Where are my Photos?

Friday, December 6, 2013

New Venture - At The Bay - Accommodation - Coles Bay - Tasmania

Yes I've been a bit quiet on the photo front.

We've been bust working on a new project on the east coast of Tasmania.

So for any readers interested in a Tassie holiday we have a house for holiday renting in Coles Bay.

Check out these links.

Website: www.atthebay.com.au
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AtTheBayColesBay/

We are offering a 20% discount for Feb 2014 (our opening month)
We are taking bookings now.

Here's a pic of the local area. A photographer's paradise.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Top 9 from Europe / US Trip

Its taken months to work through nearly 2,500 shots from our 6 week trip to Europe and the US. To select and post process them into 5 categories.

1. Memories
2. Showable
3. Mini Card Prints
4. Large Prints
5. Best Work

From a pure photographer's point of view it was not a great trip. Out of the 6 weeks we only had a few days where the lighting was great for landscapes.

But I came away with some very nice images.

The top 9 are here: http://www.vitamirus.me/Holidays/Europe-US

This one is my favourite. This guy was begging in Paris he let me take his photo in return for a contribution.

Paris Local

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Handheld HDR with a Canon 1D-X in Europe

I had great anticipation before our recent holiday in Europe of getting some great photos. I did get some pretty good ones (stay tuned for another blog post on that) but often because the sky was overcast the lighting wasn't great for those iconic shots of of the European landscape.

Either the sky was over blow or the subjects would be way under exposed. So time to try HDR. For those new to HDR there is plenty on the web about the what and how of HDR, this blog post is just my first experience, the tools I used and the results.

Let me say from the outset that, as with most things photographic, I'm a newbie. This was really my first crack at HDR, certainly with this body. Constructive comments are welcome.

I have the Canon 1D-X set-up to bracket -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, and 3. So a bracket of 7 shots at 1 stop intervals.

First I import into Aperture and usually do not touch the images - simply export to full sized jpegs. I used Bracketeer to combine the images into a single HDR image. I have to say that there are a lot of knobs and buttons on this software and none of them are very clear. I mainly fiddle with the "Mu" and "Sigma" sliders which change the look of the combined image - a more user friendly interface would be helpful.

What Bracketeer seems to do very well is auto-align the images. I was careful to hold as still as possible taking the shots, and the 1D-X's high ISO performance lets you use higher ISO's so faster shutter speeds but  it is impossible to keep perfect alignment during a 7 shot burst no matter who you are or what gear you have. So Bracketeer get 5 stars for this feature.

Then I import the tiff files back into Aperture. Becuase the lighting was so flat to begin with the HDR images come out pretty flat using Bracketeer. Some HDR software boost saturation as part of the process but Bracketeer doesn't seem to. So on most of the images I bumped saturation, mid-contrast and definition.

The results are pretty good for a first go.

Here's my favorite. And below is a link to all the HDR shots from the trip.
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Link to Album

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tasmanian Winter - Absolutely Stunning

We were back in Tassie last weekend. Not something people often think about as a winter getaway destination but Tassie can turn on some fantastic weather in the winter months.

We had less than 24 hours in Coles Bay - But couldn't have stayed for weeks.

I wasn't expecting great photography weather so I was light on gear. Canon 1D-X and a 24-70mm L Lens.

But I managed to snap some great pics.

Here's my favorite.

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... and here's a gallery link to 9 of the best.

Gallery Link

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Back in business

Thanks to a strong backup regime and a good insurance policy I have a new Macbook Pro retina display fully restored and not a byte of data lost.

Now the task of reviewing 3,258 images from our trip begins. Stay tuned for the results.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Backup x4. You'll be glad you did.

Not long back from a 6 week around the world trip. Had a fantastic time and will post some pics here shortly.

I need to get a new Macbook Pro first, because the one I had got stolen in Paris. These guys are professionals. I literally turned my back for seconds and "poof!" gone.

I'm yet to confirm 100% but I'm confident I haven't lost one image.

1. The MBP backs up to my time capsule at home.
2. I have a separate backup of my Aperture Libraries at home and another one at work.
3. All my documents are also in cloud storage.
4. Whilst travelling I keep a copy of the pics I take on the camera (CF Cards) even if I've copied them on to the Laptop.

The only reason I didn't replace the MBP while travelling was that with WWDC next week there's a good chance of a spec update. Assume prices don't go up, insurance should be happy to pay for the updated unit.

So yes it was a major pain in the neck to be hit by these thieves. But with a strong backup regime it didn't hurt as much as it otherwise might have.

So team. Backup your images!

Oh and the added bonus of OSX? I could remote wipe the MBP from my iPhone.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Time Lapse - Night Sky

We went bush camping again for a couple of nights over Easter.

I was keen to try our the new CamRanger (CR) with the 1D-X doing some time-lapse photography.

One of the great things about the CR is the ability to view the image live on the iPhone, so getting focus is much easier than the sometimes awkward angles you get in to see the screen whilst pointing the lens to the sky.

Hooking the CR up is so simple. Plug the USB into the unit and the camera body. Switch it on, connect the iPhone to the WiFi hotspot created by the CR and volla! live view on the iPhone.

I fitted 24-70mm L Series Canon glass to the Canon big gun and did a couple of test shots to get the right exposure.

I ended up using ISO 8000, F8 to get a 20" exposure. Any shorter than 20 seconds and you need a higher ISO, any longer and the stars stop being dots and start to become lines due to their apparent movement from the earth's rotation. The f8 aperture was to ensure the trees were in focus as well as the stars.

Next step was to dial into the CR app on the iPhone 300 shots 30 seconds apart - thats a 10 second movie at 30 fps covering 150mins of rotation.

Hit start and wait......

150mins is a long time in the cool night. I had a campfire to keep me warm and occupied. If you look carefully in the movie you will see some sections show a reddish hue on the trees - no doubt when a few extra logs went on the fire.

So why isn't the movie 10secs long? A simple but stupid answer. The camera battery went flat. Note to self. Don't do a long time-lapse sequence with a camera battery on half charge.

Anyway the result is pretty pleasing albeit short.


To produce the movie I export the pics from Aperture to JPG then I use Time-Lapse (available on the app store from Microprojects) to put the pic into a movie. In this instance I have produced the movie in iMovie to add the titles and music etc..

Friday, March 22, 2013

OT - Google Reader Replacement

Up front apologies to my photofile readers but I didn't have anywhere else to post this. I just it might be helpful to any die hard Google Reader (GR) users. Please bear with me while I go off topic.

I've tried 3 of the recommended options for replacing GR when it is pulled on July 1, 2013

First I tried ifttt - this is a really cool service that allows you to create "recipes" which are like web based macros for dealing with information on the web. You can link emails to Evernote to DropBox to Facebook etc... It works reasonably well but not perfect and its a bit clunky as a replacement for GR. I set up an RSS to email recipe which sent an email to a new Gmail account. It posted fine but too many moving parts.

Second I tried theoldreader - not bad. It has the familiar GR feel but is suffering badly at the moment due to high demand. I got sick of waiting.

Lastly I tried feedly - I should have come here first. For an inexplicable reason I didn't want to load another app into my chrome browser. Its a stupid thing I have about keeping this clean. I'm guessing it comes from the bad old windows days when a system would slowly grind to a halt after loading too much stuff onto it - even if you removed the software the system would still run like a dog. Anyway if I can get away with not installing another application I usually will take the pure web alternative.

Well silly me. Feedly (dumb name) works just great. Sure I am taking one big bet that these guys will deliver on the promise to migrate to their own rss api. At the moment they are simply a new front end for GR but they have promised to deliver a stand alone alternative. I'm backing them in to do so.

Oh and BTW the IOS app for feedly looks and works great. It has a bit of a windows 8 feel to it but I like that. I actually think IOS is in desperate need of a refresh but that another post - another day - maybe.

Anyway - "Go Feedly".

Monday, February 11, 2013

Under the Southern Cross - Night Photography

This past weekend we went back to Tassie on business. The place we stayed at was near the Freycinet Peninsular - Coles Bay.

The dominant geological feature are the Hazards, which a bit like Uluru are constantly changing. I was hoping to get shot of a strong orange sunset shining on the Hazards to bring out their natural red colour.

But there was cloud on the western horizon so no strong red sunset.

With a relatively clear southern sky I decided to go back 90 minutes later to get the Hazards as a silhouette against a starry sky including the souther cross.

This was the first night sky picture I had taken with the Canon 1D-X. My only prior experience was with my old 7D where noise is a real problem with higher ISO's.

I attached the Canon 16-35mm F2.8 wide angle lens. Set the ISO to 800 in order to get the exposure I wanted within 30secs. Anything greater than 30secs (with a wide angle lens) and you run the risk of the movement of the earth causing the image of the stars to be stretched rather than dots. At long focal lengths a higher shutter speed is required.

Getting a sharp focus is also a bit tricky in these situations (usually auto focus does not work in these conditions). I was using a gorilla pod which makes this even harder because you need to get down on your hands and knees to see through the view finder. So I use live view and zoom the image on the screen onto a bight star and manually focus. I have since bought a CamRanger which gives full functionality on your iPhone.

I used an aperture of F3.5 this allowed a stop over exposure for the image.

And here are the results.

The Milky Way over Coles Bay Tasmania

Wow! I was blown away by the results. I have bumped the exposure up a fair bit in Aperture but this turned out heaps better than I expected.

See if you can pick out the Southern Cross.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Melbourne Street Walk

Street photography is not my strong suit. I don't like asking people for a model release and I guess I don't do enough of it to make a difference in my level of skill.

But none of these are reasons to not have a go. So at the encouragement from a mate and with the idea that there is safety in numbers we went into the Melbourne CBD where we both work for a street walk.

Had had ideas of the sort of shots we wanted and knew a few locations, but plans need to be fluid because the city is changing by the second.

We met at Federation Square on a Thursday night so there was plenty going on. It was a hot night in the low 30's (celsius) so lugging gear around was a bit uncomfortable.

I have a Lowpro slingshot which is fine if you don't fill it to capacity. So I lightened the load down to the 1D-X, 24-70 L 2.8, 70-200 L 2.8 II, 2X Extender III and the 16-35mm Wide Angle 2.8.

My mate had a spare Manfrotto Tripod so I used that.

We took some shots of Patrick Dougherty's Stickwork masterpiece but I couldn't get anything I thought was worth keeping.

From there we went to Hosier Lane famous for its graffiti. We spend 30 mins there lots of unique opportunities for photos. The lane is popular with photographers and can get busy - but we had the place to ourselves so we could take our time.

Here's a shot of the famous Joker. I like how the girl in the picture is lost in the graffiti, adding scale and mood. 
Melbourne City

Other shots of Hosier La can be found here.

Next we went to the corner of Lt Collins & Swanston where often you will see street dancers but there was nothing there that night.

We did notice the moon rising over the city so after clicking the 70-200 and 2X Extender on we managed some nice shots of the moon.

Melbourne City

A few metres further up Swanston St we came across some buskers who for two bucks were happy for us to take as many photos as we liked.

These guys were good fun.
Melbourne City

Time was getting on so we took some shots of the museum but nothing worth showing here.

It was a good night and something worth doing again some time.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

12 of 2012's favourite pics

So I notice a few photographer's putting together their best work of 2012.

It's a good exercise that requires a higher level of critique than looking through shots from a particular event.

You also get a chance to review how you have progressing in the craft over a 12 month period - hopefully to be encouraged by a growth in both the taking and the editing of images.

Because I rate each photo at the time of processing my job was a bit easier.

I wanted to reduce my choice to 12 of the best but also maintain diversity in the images.

My choice of 12 also tells the story of my year.

So maybe not my best work but my favourite images of 2012

Here they are in chronological order.

View from the Top - Mt Haleakala, Hawaii pre-dawn 

This photo was taken on a trip to the Melbourne Zoo with my mate Mark who sadly died in 2012. We shared a love of photography and he is sadly missed.

From my backyard with a Canon 7D and a 100-400mm f4-5.6 L IS lens and a 2x Extender III. ISO 200 at 1/80th f20 - The image is cropped.

A lucky shot on the first outing with the Canon 1D-X on burst. Bird catching a fly.

A nice shot capturing a young musician at my daughter's school. Nice low light performance of the Canon 1D-X

I like this pic for several reasons. 1. It shows that photo opportunities are everywhere - this one in the middle of an industrial area near a railway underpass. 2. It tells a story of good and evil.

This would have to be one of my very favourites. The November 2012 Solar Eclipse at Port Douglas.

2012 Para Olympics - London
White Rhino at Werribee Open Range Zoo

I just like the light in this shot and it was a move away from my normal editing which tends to bump saturation up. This one backs it off to nice effect.

Cradle Mountain Tasmania

At The Bay. Dawn pic of the Hazards at Coles Bay Tasmania. A beautiful part of the world.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Tasmania - Photographer's Heaven

OK not exactly heaven but given that both Tasmania and the real thing were created by the same being maybe its not as much of a stretch.

My wife is from Tassie so we get back there a bit. This was the first trip with the 1D-X.

Tassie is busy during the summer break, tourism being Australia's smallest state's largest industry.

... and why not. Tassie has simply wonderful and diverse scenery all in a relatively small package.

I like to think of Tassie as a mini version of New Zealand. It has everything New Zealand has except the glaciers all on a smaller scale. The mountains are not as high, the rivers not as wide and the towns not as big, but in its own way Tassie is almost as spectacular as its easterly neighbour.

This year it was so busy that we seriously couldn't hire a car. We tried all the companies and were happy with any 3 door hatch or even a ute but nothing. Finally Mrs Gazza finds a vehicle which we just had to make do with.

a BMW Z4
Pic Specs: Canon 1D-X / Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L / ISO 200 / f2.8 / 1/125
So we were stuck with this little baby for a week and loved it.

Our trip involved a stay in Devonport where the Ferry terminal is and my Mother-in-law. I managed to slip out for a few shots. Got this nice one of the Spirit of Tasmania leaving for the evening voyage back to Melbourne.

Spirit Of Tasmania Leaving Devonport
Pic Specs: Canon 1D-X with 16-35mm f2.8 -- ISO 2000, f2.8, 1/15

And this one near a local Poppy farm.

House and Poppies
I like the desaturated look on this one giving it a slightly dated look.
Pic Specs: Canon 1D-X with 100-400mm L IS f4-5.6 -- ISO 200, f.5.6, 1/320
I love my Mother-in-law but we thought it would be nice to have break so we went the Cradle Mountain for a night.

On the way stopped to get  a few pics of Mount Roland.
Mount Roland
Mt. Roland.
Pic Specs: Canon 1D-X with 16-35mm f2.8 -- ISO 100, f5, 1/160 with Polarizer.

At Cradle Mountain we got some nice pics. Here. Both afternoon and morning shots but the morning was clouded in and I wasn't happy enough with them to publish.

Then for the next 2 nights we stayed at Coles Bay near the Freycinet Peninsular and equally picturesque part of the world.

There are a few views of the Hazards Here

All my Tassie pics from this trip can be found at this link

Enjoy - I did.