Epson Pano Awards

If you want to see some incredible imagery, check out this years top entries at https://thepanoawards.com/2019-winners-gallery/
There are some absolutely stunning locations and captures – i dunno how they do half of them but they are pretty amazing.

I entered a few images and got a few silvers (all 83) so am happy with that – next year i might have to go on a epic adventure to find some amazing locations :) my backyard fungi does not seem to cut it ;)

Be sure to have a look at the galleries, there is a really strong representation of aussies in there, its great to see us doing so well considering we are such a small portion of the world – a great counter argument for all those saying we should not worry about our carbon emissions – just because you are only a tiny fraction of the world does not mean you should not make an effort :)

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Leofoto Panoramic Kit LEP-01

Leofoto Panoramic Kit LEP-01

Natural Bridge, Springbrook National Park, QLD, Australia Leofoto LEP-01 D750 with Nikkor 17-35 f2.8 @ 26mm and Hoya Circular Polariser Shutter speed: 1s (normal exp), 8s (over exposed) and 1/8s (under exposed) Aperture: f/8 ISO 100

Natural Bridge, Springbrook National Park, QLD, Australia
Leofoto LEP-01
D750 with Nikkor 17-35 f2.8 @ 26mm and Hoya Circular Polariser
Shutter speed: 1s (normal exp), 8s (over exposed) and 1/8s (under exposed)
Aperture: f/8
ISO 100

If you had asked me a few years back whether using a panoramic setup was worth the effort, the answer would have been pretty well no. However I have come to realise there are a few niche areas of photography which can only be done with a pano kit.I use that term, ‘can only be done’ pretty loosely, probably a more accurate way to put it is, ‘using a pano kit can really improve the ease, speed and post processing of panoramic images’. Its pretty amazing what post processing you can now do to wrangle and stitch images into a panoramic format and correct distortion, but the use of pano kit can in quite a few cases pay for it self in time savings alone. Not to mention those cases where no amount of magic stitching software will work, architecture for example or even landscape scenes with a mix of close and far objects and lots of straight lines, a panoramic image of a jetty comes to mind.

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Downtown Lund

Just a little city or more correctly, a town-scape :) at nearly midnight when there was just about no one around.

Lund is a really cool University town in southern Sweden, very progressive and full of interesting people and the occasional red squirrel (that's cool from our end since we do not have squirrels in Australia)

3 shot panorama image
D750 coupled with Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @ 60mm Aperture: f11 and Shutter Speed: 6 seconds
ISO: 200
Out front: nothing and nobody, just a few lonely bikes :)

Herbusta, Isle of Skye

We stopped at the Museum of Skye which is a collection of original style buildings each set out as it would have been back in the day, it was actually a very cool place and the entry fee to get in very very reasonable – this is important when travelling with kids, since you may only stay for a very short time, we ditched a few castles since its not worth shelling out 50 bucks just to get in and only spend 20 minutes chasing kids around :)

Anyway, another neat feature of this place, is that it sits up on hill off the A855 overlooking some very very cool rocks out in the ocean, there are plenty of these kinda of rocks around the isle of Skye and I really wanted get a shot of one of them, a long exposure image was what I was after, but time and kids would not permit that, hence a few long shots at 280mm stitched into a pano would do. (thanks to +Cameron Fong for the loan of the lens too, much appreciated – i whacked the 1.4x on it for this one).

Its pretty easy to see why traversing these waters by ship would be dangerous – the number of rocks like this and moreso ones which are just above/below the surface would have surely brought many a ship unsuck..

ya gotta see this full res too.

3 shot panorama, each shot in the landscape orientation
D750 coupled with Nikkor 70-200 mm f2.8 (with a 1.4x converter) @ 280mm Aperture: f8 and Shutter Speed: 1/500s
ISO: 100
out front: epic rocks in da ocean :)

House by the Lake

Holmane, Norway

After checking into one of our less than optimal accommodation choices (there was only two for the whole trip :) so our strike rate was pretty good ). I had some time to check out google maps to see what was around, interestingly we had visited a few Glaciers on the way down to this point, all which come off the Jostedalsbreen National park area and I noticed a little back road up to a southern access point to this place, never seen any images of this place, but it was only 30 kms away so a little drive was in order.

Now, I really bang on about these Norwegians and their darn tunnels, well this little drive really galvanised it for me. This road up to Veitastrond, which is a village of less than a thousand people has 3 tunnels with a 4th being constructed, now these are not tunnels to punch thru mountains but simply to avoid having a bit of windy road on the lake :) ie just cut thru the edge of the hill. We here in Oz struggle to get a freakin tunnel in our largest city to service…hundreds of thousands of people, yet here I was driving thru tunnels (each a few kms long), albeit single lane ones, to a village that has only a few hundred people… mind blowing. What was also really cool was that the tunnels had no lights and were full of fog.. very very cool :)

This was just one a few really nice houses sitting bit the edge of the Veitastrondavatnet .. yeah try and pronounce that :)

3 shot panorama, each shot in the landscape orientation
D750 coupled with Nikkor 70-200 mm f2.8 @ 82mm Aperture: f8 and Shutter Speed: 5s
ISO: 100
out front: epic house location

Morar

Beachside in Scotland

So its summer in Europe at the moment apparently, however I think our friends on that side of the equator kinda need to have a think about what that really means, we spent our last day in Edinburgh where the summer temperature was.. 13 degrees, we flew back to sydney to the heart of our winter and it was 16 degrees… :)

Anyways onot those beaches, yes in Oz we have some awesome beaches and we take it for granted, however we did find a place (thanks +John G Moore ) on the west coast called Morar which had sand which was an excellent excuse for a beach :) truth be told it was quite nice and we (particularly the kids) were pleasantly surprised.
Anyways, i went for a stroll after chaos and tickles were asleep and checked out the surrounding area for a seascape or two, not finding much ringing my bell, i headed up into the hills to see what was there, not much either, but I did find some sheep, lots of wet boggy pastures and some other crazy nuts out trying to get a photo, hence this shot :)

Its a 6 shot pano, which had some nice colour in it, however I could not quite get it to represent what I saw on the day, and it seems the BW brings out the nice texture of the clouds anyway..

6 shot panorama, each shot in the landscape orientation
D750 coupled with Nikkor 70-200 mm f2.8 @ 120mm Aperture: f5 and Shutter Speed: 1/500s
ISO: 100
out front: boggy hills and some crazies :).

Nordfjord

I think one of the best things about holidaying with ya family (other than all the quality time you get to spend with one another of course :) ) and doing photography is that it forces you to be very opportunistic rather than being able to plan everything around a shoot, this was certainly one example.
Let me paint a scene for you here (forgive the pun :) ) we decided to divert our route to check out one of, if not the oldest Monasteries in Norway at Maloy and consequently checked into one of our best airbnb in our Norway trip (thanks Trygve – even though i can still not pronounce your name, sorry mate). This airbnb was located 10 kms out of Nordfjordeid in a farming area and was an old, yet amazing farmhouse with, in my opinion, an amazing view, not one from a pre-canned location or lookout, but a true-blue style view that this little village of about 5 homes shared. The place even had one of those really cool old telephones, the ones with the windy handle!

I took this shot a few times over the two days whilst sitting at the window opposite a warm wood fire, this particular one was about 11pm-ish as the sun dissapeared from view – there was no hiking, no sitting in the cold, just chilling out with a cup of tea, my tripod and camera whilst the children slept :)

I'll be sure to post a few of the others from this spot, which have a very different feel, it was amazing how much the scene could change with fog and rain rolling in.

5 shot panorama, each shot in the landscape orientation
D750 coupled with Nikkor 70-200 mm f2.8 @ 155mm Aperture: f8 and Shutter Speed: 1/800s
ISO: 250
out front: no filters, just another epic landscape.

No Trains today

cause its a bit wet out there

I do like this spot, its always busy with keen bean photographers and tourists but it's still enjoyable, even now with standing room for about 3 people ;)
you really need to see this place when there is no water there to gain an understanding of how much water this is -hence in the below links you can see it with some water and with no water…

https://plus.google.com/+GerardBlacklock/posts/9jXWanonyXT
https://plus.google.com/+GerardBlacklock/posts/htM9D5NA9Rk

Capturing images in the wet is challenging, made more so when its actually pouring down with rain and blowing a gale, even with an umbrella and all the wet weather stuff for teh camera, which by the way consists of a ziplock bag and a rubber band, its a painful process of trying to keep the spray off the, here's gerrys tip of the day, when shooting crazy ass waterfalls in the wet, choose a lens that has the biggest lens hood on it :)

5 shot panorama image
D750 coupled with Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @ 70mm Aperture: f13
Shutter Speed: 3s
ISO 100
Out front – Hoya CPL.

The Lower Empress

Empress falls is the first real set of falls you find when making the trek down into the valley of the waters, its also one of the most spectacular and (if there could not be any more :) ) its a great spot for canyoning/abseiling.

This particular spot is on the stone steps that pass over the creek and probably the most popular spot where everyone stops to grab a shot. What I really like about this spot is that nature has arranged everything quite nicely for the panoramic shot ;) log in the centre, angled so nicely too, boulder off to the left to bookend the frame, a little glimpse of foggy foggy forest (you need to read kids book to get that joke :) ) off to the left and the ferns on the right hiding that sneaky little path back out of the falls. For those familiar with the spot, you will note that I have omitted something from the frame :) any guesses ? :)

This image was taken a month or so ago, but never processed however I heard in the news recently that a young lady lost her life at the falls just below these (Sylvia Falls), hence came back to have a look, as such, this image is for those who have not made it out of the valley. RIP.

Its a 5 shot panorama, uploaded full res.
D750 coupled with Nikkor 16-35mm f4 @ 16mm Aperture: f14
Shutter Speed: 20s
ISO 100
Out front – Hoya CPL.

Missing Falls

So I had this mad composition in my head which would be taken from this little knoll off to one side of the Empress Falls, I had walked down here a few times over the years so I kind knew where I wanted to be (or so I thought!). After walking down the path i spied the spot I thought would be perfect, a small amount of bushbashing (gently as always to minimise my impact) and i was there, on my knoll… now i was there the view turned out to be rubbish, could not see Empress falls and i was balancing on some slippery moss cover rock which felt like it wanted to catapult me done the valley.

Not to be deterred and after spending a painful amount of time to get to this spot i was determined to take a shot from here, so i turned around and looked the other way, which was into a nice little glen with what looks like a set of falls which only runs during some heavy rain.

In the end the shot worked out ok and I did not end up sliding down into the Valley of the Waters :)

9 images (portrait mode) stitched together
D750 coupled with Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @ 24mm Aperture: f11 and Shutter Speed: 30 seconds
ISO 100
Out front – Hoya CPL.

On the Edge

of two worlds

I am going thru a bit of a pano phase at the moment, I really like the challenge of being able to slice a piece of scenery to show something different and to be able to capture additional elements that just can't be achieved in a single 6×4 frame.

As a true testament to the ease of pano taking, i shot a whole bunch of images (just about all panos) from this area and I reckon I was happy with just about every frame – thats pretty rare for me btw ;)

So the next time you out punching some light with that digital fang-dangle thing they call a camera or smart phone, consider the pano option and watch the world just open up to you :)

Happy freakin' hump day too.

View large or go home ;)

The image is made from 5 horizontal landscape images stitched together in PS, the kicker here is that simply by adjusting the exposure on each frame I could capture that sweet dark area under the foliage and also the relatively bright falls, having a cloudy day certainly helped too.

D750 coupled with Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 @ 32mm Aperture: f18 and Shutter Speed: varied from 5s to 30 seconds
ISO 100
Out front – Hoya CPL.

In the Jungle

ya gotta view it large, seriously, money back guarantee ;)

Exif love:
a bucketload of landscape orientation shots stitched together in PS this is about a 180degree view.
D750 coupled with Nikkor 16-35mm f4 @ 16mm Aperture: f14
Shutter Speed: 13s
ISO 100
Out front – Hoya CPL.