Sunday, November 28, 2010

Coogee - Evening HDR

A few HDRs from Coogee. I finally have a little more time for photography and writing again and hopefully I will be able to do something about the backlog - it would be sad having to go into an eventful 2011 still trying to deal with 2010.

HDR is pretty perfect for capturing the last sunlight of the day and still keep some details in the shadow Unfortunately I was out at least 20 min late so the sun had already disappeared and I had to battle very slow shutter speeds. However, with a few natural camera supports around - who needs a tripod when there are solid rocks around? - it was possible to get enough light through the lens to call it a photo. Knowing how dark is was towards the end, it is quite impressive how the HDR manages to extract colors from all the darkness.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cape Banks and Long Bay - Pelagic Excursion

Last year I was blessed with some seriously good winter storms, nothing better than a cold winter morning with a solid south easterly when you are out trying to get a photo of an albatross or two. This year has been very disappointing when it comes to albatross sightings, it seems I never really got the combination of weekend and strong onshore winds.

Back in the beginning of September, however, a single weekend seemed to be decent i.e. weather so rubbish that the birds would not expect any human being foolish enough to be standings exposed on the cliffs, so there was a chance those pelagic winter visitors would relax and drift close to shore hopefully getting inside Bigma range.

Cape Banks did not deliver any albatrosses this September weekend, but I managed to finally get decent views of a few Hutton's Shearwaters passing by, they were a first for me :-)

Conditions were pretty rough and I decided to retreat. Furthest out on the cliffs around Long Bay an abandoned military observation post gives good shelter when all other options are too extreme and with nothing else on I opted for a few hours out in the "shed".

The shearwaters were flying too far away from the coast to allow for identification, but quite a few terns came in literally flying straight above me and a nice surprise was a juvenile Pacific Gull hanging around. Earlier this year I saw my first ever Pacific Gull in Long Bay, few weeks before seeing hundreds of them down in Wilson's Promontory.

All good - after a day like that you feel proud to have been outside, just make sure to wash some of all that saltwater spray of the camera and it will all be fine :-)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mount Banks Panoramas

It is impossible to catch the grand views of the Blue Mountains, but nevertheless I keep on trying :-) I still remember first time I was bushwalking in the Blue Mountains: You are making your way through the bush, noticing that the ground start to slope downwards and you start to see blue sky between the trees in front of you, you push the last few meters out through all the greenness and bang! You are hit by these fantastic views of green forest below, blue sky above and vertical walls of golden sandstone - Not bad at all! :-)

You simply cannot have a bad walk with views like that - great day in the mountains! Mount Banks is definitely worth a visit. Being located 20 min off the Great Western Hwy and hence a safe distance away from most of the crowded Blue Mountains tourist magnets, you are likely to have a hole lot of national park to yourself and your companions, without in any way having to feel that you settled for a sub-prime experience.

All the panoramas have been put together with AutoStitch and have been uploaded to my Picasa album in high resolution (press the photo to be taken to the HR version).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mount Banks - Stunning Vistas in The Blue Mountains

Back in Australia and back to the Blue Mountains! I had a few weekends, where I felt that without extra days off work it would be impossible getting anywhere new and exciting - How wrong I was :-) True that a good solid drive will take you into unknown territory, but a couple of hours an early Sunday morning and you will find yourself in the Blue Mountains, where you can equally well get a double shot injection of some breathtaking nature.

Mount Banks or apparently Mount King George was the target of the weekend. Bill and the Amoores were as usual keen for a bit of bush walking and the Blue Mountains delivered one of the best days I have ever had out there. Crystal clear and crisp cold mountain morning air combined with some breathtaking views - what more can you hope for a lazy Sunday morning? :-)

During my very first trip to the Blue Mountains about 5 years ago I was standing at Evans Lookout overlooking the Grose Valley thinking - WOW! - and then "Wonder if you can get to the other side?". I am nearly embarrassed to admit it took 5 years, however, I have done the walk down into the valley and out again a few times and that is significantly harder walks than the Mount Banks hike.

Great day out and a good opportunity of practicing some landscape photography, I will put together some panoramas and post them here soon'ish. The birding highlight of the day was a Chestnut-rumped Heathwren. I managed to spot it, but in my eagerness to get everyone onto this little shy beauty I forgot to take a photo, however, Jarrod managed to get a great shot - see here for yourself.