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Cows with mist

view large and find that cow ;)

I had just emerged from some pretty thick forest on a very wet and muddy road, i had not passed another car for the last half an hour but was instead greeted by a bunch of dairy cows across the way. It really was quite a away :) this shot was taken with the 300mm lens and consisted of about 16 portrait orientation shots, it was cropped pretty heavily from there but still is pretty enormous, the fog made it quite challenging to achieve a good autofocus and the pressure was on since the rain was getting pretty heavy.

Due to the rain I took only one set of images for this scene and jumped back in the car and almost got bogged since I had pulled over into a pretty soft edge. Thankfully the old falcon did not let me down, with mud flying and wheels spinning and a fist in the air I gave those cows a farewell ;) well they really did not care i guess…but makes for a better story ;)

Exif/setup love:
16 portrait orientation images stitched and cropped
D750 coupled with 300mm f4 @ 300mm Aperture: f/8 and Shutter Speed: 1/640s
ISO 250
Out the front, mist, mud, cows and rolling hills

 

The Difference Time Makes…

Frankly, I don’t think I see images any better now than the day I got my first DSLR :)

This is a great example, I visited the Ellenborough Falls back in 2007 (Dec) back when I had just got my first fresh D80 DSLR, i was shooting jpegs then :) I had also just gotten my first tripod (the same one I have now, albeit, corroded and with significantly less paint). I took this shot and it was one of the first.. actually along with a picture of the falls the first ever canvas prints, one is still in Chaos’s room and the other at my mums..

So, I went back recently, i delibrately did not look at my previous images since I really wanted to see what I woudl come up with :)..the result, compositionally pretty well the same, however the newer gear, the processing knowledge and other little tricks I think have helped, so I am probably incorrect in saying I am not any better now, well I certainly hope I am :)

onto the images.

Tallowood Tree 2007 (Dec)

Ellenborough Falls - Tallowood 2007 (c) Gerard Blacklock

Ellenborough Falls – Tallowood 2007
(c) Gerard Blacklock

Tallowood Tree 2015 (Feb)

 

Ellenborough Falls - Tallowood 2015 (c) Gerard Blacklock

Ellenborough Falls – Tallowood 2015
(c) Gerard Blacklock

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Rooted

enjoy the freshness

I think its a Tallowood tree, I saw this tree many many years ago and the only thing that has changed…is the moss, its got a little less than before…oh there was also some more bush litter (branches leaves etc) but really… all those years could have just been a few days for all I know. As cliche as it may sound, time really does stand still in forests like this, time in the scale of humans anyway (unless they cut it down)

I took a number shots of this tree, i bracketed this particular frame thinking that I may need to blend the images together to achieve the full dynamic range, however the D750 did a pretty good job with a single shot, and this particular moment had some nice filtered light thru the trees and a small amount of fog rolling through the undergrowth..

I did get a few strange stares from the bushwalkers as I stood in a mozzie infested creek amongst the forest tree litter, but for once, my mozzie repellant worked… i only got bitten about 100 times rather than a million ;)

Exif love:
D750 coupled with 16-35mm f4 @ 16mm Aperture: f/16 and Shutter Speed: 3s
ISO 100
out front – Hoya CPL….

http://blog.avernus.com.au/rooted/

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The Flying Moustache

Its great to see more public awareness of this cancer that affects a large portion of the male population, whilst I have enjoyed all the Breast Cancer awareness campaigns , ie the pink Dash-8 and pink water bottles etc its good to see this type of cancer awareness get some airplay… get it, aircraft.. airplay ..ok that was a bad :)

I do reckon they could have done a better job on that Moustache tho..c'mon +Qantas I wanna see a real set of handle bars on it :)

Exif/setup love:
8 Landscape orientation images manually stitched
D750 coupled with 70-200mm f2.8 @ 280mm Aperture: f/5 and Shutter Speed: 1/2000s
ISO 200
EV -0.3
Also had the 1.7 TC attached too.

http://blog.avernus.com.au/the-flying-moustache/

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Gorillas trees in the mist

Some days it feels like there are monsters hiding in the shadows just waiting to pounce

On a lonely drive across the hills of Comboyne , through many muddy roads and intermittent rains showers I noticed this small tree perched on the hill. It looked so vulnerable sitting there almost encased in the fog with the large trees looming behind, seemingly wanting to take its place on the ridge.

Only moments after taking the picture(s) the ridge and tree disappeared and the rain caught up with me…

This image is a panoramic image made from 3 frames, something I learnt with this image and scene was that when +Adobe Photoshop (or i guess any other stitching software) attempts to stitch the and blend the frames its does a good job except it never quite gets the blending right in that pea-soup grey area and results in banding, not particularly evident until contrast is added. It kind of makes sense , blending a gradients would be quite tricky. Thus a future note – I am not sure how to avoid it, but in teh post processing one thing that minimises the telltale signs of it is to locally reduce the clarity or midtone contrast in the banding area.

Exif love:
D750 coupled with 300mm f4 @ 300mm Aperture: f/8 and Shutter Speed: 1/500s
ISO 250
out front – a ridge, a farm, a tree and some fog :)

http://blog.avernus.com.au/gorillas-trees-in-the-mist/

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Fair Weather Photographer

So, here I am cruising up the freeway at a very respectable hour of about 8am… gentlemen's hours I say ;) when I see the turn off to Somersby on the left, I thought.. yeah sure I need a break from driving (albeit I had only been driving for less than a hour:) ) and what better place to stop then the quaint Somersby Falls.
Its only 10 minutes off the freeway so its pretty hard to argue with! however.. and a big however, once I get the camera out.. the hours just race away :) Hence, whilst approaching the falls thru the lovely Central Coast hinterland I kept saying.. max 5 compositions, max 5 compositions :) ..that should keep me on schedule..

I was expecting a quiet uninterrupted walk down to the falls however I did note several cars parked outside of the actual national park and thought.. surely not ;) but rest assured, I was certainly not the only one who thought a Saturday Morning session at Somersby would be a good idea. Given the overcast conditions and the rain we had the night before I suppose it was not unexpected.

Onto the title, today, I was the fair weather photographer, I took the tourist option and only visited the most nearby falls, I have wanted to hike down to the next more secluded ones for sometime now, however given time pressures, not this time. So I was joined by probably half a dozen other togs who were making the best of the good conditions.

One gripe I do have though… to all those people who parked their cars outside of the park, clearly to avoid paying the National Parks parking fee… harden the hell up and spend the 7 bucks to support the organisation that provides the maintenance and upgrades to wonderful places like this. I have had alot to do with the NPWS thru work (aviation side) and damn they do a great job, from spraying bitou bush from choppers to airlifting in supplies to make paths and firefighting, you name they do it.. it ain't cheap. Whilst I also hate paying parking fees (note I have a annual pass) these fees do directly help the upkeep of the parks.

rant end – Righto, with that off my chest this image was one of my 5 compositions, in fact it was the first shot (falls) of the morning :) I left here shortly thereafter and continued my drive up the coast, much more relaxed and rejuvenated for my visit to Somersby Falls. I will be back :)

Exif love:
D750 coupled with 16-35mm f4 @ 16mm Aperture: f/18 and Shutter Speed: 20s
ISO 100
out front – Hoya CPL…. and a composition to avoid the crowds :)

http://blog.avernus.com.au/fair-weather-photographer/

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Chaos Lizard Whisperer

So, its last week of the holidays and we are traveling through the Blue Mountains, yep, that world heritage area which is quite frankly just awesome – and I thought we should check out that little glen called, "Mermaids Cave", well you did not have to ask Chaos twice, its a tough challenge between mermaids and fairies but any combination is a winner with her :) .

Mermaid Cave is a small alcove / waterfall located only 15 minutes from Blackheath as you enter into the Megalong valley.. and yep… its called the Megalong Valley.. cause.. its mega -long right ;) anyway this little 20 minute bushwalk will lead you into the glen where there is a small waterfall and pond, I am not sure how the name came about but given its serenity and protected nature of the landscape I can see how it could be a haunt for the Mermaids (which i now get asked daily whether they exist.)

So.. Chaos and I had a little packed snack box with the plan to walk in and have lunch with a bit of an explore, its really not that far of a walk, but I am sure to a 5 year old it feels like a half day trek, hence the need for food supplies… and.. 'dad, we need to make sure we have enough water' man.. she is more safety conscious than me :) We walk in and setup our little picnic at the base of the falls near the pond and I am tryign to get a nice shot of her with the falls when she says 'dad… dont move..its a lizard!!' so i don't move :) but the next thing surprised me, this lizard, just a skink of some kind wandered around alittle then made a straight line for Chaos, who was sitting up on the rocks, it then proceeded to scoot past her foot and with only a fraction of a second hesitation climbed up onto her leg. It sat there as if expecting a free feed of biscuit or dried apricot (note the woolies brand, which are not Australian sourced btw :( shame on you +Woolworths ). All the while Chaos is frozen solid, this is the girl, like most 5 year olds, could not sit still for 2 seconds :) , after a minute or so and after what seemed a disappointed turn of the skinks head, it turned around and disappeared off – well as one would expect, this was the talking point all the way back to the car!

Hence, Chaos, you are the official Lizard whisperer :)

Exif/setup:
D750 coupled with 24-70mm f4 @ 24mm Aperture: f/2.8 and Shutter Speed: 1/125s
ISO 640
out front – Hoya CPL, the Lizard Whisperer and a lizard.

http://blog.avernus.com.au/chaos-lizard-whisperer/

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Interconnection

The world is interconnected through small veins, backbones and intermediaty tributaries, all working together to form the lattice and fabric of what is our world, our environment. The small telltale signs of deteriotation should not go unnoticed, just like a single leaf on a huge tree or the smallest frog in a universe of ponds they all have meaning when they stop or fall

Chaos and I found this leaf by the chickens at her school..we both thought it would make a nice picture :)

Exif love:
D750 coupled with 55mm f2.8 @ 55mm Aperture: f/18 and Shutter Speed: 1/60s
ISO 400
SB600 flash mounted below a frosted glass panel

http://blog.avernus.com.au/interconnection/

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Turbulence

Hopping from rock to rock looking for that nice water flow all whilst keeping the peepers out for those rogue waves – in this image the water flow is a result of the third big wave rolling back out to sea , the flow right at the bottom has actually originated from a big shelf to the right of where I was standing and streamed back down to join the mothership again ;) It was well past sunrise but the heavy cloud on the horizon meant the colour lasted for a bit longer than usual as well providing some nice diffused lighting.

Exif love:
D750 coupled with 16-35mm f4 @ 16mm Aperture: f/20 and Shutter Speed: 1.6s
ISO 100
out front – Lee Graduated Filter (0.9x) and Hoya CPL…. and three barreling waves :)

http://blog.avernus.com.au/turbulence/

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Sneaky, spidery, Sunday Sunrise Sessions

Squeezed in between a golf course, a pistol range, a cemetery and a so called national park is this little gulley which I had seen many times when browsing the google maps, I have frequented the areas north (Little Bay) of this and also south (Cruwee Bay) however never quite made it to this place, whilst not terribly inspiring the clouds and sunrise did give it some interest.

Rod and I did a fine battle with the local spider population from which we were quite victorious, ie no spiders on faces ;) there were a few close calls ;) It is really only a short walk in and we did not even notice the cemetery in dark, however i suspect the attention was more concentrated on the spidery fiends, its funny how the walk into a location in blackness can seem much further than that on the way out. I had actually visited this area just the day before with both Chaos and Mayhem for a bushwalk and driving past this spot we saw a red belly black snake slithering across the road – it has certainly been a season of snakes for me ;)

This spot is classic Sydney coast cliffs, much like what you find at Kurnell and even some of the eastern suburb cliff line, the rich green mixed with the sandstone can really shine in the right conditions, particularly when the golden light of the sun rising meets it.

Exif love:
4 landscape orientation shots stitched together.
D750 coupled with 16-35mm f4 @ 16mm Aperture: f/20 and Shutter Speed: 3s
ISO 100
out front – Lee Graduated Filter (0.9x) and Hoya CPL…. rockage, greenery and a cool sun poking over the clouds.

http://blog.avernus.com.au/sneaky-spidery-sunday-sunrise-sessions/

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All that glistens

Its just after 5am in the morning and there is nothing but a subtle glow out on the horizon giving the hint that sunrise will happen once more (yeah i know its a pretty sure bet but hey … ;) ), the sharp grinding and clacking (yeah thats a real word too) of the stones under my feet is the only sound, even the ocean seems to be quiet in anticipation of the sun's arrival.

After finding my favorite spot to setup, its always a good spot to start out at anyway :) I rattled off a shot, guessing the exposure only to find things are still pretty darn dark..hence i thought I would add a little extra artificial light to try get some detail out of the foreground, normally I would not bother and just wait for some more natural light from the sun coming up, however I had nothing but time to burn… I pulled out the big berther torch and added some light to rocks during the relatively long exposure.

The light has created a artificial feel to the scene, however gives the viewer another dimension to look at and engage in, typically the lower part of the image where the black and dark rocks are would simply be rendered black, however 600 lumens of light brings out some detail and texture, which after I took it I thought, thats not so bad. Hence I put a mental note in to try that again next time rather than sit in the dark waiting for the sun to come up ;)

One big problem with LED torches is the colour temperature of the light, they are really cool in colour, resulting in blue cold light, this image was no exception, even without the LED light the scene is very blue with the predawn light, however wit the LED, it was like another world – I have corrected alot of that to bring some warmth back to the light and match what I saw on the morning.

Exif love:
D750 coupled with 16-35mm f4 @ 16mm Aperture: f/14 and Shutter Speed: 67s
ISO 100
out front – Lee Graduated Filter (0.9x) and Hoya CPL…. LED torch applied to the rocks on the left, the rocks to the right and the ones in middle right of the frame.

http://blog.avernus.com.au/all-that-glistens/

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Helitack

If you have seen shows like the biggest loser, the great gatsby, the movie Sleath (yeah it was crap, but cool choppers in there) etc, then you have seen this machine, VH-FHD, Kawasaki BK117, its a bit of a star ;). Its got a cool retro style paint job which reminds me of what these would have (or still do) looked like back in Japan – I know I rave on about these choppers, but they are my favourite , probably closely followed by the BO-105 from which alot of design and parts are common … which leads me a very cool video..

ya gotta check this out, this is Chuck Aaron doing bad bad things to the Red Bull BO-105, so bad its good ;) watch for the bit where he pours a glass of water on the centre console then does a loop without spilling it…

http://youtu.be/mQT26oxOG4c

Back the image, of a BK117, you can see the similarities between the two rotorcraft, and if you need some heli-work see the chaps at Helitreck, its one of the few mobs I would fly with ;) not like that transasia crew eek :(

Exif/setup love:
D750 coupled with 24-70mm f4 @ 24mm Aperture: f/8 and Shutter Speed: 1/250s
ISO 100
out front – Hoya CPL.

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Lead me to

its cliche but hey footsteps to better place

Foot steps in the sand, it been done a million times :) in this one I was just cruising down the beach (first set of prints running across) and noticed the little pebbles and thought I could get something to work with them, set the camera up and threw in a few extra footprints to boot :)

Exif love:
D750 coupled with 16-35mm f4 @ 17mm Aperture: f/18 and Shutter Speed: 1/1.3s
ISO 100
out front – Lee Graduated Filter (0.9x) and Hoya CPL…. pre made footprints and the sun