Thursday, April 27, 2006

Point And Shoot

Sometimes you have to be lucky to get a shot like this and when that lucky day arrives my best advice is to point and shoot.

I recently had the pleasure of travelling by ship which is a rare way to travel these days. The journey started from Nelson which is at the top of the South Island and took me down the west coast to Fiordland and then onto Dunedin. More about that part of the journey later.

The day of our departure was very wet and overcast but as soon as we left Nelson the sun came out in the late afternoon and put on this wonderful display that you see below.

I doubt very much if I would have seen this vista from Nelson harbour or any place ashore so I feel rather privileged to have captured these on camera.

The term "point and shoot" is often used in a disparaging way to describe how amateur photographers use their digital cameras.

For me however that term describes times when mother nature puts on such a display that all you need to do is "point and shoot". Surely the only result can be a magnificent photogaphic occasion?

Sailing from Nelson that day was the most effortless shooting I have done since I started serious photography about 2 years ago. I can see why they named the area Golden Bay. By the way I was using a friends camera as well so I didn't really have much choice but to snap off as many photos as possible.

In years to come I expect people will ask "how did you do that one". There won't be any secrets from me. I 'll simply tell them the truth about taking a good photo is pointing and shooting!

All in all it was a very satisfying way to start a journey.

The photo was taken at about 5:30 pm in mid April. Camera: Sony R1 Settings: 1/500s, f6.3, ISO200, focal length 26mm
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Monday, April 24, 2006

Homeward Bound

After a week on board a ship sailing around the South Island it is good to be heading home at last.

This is the first of what I hope will be many posts describing my recent trip to a remote corner of Fiordland in the South Island of New Zealand. This particular shot was taken in the early morning as we headed up the harbour towards Dunedin. In the background is the lighthouse at Taiaroa Head and in the foreground is Aramoana.

The photo was taken at about 8:00 am in late April. Camera: Sony H1 Settings: 1/1000s, f6.3, ISO64, focal length 44mm
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Thursday, April 13, 2006

It Grows On You

Sometimes a photo, which at first glance appears nondescript, can grow on you.

The photo below is one such example and let me explain why.

All my computers use a free desktop wallpaper utility called Webshots . The program allows you to add and organise photos into collections and then it displays them on your desktop as wallpaper in random order. The great thing is that it allows you to add photos from other collections on the internet.

Naturally I have added my own photos as a way to review them. But what I really like about Webshots is the ability to view a photo for a long period and try to understand the photographers point of view. And what better place to do that than on a computer screen.

Now to the point. You see I took this photo while I was on a trip to the lighthouse at Cape Saunders. However when I got to the end of the road it was closed and I couldn't finish my journey. There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to complete a journey.

Anyway as I looked around the only thing worth photographing was blue sky and fields of hay. Not very interesting subjects but I took some pictures anyway.

Later when I got home I downloaded the files and promptly forgot about them until today when this image appreared on screen.

Now I invite you to spend some time looking at this photo. Take some time. See if it grows on you as well. If it does take the next step and try to understand why (this is called deconstruction). You will be surprised.

The photo was taken at about 4:00 pm in late January. Camera: Sony F828 Settings: 1/400s, f5.6, ISO64, focal length 26mm
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Misty Beach 2

Misty Beach, originally uploaded by setev.

Light can do strange things don't you think?

By the way this is a bit of an experiment. I have uploaded this photo from instead of using software. If you click on the photo it will take you to my site on flickr which should make a nice change.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Evening Glow

I was going to give this post the title "No planning required" because this scene epitomises the way I work best. I don't believe anyone can plan this type of shot because it relies on a dozen variables out of our control.

I've read that you're supposed to plan ahead before excursions to make the most of the light and conditions. Well I don't think that will work where I live because the conditions can change from minute to minute. The mist on the beach is a good example of the way in which a coastal climate can change rapidly.

Generally everything I photograph is a short drive from home anyway so no planning is really necessary and I have all my gear ready to go at a moment's notice anyway.

Just for once I actually took some time to find a suitable location, set up both cameras on their tripods and check the filters before commencing.

This was a major mistake on my part because by the time I had finished checking everything, the light which produced this wonderful glow on the mist had disappeared. All this happened in only a few minutes. The light returned a few minutes later but it had a different intensity on the mist as the sun set. So I think I missed (no pun intended) the best part of that day simply through a moments inattention.

The moral is - don't get too caught up on planning. Keep it simple and make the most of your time when you arrive at your chosen location. Unless you are going overseas on holiday keep your photography trips as short as possible and find areas near you home that you are familiar with.

This way you can always revisit the location if the weather is not up to scratch and the skills that you gain will improve through constant repetition. Later on you will have enough knowledge and experience to guide you on longer trips.

Keeping it simple is the best approach. Don't worry - there is plenty around you to photograph in the meantime.

The photo was taken at about 5:00 pm in early April. Camera: Sony H1 Settings: 1/400s, f5.6, ISO100, focal length 48mm, 0 ev
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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Making Waves

I guess it would be stating the obvious by pointing out this photo was taken under difficult circumstances. But it was worth it. The folks walking on the beach obviously thought so too.

If you want to be a photographer then don't be put off by the conditions. Waiting for the best weather or the right time or the right place can be a mistake. I guess this advice could apply to any worthwhile endeavour.

There are pictures waiting to be taken everywhere we care to look. It just needs someone with the right vision and capacity to make it happen.

I like that motto Nike uses to advertise themselves. "Just Do It" sums it up for me. We can make excuses or we can make it happen.

You will never know until you try. Sometimes that even means pushing through difficult circumstances to reach your goal. Go ahead and make some waves.

The photo was taken at about 5:00 pm in early April. Camera: Sony H1 Settings: 1/250s, f5.0, ISO64, focal length 23mm, 0 ev
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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Prominent Feature

St Kilda Beach has an interesting landmark at its northern end called Lawyers Head. It is this headland that separates St Kilda from Tomahawk beach.

I'm not sure if this is named after Alfred Hanlon, a famous lawyer from Dunedin's history. The name does seem apt enough given the stern demeanour, but why a lawyer?

Dunedin has always been a university city so why not a professor, doctor , clergyman or even a judge. Something to ponder I guess.

The photo was taken at about 11:00 am in early April. Camera: Sony H1 Settings: 1/160s, f5.0, ISO64, focal length 41mm, 0 ev
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