Saturday December 5 – Star Trails Over Lake Clifton

•December 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

It was a rather warm Summer night on Saturday here in Perth and we had clear skies, so I decided to head out and spend a few hours shooting some star trails. I decided to head down to Lake Clifton http://www.lakeclifton.com.au South of Mandurah, and about 100km South of Perth. On this visit, there was no moon not like on my last visit https://eos20.wordpress.com/2009/08/07/august-7/ so conditions were ideal for shooting star trails, but having some moon light would have been ideal so I could have used the ambient light from the moon to illuminate the Thrombolites http://www.lakeclifton.com.au/yalgorup.html so had to use my spotlight to bring out the detail of the Thrombolites. I brought along two cameras on this visit, I bought my EOS 7D and used my new EF-S 15-85 IS lens, and I also brought along my old EOS 300D and 18-55 lens, and I also brought along my 50mm f/2.5 macro to use as a large aperture lens. I set up both cameras on tripods with shutter release cables, and I shot a series of 30 second exposures and combined them using the Star Trails stacking software http://www.startrails.de/ which I find does a better job then shooting a single long exposure which tends to result in a image full of long exposure noise which can easily ruin a nights work, and by using software I can delete frames if necessary (Planes flying though the exposure, camera shake, etc) and I get a cleaner final result and can shoot star trails pretty much anywhere without worrying about getting a over exposed shot when shooting near bright light sources such as in the city.

On this night it was pitch black, with no ambient lighting out here, since it’s located a fair way away from the nearest towns, which meant the stars were easily visible with very little light pollution other then headlights of passing cars off in the distance. There was a bit of lightning off towards the horizon East of my location when I arrived, but that only lasted about 30 mins and didn’t affect my shooting since I had the cameras pointed South to try and get the best star trail patterns, unfortunately I didn’t end up aiming the cameras directly at the Southern Star, so I was a bit off, and didn’t get the full circle I was after, but the results still came out well enough.

It was windy on this visit, unlike on my first visit where it was relativity calm which resulted in some nice reflections on the water, and the tide was coming in which meant the Thrombolites were submerged again on this visit, and I ended up getting wet to set my camera up low enough to get the composition I was after on my final star trail series, but I think it was worth it for the shot I ended up getting. Here are a few of the photos from the night:

http://www.redbubble.com/people/eos20/art/4261586-2-star-trails-over-lake-clifton

http://www.redbubble.com/people/eos20/art/4261582-2-star-trails-over-lake-clifton-thrombolites

http://www.redbubble.com/people/eos20/art/4262314-3-star-trails-over-thrombolites

New Canon EF-S 15-85 IS – First Impressions

•November 23, 2009 • 1 Comment

I received my Canon 15-85 IS lens today, you can read about my first impressions of this lens by following the link:

http://www.redbubble.com/people/eos20/journal/4184256-another-new-lens-canon-ef-s-15-85-is

Christmas Gift Ideas

•November 11, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Christmas is on it’s way, and it’s that time of the year when we all are starting to think about what to get for our family and friends. What about giving them some unique artwork that will last them many years, and won’t be forgotten a week after Christmas?

Check out some of my art that is on sale on redbubble.com and specially priced for the Christmas season!

http://www.redbubble.com/people/eos20/journal/4101658-my-favourites
Or pick up one of my 2010 Calendars:

http://www.redbubble.com/people/eos20/calendars/4102239-2-2010-calendar#comment-22371095

My Canon EOS 7D Reivew Posted

•October 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I’ve just posted my Canon EOS 7D Review:

http://www.redbubble.com/people/eos20/journal/3973240-my-canon-eos-7d-mini-review

My EOS 7D Arrived Today!

•October 12, 2009 • Leave a Comment

My new EOS 7D arrived today and now I’m sitting here waiting patiently for the battery to charge up so I can try it out. I can’t wait to get out and test it out!

I also got the new EF-S 18-135 IS lens which will be my walkabout lens on this camera. I chose this lens because of it’s nice zoom range and should be a nice light weight lens for me to replace the 18-55 IS I had with my 500D. (Much lighter then the 35-350!) and I got the kit for a bit more then the body only.

The new lens feels great paired up with the 7D! It feels like this lens was made for the camera! The lens has a decent build quality and has a metal lens mount.

I haven’t had a chance to try it out on the 7D yet (Still waiting for the battery to charge) but I shot a couple test shots using my old 300D and the lens seems sharp, and the AF performs good for a non Ultrasonic motor lens. The IS seems to work well, and it’s pretty silent (You don’t really notice it when it’s engaged) Colours and contrast and sharpness look good from the test shots I’ve taken so far.

The camera feels really solid, and the viewfinder is massive! It’s allot bigger then the 500D’s viewfinder for sure! it’s also noticeably larger then the viewfinder on the 40D/50D, I would say it’s about the same as the Nikon D300’s viewfinder. You now don’t get the Etched AF points when you look through the viewfinder though (It’s all electronic like on the Nikon’s) so the view though the viewfinder is totally clear. It’s also dim when there is no battery installed because the new viewfinder is battery dependent (Just like the Nikon viewfinders) so I haven’t had a chance to see how bright the viewfinder is because I’m waiting for the battery to charge, but I will write up a mini review after I’ve had the chance to use the camera properly.

Anyway, I can’t wait to get out and try out the new camera, I will write up a 7D Review once I’ve had the chance to get use to the new camera, and shot with it for a while, in the meantime keep a eye out on my folio for some photos taken with the new camera and lens.

Saturday August 15

•August 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I decided to do a late afternoon/sunset photo shoot at Champion Lakes, which is a recently built regatta lake that is located about 10 minutes drive from where I live. It was a cold and windy winters afternoon, and we had showers and some hail during the day.

I got down to the lake and headed down to the back end of the lake, which faces East towards the foothills, this is a area that I shot from on my first ever visit to the lake. I saw that they had just laid out the lane Buoys and left the barge at the end of the lake, which meant I didn’t have a clear view from the edge of the lake, down the entire lake which was a bit disappointing.  I set my tripod up and started shooting. About 10 minutes into my shoot, I saw a security patrol car drive past along the service road, but the security guard didn’t stop, then another 10 minutes later, another security patrol car pulled up and the security guard got out and started questioning me on what I was doing, I had my camera set up on my tripod and told him I was taking photos (Duh) he then started questioning me about what I was planning on doing with my photos, and then told me that I wasn’t allowed to publish my photos! What a load of crap! I was taking photos from a public area, and the lake is a public venue, and is open to the general public. I was standing on a bike/pedestrian path and there were other people walking/cycling around the lake, so I wasn’t the only person around. After answering all his questions, he then left and I got back to shooting. I shot for another 20 mins before the sun went behind clouds and the hills became shadowed. I then headed back to my car, and I noticed another security patrol car driving around, and they stopped and was watching me as I was packing my tripod into the back of my car.

I then drove around to the main estate area, and I decided to stop and shoot around the public area which included some sculptures, a small pond, and some shelters. The sun had just set, but there was still some colour in the sky. I then saw yet another security patrol car come around, and they drove past a couple times slowly and watching what I was doing. So I decided I would leave, I packed up and I was starting to head home, but I thought I would quickly stop at the bridge at the public beach area which was about 1km or so further up the road.

The gates were locked, so I couldn’t get over the bridge, and it was getting dark at this point. I quickly took a few shots around the bridge, and I looked across the lake to see a huge dark cloud approaching, with some heavy rain off in the distance, I quickly took a few shots of the approaching rain cloud then headed back to the car. I then noticed a security sign for the lake, so I thought I would quickly take a photo of it for my story, since it was dark, I had to use flash to illuminate the sign, I then read on the sign “Security Notice – This area is under video surveillance for your protection” And just after I read that, I saw one of the patrol cars come racing around the lake along the bicycle path with spotlights and high beams on coming towards where I was shooting like I was doing something wrong! I didn’t know taking a photo of a security sign in a public area was a crime, maybe because I use flash! LOL Anyway, I got back into my car and left before they could get around to where I was, and just as I got back into my car and started to drive off, It started to pour down with rain, so lucky I decided to leave when I did or I would have ended up getting wet again like on a few of my previous photo shoots. LOL

I did manage to get some great shots from this photo shoot though, so I guess it was worth the hassle in the end, but I don’t think I will be visiting the lake again any time soon, which is a shame, because it it a nice location.

http://www.redbubble.com/people/eos20/art/3602073-3-champion-lake

http://www.redbubble.com/people/eos20/art/3622112-3-champion-lakes-foothills

http://www.redbubble.com/people/eos20/art/3602070-3-champion-lake-panorama-1

http://www.redbubble.com/people/eos20/art/3602069-3-champion-lake-panorama-2

http://www.redbubble.com/people/eos20/art/3622110-4-approaching-storm-at-dusk

Tuesday August 11

•August 12, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I was up in Joondalup late in the afternoon and I had my camera with me, so I decided to go and take a few photos and do a bit of location scouting. The weather wasn’t to great, and it was mostly overcast, with a few showers about.

My first stop was Neil Hawkins Park which is located at Joondalup Lake. This is a great spot if you enjoy bird photography, with plenty of bird life around the park, and out on the lake, I even saw a few turtles around the jetty. I spent about 20 minutes at the lake, but it was to overcast to get any good shots, so I decided I would go and visit some of the Northern Beaches.

The first beach I visited was Burns Beach. When I got down to the beach, It was very windy and overcast, the tide was also high on this day which was also disappointing because I’ve seen some great shots taken of the rocks along this beach when the tide is lower, and I was hoping to get a couple shots on this visit. The waterline was high up onto the beach and there wasn’t really much room to work with either. The sun was trying to break though the clouds, but it was no use, but I did manage to get a few shots of the Crepuscular rays breaking though the clouds.

I then decided I would go a bit further North, my Next stop was Mindarie Boat Harbour, I didn’t take to many shots around the harbour, just a couple reference shots and a few shots for Panoramio.

I then headed further North to Quinns Rocks Beach, when I got there, the beach was closed due to beach erosion. I managed to shoot a couple photos from the car park, but the weather was terrible and I didn’t get anything great from this visit.

I then decided to start heading South and start heading back home. It was nearly sunset, so I decided I would head down to Trigg Beach in hope of a bit of sunlight and some colour as the sun set but I didn’t get any colour, and the sunset was a huge disappointment. I took a couple long exposure photos, and done some black and white photography which I haven’t done much of lately.

After I was done at Trigg beach I started heading home, I was driving though the City and I remembered the Mount Henry Bridge Jetty, so I decided I would go down and take a look. On my last visit to this jetty, they had put up a large fence around the jetty blocking access to the jetty. When I arrived, I saw that the old wooden jetty had now been replaced with a brand new jetty. The new jetty seems nice, but I personally prefer the wooden jetties, the new jetty seems a little sterile. LOL

I shot around the new jetty, and I also took some photos of the Mount Henry Bridge from the new jetty, and underneath the bridge. I then drove around the river and discovered a small jetty that I didn’t know was there, so I quickly stopped and done a quick U-Turn and in the process, I think I scared a man walking his dog. LOL

I took a few photos of the jetty, then headed up a bit further and then I took a few more photos of the Mount Henry Bridge looking across the river.

In the end, I managed to get a few decent photos out of this shoot, but most of my photos will be used as reference shots for future photo shoots, and a couple will go up onto Panoramio.

http://www.redbubble.com/people/eos20/art/3580010-3-mount-henry-bridge-at-night

http://www.redbubble.com/people/eos20/art/3577150-4-new-mount-henry-bridge-jetty-panorama

http://www.redbubble.com/people/eos20/art/3577218-3-under-the-mount-henry-bridge