The Wild Rhino’s are Here…

A huge herd of wildly colourful rhino sculptures have charged into town to create a spectacular sculpture trail through the streets, parks and public spaces of Sydney, Dubbo and surrounds during February to April 2014 to help raise awareness of the critical plight facing rhinos through poaching and habitat loss.

I joined some friends from Google Plus for a Drink & Click following a trail of Rhino’s through the streets of Sydney – followed by drinks, dinner and lots of great conversation in The Rocks.

I was figuring straight on shots of Rhino’s weren’t going to cut it and as I had this Glass Orb (that Ana made me get :)) I planned to use it for every shot for some Rhino funkiness…

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.

Giving Light to Rhinos

Giving Light to Rhinos

NIKON D600 + 90.0 mm f/2.8 @ 90 mm, 1/400 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100

Rhino in the Palm of my Hand

Rhino in the Palm of my Hand

NIKON D600 + 90.0 mm f/2.8 @ 90 mm, 1/125 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100

The Urban Jungle

The Urban Jungle

NIKON D600 + 90.0 mm f/2.8 @ 90 mm, 1/125 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100

Camouflage

Camouflage

NIKON D600 + 90.0 mm f/2.8 @ 90 mm, 1/320 sec at f/4, ISO 100

Look at Me

Look at Me

NIKON D600 + 90.0 mm f/2.8 @ 90 mm, 1/100 sec at f/5.6, ISO 250

Porcelain Smile

Porcelain Smile

NIKON D600 + 90.0 mm f/2.8 @ 90 mm, 1/100 sec at f/8, ISO 640

Porcelain Rhino

Porcelain Rhino

NIKON D600 + 90.0 mm f/2.8 @ 90 mm, 1/100 sec at f/8, ISO 720

Heavy Weight

Heavy Weight

NIKON D600 + 90.0 mm f/2.8 @ 90 mm, 1/100 sec at f/8, ISO 180

Dawning on Curracurrong…

’twas an early morning exercise adventure which brought me to Curracurrong Falls in the Royal National Park south of Sydney…

I woke just before 3AM to get ready and head over to pick up Gerry (and his bike – more on that later) from his place just before 4AM. We drove into the Royal National Park south of Sydney – we were hoping for a spectacular sunrise with a raging torrent of water coming over the falls which dumps into the ocean (Sydney had been having quite a bit of rain lately and the forecast was for some clouds). Unfortunately as we were driving into the National Park it started raining – an ominous sign perhaps

We parked at the gate at the start of the firetrail and unloaded the push bikes – and began our half hour long ride down rocky firetrails in the darkness towards the coast

It was dark – really really dark, and still drizzly – but we were here now so it was time to make the best of it

Gerry and I camped out on a somewhat scary looking ledge under the overhang of a large boulder hanging out over the cliff – at least it was relatively dry and sheltered from most of the wind here… We were right next to the pitiful excuse for the falls – yep – that torrent of water turned out to be a dribble 🙁

It was still almost an hour before sunrise and we could hear and feel the booming of the very heavy waves crashing against the cliff way way below us. We tried some long exposures in the darkness and as it gradually became lighter some panorama frames but nothing I’m particularly fond of

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.

About twenty minutes before sunrise and the gloom had lightened enough to be a dark grey but we could see the deep greeny blue of the water below with the slash of white froth from the raging seas

Riding the Stormy Seas

Riding the Stormy Seas

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 36 mm, 3 sec at f/11, ISO 100

during a brief break in the drizzle I went for a bit of a wander (this one right on what was meant to be sunrise) – I was keen to do something with these very Dr Seuss style shrubs perched right on the cliff edge

Lorax

Lorax

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 31 mm, 2 sec at f/11, ISO 100

About an hour after sunrise we started getting some colour in the sky and way off in the distance the sun started to rise above and break through some of the heavy cloud. The cracks in the sky allowed a fantastic patch of god rays beaming down out to sea. Moving around to the other side of the falls to allow some compositions with the good light and Eagle Rock sticking out over the sea. The rays and the sky were very bright but the mid and foreground very dark so this is a manual multi layer merge (and given my limited photoshop skills – a pretty dodgy one at that) in photoshop of three exposures (-3EV, -1EV and +1EV)

Eagle Rays at the Abyss

Eagle Rays at the Abyss

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 60 mm, 1/2 sec at f/16, ISO 100

Almost 100 minutes after sunrise

The Hedge

The Hedge

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm, 6 sec at f/11, ISO 100

and a final selfie to end the morning session at Curracurrong falls – we’d been here for two and a half hours and the really heavy rain looked to be moving in – it was time to bail and begin the nearly debilitating 40 minute cycle up hill back to the car

The Eagle and I

The Eagle and I

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 27 mm, 1/4 sec at f/11, ISO 100

Before and After – What a Difference Time Makes…

What a difference a little time can make to a photograph…

Some time ago I’d posted some sunset images I’d taken at Kirribilli one night looking down a nice little stone jetty back towards the Sydney Opera House, the city and the Sydney Harbour Bridge with some crazy light filled cracks in the clouds in the sky.

Teaching Point: I thought I’d post a little Before and After comparison. In this case it’s not a before and after “processing” (both of these images have had the same processing applied to them (synchronised in Adobe Lightroom)) but rather a before and after at capture time highlighting one of the controls you have when you’re actually taking the image – time.

These two frames were taken consecutively less than one minute apart.

Tear in the Fabric – Before and After

Tear in the Fabric - Before and After

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 18 mm, 2.5 & 15 sec at f/11, ISO 100 + Hitech 0.9 Reverse Grad (+ Lee 0.9 ND)

I’d first taken a “normal” shot just using a 3 stop reverse grad filter to hold down the exposure of the horizon and sky. It was quite dark just before sunset with very heavy clouds blocking the sun so we already had a fairly long 2.5 second exposure. We’re getting a touch of streaky movement in the clouds and smoothish water with this exposure time…

However I was looking for a more streaky sky with fast moving clouds moving away from us overhead so I added a 3 stop ND and used a 15 second exposure. Taking what was already a quite respectable image to I believe a more interesting image – you be the judge…

Cambewarra Curves…

With my eldest daughter on a drive to visit some sights one afternoon – across Cambewarra mountain to the beautiful Kangaroo Valley and then across the fantastic ridge road to Berry before returning home.

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.

Cambewarra Curves

Cambewarra Curves

NIKON D600 + 50.0-500.0 mm f/4.5-6.3 @ 210 mm, 1/160 sec at f/13, ISO 800

Hampden Bridge

Hampden Bridge

NIKON D600 + 50.0-500.0 mm f/4.5-6.3 @ 116 mm, 1/160 sec at f/8, ISO 100

Berry Road

Berry Road

NIKON D600 + 50.0-500.0 mm f/4.5-6.3 @ 65 mm, 1/4 sec at f/11, ISO 100

Shoalhaven River Bridge…

My family all decided to go for an early evening stroll down to the banks of the Shoalhaven River and have a little picnic for dinner there. They needed someone to drive the food down and I wanted to take some photos so…

It was still almost two hours till sunset but there was a bit of movement in the sky and I know what I could do with the water here so it was time to get out the dark glass and see what we could extract from a long exposure panorama.

Seven frames with the 24-70 at 50mm and f/16 with the Lee BigStopper stacked with a 3 stop Lee ND and ISO 50 to allow me to extend the exposures as much as I could.

Teaching Point:
I had to adjust the exposures as I went around to adjust for varying light (shutter speeds ranged from 89 to 123 seconds). I also waited on the left (where the sun was directly in the three frames on the left) for the sun to go behind heavy clouds before taking those shots so as to further reduce the light levels.

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.

Converted the final result to monochrome and adjusted to taste (especially the water) and we have

Old and New

Old and New

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 50 mm, 123 sec at f/16, ISO 50

I was looking to do some more graphic shots with the interesting lines and shapes underneath the twin bridges and was bracketing exposures that I was expecting to later process into HDR’s. However I got a little luck late in the day when the sun went behind some heavy cloud cover and the giant softbox in the sky evened the light for me – filling in the dark shadowy areas under the bridge and controlling those highlight areas which were in direct sun. So this is a direct monochrome conversion of a single exposure

V

V

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 62 mm, 1/2 sec at f/16, ISO 100

Finally a single 13 stop ND long exposure of the twin Shoalhaven River Bridges – apparently this grand old one nearest us is not long for this world and will be demolished soon – I for one will be sad to see this icon of my childhood here gone

The Old Iron Bridge

The Old Iron Bridge

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm, 244.00 sec at f/13, ISO 50