Target This…

From the Louis Vuitton store front window… had been meaning to take this shot for some time…

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.

NIKON D7000 + 12.0-24.0 mm f/4.0 @ 12 mm, 1/60 sec at f/4, ISO 320

Light Painting at Balls Head…

Whilst we were waiting for our star trails exposures to complete (see this post) we spent the time using our second camera bodies practising some light painting.

We setup with the city as our backdrop and used the grassed area in the foreground to provide an area to paint. It was a fun evening even though we didn’t feel like we created anything particularly mind blowing. I’ll save you from the many abysmal failures 🙂 and just show you some of the samples which at least worked 🙂

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.

In this first we have a couple different green and blue strands of EL wire creating the not very convincing whispy blueish fire at the bottom, some smaller domes on the left (created using a bicycle wheel with an axle the same length as the radius of the wheel with some battery powered fairy lights around the rim) and a larger dome on the right using a length of dowel with a gelled torch at the end and to finish a sparkler was added at the very end (nice touch Kath :)). A 250 second exposure at f/20 gives us enough time to complete the painting.

NIKON D90 + 17.0-50.0 mm f/2.8 @ 26 mm, 251 sec at f/20, ISO 200

In this second we’re using an iPad app Kath discovered to paint letters into the scene (you (attempt 🙂 to) move the iPad smoothly through the scene as it projects the sliver of text over time).

NIKON D90 + 17.0-50.0 mm f/2.8 @ 31 mm, 30.999993330543

Lastly an orb of light created by spinning some gelled battery powered fairy lights at the end of a length of wire in a circle whilst slowly rotating around a central point on the ground.

NIKON D90 + 17.0-50.0 mm f/2.8 @ 31 mm, 99.999986845819

Star Trails over Sydney City and Harbour…

After my wildly successful first attempt at Star Trails out in the country on a clear star filled night it was time to up the ante and attempt one in the heart of the city.

This basically breaks one of the cardinal rules of good star trails – getting away from light pollution – taking the image facing the heart of the CBD where light pollution will be at it’s peak is somewhat risky 🙂

Kath and I headed down to Balls Head Reserve on the northern side of Sydney Harbour where you can get a good view across the harbour with the Sydney Harbour bridge and Opera House on the left, Sydney’s CBD skyline in the middle and Darling Harbour across to the Anzac bridge to the right. The evening wasn’t looking promising from the start with the sky filled with light stringy clouds and the haze from burn off which were likely to reflect the light back down from the city (which they did). So at least it looked promising that we’d be doing nice colourful sunset shots instead (which as it happens also conspired not to happen with a pretty uneventful sunset).

We setup for the star trails anyway and a quick check of the iPad astronomy app showed Sigma Octanis (the centre of the star rotation) to be somewhere just to the right of Darling Harbour for us. We took a number of twilight images to use as the base for the city and water in our final image (I used a 3 stop hard grad ND over the sky for these).

We then switched to star trails mode and reversed the grads in an attempt to block out the light from the lower half of the image (basically from the top of the buildings down) – I stacked both my 2 and 3 stop hard grads for this. It was then a bit of trial and error to get an exposure for the star trails shots and this is when the problems really began…

In the country I used 60 second exposures at f/4 and ISO 1250. In the city I tried 30 second exposures at f/4 and ISO 1600 which resulted in a nuclear wasteland – basically the entire sky was just pure white. I tried a number of exposures but everything resulted in washed out sky – even my final selection of 25 seconds at f/4 and ISO 800 was looking very very grim on the LCD – any shorter and I was not going to capture any motion of the stars and any lower ISO and I might not register any stars at all. Those damn clouds and crap in the sky (and the 8:30PM fireworks display at Darling Harbour probably didn’t help :)) were just reflecting the city light back at us and blocking out the stars.

We were there anyway so we decided to just give it a try and set the intervalometers off on their task. I setup for 399 shots (almost three hours worth) from 6:10PM and even the shots at the end looked disastrous.

Luckily we’d both also brought second camera bodies and Kath had brought the full light painting arsenal so we spent the next three to four hours experimenting with light painting in the grassed area next to where we’d setup for trails whilst we were waiting for them to complete. Will post some of those in a follow up thread when done.

As it happens the camera managed to capture some star trails far better than I had expected and at least a few really bright stars managed to register through the light and clouds – still not a patch on my efforts in clear unpolluted sky – but the end result after blending with the twilight exposure turned out far better than I had hoped.

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.

NIKON D7000 + 12.0-24.0 mm f/4.0 @ 12 mm, 25 sec at f/4, ISO 800

Lighthouse Dreams…

Another early morning, another photo opportunity…

Back to Hornby Lighthouse which is at the tip of South Head of Sydney Harbour – right out on the end past HMAS Watson.

It’s a very pretty location and this time it wasn’t threatening to rain with 100% overcast skies. We didn’t get a lot of colour with sunrise but twilight was quite pretty with soft purples and blues and for those who waited till well after sunrise we were greeted with second chance God rays on the horizon for quite some time.

For those who would like to visit, the best place to park is the car park at the end of Cliff street at Camp Cove, you then walk out onto the beach and up the stairs at the end and just follow the path around to the lighthouse (about a ten to fifteen minute walk).

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.

Pre dawn long exposure

NIKON D7000 + 12.0-24.0 mm f/4.0 @ 12 mm, 120 sec at f/11, ISO 100

and another square composition before the sun rose

Light’s On, Someone Home?

NIKON D7000 + 12.0-24.0 mm f/4.0 @ 12 mm, 60 sec at f/16, ISO 100

Light Spiral

NIKON D7000 + 12.0-24.0 mm f/4.0 @ 12 mm, 1/10 sec at f/11, ISO 100

Sigma 50-500mm OS First Shots…

I had some short windows of time over the weekend to go out for a walk in the local streets and bushland and take some shots with the new lens.

I do understand the conditions weren’t ideal for photography – both days I was out just in the middle of the day on bright clear blue sky days so… hard raking shadows and no soft light shots here :). Sunday was also very windy so waiting for non swaying subjects was a test of patience 🙂

However all in all I was very happy with the performance of the lens and the results

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.

Saturday:

First some autumn colour – shot wide open at f/6.3 (290mm, 1/500 @ ISO 280)

NIKON D7000 + 50.0-500.0 mm f/4.5-6.3 @ 290 mm, 1/500 sec at f/6.3, ISO 280

and a close up view on a tree which had lost almost all it’s leaves now – again wide open at f/6.3 (380mm, 1/500 @ ISO 220)

NIKON D7000 + 50.0-500.0 mm f/4.5-6.3 @ 380 mm, 1/500 sec at f/6.3, ISO 220

the view of some of the tree’s down the street – 290mm, 1/500 @ f/8, ISO 720

NIKON D7000 + 50.0-500.0 mm f/4.5-6.3 @ 290 mm, 1/500 sec at f/8, ISO 720

Some flower bokeh – again wide open at f/6.3 (340mm, 1/500 @ ISO 220). The flowerbed was all in a row with the harsh sun directly above and to the right slightly – in hindsight I should have moved closer to the main flower to put the rest of the flower background a little further out of the DOF

NIKON D7000 + 50.0-500.0 mm f/4.5-6.3 @ 340 mm, 1/500 sec at f/6.3, ISO 220

Sunday:

Banksia Man – shadows and light – 290mm, 1/250 @ f/8, ISO 450

NIKON D7000 + 50.0-500.0 mm f/4.5-6.3 @ 290 mm, 1/250 sec at f/8, ISO 450

Bokeh test 🙂 – a miniature landscape – 210mm, 1/250 @ f/6, ISO 180

NIKON D7000 + 50.0-500.0 mm f/4.5-6.3 @ 210 mm, 1/250 sec at f/6, ISO 180

Tree lichen set against the deep blue sky – 210mm, 1/250 @ f/6 @ ISO 100 & 170mm, 1/250 @ f/8 @ ISO 200

NIKON D7000 + 50.0-500.0 mm f/4.5-6.3 @ 210 mm, 1/250 sec at f/6, ISO 100

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NIKON D7000 + 50.0-500.0 mm f/4.5-6.3 @ 170 mm, 1/250 sec at f/8, ISO 200

and finally for the birders out there :). Note I’m not a bird nut (yet :)) so this is perhaps my first attempt and this waggy little thing flitted all about the place making him very difficult to track @ 500mm (I don’t know how you guys do it… sigh…) – still happy with the result and more so the detail in the feathers in the second shot even wide open (f/6.3) at full zoom (500mm)

500mm, 1/250 @ f/8, ISO 125

NIKON D7000 + 50.0-500.0 mm f/4.5-6.3 @ 500 mm, 1/250 sec at f/8, ISO 125

500mm, 1/800 @ f/6.3, ISO 320

NIKON D7000 + 50.0-500.0 mm f/4.5-6.3 @ 500 mm, 1/800 sec at f/6.3, ISO 320