Bowral and the Southern Highlands

You all know how much I love flowers and gardens…well a couple of weeks back we visited Sutton Forest and Bowral in the Southern Highlands, NSW, Australia.

It was a particularly cool day but the gardens didn’t disappoint. First up we visited Red Cow Farm, a beautiful garden with lots of hidden garden rooms, a lake and so many glorious tulips. I took a stack of photos and we enjoyed meandering through the garden.

Our next stop was Milton Park, an amazing estate built at the turn of the 20th century by the Horden Family of retail & pastoral fame.

There are breathtaking views at every turn and the gardens are the most beautiful I have ever seen {seriously.}

I love the sweeping lawns {with grass so soft you could roll around for hours} cobble stone paths, rose gardens, mazes and hundreds and hundreds of flowers. Think tulips, camellias, roses, azaleas…..it is spectacular:)

The gardens of Milton Park have inspired painters and writers since the early 1800’s.

This photographer 🙂 was particularly inspired by the beauty and colour of this magnificent garden.

Enjoy the pics ~ remember to click on one to view them as a slide show.

Happy clicking

Chris 🙂

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn Colours – Mount Wilson NSW

Don’t you just love autumn? The colours, the textures and the way the plants change….

This year in Sydney we’ve had a really warm autumn….25 degree days – for the last couple of weeks – even as I speak – today is going to be 25 degrees again!!

I thought I might have been a bit late to head up to Mount Wilson and photograph the colours…but they surprised me….when you are way up high the temperature really does its thing to the trees and landscape…

Here are some pics I took yesterday at two ‘Open Gardens’ at Mount Wilson…. ‘Windy Ridge’ and ‘Breenhold’  – Ray and I really enjoyed soaking up nature and being in the open spaces of these awesome properties.

I shot with two cameras {Canon 5d mk 11 and 5d mk 111} – I had my 24-105mm and my 100mm macro on both canon cameras – {thanks Ray for helping me with them.}

Remember to click on each photo to enjoy a large view…

cheers

chris

 

Wilbur & Woody…Assistance Dogs to the Rescue….

I know I’ve said this before, but photographing beautiful labradors and Golden Retrievers is SO MUCH FUN!!

Last week I had the pleasure of photographing ‘Woody’ & ‘Wilbur’ for Assistance Dogs Australia. my favourite organisation:)

These two 16 week old labradors {who are SO super cute} are involved in a new Assistance Dogs initiative – helping children with Autism.

The program is called ‘PAWS’ – Parents Autism Workshop and Support. For more info click here.

The pups are placed with a ‘Puppy Educator’ at 8 weeks of age to share experiences and offer help to a child with autism on a day to day basis.

These pups were gorgeous….enjoy the pics:)

Click on the first photo to view the pics as a slide show 🙂

 

 

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:)