PhoTophe

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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.

BOURKE'S HAND

After I took the panorama (see my last post) I continued along the Bourke street bridge (Melbourne, Australia) and saw these interesting lamps. I liked them so much I too a shot. I think adding artistic necessities, such as these, not only renders a place beautiful, lively and different but also changes the mood of an area. Making it more inviting. Peaceful. I think it even boosts moral of the population. Mayors should work more on making their cities more beautiful and colourful. Not just for tourists but the people of the city too.

1/320 sec @ ƒ/8, 55 mm, ISO 800

SOUTHERN CROSS TRAIN STATION

A view of the Southern Cross train station from the Bourke Street  bridge entrance. I had taken a panorama from a different angle just before but it wasn’t centred so I asked the controller at the entrance if he could let me in passed the the gate. I told him where I wanted to go and that it was going to take ten minutes max. He was kind enough to let me in and do my thing and even asked, as I thanked him on the way out, if I got the shot I wanted. Nice bloke. 

This panorama is made of 13 hand-held shots. I bumped the ISO quite high to compensate for the lack of light and made sure I had image stabilisation activated on the lens before I steadied myself as much as possible before taking the shots. The outcome is… OK. Always carry your tripod with you.

13 exposures at 1/20 sec @ ƒ/8, 18 mm, ISO 1600

BOURKE'S BRIDGE

I mentioned only last post that the photo was taken atop the stairs of the Bourke Street entrance to the Southern Cross train station. Well turn 180º and you get this view. A walk bridge with a small shopping mall on the right side and entrances to the station on the left. The bridge passes over the rails that cut Bourke Street in two. You have a great view of the railway tracks and the station from the bridge.

Because of the lack of colours in the photo, I went with black & white and added the slightest of blueish split-tone to it. The photo is cooler and darker with a slight silver tone. I really like this effect. It doesn’t work on all black & white photos though.

1/80 sec @ ƒ/5.6, 55 mm, ISO 800

BOURKE'S TRAM

While we’re on street photography, I took this photo from atop the stairs of the entrance to Southern Cross train station, opposite Bourke Street (Melbourne, Australia). I was hoping for a very busy intersection with cars, trams, people and even though it was already half pass nine in the morning, it wasn’t that hectic. And if it wasn’t for the rain, this photo would be quite bland, I think. The wet grounds reflect a lot more light and colours which makes for a more interesting photo. I really like this photo though. It reminds me of the tram trips I took through this intersection.

1/125 @ ƒ/4, 18 mm, ISO 800

TREASURING MUSIC

Continuing on with street photography, I took this shot fairly quickly to capture this guy listening to… well, I’m guessing, music. His posture alone would make you think this scene was all set up but not at all. That’s what I love about this photo. I wasn’t going to photograph this building at all and I had actually walked by it only an hour before hand. Seeing this guy with headphones, taking in some sun I had to take a shot. But I wanted to make sure the image showed where he was without photographing the whole building. Unfortunately and stupid me, I was so concentrated on getting the inscription plate in the shot that I focus on that instead of my subject. Silly, silly me.

If you’d like to know more about the Old Treasury Building which is now a museum (Melbourne, Australia), just check out http://www.oldtreasurybuilding.org.au

1/250th @ ƒ/5.6, 55 mm ISO 200

LA TROBE TRAM

Trying my hand at cinematic street photography. After taking sunrise photos, I was starving and needed a nice hot coffee. I had taken photos at the Docklands marina and thought I’d just walk towards the city to find a cafe. I didn’t go very far. As soon as I turned around I saw this scene and just had to capture it. I was there for a while, taking photos with trams heading down, up, in the middle, near the lights… and in the end chose this one.

I used the rails as leading lines to the tram and the wet ground gives the foreground more interest and a nice starting point. I made sure to include as much of the trams cable lines as possible, I find very interesting and I think they add a bit of chaos to the photo too. Golden hour blended itself perfectly with the orange lights of the street and tram. I love this photo even without my personal edit done. I should’ve gone with a higher ISO to get a faster shutter speed but I think I was just too hungry and wasn’t thinking straight.

So after getting the shots, I was feeling weak and not too well. I had to find a place for breakfast, fast. I found a Greek cafe not too far. I can’t remember the name of it but it was on the corner of Bourke Street and Waterview Walk. A very nice place, nice people, nice food and I loved watching this old lady working dough with her hands. It was amazing. Anyway, now that I was feeling better, it was time to head back to the family.

0.4 sec @ ƒ/8, 55 mm, ISO 100

MELBOURNE TRAM LOOP

Continuing on the tram theme, on the way back to the hotel this scene captured my interest. I didn’t think much, I just took out the camera and snap the shot. My settings weren’t ideal but the photo turned out the way I saw it. A little reminder of the times I traveled on the Melbourne trams. The free inner city loop is a fantastic idea and money saver.

I particularly like the really old trams. And if you’re ever in Melbourne, you must try The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. Check out the link. I loved the whole experience. A must try. I didn’t photograph any of it, I didn’t even bring my camera along. The evening was time with the family only.

1/40 sec @ ƒ/8, 55 mm, ISO 800

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