Summer Outings – Night time Beach Bliss

I am sure you are all aware now of my affection for the ocean, I always feel a sense of calm and release when I can see, hear and smell the ocean; apparently I’m not alone. I guess Seafarers for centuries have spoke of the desire to be near the ocean. The is a way to heighten the senses while near the ocean; a warm summer night, with clear skies allowing you to see the Milky Way over the water………sheer magic if you ask me.

We recently found ourselves pulled back down to the Mornington Peninsula for another spot of Astro Photography, not our normal spot, it was too windy, we decided to try another, it appears I have come full circle, as this is the same spot I learnt astro to begin with….life is funny like that isn’t it? Now Summer is the perfect time to be outside at night, warm tropical breezes and all that……it is not the best time for doing astro; the Summer heat radiates off the ground and adds to any possible light pollution….but hey! Light Pollution can be cool too!

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So we set up for the night, I was on top of the cliff (for want of a better word) and Moth climbed all the stairs down to the beach, he wanted to shoot from ground level and I wanted to look down, across and up. He wanted to do star trails, I just wanted standard shots.

Even though it’s night, once your eyes adjust it is quite light enough to see and light enough to get light leak in my silly camera, I am also finding a really bad graininess at higher Higher than I used to get. This is a three shot vertical panorama, done in PS, you can see the light pollution near the ground, I like it; gives a cool ombre effect as the sky darkens.

Astro is not as easy as taking a snap in the dark, there are processes to follow and sky maps to check, processing to be done afterwards. But sometimes, like this night I didn’t really take that many photos – I just stood and looked and listened, and felt a sense of rebirth and wakefulness. Staring at that big expanse of the sky, puts me in my place, the sky is stunning, but has no ego, it was there long before me and will probably exist long after me. Someone else will be standing in this spot, staring at the night sky and thinking the same thing.

Mysteries of the universe and all that…….are we alone? I doubt it, I mean the universe and galaxies and such, are we so egotistical to think we are the only ones? I mean seriously, look at Humans as a whole……would you want to be friends with us? We fight and bicker worse than 5 year olds, we kill each other for ridiculous reasons; hello?????????? why is your God any better than theirs? I’ll stay atheists thanks. If you want proof of a higher existence, look at the night sky; billions of years old…….it gave birth to this galaxy and many others, it gave birth to Mother Earth……….and it is stunningly beautiful.

WOW! I am getting so deep and philosophical, see what the ocean does to me, expands my mind. I will stop now and leave you with some pretty pictures.

If you look really close on the last image in the middle, left hand side, some one in the distance was light painting with steel wool 🙂 we tried to find them, but never succeeded.

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Playing around and making it look like meteor showers, kind of cool huh?

Seriously though folks, every now and then, stop and look up at the night sky and enjoy its majesty.

~ Julz

WPC – Resilient

When I first saw this week’s WPC Theme – Resilient I was not quite sure what photos to use, so I sit on it for a few days and looked at what others had put up, it then became quite obvious, well to me. One of the places I visited recently was Uluru or Ayers Rock in Central Australia………..totally amazing out of this world, like no where else on Earth. This single rock has stood for millennia or more and will still be there long after we have gone. The people who inhabit this region are incredibly resilient, as is the flora and fauna.

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It is stark and beautiful and hot (and sometimes very, very cold) and harsh, but it IS my Australia and so very, very beautiful and above all else…..resilient.

*All photos have commercial rights through NT Media

~ Julz

Super Moon……….Super Clouds!

The Moon is coming the Moon is coming……..sounds a little like Chicken Little and The Sky is falling, The Sky is falling; doesn’t it. There was a lot of hype over this particular Super Moon, but it really was not all that spectacular. If you read this post by Gary Hart, he explains it all quite well, he also has some magnificent photos. I on the other hand got nothing!

Melbourne put on it’s usual charm for a celestial event and had complete cloud cover 😦 . We all shuffled off to various spots around Melbourne, but did not get much at all. I did manage to get some lovely shots of the City Skyline (the plan was to get shots of the city in silhouette as the Super Moon rose above it). All I got was a Super Cargo Ship, Super Clouds (there was a glow through the cloud). Oh and I briefly saw the moon through a break in the clouds on the way home, honestly it really didn’t look that big??????????

Even The Age newspaper took a few shots of my group (I’m am just out of shot) and called it a #SuperFizzer. Moth was asked to comment for the paper and they took his name and number, I doubt that they called this morning for an update and photos hahahahaha! Poor Hubby his first 5 minutes of fame and he got nothing. Oh well there is still another 2 nights to grab something (maybe) and then there is always next month, it will only be slightly smaller.

Til next time, happy snapping and good luck with your moon pics….

~ Julz

 

 

Monday Musings

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Just spent another wonderful weekend away with my Photography Group, Moth and I drove up early morning to spend a few hours at Kryal Castle, just outside Ballarat Victoria, then we met up with the group in Snake Valley (45 minutes past Ballarat), for what we hoped would be a night of fun laughs and astro photography…….the fun and laughs we had plenty, but the clouds closed in and there was still lots of light pollution, so it was slim pickings. Although we did have a lot of fun with torches, glow sticks and sparklers.

 

Kryal Castle was loads of fun, we spent a pleasant few hours wandering the grounds in the Autumn Sunshine, then had lunch and watched the jousting. There was the Knights of the Round Table, a Throne Room, a torture chamber and dungeon, as well as Dragons and Wizards. It is aimed more for the kids, but we are such big kids at heart, especially with fantasy stuff.

Sunday (Mother’s Day) Dawned so cold, wet and miserable we decided against any other day trips and decided to head straight home (with a stop off at Mum’s for Mother’s Day, of course). The beds we slept in the night before, were most uncomfortable, in fact I thought the Medieval Torture racks from Kryal Castle would have been better! So no real sleep; we after we finally got home, unloaded the car, greeted and cuddled the animals, we both settled in for a afternoon siesta. Managed to briefly go through a few pics, and then an early night.

Now quite tired and will take a few days to recover and go through all the picks………will do a post for each event soon. Til then, here is just a couple of pics.

-Julz

Summer Outings – Sorrento

So this weekend was our big Astro Photography Workshop, we had decided as it was Valentine’s Day we would get a BnB and stay down the Peninsula for the weekend. We stayed at Whitehall Lodge in Sorrento, a lovely old style lodging house right near the surf beach. Granted it could have done with a little TLC, but our late booking left us with few options. Still it had a lot of character, it was clean and comfortable.

So we arrived Saturday in Sorrento and spent the afternoon exploring the surf beach as well as Portsea Beach, we went back and explored more of London Bridge. It was a lovely way to spend some time exploring the beach and soaking up some sun.Moth explored the rock pools and I watched the surfers and families on the beach.

All afternoon the skies remained clear, which was what we needed for our Astro 101 workshop. Unfortunately the later it became, the more cloud appeared. 70% cloud cover had been predicted. We did have a glorious sunset to make up for the fact that the sky remained mostly hidden. Some left, fearing it was a waste of time, but most that stayed still learnt the basics and attempted some shots granted, most got very little, but were happy with the workshop overall. I was so busy giving everyone instructions and individual help, I didn’t get any shots in myself, no real loss. Here is a few from our wonderful sunset.


Well that’s about it, we spent the next day out at Fort Nepean, but I’ll leave that for my next post
-Julz

Tales from the Shoot – Summer Night Skies

DSC_2934-EditAs I am sure you have all heard me babble on about the Astro 101 Workshop that Moth and I ran over the weekend……..it was a complete bust as far as the Summer night skies was concerned. Working with Mother Nature can be amazing and have it’s rewards, but she can be unpredictable. We also knew when we first arranged this shoot over a month ago, we had NO control over the weather. I had been watching the weather report for days, looking at satellite forecasts and such. Hoping for the best, but knowing deep down it was going to be no good. Still you never know.

I went prepared with sparklers, glow sticks and torches in case we wanted to try some light painting; but they were never used. Moth and I had decided to spend the whole weekend down there, so if it was a waste of time, at least we didn’t have far to travel.

All day the numbers attending was dropping, early on every time someone dropped out someone else jumped in. We had set our limit to 20, figuring at least 1/3 would be no shows. We had been booked out early with a rather large wait list. Final numbers settled on 16 with about 12 (plus me and Moth) actually attending. We met in our pre arranged meeting point and we took them all up to our ‘Spot’. It was early evening and the sunset was about 45 minutes away. Most split off and quickly went exploring down on the beach.The clouds did make for a glorious sunset, so that was a real win.

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It was at about this point the clouds which had stayed away all day quickly started to roll in and they just kept coming.By the time it was dark it was very cloudy, some left feeling it was a complete waste, although I felt there was still something that could be gained.

By nightfall, our numbers had dropped to roughly 8, which had me on my toes. There were so many different cameras, I only know Nikon, so it was good the attendance was small; trying to figure out how to change various settings on cameras I do not know was frustrating and challenging. They all learnt the basics and we had a brief break in the clouds were everyone was madly shooting, there was a few excited shouts when we could actually see the Milky Way in the sky, and even more shouts when a lucky few managed to capture it. They all knew that none of the shots that were captured that night were very good, but I think most of them were happy with what they learnt and would be able to continue on their own.

Some, now knowing the basics were already keen to attempt other areas, and methods of Astro Photography, and asked if we could run another workshop. I was by this stage exhausted and I hadn’t managed a single shot myself past sunset. I was kind of glad by the time the clouds had completely closed in and we all called it a night by about 10:30.

Will I run another one, perhaps, but not just yet. I think I prefer to run casual meet ups in gardens and things where everyone can do their own thing. Workshops are a lot of work.I apologise for using the same old shots, but I have nothing else new to add.

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Anyway til next time, happy snapping………….

-Julz

Manic Mondays

Wow such a great weekend away, but I’m exhausted. We went away down to the Mornington Peninsula again, this time we stayed in a lovely old lodging house in Sorrento. We wandered the back beaches and explored the Sorrento / Portsea area. Then on Saturday night we met other Togs for sunset and a night of astro photography.

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Of course the clouds rolled in and and it was a complete bust, but they all learned the basics, and saw the Milky Way briefly, and few got some shots. I really didn’t take images, apart from Sunset: I was way too busy helping everyone else lol.
We then spent Sunday walking and exploring Port Nepean and surrounding area, here is just a few shots off the phone, I’ll do a separate post later in the week.

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That’s it for this week, til next time, happy snapping…………………

-Julz

Cee’s Share your World – Week 6

Falling short of deciding what to post today I was spurred on by others post for this week’s Share your World, Week 6 (is it really – already? Yikes)

  1. What is your favorite word? a) I don’t know that I have a favorite word as such, but there are two that often escape my lips, especially when I am angry of frustrated – Shit and F**k.
  2. What is your least favorite word? a) Do you really want me to answer that? Probably the following: religion, politics, war, work
  3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? a) Well this is a difficult one as it changes continuously, a beautiful view, a sunset (or sunrise), an interesting face, an interesting texture, colour, music….definitely music. Different music gives me different creative flow as well. Add to that my spirituality is usually interconnected with my creativity and often with nature.
  4. What turns you off? a) Blood and guts, whether it be in real life, on TV or Movies (or the internet) I do not like gore!
  5. What is your favorite curse word? a) See 1 !
  6. What sound or noise do you love? a) Laughter, especially children. Not just a giggle but a big booming belly laugh. Also my cat purring………very soothing.
  7. What sound or noise do you hate? a) nails on blackboard, kids screaming and whining, chain saws, telephone
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? a) archeologist, race car driver, sail boat tester, dolphin trainer, kitten cuddler in a shelter (I hear that it is very rewarding)
  9. What profession would you not like to do? a) School teacher, scientist, doctor, dentist, gynecologist, politician.
  10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? a) Oh shit! She found us.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Obviously as per usual I am grateful for my friends and family, my health and living in a relatively violent free world, no war, no famine; but that is every week. Last week I visited a beautiful Lotus Garden and spent a glorious morning with some fellow photographers and my Hubby wandering the grounds taking photos.

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This week I get to (hopefully the weather holds) take a group of  people out to my favourite spot and teach them Astro Photography.

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Camera Clubs (a rant)

I will apologise here in advance, this is a rant. If you don’t wish to read it I completely understand; it’s just that I am so angry about something that happened last night I need to vent!

After being asked by several people in my Camera Group to show them how I shoot Astro Photography, I thought it might be fun to set up an excursion or workshop at my favourite spot and show people how we shoot. I have advised it is a very basic, no frills set up. It very quickly booked up, and then over booked……..yikes.

Anyway last night I was trying to obtain some final numbers and someone offered to bring along all his toys and tech for DSS and Star Stacking, as well as special software on how to do stacking. And then offered to teach everyone how to use it; at my workshop! I tried to point out that that is not what this excursion or workshop was about and possibly it may complicate things and confuse people. And then the onslaught began. Apparently I am selfish, stupid and ignorant and a horrible person for squashing his creativity and enthusiasm! I again tried to explain that most people coming don’t know HOW to shoot astro and trying to show different methods at the same workshop would confuse me, let alone anyone else.

The onslaught and vitriol ensued and I gave up, but many other people jumped in and it became quite protracted argument. A few of them coming to my defence (which is nice). I mean if he wants to show people another method and use his toys, perhaps he should run a workshop of his own? Don’t run around telling everyone my way is dumb and stupid and I’m a horrible person and a bad photographer………seriously that is uncalled for.

I was so upset by it all, I have never been trolled before. I know it is a fact of life sometimes online, but this was within my own camera club. Maybe I didn’t explain myself as well as I could; but other people understood what I meant and they also tried, in vain to explain to this guy. Who then accused all of us of School Yard bullying tactics and stifling his creativity. How did it go from a fun night out to this ridiculous battle of which method to shoot Astro is better (his apparently). I have shot different ways and frankly the whole star tracking, star stacking things confuses the living hell out of me and in the end I don’t think they are all that much better off a straight DSLR. Sure combine a DSLR with a telescope and they can be amazing, complex, but amazing. But THAT is NOT what this workshop was designed for, it was just a little taste so people were not so scared to try things out for themselves. If they want to then move on to more complex shoots; good for them.

I’m at the stage I am tempted to cancel the whole thing, I am internally hoping for really bad weather so I can cancel…………does that make me a bad person?

This was followed up after another workshop I attended on Flash and Speedlite Photography, which turned out to be very distressing. The guy didn’t seem to be able to explain anything and then took my camera out of my hands and started playing with my settings and called me an idiot because I shoot in Manual Mode. NOT COOL DUDE! Yes I tend to be a little passive aggressive sometimes, but this guys really got my hackles up. Yes you need to have respect for the people trying to run these workshops, so I didn’t scream in this guys face, but I wanted to. Shoe will be on the other foot, apparently he has signed up for my Astro workshop………….yay! Maybe that’s another reason to cancel. Maybe I can call him an idiot for NOT shooting in Manual Mode! Or take the high road and show him how to patiently explain something properly to someone who does not understand.

I have been with this group for quite some time, and have never seen anything remotely like this, most of the people I have met have been fun, supportive and friendly; a great bunch of people to hang out with. Maybe these are isolated experiences. I hope so.

That’s it….rant over. If you read it all, thanks for listening

-Julz

Photo101Rehab Imagecraft Bootcamp – Developing Vision

This week in Photo101Rehab Imagecraft Bootcamp we are looking at  Developing Vision. But what is Vision? Mitch simplifies it down the two different variations, but alas I still have no real answer for either. I hear it and read it, but I am still sort of frustrated. Let me explain.

I have only been a serious, obsessed amatuer photographer for about a year (got my first DSLR in November 2014). I have no real vision for myself as yet, I am experimenting with so many different forms, from various ‘Scapes (land, sea, city), to light painting, night shoots (astro), portraits, artistic, street. I love it all! I used to just take photos and see what I got, 100’s of photos. I still do that to an extent. I trust my eye and my gut. Moth often asks me, what are you shooting? That is the $64.00 question isn’t it? “What ARE you shooting?” Sometimes I honestly do not know………..I know that sounds bad, doesn’t it?

When it comes to my portrait shoots it is very different, I have them pre planned in advance, on paper and in my head, I do run throughs and set ups, prior to the shoot to see how they look from my head to the PC. I am frequently like that with my paintings as well, I start with a basic line drawing on paper and slowly flesh it out, eventually I transfer that to my ‘canvas’ and finish as I ‘saw’ it in my mind.

Astro photography, is sort of pre planned, but you still just get what you get, Light Painting to some degree is the same, as long you have your settings right and you are pointed in the right direction you will achieve something, you frequently have no idea exactly WHAT you will achieve. But you most likely get something pretty cool, maybe that’s because I am still an amatuer?

When it comes to ‘Scapes, it’s a little different, I can see something with my eyes, my gut tells me it’s what I want, I shoot, sometimes I don’t even look at the image I just took, I just know. Am I having a vision without knowing I have a vision? Perhaps my vision is abstract? Some people go by mathematical and scientific principles, I go by feel. Look at the photos below, the old truck and the cherub I knew I wanted to photograph them that way, did I have a vision for the final image: No, It evolved on my canvas.  The Sunset? Well I felt that there was something there, was dissapointed with what I got, until Mitch taught us shadow recovery and then WOW……I was right I did capture something beautiful.

This next image I did have a vision for, but it took many months. I have driven past this site probably 20 times in the last 12 months and every time I say to myself I must stop, but I never do, too rushed, no camera, too dark, too bright, too lazy. But I KNEW I wanted this shot. Eventually on a cold brisk Winters day, dark looming clouds with sunshine still peaking through, I finally stopped and took my shot, alas too dark (all the shots I took were), but again Mitch’s teaching to the rescue and I got this!

Now the below photos were another vision, I shot back in April pre dawn and KNEW I wanted to come back and shoot at Sunset, I had a few ND Filter issues on the top ones, but I knew what I was looking for.

So what is my vision………….I honestly have no idea, is this good or bad? I have an instinct, and I trust it, I go with my gut, does it make for good photography? I am not sure………..I often fail, but sometimes I net spectacular results (well I think so).  In the end………..I am having a lot of fun and isn’t THAT what matters?

Sorry folks this has been a bit of a long one, I didn’t take any specific photos for it, but I hope I have used images that conveyed my message clearly. Perhaps someone out there can explain to me WHAT MY VISION IS? Or is it that I just have not found it yet?

Til next time, happy snapping……….

-Julz