itself (looking North) and the right side shows the memorial itself (looking South).
Using my tripod I took 8 shots at 45 degree intervals with the camera oriented vertically with my D90 and Sigma 8-16mm ultra wide angle lens set at 8mm. These were then stitched into the panorama below. NB: I cheated and doctored the sky afterwards since it was basically blown out to white 🙂
The next is a High Dynamic Range (HDR) image I generated from shots taken from the top of the war memorial steps looking back towards the city buildings around museum station – it was actually those cool looking clouds tinged with the pink of sunset that I wanted in the shot. I used bracketed shots at 0, -2 and +2 EV.
This last shot was taken inside the war memorial itself and shows the value of an extremely wide lens taking in an expansive view in limited space.