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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 long exposure
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

O-TORII BLUES

Miyajima / Itsukushima Island, Japan

I got up very early this morning with hopes of capturing the Grand Torii of Itsukushima Shrine at high tide and I wasn’t disappointed. Not quite a full high tide but enough for me to capture the image I wanted. Without a soul around, I had this whole area to myself for about an hour before I saw a local woman doing her morning walk. It was so quiet and peaceful. And beautiful.

I’ve posted a sunset photo of this torii if you want to check it out.

Blue hour is the only time of day where everything is equally exposed. So I didn’t need multiple exposures nor filters for this image. My objective was a long exposure with lots of breathing room around the subject. People who’ve seen this Grand Torii for themselves, will tell you this photo doesn’t show the grandeur of the gate. And they are right but it wasn’t my objective here.

I have photos with people at the base of the torii and if you’d like me to post the photo, head over to my Facebook or Instagram profile and let me know in the comments below this photo.

28 mm, 30 seconds @ ƒ/2.8, ISO 50

ITSUKUSHIMA TOWN

Miyajima / Itsukushima Island, Japan

The staff at Hotel Kikunoya, where we stayed, were very friendly and helpful. Really can’t say enough great things about this place. They have their own onsen and restaurant. We had dinner in this street though, in Itsukushima Town. The town pretty much shuts down after sunset and only a small handful of restaurants stay open for tourists. It looks very empty here but I promise you it’s packed with tourists and locals during the day. We wandered down this little street and ultimately back up to a restaurant called Mametanuki. The owner speaks English and is, maybe, British but the restaurant is very much Japanese.

Though this is a long exposure photo, I had a couple walk in the frame and stopped just long enough to appear as ghost figures. So I used the first shot I took of the street to mask them out of the frame. Otherwise, it’s a single exposure.

It’s these types of streets and alleyways that really make me feel like I’m in a different country, a different world. We both wished we’d organised, at least, two nights here. So much to see and visit.

41 mm, 25 seconds @ ƒ/11, ISO 50

ITSUKUSHIMA SHRINE

Miyajima / Itsukushima Island, Japan

Check out my last post if you haven’t seen the torii to this magnificent Itsukushima Shrine. When we arrived for sunset, I was a little disappointed to see it was low tide but glad it was for this shot. Though my friend was cold and we were hungry, we stayed a little longer after blue hour to capture more images. We were only here one night thus wanted to make the most of it. I wanted a centred composition with the reflection but to get it I had to get my feet a bit wet. Well, I tried to avoid it but it was a failed mission. I got the shot I wanted and that’s all that counts.

I have to say I’m blown away by my new camera and lens. It took me a long time to get it but the combination of the Sony a7 III with the Tamron 28-75 mm ƒ/2.8 is just awesome. In regards to this photo, though taken a 30 seconds and ISO 50, the raw file was very dark. Everything behind the shrine and the foreground was in darkness. The dynamic range on the raw file was amazing. I was able to bump up three stops of light noise-free without loosing any sharpness. I’m literally blown away by this camera lens combination and the quality of the images.

28 mm, 30 seconds @ ƒ/11, ISO 50

SHINAGAWA STATION

TOKYO, JAPAN

First of all, I’ld like to apologies for the lack of posts. I thought I was going to be able to post a photo a day but I quickly realised it wasn’t going to be possible. With early mornings, late nights, days full with travel and visits, the only time I had was on the long train rides between cities but I used that to catch up on some sleep. I didn’t think our days were going to be so long and full. Anyway…

The second train we caught on our first day in Japan was a bullet train to Kyoto from Shinagawa Station. Two high speed trains past our platform before ours arrived. The first one took us by surprise with a gust of wind pushing us off balance. I captured the second train with a slow shutter to show motion but fast enough to freeze the people waiting on the platform. They weren’t moving much. We don’t have trains in New Caledonia so this is a photo I’ve been waiting to capture for a while. Glad I got the Japanese characters on the board too.

All station notices are in Japanese and English so it’s was fairly easy to get around if you understand English. You just need to take your time to find the right signs. We also used two apps to get around by trains, Google Maps and Hyperdia. The latter is free to use for two (2) weeks then you need to pay for a month or a yearly subscription. The free offer was perfect for us. Oh and I highly recommend getting the JR Pass if you intend on traveling around Japan in high speed trains and/or a rechargeable IC Card for inner city trains. We didn’t use the IC Card as our JR Pass could be used on the inner city trains we used. You need to buy the JR Pass in advance though, before you head to Japan. You’ll received a ticket that you’ll exchange for the actual pass once in Japan. The airport is probably the easiest place to do that. It’s a little more difficult to find a place outside the airport. By our calculations, we saved around 40% by purchasing the pass. Up to you to do your research.

So I’m back home now but I’ve got a lot of photos of Japan I’d like to share with you. See you on the next post. Oyasuminasai.

1/15th second @ ƒ/11, ISO 400, 28 mm

PORT OF KOBE TOWER

 KOBE, JAPAN

photo of the day

The view from our room at the Meriken Park Oriental Hotel. A gorgeous hotel that kind of resembles a ship. We arrived just in time for blue hour and to capture this photo and a few others. The best view out of the hotel, in my opinion. The Meriken Park has everything you need in terms of food, drink and relaxation. The Mosaic just around the corner offers more food and drink options with views of the hotel and the city. All in all, a bit of luxury well worth the price.

10 second @ ƒ/11, ISO 100, 37 mm

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

POURING A RIVER

I took a few photos along Route De Prony (Mont Dore, New Caledonia) heading back home from the Néocallitropsis refuge. I wanted to try out the welder’s glass as a filter on flowing water. I found this bridge interesting with it’s huge tube-like holes and as I headed down stream I found this composition. I love the way the water flows from the holes of the bridge and over the rocks in the foreground. And the mountain in the background adds depth to the image. I really like this photo.

The light was nice due the the overcast day. It helped to extend the long exposure with the small aperture used. I think I focused on the rocks in the foreground which I think was a mistake as I find the bridge slightly on the soft side. Not as sharp as I would have liked. Otherwise very happy with the exposure and composition. And the edit. You may not know but welder’s glass has a strong green tint which, I find, is very difficult to remove completely. Not impossible but more work than I’d like to do in post. The reason why I convert these images to black & white. Next to no colour correction needed.

10 sec @ ƒ/11, 55 mm, ISO 100

NÉOCALLITROPSIS REFUGE FALLS

Cockington Miniature Village was the last of my photos from Australia. And even though I’m heading to New Zealand this weekend, I won’t be sharing photos from there but from home, New Caledonia. The reason being I don’t have a laptop to edit my photos on the go. I promise you’ll get to see them as soon as I get back in a couple of weeks though.

Néocallitropsis Refuge Falls is located in the Yate municipality in New Caledonia. A small waterfall ending in a nice waterhole, especially appreciated after a long walk. A few of us decided to hike the first stage of the GR NC1. Which is a fourteen kilometre hike that starts from the Prony refuge in Baie de la Somme (Mont Dore) and ends at the Néocallitropsis refuge (Yate). The refuge (hut) is located just off to the left of this photos. The hike doesn’t loop so either you retrace you steps back or drop a second car near the Néocallitropsis refuge to head back to the start once finished. I stayed the night in hopes of capturing a couple of sunset and sunrise photos. Unfortunately I missed out on sunset. I drove a couple of ladies and their dog, who thought the track looped, back to Prony refuge. By the time I got back, all the beautiful light had vanished and rain clouds were rolling in. It poured down pretty much all night so a shot of the stars didn’t happen either. I woke up to an overcast and drizzling morning. I want to pack up and head home but I didn’t know when I was going to be back here. I told myself “You’re here now, make the most of it. Go home with at least one photo.”. It stopped raining long enough for the ten minute walk back to the refuge (I didn’t anticipate the bad road to the refuge so I camped next to my car) and take a couple of photos before it started raining again. I got back to the car drenched but happy with myself for not giving up earlier.

Getting the long exposure time that I wanted for this photo wasn’t difficult with the lack of light from the overcast skies. The small aperture to get everything in focus helped as well. My aim was to get a silky smooth waterfall and it’s exactly what I got.

Never give up. You never know what lies in store.

1.3 sec @ ƒ/11, 55 mm, ISO 100

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.

SILENCE

More Sculptures to be found farther down Newquay Promenade (Melbourne, Australia). Actually, this is one sculpture titled Silence by Adrian Mauriks. It’s quite nice being able to walk around and in-between sculptures. You get a different perspective on the art and can interact with it. And your imagination just goes wild. I quite like this sculpture. I took a few photos with different compositions, this is the one I liked best.

This sculpture is huge and to show how prominent it is, I got down low with my tripod and used a wide focal length to take the shot (I’ve only got a kit lens anyway). Set to the lowest ISO to get the cleanest shot. Ten second timer (two seconds isn’t enough for this camera) to stabilise the shot. And closed down the aperture to get everything in focus.

0.4 sec @ ƒ/8, 18 mm, ISO 100

BLUE ARCHITECTURE

As I was waiting for my golden hour shot, I wanted to take a photo of these blue buildings before the end of blue hour. And I love those pillars so much I had to include them once more. They do make a great foreground. Love those purple windows too. At the end of the pier and the bottom of the buildings is the beginning of the Newquay Promenade which runs to the left of the photo. It’s a nice stroll along the pier and you can dine in wonderful restaurants and stay in beautiful residential apartments. And a great place for photos too.

As I mentioned before, the pillars make a great foreground, leading the eye to the buildings. I decided to compose my shot in between the pillars so as to show more of them and these were the only ones with crossbars. I was hoping for a more golden sky on the right side but I guess it just wasn’t time yet.

0.4 sec @ ƒ/8, 18 mm, ISO 100

YARRA'S BOLTE

I got up early on my first morning in Melbourne (Australia). I was eager to get some sunrise photos of Docklands. There are two areas where you find these pillars. They’re divided by the Central Pier. Unfortunately, on the left side of the pier, the water is quite dirty with rubbish. Such a shame. I was surprised to see this side was so clean. Might have something to do with the currents. My composition was pretty obvious or so I thought. I wanted these poles in the shot as well as the bridge.

My original shot was a 3:2 which included some of the Central Pier on the left side of the image. It didn’t look right to me though so I decided to get rid of it and ended up with a square crop. I like it better but it still looks unbalanced with the buildings on the right. But I like the buildings… Long exposure to smooth out the Yarra River, as there was a little breeze, and to capture a better reflection of the posts and the lights from the bridge. No drama in the sky but I think I like it that way as it reflects the calmness of the water.

Talking about a little breeze. It was freezing! I didn’t have any gloves and anyway, I thought my jacket pockets would be enough to warm them up. Nooo! Not at all. It got so cold that it was painful to manipulate the camera buttons. I’ve never experienced anything like it. And I don’t think I ever will again. I bought gloves that morning. Not before the sun came out though. I got blue hour, I had get golden hour.

6 sec @ ƒ/8, 25 mm, ISO 100

BANKING ANOTHER SUNSET

So let’s stay on architectural photos and head over to Docklands (Melbourne, Australia). With it’s glass facade and splash of colours, the National Australia Bank (nab) building is a delight to photograph. I was walking through the Etihad Stadium heading back to the hotel when the sun decided to show itself. I hadn’t planned on photographing at sunset as it was very cloudy and it had rained. As I reached this area, the sun decided to show itself, just before dipping below the horizon. Beautiful light appeared and disappear just as quickly. I think it lasted five minutes. Maybe ten but not more than that. I took a couple of photos. Horizontally and vertically. This was the best one.

I knew this shot needed a long shutter but I didn’t have my tripod with me. So I placed the camera on the edge of the cemented fence/railing and used the lens cap and cloths from my bag to prop it up to the right angle. Set the two second timer after the setting the exposure and that’s it. I always made sure the focus was good overtime I changed from horizontal to vertical shot.

1.6 sec @ ƒ/8, 29 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

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

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