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Hawke's Bay and a 3 day train journey to the other side of the bed

With autumn upon us and Easter being the last long public holiday weekend before winter, it’s a great time to get away for a change of scenery. The weather is invariably unpredictable no matter whether Easter falls in March or April, it could be fine it could be wet and this year was no exception. Right on the eve of Good Friday we had a raging tempest as the remains of former tropical cyclone Cook swept ashore on a southward track across the Bay of Plenty. It is likely to be the wettest April on record. Anyway thankfully the storm was short-lived and the predicted up to 150kph gales never eventuated. We made the decision to carry on with our plan to travel across to Hawkes Bay via Taupo for the long weekend accompanied by our son Mike and daughter-in-law Hayley.

I’ve always loved the ‘Great Lake Taupo’. I like to think that feeling is through wonderful childhood memories of being flown up there from Christchurch to stay with my grandparents. In those days it was an exciting flight on a Vickers Viscount from Christchurch to Wellington and then a low flying Douglas DC3 from Wellington to either Rotorua or Taupo. My grandparents house had a view of Mount Tauhara and I remember spending hours staring at the bush clearings on the mountain slopes thinking I might see a deer or wild pig. I was overly optimistic. I recall the neighbours had carnations growing everywhere and I helped water them in the hot Taupo summer and grew to love those flowers. I wonder what happened to the cute girl who lived next door? There was manuka scrub land so close to the house and it was really cool to play in. We’d do some trout fishing and then at night would help weigh and bag sweets for the snack shop in the Starlight Theatre. To this day I don’t believe I have seen a movie more times than I saw ‘The King and I’ at the Starlight Theatre on one holiday stint in Taupo. I'll never forget Yul Brunner (The King) dying over and over. I think it must have traumatised me. Today Taupo is a clean modern bustling beautiful centre of approximately 25,000 residents and I always enjoy my times there.

Lake Taupo with Margie Taylor

Lake Taupo with Margie Taylor

The Napier Taupo Highway passes through the high rugged hill country of the Kaiangaroa Forest and descends to the Esk River Valley in Hawkes Bay with its vineyards and orchards. We arrived in this beautiful region mid-afternoon to 24C and not a breath of wind. The night before 15,000 people in Napier were without power after former Cyclone Cook raced across this region with high winds and driving rain. This night less than 24 hours later we were dining outside on a perfect evening in downtown Napier.

Napier, Hawkes Bay, NZ

Napier, Hawkes Bay, NZ

East coast beaches are quite naturally ideal when it comes to seeing the sun appear at the dawn of a new day and I wasn’t disappointed in Hawkes Bay with great conditions of clear skies and rough seas and having accommodation adjacent to the beach. It was literally a hop, skip and a jump over the Napier Gisborne railway and State Highway 2 to the rugged shoreline.

First light, Awatoto, Napier, NZ. Olympus O-MD E-M1 & Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 lens. 1/200 sec @ F/6.3, ISO 200

First light, Awatoto, Napier, NZ. Olympus O-MD E-M1 & Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 lens. 1/200 sec @ F/6.3, ISO 200

Napier is a city of great character having been rebuilt after the devastating 1931 earthquake in the Art Deco and Spanish Mission styles popular at the time. It has a vibrant centre not given the soul destroying treatment of the effects of large suburban malls which have turned other city centres into ghost towns.

Napier. Art Deco Capital.

Napier. Art Deco Capital.

The waterfront is well developed for community use and also is home to the National Aquarium of New Zealand. Marine Parade adjacent to the beach, like a lot of Napier has some beautiful characterful buildings such as this group known as ‘The Six Sisters’. I only got five in the photo. If you are ever in Napier the coffee shop bearing the same name and visible in the photo below is highly recommended. I initially thought it got its name from six sisters who I hoped to see behind the counter but while taking a photo afterwards it clicked (literally) that the name referred to the buildings.

The Six Sisters. Sorry, the sixth one is out of frame to the right.

The Six Sisters. Sorry, the sixth one is out of frame to the right.

For a panoramic view in all directions a drive up Bluff Hill does the trick.

Napier from Bluff Hill

Napier from Bluff Hill

I was told that the Hawkes Bay Farmers Market in Hastings was arguably the best farmers market in New Zealand. I wouldn’t argue against that claim, it probably is. I have not been to any other farmers market that would rival this one. What a large vibrant weekly event in a truly beautiful setting. It is full of local produce, wines and artisan foods and Hawkes Bay is rich in all of these. It took no time at all to fill a bag with taste sensations. It would be easy to do a complete weekly grocery shop here. Absolutely recommended.

Where did you buy the bag? Hawkes Bay Farmers Market of course.

Where did you buy the bag? Hawkes Bay Farmers Market of course.

From the Farmers Market we had a quick look at the nearby city of Hastings which was in the 1960’s-1970’s the fastest growing area in the country. From then on like a lot of regional New Zealand under the new neo-liberal economic doctrine which reared its head in the 1980’s it went into economic decline. Today however it is again doing well thanks to the orchards and vineyards around its flanks.

Hastings, New Zealand.

Hastings, New Zealand.

Near to Hastings is the very attractive town of Havelock North (part of Hastings District) with Te Mata Peak rising behind it. A drive up the steep narrow road to Te Mata Peak is so worth it for the extensive views across this region.

Havelock North and Hastings from Te Mata Peak, Hawkes Bay.

Havelock North and Hastings from Te Mata Peak, Hawkes Bay.

Directly below Te Mata Peak is one of many vineyards and wineries in this region, Craggy Range. What a beautiful complex and stunning location. It was a wonderful stop for lunch on Easter Sunday.

Craggy Range Vineyard & Winery, Havelock North.

Craggy Range Vineyard & Winery, Havelock North.

Craggy Range Vineyard & Winery, Havelock North. A family of charolais cattle sculptures by acclaimed British sculptor Paul Day.

Craggy Range Vineyard & Winery, Havelock North. A family of charolais cattle sculptures by acclaimed British sculptor Paul Day.

Not too far from here is Cape Kidnappers and while we did not get out to see the largest mainland gannet colony in the world we did get to remote Clifton Beach. The beachside camping ground/motor camp there (in the right of the following photo) is like stepping back in time to simpler days of non-high tech holidays. It almost looks like time stopped there a few decades ago and there is something oddly attractive about it.

Clifton Beach and Cape Kidnappers

Clifton Beach and Cape Kidnappers

So that’s a bit of an overview of a long weekend in Hawkes Bay. This country has a wealth of beauty and they weren’t short changed in this region. With its sunny Mediterranean type climate, sweeping coastline, surfeit of orchards and vineyards, and spectacular sunrises, I could live here.

First light, Awatoto, Napier, NZ.

First light, Awatoto, Napier, NZ.

Back to that title. The accommodation we stayed in had a super king size king sized bed. It was big enough for the entire cast of Modern Family (and their neighbours), After one wine too many (probably) and after the light went out I told Margie it would be a three day train journey to visit her on the other side of the bed. I must have drunk one wine too many as it took a while for me to reign in the laughter

Mellow days of autumn

The mellow yellow days of autumn are here. It's a favourite time of the year with the sun being kinder on the skin and temperatures being pleasantly warm rather than being oppressively hot. I really love the soft golden late afternoon light. While its been arguably nicer weather than the summer which has passed there have been bursts of very heavy rain. Its one of those things visitors to the bay notice but after living here for two decades its just an accepted part of life unless caught in a downpour without an umbrella.

New swimming option at the end of our street. 5 April 2017

New swimming option at the end of our street. 5 April 2017

With a softer light and the sun rising later and setting earlier this is the time of year I look forward to sunrise and sunset photography. I'm not a fan of getting up really early to photograph sunrise but sometimes it is so worth it. A few days ago on 1st April, like an April fool I got up and walked up the Mount (Mauao) in the dark. A day or two later I went and bought 'a headlamp' for future excursions having found I was literally walking blind in the darker areas of the track. I wasn't anticipating anything special in the way of sunrises, I just wanted to take a dawn photo from the summit. As the first light of day started illuminating the stage and I started swatting the swarm of sandflies eating my ankles I could see there was indeed going to be something quite special.

Fire in the sky. 1st April 2017. Olympus E-M1 MKII, Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 lens, 1/60sec @ f/6.3, ISO 3200 

Fire in the sky. 1st April 2017. Olympus E-M1 MKII, Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 lens, 1/60sec @ f/6.3, ISO 3200 

My camera has a very impressive built in '5 axis' image stabilisation which allows for handheld photography with a slow shutter speed in very low light levels. While a tripod is as permanent a fixture in my car boot as the spare wheel is, like the spare wheel, it rarely gets an outing. This image has been extremely popular on both my photography Facebook and Instagram pages. I love it!

It looks fantastic but there is an arguable flaw in that I unthinkingly used too high an ISO setting. The higher the ISO, the grainier the captured image. Its not that noticeable in what you see above even with Facebook's built in degradation of images. However, I would not look at putting this on a large canvas or large print as the annoying graininess would become distracting. Before I finish this blog I'm going to provide some settings that I have established in one of my camera's presets specifically for sunrise/sunset.  

There were many others up there taking in the sight of a new dawn on a new day.

On the edge of daybreak. 230 metres between a rock and a hard place. First light 1st April 2017. 1/125sec @ f/2.8, ISO 6400

On the edge of daybreak. 230 metres between a rock and a hard place. First light 1st April 2017. 1/125sec @ f/2.8, ISO 6400

Composing a sunset shot is not difficult when you have a beautiful canvas virtually on the doorstep. The image below is a case in point. I love standing in the water but ever mindful that a fall would likely destroy thousands of dollars worth of camera gear.  There are times when the risk and reward equation becomes finely balanced. This photo was taken on an incoming tide. In the distance adding an element of interest is my other half Margie (who always adds an element of interest) and our lucky beach dog Toby. I watch the water lines in relation to the far focal point, in this case Mount Maunganui and depress the shutter button at that moment when the silent voice says 'now'. 

Just a touch, a touch of paradise. Papamoa Beach, 23 March 2017. 1/320sec @ f/6/3, ISO 200

Just a touch, a touch of paradise. Papamoa Beach, 23 March 2017. 1/320sec @ f/6/3, ISO 200

One of the joys of being out and about for sunrise or sunset photography is in expecting the unexpected. I've heard of the old saying 'pistols at dawn' but in this case it was boxing gloves at dawn.

No need to fight. There's plenty of beach for all of us. 

No need to fight. There's plenty of beach for all of us. 

One of my camera lenses is the highly acclaimed Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2. It is a very fast (which means its excellent in low light) primarily portrait and street photography lens. Its portrait renditions are superb. I have found however that it does a pretty damn fine job in the golden hour. The photo below was taken with this lens at Pilot Bay, Mount Maunganui. The fact that this lens has fast light gathering ability means I took this photo at a very fast shutter speed of 1/6400 sec.

Olympus E-M1 MKII with Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 lens. 1/6400 sec @f/5.6, ISO 200

Olympus E-M1 MKII with Panasonic Leica Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 lens. 1/6400 sec @f/5.6, ISO 200

Given that I'm drawn like a moth to a light to sunrise and sunset photography (also known as golden hour and blue hour photography) I have through research and advice of others established a basic camera preset so I can immediately switch to optimal settings for this type of photography.

The first preset is to fix the white balance to 'daylight', which gives richer tones at sunrise/sunset. I have also changed the Olympus in camera 'Picture Mode' from natural to vivid, again giving richer tones. I underexpose the image by -0.7 and have fixed the ISO setting at 200 to control the potential graininess or 'noise' levels in low light. When taking a photo, the only setting I change is the shutter speed which controls the amount of light hitting the camera sensor so that those presets can be maintained. I upload RAW files into my editing software Lightroom and invariably use a one touch preset I established named oddly enough 'Pohutukawa, the colour of summer'. I actually developed that preset obviously for a photo of a pohutukawa tree but it's fantastic for giving polish to my 'golden hour' photos. I guess I should think about renaming it.

Well, that's it for this update. Easter is nearly here and I'm heading to Napier & Hawkes Bay and the following week the Bay of Islands and hopefully Cape Reinga so I'm looking forward to letting the camera out for a walk and a feed of photographs in those areas. Its just a few weeks now until we return to England and Ireland for our second daughter's wedding and also to catch up with much missed family and grandchildren in Ireland. 

Until next time, have fun

Autumn days. Mount Maunganui Beach, Tauranga, New Zealand. www.christaylorphotography.net

Autumn days. Mount Maunganui Beach, Tauranga, New Zealand. www.christaylorphotography.net

 

 

 

 

 

  

  

 

Taking control

In this blog entry I thought I'd share my thoughts on using the dreaded 'M' for Manual camera function. Why would you bother? After all, with an automatic function, and on many cameras a multitude of other presets which are a part of the cost of and simplicity of operating the camera, it should be expected to drive itself. Manual seems so last decade or last century.

For all the technology packed into the camera body though, none of it takes care of the intangible. The camera cannot read your mind and really know exactly what you see and what sort of image you want to capture. If you use the set and forget preprogrammed functions like aperture priority, shutter priority, landscape mode, portrait, beach, sport, night or a host of other functions many cameras offer, you'll probably get a pretty good photo, but only probably. Probably may be good enough but if you want to apply some creativity, using the Manual option allows you to override and maybe outsmart the camera presets. You can 'tweak' the three important settings of shutter speed, depth of field, and ISO, the latter determining the level of graininess, otherwise known as 'noise' in the image. ISO is a matter for future discussion. 

My 'Toki' pendant. Signifies strength, control, determination, focus. 1/160sec, f/2, ISO 200

My 'Toki' pendant. Signifies strength, control, determination, focus. 1/160sec, f/2, ISO 200

Using a Manual setting for fast action 'need for speed' shots is not recommended. Manual mode should be confined to use in a non-rushed situation otherwise by the time you have set the camera up and fiddled with the settings the magic moment when for example, the alien in your garden gives you a wave, may be gone. Manual is no good for sports, birds in flight, or a fast moving UFO. It can be very good for landscapes, waterfalls, still life, or portrait photography though.

One of my daughters, and one of her twin daughters. 1/160sec, f/1.2, ISO 1600

One of my daughters, and one of her twin daughters. 1/160sec, f/1.2, ISO 1600

In a relaxed situation, but not so relaxed so as to be in a trance, for a landscape photo the camera could be mounted on a tripod allowing use a slow shutter speed to maximise light recorded by the camera and a high f/stop number to maximize depth of field. In the following photo I have used f/18 which has given quite good depth to the image. A low ISO setting could also be selected to minimize the amount of graininess or 'noise' in the photo. A number of experimental photos could be taken slightly tweaking each setting to give a higher chance of getting a 'that's it!' image. Some cameras (mine included) have a function called Bracketing. With my Olympus E-M1, if I use the bracketing function, when I click the shutter button it will take three photos, each with slightly different settings and then I can choose the most appealing of them.

Misty morning stillness at the end of my street. 1/400sec, f/18, ISO 1250

Misty morning stillness at the end of my street. 1/400sec, f/18, ISO 1250

Photography is all about available light and sometimes lighting situations can be too difficult to get a great image even using Manual mode and you will need to improvise with either additional lighting in a dull dark situation or some sort of light diffuser in a very bright situation. 

Shine a light. Mauao, Mount Maunganui, NZ. 1/250sec, f/10, ISO 200

Shine a light. Mauao, Mount Maunganui, NZ. 1/250sec, f/10, ISO 200

This is just an overview on using Manual mode from my perspective. There is a wealth of on-line and written tutorial information on this and other camera modes. 

My photo choice

I took this photo last year while touring a section of the west coast of Ireland from the Cliffs of Moher up to Galway and Westport. It is Kylemore Abbey set in a beautiful location in Connemara. It is regarded as Ireland's most beautiful castle.

Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Ireland. 1/80 sec, f/14, ISO 400

Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Ireland. 1/80 sec, f/14, ISO 400

Kylemore Castle was built as a private home for the family of Mitchell Henry, a wealthy doctor from London whose family was involved in textile manufacturing in Manchester, England. He moved to Ireland when he and his wife Margaret purchased the land around the Abbey. He became Member of Parliament for County Galway from 1871 to 1885. Construction of the castle began in 1867, and took one hundred men four years to complete. The castle covered approximately 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2) and had over seventy rooms with a principal wall that was two to three feet thick. The facade measures 142 feet (43 m) in width and is made of granite and limestone. There were 33 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 4 sitting rooms, a ballroom, billiard room, library, study, school room, smoking room, gun room and various offices and domestic staff residences for the butler, cook, housekeeper and other servants. Other buildings include a Gothic cathedral and family mausoleum containing the bodies of Margaret Henry, Mitchell Henry and a great grand-nephew.

The Abbey remained in Henry's estate after he returned to England. The castle was sold to the Duke and Duchess of Manchester in 1909, who resided there for several years before being forced to sell the house and grounds because of gambling debts. In 1920, the Irish Benedictine Nuns purchased the Abbey castle and lands after they were forced to flee Ypres, Belgium during World War I. The nuns continued to offer education to Catholic girls, opening an international boarding school and establishing a day school for girls from the locality. The school acted as the main educator for most girls from Renvyle, Letterfrack and further afield for almost a century but it was forced to close in June 2010.

The Estate includes large walled Victorian Gardens. Since the 1970s these have been open for public tours and 'nature' walks. The Benedictine community has restored the Abbey's gardens and Cathedral with donations and local artisans in order to be a self-sustaining estate. (Ref: Wikipedia).

 

 

 

 

Need for Speed

Freeze frame - Shutter Priority

Following on from my previous post on the option of taking photos using aperture priority, 'A' on the camera dial, and its relation to 'depth of field', this time I'm going to look at shutter priority or the camera dial function options marked 'S' or 'Tv'. Shutter priority is my first choice when it comes to the need to get a clean sharp photo of a fast moving subject or subjects such as sports events, moving cars or birds in flight. As mentioned in my previous blog, if you choose 'A' aperture priority or 'S' shutter priority the camera will choose the other setting to create the correct exposure but not always get the photo you want. For example you may want to get a sharp image of a moving subject but have the background either blurred or in sharp focus as well. This is where the 'M' manual dial option comes in to play. I will write about that next time. For now the following are samples of images where shutter speed has been the priority.

Beach Race 1/800th sec at f/8 

Beach Race 1/800th sec at f/8 

The photo above was taken in bright sunny conditions on a white sand beach. Someone had just yelled "free coffee at the other end of the beach". The shutter speed was 1/800th second which was fast enough to produce a sharp image of the runners in the foreground. With an aperture of f/8, the depth of field starts to blur from the background runners to the distant horizon and this could be partly due to the zoom lens I was using but it is clear enough to show it is a beach location and make the subject and point of focus unmistakably the runners.

The photo below is a personal favourite. I took this at a major sporting event. I had to clamber down rocks to quite a precarious position to get this perspective. I have used an even faster shutter speed of 1/2000th of a second to catch the dive from the rocks of Moturiki Island, Mount Maunganui. The aperture of f/5.6 has produced a shorter depth of field with the rocks being in sharp focus while the distance is blurred. Again, this is intentional as I wanted the focus to be on the woman diving, but its still clearly obvious this is a coastal location.    

Between a rock and a wet place. 1/2000 sec at f/5.6

Between a rock and a wet place. 1/2000 sec at f/5.6

The next photo was technically quite difficult for me as I wanted to create the impression of speed and to do this required a sharp focus on a fast moving go-kart at a shutter speed fast enough to get a sharp image of the kart but also slow enough to blur the background and give the sense of fast movement. 

Need for speed. 1/160th sec at f/10

Need for speed. 1/160th sec at f/10

If I had just pointed the camera at the kart and clicked, the kart would have been blurred as 1/160th sec shutter speed is not fast enough to freeze this fast moving object. If I'd pointed and clicked using a very fast shutter speed of say 1/2000 sec or higher then the background would also have been captured in sharp focus along with the kart which may have created an illusion that the kart was stationary. The answer was 'panning', whereby you rotate the camera on a horizontal axis to follow the subject. I focused on the kart and followed it (or panned) and then chose a moment when there was no distracting signage in the background to click the shutter. Its not easy as you have to keep up with the speed of the subject and keep the focus locked on to it.

So its not all about high shutter speed. I could have achieved a different but arguably just as interesting effect by using a very slow shutter speed and clicking as the kart came into frame. The kart would have been blurred and the background would have been sharp still creating a sense of speed. The photo below is sort of an example of this but because I was riding parallel to the bush and not standing at a right angle and photographing the cyclists riding past with a very slow shutter speed of 1/30th sec I ended up with a blurred image of the cyclists (you know who you are) and blurred trees creating a sense of movement and speed. I didn't have any input in these settings as I took the photo with an iPhone while riding in the group. "Look Ma, no hands!" 

Karangahake Gorge, NZ. 1/30th sec at f/2.8. Taken with an iPhone.

Karangahake Gorge, NZ. 1/30th sec at f/2.8. Taken with an iPhone.

 

Slow shutter speeds are also fantastic for landscape and cloud photography and a necessity for night photography. In the image below taken at night in Darling Harbour, Sydney, I used a tripod by necessity to keep the camera still because a long exposure using a slow shutter speed of 6 seconds was required to allow the amount of light to be recorded to get a good exposure.

Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia. 6 sec at f/8

Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia. 6 sec at f/8

Seasons in the sun.

It has been a beautiful settled sunny balmy April. I like the softer mellow autumn light and the ability to be out in the sun without being toasted within a few minutes, and of course the autumn colours painting the landscape such as in this scene at the beautiful local McLaren Falls.

McLaren Falls Park, Lower Kaimai, Tauranga, New Zealand. 1/80sec at f/6.3

McLaren Falls Park, Lower Kaimai, Tauranga, New Zealand. 1/80sec at f/6.3

The week that was.

I can't go past this last week without paying tribute to my father-in-law John's dearly loved wife, and my wife Margie's step-mother Martha who recently passed away in her 81st year. I had known Martha since the mid 1970's. Without a shadow of doubt her family were her over-riding passion and number one source of pride and joy. She was an absolutely devoted mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She was not one to wallow in negativity. My enduring memory is of her unceasing infectious humour and positivity and that can be clearly seen in the portrait below. She had an underlying Scottish accent but was a proud New Zealander through and through. She had such a laugh and laughed and joked often, and always saw the good around her. Even after suffering a stroke a few years back and during a long hard road to recovery and also losing her home in the devastating Christchurch earthquakes she still maintained that innate sense of humour. RIP Martha.

  

Beginning to see the light

Depth of field - Aperture Priority

I think my first revelation once I really started getting in to photography was that while using the automatic function on a camera often produces images from good to quite spectacular, it can be hit and miss. The camera can't anticipate what you really hope to capture. It makes a calculated guess when you focus on the subject. When I bought my first camera above the point and shoot variety I developed a desire to start using the functions on those wheels and buttons on top of and on the back and front of the camera body, after all they weren't just on the camera to get in the way of your fingers. 

I did a lot of self learning, often researching on-line or through photography magazines. The two functions on the camera dial that initially interested me were aperture priority 'A' and shutter speed 'S'. On some camera brands these can be marked as Av (aperture value) and Tv (time value). Knowing what I now know, these are key functions in getting a really good photo. In fact, while I do use manual setting 'M' (subject to a future discussion) my go to is frequently aperture priority 'A' and then shutter speed 'S'. For those seeking to learn more, the effects of these two functions which work in tandem with each other in creating the image are quite pronounced. In this post I will excuse the pun, 'focus' on Aperture priority which influences depth of field sharpness and I will discuss 'S' or 'Tv' (shutter priority) next time.

Depth of field relates to sharpness of the image captured from foreground to the far distance/background. Typical ranges of apertures used in photography are from about f/2.8 to f/22 or f/2 to f/16, covering 6 stops. Ranges and f/stop divisions vary for different lenses. The larger the aperture f/stop number the greater the depth of field. The lower the aperture f/stop number the lower the depth of field meaning objects in the foreground are sharp while the background is increasingly blurred. Changing the aperture changes the amount of light transmission through the camera lens. A reliable aperture setting for clear sharpness from near to distant is f/11.

For a good guide to aperture have a look at A Beginners Guide to Aperture and Depth of Field in Photography Talk. 

I took the photo below in my garden with a low aperture setting of f/2 and the camera automatically set 1/160th sec as the shutter speed to produce a correctly exposed photo.

1/160 sec at f/2.0

1/160 sec at f/2.0

The very low aperture value of f/2 has completed blurred out the foliage in the background making the greenstone pendant the clear subject of the photo.

In the image below I used f/13. Notice the clarity from the rock in the foreground the camera was sitting on to the horizon. The atmosphere was hazy and with greater atmospheric clarity the sharpness from foreground to background would have been even more noticeable. 

Sunrise over Mount Maunganui. 1/160 sec at f/13

Sunrise over Mount Maunganui. 1/160 sec at f/13

Most lenses have an aperture 'sweet spot' where the sharpest image is obtained. I find apertures between around f/5.6 to f/11 give the best results for getting sharpness from front to back of the image. I have seen f/11 described as the 'who cares' default setting for landscapes as it generally provides good depth of field clarity, which is what you want in a landscape photo.

Next time I will discuss shutter speed priority; 'S' or 'Tv' on most cameras. 

 

Such are the days of autumn

I took this photo yesterday as autumn starts to paint the landscape in vibrant colour. In this part of New Zealand the warmer climate means we don't get the really rich tones to the extent they are seen in the south but there are pockets of autumn beauty to be found, and in this area its hard to surpass the very beautiful McLaren Falls Park.

McLaren Falls Park, Lower Kaimai, Tauranga, NZ. 24 April 2016

McLaren Falls Park, Lower Kaimai, Tauranga, NZ. 24 April 2016

 

ANZAC Day 25th April

Today we celebrate for the 100th year, a national day of remembrance in New Zealand and Australia that "broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations and the contribution and suffering of all who served". 

My grandfather Arthur Gordon Taylor served in Europe in the Great War 1914-1918. He was a specialist machine gunner with the 25th Reinforcements, New Zealand Expeditionary Force, who set sail for Plymouth in Devon, England on the 'Turakina' in 1917. He was one of the lucky ones to return home but he never escaped the psychological toll of the war, having spells in psychiatric care. He was a a quiet man who never really spoke about the war but was clearly mentally tormented by his experiences. I am fortunate to hold his service certificate, medals and photographs in trust to pass to future generations. 

Arthur Gordon Taylor (1917)

Arthur Gordon Taylor (1917)

NZ Specialists, 25th Reinforcements, NZ Expeditionary Forces. Featherston Military Camp, NZ. March 1917. Arthur Gordon Taylor, second row from top, fifth in from the left.

NZ Specialists, 25th Reinforcements, NZ Expeditionary Forces. Featherston Military Camp, NZ. March 1917. Arthur Gordon Taylor, second row from top, fifth in from the left.

The Turakina (below) was designed for passenger and cargo services between Great Britain and New Zealand and was requisitioned as a troop carrier in WW1. It was this ship that carried my grandfather to Europe. Turakina was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine on 13th August 1917 en route from London to New York.

Turakina. 

Turakina. 

The Klink : a souvenir of the voyage of S.S. Turakina (H.M.N.Z.T. 84) April to July, 1917; and a history of the doings of the Left Wing of the 25th Reinforcements N.Z.E.F. on their way to the Front.

'The Klink' (1917)

'The Klink' (1917)

Hope you enjoyed this mix of photography info and family history. If you'd like to be alerted to updates by email, just contact me. chris@christaylorphotography.net