What a huge boat! 348m long, 48.9m at its widest with 18 decks and a maximum passenger capacity of 4905. This is a very large cruise ship. So large in fact that it was unable to berth at any of the usual wharfs in Auckland. Passengers were required to use the tenders to get to shore and back. You can make out a few of these small yellow boats alongside the ship. Looking at these little boats and realising there could be over 6000 people aboard, it does makes you wonder how quickly they could get everyone off the ship and away on the tenders and liferafts should a need to abandon shop arise.
In the background of the photo above you can just make out Auckland’s Harbour Bridge. You can also see the viewing deck that rises above the vessel on a huge arm providing people with spectacular views of the various locations the ship visit. I suspect the ship would have difficulties passing under the harbour bridge with the arm extended, but what about when the arm was lowered?
The next photo shows the ship on its way out of the Waitamata Harbour heading east towards Devonport’s North Head. You can make out Auckland’s Skytower in the background.
Well, what a treat! This is a really lovely part of the country with some gorgeous landscapes and views. There’s a section for sale and it was decided to take a look from this section, at dawn, at the views. I’d never visited the site before and the maps didn’t really prepare me for what I was going to see. Often when people rave about a view it’s because you can see the sea. From this section no sea views and sadly not a particularly spectacular sunrise … but I know where the place is now and will return!
We watched for a sunrise and took a few images until I decided to walk down the hill slightly to look round a bit of a bluff. Losing a bit of height and being able to see more of the valley presented some glorious misty early morning views.
Such a gorgeous place and I’ll be back to take more photos. These first images suffer from a bit of lens flare which is really quite annoying, but hopefully we’ll avoid this issue the next time I visit. Hopefully you like the view as much as I did.
It’s been a pretty busy week this week taking photographs and videos of properties in and around South Auckland. Usually on my blog I don’t post much about houses I shoot for real estate companies, but today I thought I’d do something a little different. Not wishing to bore you witless, I’ll just post a couple of images from two homes that really caught my eye this week. I suppose this could develop into a regular Friday feature … then again, perhaps not. Let me know if you’d like to see more highlights of the houses shot during the week.
To the houses then! One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the range of quality homes here in South Auckland and their affordability when compared to other parts of the city. I’ve added a couple of images below; one image of a more modern family home, the other of a classic home built from native timbers. Both homes are within easy walking distance to the railway station and offer an ideal car free commute into the city.
The first home is in the Hillpark area of Manurewa and close to Nathan Homestead, David Park, Orford Park and, of course, the shops in Manurewa. The shot below was taken last night on not the best of days for a dusk shot, but what a lovely outdoor area to entertain family and friends … complete with pool and spa!
The second home was a treat to photograph. So much native timber and character, lovely high ceilings and a real homely feel to it. I must admit it was definitely not what I expected to see when I arrived to take photos! This home is also close to parks as well as the shops in Manurewa.
Just trying something a little different in this post, if you click on the images below you should be directed to the agent’s webpage from where you’ll be able to see a few more images as well as get more details on the properties. I was seriously impressed with these homes … both of which well exceeded my expectations after looking for them on Google Maps!
Out for a walk at the regional park I spotted a rather lovely looking bloom … is it a wildflower or an escaped exotic? I only had my 24-70mm lens with me … wifey not keen on me taking lots of gear with me when we’re supposed to be having a walk! The question then … do I shoot to isolate the bloom from the background, or do I let you see a little more of the view in the image as well?
Two images below for you to consider. The first image has the lens stopped down to f10 to get a reasonable Depth of Field (DoF). In this shot the clouds, the Coromandel Peninsular and the sea have a bit of detail, but not too much to detract from the bloom. By opening up the lens to have a larger aperture (smaller f-stop) it’s possible to reduce the detail in the background and can be seen in the second shot.
This second shot was taken with the lens wide open at f2.8. Now there’s significantly less detail in the background and the flower stands out more. Just a few clicks of the aperture ring, and two quite different images. Just curious, but which do you prefer?
Well, what a wonderful day today to be out in the countryside … and what a glorious countryside to be in! South of Auckland, on the way to Kawakawa Bay, is a newish Regioanl Park called Waitawa. This ex-ICI explosives storage and manufacturing plant has been transformed into a park where people can enjoy spectacular views across to Waiheke and the Coromandel Peninsular as well as enjoy walking track, mountain bike trails, fishing and swimming. Well worth a visit if you get the chance.
The views are superb. However, to get the whole scene in a shot requires taking multiple images with the camera turned slightly and then stitching all the images together to get a nice panorama. You need to be a little careful with exposure with shots like this. I usually examine the scene and select the frame I want to expose for, then set the camera to manual exposure such that all images are exposed at the same settings. Using an automatic mode may result in a variety of exposures and difficulty matching brightness levels in the sky, sea and land. It’s also a good idea to use a tripod … which I’m a little embarrassed to say I failed to do today!
I usually use PTGUI Pro to stitch my images, but today thought I’d try the Panorama Photomerge option in Lightroom CC. This seems to do a reasonable job … what do you think? The image you see below is constructed from 12 separate images (obviously with a reasonable overlap to assist with stitching). Click on the image to see an enlarged view … and click again to zoom in even further!
Couldn’t help but notice a few spots appearing in my images that usually means some dirt on my sensor. Time to clean the sensor! I use the Visible Dust liquid and swabs and have been quite pleased with the results. I can recall cleaning my old Pentax film camera and being somewhat relaxed about the process. Strange, but I’m always a tad apprehensive when cleaning the sensors on my dSLRs.
After cleaning I decided to take a few test shots to make sure things were nice and clean … and then head out into the garden. Most of the time I seem to use wide angle lenses, so today, for a change I used my 70-200mm lens. This is a gorgeous bit of kit … I really must find excuses to use it more. Anyway, take a squiz at the shots below and perhaps let me know what you think?
It’s the first day of autumn today. The liquid amber is full of seed pods, but the leaves haven’t started to change yet. I’m quite looking forward to those gorgeous yellows, oranges and reds.
Speaking of yellows … look what’s turned up in my front yard! Pesky weeds!! I so wish I had as much success growing other plants as I do with weeds! Looking at the last shot in this post I reckon there’ll be rather more weeds appearing soon!!
I so hope you like this last shot. I had to get down quite low next to the wall in my front yard, and, it would appear, close to an ants’ nest! I was covered in the wee beasties!
Something a little different to a landscape for today. Just outside my front door there’s this rather pretty vine, commonly known as a bleeding heart vine. The flowers are not huge, so I needed to get quite close to get an image in which you’d be able to see the pretty red flower. Problem when you get close is that it’s difficult to keep all the flower in focus.
You may have heard of HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography where a number of images are taken of a scene and then blended in a manner to avoid deep shadows and blown out highlights. Focus stacking is a similar concept, but instead of a range of exposures being blended, a range of focus points are blended.
The image below is made up of ten images, each focussed at a slightly different point on the bloom. In this instance the task was automated using an app on my phone called Helicon Remote. This is very easy to use. You just select the two ends of the focus range and it then controls the camera … modifying focus and taking the photos. Next, you’ll need something like Photoshop to stack the images together. Here’s a YouTube clip that might help explain how to do this.
So, here’s the photo. As I said at the start … something a little different to a landscape;-)
What an appropriate name for this wonderful beach here at Beachlands, Auckland, New Zealand. Such a lovely peaceful place to take a stroll or just sit and watch the waves. Surprisingly close to Auckland, yet it feels like a million miles away. The first image in this post looks in the general direction of Auckland City. In fact, around the headland to the left you will see Pine Harbour from where there’s a regular ferry service into the heart of Auckland.
But looking at the views (and did you notice how crowded the place is) it’s hard to believe you’re so close to New Zealand’s largest city! The second image shows the public boat ramp with Waiheke Island in the background.
Not got a large boat? No problem. Just bring your kayak and set sail from the beach. The owner of this kayak had been doing a spot of afternoon fishing from this yellow boat. Something nice for dinner? Hard to beat fresh snapper 😉
Well, not much chance to get out and take photos today. I must have picked up a bug or something ‘cos I’ve been sneezing all day. Hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow as I have heaps to do this week. With no new photos to play with I decided to look over a couple of shots taken over the past couple of days. Some of you may have heard that I recently made the move to Photoshop CC. I’ve been quite happy with CS5.1, but felt the time had come to get a little more current, so I “upgraded” earlier this week. I suspect, however, I’ll stick with CS5.1 for any pressing tasks as I’m still finding my way around the newer applications.
Playing with a couple of images in both Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC though has been interesting. I quite like the variety of crop overlays available now, and the Camera Raw options seem a little different to what I had before. Quite a bit to play with before I’m as happy with these new version as I was with the older release!
Below are two images that may amuse you. The first is of an old homestead close to Te Puru Park on the road between Beachlands and Maraetai. Quite a lovely old building and full of character. I’ve been meaning to get some photographs of the property before it falls down and only just managed a shot or two. This image was processed in Photoshop along with Nik’s Color Efex Pro plug-in. Hopefully you’ll like it.
The next image was processed in Lightroom CC and Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2. I used to use Lightroom extensively a few years ago, but have to admit I’m feeling a little lost with the product now! I think with Lightroom, Bridge and Photoshop there’ll be a few changes to my workflow. Feeling rough though isn’t conducive to thinking about workflow changes however. The image is of a boat anchored just a little way off the coast close to Maraetai. I liked the horizontal lines and low contrast scene. Very bright sunlight and some pretty sparkling highlights on the water. Not altogether sure I’m that impressed with the image, but I’ll add it to the post and you can perhaps let me know what you think.
Back to Maraetai again today … wifey fancied a stroll along the water’s edge between Omana and Maraetai. There’s a lovely walkway called “Tracey’s Walk” from which there are some really gorgeous views. Needless to say I took my camera along for the stroll.
Most of my images of this area are in colour, but after reading a few books and articles by Ansel Adams I decided, just for fun, to try processing today’s images in black and white. I used to do a lot of black and white photography many years ago, before the advent of digital cameras, and still have a fondness for black and white. A few folks would argue that black and white isn’t the best choice for these views due to the significance of the glorious colours in the scenes. The shades of blue in the sea and sky were really quite lovely. Mind you, being as the camera takes colour photos I do have colour versions as well! What I did notice of interest as I processed the images was the significance of the sun’s rays in the photos. These “Jesus Rays” were not at all obvious in the colour images, yet seem to show up quite well in the black and white versions.
The first view is looking north towards Omana and Beachlands. The second view looks more south towards Maraetai. Quite a lovely gentle stroll if you’re in the area with the added bonus of some very pleasant cafes at Maraetai!