A rare day off for me – so I took the opportunity to improve my architectural photography chops at a very popular location – Sydney Opera House. You really can’t go wrong at a place such as this – no matter how photographed it is.
It was Good Friday, so there were people everywhere…but hardly anything open.
Where people were in the picture I used a Hoya neutral density filter so as to blur the teeming crowd out somewhat…it’s a bit ironic that the relatively stationary folk are the ones who add movement and dynamism to these compositions.
This dog was following me all around on a recent photo shoot at a rural property. Towards the end she was clearly worn out….couldn’t even be bothered to brush the cobwebs off her ear.
Here’s a panorama taken yesterday of Malpas Dam, located just near Guyra.
Tech info: Images taken with a 10 – 24 mm lens at 10 mm, with a polarising filter. The panorama was stitched together in Photoshop CS5 using 5 separate raw images. The raw images had a mild ‘shadows & highlights’ adjustment applied to each first. The stitched image was then cropped into a clean rectangular shape. Then the panorama was finished off in Lightroom 3 with +6 on fill light & +3 on blacks to increase the dynamic range further, a bit (+7) of clarity which increases the mid-tone contrast, a bit (+15) of vibrance which selectively increases the saturation of muted colours, a bit of hue adjustment (+8) on yellows to make the vegetation look even more lush, and a very little bit of darkening adjustment (-2) in the blues to make the sky and water punch even more as well.
The result is not at all subtle, but it seems to really convey the feeling of the Australian countryside at mid-summer.
Mallyveen is a property currently for sale in Toronto. The house dates from 1904, and it’s in immaculate condition. This is one of the best properties I’ve shot this year, which is why I’m sharing it with you.
Mallyveen would have been one of the original properties when the Toronto waterfront area was first developed – the lot is enormous and is pretty much level at the western end. Most nearby properties have been subdivided.
The driveway is flanked by Agapanthus and avocado trees.
Here’s the front pathway.
Original lead-lighted front door…
The house is wrapped with verandahs, top and bottom.
The rear yard has been terraced and features a swimming pool.
The original living areas are on the upper level. Generous spaces, high ceilings, and lovely timber detailing.
Lead-lighted casement windows and French doors are typical of this era of Australian architecture.
The house has a north-easterly aspect on to Lake Macquarie.
The kitchen and family room are on the lower level and I suspect were first fitted out at a later date than the original top floor. But the whole place has been completely renovated just a few years ago.
The master bedroom opens on to the top verandah and has views over the lake.
The main bathroom is sun-drenched via a skylight…
The property comes complete with a boat shed and private jetty.
Just a few shots taken late Monday along Nobbys Breakwall.
I was playing around with a Hoya NDX400 neutral density filter….it’s almost as dark as welding glass!
I got a few shots of The Stone Fox last night at Hamilton Station Hotel…..these guys from Brisbane play hard rock with a few stoner / psychedelic sounds thrown in the mix as well.
Fat as Butter was on again this year on the foreshore, and I was able to get some shots once more. You can read about the gig elsewhere, so I’ll just leave a few of the more interesting shots….
Chicks Who Love Guns
A meerkat triptych, taken at Taronga Zoo on Sunday.
HMAS Newcastle is an Adelaide Class guided missile frigate, and is in her namesake town for a few days. I thought I’d get a few shots.
The queue was about 300 people and 1 hour long.
What you see in the next 3 shots is an RIM-67 Standard missile, which is a long-range missile that can be used in both surface-air (anti-aircraft) and surface-surface (anti-ship) modes. It’s painted blue because it’s a training round and lacks a warhead and propellant. The launcher moves insanely fast, and in the picture below, the missile is actually moving upward from below decks onto the launcher. The entire process of loading the missile from below, rotating the launcher 180 degrees, and then depressing into the firing position takes about 2 seconds. I suppose every moment counts in warfare.
The next shot was taken from the bow, and you can see the Vertical Launching System. This fires the RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, which is a short range surface-air and surface-surface missile. Yes, the ship was listing a degree or two!
A typical corridor below decks. What I like about warships is that every single thing visible has a definite purpose, and that everything is labelled or has a placard next to it. There is absolutely no decoration. They’re a plumbers’ and electricians’ delight!
Visitors weren’t allowed through this doorway. From its position in the ship (basically underneath the bridge), I’m guessing it leads to the Combat Information Centre.
Onto the bridge. Still has a rather old-fashioned compass binnacle.
This is the helmsman’s seat.
Then up onto the top deck.
Newcastle has two launches: this is the larger one.
This is the Otobreda 76 mm gun. It’s located amidships on the upper deck. To give you an idea of size, the round standing on end is about 1 metre high. Hard to imagine that a gun this big can fire up to 85 rounds per minute.
The business end.
Here’s the Close-In Weapons System, located at the aft end of the upper deck. It’s the ship’s last line of defence against incoming missiles or aircraft. It’s uses the same gun as the Air Force’s F/A-18s. I asked the sailor pictured how often he gets to ‘fire’ it; he said about once a month, and sometimes they train against drones or targets towed by a LearJet. Of course he doesn’t really fire it; it’s pretty much automatic.
Looking down onto the boarding ramp.
I’m not really sure what this antenna is for.
On top of this tower is the sea search radar.
On the flight deck the crew had set up a sausage sizzle and weapon displays.
Just a couple of shots taken at Pokolbin yesterday afternoon. It was one of those winter days when the air is crystal-clear, and there’s a golden light from around 2 PM until sunset.
This was taken at Whitebridge. You can see the piers of the old bridge (the White Bridge) in front the newer one, which was built in 1971.
Newcastle’s just had it’s first East Coast Low of the winter, so I thought it would be a good idea to get some shots of the post storm seas this morning.
Here’s Bar Beach, taken from the new lookout at the bottom edge of the carpark.
And a couple of shots at Merewether Baths…
This weekend marked the 27th Hunter Valley Steamfest, and of course it’s a prime opportunity for photography as well, even if you’re not a trainspotter.
Given the subject matter, I have explored the use of some desaturation and high-contrast in these images. A high-pass filter magnifies the effect further.
The following 3 images were taken at Newcastle Station. This old man was the driver for excursion train to Newcastle on Saturday.
The train about to depart for Maitland.
Lots of brass and gauges in the cab.
This is the valve-gear of the excursion train to Dungog, taken at Maitland on Sunday.
This is the back face of the firebox of a traction engine, taken at Maitland on Sunday.
Just some old tools on display, taken at Maitland on Sunday.
This last Sunday, I travelled down to Mt. Wilson with a few fellow shutterbugs. There’s not a whole lot there, apart from some pretty gardens and a whole lot of photo opportunities… The weather was just about perfect for us, being a light overcast with gaps in-between. So we got just enough direct sunlight, but the shadows weren’t too dark at all.
Here’s a mossy liana twisting around and around….although it doesn’t appear so here, it was really quite dim where I took this shot. Exposure was 1/30 sec @ f6.3, ISO 1600. 28 -75 lens at 28mm.
The only way to get the angle right, was to place the camera smack on the ground and use liveview to show that I was pointing the camera in roughly the correct direction. Too many leeches, and too much mud, to get my head right down low. Hence I couldn’t really place the focus where I wanted it, which would be on the gnarly bit at the bottom-right. The focus is about 2 metres backward from where it really should be. Still, it makes for an interesting composition.
On the way back to Newcastle, we stopped off at Mt. Tomah Botanical Gardens. This is a branch of Sydney Botanical Gardens and has more cool-climate species on display (being at 1000 metres ASL). I could easily spend half a day here, and I’m not particularly interested in gardens or plants. A word of warning – if you don’t want to fork out for an a-la-carte meal in a licensed restaurant, bring your own lunch. They have a captive market here (nowhere else to buy food within 10km) and are milking it for everything they are worth.
Here’s a Protea flower…
And here’s some kids pondering the koi carp in the pond.
Today I was sitting at the desk on behalf of Newcastle Photographic Society, at the photography exhibition at Newcastle Show.
It was pretty chilled-out, just people-watching and answering questions, but I did manage to sneak this shot in while I was doing it.
Taken at Dixon Park Beach, 3:30 PM Saturday 11th February.
The City Administration Building was built to a design by architects Romberg and Boyd in association with local architects Wilson and Suters, who had also supervised previously the Cook Memorial Fountain in Civic Park. Work commenced in 1972 and was completed in 1977.
This building is one of those that’s grown on me. When I first came to Newcastle I thought it was a peculiar concrete toadstool. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that). Now, I quite like it as a ‘full stop’ on the strip after NESCA House and City Hall. The circular plan lets pedestrians slip easily past from Wheeler Place, but practical office fit-out problems will remain as long as we keep using rectangular desks.
The building is a reflection of earlier concepts for a ‘pagoda-style’ structure to replace Civic Theatre. Can you imagine this?
NESCA House is located on the corner of King Street and Auckland Street, right next door to City Hall and across the road from Civic Park. It is a classic Art Deco style building designed by Emil Sodersten, and built for the Newcastle Energy Supply Council Authority (NESCA). The front portion of the building (facing King St) was finished in 1937, while a rear extension was added in the 1950′s. On the Auckland St side you can see the ‘joint’ where the stone cladding on the front portion has a radiused corner, against the flat cladding of the extension. In the photo below, you can see the slightly lighter coloured stone cladding of the 5 storey rear extension.
This is perhaps the finest Art Deco style building in Newcastle, and would have to be one of the best in Australia. If you think the front entrance looks like something out of Gotham City, you’d almost be right. The entrance was in fact used as a set in Superman Returns (2006) – as a bank.
Today NESCA House is called University House, as it is part of the University of Newcastle. I prefer NESCA House, mainly because hardly anybody knows what NESCA actually means.
Well, some 3 months after the chainsaws made their first appearance, it seems the Lama Street fig trees are finally on their way down. At around 4 AM on the morning of January 31st 2012, the chainsaws re-appeared, along with some 60-odd police from the riot squad.
There was a bit of a squabble, with some of the barricading coming down, but the situation soon settled with the police forming a cordon and the protesters mostly maintaining a silent vigil.
It’s predicted that the whole operation is going to take a couple of weeks.
Already, the southern vista from Civic Park is starting to take a radically new form…
I was on my way to Big-W at Newcastle West for some araldite. I never got to peruse the adhesives section, as the fire alarm went off! Thought it was a test / drill for about 2 minutes, then staff came through rounding everybody up and shooing us out.
On the way out, there was a rapidly expanding dirty puddle emanating from underneath the hoardings of an empty tenancy next to the Big-W entrance. Obviously the results of the sprinklers…
People were not exactly panicking, but there was a line-up at the top of the travelators, and I was the only one who actually used the fire exits. When I got to the street, this is what I saw:
5 or 10 minutes later, the Fire Brigade arrived to shut off the fire alarm. All this time, the sprinklers had been running, and they spent another 10 minutes or so shutting them off. You can imagine the water spreading inside….there was a mini-waterfall through the circular void above the Woolworths entry:
The Fire Brigade spent at least the next half hour with mops trying to clean the place up before they would let anybody back in. I don’t quite know how long this took because I went home instead! Araldite can wait. As I went back to my car (luckily in the basement which was the only place with access), I checked out the several puddles of water which were accumulating after passing through 3 storeys of shopping centre!
Just a few shots from New Year’s Eve….
I caught the ferry over to Stockton where things are a bit more family friendly….
The Bogey Hole is a popular swimming spot in Newcastle, located beneath a headland and providing a spectacular vantage point to view the ocean. It was carved out in 1819 for the personal use of Major James Morisset who was the commandant of the penal colony.
It’s a steep path down from the top of the hill.
The existing steps and handrails are a bit dilapidated, and Newcastle Council has approved a restoration programme.
It’s a great place to catch the sun in the morning.
Some more studies at Carrington rail yards. I was lucky to get a glimpse of direct sunlight – it’s been so dull for the last week.
Seal Rocks is around an hour north of Newcastle, and is a bit of a hidden gem. There’s still about 2 km of unsealed road to get there, and I suspect that’s the way the locals want to keep it.
There are two beaches facing north. This is Boat Beach, where fisherman still launch directly off the sand. And that rocky island is where Seal Rocks gets it’s name – fur seals hang around there.
This shot is taken from the western end of Boat Beach looking directly north. In the far distance you can see Blueys Beach.
This is getting to Boat Beach the hard way.
The other north-facing beach is Number One Beach. It’s the first beach you see as you arrive!