Monday, February 28, 2011

Project Flick : Weeks 7 & 8 - Drink & Streets/Roads

Week 7 of the Project - "Drink"
I won't say that enthusiasm is waning, but now that I'm back at work, and most weekends are taken up with jobs around the house or in the garden, it is getting more difficult to try and keep up with a new theme each week... I don't know how those that do 365 projects keep going - though I suppose they don't have a new theme every day, but still it must be tiresome trying to think of something new to photograph every day...

So, just the one picture this week.  Out in Hyde Park again - I was actually waiting to meet one of my Flickr/DPS friends for lunch, and decided to watch the seagulls around the Pool of Reflection.  For some reason, there were dozens of them in and around the pool, which is quite unusual.  Many of those in the pool were splashing water about while they bathed, but I caught this one taking a drink  while he was at it...  I guess chlorinated water makes a change from salt water.

Project Flickr : Week 7 - Drink
(Trying a new method of just linking direct to the picture on flickr, rather than uploading it from my PC to the blog - mainly because I realised that I have deleted week 8's photo from both the camera and my PC, so it now only exists on flickr.  Well waddya know? It works! :D)

Week 8 - "Streets/Roads"
A quick 7 hour drive from Sydney, there is a town called Nyngan.  2 hours and 200km north west from there is a town called Bourke.  That 200km is covered by a dead straight road called the Mitchell Highway.  Described as one of the straightest flattest highways in the world ( apart from a little jink for a town in the middle of the route.  I would love to a) drive that road, and b) photograph it.  It would have been ideal for this weeks theme, but sadly, I don't have a spare 18 hours to complete the round trip.

So I got to thinking about what I could photograph, that hadn't been done already, and I thought about street and road as roadnames.  As I was driving over to the next suburb, where they have brand new street signs being installed, I started looking at the signs at various junctions, and came across this one for Albert Street and Belmore Road.  Not only was there a Street AND a Road, but they were A and B too, so I parked the car (in Albert Street) and wandered around the signpost to try and find the best view.  Unfortunately, the best view would have been from somebody's front garden, so I had to make do with this shot.

Project Flickr : Week 8 - Streets/Roads

I was too close and looking up at more of an angle than I wanted to really, but I think it works well in the end.  There was also a thick power cable strung across right behind the sign from that angle, so I had to do a little disguising work with Photoshop to get rid of that.

Well, week 9 is all about finding letters of the alphabet in everyday shapes around us.  I have a few ideas, but I'll keep them to myself until the weekend and I get a chance to do something about them.

TTFN and Happy Snappin'

Sunday, February 27, 2011

February catchup (continued)

So, here I am, back again, trying to catch up after a blog-free period.

Friday 18th Feb
Went outside to check on the full moon, only to find it was behind some high clouds.  But it was lighting them from behind really nicely, and I tried to capture it, but no dice - the clouds at that altitude were moving to fast to get a clean shot in such low light.  However, at ground level, it was a really warm and very still evening, and the trees around the garden weren't moving at all - so I decided to try a time-exposure or two, to see what would happen.  This one, at around 100 seconds, gave a good level of exposure to the clouds, and allowed the stars to shine through as gaps in the clouds passed by.  It almost looks like an aurora kind of effect.

Sat 19th Feb

Was just heading out to the park while the sun was bright, to try and get some action shots for a 'freeze-frame' challenge, and I noticed this Dragon Fly around our pond.  Couldn't resist trying to get a close-up, despite my lack of macro capability.  I was quite pleased with this shot - managing to get down low to the ground, so that I could get the dark greenery of the water plants as a background, and yet it almost looks as if the Dragon Fly itself id in a spotlight on the rock.

Tuesday 22nd Feb
We have two royal visitors in Sydney at the moment... Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Mary 2.  No, not the actual Monarchs (Queen Elizabeth has been dead for quite some time, and there hasn't actually been a Queen Mary the second as far as I'm aware...), the Cunard Cruise Ships are what I'm talking about.  Queen Mary 2 has been here before, but the Queen Elizabeth is a brand new ship on her maiden round-the-world cruise.

I went along to see her during my lunch break (the two ships have to dock at different places, and I couldn't get to them both).  She is quite an impressive sight, and absolutely huge - quite awe-inspiring.  I managed to get a viewpoint from one of the ferry wharfs, right in front of the bow right down at water level, and only about 50-100m away.  With my 200mm lens, it felt like I was right there under the overhang of the superstructure above.

I wanted to try and get a shot that not only captured the beauty of the ship, and it's name, but also, something that said "here I am, in Sydney, wish you were here...".  As I walked along the quay approaching the bow, I could look across the harbour and see the Opera House between the overhanging bow and the waterline, so decided to try and capture that.  The shot lined up well, but the blackness of the hull was fooling my metering, and was vastly over-exposed on the Opera House and clouds, so I had to do some renovation work in PS, to bring it out a bit more.  I think it still needs more, but reckon it's going to look false if I do any more to it - I'll just have to wait until the next visit in a year's time, and try again.

Enough for tonight.  I've almost caught up now...  It was my nephew's birthday party today - I got some nice shots of him at the pool, but I'll save them for another day.

Happy Snappin'

Monday, February 21, 2011

February catchup plus weeks 5 and 6 of Project Flickr

I've been a bit tardy recently, and let the blog slip... busy life - things to do - you know how it is ;-)

So looking back at the pictures I've taken so far in February, let's see what I've been doing.

Project Flickr : Week 5 - A reflection study
As well as the reflection of my study, I did a couple of other shots that were more serious.  One was a reflection of the War Memorial in Hyde Park (that's Sydney, not London).  The reflection was rather fittingly in the 'Pool of reflection'.  I cropped the image at the point where reflection met reality, and then flipped the whole thing upside down, so that the reflection looked to be the actual War Memorial - albeit a slightly wobbly one.

Some eagle-eyed viewers spotted reflections of an Ibis and a Seagull right at the foot of the picture that I never noticed either while taking or cropping the image :-o

The other picture I took was of one of my favourite subjects, the Opera House.  I just love the different shapes you can find everywhere, and all the different textures and surfaces.  I never tire of looking at the patterns that the tiles on the roof make, and the fact that from a distance, you don't even realise they are there.  This shot of the sun reflecting off those tiles probably wasn't the best, as the sky was a bit overcast, and the sun not as bright as normal.  Having said that, the slightly flatter reflection probably helps highlight the tiles, rather than just burning them out.

While wandering around the other side of the Opera House, I stumbled across this view of the Harbour Bridge being reflected in the windows that curve around the back (or waterfront side) of the Opera House.  I tried a few shots, but wasn't that pleased with them.

Project Flickr : Week 6 - Strangers
As soon as this topic came up, I knew the picture I wanted to take...  Every morning, my wife and I stand on the platform at the station at exactly the same time, along with probably 100 or so other people, who we see there each day.  We all see each other, and recognise each other, and travel together, and sometimes even see each other up in the city at lunchtimes... yet we never speak to each other, and remain forever strangers.  Actually, this shot wasn't taken at my normal station - my son's car broke down and I had to take him to work, and then caught a train from a nearby station, which was far less busy than my local one.

(February 14th was Valentine's Day - I took Karen to see Michael Buble in concert.  It was a great evening, and I wish I could have taken my camera, but they are pretty strict on anything other than mobile phones and P&S cameras.  Mind you, looking at the huge lenses that the pros were using, I'd have been embarrassed to get my camera out of my bag!  So no pictures of Michael, I'm afraid...)

Lunchtime Walkabout - Feb 16th

While out for a walk, I came across the driver of a White 1976 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, waiting to take a bride from her hotel to some other location.  He was patrolling to make sure nobody got too close to the wonderful car - "People are just jealous..." he explained, "and it only takes a moment to scratch a key down the side of the car".  It is a sad reflection, but he is absolutely right - there is little respect for other people's possessions these days, and I can quite understand his nervousness and wanting to keep watch on the car - especially given the area he was parked in.

However, he was very happy to let me take some photos, and then we stood and chatted about the car for about 10 minutes, until his passenger was ready to be moved and I bid him farewell.

I was after 'elements' of the car that make it a Rolls Royce - obviously the 'Spirit of Ecstasy', or 'Flying Lady' had to be my #1 shot.  I also got this RR badge from the rear.  I also took some of the headlights, and the classic Rolls Royce radiator grille - but these were the best.

Well - it's getting late, so I'll post this now, and continue my catchup another night.

Till then - happy snappin'