The Northern Migration – Whale Watching off Sydney Heads

I’ve been really lucky over the past couple of weeks to have been out whale watching from TWICE from Sydney – yes TWICE 🙂

Both days were warm and sunny and we were SO lucky {and grateful} to see some ‘Humpback’ whales heading north during their annual migration.

Each year – around May, Humpback whales leave the cold waters of Antarctica and swim north to the warm tropical waters of Queensland, Australia, to mate and give birth to their young.

They are such amazing creatures…We spotted our first couple of humpbacks not far off Sydney heads..

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These majestic creatures can grow to an average length of 12-18 metres and weigh as much as 45 tonnes.

The two whales travelled along together for a while, diving and giving us a glimpse of their tails – {click, click, click went my camera :)}

Whale Tail

Humpbacks are VERY acrobatic {considering their size} and one of the two whales we were observing really decided to put on a show…

Breaching is said to be either purely for play, to loosen skin parasites or it may have some social meaning. Check out the splash he made when he hit the water!

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He then ‘spyhopped’ {poked his head out of the water for around 30 seconds} to check out what was going on.

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Again this was followed by a playful ‘splash.’ 🙂

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Finally, he waved good-bye…and they continued on their journey north…

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Then just to top off a fantastic day, an albatross flew past {for anyone that knows me, I LOVE albatross.}

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Our second day out whale watching was completely different…it was two weeks after the first trip and the whales seemed to be more intent on heading north as quickly as possible….

We just observed them for a while before we headed back to Darling Harbour…

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I can’t wait to photograph them again when they head south down the East coast. Have you seen any humpback whales this season? I’d love to hear your stories. Please let me know in the comments below 🙂

bye for now,

Chris 🙂

Early morning photography at Mahon Pool, Maroubra

I love getting out and about with my camera and particularly enjoy starting the day early, photographing a sunrise 🙂

Last Saturday we discovered a brilliant spot for photography – Mahon Pool, Maroubra Beach Sydney.

The first part of the morning I used my ND {neutral density} filters to create slow shutter speeds and movement blur in my photos….I love the effect the slow shutter has on the water – each photo is so individual…the swirling water looks like mist and gives the image an ethereal look.

So, what is a neutral density filter and what does it do?

As you all know {well I’m hoping you do} to SLOW DOWN YOUR SHUTTER SPEED you need low light….
So at dawn, dusk or night time, it’s easy….
But during the day {when the sun is shining :)} even if you set your camera to a small aperture {like f20} and your ISO way down to 100….sometimes the shutter speed is STILL NOT SLOW ENOUGH to record movement and blur within a photograph.

So, in comes the neutral density filter {ND FILTER.}

There are several different types of ND filter on the market. Circular threaded screw-on ND filters are the simplest to use, but have the disadvantage that stacking them together soon leads to vignetting issues.

A more recent innovation are variable Neutral Density filters, which screw onto the lens but have an adjustable outer ring, which you rotate to adjust the density depending on the light conditions and the effect you want.

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Variable Neutral Density Filter

Slot-in filters require you to first attach a filter holder to your lens via a ring adapter {the same size as the diameter of your lens – in my case – 77mm}, then insert square or oblong filters into the holder – the chief advantage is that, once set up, it’s easy to swap filters, stack them or add different kinds of filters to the mix. Slot-in filters are usually the most expensive option when purchasing ND filters.

Here’s my Lee slot-in filter set up below.

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Lee adaptor and holder attached to the front of the lens

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Lee .9 ND filter inserted into holder.

It’s SUPER easy to use the slot-in ND filter system.

I have 4 filters –

.3  – reduces the s/speed by 1 stop.

.6 – reduces the s/speed by stops.

.9 – reduces the s/speed by 3 stops.

‘The little Stopper’ – reduces the s/speed by 6 stops.

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So, how do they work?

Lets say you meter a scene at f22 and the s/speed is 1/250 sec in Manual mode.

Now, insert the .3  {1 stop} ND filter into the holder on the front of the lens. Roll the shutter speed dial till the exposure level indicator meets in the middle. The s/speed will now be 1/125 sec – 1 stop slower than 1/250 sec.

Remove the .3 filter from the holder.

Now insert the .6 {2 stop} ND filter. Roll the shutter speed dial till the exposure level indicator meets in the middle. The s/speed will now be 1/60 sec – 2 stops slower than 1/250 sec.

Remove the .6 filter from the holder.

Now insert the .9 {3 stop} ND filter. Roll the shutter speed dial till the exposure level indicator meets in the middle. The s/speed will now be 1/30 sec – 3 stops slower than 1/250 sec.

Remove the .9 filter from the holder.

See how it works? You can also stack the filters in front of one another in the holder – eg
I could insert the .3, .6 & .9 filters into the holder and reduce the shutter speed by 6 stops -{1 +2+3 = 6 stops.}

Another really cool thing about ND filters is that they enhance the colours and will create more contrast in your image.

So, experiment with ND filters and different shutter speeds to achieve some really cool effects in your images:)

Click on each pic to view as large image…..

The second half of our shoot I experimented with FAST and SUPER FAST shutter speeds. Using the Canon 70-200mm zoom lens in AV mode, I raised the ISO to 640 and varied the aperture from f5 to f7.1. The shutter speeds ranged from 1/800 second up to 1/5000 sec. Don’t you just love the frozen action of the waves?

Click on each pic to view as large image…..

If you have any questions about ND filters, please email me at bernasconiphotography@gmail.com

Chris 🙂

P.S If you would like to connect with me on Instagram – click hereFacebook – click here & Twitter – click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Eek! A Polar Plunge in the Southern Ocean – you’ve got to be kidding!!

Paradise Bay.The view from the back of the boat
Paradise Bay.
The view from the back of the boat

Everyone had a ball.... :)

I didn’t want to do it at first – in fact I actually hadn’t given it much thought at all…

The ship anchored in Paradise Bay and at that stage, I was happy to photograph everyone and soak up the atmosphere.

There were a few factors that changed my mind….

1. Everyone else was doing it – and I hate missing out on anything.. 🙂

2. There was great music playing and lots of support from the crew…

3. One of my wonderful new friends on the boat found me and said “Chris, why don’t you do it? This is a chance to cleanse your body of all your sins (really?) and wipe the slate clean…

Well what do you say to that? I quickly rushed back to my cabin – put my cossie on and hurried back to deck 3.

I didn’t even hesitate…I ran down the stairs, walked off the back of the ship into the zodiac…and dived in…

Me....Going, going, gone...
Me….
Going, going, gone…
Me again
Me again

Well – that day the Southern Ocean was a balmy 2 degrees…hmmmm

It was exhilarating.

and COLD.

The water was crystal clear and yes, it shocked my body…but it was truly, truly worth it and something I’ll never forget.

Life’s too short to go to The Antarctic and NOT jump into the Southern Ocean….

Thanks to John Rodsted for some of these awesome pics 🙂

Here are some of my other new buddies…..

Don’t forget to click on the pics to make them larger.

Please feel free to contact me in the comments section below or on Facebook , twitter  or pinterest.

More new friends
More new friends
Kellie & Mark..
Kellie & Mark..
Show off!!
Allan – Show off!!
Nick..The guy that finally convinced me.
Nick..The guy that finally convinced me.

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Wollongong and the South Coast….something for everyone

We recently spent 4 days in Wollongong, a seaside city which is situated 80 kms south of Sydney.

We stayed at the Novotel on the beach which was a fantastic base to explore the entire area.

We spent lots of time at Wollongong Harbour, which is the only point on the East coast of Australia to have two lighthouses – one on the headland and the other at the entrance to the small harbour.

Our second day was spent exploring Minamurra Rainforest. This beautiful area is in Budderoo National Park near the village of Jamberoo. The walk is fantastic. It is a 4.2km round trip to the falls and back and in spots is a little ‘challenging.’ There are beautiful views over the  gorge and the walk concludes at the base of the Upper Falls.

We also visited the Nan Tiem Temple which is situated at Berkeley (about a 10 minute drive south of Wollongong). As the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern hemisphere, this temple nutures its devotees and the general public in buddhism and harmony between eastern and western cultures. It is set in the most magnificent grounds and is a beautiful place to wander around and reflect.

It was a great break away and of course the camera got a great workout 🙂

Today I leave for Italy, France and England so I won’t be blogging for the next 5 weeks…

Take care everyone, I’ll be bringing backs lots of new pics and experiences to share with you…

Chris xx

Please feel free to contact me in the comments section below or on Facebook , twitter  or pinterest.

North Haven…a touch of paradise

North Haven is a beautiful, sleepy town on the mid north coast of NSW, Australia

Its approximately a 4 to 5 hour drive from Sydney.

My grandparents and parents spent a lot of their younger years holidaying here.

When I was a kid my parents also bought me here for holidays 🙂

I have so many memories…the beautiful beach, ice creams at the shop, North Brother lookout, the break wall, the pub, the caravan park….Its a place I think of often.

When my children were younger, I also holidayed with them at North Haven….I guess its a place thats holds a lot of tradition in my family.

My parents live here now. They enjoy the quietness of the town, the community spirit, the dolphins on the river and the new friends they have made.

To me its paradise….

 

 

 

 

What a great start to the day….sunrise at Cronulla Beach

Sunrise really is a special time of the day.

The light is spectacular and I love nothing more than getting out on my own with my camera 🙂

This series of shots were taken at Cronulla Beach earlier this year.

I used fast and slow shutter speeds to record the movement of the water and the lone swimmer who was enjoying his early morning dip.

Do you like to get up and enjoy the sunrise?

Have a wonderful day….and don’t forget to click on the pics to view them as a slideshow 🙂

Please feel free to contact me in the comments section below or on Facebook , twitter  or pinterest.

 

 

Aah Venice…..

I am the luckiest girl on the planet. 🙂

In less than two weeks I leave on a 5 week trip of Italy, France and the UK. Yay!!

So today I thought I’d show you one of my favourite photos of Venice – a place I’ve visited twice before that truly took my breath away.

This beautiful city in Northern Italy is made up of 118 small islands linked by bridges. It was a major maritime force during the middle ages and also a trading centre for spice, silk and grain from the 13th century up till the end of the 17th century.

Also well renowned for its art and beauty, this ‘city of canals’ is also called the most romantic city in the world….

To me it was.

The first time I visited I drank it all in – got lost, saw all the sights, rode in a gondola, enjoyed the people and the FANTASTIC architecture. My favourite place of all was St Mark’s Square and the beautiful winged lion (the symbol of The Republic of Venice)

St Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace were magnificent and it was right there in the square that I fell in love with the city. I imagined all the Venetians of long ago and wondered who else had fallen in love here? Who had met here? 

The second time I visited I was with a small tour group and we walked into the middle of the square holding hands with our eyes closed (I told them it would be a great way to get your first glimpse of the square)

When we opened our eyes, they gazed in awe at the beautiful church and the surrounding architecture of the square.

I was reduced to tears…So much beauty…

It was as if the city wrapped me up in itself. I’ll never forget how I felt there….

Im looking forward to having that feeling again….

Don’t forget to click on the photo to enlarge it 🙂

Have you been to Venice? Please feel free to contact me in the comments section below or on Facebook , twitter  or pinterest.