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Photography has changed the way I see the world around me.

Through it I discover new things and rediscover old ones. Like my island, New Caledonia.

This blog is just me sharing my world through my photography.

Hope you enjoy.

SWANSTON GHOST TRAM

Walking down Swanston Street (Melbourne, Australia), the family decided to grab a few little things before heading back to the hotel. While they were shopping I was looking at the trams passing by. I remembered seeing long exposure photos of buses and trains and thought I’d give it a go. Again I wished I had my tripod with me.

For my first attempt, I leaned against the pole that you see on the right of the photo but I wasn’t steady enough for a two and a half second exposure. I had to settle the camera somewhere to get a better shot. Behind me was a small flower bed surrounding a tree with cemented enclosure. I put the camera down there and propped the front of the lens up a little with the lens cap. I really like the low perspective. The only thing I had to do now was time the passage of the trams to get the light trails throughout the photo. This photo was the best of the lot but it was supposed to be a trail photo. I wanted to attempt this photo another time with my tripod but I got distracted and forgot about it. Silly me.

2.5 sec @ ƒ/8, 18 mm, ISO 100

LEAD PIPE & SHOT FACTORY

On the other side of Swanston Street opposite the State Library of Victoria there’s this. The Lead Pipe & Shot Factory tower is situated in the Melbourne Central Shopping Mall (Melbourne, Australia). I think anyone who’s been to Melbourne has seen this tower. A magnificent brick structure and the dome enclosure is just as impressive. We were just wandering around and I wasn’t going to photograph it but how can you not? Very difficult to get a unique perspective though. If you’d like to know more about the tower, check out this link https://www.melbournecentral.com.au/our-heritage

I went with black and white because there wasn’t any other colours apart from the red/orange bricks. There’s not a huge amount of light in the mall and I didn’t have my tripod with me so I had to bump up the ISO but I didn’t want to go too high. So I stopped down to ƒ/4.5 to let a little more light in. Depth of field didn’t matter as everything was far away from me. I took about half a dozen shots of this tower but I liked this one the most. It shows the height of the tower and the how giant this glass dome is. Yeah, I like it.

1/200 sec @ ƒ/4.5, 18 mm, ISO 400

STATE LIBRARY OF VICTORIA II

Thought I’d share a couple of random photos from inside the State Library of Victoria. You can spend hours in here taking photos. It took me a while to figure out how to photograph The Dome but on my way out I snapped a couple of things that caught my eye.

STATE LIBRARY OF VICTORIA

How gorgeous is the interior of the State Library of Victoria? I had the chance to visit while in Melbourne with family. The La Trobe Reading Room with it’s dome ceiling is just stunning! Click on the following link if you’d like to know more about the library and what’s happening there. https://www.slv.vic.gov.au

To take this vertical panorama, I headed up to the 2nd or 3rd floor to position myself approximately in the middle of the shot. I took nine horizontal exposures from bottom up. Stitched them in Lightroom and the rest of the edits there too. Not the best panorama, I admit, but a nice souvenir of this incredible place.

9 photos at 1/40 sec @ ƒ/3.5, 18 mm, ISO 1600

RON BARASSI SENIOR PARK SPHERE

While looking for a new perspective of the Bolte Bridge, I found myself in the Ron Barassi Senior Park (Newquay, Melbourne, Australia). It wasn’t going to be spectacular sunrise as it was very overcast. I had an image in my mind of the bridge that I wanted to take but I just couldn’t find the right angle. I took a couple of photos and I may share them with you but I haven’t seen them on the computer yet.

As blue hour was fading I realised I could stand right in the middle of the park and capture a 360º photo with absolutely no-one in the frame. And create a photo sphere later in Photoshop. I’ve never photographed a 360º image before but thought it’s just a massive panorama. And it is. The sphere though, that was going to be something else. I had no idea how to create one. I’m glad I levelled everything before capturing the panorama, it made things a little easier once in Photoshop. 

I Googled how to create a photo sphere and just followed the instructions. I had to redo it a few times because either the sphere wasn’t lined up right or there was a gap in the sphere. It was my fault though, for not taking the time to prepare the panorama right and not carefully going through all the steps to create it. In the end though, I love it! And it really isn’t complicated. You just need to take your time and capture the best images. And follow the instructions. Carefully.

32 photos at 0.5 sec @ ƒ/8, 24 mm, ISO 100

JONES BAY WHARF

In this photo you can see in the background, the buildings from my last post. From a different angle though. This is Jones Bay Wharf in Pyrmont (Sydney, Australia). There are a few restaurants and cafes with other businesses located in those warehouses. The old warehouses is what grabbed my attention with the modern yachts around it. If you’ve read my last post, you might have guessed this photo was also taken from the top deck of the P&O Pacific Pearl cruise Ship.

 I tried to get the shot centred but I missed it by that much. A simple, hand held exposure (except for the timing of the shot, apparently). The photo is nothing to brag about but I like the subject and it’s not every day you see things from this perspective.

Again, if you would like to see more photos of the cruise, just pop over to my Instagram @christopheroberthervouet or to www.christopheroberthervouet.com which will direct you there as well.

1/200 @ ƒ/8, 38 mm, ISO 200

E STACK

Wanting to continue on the Australian theme, I found this photo I took back in 2014. It’s taken from the P&O Pacific Pearl cruise ship as we were heading into White Bay (Sydney, Australia). Shot from the top deck, the perspective is very different than on ground level. I found these buildings quite interesting with the contrast between the foreground and background buildings, their architectures and the grid effect they have.

The photo was taken around 90 mm but I cropped further in to isolate this area and fill the frame a little more. Converting to black and white pronounced the grid effect of the buildings, which I like a lot. But here again, I added a cool split tone colour just to the shadows. I find it gives a cooler black and white image and renders it a little on the silver side. I love it.

The cruise was fantastic and if you’d like to see more photos from it, just head over to my Instagram profile @christopheroberthervouet or to www.christopheroberthervouet.com which will get you there just the same.

1/320 sec @ ƒ/8, 92 mm, ISO 200

COOGEE BREAKS

This photo shows the choppiness of the water that I mentioned in my last post. You can’t tell how windy it was down here at the Coogee Life Saving Club (Coogee Beach, Sydney, Australia) but you can see how rough the water was. Now that I think about it, I can’t remember seeing any surfers out. I’m not a surfer but I can guess it was because the waves were breaking very close to the shore.

With this photo I wanted to show motion in the water as well as a bit of drama in the waves. It was impossible to freeze the action of the white-wash and the splashes as well as getting motion in the foreground but I think I got a nice balance between the two with the half a second shutter speed (I don’t know why I closed down my aperture further though). I did bracket the exposure but I only used the normal one for this photo. It was enough for the results I was after.

The sun was going to pop it’s head over the horizon in about fifteen minutes and I left about twenty minutes after that. There weren’t any clouds in the sky and the colours disappeared quickly too so I packed up and left to get some breakfast. Coogee has so many great cafes and they open pretty early too. It took me longer to choose one than to eat my breakfast. Mmm so delicious!

0.6 sec @ ƒ/22, 18 mm, ISO 100

COOGEE PODIUMS

I find it so hard to get up in the morning. But I did it. Headed down to Coogee Beach (Sydney, Australia) to shoot sunrise. I didn’t have any composition in mind but there’s plenty to shoot down there. I just needed a beautiful sunrise. I had shot here before a few years back so I wanted to find a composition elsewhere first but when I saw the waves smashing into the pool’s walls on the south end of the beach and over flowing it, I was just drawn back to it.

At first I used a fast shutter to capture the waves splashing into the air but there’s something about long exposures that give certain images a surreal look. So that’s what I tried here. I closed my aperture down further than I usually do to get a longer exposure. The chaos and drama the wind was causing in the water just disappeared to a calm and simplified scene. I wish there were more clouds in the sky, catching that morning light, I think it would have made for a moodier image. Sometimes less is best. Talking about the sky, because of the long exposure it was now blown out. I was bracketing my exposures so I knew I was able to recover it. Only needed two exposures, one for the sky and one for, well, the rest. I used Photoshop to blend and match the exposures then I jumped back into Lightroom to finish the edit. It was fairly quick and simple. Pity the photo is slightly out of focus though.

Ten minutes after I started shooting, people were arriving to take photos of the sunrise too. Some came with their smartphones, others with point and shoots and a couple with DSLRs but only one with a tripod. Lucky I arrived early. And no one impeded on my composition (Yoohoo!). The tripod dude and I left about twenty minutes after sunrise.

6 sec @ ƒ/16, 18 mm, ISO 100

BREAKWATER YARRA

On my last post I mentioned I was at Yarra Bay Beach (Sydney, Australia) and that I had moved spot just after sunset because of, well, swimmers. As I mentioned, I moved about thirty metres to my right where there were hundreds of these boulders and cement blocks piled together to make a breakwater. I thought the contrast of these rocks with the dead white shells on them made for a good foreground. Then either the water or the breakwater could be used to lead the viewer to Port Botany in the background.

It was still windy and the water was choppy so I went for a long exposure to smooth out the bay. I did capture it during blue hour and edited for that but I wasn’t really satisfied with the image. So I made a copy and edited it in black and white. Now I was getting an image I really liked. Actually, the photo isn’t purely black and white. I added a dark blue split tone in the shadows. Just a touch to give it a silver effect. I have to say I discovered that by accident. I remembered reading somewhere that split tones are great when used on black and white images. So I tried. Now I like to adjust my split tones individually. I would find the colour and saturation of the highlights first, note the numbers and reset it. And once I’ve got the shadows sorted out, I would add the highlights back and play around with the balance slider to my liking. But I liked so much the effects of the shadow’s split tone, I didn’t even bother adding the highlights back in.

It goes to show, you should always try something new. I learned something from it.

1.6 sec @ ƒ/11, 18 mm, ISO 100

WINDY YARRA

I dropped my mum off at a lunch rendez-vous she had with friends at the Yarra Bay Sailing Club (Yarra Bay Beach, Sydney, Australia) and was pleasantly surprised by the area. I remember passing through here once before, a long time ago. So I decided come back the next day for sunset.

Sunset was around seven-forty-five, I arrive around seven o’clock. Straight away I found this composition. There were people swimming but luckily they were a fair way to the right. No where near my shot. It doesn’t show mush on the photo but it was very windy. Once I setup, I was trying to take photos whenever the wind died down a little. It was very difficult as the wind never stopped blowing. The shot I wanted was just after the sun disappears below the horizon. I had a bit of time on my hands so I chilled out a bit and snapped away whenever the colours in the sky changed.

About fifteen minutes before sunset, a family of five or six come strolling down the beach. They noticed me and you can’t miss the tripod and camera but I couldn’t help thinking ‘they’re not going to walk into my frame are they? I mean they can surely see that I’m photographing the sunset’. And funny enough (not!) they walk into my composition all the while looking at me. Unbelievable! I calmed down and thought maybe they’re just here for a quick swim and they’ll be gone before sunset. Nope. Lucky for me the beach drops a bit behind those rock before reaching the water so I couldn’t see them when they were in the water. They had put their towels on the rocks but thank goodness, out of sight. They were going in and out of the water constantly and it hard to get a shot without them it. I got this one though. The sun was disappearing below the horizon and it didn’t look like they were going to leave so I did. Not far, just thirty metres to my right for a possible blue hour photo.

I was trying to avoid the wind but not having the choice gave me a good photo. Not the photo I was after but a nice one nonetheless. I love how the wind’s blowing the sand between these rocks giving the image a dreamy effect. The lack of drama in the sky and it’s pastel colours, I think, add to that effect. I like it.

1/500 sec @ ƒ/11, 18 mm, ISO 100

TAMARAMA SUNRISE

I though I’d share some photos I took last year in December while on holiday in Australia. This first shot was taken at Tamara Beach (Sydney, Australia). I arrived around five o’clock as sunrise was due at five-thirty-five but I was surprised to see a steady stream of runners and walkers passing by. There’s a path that runs from Bondi Beach along the coast to Maroubra Beach. I don’t know how many kilometres long it is but with breathtaking views along the way, I’m sure it’s worth the exercise. 

I bracketed all my shots that morning. I usually do that when there’s a lot of contrast in the scene. Bracketing is when you take two or more shots of different exposures. Your aim is to get a good exposure of the highlights and the shadows within those shots so that you have a higher dynamic range to edit with. Sometimes the contrast in a scene is too vast for the camera to capture in one exposure thus you either loose detail in the highlights or the shadows. I hope that makes sense. Anyway, I only ended up using one normal exposure for this photo. I’m not thrilled about this image though. I like it but I don’t find it captivating. I was hoping for a more dramatic horizon with clouds on fire but as you can see, no clouds whatsoever.

As you know from my last posts, I’m not much of a morning person but when I have gotten up for sunrise shoots I’ve never regretted it. It doesn’t matter whether I’ve gotten the shot I wanted or not. The air seems fresh and crisp, everything seems calm and peaceful, there’s not a lot of cars or people… though, I did head down to Bondi Beach after the shoot for breakfast and to my surprise, no parking available anywhere. The beach and the promenade were busy with people working out. It was a marathon of people doing exercises. Unbelievable! Anyway, I had breakfast elsewhere and I always think to myself, my day is just beginning. I have so much time to do more things. And I’ve just spent two hour watching a sunrise and taking photos. For me that’s like meditating and doing yoga. Landscape photography taught me to slow down and appreciate my surroundings. The moment. To notice the details, the subtle changes of light, colours and mood around me. It relaxes me. It’s therapeutic for my soul. And I don’t do it often enough.

1/13th sec @ ƒ/11, 20 mm, ISO 100

POE-BOW

I was lucky the rain had stopped so that I could photograph sunrise and if you look back at my last post, I think I captured a nice image. Overhead though the rain had come back and I quickly packed up my gear, as it’s not weather sealed, and took cover under a nearby tree. I was hoping the rain would stop long enough for me to head back to the camp site for hot coffee and breakfast. I was starting to get very hungry. The rain had almost stopped and I was about to make a run for it when this beautiful rainbow appeared. With the dark clouds and the sun hitting the top of them it made for quite a dramatic scene.

I had to try to capture it. I hurried back to the water and quickly setup my gear in fear the rainbow would disappear. With the top of the image and the foreground very bright, and the bottom of the clouds and background quite dark, I thought the contrast might be too much for a single exposure. I told myself to just take the shot so I at least have something and if I have the time, to capture two different exposures. One for the bright areas, the other for the dark areas so that I can blend them together later. I timed the shots to capture movement in the water as it was retreating over the coral/rock. I only caught the end of the rainbow as it was already fading by the time I had setup. Everything happened quickly but I’m glad I was able to get my three exposures.

So this photo is the result of blending the highlight and shadow exposures. The blending and edits were very quick and the photo is fairly accurate to what I saw. I did edit the single exposure as well but I wasn’t able to reproduce the same results. Well not in the same time frame anyway.

 Anyway, another souvenir of Poe Beach (Bourail, New Caledonia) captured and a unique one at that.

1/16th @ ƒ/11, 18 mm, ISO 100

POE TO MYSELF

Even though my tent was only fifty metres away from Poe Beach (Bourail, New Caledonia) I set my alarm to wake an hour before sunrise. Hoping to capture an image during blue hour. Unfortunately the alarm woke me to rain. Now I’m not an early morning kind of person and going to bed late the night before didn’t help but rain?! Nooo!!! I was determined to capture images of Poé though so I stayed awake, hoping the rain would stop. And forty-five minutes later, it did. About ten minutes after that the clouds opened up. Time to shoot! Blue hour was gone and golden hour was in full swing so I had to hurry to find a composition.

I had to walk up the beach a little before finding this dead coral, I think it’s coral, rock? Anyway, it would make for an interesting foreground. All I had to do now was to wait for the water to wash over the coral/rock and snap a shot. The line of the water would lead the eye towards the surveillance cabin and then the sky. And it worked quite well. I’m very happy with the photo.

I wanted to take a few more shots but the rain came back and my gear isn’t weather sealed so I packed up and took cover under a tree. And guess what I saw?… Check out my next post.

1/60th sec @ ƒ/11, 18 mm, ISO 100

BEACH TRAIL

Following on from my last post, I walked over to Poe Beach (Bourail, New Caledonia) and tried to capture stars above the seascape. In this scene I really wanted to avoid trailing stars and try to capture pin sharp ones and lots of them. To do that I needed a faster shutter speed than my last photo Poe Trail, that is an eight minutes exposure and bring that down to eight seconds or round about. Doing that meant I needed to bump up my ISO and I thought about opening up the aperture but I wasn’t sure I could get the foreground and the stars in focus if I did. So I left it at ƒ/11 but even now I’m not sure if that I a good idea or not. Unfortunately the higher ISO introduce too much noise, the faster shutter speed gave me a dark exposure and a slower one, star trails.

So this photo is the best (of the worst) that I was able to capture. Again, a super long exposure of eight minutes and yes, star trails too. I light painted the foreground though in this photo. The image was a little flat and I wanted to give it a little more depth and hope it would balance the foreground with the billions of stars in the sky… yeah, that didn’t quite happen. I think the slow passing clouds prevented the capture of all those beautiful stars I could see. I like the light painting though. Not too much, not too little. It seems natural, no?!

Well, though I had a lot of fun trying to capture the night sky, there was tomorrow’s sunrise to photograph so back to the tent I went.

480 sec (8 mins) @ ƒ/11, 18 mm, ISO 100

POE TRAIL

So from where the photo was taken on my last post, this view would be about thirty-five/forty metres behind me. From this photo, the Camping de Némo is on the left, Poé Beach on the right and I’m standing in the middle of the road that runs through the Camping de Poé along the beach.

I wanted to use this road as a leading line to a night sky with billions of stars and use the full moon to illuminate the foreground but this was the best I could do. I experimented with different settings but all the images were either too noisy or too dark and all had a lot of speckles. As with this one and another similar photo that I will share on my next post. My entry level camera isn’t very good in low light and I haven’t got any experience in this genre either. But I had lots of fun and will definitely give it another go.

480 sec (8 mins) @ ƒ/11, 18 mm, ISO 100

NEMO'S CAMP

Back in April a friend of mine had friends visiting from France. They were going to tour around the island for a couple weeks. Their first stopover was the Sheraton Deva Spa & Golf Resort (Bourail, New Caledonia). It fell on a long weekend for us and my friend wanted to head up and spend some time with them. We didn’t stay at the resort as we are both saving money for an upcoming vacation. So we decided to try a camp site we had never been to called Camping de Némo.

It’s located just behind Camping de Poé and only a five minute drive to the resort. I must admit, upon arrival, I wasn’t to thrilled about the camp site. Though it’s limited to twenty or so tents, the area is quite small. Poé Beach is only fifty metres away, which is great, but you have to cross Camping de Poé to get to it. I would have preferred to camp closer to the beach but my friend had her two girls with her and the camping de Némo is family oriented. In the end it was a better choice. Not only because her kids met and played with other kids but because they have a fantastic bar/snack. Including the friends from France, we all ended up dining there that night and I think I speak for all of us when I say we highly recommend it. They have a nice variety of dishes to choose from that are well presented with a good serving and scrumptiously delicious. The service was good and so was the price. Well worth a try.

And talking about trying, I tried to take a photo of the camp site without annoying or disrupting anyone and this was the best I could do. You can see the elevated bar/snack in the background. I stayed up late trying to snap some photos of the night sky and though I’m not too thrilled about the images, I will share them with you in upcoming posts. Just to show you what wasn’t too far away.

120 sec (2 mins) @ ƒ/11, 18 mm, ISO 100

THREE BAY SUNSET

I notice this area couple of years back while scouting for another photo. It’s a small, waterfront park in Kaméré (Noumea, New Caledonia). I had found two very nice compositions but unfortunately their foregrounds were littered with cans, bottles, wrappers and even a tyre. It’s a shame to see such a beautiful area ruined like that. Luckily I found this bare tree overlooking the bay. 

Sunset was absolutely gorgeous! I took dozens of photos but this is my favourite out of the lot. I love it for three reasons. The colours in the photo, the long exposure effect on the clouds but my number one reason is the light painting. There are different ways to light paint but in this case I used a small torch to paint light on the tree and the bushes. It’s hard to get the right exposure the first time out but after the third or fourth try I finally captured a photo I was happy with. I will definitely try this technique again. It obviously won’t work on all photos but in this instance where my foreground is in complete darkness, light painting can, not only, light up your foreground but add mood to your images.

So there you go, my first light painting. I hope you like it as much as I do.

30 sec @ ƒ/11, 18 mm, ISO 100

TRIATHLON

Continuing on from my last post where I missed two potentially nice photos, I made my way to Magenta Bay in hopes of capturing a beautiful sunrise. Unfortunately, I arrived a little too late. The sun was already well above the horizon and there was no colour in the sky. You know that moment of the morning, after the golden hour, where everything seems bland and silverish. So I decided to give the welder’s glass filter experiment another go. 

After experimenting with a few shots and the sun hitting straight into the lens, I thought my best chance of capturing a descent photo would be to take multiple exposures to blend later. I kept the welding glass on and took three exposures with a two stop difference. I realised later though that I should have exposed darker for the sun.

I used Lightroom’s HDR option to blend the exposures and post-processed after. Converted to black and white and started working mainly on contrast. I mentioned in a previous post that the colour cast of the welder's glass is so strong that it’s very difficult, but not impossible, to get rid off. It’s just easier to convert to B&W. I tryied to darken the sky more but I was getting funky effects around the sun. It was ugly.

In the end, I’m quite satisfied with this image. The welder’s glass is quite a challenge to use but I do enjoy experimenting with it. I can’t wait for the opportunity to use proper filters. Hmmm more things added to my wish list.

2 sec. @ ƒ/11, 18 mm, ISO 100

NGÉA TREE

I came to Ngea (Noumea, New Caledonia) in hopes of getting a sunrise photo with the slipway. Unfortunately, there was a vehicle park on it when I arrived. I couldn't see a boat nor a trailer so concluded they were there to... watch the sunrise. I'm not an early morning person but now that I was here I wasn't just going to head back home because my intended composition wasn't possible. So I looked around and found this tree to use to frame the sunrise. I caught this fleeting moment of colour during the selfie shot and unfortunately didn't get a decent second image. High altitude clouds were rolling in and with the sky void of colour I decided to change composition. I'd seen a puddle on the sand a few metres away and thought if those clouds catch the golden light, it could be a great reflection to capture. So I’m all set up and waiting when I see a policeman on his motorbike stopped next to my car. After grabbing his attention and making him understand it was mine, he came over. He said I had fifteen minutes to move my car or be stuck for four hours. There was a triathlon that morning and the road was closed off for the running and/or cycling part of the competition. So after five minutes I packed up and headed back to the car. And what do I see catching fire? Yep, the clouds. It only lasted two minutes but it happened. A little disappointed but not ready to give up, I headed over to Magenta Beach. But that’s another story and photo.

3 sec @ ƒ/11, 18 mm, ISO 100