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Streets ahead

While I predominantly point my camera at seascapes and landscapes, I really love street scenes and love poring through street photography books. Like many others though, I have an unease about photographing random people. It's a matter of being discrete and unobtrusive. Camera gear also has a bearing on that discreetness. No one would feel comfortable seeing a lens the size of a telescope being pointed at them. Phone cameras make it a lot easier as do small cameras and small camera/lens combinations. 

Anyway, before taking to the street, let me tell you a cautionary tale about getting too close to a raging surf. This morning I was on Mount Maunganui Beach getting up close and personal with a raging surf. As a bit of a rogue wave washed ashore I walked backwards quickly and oopsie, did a Frank Spencer

Betty: Frank, what are you doing?

Frank: Taking photos on the beach

Betty: Will you please stop it, you'll do your self an injury

Frank: I told you yesterday I'd like to try out some new positions

Betty: I wasn't quite sure what you meant?

I fell backward over the top of a very large rock. The outcome was the rear end of my camera partially buried in wet sand and me with an elevated level of embarrassment. Fortunately I was the only idiot on the beach. Did I get any photo's apart from one flat on my back?

Wild weather. Mount Maunganui Beach, Tauranga, NZ. 23 July 2016 1/400sec, f/4.5, ISO 200

Wild weather. Mount Maunganui Beach, Tauranga, NZ. 23 July 2016 1/400sec, f/4.5, ISO 200

Well, yes, I did manage to get a couple of photos. Its probably not a good environment for a camera. Salt spray is not kind to many objects but sometimes you do these things as a deranged photographer to add that little bit extra to the photo.

So, back to street photography. Unlike landscape, seascape, or still life, you never know just what you will see walking the streets.

Sydney, Australia. May 2016. 1/500 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200

Sydney, Australia. May 2016. 1/500 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200

When I walked around a corner one day on the summit of Mauao, Mount Maunganui, I couldn't believe what I was seeing taking place between a rock and a hard place 230 metres directly below. Talk about extreme yoga!

"It's yoga, but not as we know it Jim". 1/500 sec, f/4.0, ISO 80

"It's yoga, but not as we know it Jim". 1/500 sec, f/4.0, ISO 80

I couldn't get my camera out fast enough! There wasn't much time to check settings, so I just took the photo and fortunately it came out pretty good. This is an example of 'a fleeting moment' in street/people photography, where that special shot isn't going to hang around while you have a sandwich before getting the camera out.  

You are seldom the only one about with a camera. In the photo below a well known local photographer made a guest appearance in the background of this photo I took at a Diwali Festival in my city last year.

Caught on camera. Diwali Festival, Tauranga, NZ. 1/320 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200

Caught on camera. Diwali Festival, Tauranga, NZ. 1/320 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200

There is such a wealth of opportunity in street photography and if you have an interest in it, then keeping an eye on upcoming events and festivals creates more and often special photo opportunities that you'd not normally see day to day.

'Where were you in '62?' Wheels on Mainstreet, Mount Maunganui, Tauranga. 1/250sec, f/4.0, ISO 200

'Where were you in '62?' Wheels on Mainstreet, Mount Maunganui, Tauranga. 1/250sec, f/4.0, ISO 200

Its not always at street level. This is the roofline of a police station in Paris, France.

'The Magnificent Seven'. Paris, France. 1/800sec, f/3.5, ISO 80

'The Magnificent Seven'. Paris, France. 1/800sec, f/3.5, ISO 80

So there is a lot of colour to be had out there in our towns and cities. Its the colour of life.

'The colour of life'. Tauranga, NZ. 1/250sec, f/2.2, ISO 200

'The colour of life'. Tauranga, NZ. 1/250sec, f/2.2, ISO 200

The week that was

Last weekend while taking the beach route alternative home from the local shopping plaza, I thought I'd hang around in the bitterly cold southerly chill for another 15 minutes on the off-chance that the sunset may produce a scene worth photographing. Even our dog started crying about the cold! It didn't look promising but as the reflections of the setting sun started to light up a stormwater outflow stream I thought something special may just happen. For just a few glorious fleeting minutes, land and sky were bathed in the most beautiful light.....and there was the picture. This photo which I loaded to my Facebook photography page has to date been seen by nearly 74,400 people and has been shared 505 times. I have had comments from several countries and it has certainly brought pleasure to locals and so many ex locals and others who have made the decision to relocate to this beautiful part of our beautiful country.

Sunset on Papamoa Beach, Tauranga, NZ. 16 July 2016. 1/320sec, f/7.1, ISO 200

Sunset on Papamoa Beach, Tauranga, NZ. 16 July 2016. 1/320sec, f/7.1, ISO 200

A large drop of sun lingered on the horizon and then dripped over and was gone, and the sky was brilliant over the spot where it had gone, and a torn cloud, like a bloody rag, hung over the spot of it’s going. And dusk crept over the sky from the eastern horizon, and darkness crept over the land from the east.
— John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

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Until next time..................

 

 

 

 

You light me up

Sydney Opera House in the shadow of the harbour bridge in the very last light of day. 27 May 2016. 1/320sec, f/5, ISO 200 

Sydney Opera House in the shadow of the harbour bridge in the very last light of day. 27 May 2016. 1/320sec, f/5, ISO 200 

I have been very fortunate to have enjoyed a few holidays in Australia over the years. Love it every time and for a city break Sydney is terrific. It would be fair to say that getting there this time was far from simple with a chain of events following the cancellation of the flight from home to Auckland. Amongst it all we even ended up with an unknown persons luggage in our car boot. But we won't go there. It was stressful enough at the time without reliving it.

Dusk from Cremorne Point, Sydney. 22 May 2016. 1/40 sec, f/4, ISO 800

Dusk from Cremorne Point, Sydney. 22 May 2016. 1/40 sec, f/4, ISO 800

Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge in sunset silhouette. 23 May 2016. 1/800sec, f/9, ISO 200 

Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge in sunset silhouette. 23 May 2016. 1/800sec, f/9, ISO 200 

 

At this time of year the Vivid Sydney light festival runs for 21 days. The festival expands more each year and the illuminations after dark are amazing and a must see. This is the second time my travel has coincided with Vivid.  

Circular Quay, Sydney, 28 May 2016. 1/3sec, f/2.8, ISO 800

Circular Quay, Sydney, 28 May 2016. 1/3sec, f/2.8, ISO 800

Sydney Harbour Bridge. 6 sec, f/7, ISO 1000

Sydney Harbour Bridge. 6 sec, f/7, ISO 1000

 

My my other real love of Sydney is the plethora of coastal and harbour walking tracks and the ease of getting to these places via a very efficient public transport system.  I can highly recommend the inner harbour walk from Spit Bridge to Manly, and the coastal Watsons Bay to Bondi, and Coogee Beach to Bondi walks. On the Watsons Bay to Bondi walk we saw a couple of humpback whales breaching but they were very distant. It is from about now that they are seen migrating north towards the tropical Pacific and Coral Seas.

My sister Rose (left) and my wife Margie (right)

My sister Rose (left) and my wife Margie (right)

I can never go to Sydney without a visit to Fourth Village Providore in Mosman. What a visual and aural sensory delight it is. It is a food market and restaurant with a huge range of local, imported and fresh produce and delectable deli items. Its like the world of food in one shop. I could happily live in it, or certainly camp outside on the footpath hoping kindly shoppers might throw me a fine cheese on a cracker with one of the multitude of mouth watering relishes. I also love David Jones department store's lower floor food hall in the central city. I think I would have loved to have worked in and or owned a gourmet food place.   

While in Sydney I took the opportunity to acquire the Olympus MC-14 teleconverter. Made specifically for the 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO lens, it extends that lens's zoom capability by another 40%. I tested it out when taking photos of surfers at Bronte & Bondi Beach. From a considerable distance the lens and teleconverter combination produced very satisfying results. As the teleconverter has a negative impact on the light gathering ability of the lens I would not contemplate using it in low light situations. I bought the teleconverter from Gerry Gibbs Camera in Perth and had it delivered to Sydney. It was half the cost of buying at home. I don't especially like the camera shop options in Sydney. From personal experience they remind me of the rip-off camera outlets in San Francisco with similar sales tactics.

Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO lens with Olympus MC-14 x1.4 teleconverter fitted. 

Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO lens with Olympus MC-14 x1.4 teleconverter fitted. 

Well, the warmest autumn on record in this region has departed the stage and left the fridge door very wide open as winter has not been shy in announcing its arrival. It's the time of year where my photography gear suffers from SAS (seasonal adjustment syndrome) and doesn't venture out except for a spot of weekend work. However, hopefully it will get a bit of exercise this weekend as I plan to capture the last of the autumn colour at Eastwoodhill Arborium over in Gisborne on the east coast and hopefully a few other scenes along the way.