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 tagged evening
RAINBOW LIBERTY

Odaiba, Japan

Situated on the artificial island of Odaiba in Tokyo Bay, this replica of the Statue Of Liberty was originally a temporary fixture for The Year Of France In Japan in 1998-99, a celebration of the two countries relations. Her popularity though won her a permanent return in 2000. Standing at 11.5 metres hight (1/7th of the New York original) and weighing 9 tonnes, the statue is impressive and beautiful. Lady Liberty is not an only child though, she has a sister in Shimoda and another in Osaka but neither with such magnificent backdrops.

And talking about backdrops, the Rainbow Bridge is the best way onto the island. Opened in 1993, Shuto Expressway No. 11 Daiba Route is the official name of the bridge. Named Rainbow Bridge by the public, I’m guessing, because of the multi-coloured lights cast on it at night. We took the Yurikamome to get to Odaiba. It’s like a train but with rubber wheels and guide-rails. Completely controlled by computers and there are no drivers onboard. The ride was petty smooth and quite fast. Lots of fun.

We arrived at blue hour and only a green light was cast underneath the bridge with white on the towers. Though we took photos till dark, an hour after sunset, the bridge didn’t live up to it’s name. Well, I say that but maybe it did. We went elsewhere where the bridge wasn’t visible and came back over it around 11:30 pm so it may of lit up in the meantime. Where did we go? Find out on the next post.

Not the best framing but the best I could do while it was still blue hour. There were a lot of people around so I couldn’t pick the perfect spot and didn’t have much time to look around either. A single five second exposure with minor editing and a very subtle Orton Effect added. I think if the bridge was lit like a rainbow, it would’ve given a very different mood to the photo. A festive feel rather than the peaceful mood this image has. I like it.

75 mm, 5 seconds @ ƒ/11, ISO 100

SHINJUKU PARK TOWER

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo skyline from the Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku. Amazing views, almost 360º. Even though there was a long queue and bag search before entering the elevator, we got up there fairly quickly and just in time for blue hour. The observation rooms huge and there a cafe in the middle. Worth going up if ever in Tokyo.

I’m not certain that all three of the buildings in this image are named the Shinjuku Park Tower because the Park Hyatt Tokyo is located in these towers too. What grabbed my eye to this scene was the roads that winds behind the towers which adda a colour contrast and helps lead the eye of the view into the image. It was a little challenging shooting this photo, actually all the photos, as there was a lot of reflection from inside the observation room. I set my tripod and camera as close as possible to the window, framed and set the exposure then used the 10 second self-timer to give me enough time to wrap my jacket around the camera and up to the window to avoid any reflection off the glass. It also gave the camera enough time to stop vibrating from the jacket being placed around it. The result, no reflection, sharp and a very happy me.

In regards to post-processing, I cooled the image quite a bit to represent what I saw at the time and added the Orton Effect to the three towers and the orange roads that wind around them. The Orton Effect adds a glow to an image or part of an image. It’s the first time I’ve actually used it and, to tell you the truth, I’m not sure if I like it or not. The towers seem slightly blurry even though they aren’t. I know it’s an effect primarily used on landscape photography to give a dreamy look and feel but I’ve seen it used in other genres too, like back-lit street photography, with great success. So there is a use case for it, I just have to figure out in which cases.

28 mm, 15 seconds @ ƒ/11, ISO 100

PORT OF KOBE

Kobe, Japan

We arrived in Kobe late afternoon and the last bus towards the hotel had already gone. Though we were tired, we decided to walk 20 minutes to get there. A nice walk through the city which made us realise there was a lot to see here. By the time we got to the Meriken Park Oriental Hotel, the sun was just about to disappear below the horizon. What a beautiful surprise when we opened up the curtains to the balcony of our room and saw this gorgeous view. You may have seen one of the photos in a previous blog post.

I quickly setup my gear and started shooting. Single exposures first then once blue hour was over I took a 180º panoramic view. We had arrived just in time to capture these images. So on the left we have Notre Dame Kobe hotel, Port Of Kobe tower, Kobe Maritime Museum, behind that the Hotel Okura Kobe and in front of all that the Meriken Park. You can also see the Bell Of Hortensia and Starbucks right next to it on the bottom right of the image. And not to forget, the cityscape of Kobe in the background.

28 mm, 5 seconds @ ƒ/11, ISO 100

COURBET PLACE ILLUMINATIONS

Courbet Place is a section of what most people refer to as La Place Des Cocotiers (Nouméa, New Caledonia). For a number of years now the Council has transformed this place with illuminations for Christmas. I had the chance to visit late on the last night.

I rushed around for a composition and took a few photos before the lights turned off. I was actually surprised they hadn’t done so already. This was the last photos taken just a couple of minutes before they did. I got down low to include as much of the arch as possible with the bells on the top third and the Fountain Celeste on the bottom third. The low ISO and small aperture gave me a long exposure of a few seconds. I didn’t want anyone in my composition thus had to wait a few minutes for people to walk out of my composition. I took this shot in the meantime and glad I did as the lights turned off shortly after. I would probably never have gotten the shot I was after so I’m thankful I got this one.

3.2 seconds @ ƒ/8, ISO 100, 28 mm

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019 !

I hope everyone had a fantastic end of year 2018 and I wish you all the very best for 2019.

Just thought I’d quickly share a photo of Noumea’s (New Caledonia) fireworks from last night. I headed up to the Mobilis tower to take these shots. Not the best idea as I couldn’t get close enough with my 28-75 mm lens. I used an app to trigger the shutter, to avoid touching the camera, but that too wasn’t a great idea either. My hands were wet from the rain which caused problems with the touch screen. I’m going to have to get a wired trigger release, I find them more reliable and easier to use. I put the camera in BULB mode and triggered the shutter on and off as I saw the fireworks explode. I took around sixty photos and this was only one that I really loved and successfully captured.

HAPPY NEW YEAR !

9 seconds @ ƒ/4, 75 mm, ISO 100

NIGHT ZOO

As I mentioned on my last post we had dinner at the cafe in Taronga Zoo in wait for it to reopen just after dark for Vivid Taronga Zoo. It’s beautiful and amazing and a must do if you’re ever in Sydney while it’s on. And the kids will be inthralled.

A little challenging for photos especially for positioning and framing. You’ve got to have a lot of patience. Many times I had to wait for people to move and a few times for photographers as they had the perfect spot for the shot I wanted. Because there are a lot of people around, you need to be aware your surroundings. You don’t want someone bumping into your gear or taking a kid out with your tripod or backpack. Be careful and tolerant. And talking about the tripod, a must as all of my images are long exposures. It’s the way to go if you want sharp photos.

A big thank you to my friend and her kids for their patience. They endured the cold temperature for at least an extra hour, instead of being warm and cosy back at the hotel, to give me the chance to capture everything. Merci.

STROLLING VIVIDLY

Who remembers Vivid Sydney? Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to photograph the iconic buildings during this event and I’m sure you’ve seen them either in person or through social media already. I managed a few photos. We (my friend, her two kids and I ) had decided to check out the lights in Circular Quay on the way down from Woy Woy since it was the last day of Vivid Sydney. We had spent the day up there visiting my sister and her little family. It was thanks to a man that had struck a conversation with me, while I set up for my first photo, that I found out about the Botanical Gardens. Well, we had to check it out. I was disappointed I wasn’t able to take many photos along Circular Quay. It was just too crowded. There were thousands of people doing the same thing as we were. It was a lot better once we entered the Botanical Gardens though. And I’m so thankful to the man that approached me as the stroll was just magical. There is so much to see, hear and do during Vivid Sydney that I’ll have to dedicate a trip back just for that. The little we did was such a great experience.

Just a quick shout out to my friend and her kids for their patience. I know it was exhausting for them to wait while I set up my gear, waited for the right moment to capture an image, reviewed the image and do it all over again if I wasn’t satisfied. Especially after an already long day. Thank you very much to all three of you.

THE OLD GREEN TRAM

I almost got the shot I wanted. So close. I was trying to capture light trails of a tram passing by and I did but most of the trails were either white or yellow. I was about to leave and had actually picked up the camera, when I saw an old green tram dropping people off. I set the camera back down on the edge of the fence, focused and as it took off I pressed the shutter button. The two second timer was still on and I ended up capturing the middle and end of the tram. So close. The green light trail really makes a difference. It’s a nice contrast with the warm coloured road but also matches the colour tones of the trees. Though it’s not exactly the shot I envisioned, I still like this photo very much.

The shot was taken from the Etihad Stadium in Docklands (Melbourne, Australia). I used the fence as a tripod, focused to infinity, two second timer and… captured everything a little too late.

4 sec @ ƒ/8, 28 mm, ISO 100

CROWN

I had decided to capture the Crown Melbourne casino from this side of the Yarra River where you’d find the Crowne Plaza Melbourne hotel. It took me a long time to find a composition I liked though. I found these cleats (I think that’s what they’re called) to use for the foreground but I was having trouble with the focal length. So I tried a number of them and found this perspective more appealing. I was hoping for a nice, colourful sunset but it was too cloudy. Didn’t even get a golden hour. Once the sun set though, the clouds cleared a little and blue hour was just magic. So happy I got this photo.

As I mentioned before, I tried multiple focal length, trying to bring the background closer and keeping the same perspective. Starting from 18 mm to 24 mm, 35 mm and 55 mm. I only have a kit lens so it’s all I had to play with. I chose the 24 mm focal length in the end as the image was better balanced and more pleasing to the eye. A long exposure was perfect to capture all the flickering lights on the Crown panel and it smoothed out the water too. After all the trouble and frustration, I’m very happy with this photo.

2.5 sec @ ƒ/8, 24 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

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

BURTY'S NEST - A TIME TO REFLECT

So at the end of my last time-lapse video, you would've seen this photo. I arrived early for this shot (and the time-lapse, of course) unlike the last one.

One of the reason I love landscape photography is because I find myself in front of beautiful scenes to relax and think. And sometimes reflect.

Rest in peace my friend and thank you so very much for that kind gesture 35 years ago. It has marked my life. 

NAUTILUS STREAK

My first photo from the Canon EOS 1300D that I won from a photo contest last week. A 20 second long exposure at f/11 with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II kit lens. Not a lot of details in the shadows and I had some difficulty getting focus to infinity. I put it down to my lack of experience with Canon cameras. 

A sunset photo from Baie Des Citrons (Noumea, New Caledonia). This is the main road that runs along the most popular beaches here. I have to admit, I have no idea what this building is. I just thought it would make for an interesting photo, the cool tones of the building and the sky against the warm tones of the road and hillside.

It took a while and a few shots to realise I would need a least three cars' taillights to get enough of a red streak and only one car's headlights for the white streak. I finally got my opportunity before bleu hour ended and got the photo I wanted.

RETRAITE AUX FLAMBEAUX

LANTERN RETREAT

This event happens on the eve of Bastille Day (French National Day). In the last couple of years the parade has started from Place Bir Hakeim and ends at Place Des Cocotiers, as always (Noumea, New Caledonia). Lanterns are distributed at the beginning of the evening around 6:30 p.m.. At 7 p.m. we had the Royal Australian Air Force band perform with a couple of dancers. There fantastic! Straight after that we start the parade down Avenue Victoire Henry Lafleure onto Avenue Marichal Foch to Place Des Cocotiers. An leisurely half hour walk. The parade ends with fireworks at 7:45 p.m.. An excellent evening for young and old but kids, especially, love it.

KOU-BUGNY PATH

I was heading out to dinner when I noticed how gorgeous the light against the flowers and the wood was. I turned around to take a photo with my phone and was stunned how beautiful this pathway I had just walked down was. This is the hotel Kou-Bugny in Kuto, Isle Of Pines (New Caledonia). It's situated very, very close to the beach and it's bar & restaurant is, well, on the beach. With gorgeous views of sunsets and Kuto Bay. A paradisal spot. A must visit. You can get there either by boat (2 1/2 hrs) or plane (30 mins) from Noumea. Both offering a unique view of New Caledonia.

LONG PADDLING

A friend's son taking advantage of the last light to paddle on the waters of Anse Longue (Païta, New Caledonia). While the rest of us were enjoying this beautiful sunset and a refreshing drink on the outdoor deck. The water isn't deep here. You can walk out a few hundred metres at low tide. It's also beautiful in the mornings with the water as calm as a lake. If you lucky, you may see fish jumping out of the water.

ICY APOGOTI ON FIRE

A company had contacted me for a sunset photo over Apogoti Bay but, unfortunately, I hadn't any. I decided to head and scout the area for potential spots and came back with this one. I just had to shoot this amazing sunset over Apogoti Bay (Dumbea, New Caledonia). I almost missed it. I was about to head home when I notice the orange coming through. It's not the best of shots. I rushed it a little. But I'm glad I got it.

366TH SUNSET OF 2016

So last year was a leap year. Which means this was the 366th and last sunset of 2016 that I saw. The sunset was so beautiful, we literally all stopped to admire it. I spent NYE (New Year's Eve) in Tonghouin (Païta, New Caledonia). Here you're looking over Anse Longue. This area is very flat so you could walk out in the water for hundreds of metres. This place is just awesome!