A few weeks ago, the APPS, the Photography Club I’m a member of, held a workshop on Black and White Photography and today, we had a Photowalk where we were given the chance to put into practice all that we’ve learned. We met up at 2:30 pm at the Johnsonville Community Centre and drove over to Island Bay, a coastal suburb about 5 km south of Wellington. We started taking photos at the small basketball court next to the children’s park and headed off towards the beachfront.
Craig, the gentleman who conducted the B&W Workshop (also a member of the APPS and the PSNZ – an amazing photographer) patiently showed me a few tricks of the trade and helped me to “see things in a different light” – to see shapes and patterns and textures instead of seeing a tree, a rock or a plant. It was a wee bit difficult, because I tend to see things as they are … a tree, a rock or a plant, but I think I managed. Here are some of the things I “saw” at Island Bay.
1/4 Circle and Part of a Square
Circle and a Square
Afterwards, some of us went to a coffee shop at Newtown for a bit of R&R. It was while we were sipping our respective drinks (I had Chai Latte because I can’t have caffeine after mid-day) and talking about photographic gear and techniques that Craig gave me a “creative” assignment for tomorrow. I’m supposed to take 36 images wherein the subject is at least 50% out of the frame and that none of the images would be of a straight horizontal or vertical orientation. I’m not allowed to have a re-take and can only adjust the tonal curve and convert the image from RAW to jpeg on Lightroom. Dave countered this by giving me another assignment: he’s asked that I take 5 photos at the Waterfront every day for the next work week. What have I gotten myself into?
So there! Tomorrow, I will take 36 random images and will post these here. And next Saturday, more photos from waterfront. I can feel my head starting to hurt.
My long-exposure filter kit arrived last week and I drove up to Paraparaumu (about 50 km north of Wellington) to get the parcel. Since I don’t really know how to use those gitchy-gadgets, my friend decided to spend a few hours with me so I would learn the ropes. We spent some time at a park in Otaihanga and then headed off to Paraparaumu Beach. I’ve never been to that area of Wellington before so I was surprised to see such gems in that area (for those not in-the-know, I’m new to Wellington and I haven’t had the chance to explore the surrounding areas just yet). Bernie helped me set the camera up and tried to take long exposure photos. Here are some of the images I took.
My attempt at creating a “dreamy” look
Paraparumu Beach (Shoreline)
Sadly, I wasn’t able to take a lot photos and these are not too exciting. I’m still getting used to my new toys and besides, it was getting quite chilly. It was also quite unfortunate that, even though the weather wasn’t that great (cloudy and windy – typical Wellington weather), the brook and the sea were relatively calm so the effects of being able to keep the shutter speed open for a long period of time can’t be seen. AND – it’s not easy huh? I think I need to bring a book with me the next time I attempt to do this (Game of Thrones, maybe?) so I won’t get bored out of my gourd. I’ll give it another try, perhaps sometime this week. Anyway – back to work tomorrow!
Two years ago, sometime in April 2012, I attended a photography workshop at Queenstown (obviously one of my most favourite places here in New Zealand) and though I was initially concerned about the costs it involved – at the end of the workshop, I felt that it was the 4 hour session was well worth the expense. I learned a lot (whether or not I’ve put my knowledge to good use is another question altogether)and it was a completely unforgettable experience. It just opened up a whole new realm of photography. I just saw Queenstown in a whole new different light (and colour palette).
You see, when someone mentions the word “Queenstown” what immediately pops into my mind are the colours white, blue and grey. White, because Queenstown’s known to be the Winter Capital of New Zealand; Blue because of Lake Wakatipu; and Grey because of The Remarkables. I certainly did not expect Queenstown to be awash with oranges, reds, yellows and greens! But yeah – those colours were there!
Jackie, from the QCCP, and I spent about an hour at the Queenstown Botanical Garden and we stayed rooted at one spot. Well – we did move around a bit, but we never strayed more than 5 metres from where we left our bags. From where we stood, Jackie would point out leaves, and trees and twigs – things I would have just ignored and showed me how to look at them, and helped me capture some of their glorious wonder. Would you believe that in that short span of time, we came up with these amazing images?
against a blue sky
hanging on …
Treetops @ The Queenstown Botanical Garden
I couldn’t believe all this beauty was just there – waiting to be seen! I was like …
So anyway, I’m going on another workshop in about a month’s time – still on landscape photography but we’ll go around Wellington instead. Yes, there’s going to be some costs involved but I’ll just close my eyes and go for it – I’ve decided to go for gold. It may set me back a few Ds but I know I will learn heaps (you can’t quantify learning anyway) and will put into practice all that they will teach. If I want to improve on my photography I have to do something about it, right? See. Me. Soar!
Here’s to capturing better imagescreating amazing photographs.
We were asked to take “starburst” images for the club and I’ve chosen to focus on the lights on the street where I live. I had wanted to include more street lights but … I don’t know, I guess it wouldn’t look as eerie.
Perhaps tomorrow, I’ll post photos of my last trip to Queenstown (way back in 2012!). I need to find those images from my hard drive.
Still on the subject of Makara … after we took photos of laser trails and light painted rocks, we pointed our lenses up to the sky and attempted to take photos of the stars. Apparently, Makara Beach (and that particularly secluded cove we were at) is one of the best locations for Star Photography primarily because it is away from the city thus, there’s very little light pollution.
The photo above is my first attempt at star photography. It’s not that great, I know. The stars are fuzzy but hey! I think that’s not a bad image for a beginner.
Bernie (one of the guys from the club) helped us set our cameras so we could take semi-decent star photos because we were just pointing the lens up in the sky … trying vainly to find something to focus on and leaving the shutter open for 30 seconds. Although we had our cameras set on timers, we’d pass the time by counting from 1 to 30 in different languages. At one point, we had English, German, French, Portuguese and Filipino numbers being yelled out simultaneously. We had a lot of fun!
The Milky Way
Stars against a mountain
The Milky Way Galaxy
At about 9:30 pm, we felt the chill. We decided that it was getting late and thought it best that we went back home. We had to navigate through rocks and sand and uneven ground with flashlights on our heads (and me wrapped up in a duvet) all while carrying food, our camera bags and of course, our camera and tripods. How we managed to get to our cars without slipping or hurting ourselves is beyond me.
Thus … if you want to have an unobstructed view of the sky, see the milky way and other galaxies in our cosmos to take pictures or simply ponder on the meaning of life (or the reason for your existence), I’d really recommend going to Makara. It’s quite a walk, but the views are worth it.
Incidentally, if you want to stay closer to civilisation, the beaches near the carpark afford amazing views as well.
“Twilight: the soft glowing light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon, caused by the reflection of the sun’s rays from the atmosphere.”
After spending almost four hours at the West Wind wind farm (aka Makara Wind Farm), we drove down to Makara Beach so we could have the club’s annual Makara Picnic. I wasn’t there last year so I didn’t know what to expect. I wore fairly sensible walking shoes and a fleece jersey to keep me warm – apparently, those weren’t enough. From the parking area (which I would assume to be Ohariu Bay) we walked southwards towards Opau Bay and continued on until we reached, Te Ikaamaru Bay – at least I think that’s where we stopped to have our snacks. You know what, we could have gone to Ohau Bay and I wouldn’t have known it.
After we had our fill, the gung-ho photographers in the group started taking pictures of the sunset. I dilly-dallied a wee bit (wanted to savour the chicken I was munching on) so I kinda missed the sun as it set, but still managed to capture a few nice sunset images.
Sunset @ Makara
Sunset @ Makara
The Sun has Set @ Makara
It was after the sun has decided to bid us adieu that we started to really have fun. Two of the guys brought coloured torches (aka: flashlights) with them and a long piece of string. They stood on rocks and started twirling the lights around while we took long exposure photos of them. Here are my laser-trail images:
Red and Green Rings
Flashes of Silver
Green and Silver still – but notice that the streaks go in different directions?
Green rings all around
Green and Silver Orbs
We even tried our hand at light painting! Again – we set the camera on long exposure and while the shutter was open, one of the guys would go around “painting” a rock using the light from his torch. We didn’t get too many light-painted images because it was getting too dark and hopping from one rock to another was getting too dangerous.
Light-painted rich with a random head hovering over it.
Light Painting and Light Trails
AND we didn’t stop there. When it was really REALLY dark, we took photos of the stars. I’ll post those images in the next day or two. Still need to tweak them a bit. Meanwhile, I’ll sign off. I’ve had a very busy, tiring but fun and productive weekend. Must now prepare for the work week that lies ahead of me.