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Unique

After coming back from Norway, home of freaking awesome mountains, I did not think I would ever be able to look at the Blue Mountains the same way again, however whilst the blue mountains pale in terms of size when compared to say Dalsnibba (the hill that looks over Geiranger) there is a uniqueness to the Blue mountains which gives them a pretty big draw card. The sheer sandstone cliffs, the gums and the ancient history of the people that walked here before, all something which is not replicated anywhere else in teh world – after visiting just about anywhere in the mountains it leaves me thinking I am very lucky to live so close and be able to enjoy such neat scenery and it should not be under appreciated :)

This is a spot looking over the Jamison Valley from Narrowneck, I could basically walk 50 metres and view the Megalong Valley side (https://plus.google.com/+GerardBlacklock/posts/gDPVmCCg5dX) or this side.

Some pretty cool light on this evening too, really lit up the clouds which were honking across the valley..

D750 coupled with Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @ 24mm Aperture: f11 and Shutter Speed: 2s
ISO: 100
out front: Hoya CPL and Lee Graduated Filter (0.9x)

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Narrowneck

Another great naming effort by those before us :) nothing like good literal name for a location, basically Narrowneck is a ridge of sandstone that divides Jamison Valley and Megalong Valley, its pretty cool can you can go all the way out along it (mostly by car too) and see really neat views onto the big valley and the sandstone cliffs on the edge of Katoomba.

This image is taken from one of the spots near a walk which you can take down into the Jamison Valley (thats for another day), whilst some of the narrowneck is quite narrow (see what i did there :) ), there is still quite a bit of vegetation which means alot of scouting around to get a clear view, in this case I stood on the side of the road atop the armco guard rail, gave me that extra 3 feet I needed :)

The sun was just about to disappear under the clouds out on the horizon in the Megalong valley and consequently there was some nice light for several minutes which conveniently lit up the hillside.

D750 coupled with Nikkor 300mm f4 @ 300mm Aperture: f6.3 and Shutter Speed: 1/640s
ISO: 250
out front: nada, bunch of hills and some nice light

Terrace Falls and Salote Pool

Salote Pool - (c) Gerard Blacklock

Salote Pool – (c) Gerard Blacklock

Its been a few years since I have done this walk down to Terrace Falls, its a great little spot and quite accessible (especially when you have busted foot) without too many people, unlike some spots further up towards wennie falls and katoomba. Not much water running, however all the pools down to Picnic point have absolutely crystal clear water and lots of freshwater crayfish.

I would say view this large and zoom in, however google in their infinite wisdom have removed the ability to zoom in the newer version of google plus. So, at the very least, view it full screen :)

This image is an absolute bundle of shots, 21 shot panorama, its basically a 7 frame (portrait orientation) image with each frame bracketed (under, normal and over)
Now, one might wonder, why not just take a shot at 16mm and get it all in one frame ? yes you can do that, however one significant disadvantage (ignoring the resolution thing) is that when in wide angle things in distance look really small, hence in this case the small falls would have been represented as tiny tiny falls :) Thats a big thing for panos, it does change the perspective alot (and for the better).
D750 coupled with Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @ 62mm Aperture: f13 and Shutter Speed: 10s for normal exp, 1.3s for the underexposed one and 30 sec for the over exposed, this is the one that gets the detail in those dark rock cavities :)
ISO: 100
out front: Hoya CPL

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Predator

I just worked out where the chaps who made the Predator series of films got their inspiration from :)

These little guys, well our ones are certainly not little anymore they are getting quite large, look absolutely freakish when you get up close and have a proper look :) The other really neat thing about them is that whilst they have a standard insect compound eye, they have what looks like a eye ball on it.. and it moves, follows you around :)

Imagine being the size of a ant and coming across one of these in the bushes !

Taken with a clapped out 55mm f2.8 micro lens and the PK-13 extension tube
D750 coupled with Nikkor 55mm f2.8 @ 34mm Aperture: f16 and Shutter Speed: 1/60s
ISO: 1600
External Flash thru a diffuser

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Boats r us

and why they are better than shopping trolleys

Where ever you drive in Norway there is always some form of water course and sure as another tunnel will come up in the drive there is always a boat moored in teh middle of nowhere. They seem to float about waiting for some to jump in and go somewhere, maybe here, across the fjord to the village…

So what does this have to do with trolleys? well these boats are everywhere, like trolleys at my local shopping centre – caution rant ahead – but unlike these nice little boats which seem to be moored anywhere, trolleys left anywhere (except in the designated trolley bay) at the shopping centre are a pita and those who can't be arsed pushing their trolley the 4 metres to the trolley bay deserved to have a thousand trolleys rain down in their front yard :) I do my shopping late on a week night, best time ever, no crowds, no queues and always specials on perishables :) the other night I noticed a couple push their trolley to their car, unload it, leave the trolley immediately behind the car and drive off – it was literally 5 metres to the trolley bay :-/ anyways, sure enough, 30 seconds after they drive off, it was like a magically trolley devil intervention, the trolley rolls back into the car on the other side of the carpark road :-/

So, if you go to a shopping centre, be sure to put your trolley in the bay and don't hesitate to put some other clowns incorrectly left trolley in the bay..even better take your kids for a spin in it on the way to the trolley bay (I can't confirm or deny doing circle work in a woolies trolley on the top level ;) )

Rant finished – onto the image – heres a nice picture of a fjord with one of the many little boats waiting for someone to go an explore the snowcapped hills. 5 shot panorama.

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Reality

There has a been a whole bunch of discussion as of late regarding what is photography, specifically in regard to processing or photo manipulation – you just need to search AIPPA and the name of a famous australian landscape photographer to get the gist of whats going on.

Its been great to see these discussions and also get a insight into what people think, not to see what side people are on, if thats even possible since to have sides there must be a line, but more to understand what is the drive behind them when they generate images.

It has also been interesting from a introspective view trying to understand what I enjoy about photography and drives me to continue doing it, for me its the process of being out there and taking the image and also the interpretation of that image through the processing, from a long exposure, to panoramic to a… dare I say it.. tiny planet or whatever, whatever I can come up with :) the final result, the finished image which gets dumped on social media, is but a mere 5% of the whole process and reason. That said its awesome for a having a timeline and collection of images since I could not organise or find any image on my hard drive beyond a few months ;)

so here we have a picture from Geiranger, Norway, its a wide angle panorama, using 4 frames to get the wide angle, each frame was bracketed to give 3 images, (one over exposed, one normally exposed and one under exposed) these were then automatically aligned and then manually blended (to preserve the bright areas and keep the dark areas) – is it reality? dunno, what if the mountains were tweaked to make them bigger ? everyone has a line when it comes to photography and art, simply because it might not be the same as your line does not make it right or wrong, just different – and just like opinions, this is just one :)

D750 coupled with Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 @ 24mm Aperture: f8
Shutter Speed: 0.8s, 1/5s and 3s
ISO: 100

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Little Bay

The conditions on this particular morning were quite interesting and photogenic, the sun really held out for ages and consequently i ended up with 14 million images from the morning… i did only edit a couple so I reckon this folder deserves alittle more love :)

I quite like this one – similar to a previous one, however just two shots stitched into a panorama, the second shot really only accounts for about 1/5th of the total image, however it is on the right hand side and gives the sun and its rays a bit of room to breathe.

D750 coupled with Nikkor 16-35 f/4@ 16mm Aperture: f18
Shutter Speed: 1.6s
ISO: 100
Out Front: Lee Graduated filter (0.9x) and Hoya Circular Polariser.

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Glennfinnan House

When you say Glennfinnan Scotland, most will associate this place with the Monument and the Harry Potter bridge / viaduct – both items which I did not take a picture of :) hence why I probably have a picture of the house instead. That and you had to pay to go and look at the monument up close, not that am opposed to paying, just that when you are only stopping for 5 minutes it does not make sense.

Anyways, a short walk up the hill to look out over the loch and gain a viewpoint of the Harry Potter viaduct and monument and I noticed this cool scene unfold as a cloud of rain came through, no surprise for Scotland :) and I got wet ..

3 shot panorama (landscape orientation) – really should have gotten that shutter speed a bit high here
D750 coupled with Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 @ 150mm Aperture: f4 Shutter Speed: 1/100s
ISO: 200
Out front: house and loch

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Braemer Woods

Just outside of a little town called Braemer in Scotland there is the Braemer Castle and just near that are some very cool woods, this is kinda in the spot between the two feuding families one of which held the Braemer Castle. I did not need too much imagination to conjure images of Robin hood style bands of dudes lurking thru this area a few centuries ago.

But what was so cool was the luminous green ground cover which contrasted with the start grey of the pines, I did kinda mess this up, it was raining and quite dark, i focused on the trees in front and was using quite a wide aperture and consequently alot in the background was pretty soft and out of focus,to make things worse one frame (its a pretty wide pano using vertical orientation shots) a few shots focused in the background meaning there is some funky layering in there :)

13 shot panorama (vertical orientation)
D750 coupled with Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @ 70mm Aperture: f8 Shutter Speed: 1/25s
ISO: 500
Out front: crazy woods

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Tree Life

Showing some appreciation to the Morton Bay Fig trees, this is what kids are meant to do :) bare foot and swing in the trees :) This tree must be over a hundred years old and has such cool horizontal branches that just cry out to be lounged on :) It also has some really cool hidey holes between the folds of the trunk too…

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The endless fuzzy

So apparently, the thing at the end of the jetty is a place where you can go for a swim, kinda makes sense since the water seems like its knee deep for a long way out, not to mention the water is not that nice close to the shore – this particular scene reminds me of some scape conjured up by fantasy novel where you can punch on thru to the other side a rift or something, in any case it does fill me with some level of calm when looking at it :)

4 shot panorama, each shot in the landscape orientation
D750 coupled with Nikkor 16-35 mm f4 @ 16mm Aperture: f16 and Shutter Speed: 4s
ISO: 100
out front: Lee Graduated Filter (0.6x)

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Steeple Peas

just a little field of freshy picked peas next to one of the many churches dotting the landscape in Sweden. It was the only time I drove on the wrong side of the road :) which is the right side of the road really…