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.

Long exposure photography 101

nicolesy provides a good overview on getting started with long exposure water photography:

Basically, to create the misty, cotton-candy water effect, you need a very long exposure. Sometimes the light is too bright for the camera to leave the shutter open long enough, so you need to block the light that is coming through the lens so that you can prolong the exposure time and use a slower shutter speed

Good advice on technique, equipment and apps to assist in getting good results.

Fans of the Sea

Uepi Island, in the Solomon Islands, is perhaps the best diving destination I’ve visited to date – and I’ve had the fortune to visit a few.

Uepi is resplendent in corals, sharks, rays, sinkholes, caves, sheer walls, tropical fish life and even a ‘vertical wreck’, but for me the stand out thing about diving around Uepi is quantity, variety and size of the Gorgonian sea fans.

I remember diving in the Coral Sea off Far North Queensland and being told that a particular site was home to the largest Gorgonian in the world, but I don’t recall as being anywhere near as impressed with that fan as the ones at and around Uepi.

Getting to Uepi is an adventure in itself, but once there you are certainly greeted with unbelievably great diving, while staying at a beautiful little resort that feels like it is situated at the end of the world.

I’m certainly a fan of Uepi and its wonderful sea life.

View this image on 500px or Flickr

MacSparky on iCloud Drive Sync Improvements

MacSparky discusses the recent improvements in iCloud Drive sync

The reason I’ve been so critical of iCloud lately is because I haven’t dismissed it.

This is in line with my thinking – I have expectations that iCloud can be a real enabler. But it is true to say that Apple has had an extremely ‘two steps forward, 1.8 steps backwards’ approach to its cloud based offerings.

I think we all need to be critical when Apple makes mistakes. They not always (even ever) publicly acknowledge their mistakes or the criticism, but their (recent) track records indicates that they do listen and act.

Panasonic 30mm macro lens for m43

Yesterday I mentioned that my plans for gradually building up my m43 camera kit will ultimate include a fisheye lens. Another lens that will likely one day be part of my kit will be a good macro lens.

43rumors.com has recently reported that Panasonic is planning to launch a 30mm macro lens in 2015, complementing the existing 45mm macro and a 60mm model for m43 from Olympus.

A 30mm macro lens for m43 is equivalent to a 60mm lens in 35mm photography. A 60mm macro lens for my Nikon DLSRs was a go-to lens for me for many years, but in more recent times I spent more time on my 105mm macro lens.

I will certainly be looking into this lens, but I wonder if the 45mm m43 lens (a 90mm equivalent) might be a more versatile choice, espcially for my underwater shooting.

Masterful story-telling in the first trailer for Star Trek: The Force Awakens

Like most people who have a love for sci-fi, I eagerly watched the first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens yesterday. [1]

After watching the trailer for the fifth or sixth time I started to really notice the masterful story-telling – exemplified in the words and tone; and the vision and music.

Words and Tone

In the entire 60 second clip there are only 15 words spoken:

There has been an awakening; have you felt it?

The dark side… And the light

In those words we can see a couple clues:

  1. he dark and light sides of the force have been dormant since the timeline of The Return of the Jedi
  2. Both have awakened

What was equally telling was the tone used – clearly the tone used was spoken from the darkside, with the voice over having a distinct Emperor Palpatine feel about it.

Vision and Music

The trailer starts with what appears to be the planet Tatooine [2] with some level of chaos as people and droids run from something. We then cut to an organised force of Stormtroopers amassing.

Ultimately we then see vision of what seems to be Han Solo’s spaceship, Millenium Falcon as the classic Star Wars score kicks in.

I am looking forward to the new movie[3], and I am excited by what appears to be a strong foundation of masterful story-telling at the hands of JJ Abrams and crew.


  1. OK, actually I probably watched it ten or more times.  ↩

  2. The same planet which featured at the commencement of the original Star Wars (aka Episode IV or A New Hope).  ↩

  3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is due to be released on 18 December 2015.  ↩

LensBaby announces a new 5.8mm fisheye lens for M43

Accessory lens maker LensBaby has announced a circular 5.8mm for micro 4/3 cameras, among others

The Circular Fisheye is great for capturing the scale of endless landscapes and big events, fun self-portraits, quirky shots of pets or friends, creating extreme perspective, and experimenting with unique lens flare.

I am gradually moving over to m43 type cameras, and a good Fisheye is in planned list of future lens aquisitions.

This lens could certainly have good applications for underwater work, so I am going to look further into this as a contender.