Author Archive

Playing Around With an ND Filter

Spring feels like it’s just round the corner, so it’s good time to be out and about taking pictures around the beach.

I got a new piece of gear this morning, a 10-stop Neutral Density Filter which allows only 1/1024th the amount of natural light through the camera lens. As a result, very long exposures are required and this causes anything that moves in the image to be blurred. Handy for creating an interesting effect on the ocean…….




Bugs at Hunter Region Botanic Gardens

All shots were taken using the Canon 100mm macro lens…..









Easter Sunday


Some footage taken on Easter Sunday 2015.

Locations are Redhead Beach, Newcastle Foreshore, Horseshoe Beach and Nobbys Beach.

Footage was taken from a Phantom 2 Vision+ drone.



Nick Allbrook of Pond, formerly of Tame Impala. Taken at Fat as Butter 2012.

Nancy Bird-Walton

Nancy Bird-Walton

QANTAS A380 VH-OQA Nancy Bird-Walton departing Sydney as QF7, bound for Dallas-Fort Worth. This is the aircraft involved in the ‘infamous’ QF32.



The tunnel under Shortland Esplanade, that leads to Newcastle Beach.




There seemed to be a fancy dress party going on at Rustica Restaurant, in Newcastle.

Deep Space



Just a shot of a hang glider, taken 2nd Nov 2014 at Bar Beach.

EOS 5D MkIII, 100 – 400 mm lens @ 400mm, 1/6400 s @ f5.6, ISO 6400.

Star Photography at Lostock Dam

This long weekend I decided to try my hand at some star photography. The timing was good because it was a new moon, and skies would be dark. I just needed a location away from lights. Why not Lostock Dam? It’s almost 100 km from Newcastle and the landscape is pretty, too.

Here are some views just north of Gresford.




A bit further on you cross the Paterson River on this ricketty old bridge.



I wonder if there are platypuses in there….


Lostock is nestled in this valley and the dam is a bit further on.



I arrived at the dam about 30 minuted before sunset.




The star photographs each are a 25 second exposure at f2.8, ISO 2000.

This shot was taken about 60 minutes after sunset, and we are looking south. You can see the Southern Cross at the bottom, and the black smudge is known as the ‘coal sack’.


These shots were taken about 90 minutes after sunset, facing west to get a better view the Milky Way.



Sydney Opera House

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.




Sleepy Dog

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.

Sleepy Dog

Malpas Dam

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.


Malpas Dam

Mallyveen – a Waterfront Property at Toronto

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.


Christmas Lights

I was driving through Eleebana on Friday evening and lo-and-behold, what did I see?

This house!



But don’t worry, all those carbon emissions are going to a good cause. This house is an entrant in the 2012 Santa’s Warehouse Christmas Lights Competition, and proceeds go to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

Nobbys near Sunset

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!


The Stone Fox @ Hamilton Station

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 Buttering Again

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….


1929 Indian


Chicks Who Love Guns


Marianas Trench



Hey Geronimo










Good Charlotte


A meerkat triptych, taken at Taronga Zoo on Sunday.


Winterheat in Civic Park

The third part of Winterheat 2012 was held in Civic Park tonight. What better opportunity to get some interesting shots?

The Cultural Centre-Captain Cook Fountain-City Hall axis works well at night, especially with the extra pyrotechnics. (and no Laman St. fig trees).


I tried for about an hour (without much luck) to get some decent candid people shots. It was pretty busy and hard to be inconspicuous, so most of my intended ‘candid’ shots failed, with the subject instead staring at me with a ‘why-is-he-pointing-that-camera-at-me’ face. I was going round in circles chasing shots, and eventually got fed up and instead stood in one spot and let the shots come to me.

An event like this is probably most fun for the kids.


It was cold for Newcastle, but warm enough for people to have fun with a snow machine.


As always, young kids make great subjects, especially with lighting such as this.

HMAS Newcastle

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.

Golden Light in the Vineyards

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.

Ferny Fernleigh Track

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.

East Coast Low

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…

Steam, Steel & Grease

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.