Rodney Campbell's Blog

Archive for July, 2016


by on Jul.31, 2016, under Life, Photography

Lines… the world if full of lines. Even in the exploration of these fantastic old ruins sometimes you have to look for the details and find different images.

This fantastic old beam was weathered and worn by time and the elements. Now partially eaten away by the smallest of insects the raw texture and detail drew my eye. The lines and the decay speak volumes about this place.

Levelling Out

Levelling Out

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1/2 sec at f/11, ISO 100

Even when I got the drone out at the end of our midday session, lines beckoned to me. These shadowlines created by the sun streaming through the skeletal structure of this old building leave their mark when viewed from directly above.



DJI Phantom 4 - FC330 + 3.6 mm @ 3.61 mm, 1/230 sec at f/2.8, ISO 100

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images below.

Vacant Lines

Vacant Lines

DJI Phantom 4 - FC330 + 3.6 mm @ 3.61 mm, 1/200 sec at f/2.8, ISO 100

The crew :).

DJI Phantom 4 - FC330 + 3.6 mm @ 3.61 mm, 1/180 sec at f/2.8, ISO 100

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by on Jul.29, 2016, under Photography

It’s a bit of a mindbender being out at the Glen Davis Oil Shale Refinery ruins at night. It’s a pretty spooky location with all of these abandoned buildings and the skeletal remains of buildings…



NIKON D750 + 14.0 mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm, 30 sec at f/2.8, ISO 6400 x 6 Frames

Entropy * Photographic Exhibition

One concept; 9 Photographers; 9 Interpretations


Less than 6 weeks to go!

For my exhibition pieces I’d originally planned to have them mounted on black core Gatorboard. To check I had one test image professionally mounted. However I and many of the rest of my group decided the look just wasn’t quite right. There were a number of practical benefits for this system but in the end I believe traditional matting and framing will suit my images better.

I’ve now visited the framers and worked out what custom frames I’ll use and have ordered them all.


Our exhibition will be at The Art Space on the Concourse @ Chatswood (Sydney’s North Shore). It’s showing from Wednesday 7th to Sunday 18th September 2016 and entry is Free. If you can make it we’d love to see you there.

If you’d like to visit when I’m definitely going to be there. I’m currently there on Sunday the 11th and Saturday the 17th.

What’s Next?:

We’ve also purchased the mat boards and once the frames arrive, we will be laboriously cutting all the large mats for our images.


This large old building in particular is pretty special. The remains of the walls and window frames are still mostly intact, but the entire roof is open to the skies. For a night astro shooter like me this is a fantastic opportunity.

Unfortunately the Milky Way wasn’t in the right direction for the type of shot I wanted. There was one building I really wanted to use for the shot I had in my mind. It was perfect except it had this massive tree growing in the middle :(. This would have been cool if only the Milky Way was running through the sky in the right direction. Or I could get up to the second story to shoot from a higher position (without dying :)).

Still the Milky Way streaked through part of the gap in the roof overhead so I crafted a composition as best I could and went for it.

The Panorama:

This mindbender construction is a stitched panorama of six (6) overlapping horizontal frames with the Samyang 14mm. The craziness is that I’ve pointed myself towards the internal corner of the building and taken a set of frames in a vertical stripe. The end result is commonly known as a vertorama. The frame leads in at the bottom, pointing straight down in front of me, up the walls of the building and through the roof and eventually over my head to the floor behind me.

The opening in the roof above lets you see through to the amazingly clear night sky above.

For this set of shots I was using my new Novoflex Panorama System which I wrote about in an earlier post.

This made it incredibly easy to take the frames. What can I say except to say that this thing is amazing. I’ve shot a number of painstaking manually adjusted milky way panorama’s in my time.

Taking source panorama frames manually is a slow, painful and laborious process, fraught with the possibility of stitching failure. Basically in the dark at night you cannot see what you’re composing or how far you’re rotating. It is thus very hard to ensure you’re getting a roughly 50% overlap. It’s also just about impossible to have nicely parallel frames.

Using this Novoflex panorama system made things effortless. The camera can be rotated horizontally and vertically around the nodal point and the click stops make it trivial and error free in the dark :).

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Picnic Anyone?…

by on Jul.27, 2016, under Life, Photography

One of the somewhat bizarre aspects of this location at Glen Davis (and there are many) is this very nice picnic table. It’s setup here amongst the rubble and ruins however it seems at odds with it’s surroundings.

Picnic Anyone?

Picnic Anyone?

NIKON D750 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 24 mm, 1/30 sec at f/11, ISO 100

I’m really not sure who exactly would be picnicing here (it’s on private property after all). Anyway we never did actually have a picnic out here. It does however provide a counterpoint to my background along with this very nice swathe of green moss in the foreground.

I’m not exactly sure what this particular building was for. Nor why these very large circular holes at intervals near ground level. These circular ‘windows’ were opposite each other on both sides of the building but only on the ground level.

Regardless, I found it made for an interesting composition looking through to the world beyond. I needed to bracket exposures for this final image. I took nine (9) exposures from -4EV to +4EV at 1EV intervals and blended them in post for this somewhat funky result.

Well Rounded

Well Rounded

NIKON D750 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 24 mm, 1/40 to 5 sec at f/10, ISO 100

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images below.

Lastly climbing the hill a little at the back of the ruins I shot back down the valley. The slightly higher perspective gives you a good view over the main ruins area. The main “road” leads right down the middle. In the distance we have Pantoney Crown (commonly called Capertee Crown).

NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 44 mm, 1/30 sec at f/10, ISO 100

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by on Jul.25, 2016, under Life, Photography

These firetubes were one aspect of this oil shale refinery at Glen Davis that I was aware of before coming. I was keen to photograph these firetubes from below (and had even thought of from above using the drone :)).



NIKON D750 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 16 mm, 1/60 sec at f/9, ISO 100

Apparently the building these chimney like tubes are in, was where shale was fed through tubes and heated. I believe they were called the retort towers.

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images below.

Underneath the building you can easily get underneath these firetubes which go all the way up to the sky above.



NIKON D750 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 16 mm, 1/30 sec at f/9, ISO 100

Thus if you plant yourself directly underneath the middle of where each of these four sets of tubes are you can look directly up through them. Do be careful however and keep a careful eye out lest you want a brick to the head.

There’s actually not just one set of four chimney tubes. Based on my aerial image I’d say there were around 18 sets in this building alone. At the bottom of this building however you can only gain access to about half a dozen of the sets. The images taken in this blog post show you a few of the different quad sets.

Falling Up

Falling Up

NIKON D750 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 16 mm, 1/6 sec at f/11, ISO 100

One of this trickiest parts (besides not being killed by falling debris) of this is setting up your camera and tripod to be perfectly centred. It requires finessing your tripod and camera. You aim to get the sensor plane level (or perpendicular to the tubes). At the same time aiming to get your camera lens perfectly centred between the four tubes.

It’s painstaking work – and in fact sometimes when you do get it all centred the image looks wrong.

As it was with the very first image above. Because with this spot the remaining portions of the tubes varied in height with that top left one being much closer to the camera. So for this one to look “right” I had to shift off centre :).

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Glen Davis Valley…

by on Jul.24, 2016, under Life, Photography

In the heart of the Glen Davis Valley with the hills arrayed around us. This time in another fully interactive 360˚ viewing experience. Shot using the DJI Phantom drone. I’ve manoeuvred and hovered the drone just above where we’d parked and shot sunrise.

Glen Davis Valley

Look down and you’ll see us and our cars waiting patiently :)…

Glen Davis Valley

Glen Davis Valley

DJI Phantom 4 - FC330 + 3.6 mm @ 3.61 mm, 1/120 sec at f/2.8, ISO 155 x 25 Frames

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images below.

The interactive panorama gives a good sense of what it’s like inside the Capertee valley here at Glen Davis. The end of the valley is behind us just past the ruins of the Glen Davis works oil shale factory ruins. Out in front the valley opens up after the small village of Glen Davis. That singular “mountain” and peak is Pantoney Crown (Capertee Crown) in the distance.



NIKON D750 + 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 @ 58 mm, 1/1000 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100

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