CWP Nature Galleries: Blog http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog en-us CWP Photography chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) Fri, 23 Jun 2017 04:23:00 GMT Fri, 23 Jun 2017 04:23:00 GMT http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/img/s7/v169/u425712221-o208758489-50.jpg CWP Nature Galleries: Blog http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog 96 120 New Photos added this week http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/new-photos-added-this-week Introduction

It was a better week for photography this week.  Work demands slackened briefly at the start of the week. And kid #3 is slowly progressing back to full health.  We haven't got him back to school full-time yet, but given he's been ill and off school for months and months, I'm not complaining.  Also, a big thanks to everyone who has bought a print, or some digital downloads this last year.  It's helped out a lot.

Anyway, I was emboldened to try a waterfall again this week. Not too far in case I had to pick kid up from school early. That made the waterfalls at Omeru appealing. Later in the week was the Winter Solstice for us, so I stopped at a local beach to get some morning shots of the day.  This also coincided with a gale that kept me away from outside photography for the rest of the week. 

Photos

The waterfall shots were taken with my a7R, and either a 135mm f2.8 T4.5 STF lens, or a 17-35mm f3.5 G lens.  Clambering around these streams also prompted my wearing of my 'long gumboots'. These are actually rubber leggings from an ex-Army chemical warfare suit. They go up to the mid thigh, so make deep wading possible.  One thing I did discover is they don't have enough traction on muddy river banks. So in the end, there was more sliding and mud than I would have considered optimal (wince).

Waterfall at Omeru Reserve

 

Waterfall at Omeru ReserveWaterfall at Omeru Reserve

This was taken accidentally with my 135mm lens.  I was going to stand closer and use a 50mm but I'd forgotten to put a Lee adapter ring in the kit bag for the 50mm lens.  By a serendipitous bit of luck, going further down stream to fit in the waterfall, meant the trees on the edges could form a natural frame.

Omeru Waterfall

Omeru WaterfallOmeru Waterfall

Again, I was a little disadvantaged by the lack of a 50mm lens. This was taken using the 35mm end of the 17-35mm wide angle.  I've cropped it to a 24MP size image.

The Shortest Day

 

The Shortest Day

The sun rising over the Hauraki Gulf, through clouds. Photo taken from the Tor at Waiake Beach. I liked the atompshered of this shot. It took 2 filters to balance the exposure and get the ideal shutter speed.

Incoming Waves

Waves at Waiake Beach

Shutter slowed to capture a sense of wave motion, as the incoming gale churned up the sea in the Gulf.  Rangitito Island is on the horizon.

Splash!

The gale hits

Waves hitting the rocks of the Tor, at Waiake beach.

 

 

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chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) Auckland photos Hauraki Gulf NZ photos NZ waterfalls New zealand waterfalls Omeru Reserve Omeru Waterfall Torbay Waiake Waiake Beach Winter Solstice seascape waterfall http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/new-photos-added-this-week Fri, 23 Jun 2017 04:12:26 GMT
A seascape for the shortest day http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/a-seascape-for-the-shortest-day

Introduction

It’s the shortest day in NZ today.  We’re also expecting more bad weather.  That augured well for some seascape photos down at one of the local beaches.  Normally the swells on the gulf around the beaches here are sedate. Unimpressive.  A good storm can give them an interesting dynamic.  After dropping kiddo 3 at school, I stopped by at Waiake.

Gear

I kept it simple. My tripod. Its geared head. The Sony a7R (because 36MP is a great size for large prints) and a Minolta 17-35mm f3.5 G.  It’s an old Minolta wide angle that I quite like using for landscapes and seascapes.  Plus a minimal set of filters. For today,

Photos

One of the earlier shots.  I’m shooting toward the rising, morning sun.  The clouds are thickening in this direction.  I slowed the shutter down to get a sense of motion in the swell. Just one second is enough.

Morning Sunrise

Then its around to the other size to get a view across toward Rangitoto Island. The clouds are not as thick.  I’m trying to guess with a 2 second shutter delay, when I should press the shutter to get the waves at the right point.  There’s a lot of near misses here. But I got one!

The WaveWave stirred up by gale hitting rocks at the Tor, in Torbay

The gale is on its way.

Summary

The session has its moments. The wind was very gusty, and I was pleased that the tripod held up to it.  On the other hand, the sea spray quickly coated my glasses. I was in the end, composing without my glasses and relying on focus peaking to focus the shot properly. I lost my bill-cap briefly as well, as a gust tore it off my head. Fortunately it landed in a rock pool instead.  I’m left wondering how much wilder it will be tomorrow.

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chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) Rangitoto Island auckland photos explore nz hauraki gulf landscape lee filters nz photos rocks seascape sonyalpha tor torbay waiake bay waiake beach waves http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/6/a-seascape-for-the-shortest-day Wed, 21 Jun 2017 04:01:55 GMT
Fun with the Sony a7R http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/fun-with-the-sony-a7r Earlier this year I acquired a Sony a7R.  For those of you not familiar with it, it's a mirror-less full-frame camera with a 36 MP sensor.

 

I tend not to buy a lot of new gear.  It's easy to get into that trap with photography (Gear-Acquisition-Syndrome or GAS).  But I've rarely noticed that the latest camera makes up for anyone's weak photographic skills.  The best way to take better photos is to learn how to take better photos.  Nonetheless, sometimes you do notice that you can't get some shots you want with your current gear.  So, my rule of thumb is to upgrade (so to speak) once I find the current camera is just not able to get some of the photos I want.
 

This has taken a while.  My main camera for a while has been the Sony a900.  While this is a very good, full-frame 24MP DSLR camera, it also came out in 2008. There's been quite a few technological changes since then.

So, what's the advantages of the a7R?

  • It's much smaller and lighter.  I've been doing a lot of international travel and fieldwork in the last few years.  Having a camera that is both smaller, and easily able to fit into my bags is helpful.  The battery can also be charged via a standard micro-USB cable.  This reduces the numbers of chargers I need.
  • It lacks an AA-filter.  Many DSLR cameras come with an anti-moire (or AA) filter over the sensor.  This has the effect of slightly reducing sharpness.  The result is that the a7R produces slightly sharper images.  This is useful for some applications like landscapes or macro photos.
     
  • It has a 36 MP sensor.  This isn't necessarily a good thing.  The cost of packing more pixels into a sensor is often an increase in 'noise' in the photos.  However, for landscape photography, where I am usually shooting at ISO50-ISO200, it's not a problem.  It also means that prints can be made much larger.  This large print option is a good thing. Noise is actually very well controlled in this sensor as it benefits from Sony's new gapless sensor array.
     
  • It does video.  I appreciate that most DSLRs do now. But when I got my a900 it didn't.  I still recommend an external microphone.
  • I can operate it with my phone or iPad. Sony has a nice app I can use to operate the camera, using the camera's own WiFi.  When I say operate, that means the screen of my device shows the image.  And I can adjust the camera's setting with the device.  This includes a useful bulb-function.  This is helpful for shots I want to take where I can't stand behind the camera. I really like this feature.
     
  • It has a dual axis electronic level.  This is helpful for panoramic shots.
  • It has less noise at ISO1600+ than the a900.  Technological advances do help improve images.
     
  • It has focus-peaking.  This feature kicks in with manual focus, and lets you see what regions of the photos appear in focus (as coloured lines on screen).  Thus for the landscape photography, you can see if the main subjects in your shot are in focus or need some tweaking.
     
  • It's lens-brand independent.  In this sense it's more like an open-source camera when it comes to lenses.  You can add adapters to it to shoot with almost any rival brand's lenses. Usually camera's lock you into only one system of lenses.

A7R with Minolta MD lens and adapterA7R with Minolta MD lens and adapter

Nonetheless, it has some disadvantages as well.

  • It lacks body stabilisation.  The a900 has the Steady Shot Stabiliser in the body of the camera.  This gives me 2-3 stops of extra leeway when shooting handheld with the a900.  On the other hand, I can shoot at higher ISOs with the a7R than I can with the a900.
  • It shoots at a lower frame rate (frames per second or fps).  It shoots at 1.5 fps compared to 5.  This precludes using it for wildlife, sports or anything involving action.
  • The a900 has a better Auto-Focus system. 
     
  • The shutter-shock problem.  For the most part I've escaped this by shooting on a 2 second delay, and on tripod.  If shooting hand-held I like to keep the shutter up over 1/100 second, which also seems to avoid the problem. 
  • I've found it harder to shoot nocturnal macro shots with it. The optical view finder of the a900 just seems better in very low light conditions. 
     
  • It burns through batteries.  The batteries it uses are smaller than the a900. And there's a lot more electronics going on inside the a7R. 

 

Where the a7R simply excels is with landscapes.  It's my first choice in the camera bag for when I'm intending to take landscape photos.  I've been able to take photos with it, that I couldn't before. 
 

 

 

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chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) Sony a7R Sony a900 a7R camera a900 camera cameras cameras for landscapes full-frame cameras photography sony alpha which camera http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/fun-with-the-sony-a7r Sat, 01 Oct 2016 01:31:43 GMT
Blowing bubbles http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/8/blowing-bubbles We were on a family holiday up in the Bay of Islands.  This is a deep area of water, that used to be a giant volcanic crater.  The islands and peninsula are relics of these ancient crater-rims.  It makes for a good harbour for boats, and for marine life.  So obviously we had to try to see some dolphins.

 

This was my favourite shot of the trip.  The reason is that almost all my other shots are of dolphins swimming alongside us, or riding the bow.  This is one of the few times a dolphin swam towards us.  And despite being underwater, the tip of the nose was as sharp as I would expect for a land shot.  I guess that says something about the water quality.

Bottle-Nose DolphinBottle-Nose DolphinNZ Bottle-nosed dolphin from the Bay of Islands.

Taken with a900 and 70-200mm f2.8 G

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chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) NZ dolphins NZ photos NZ wildlife bay of islands dolphin dolphin photo http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/8/blowing-bubbles Sun, 31 Jul 2016 22:17:48 GMT
Time in amongst the trees http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/time-in-amongst-the-trees It was Sunday. That also meant it was time for an escape.  I packed a light kit of gear and headed up into the Okura Bush Walkway.  By light I meant a MeFoto tripod, a Sony a7R, a Minolta 17-35mm f3.5 G lens and some filters.  I didn't know what to expect. I just wanted to be down in the trees again.

It was possibly a mistake I didn't take a longer telephoto. I was able to watch a pair of male miromiro (NZ tomtits, which paradoxically, aren't tomtits at all) cavorting about the track.  With the grey skies and low tide however, photo opportunities were rare.  I stuck to the trees.

#1 Fallen Log

 

This log shot also gives a good perspective on how dense NZ native forest can be,  and how little light often reaches the forest floor.

 

#2 Photukawa

The Pohutakawa is a coastal tree that clings to the margins of beaches and cliffs. It creates a very sprawling and organic shape.

 

#3 Some Duotones and Black-and-White
With the light conditions, is was also on the look out for shapes and textures that would suit a colour-free approach.

 

 

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chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) NZ forest NZ trees Okura Okura Bush Walkway Sony a7R new zealand nz photos pohutakawa tree photos http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/time-in-amongst-the-trees Wed, 22 Jun 2016 01:33:06 GMT
Nihotupu Falls http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/3/nihotupu-falls I didn't realise we had so many waterfalls around the Auckland area until I started exploring.  Some waterfalls I had been aware of, just because they're relatively well-known.  The Fairy Falls in the Waitakeres is one.  Many others are not so well known.  One of these falls I recently found was Nihotupu. 

This weekend a few things came together to allow a return to these falls.  Light winds, overcast conditions, and I had the time spare.  It was a fotunate convergence of factors.  It's also not a difficult hike to the waterfall.  About 30 minutes even with a bit of gear. The heaviest bit of gear is perversely, the carbon-fibre tripod.  Mostly because I've fitted a very solid, Manfrotto geared-head to it.  I like this tripod-head for two reasons.  First, it gives very precise framing of shots across three axes.  Second, it is very, very stable.  There's no lens-droop or one iota of movement in the camera.  The main disadvantage is that it is a heavy head- much more so than the ball-heads I also own.  

The drive over was lovely. I took the Scenic Drive through the Waitekere Ranges.  Low cloud hung over the range and for most of the tip, I was blanketed in mist.  I hoped it would persist lower down when I got to Nihotupu.  But that was not to be. 

All of the shots below were taken with my Sony a7R, producing images of 36 megapixel, full-frame goodness.

 

This shot I think, is my favourite of the trip.  The waterfall is conspicuous and the rocks in the foreground give the image increased depth.

NihotupuNihotupu

With this shot, I've gone for frame-filling goodness.  One of the features that appeals to me of this fall, is the texture of the water as it falls down the rocks.  Sometimes you just get a solid wall of water with this type of waterfall.  Nihotupu however, retains a shape and structure with the underlying rocks.

 

 

NihotupuNihotupu

This shot I've gone slightly wider to place the waterfall in its forest setting.

NihotupuNihotupu

Further upstream of the waterfall, are other smaller falls.  This is from an earlier expedition.

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chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) NZ photos Nihotupu Falls Nihotupu Waterfall long exposure new zealand scenic sony a7R' waterfall http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/3/nihotupu-falls Tue, 22 Mar 2016 08:06:50 GMT
Fallen Log http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/3/fallen-log Forest StreamForest Stream

I'd first seen this log over this stream when I was hiking along this track with my son. I returned today with my a7R rather than camera phone. I needed both a circular polariser and an ND grad for this shot. (I'm a keen user of Lee Filters). One of the reasons I've gone for this style is exposure to the art of Ray Harris-Ching. When young I was impressed with the delicate and detailed style he approached NZ subjects.

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chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) long exposure nihotupu waitakere ranges waitakeres waterfall http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/3/fallen-log Sat, 19 Mar 2016 08:35:05 GMT
Singing Cicada http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/2/singing-cicada

I finally had all the gear I wanted to try out my a7r as a macrophotography camera. My theory is that the combination of a 36MP sensor and no AA filter, would let me take sharp shots of a large size. But just having a camera isn't enough. Macrophotography also depends on good lighting. And Sony's E-mount cameras don't have a macro flash. I do have one for the older Minolta AF and Sony alpha ranges. But as the hot-shoe had changed, I needed an adapter. It arrived yesterday. I gave it a try today at lunch-time. It's the end of summer here in NZ and the cicadas are being particularly loud. I found this male singing happily in a bush in garden. The shot is pretty much fresh from the camera. I've cropped the aspect ratio to 1:1, otherwise the insect isn't cropped at all. It's what I saw through the camera.

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chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) cicada macro http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/2/singing-cicada Tue, 23 Feb 2016 08:28:26 GMT
A trip to Fairy Falls http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/10/a-trip-to-fairy-falls My last two attempts to photograph the Fairy Falls (in the Waitekere Ranges) were thwarted by the weather. On the first occasion, bright sunlight blew out the highlights on the water. On the second occasion, it rained. Yesterday we had rain and bouts of bright sunshine. But the bits in between worked out okay. 

 I have discovered that most waterfalls aren't conveniently located within 100m of the carpark. Having some good hiking gear is still an essential to indulge in this type of photography.  Nonetheless, that moment when you are by yourself, next to these sights- with native birds flitting about or calling- is quite special. It feels good to connect back to nature this way.  And the one thing I like about landscape photography, is you really study what is around you.  You see things, appreciate things, that perhaps a casual walker would miss.

The Fairy Falls are deep in NZ forest, and drops down many steps through the trees. This constrains the perspectives you can produce.  I traveled as light as I could with just two lenses (Minolta 17-35mm f3.5 G, and Minolta 85mm f1.4 G). Camera is still my Sony a900.

The falls have two main parts.  The first shots are from the upper part.

You can see the higher steps of the falls through the trees.

Fairy FallsFairy FallsSONY DSC

Fairy FallsFairy FallsSONY DSC

The Pool - this is one of the main pools the waterfall descends into

Fairy FallsFairy FallsSONY DSC

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Looking back up the falls
Fairy FallsFairy FallsSONY DSC

The last part of the falls
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This part was the trickiest to take in the end, as I slipped on the rocks, mid stream.  By letting my wrist take the weight of the fall, I protected the camera. Also...ouch

 

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chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) Environment and Ecology Fairy Falls NZ photos new zealand waterfall http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/10/a-trip-to-fairy-falls Wed, 21 Oct 2015 21:36:00 GMT
A pair of dotterrels http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/9/a-pair-of-dotterrels The NZ dotterrel (or tuturiwhatu) is an endangered shore bird.  Photography has to be done with care.  In this case I was concealed behind a log in the beach, wearing clothes that would blend in to the sand.  This, along with my 300mm f4 lens, allowed me to get quite a nice range of photos.

 

With this shot, the closer dotterel is walking towards me.  By lying down, I'm at its eye level (and don't look threatening).  Behind it, is another dotterel.

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chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) NZ NZ dotterrel NZ photos bird new zealand photo photos tuturiwhatu http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/9/a-pair-of-dotterrels Sun, 20 Sep 2015 05:07:24 GMT
Fresh from the Camera: Maraetotara Falls http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/9/fresh-from-the-camera-maraetotara-falls Maraetotara FallsMaraetotara FallsThe Maraetotara Falls are located in a small reserve, south of Havelock North. They have an impressive flow and the deep green of the pool, appealed to me. This is from a series of shots I took of the falls. Photo taken with my a900 and a Sony 70-200/2.8 G lens.

The Maraetotara Falls are located in a small reserve, south of Havelock North. They have an impressive flow and the deep green of the pool, appealed to me. This is from a series of shots I took of the falls.

Photo taken with my a900 and a Sony 70-200/2.8 G lens. I needed the long reach to get from the far margin of the pool to the actual falls.

 

I was in the Hawkes Bay visiting my parents, and other relatives at the time.  I'd brought along my camera gear in case the opportunity for photos presented itself.  

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chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/9/fresh-from-the-camera-maraetotara-falls Fri, 04 Sep 2015 22:15:07 GMT
Auckland Waterfalls: Omeru http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/auckland-waterfalls-omeru It was another quick trip to the Omeru Reserve before work yesterday. There's a couple of good ways to start the work day. One is a strong, fresh cup of espresso coffee. Another is standing by a waterfall in a stream, taking pictures.  With the university study-break I had the chance to go for option 2. And of course, option 1 later on.

Weather conditions were near perfect for waterfall photography. 

Omeru FallsOmeru FallsSONY DSC

Omeru FallsOmeru FallsWaterfall at Omeru Reserve

 

I also took a close up of just a section of the falls.

Omeru FallsOmeru FallsSONY DSC

 

I then moved around to the waterfall in an adjacent pool.

Omeru FallsOmeru FallsOne of the waterfalls in the Omeru Reserve

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chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) NZ Photos NZ waterfalls Omeru Reserve waterfall http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/auckland-waterfalls-omeru Thu, 27 Aug 2015 23:06:19 GMT
Forest Stream Goodness http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/forest-stream-goodness There are a good number of local forest reserves around the North Shore.  These are nice to escape into, and for a while, be among native birds, trees and other natural goodness.  So feeling the desire, on Sunday afternoon I went out to visit the Paremoremo Reserve.  It was also a chance to give my Minolta 17-35mm G lens a run. I haven't had it long, but I'm testing it against the option of carrying several prime lenses instead.  

The stream that runs through the reserve shows a lot of variation.  I took a sample of three pics while out on the hike.

Forest Pool

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Among the Trees

Among the treesAmong the treesThe Paremoremo Stream winds through native forest in the Paremoremo Reserve. This shot had to be taken on an isolated bank, midstream. This is always an interesting manoeuvre. I'm never entirely settled wading through swollen streams with a lot of camera gear. The scene appealed for two reasons. The small waterfalls in the foreground gave something of interest in the lower part of the image. The frame of native trees in the background provided the second element.

The shot was taken with my Minolta 17-35mm G and my Sony a900.

It flows

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chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) NZ photos Paremoremo Reserve forest stream waterfall http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/forest-stream-goodness Sun, 23 Aug 2015 22:49:41 GMT
A damp chaffinch http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/a-damp-chaffinch SONY DSC

It's been a wet Sunday. Not one of those dramatic rainy days. A day of drizzle, little wind and bland grey skies. I decided to try my hand at using a radio trigger to photograph some garden birds. With camera on tripod and a telephoto lens directed at a branch next to a feeder, I waited. The shots were fired at a distance from a distant location. Not a lot of the shots worked. I got a few. This was one of them. The bird has tiny droplets on its head.

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chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) birds finch sparrow http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/a-damp-chaffinch Sat, 25 Jul 2015 05:04:29 GMT
The return to Piha http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/the-return-to-piha I'm trying to spend more time over the next three days taking photos.  It kind of helps that it is the school holidays.  That makes it a little easier to get to some more remote parts of Auckland. Remote in the sense of being distant from my current location on the North Shore.  No school traffic makes things a bit smoother. 

The weather was mostly overcast, with showers today.  So I decided I'd return to the Piha Regional Park and try getting some more photos of the Kite Kite Falls.  If conditions are too bright, then photographing waterfalls becomes a greater challenge.  Sunlight striking the falls can easily cause burn outs in the final image.  If conditions are too dull, then we won't see the colours I want.  Today looked optimal, albeit I was hoping as I drove over, the clouds would hang around.

The recent heavy rain had already boosted the water flow over the falls, so they looked impressive.  Less idea was the higher water levels.  It was a time for getting my boots wet. The odd rain shower contributed to this as well.  It wasn't just the boots that ended up wet.  Also, it's funny how less agile you become when carrying a bag of lenses, a bag of filters, a tripod and a camera.  

One of the first shots I took was of the falls from the base.  I'm perched atop a large boulder, water flowing around me on all sides.  This ended up being one of my favourite shots from the trip.

Kitekite FallsKitekite FallsKitekite falls is a 40 metre waterfall, in the Waitakere Ranges near Auckland. I timed this expedition to take advantage of two strong facts. First, it was the school holidays so the lack of traffic meant I could get there easily. Second, there'd been a lot of recent rain, so the water flow ought to look good.

For this shot I've gone down-stream a bit and away from the main pool. There's a collection of large boulders where I set up the shot. You have to jump from one boulder to another, with water around you, to get there. Fortunately the top of the boulder was large enough- just- to for myself and a tripod. Then it was a matter of waiting for the rain to stop, the wind to ebb, and take some shots. I'll confess I got wet. But the gear didn't.

I liked this one. The vegetation makes an effective natural frame. There's some nice foreground interest. And the waterfall, shows off some of its major steps.

I also got a shot of the whole falls from the track that lead to the falls.  It gives some context for the scenery, and also shows how tall the falls are.

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Heading back along the track, I looked out for potential stream shots.  A lot of these didn't quite work out, but I did like these two.

Mossy RocksMossy RocksDownstream of the Kitekite Falls in the Waitakere Ranges. This was taken as part of a trip to the Piha Regional Park.

Under fernsUnder fernsWhat appealed to me in this scene, was the lichens on the rocks on the other side of the bank. The green colours of the moss and the ferns were also appealing.
I had to set up the tripod in the stream to get this shot. The stream had many, low steps to reach this point. This shot had a longer exposure than the previous, smoothing the water-flow.

All photos were taken with a Sony a900, and either a 50mm lens or a 28mm lens.  One of the useful gadgets this time was the Lee lehs hood.  This served the additional of keeping errant showers from landing droplets on my lenses also.

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chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) Auckland photos Kitekite Falls NZ photos long exposure stream waterfall waterfall photos http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/the-return-to-piha Wed, 08 Jul 2015 06:40:14 GMT
Inside Canterbury Cathedral http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/inside-canterbury-cathedral I have been quiet of late because of an expedition to England and Austria.  Which from New Zealand is a far distance to fly.  The main event was a symposium at the University of Kent.  This had the advantage of being in Canterbury, so with some time to spare, I visited the Canterbury Cathedral.  

The Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and an impressive structure.  The shots taken in the interior were with my Sony a900 and a 20mm prime lens.  This is about as wide as I can go with my current kit, and the relatively small size of the 20mm lens is pretty travel friendly.  But the Cathedral is really  something that does not suit cellphone cameras very well.  The scale of the cathedral is impressive and the history of the place profound.  So, here's a sample of shots from the inside. 

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chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) Canterbury Cathedral Canterbury photos architecture cathedral photo http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/inside-canterbury-cathedral Mon, 29 Jun 2015 22:29:06 GMT
Monday again http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/monday-again It wasn't until Sunday that I got time to get away with the camera.  The youngest kid is still recovering from his concussion, and everyone else had other tasks to do.  I wanted to get outside for a while.  So I opted to try out Long Bay again, as I have some ideas I want to experiments.  Those experiments however, were frustrated by the weather- the intermittent showers and incoming tide weren't ideal.  Nonetheless, it seemed like a good time to use the circular polariser with the other filters.

The first shot was taken at Long Bay with the 20mm lens.  

SONY DSC I've put the rocks in the foreground for interest, and lined up some rocks heading deeper into the gulf.  This was when the weather was at its finest.

I then moved a bit further north to "Granny's Bay".  This small bay has varied rocks and reefs.  

SONY DSC I've used a 6-stop (Lee little stopper) to slow the shutter down and capture some sense of the wave motion flowing around the rocks.

Moving along a bit, the weather started closing in again.

SONY DSC This is probably my favourite of the session. 

Then the last before the rain began. I switched to the 10-stop Big Stopper and dragged the shutter out to  2 minutes.

SONY DSC Enjoy :)

 

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chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) Auckland Photos Bay Granny's Hauraki Gulf Long NZ photos photo seascape http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/monday-again Mon, 08 Jun 2015 00:09:21 GMT
I saw some sun this weekend http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/i-saw-some-sun-this-weekend It hasn't been the most glorious of Queens Birthday weekends in NZ.  The promised wet weather hit. And I had a few deadlines to meet.  Nonetheless, by Monday it was time to get out and try my hand at something.  I ventured down to Waiake Beach, expecting it to be busy. It wasn't. There were a few fishers around the Tor, but the cold wind seemed to reduce their enthusiasm. Most didn't stay for long.

I was able to take a range of shots around the Tor of the gulf.  Here's the two I liked the most.  Both of these were 25 second exposures, with a 28mm lens, a Lee CPL, Little Stopper and ND3 grad (to hold back highlights in the sky).  Other lesson was if you mount the tripod down as low it goes, the vibrations caused by the wind are less of a concern.  The CPL also means I could angle the light to see below the surface of the water.  Rangitoto Island is once again, on the horizon.

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chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) Auckland photos Hauraki gulf NZ photos Rangitoto Island Torbay Waiake Beach photo seascape' http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/6/i-saw-some-sun-this-weekend Tue, 02 Jun 2015 01:57:41 GMT
When it rains http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/5/when-it-rains With the weather news in India and Texas, it's been easy to overlook that a few days ago, the largest storm on earth was hitting NZ. Well, the outer 20% of it anyway.  I've been struggling to get much photography done the last few weeks. One spawn has a concussion. And workloads at work suddenly spiked. In that 'I need to spend every waking moment' on this, kind of spike.

Anyway, by Wednesday I was in need of a break. So I left early, took a short diversion, and visited the Oremu Reserve on the way to work. It's not exactly en route but wasn't going to eat too much into the morning.  I was also hopeful that all the recent bad weather would have increased the waterflow in the streams and waterfalls there.

Another goal was to try out a new piece of kit. I've added a Lee Circular Polariser to the landscape kit.  Polarisers have useful effects on water or forest scenes, that aren't easily duplicated on the computer.  

 

I had about 30 minutes in the reserve and ended up with four pics I liked. Each are taken with an a900 and Minolta 20mm lens. Enjoy :)

StepsStepsThe Oremu Reserve is located north of Auckland. It contains two waterfalls in native forest. This is the larger of the two falls. I chose to visit after a period of heavy rain, hoping this would boost the flow of water over the falls. This shot is composed to show the water flowing over the steps, down to the pool at the base of the falls. RocksRocksSONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC

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chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) NZ photos Oremu Reserve long exposure new zealand photography waterfall http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/5/when-it-rains Thu, 28 May 2015 21:54:47 GMT
A short sojourn in Birkenhead http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/5/a-short-sojourn-in-birkenhead I took the youngest to an all days sports event in Birkenhead on Sunday. It wasn't really one of those spectator type events. So I used the time to take some photos around Birkenhead.  This is an area of Auckland's North Shore that faced more the Waitemata Harbour, than the Hauraki Gulf.  It was also a very calm day on the harbour. 

I tried a range of places. One that worked quite well was Kauri Glen Scenic Reserve.  In theory there is a waterfall in this reserve. I think that's a little generous to the term 'waterfall'. More like a stream that at a point, flowed downhill a bit faster than normal.  Nonetheless, there it looked relatively scenic.

Kauri Glen StreamKauri Glen StreamThere are a few areas of native forest, still preserved on the North Shore. I've been exploring these of late. Kauri Glen has a decent enough stream running through it, and at one point it flows over some rocks. The sign says this is a waterfall. It is nicely framed in native vegetation, and by braving some mud and slippery banks, I came away with a couple of shots I liked.

I had to use two filters to balance the light in the foreground and higher in the tree canopy.  The pool had a nice sweep to it.

The beaches around the area were not as photogenic. That was partly the issue of visiting long after dawn and long before dusk.  The last bay I visited ended up giving me a couple of shots I liked.  This was at Island Bay.  The camera and tripod also has a way of attracting the attention of wandering walkers.

Across the HarbourAcross the HarbourSONY DSC

There was barely any wave motion on the Harbour, so 30 seconds was enough to blend the water.  I then edited the photo as a toned image, stretching both the shadows and highlights. A little bit of post-rpocessing magic.

BlueBlueA view of the Waitemata Harbour, from Island Bay in Auckland. This long exposure photo has been also converted into a blue duotone style.

Photo taken with Sony a900 and Minolta 20mm f2.8 lens. Long exposure used Lee filters.

West Auckland is at the opposite end of the harbour. 

I picked up the youngest at the end of the day. He was tired. His team was relatively small so that meant a high participation rate in the events. Fortunately dinner plans were well underway by then. Pizza. We're popular. Sometimes its just the right day to pay someone else to cook for you.

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chthonid@gmail.com (CWP Nature Galleries) Auckland photos Island Bay Kauri Glen waterfall NZ photos Waitemata Harbour forest seascape stream waterfall http://chthoniid.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/5/a-short-sojourn-in-birkenhead Sun, 03 May 2015 23:45:05 GMT