Exciting Skies…

The sun had risen and I thought it was nearly all over – it was half an hour after sunrise by this stage. Perhaps time for one more look down on the rocks below where I’d started the morning and we’d be out of here.

In the five minutes it took to pack up and for us to walk back down to the bottom however, interesting clouds had started to move in and the sky and conditions became a lot more moody. Perhaps the morning shoot wasn’t over after all.

Moving In

Moving In

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 19 mm, 1/2 sec at f/11, ISO 100

With the interesting broken cloud moving in fast from the south we started to get crazy light breaks in the sky and God rays galore out to sea.

My girls could see the way the light was streaming down behind the cliff on the headland where we were earlier and it was actually they who suggested this shot. They made their way all the way back up to the top whilst I framed a composition down here. With me directing via crazy gesticulating motions of my arms I got them into position on the ridgeline and when the silhouettes looked right we got this…

Exciting Times

Exciting Times

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 22 mm, 1/3 sec at f/11, ISO 100

It’s hard to make out the girls up on the ridgeline at 22mm without really looking at a large version of the image. I did another take zoomed out to 70mm on the 24-70 for a tighter view.

Reach for the Sky

Reach for the Sky

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1/25 sec at f/8, ISO 100

Pink Flush in Cronulla…

The rapid change in light and colour during our sunrise session at Cronulla Beach was nothing short of amazing.

The change from deep blues, through various shades of purples and pinks through to bright fiery yellows, oranges and reds and then back to deep purples and blues tinged with pink fire was as quick as it was fantastic. In the space of ten minutes we’d seen everything.

Cobalt Flush

Cobalt Flush

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 15 sec at f/13, ISO 100

This was not the morning to be fumbling with camera settings, camera setup or compositions. If it was working you’d stay there, if it wasn’t you needed to move and work quickly and surely.

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.

To finish off my morning session I tried a few different things in the changing light…

Up top the surreal colour and reflections at 6:45AM and just a few minutes to “sunrise” (not that we’d actually see the sun with that very heavy band of cloud out to sea).

Two minutes later and I’d moved to try a composition with these cratered and pockmarked rocks with tiny pools of reflective water.

Moonscape Visions

Moonscape Visions

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 15 sec at f/13, ISO 100

and finally over to the pool to chat with the others right after “sunrise”. I wanted to use a long exposure to smooth the water and give this pool a more soft surreal feel to go with the rest of the conditions. I dropped the ISO down to 50 and amazingly our swimmer rested still enough against the wall of the pool long enough to get a sharp image even at 13 seconds.

Waiting on Ice

Waiting on Ice

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 13 sec at f/13, ISO 50

and just like that our morning session was over – the others had packed up and we’re off to a local cafe for some well earned sustenance.

What Value Resolution?…

Having discovered something interesting when stitching and editing one of my recent stitched panorama’s from Kangaroo Island I thought it was an interesting lead in to a side topic on digital image resolution.

Whirl Wind

Whirl Wind

NIKON D600 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm, 1/200 sec at f/8, ISO 100

Normally measured in pixels digital image files have a certain “resolution” which defines the number of pixels in the file (where a pixel represents a single “dot” in the digital image file).

Without going into too much boring technical detail – digital camera’s have a digital sensor which captures the light data coming through the lens and each sensor has a certain pixel count (these days measured in Megapixels (MP) (or millions of pixels)). Sensors also have a physical size which when divided up by the megapixel count of the sensor defines how big each pixels sensor bucket physically is.

So getting back to the panorama I took – on screen and displayed at a relatively small size I could possibly have taken the 360˚ panorama using my iPhone and the results might have looked reasonably similar. Likewise even with my D-SLR (which has a physically much bigger sensor and thus much better per pixel detail/dynamic range/etc) if I could get a lens which allowed me to take a 360 degree image in a single shot I’d be left with a 24MP (megapixel) image file which I’d have to crop down vertically to get this panorama aspect ratio. I’d still be left with an image which is 6000 odd pixels wide (the horizontal resolution of my camera’s sensor).

By taking multiple (15) separate overlapping images with the camera held vertically and then stitching all those frames together in software I’m able to create a massive 25,000 pixel wide (nearly 160MP image file) image file.

So what does this resolution get you, what’s the value proposition.

Firstly resolution in and of itself is not of real value. Coupled with “good” data it “can” (and they are the appropriate catch) provide value for certain use cases…

If you are only ever going to view the full image on screen then probably not a great deal (depending on the screen size and resolution). It’s likely the image will have less distortion and more and cleaner detail but not massively so and probably not to the naked eye.

However if you plan to print the image then can make a great difference. Printing a 25,000 pixel wide image allows photo realistic printing at 240dpi at sizes up to 2.65 metres wide (and you’d be able to put your face right up to the print and still see the fine detail and not the pixels).

Another possibility is being able to zoom into and crop the image. This is what I found in the panorama I’d edited. When zooming into parts of the image (at 100% – which is a massive zoom in for a file this size) I discovered my daughters in the image :). I hadn’t realised they were both in there at the time I was taking the frames for this particular panorama.

Panorama Zoomed View

Panorama Zoomed View

Panorama Zoomed View

The image here shows what this looks like – at the top is the full wide panorama. At the full view you’d have no idea there were people in the image so far away.

Then below I’ve started zooming into the image – each time doubling the level of magnification of the zoom into the source image file. Note that at each step there’s still more fine pixel detail in the source file and I’m not digitally zooming pixels but rather just refining my view into this massive data file. It’s not till I get to 4x view that you can see my first daughter just sticking up from behind the boulders on the left. At 8x you can see my second daughter walking across the rocks in the far distance on the bottom right.

Finally at the bottom I’ve got the 100% zoomed view where you can see the pixels in the source file at 1:1 view and still the fine detail is reasonably good. Note however that you’re still not seeing the 1:1 pixel data unless you’re viewing this sample file at full view (1024 x 1877 pixels high). Because not many screens are 2000 pixels high I’ve also included a 100% crop at 512×512 resolution which should display at native resolution on most modern displays. This 512×512 crop represents less than 1/600th of the original image file (try zooming a smartphone camera image file 50x and see what the “fine detail” looks like :)).

100% Crop

100% Crop

100% Crop

Selfies at Cape Willoughby…

I’m not really one for selfies. That obsession to post images of oneself all the time across all of social media isn’t really high on my agenda.

Now it could just be because I’m not particularly enamoured with having photos taken of me… Period… Perhaps that’s why I became “the” photographer – always behind the lens and not in front.

I do however have two teenage daughters and in a couple years a third. All of whom are very fluent in modern technology so it’s not something I can actually get away from 🙂

So I have in recent times, every now and then succumbed to the craze and included myself in some epic landscape shot.

This time however I had my daughters with me in this fantastic location, with beautiful morning light, so it was time for some selfies on the edge of the abyss…

Standing on the Edge of the Abyss

Standing on the Edge of the Abyss - Selfies

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 19 mm, 1/3 sec at f/10, 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.

Thinkers

Thinkers - Selfies

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 19 mm, 1/4 sec at f/10, ISO 100

De Light

De Light

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 19 mm, 1/4 sec at f/10, ISO 100

and I think thats probably enough selfies from me this day. I’ll stick with taking photos of the epic landscapes and of my daughters 🙂

Cronulla Reds…

Visiting Michael Sutton down at Cronulla (#therealshire) with some friends (thanks for organising us Ana Andres).

The morning was turning from good to better. The think bank of cloud on the horizon was a bit of a worry early on, but somehow the conditions turned out perfectly. The upper cloud was breaking up whilst the bank on the horizon was blocking the bright ball of the sun from consuming the landscape.

Just before sunrise the pinks gave way to blazing reds. We had these amazing light and dark rays beaming through the sky as both the streaky high clouds lit up along with reverse God Rays where shafts of light were projected up into the sky through small breaks in the heavy cloud on the horizon. Cronulla was really putting on a show for us today. Michael would say he booked in the weather for us 🙂

Crimson Contours

Crimson Contours

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 26 sec at f/13, ISO 100

It literally only last two minutes from 6:41AM to 6:43AM but whilst it did it was epic!

I’d just setup for a new composition moments before the sky turned to amazing fire, but who knew how long this would last so I dared not move 🙂

I got about four or five frames before it dramatically changed again but I’ll post just these two keepers 🙂

Reflected Glory

Reflected Glory

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 16 sec at f/13, ISO 100

The sun had shifted (presumably now behind some thick cloud over the horizon – it still wasn’t even scheduled sunrise time yet!)… It got noticeably darker everywhere as it’s light projected into the sky was being blocked. The whole ambience of the landscape changed to a much more moodier feel.

This is literally the very next frame I took – just 50 seconds after the one above – and still sunrise is technically five minutes away…

Radiance

Radiance

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 13 sec at f/13, ISO 100

Rejoice

Rejoice

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 20 mm, 13 sec at f/13, ISO 100