Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In the garden ...

Backlit flax just coming into flower
Well, it wasn't my garden, but a friend's place a little further south from my home.  A stroll around the garden gave me a chance to see some quite lovely blooms.  Perhaps the most significant thing for me was the way in which weeds had been blended and accepted as part of the garden.  Many weeds have pleasing flowers, but, due to their invasive nature, are often avoided and ripped out of the garden.  The second shot in this post shows a blend of chives and daisies.  I really wanted a shallow depth of field to focus your eyes on a specific bloom, but which one?  Do I pick the daisy, to the chives?  Perhaps let me know what you think?  In the third shot I changed focus to concentrate on the chives ... so which do you prefer?
Daisy and chives.  
Chives and daisies
Besides weeds and chives there was a huge range of other blooms including some King Protea.  Quite different to daisies!!  I showed the fourth shot in this post to some friends in the States and was surprised to learn they'd never heard of proteaceae before.  The King Protea has large blooms ... in excess of 8inches or 20cms across ... these really are quite stunning flowers that really make an impression.
King Protea
A rather pleasing doorway
The last shot in this post is a monochrome interpretation of one of the outbuilding's doorways.  As soon as I saw this scene I thought of an "Olde Worlde" scene.  A quick twiddle in Silver Efex for a sepia effect with a light vignette helped produce the scene you see.

I had a great time.  A lovely rambling garden with flowers that will bloom at different times through the year.  I'll take my camera next time I visit along with a tripod.  Shots from this visit were all hand held and I was a little disappointed with the sharpness in some of my images.  I thought I'd take some extra light and diffusers to try and even out the light too.  Quite a few harsh shadows and deep contrasts in many of my shots from this last visit I'll try to rectify next time.  Perhaps I should show a before and after set of shots and get you to let me know which you prefer and why.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

787 visits Auckland

Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner has arrived in Auckland.  After a direct flight from Seattle to Auckland the 787 landed at about 9am on Saturday morning.  It's now at the engineering department, no doubt being examined by the staff who will be maintaining the aircraft once Air New Zealand takes delivery of its aeroplanes in a couple of years time.
Fences were in the way which prevented us getting a closer shot, but depending on the time the aircraft leaves on Tuesday we make get chance of some closer shots as it takes off.  The last shot is a tigherter crop of the second shot and clearly shows an Air New Zealand name tag above the doors.  Perhaps this 'plane is Air New Zealand's after all?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Winter Gardens

Single shot HDR image of one of Auckland's Winter Garden hot houses.  Well worth a visit.
After dropping off my daughter in the city yesterday ... the trains were all cancelled again, total confusion ruled regarding which bus went where and when, so the only option was to use the car to get to the city.  Anyway, I was saying, after dropping off my daughter in the city, I headed to the Winter Gardens.  I've not been here for ages and they really are well worth a visit.  They have some glorious blooms and specialist plants on display, parking is free and the Fern Garden is here too!  Looking at the shot above, the Fern Garden would be just off to the right, opposite the fish pond.
Gorgeous poppies.  These blooms caught my eye due to their colour and size ... but take a look at their seed pods!
Poppy seed pods.  Wonderful shapes, textures and colour.  Just as beautiful as the blooms!
The first plants to catch my eye were the poppies.  Stunning colour and huge blooms.  Composing the shot I couldn't help but notice the seed pods.  The second shot has a more detailed view of these strange creations.  I must admit to being equally entranced with the seed pods as I was with the blooms.

I didn't have as much time as I'd have liked, and I should really have taken a tripod.  Nevertheless it was a worthwhile visit.  I'll close this post with a few more shots that you might enjoy.  Perhaps let me know what you think.
I have no idea what this is ... but it seemed so delicate and pretty!

I loved these colours.  I have Anthurium at home, but not in these colours!

Gorgeous water lilies.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Onehunga Wharf

Spirit of Resolution, Onehunga Wharf, New Zealand
Friday evening usually has the "Spirit of Resolution" docked at the Onehunga Wharf.  Returning from the city in the evening and driving over the motorway bridge I can often see out of the corner of my eye interesting lights and activity as the ship is either loaded or unloaded with its cargo.  Always keen to stop and take some shots, but never with the time to stop and play.  That all changed this Friday.  The sunset looked interesting and we had a bit of spare time, so off we set to see what we could do!

The first shot in this post is a blend of five images shot at 1 stop intervals (-2, -1, 0, 1, 2) processed in Photomatix Pro.  I didn't want the HDR effect, but needed some help with the high contrasts.  The sky was quite bright, but there were deep shadows in the foreground.  There was also the problem of the boat moving on the water as well as the cranes working to relocate the ship's cargo.  I was reasonably happy with the shot, but really wanted a bit more saturation.  All efforts to date have resulted in a somewhat false looking shot, so I'll stick with the image you see above!
Spirit of Resolution, Onehunga Wharf, New Zealand
The second shot in this post is a closer shot of the rear of the boat.  I was quite intrigued with the lights, evening colours and reflections on the water.  This second shot is a single image.  This shot helps you appreciate the range of light levels.  Any suggestions on how to bring out the darks, push back the lights yet retain a reasonable level of contrasts and saturation would be most welcome.

Shot three is a landscape version of shot two from a similar viewpoint used for the first shot.  Difference now is time ... about 10 minutes!  I think I prefer this shot to  the first as it seems to have more interest to it.  Perhaps let me know which you prefer?

The last shot is a 15 second exposure of the motorway bridge from which I've observed this ship on a number of occasions.  I picked 15 seconds in an attempt to "flatten" the water and get a bit more emphasis on the motorway lights.  Not sure it's worked, but I'm sure you'll let me know.  Oh, if you click on the images you should get an enlarged version of the shot :-)
Spirit of Resolution at Onehunga Wharf
Highway 20 motorway bridge at Onehunga.