Rather special …

Sunrise at Sunkist Bay

It was a glorious morning and I was there to not only see it, but able to take photographs of it too. It’s not that many years ago that I’d see a glorious sunrise through my car windscreen on my way to work. No time to stop and enjoy, had to get into the office and start work. Thankfully those days are long gone! Now I have the opportunity to not only enjoy watching the sun rise, but photograph it too.

There’s an app I have for my Android Phone called Sun Surveyor. This is very helpful to decide times and locations for sunrises (and sunsets for that matter). Using this app I could see where the sun would rise in relation to the trees at this particular Beachlands location. There’s a number of trees, with a gap through which you can see the water, and … according to Sun Surveyor, the sun would rise through this gap. The next shot taken with a wide angle lens, gives a better idea of the trees that frame the view.

Sunkist Bay Sunrise

Somewhat tricky to determine exposure with scenes like this as some areas are very dark whereas other are extremely bright. In situations like this I always use LiveView and the histogram. Sometimes I’ll take several images at different shutter speeds and then blend the images together to ensure I don’t lose detail, but for this shot I was happy to have the darks as dark as they are.

Oh, want to see more of the house that has these gorgeous views?  Take a look here.

Up in the air!

Nathan Homestead, Hill Road, Manurewa

Rather a lovely day today here in Godzone and a chance to get out with the drone. It is becoming increasingly apparent that a common language and a predefined plan are essential to get reasonable footage when shooting video. Filling out the storyboards and planning the shots beforehand are not really optional.

I popped out to Barry Curtis Park first thing with my daughter just to play with the controls and get familiar with the responsiveness of the craft. It was a bit windy which didn’t help, but we had a heap of fun all the same. Later in the day a few shots up at Nathan Homestead with my son … but again pretty windy so we didn’t really get much time in the air. Just long enough to get a shot of the homestead.  Looking at some footage of a tree we realised just how windy it was that little bit higher off the ground.  Nevertheless the gimbal provided pretty good stable images which was impressive.  Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.

Pacific Music Awards 2015 … soundcheck.

It was great. A really great show with a wonderful atmosphere. A thoroughly enjoyable evening with some very talented musicians being recognised for their achievements.

Earlier in the day I popped down to see how the stage was set and bumped into Malcolm Lakatani. Always a pleasure to meet Malcolm.  He was to back Maryanne Ito later that evening, but as we waited for everyone to arrive and take their places for the soundcheck Malcolm relaxed a little and treated us to a little improvisation.  The lighting was just right for the music he was playing.  Thankfully I’d brought a couple of cameras!  I knew I’d be using a telephoto on the night, but wasn’t sure just how wide I’d need to go so I brought a 14-24mm and 24-70mm on a couple of D800s just to check out the angles.  The 24-70mm was perfect for shots close to the stage as well as distance shots.

The light was so lovely and moody.  Quite contrasty with just a couple of high spots to the rear and some gentle frontal lighting, but the effect on Malcolm was wonderful.  I quite like the contrasty deep shadowy type of image and this was a perfect opportunity to try and capture some shots.

Malcolm was relaxed, having fun just jamming away, sitting on a stool in his stocking feet.  The light was good and I was having a wonderful time too.  ISO was up pretty high at 2500 and the lens was wide open at f2.8 as I wanted to obscure and blur as much of the background as I could.  All shots below were taken with the Nikkor 24-70mm.  I hope you enjoy looking as much I did listening to Malcolm and taking the shots!

Oh, and just in case you were wondering about Maryanne, here’s a couple of shots of the lovely lady during her performance at last night’s Pacific Music Awards.

Having fun :-)

Up early again today trying to finish off a few jobs and also get better acquainted with the drone and the time-lapse and night-lapse features of the GoPro. It’s easy to set the GoPro to do the job, but what intervals get the best results AND how long does the battery last! Oh well, all good fun.  One ideas was to capture a sunrise over a rather lovely valley.  Problem was the weather … or the temperature … or maybe it’s just the wrong time of year!  All I got was rolling mist and clouds!  Sure it’s reasonably pretty, but not what I was looking for!  Thankfully I’d made some tea to keep me warm and some spare shoes in case I got wet.  I got soaked and really should have brought extras pants as well as socks and shoes.

Early morning with the moon the dominant feature in the sky.

On the way home I tried out the drone again. This is a wonderful device and great fun to operate. I’m only just starting, so need a lot more time in the air practising manoeuvres and also operating the camera. Thankfully there’s a very useful return to home feature that brings the drone back to you if you get a little confused or concerned. Mind you, this only works if you set it correctly before starting your flight. There’s quite a few stories of “fly aways”, crashes and issues with batteries that I must admit to being hyper cautious when out flying. The next image is one from the drone taken on my may home this morning. The river is the Waikato River. Click on the image and you should get an enlarged view.

A drone shot over the Waikato River close to Tuakau.