From Photography

The Jetty

A photo in Smithsonian Science

Wrasse in the BlueChuffed that one of my photos, Wrasse in the Blue, has been published in Smithsonian Science.

All my images are published with a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial license, and I love it that one of them has been chosen in such an incredible source of science based learning.

The Jetty

It is always amazing to discover the photographic opportunities that lay waiting in your home area.

Living in the Sutherland Shire, I often drive straight down the Princes Highway when getting up early for sunrise photos, yet one beautiful opportunity is a private jetty in nearby Sylvania Waters.

The jetty is under a private lease and is private property, but the beach is public access, so I tend to wander down to the beach and shoot from the the sand immediately adjacent to the jetty.

This image has been created with a touch of blur added in MacPhun’s excellent ‘Focus Pro’ app, which I use as an add in in Aperture (still).

View this image on 500px, Ello or Flickr

Central Station

Central Station

Sydney’s Central Railway Station is the main hub for interstate and country trains.

The grand old building is the hub of the station, and makes for some interesting street photography opportunities.

I love the architecture here, and could spend hours exploring the station, the platforms and nearby pedestrian tunnels.

This image was made using my Panasonic GX–7 and the 20mm f1.7 prime lens – my favourite street photography setup.

View this image on 500px, Ello or Flickr

The Old Brewery

The Old Brewery

The Southern Highland’s town of Mittagong is the home of the Old Tooth’s Brewery, a location that is full of magical photo opportunities.

Run down and sporting a lot of graffiti, the Old Brewery is a wonderful photographic subject, but should be entered with caution due to the dilapidated state of the buildings and the presence of asbestos on the grounds.

The day we visited we were greeted by the sounds of drum solos from the building, and it turns out a drummer was being filmed and photographed in performance. Made for a bizarre setting.

View this image on 500px, Ello or Flickr

The Old Tunnel

RIP Lotte Hass

As a diver and underwater photographer I was saddened to hear of the recent passing of Lotte Hass. She was a pioneer of women in diving, and together with her late husband, Hannes, a pioneer of underwater photography and filmography.

The Old Tunnel

Helensburgh is a small town that at the northern end of the Illawarra region and just south of the Greater Sydney area.

Helensurgh was historically important as part of the original rail line down to the Illawarra coal fields, and some of the original single line tunnels and tracks dating back to the late 1800s are still in place.

The original rail line has since been replaced by a double track line. The original line, tunnels and even an old station platform serve as a historical reminder of life in the late 19th century.

View this image on 500px, Ello or Flickr

The Blast Furnace

The Ambivert’s Guide to Street Photography

I recently read a fascinating ebook called The Ambivert’s Guide to Street Photography by Scott Wyden Kivowitz.

I am quite keen on progressing my street photography skills, but I don’t always feel comfortable just taking a photo of someone, and I don’t relish the idea of approaching a stranger to ask their permission to do so.

In The Ambivert’s Guide to Street Photography, Scott provides good strategies to give it a go.

The Ambivert’s Guide to Street Photography is available from the author’s site as a PDF, and is also available from the iBook and Kindle stores.

The Blast Furnace

On Boxing Day Belinda and I got out of town for a couple of days, traveling up to Lithgow along the Bell’s Line of Road, and coming back via the Blue Mountains.

It was a beautiful couple of days exploring Lithgow, a town that I had not visited previously. It is a place that is full of history, including having been the original home of Australia’s steel industry.

The Old Blast Furnace preceded the steel works in both the Hunter and Illawarra regions.

I found it amazing that this old structure is still standing, albeit in a quite dilapidated state. I also found it amazing that you can freely wander about the site, given there are a lot of deep holes and pits.

I was pleased that I could wander around as it is a photogenic site, and I hope that photographers and others can continue to explore locations like this.

As I wandered about the Blast Furnace, I could not help but wonder about the efforts and hardwork of the people who built and operated the old Blast Furance.

View this image on 500px, Ello or Flickr

The Wreck at Homebush Bay

Photography Podcasts

I love podcasts[1], which are a great way of getting quick info on a huge variety of topics whilst on the go – driving, commuting, running, walking, etc. I am really enjoying some great photo podcasts at the moment, and would suggest the following five to anyone interested in photography.

  1. This Week in Photography by Frederick van Johnson
  2. The Digital Story with Derrick Story
  3. Your Itinerary – a travel and photography podcast from the TWIP stable, and hosted by Micro Four Thirds photographer Rob Knight
  4. Photofocus – podcast founded by Scott Bourne and hosted by Richard Harrington.
  5. The Photowalk Guys – an Australian podcasted hosted by Ben Frewtrell and Rob Potter

The Wreck at Homebush Bay

The SS Ayrfield is one of several old shipwrecks around Homebush Bay in Sydney’s west.

As an avid wreck diver and underwater photographer I have always enjoyed the challenge of trying to get images of shipwrecks. Challenging it is, as trying to get even a small wreck in an image is complex when you need to shoot through what is often gloomy water.

To have the opportunity to capture images of a wreck in its final resting place, while shooting from shore is wonderful, and you can really take your time to make a variety of images.

Built over 100 years ago, the SS Ayrfield was one of the ‘60 milers’ – the name given to the numerous colliers that worked between Sydney Harbour and the coalfields of the Illawarra and Hunter regions.

In 1972, the Ayrfield was sent to a ship breaking yard at Homebush, and is one of four wrecks that remain in place.

Homebush Bay was once a hub of Sydney’s heavy industry, and became a dumping ground for a lot of industrial waste, including the old ship hulls.

Having been cleaned up, Homebush Bay became the home of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, and is now a residential, sporting and entertainment and business district.

The old wrecks remain in place, and are popular sites for photography, particularly with the setting sun.

View this image on 500px, Ello or Flickr


  1. I have hosted a podcast on karate, scuba diving and personal productivity in the past. My podcasting is on hiatus at the moment.  ↩

Zig Zag Station

Ello

There has been a lot of positive discussion on Ello about the future role of this relatively new social media platform. People like photographer Thomas Hawk, Ello co-founder Paul Budnitz and Ello user @bigpoppae have made eloquent posts in support of the site.

To me the very thing that makes Ello appealing is that there is a small community of people, most of whom share a creative bent – be that photography or other artistic endeavours.

I rarely use Facebook. I occasionally use Google+, and regularly use Twitter. But I find that Ello is the site that draws me in most, and I plan to interact there more than any other site in the coming year.

Zig Zag Station

The old Lithgow Zig Zag Railway line in Australia’s Blue Mountains operated from 1869 to 1910, after which it was replaced by a new deviation that operates to this day.

The Clarence Station was the centre of a railway town during this time, but today the restored station is the main remnant of the old town.

Around the old station lie a number of engines, carriages and other rolling stock that formed part of a tourist railway that operated from 1975 until 2012. Many of these items were damaged in the bushfires of 2013.

It is possible to wander about the site and view the rolling stock and station, with no fences or signs keeping people out. That said, some areas have asbestos, so it is best to avoid trying to go into any of the rolling stock.

The site is a bit overgrown, but represents an important piece of the early settlement beyond the Blue Mountains.

View this image on 500px, Ello or Flickr

Operatic Sunrise

Buying Photo Gear

I’ve bought some photo gear lately – mostly from Australian retailers. I am always amazed about how unsatisfying the experience is for high value items.

Retailers always remind me that the price includes ‘Australian warranty’ and ‘Australian GST’. By law in Australia these things must be included in the price quoted, so emphasising these factors is redundant.

I guess that retailers are sensitive to competing with (overeas) online vendors, but in many respects the lack of expertise offered and the references actually drives me towards online purchase.

Especially when I buy a lens and the standard upsell attempt of a filter is the best value add offered – even more so when the particular lens doesn’t have a filter mount.

I wonder why there aren’t photo retailers that better emphasise the photo experience, and treat the whole thing more like Apple does with their retail operations.

Happy New Year

Wishing everyone all the best for a safe, happy and successful 2015.

Operatic Sunrise

Today is New Years Eve, and the world’s eyes are on Sydney Harbour as one of the major focal points for seeing in the New Year.

This image of the Sydney Opera House, one of Harbour’s iconic landmarks, was made at sunrise a week ago, and I think it beautifully captures the dramatic air of this unique building.

As we move into 2015 I look forward to taking in as many sunrises and sunsets as I can!

View this image on 500px, Ello or Flickr

The Lights Are On

Christmas is a magical time in many cities, with colourful lights everywhere.

For a photographer, getting to places where the lights are on when the crowds aren’t there either means an early start or staying late. In Sydney this can be especially challenging with some shopping centres now open 24 hours in the last few days before Christmas.

This image was made the day before Christmas Eve, at about 07:15am in Sydney’s ‘The Strand Arcade’.

Being early, the centre was already ‘switched on’ but the only people about were office and shop workers heading into work, so I set up my composition and exposure, and waited until I could get the image with nobody in the frame.

Of course, this might also make for an interesting image with the crowds present, but I wasn’t brave enough to stand there with a camera on tripod (needed for the slow shutter speed I needed) as the Christmas throngs pushed past to get their last minute gifts.

And I had some last minute shopping to do myself ;-)

There was something calming about having such a beautiful scene all to myself, even if it was for just a few minutes.

View this image on 500px, Ello or Flickr

Mylio available now in Australia and more countries

I’ve been keeping an eye on Mylio for some time, considering at as possible future replacement for Aperture.

Until now Mylio has been North America only for its paid subscriptions, but today the international release of Mylio has been announced.

The U.S. English version of Mylio is now available to download and purchase in the locations listed…

Australia is one of those locations, along with many other countries.