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 🙂

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

 

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:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elysium…Heaven on Earth…The Antarctic

This time last year I was in South America on my way to The Antarctic.

I can’t believe nearly a year has past since my trip of a lifetime..

I think about The Antarctic everyday…

The vivid blue colour of the ice, the wildlife and the beautiful feeling of visiting such a remote, isolated part of our planet.

My exhibition, Frozen Lenses was a huge success for me last year..dates will be released soon for venues in 2014

These are some of my favourite pics…

If you have any questions or comments about these photos, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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

Chris 🙂

My favourite pics from 2013

I’ve had a fantastic year….

I turned 50, I realised a dream and went to the Antarctic, my clickwalklearn photography tours business has taken off (and hasn’t stopped) and I’ve had two really successful photography exhibitions.

I’ve taken LOTS of pics this year – I mean LOTS….

Thanks to everyone for all your support. I really enjoy your feedback and comments 🙂

Here are some of my favourites photos from 2013…

I hope each and everyone of you enjoy your new year celebrations and that 2014 brings you all you hope and dream for….

Follow your dreams…I do…..xxx

Don’t forget to click on the shots to enlarge them…

This is my absolute favourite shot from the Antarctic. We were in a zodiac right near Port Lockroy. This magnificent iceberg was backlit and begged to be photographed. It was exhibited as part of my exhibition ‘Frozen Lenses’ during the Head On Photo festival..I could look at it all day 🙂

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This humpback whale was as huge as he looks in this pic…I look at this shot everyday (its hanging in my loungeroom) and marvel at the wonder of nature…

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I watched this beautiful chinstrap penguin for a while….How majestic is he? I absolutely love this shot…another favourite 🙂
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I bought myself a macro lens earlier this year and have LOVED it ever since!! This pic shows the detail you can get out of this lens. Everyone now go and buy a macro lens…you won’t be sorry 🙂

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At Easter, we packed up with my family and went to Lake Eucumbene, down in the Snowy Mountains of NSW. It was a photographers paradise! Here are my favourite shots from this trip..I especially love the stars..

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I’ve photographed so many babies this year…They were all beautiful and cuddly and gorgeous!! I love them all particularly this first one that really shows the love between Jodie and her beloved Jack….

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This is Macey…She’s the daughter of very special friends of mine…isn’t she adorable?

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How cute is Lachlan? A beautiful little boy..I love the expression on his face….

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Benjamin is such a happy boy, he was SO tired after our photoshoot….how soft does he look here?

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Here’s Emily. She was definitely the most photographic little girl with such a beautiful smile….

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Mount Wilson is such a glorious town up in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. This garden was truly magnificent. It was really hard to choose my favourite shot, but the softness of the Wisteria and the blurred background makes this shot so easy on the eye….

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I celebrated my 50th birthday in June. This is a shot of me, my hubby Ray and my two boys Ryan and Bryce….such a special family time..

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Its such an icon in Sydney. The face of Luna Park…I’ve photographed it many times before. But I just love the angle and the colour of this one….

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The gardens in the Blue Mountains are always spectacular in the spring and I loved visiting many homes during the ‘Garden Festival.’ I love the colour in this shot and the simplicity of the flower…

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The moon….always a challenge to photograph…I spent lots of time with the camera to get this shot….You need a zoom lens, a tripod and lots of patience 🙂

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Last, but not least, this is my favourite pic from 2013. It’s me…Alone in the Antarctic doing my favourite thing…I absolutely love it!!

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Happy New Year everyone 🙂 🙂 🙂

Hotel Boutique Acontraluz – a beautiful place to stay in Valparaiso, Chile

Hotel Acontraluz, Valparaiso Chile is one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in.

Situated in the neighbourhood of Cerro Alegre, high up behind the hustle and bustle of Valparaiso, this boutique hotel is a real haven in this eclectic city.

The hotel is decorated with art works from local artists in a kaleidoscope of colour – which I absolutely loved. 🙂 Beautiful vases, flowers, a piano, huge beams of oregon and oak, old sideboards – this hotel has a warm, welcoming style that will make you feel instantly at home.

The hotel is a family business and the service and attention to detail was second to none.

We were greeted by Javier, a gorgeous young woman who couldn’t do enough for us during our stay. She shared all her local knowledge and was never too busy to help us with a restaurant choice or to phone us a cab.

Our room was lovely with comfy beds and plenty of space for us to unpack some of our gear and spread out after a long day.

The tariff included breakfast, which was served buffet style each morning on the ground level. We sat outside on the verandah, enjoying the food and coffee whilst admiring the beautiful bay of Valparaiso.

The ‘stand out’ of this hotel was the lounge area situated on level three. A huge verandah with a wicker cane lounge was the perfect place to sit and catch up on emails (the hotel has wifi), enjoy a glass of wine and just relax, taking in the beautiful views.

So if you’re heading to Valparaiso, check out the Hotel Acontraluz – you won’t be sorry 🙂

Thank you to all the staff, especially Javier, for making us feel so welcome.

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