made from hail

If someone said to me they were building snowman in Sydney in April, i would laughed and made a comment about craziness, however, it would appear that this is indeed possible…

Probably most in Sydney would have heard about this freakish weather event (hail storm) we had on Saturday, myself and the girls were driving home/to dinner when it hit, Chaos thought it was a absolute hoot whilst tickles was more reserved ;)
After getting home (after a quick stop at for icecream) , there was only one thing left to do, build snowman and ice slides :) even if it was pitch dark :)
lets say the girls slept pretty well that night :)

So, here's our snowman, we had enough ice/hail slurry that we could have made another one :)

The Penetrator

I always wanted to use that title :) and I think this building is the perfect subject for it.

One significant difference between the D7000 and the nikon D750 cameras which becomes quite apparent in shots like this is the noise and sensor hotspots. Previously when doing exposures like this on the D7000 there would be a barrel load of hot pixels and more noise (for lack of a better term). The D750, in this case has none, yep.. thats right.. zero hotspots and the resulting long exposure is much cleaner (read less noise) – this is to be expected given different sizes of sensors and the pixel density i suppose.

anyway enough of all that boring stuff, back to the picture, this image is taken with the B+W ND1000 filter, which was the second ND filter I purchased, the first was a 3 stop hoya one, just for waterfalls), the B+W was my first introduction into super long exposures and even after the first use I was really pleased with the results, the only drawback, and it is a significant one is that its a screw filter, meaning it can be quite time consuming to get a single shot, ie one must firstly compose, focus, then screw the filter on and then take shot (after putting your DK-15 eyepiece cover on – dont forget that :( )
After sometime of using this filter I did get the Lee bigstopper which is a slide in filter, hence is by far more convenient, however a completely different colour cast and in my opinion less nice than the B+W – that is however based on nothing but my grand opinion. And in case when it goes to a black and white, who gives a rats bum.

back to the penetrator… no fake clouds here – these are all real, yep every single one of them, admittingly I did clone out a bit of another building up on the top left, but it was tiny.. :)

Exif love:
D750 coupled with 24-70mm f2.8 @ 62mm Aperture: f/18 and Shutter Speed: a mere 127.3s
ISO 100
out front – ND1000 B+W Neutral Density (ND) – Schneider Optics

Watching, waiting

We have had some pretty bizarre storms in Sydney in the last week, from gale force winds and wet season style rainfall to hail, we have had it all.
Yesterday, about 30 minutes after this image was taken myself and the girls drove home through some streets covered in ankle deep hail stones to find our place had been turned into a winter wonderland (without any leaves or foliage left :( ).
No need for that thredbo visit this year ;) we got our snowman built in the backyard and ice slide (albeit only big enough for a kid) in the front yard.

As we climbed to the top of the hill at the park amongst growing darkness and increasing lightning, Chaos rightly stated that we should not hang around due to the lightning, luckily she mentioned it when she did, since we pulled the pin on our regular park bash and just as we got to the car it started raining.

I processed this image a few times and then realised, it looked best straight out of the camera. Thus the only PP on this image was the stitching of the frames into a panorama. This will make all ya lovers happy ;)

I hope ya'all survived the weather.

13 shot panorama (portrait orientation)

D750 coupled with 85mm f1.4 @ 85mm Aperture: f/2.8 and Shutter Speed: 1/4000s
ISO 200


This place gives me a tiny insight into what some of the eastern block countries have – I follow a number of photographers from over that way and some of the amazing places and abandoned buildings they have over there make or stunning photography. But, like the saying goes, you gotta make do with what you have, so here you have it Blast Park, the scene of the old smelter works. The bit on the right is the remains of the crucible, now thats a sight to see!

+Tom Testone recently posted a image from a few years back and it got me into the nostalgia side of things and I had a quick squiz at a few images from this time last year, this is one such image , which, like 80% of my images, sits patiently waiting to be given some love ;) geez they are well behaved :)

4 Shot Panorama, stitched in +Adobe Photoshop and corrected with Adaptive Wide angle, since there was some freaky distortions happening here :)

Exif data, 'cause i now ya hanging for it :)
Nikon D7000 coupled with the 11-16mm f2.8 (damn i love that lens) @ 15mm, aperture f/8
Shutter speed 8s
ISO 100
EV: 0

Waiting for dawn


As Sydney comes out the other end of some wicked weather, it seems only appropriate to post this image.

Here it is, the dawn of the end of the wild weather. I hope ya'all made it through OK – my thoughts go out to the families of those who lost their lives in the floods/storms.

Exif love:
D750 (yeah i know the embedded exif says D610 :) ) coupled with 16-35mm f4 @ 16mm Aperture: f/13 and Shutter Speed: 1.6s
ISO 400
out front – Hoya CPL and Lee Graduated Filter 0.9x

Running to stand still

running to where? why? and why away? not back ?

whilst running is probably the natural thing our bodies were made for i find it rather … lets say.. onerous. A swim though is much more enjoyable, don't need to worry about boring things like staying upright or balance :)

3 shot panorama (or was it 4?)

D750 coupled with 85mm f1.4 @ 85mm Aperture: f/7.1 and Shutter Speed: 1/400s
ISO 400

Toothbrush…what toothbrush?

Tickles (well what I reckon what going on in her head):
"Dad you should really try this toothbrush man… its so much more awesome than my dinky little one….. really dad stop taking photos and try it :) mum won't know a thing.. she only uses it to paint stuff on her face you know?"

for the record, mum does not like having her 'brushes' used as toothbrushes :(

Waterfall Reserve

hidden deep in the gulley away from the blue sky, a trickle quietly creeps over the rocks

Its pretty cool when you can get to 30 second shutter speeds without filters and its 10am in the morning. Mount Wilson is well known for a few serious canyoning routes, this is not one of them ;) however you can certainly see how the area is well suited to it. The walk down is pretty mild and access to the various little falls is easy and there is plenty to see and photograph, but what I did like was the sweet greenness of the rocks contrasting with the deep black of the rocks – fav combo right there so i forgive the falls for being only a trickle.

single frame, no gimmicks ;) just alot of green rough balls..

Exif love:
D750 (yeah i know the embedded exif says D610 :) ) coupled with 16-35mm f4 @ 16mm Aperture: f/16 and Shutter Speed: 30s
ISO 100
out front – Hoya CPL

Choose the path less traveled

Chhose the path less travelled - (c) Gerard Blacklock

Mount Wilson, NSW

I remember my mum saying, why would you want to visit there, there is barely native tree in sight ;) or words to that effect anyway. My mum is a pretty staunch supporter of native trees etc.

So, queue Mount Wilson from the left, this place is like a colour explosion against the dull grey aussie bush backdrop – apparently as history has it.. the early settlers of the area were pretty wealthy people looking for a retreat location, they of course wanted a bit of home (England) and hence planted all the usual oaks and elms and stuff (thats my technical term ’cause i have no idea really:) ) and its pretty well stayed that way since then ;) pretty wealthy people and lots of retreats :)…

But I suppose its now quite the tourist location and of course the much loved destination for many a photographer, from the smartphone wielding high heeled ladies to the tubby 200mm f2.8 bashing pros :) that may be a little stereotypical but…

I am not overly convinced that this experience, for me, was worth the stupid oclock wake up and mind numbingly boring drive up and back (the apple pie and coffee at Bilpin was pretty nice though) but in the interest of actually producing a image, this is probably one of my favorites from the morning. The early start means you can stand on the road for quite some time snapping away before getting run over :) In fairness though the colour has not fully developed here and the recent rain has smashed alot of the leaves from the tree and muted the colours a bit. I was just expecting to drive down and have my socks blown off by the wondrous colour ;)

So, you choose your path and go on, view it large :)

This is a 5 shot panorama, with each frame bracketed, to be honest the bracketing is a bit of a waste of time here, the extra effort required to process it outweighs the increased dynamic range for only a very small (insignificant part) of the image.

Exif love:

5 shot panorama,
D750 coupled with 24-70mm f2.8 @ 31mm Aperture: f/10 and Shutter Speed: 1.6s (normal exposure), 1/5s (highlights) and 13s (shadows)
ISO 100
out front – Hoya CPL

Hairy Falls

I would call it a waterfall, but its more like a trickle.

Waterfall Reserve at the end of Waterfall rd on the Waterfall loop walk, i suppose I better take a picture of the waterfall.

3 frames stitched together in +Adobe Photoshop
Exif love:
D750 coupled with 16-35mm f4 @ 29mm Aperture: f/14 and Shutter Speed: 25s
ISO 100
out front – Hoya CPL and lots of mud.

Waterfall Cradle

Kellys Falls, number 2

The misty spray was just enough to be painful on keeping the filter clean but not enough give that misty look in the scene… :(

I love panoramic shots of waterfalls, they can add such a different perspective to a scene and to be honest, composition wise they are much easy than a single 6×4 frame :)

3 frames stitched together in +Adobe Photoshop
Exif love:
D750 coupled with 16-35mm f4 @ 24mm Aperture: f/14 and Shutter Speed: 5s
ISO 100
out front – Hoya CPL and lots of darn water drops