Worldwide Photo Walk Sydney 2010…

On Saturday the 24th of July I joined one of the two Sydney based walks for Scott Kelby’s Third Annual Worldwide Photo Walk. Over 30,000 walkers attended more than 1000 walks on the day (with each walk limited to a maximum of 50 people).

I joined a walk organised by our walk leader Philip Johnson which started at the top of Macquarie Street in the city and worked it’s way down the street and into Sydneys Royal Botanic Gardens and then across to Circular Quay for lunch.

Just before I joined the walk start I took some shots with my Ultra Wide Angle lens at St Mary’s Cathedral (something I had planned to do last time I was here – but it had started to rain back then).

The following is a HDR image taken at the main steps of St Mary’s Cathedral and merged from three bracketed exposures at -2, 0 and +2EV.

“Steps to Heaven”

D90 + Sigma 8-16mm @ 8mm, 1/60 sec at f/11, ISO 250

Hyde Park Baracks – “Stools”

D90 + Nikon 18-200mm @ 105mm, 1/100 sec at f/7.1, ISO 200

The Hyde Park Barracks are at the southern end of Macquarie Street. The barracks are located near the north-east corner of Hyde Park, opposite Queens Square and beside the Sydney Mint. Hyde Park Barracks were designed and built by the convict architect Francis Greenway between 1818 and 1819. Today it is managed by the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales as a museum.

Walking down Macquarie Street:

D90 + Nikon 18-200mm @ 150mm, 1/250 sec at f/7.1, ISO 200

Morshead Fountain inside the Royal Botanical Gardens – in memory of Lieutenant-General Sir Lesley Morshead (knighted for his defence of Tobruk in World War II) and the men who served with him, 1966:

D90 + Tamron 90mm, 1/2500 sec at f/5, ISO 200

“Birth”

D90 + Tamron 90mm Macro, 1/125 sec at f/9, ISO 200

I was lucky enough to have this Ibis land in one of the pieces of art/sculpture right next to me and start to drink from the bowl at the top and this allowed me to get some close up shots (with the lens I happened to have on the camera at the time) from only a metre or two away before flying off:

D90 + Tamron 90mm, 1/500 sec at f/9, ISO 200

Some very interesting leaves (I was attracted to the textures and colours) on some plants in the gardens:

D90 + Tamron 90mm, 1/1000 sec at f/4, ISO 200

It’s Australia so we have to have eucalyptus 🙂 :

D90 + Tamron 90mm, 1/125 sec at f/9, ISO 200

NSW Government House located in the Domain and overlooking the Royal Botanic Gardens and Sydney Opera House, is the most sophisticated example of a Gothic Revival building in New South Wales. It was built between 1837 and 1843.

I think the last time I was here was probably at the Queens Scout Award ceremony back when the governor general lived here and held the ceremony in the grounds out back.

“Old and New”

D90 + Tamron 90mm, 1/125 sec at f/11, ISO 200

The following is a HDR image of the rear of government house merged from three bracketed exposures at -2, 0 and +2EV.

“Grand Colonial Daze”

D90 + Sigma 8-16mm @ 8mm, 1/200 sec at f/9, ISO 200

“The Lily Pond”, in the grounds of government house:

D90 + Sigma 8-16mm @ 8mm, 1/160 sec at f/11, ISO 200

New Benro Carbon Fibre Monopod…

I really like my Manfrotto 190 Pro B Tripod and the 488RC4 ball head and quick release plate that I use – very well made, solidly built, strong as steel, stable and reliable. It however weighs almost 3 kilograms all up and thats a heavy load to carry when walking around for half a day.

So I’ve been thinking of investing in a lightweight monopod for a while and today I pulled the trigger on the MC-91M8 MC-Series Carbon Fiber monopod from Benro along with the BH-1-M BH-Series single action ball head with quick release plate also from Benro.

This version can extend to a very high 164cm’s and has three small flip out legs (which can come out of the bottom legpiece) which allow the monopod to be self standing – I doubt I’d trust it standalone with my camera on board but as a makeshift stand for something light like a flash indoors I’d say it would be fine.

All up this weighs a tiny 1kg and appears to be a very solid piece of kit.

Carbon fibre supports (tripods and monopods) usually cost an absolute fortune but all up I picked this up for AUD $195 from a store here in Sydney (Photo Shop Studio) – a far cry from the well over $400 it would have cost me for the Manfrotto or Giottos equivalent carbon fibre monopod and head.

After I’ve used it for a few photo shoots I’ll report back on my findings.

Dawn Seascape Shoot – Long Reef @ Collaroy…

This is my second dawn seascape shoot (inspired to try this type of shooting somewhat by the awesome work of Xenedis and Brent Pearson) – also many thanks to the folks from the photography forums for inviting me on both occasions.

Note: Click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay gallery viewer.

It was another very chilly 5:30AM start in total darkness at the carpark at Long Reef (behind the Golf Club) at Collaroy – scrambling over a couple hundred metres of extremely slippery rocks and low water in the pitch dark to get to the edge of the reef was “invigorating”.

I should note that I don’t own any of the essential tools of choice of seasoned landscape and seascape shooters (ND’s or GND’s – Neutral Density and Graduated Neutral Density filters) (and there is no filter thread on my Ultra Wide Angle lens so it would have to be handheld even if I did) so I have to make do with what I can. I also discovered the gradient tool thingy in Adobe Lightroom so had a bit of a play and got much better results adjusting the single RAW exposures (rather than using HDR).

Firstly Way Pre Dawn – this is a 3 minute exposure I took looking back towards the City – so the ambient light in the sky is coming from the main city. I didn’t have my remote with me so this is a three minute hand hold the shutter button down – not ideal but it appears to have basically worked although I did have to heavily post process this image to bring it back…

D90 + Sigma 8-16mm @ 16mm, 177 sec at f/11, ISO 200

Pre Dawn (the very long shutter speed misty water look) [6:20AM]:

D90 + Sigma 8-16mm @ 8mm, 30 sec at f/11, ISO 200

The next two shots are the slower shutter speed flowing water shots – the first at 6:35AM and the second just after 7AM:

D90 + Sigma 8-16mm @ 12mm, 2 sec at f/13, ISO 200

.

D90 + Sigma 8-16mm @ 13mm, 1/13 sec at f/16, ISO 200

Looking Back (this is the headland we walked down and the rocky reef we walked across in the darkness) [7:15AM]:

D90 + Sigma 8-16mm @ 12mm, 1/25 sec at f/16, ISO 200

The edge of the reef in the early morning light [7:35AM]:

D90 + Nikon 18-200mm @ 31mm, 1/80 sec at f/9, ISO 200

A Panoramic shot of the headland and beach (this is a single ultra wide shot cropped):

D90 + Sigma 8-16mm @ 8mm, 1/200 sec at f/11, ISO 200

Clear Winter Skies in Sydney City…

I had some of my gear in the office with me one day last week so I decided to to do another impromptu lunchtime shoot in the city of Sydney. Went for a bit of a walk towards Cockle Bay/Darling Harbour for a quick lunch and grabbed a few shots along the way.

Note: Click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay gallery viewer.

I loved the colours and the way the reflected light was falling onto this old building in the city (near Town Hall):

D90 + Nikon 18-200mm @ 29mm, 1/60 sec at f/11, ISO 200

Just at the entrance to Cockle Bay I saw these poles sticking up into the sky and had to frame this shot against the sparkling blue skies:

D90 + Nikon 18-200mm @ 56mm, 1/100 sec at f/8, ISO 200, CPL

At the end of Cockle Bay wharf there was this interesting little jetty with nicely lined up poles and as luck would have it a seagull arrived on cue 🙂 :

D90 + Nikon 18-200mm @ 50mm, 1/160 sec at f/11, ISO 200, CPL

Finally on the way back to the office we have this shot of the clock tower on Sydney’s Town Hall in the early afternoon sun:

D90 + Nikon 18-200mm @ 56mm, 1/160 sec at f/9, ISO 200, CPL

Macro Photography Part II…

Continuing our macro quest from the other day here is another selection of five shots from that shoot.

Note: Click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay gallery viewer.

D90 + Tamron 90mm Macro, 1/160 sec at f/11, ISO 200

.

D90 + Tamron 90mm Macro, 1/160 sec at f/11, ISO 200

.

D90 + Tamron 90mm Macro, 1/160 sec at f/11, ISO 200

.

D90 + Tamron 90mm Macro, 1/160 sec at f/11, ISO 200

.

D90 + Tamron 90mm Macro, 1/160 sec at f/11, ISO 200

.

D90 + Tamron 90mm Macro, 1/160 sec at f/11, ISO 200