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.

Posts in Black & White
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

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

REFLECTING ON NAÏA

So this the last photo I will share from Naïa (Païta, New Caledonia). Taken from almost the opposite side of the panorama I took, here I tried to concentrate more on the reflection off the water. I went with black & white here because I tried something very different. I went for a long exposure using a piece of welder's glass as a filter. The image comes out with an extreme green colour cast which can be dealt with in post-processing but since I was converting it to black & white, I didn't need to do that. I'm quite happy with the photo. A little on the soft side but that's the kit lens' fault rather than the filter (welder's glass).

30 sec @ ƒ/11, 18 mm, ISO 100

TEARDROPS ON A TEARBUD

Back in February I posted a couple of photos. One titled The Vella Bouquet which showed the, nearly, fully bloomed flower and the other, Purple Hearts, showing the first moments of blooming of this bud. They're called Agapanthus and I thank Ben Caledonia over on Flickr for the name of this flower. And also to Chris Thomas on G+ for an interesting fact. These flowers are often planted around homes in areas with high fire risks. When the flower is dormant, their base leaves are very waxy and great as fire retardant. They won't stop your house from burning down but may give you those few precious minutes to save the house or get to safety. And funny enough, this photo was taken in the backyard of my friend's parents place up in the Blue Mountains (Australia).

I decided to go black & white on this photo because of the high contrast between the bud and the background. In colour everthing was in the green tones and wasn't separating the bud from the background enough. Here, the bud has all the attention.

MODERN HUT

I took this shot for a photo contest in 2017 but didn't end up using it. A modern building based upon the Melanesian huts found all around New Caledonia. I'm not 100% sure but I think it's a one of a kind. It's situated on the grounds of the Sénat Coutumier in Nouville (New Caledonia). The grounds are on the waterfront and the hut is placed near the water on the opposite side of the main entrance. I wasn't sure if I was allowed to walk in and start napping shots so I didn't wonder in. I noticed it was low tide though and soon realised I could walk along the, usually underwater, rocks to get up close to the hut. I took a few photos through the fence and done.

CENTURY 21

This scene with the old sandstone building, the modern yet old school scooter and the real estate with the modern name of Century 21 was too good to just pass by without taking a shot. I've wanted to photograph this building for a long time now but was never satisfied with what I saw. That scooter changed everything. It's not a great photo, I admit, but I needed the photo to tell a story. And not just be a photo of an old building. I might try a sunset shot the next time I'm in Randwick Junction (Sydney, Australia).

GOUE COLLECTION

The "Goue Collection" was taken at the hotel Le Méridien (Noumea, New Caledonia). I was there for my cousin's wedding. We were all in the hall where a small bar was set up to greet the guests before heading into the reception. This was one of the lights hanging from the ceiling. Just a small dedication to the couple.

The Coming Of Goue

Encounter Of Goue

The Goue Effect

TOP OF THE HAT

This is Pic Malaoui. It's also known as Chapeau Du Gendarme and is part of the Koghi Mountains (Dumbea, New Caledonia). As you can see, there's a track heading to it's summit. I took this photo to remind me to get my butt into gear and organise an early morning trek up there.

LOST ME WOODEN LEG

This sculpture of a one legged figure is displayed down on the quay at the Gare Maritime (Noumea, New Caledonia). I was just having fun with this photo. I made sure the foot of the sculpture was aligned with the rope that was holding the ship to quay. I got rid of the pole holding the sculpture in Photoshop and that's it. Just a bit of fun.

PÉTANQUE SPECTATORS

Friends and strangers alike watching pétanque on the shores of Anse Vata (Noumea, New Caledonia). Pétanque is a French bowling game similar to Lawn Bowling. Except it's played with smaller, metal balls (bottom of the picture) and on dirt grounds. A very popular game, here, in New Caledonia.