Photo Blog 99

1 03 2010

As most in Auckland will know it was the Lantern Festival on the weekend just gone. I say most because it seemed most of the city was there!
We went on both Saturday and Sunday nights and I took way too many photos. The cool thing was I was able to take my wider 24-105mm on the first night and the fast 50mm/1.8 on Sunday. The fireworks also seemed much better than in previous years.

The first shot for today is of Alyona and her Mother who arrived late last week. It needed a gradient filter and a lot of noise reduction in Photoshop to bring the bottom half of the scene back from the brink.

Lantern Festival (f4.0 0.5s 24mm)

The smoothness comes from the noise reduction but I still like the outcome…

The second shot isn’t the best fireworks one I’ve ever seen (or probably taken) But I really like the shape of the smoke behind the explosions and the composition isn’t bad. Not that I can claim much for that given it was more shoot and hope than anything else!

Fireworks (f2.8 1/20s 50mm)


Photo Blog 98

27 02 2010

Here are a couple more shots from the Splore festival we were at last weekend. They aren’t great shots but capture a bit of the party atmosphere. The second is especially cool as it clearly shows my software being used for the video mixing!

Splore Main Stage (50mm 1/50s f1.8)

Splore Main Stage (50mm 1/50s f1.8)

We had giant skeletons, fancy dress everywhere including men dressed as pink unicorns and a lot of great music.

VSL on the DJ stage (50mm 1/100s f1.8)

Clearly the audio split effect on the background there. Actually it was quite cool with him using the MC’s music videos, audio instrumentals and the real MC performing on stage.

Photo Blog 97

24 02 2010

Last weekend Alyona and I went to Splore with friends of hers from Germany. We had a great time and the weather, location and music were all just perfect. I took along my camera with the 50mm/1.8 to play with and got some fairly good shots.

I’ll probably have a couple of posts on the subject but here are the first couple.

The first is from the Saturday sunset. It was taken from the main stage and shows a little of the location.

Sunset at Splore (50mm 1/60 f3.2)

The second was taken at one of the beer tents. I dodged the faces a lot to bring them out of shadow and removed a large pylon. Will be interesting to see if it is obvious where it was.

Splore Beer Tent (50mm 1/500 f8.0)

Photo Blog 96

15 02 2010

A couple of weeks ago we went on a private caving trip a little outside Waitamo with Barbara and Rafael. It had a nice combination of abseiling, caving and hiking. And while we didn’t choose to do any the program can also include rock climbing. The guy who runs it is very knowledgeable and experienced as he has worked in the industry for something like 20 years and only just started his own business. You can check them out over at:

He also knows a lot about cameras and cave photography so it was possible to take along the SLR and get some good shots. He even has his own flash gun for those of us who haven’t gone that far yet.

I got lots of great shots but the two I’ve chosen here are because of their more ‘artistic’ qualities.

The first is of the first abseiling you do on a 27m drop. Very cool and with a bit of crop it looks like it could be a lot bigger!

Abseiling (f4.0 1/25 24mm)

The second is of another abseil point, but this time inside a pitch black cave. With some flash and a bit of movement I like the effect of making it look like a bit of action is going on…

Caving (f4.0 1/4 24mm)

Photo Blog 95

12 02 2010

Alyona got myself and my friend Victor a ‘Fine Dining @ home’ course where we prepare a gourmet 3 course meal after receiving instruction on how to do it.
We had good fun despite it being a little daunting at first and ended up creating some very nice dishes!

There wasn’t that much downtime for taking any photos and I only had my iPhone on me but there were still a few shots that I lined up and thought about. None contain Victor unfortunately cause he is either pulling faces or moving about in the shots of him … I think he was getting annoyed at my attempts too ;-)

Our main was a Chicken Saltimbocca which is chicken wrapped in proscuitto and sage with a little anchovy dressing…

Chicken Saltimbocca (f2.8 1/10 3.85mm - iPhone)

And the dessert was a Chocolate and Raspberry Fondant which was all nice and gooey in the middle!

Chocolate and Raspberry Fondant (f2.8 1/10 3.85mm - iPhone)

Camera is very grainy but I like the shots anyway…

Photo Blog 94

10 02 2010

On Auckland Anniversary weekend Alyona and I walked around the viaduct with friends visiting from Germany. Part of the festivities involved one of the Navy’s frigates being opened up to the public so we looked around a bit and I took a few photos.

One of the shots looked good and made the ship look quite imposing (it is really quite small when one has seen an American aircraft carrier…) It had a few people in the way and lacked punch so I decided to play around a little in photo shop. Quite liked the before and after so thought I’d post both photos here :-)

Te Mana - Before (f8.0 1/500 28mm)

This has had just a bit of exposure compensation and re-alignment.

Te Mana - After (f8.0 1/500 28mm)

Hopefully it isn’t too much but this one has: a better crop, curve adjusted sky, removed a couple of tourists and dodged the sign a little. The boat itself hasn’t been touched at all but only looks lighter because of the contrast with the sky.

Photo Blog 93

3 02 2010

A quick update with a long exposure photo I took at Alyona’s birthday on Waiheke. I really like the bach atmosphere and the clear night sky, something we don’t get to see much of here in the city…

Night on Waiheke (f4.0 15s 24mm)

A bit annoyed about the banding due to its JPEG-ness. And this is the big version too…