Autumn really is SO, SO beautiful…check out these pics from the Southern Highlands of NSW

Getting out and about with my camera is one of my favourite things…

Last weekend, the Southern Highlands Botanical Gardens hosted the ‘Autumn Open Gardens’ weekend…

We visited the area last Sunday and for me, it totally nourished my soul and had me clicking like crazy 🙂

The first garden we visited at Bowral was ‘Bellagio’…WOW…who lives like that? They had a lake, an outdoor kitchen that looked like my indoor kitchen and two waterfalls…unbelievable!!

We also visited three other gardens in the rain and practised ‘what to do’ when the rain falls in relation to photography….hmmm…that was interesting 🙂

During the rain especially, we practised ‘macro’ photography…It is SO technical and had all of us on our toes…

Macro is an area of photography that I particularly love…as you focus on a ‘small’ area of a scene…lots of new ‘subjects’ come to light…..

Flowers, plants, statues and garden beds were all photographed..

Enjoy the pics..

Click on the first pic to start the slideshow….

 

Lake Eucumbene…..heaven on earth

I’ve written about Lake Eucumbene before…

It holds a very special place in the hearts of everyone in our family…

Every Easter, some, or all of the family head to a private property situated on the shores of Cobrabald Bay, Lake Eucumbene, NSW.

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This years trip was fabulous. We all enjoyed each others company, sitting around the kitchen table talking, eating chocolate, playing boggle and just being together.. Of course there was the fishing, but this year not one fish was caught!!

Naturally, I took the camera with me and really enjoyed photographing with my neice Claire and family friend Kimberley.

The weather provided many seasons in a day, which meant I could photograph many of the fantastic landscapes in so many ways…

We drove to Adaminaby for the annual Easter fair and then to the remains of ‘Old Adaminaby.’

I love the story of the original town of Adaminaby 🙂

In 1949, the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme announced that the town would be flooded to make way for a large dam – Lake Eucumbene.

The residents were given three options for a location for their town, and surprisingly chose a site 7km NE from the original town.

In 1956 the painstaking work began on moving the buildings to the site of the new town. Some buildings were demolished, other’s were left in their original location – St Mary’s Catholic Church was taken down brick by brick and rebuilt in its new location.

Within 18 months all 102 buildings were moved to the new town on the highway and life returned to normal for the residents of Adaminaby. In 1957 the flooding of the Eucumbene Valley commenced and by 1958 construction of the ‘Eucumbene Dam’ was complete.

Under the waters of Lake Eucumbene still lay the remains of the old town – including brick and stone building foundations, a brick pit, farming machinery, fence posts, the main road and the town’s six mile bridge.

We saw some steps and the remains of a couple of old buildings scattered along the edge of the lake.. I kept peering into the water wondering what it would be like to see the town in its watery grave…

In 2007 the dam’s capacity was at a record low of 9.4%. Parts of the old town ‘reappeared.’ Many relics, buildings, steps and farm machinery were ‘revisited’ by locals and tourists at this time.

The rest of the weekend was spent taking more photos, relaxing and enjoying the magnificent scenery.

If you would like more information about this fantastic part of NSW visit lakeeucumbene.com

Enjoy the pics. Click on the first pic to view all the photos as a slideshow:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

A beautiful Japanese garden in the centre of Sydney….

This week I visited the ‘Botanical Gardens’ in Auburn, Sydney.

I haven’t been there for years. It’s a place I used to visit when my boys were young…

This time I visited to enjoy the sunshine and take some macro photography shots.

The gardens are ‘Japanese’ style…I was blown away by the peacefulness and serenity I experienced…There were so many beautiful flowers with such vivid colour – and you know how much I love colour 🙂

Entry was free on a week day and we enjoyed a couple of hours wandering around in the glorious sunshine.

All these pics were taken on my Canon 5D MKlll with a canon 100mm f2.8 L series macro lens. I added a slight amount of contrast to them in lightroom, otherwise the rich, vibrant colour is exactly what I saw…

If you would like to know more about the ‘Botanical Gardens’ at Auburn – click here.

Click on the first pic to view the photos as a slideshow…Enjoy 🙂

 

How to create an AWESOME panorama using PHOTOMERGE in photoshop

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I have travelled to some amazing places.

I have recently had some time to go through some images from my trip to Italy….to be more specific….Lake Como…

Beautiful. Stunning. Inspiring…

I took a series of images from the ferry on the way to Gravedona – a beautiful town on the northern shores of Lake Como.

How do you shoot for a stitched image?

Use a tripod. In this case I was in holiday mode – so no tripod 🙂

Always shoot in PORTRAIT orientation – This will give you a taller panorama and allow more room for cropping.

My BEST tip? Take a pic of your hand BEFORE AND AFTER your series of images. This makes it so much easier when editing in Lightroom, I clearly know which images I want to use for my stitched panorama.

Shooting from the left, overlap your images by approximately 40% – {this didn’t happen in this case, the ferry was moving too fast!}

Keep your APERTURE constant for the entire series of images.  This will ensure the DEPTH OF FIELD is consistent in the final panorama. Also make sure your FOCAL LENGTH is the same for each image – {All the images were shot at f13 at 105mm focal length.}

I like to shoot a stitch in MANUALmode. Take a few test shots to determine correct exposure. Here are my 5 images.

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How did I edit this image?

I loaded all the raw images into LIGHTROOM.

HIGHLIGHT all the images for your panorama in Lightroom – click on the first image, hold down the SHIFT key, and click on the last image.

Click ‘CONTROL E’ which will open all the images up in photoshop {I’m using CS5.}

In Photoshop, click on ‘FILE’ then ‘AUTOMATE’ then ‘PHOTOMERGE.’ 

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This screen will open up.

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Click on ‘ADD OPEN FILES.’

‘AUTO‘ is the default button selected on the left. I use this function most of the time. You can experiment with the others for optimum results. Click ‘OKAY’ and watch your panorama stitch together before your eyes.

You’ll end up seeing a version of your panorama that looks something like this.

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When Photomerge finishes,, you will have a single panorama with each image on a separate layer.

Zoom into 100% and check the seams between the images. If everything looks OK, FLATTEN the image by going into the LAYERS menu and clicking ‘FLATTEN IMAGE.’

Crop a rectangular composition of your stitched panorama. This is where shooting ‘VERTICALLY’ really makes a difference. You have a lot more room to ‘CROP.’

And there you have it, a FANTASTIC large panorama of your series of images.

Make any adjustments you like to your final image. I always add some contrast and some vibrance.

In this case I also had to muck around with the ‘lake’…and the different tones.

Please be aware these files are usually HUGE…and may take up a bit more storage room than usual.

So, next time you’re out shooting and can’t fit everything in the frame, consider shooting a SERIES of images to create an awesome panorama 🙂

happy clicking

Chris

 

Up, Up and away….my Hot Air Balloon Adventure….

It was an early start. I mean a really early start 🙂

We arrived at the meeting point at Camden {on the outskirts of Sydney} all ready for our ‘hot air ballooning’ experience.

Ray and I and the other 7 passengers bundled into the 4WD and set off to our departure point {a field on someones property.}

It was a bigger deal than I thought…

Every few kilometres we pulled over to the side of the road and let off a small balloon to see which way the wind was blowing.

“All good” said the pilot. “We will be flying today.”

“I thought we were flying today anyway” I said…. “If the wind is too strong, or there is a sudden change in the weather, we don’t fly, its back home to bed for you.” said the pilot…

There were smiles all around…the biggest of all was mine.

We parked in a paddock and set up the basket on it’s side and unpacked the balloon…it was such a beautiful morning, and you know me, I was concentrating on taking pics and looking at the moon and the scenery all around me…everyone else was working to get the balloon inflated…. 🙂

The first time the burner was turned on to fill the balloon with hot air, I nearly dropped the camera….I was so excited and couldn’t wait to be airborne.

The balloon was inflated in no time. We all bundled into the basket, the burner was turned on again and all of a sudden….up, up and away….

WOW….the first thing I loved about this experience was the lack of noise..So peaceful and such a wonderful ‘birds eye view’ of the world below….

We had another couple of balloons who were with flying with us, so I was able to photograph a balloon up in the air, which was SO, SO good…

We drifted over homes, farms and misty bushland….It was fantastic..

Then the sun came up, and created such beautiful light and shadows, that my camera was going nutso….

We were up in the air for around an hour….It was one of the most magical experiences ever! I am blessed to have so many wonderful friends who know me so well, and bought me this adventure for my birthday.

All too soon, it came time for landing….and landing a balloon isn’t as easy as I thought. At one point the pilot wanted to land, but the wind prevented that, so we ended up further afield landing on a cricket field…..

All of a sudden we were back to earth and it was all over…..

I continued to photograph the balloon whilst everyone packed it up {clever aren’t I?}

We then headed back to Camden for a big breakfast, coffee and a debrief…..

If you want the experience of a lifetime….go hot air ballooning…I went with Balloon Aloft. The service, attention to detail and the whole experience in general, was amazing…Try it….It took me until I was 50 years old….

enjoy the pics….

If you’ve been hot air ballooning, I’d love to hear your experience. Feel free to leave a comment below….Click on the first pic to view them as a slideshow..

Chris 🙂

 

 

 

Sydney Royal Arts & Crafts Night 2014

I enter the Sydney Royal Easter Show photography competition every year.

I love entering competitions. It is a great opportunity to have your work judged and seen by your peers, others in the photographic industry and the community in general.

The competition was fierce this year!

I enjoyed viewing all the photographers excellent works and getting their slant on the way they view and interpret the meaning of the four photography categories.

I am very happy to say that my favourite image ‘Lake Eucumbene’ sold last night 🙂 I’m very proud of this photograph and LOVE the idea that someone wants my image hanging in their home 🙂

Congratulations to all the winners.

Here are my four entries:

Rural Australia – Lake Eucumbene NSW

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Portrait, Human Form – Woman in Bergamot, Italy

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Urban Landscape – Valparaiso, Chile

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Open Section – Gondoliers, Italy

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Happy clicking,

Chris 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fast cars…and I mean fast….

For those of you that know me, I’m a bit of a petrol head.

I LOVE cars, really fast cars.

Late last week I took off to watch my friends son experience his ‘hotlaps’ experience at Sydney’s Eastern Creek.

As soon as I got out of my car, I heard the engines revving and I couldn’t get over to the viewing area quick enough!

There’s just something about the noise, and the smell and of course, the SPEED.

We had a great time and Jacob loved it!!

Of course after the session I ‘hung’ around for a bit and the mechanics asked me if like to get up close to the cars and take some photos?

Ummmm….yes!!

I’ve got my hotlaps experience coming up soon, I get to DRIVE the car for 6 laps…..

Bring it on:)

Enjoy the pics. Click on the first pic to view all the pics as a slideshow.

Chris 🙂