Posts Tagged ‘flora’

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Oh yes. 9 stops!

“Whats that mean?”

It means that it has an attenuation factor of 400!

nothing?

…it means it only lets 0.5% of light through it!!!

still nothing?!?!?!

…it means that a picture that you normally take at a shutter speed of 1/400 now needs 1 second to expose correctly!!!

***hears birds squaking noises***

…it means that you can take a 15 second shot in the middle of the day! Thats about as practical as I can explain it. I guess its good that this is a photoblog because a picture says a 1000 words, right?

Ok, right off the top I’m going to admit that that first pic isn’t Queen Mary Falls. Its actually Brown Falls but I have a very good explanation for that. Also, if you’ve been following my blog for some time then you’ll know that this isn’t the first time I’ve been here. I blogged about it and you can read all about it by clicking HERE.

This time however was a little different. Instead of a measly eight this time we had over 30 people join!!! Thats 6 vehicles  full! I was supposed to be leading everyone (because I was the most familiar with the location) but I was so  eager to try out the filter that soon wound up right at the end of the line. No worries.

First stop: Queen Mary Falls.

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A quick hike from the picnic spot opposite the Caravan Park and we were at the viewing platform. We’ve had heavy rain for the past 3 weeks or so so the fall was intense. Here’s the kicker. The best view is from below. Unfortunately, a boulder had fallen and it had been deemed too risky to allow people to go down so I wasn’t able to get a picture from there. After a good amount of picture taking we headed back to the picnic spot via an alternate route which had a collection of streams which were too beautiful not to photograph.

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This stream might look peaceful but that horizon where the water stops is the Queen Mary Falls drop! In the picture of Queen Mary Falls, this stream leads to the edge of the section closest to the camera!

Turn a good 180 degrees and you’re greeted with this:

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OK, heres the problem with the ND400 filter. Technically, its the same as having really dark sunglasses. REALLY  dark sunglasses. REALLY REALLY DARK SUNGLASSES. (sorry, caps lock turrets acting up gain) So dark that its almost impossible to see through…this is where the limitations kick in. In order to utilise the filter successfully you’re supposed to

1) compose you photo

2) put the filter on

3) take the shot

4) remove filter

5) repeat step 1.

Being myself I got tired of this after about the first shot… so I just left it on and made an educated guess as to the best probable angle. Granted these won’t be the best shots…in all honesty, I’m quite dissapointed with the overall results…but when I want to go on a proper photo  outing, I’ll be going in a small group so I can take my time to compose and adjust.

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Here are some of the people that came along.

After we got back to the picnic spot we had lunch before heading off to see the birds. My friend, Min, in all his wisdom bought enough bird seeds to feed a small country to pass out rather than letting us buy them from the shop for $1/bag.

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The birds will land on your hand/shoulders/head for you to feed them. Its great fun and everyone enjoyed it. I’ve posted some of the shots from the past visit which you can view by clicking HERE. I’ve been assigned to post the ones from this trip on the ANS Facebook page so I’m not going to bother having duplicates here.

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After the novelty wore off we headed up to Carrs Lookout, a nice little spot with a gorgeous view. Here is where the filter really shone! You can blur water with a small aperture. You can blur water in broad daylight with a Cokin P filter. But only with something like an 9-stop ND400 filter can you actually blur clouds!

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This following picture was taken with the ND400 filter + Tiffen 0.6 soft Graduated ND + Sigma 10-20mm at the wide end. Exposure time: 30 seconds in the middle of the day. Screw all the photoshop vignettes out there this is what real vignetting looks like:

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Beautiful day, nice breeze, green grass and a heard of cows lazing under a tree in the distance.

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After this we headed off to an unofficial border between Queensland and New South Wales before heading down to Brown Falls. We skipped Daggs falls because we were behind schedule.

This is Brown Falls:

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This next shot literally caused me hours of grief. You see I wanted to get close into the rocks and shoot the fall from below. The wind blew all this water vapour into the lens. I had to clean the filter, put it back on the lens, take the shot, and get out of there with the filter all dirty again. I didn’t know this before but Hoya HMC filters are a pain to clean! I mean I spent hours trying to get all the crap off but there are still streak marks on it. I feel like sending it back and getting the non-coated B+W version.

…all for this lousy pic so I’m obligated to post it.

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You can still see the vapour screwing up the top part of the picture. All in all a good day. Still need a dedicated day just for shooting but was fun none-the-less. Some guys had a dip in the fall, most didn’t. We headed back to the Toowoomba after an exhausting day and most of them didn’t go to church the next day.

Oops.

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Here is a photo of the entire group that joined.

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I you came here looking for the photos of people that joined, follow this link to the gallery: Facebook Gallery

So a little while ago I lent Brandon my macro lens. I didn’t need it so I said he could return it whenever he wanted. However, last week he made some last minute plans to go back to Malaysia. I figured I might need to lens for the wedding I’m shooting next week so we dropped it off at my place before he left. Yesterday, we got bored at home so we wanted to look for a park to visit…my housemate, Warren, recommended we head to Newtown Park. I’ve never been there before so I thought why not.

In the true spirit of “Macro Madness” there won’t be any pictures of the park itself…not because I don’t want to…but because I only brought the macro lens that day…and not a measly 55mm macro but a 180mm one…which is pretty much a dedicated macro lens and nothing else.   Now I can also go back to take some macros of the sunflower field:-)

Of course the Brow needed to stretch her lil leggies so she came along for an impromptu portrait session.

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By the way those are her legs…shes so furry her hands (as in front legs) tuck into it and dissapear when she sits like that. Her hands looks like this:

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If you leave her on the ground long enough she’ll start planning her escape route…

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…so we put her somewhere where she can’t run :-)

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Just kidding, haha…shes awesome…doesn’t run away unless shes at home where shes familiar with the floor…ask Linzhi, every few minutes we give a a good tickle under the chin…

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Oh, right…Macro Madness Day!

Sorry…

Sorry…

I tend to digress when I ramble…

In all honesty the park was pretty down in the dumps. It wasn’t dirty or anything it just wasn’t maintained very well. However, the flowers were absolutely perfect and down at a macro level its easy to ignore the rest of the place.

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Isn’t that just beautiful rose? Hows this next one for a good contrast?

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Same flower, different colour…but it just says something different…the red one has that classy, elegant feel where as this one sort of brings words like “natural” and “pure” to mind…or am I crazy?

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Don’t know what flower this is…any tips? I reckon I should’ve shot this closer though.

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I didn’t really care for this one…but its a little weird. It looks like they are four smaller flowers inside the large outside petals…theres actually a picture that I shot dead on center which shows it in focus but composition wise this one looks better so deal with it.

Need to go shower now. Have to sleep early, tomorrows my driving test! *Eek!* Wish me luck!

I don’t exactly know where to classify this place as. Some call it the Toowoomba Sunflower Field, some call it the Cambooya Sunflower patch, Either one is fine by me. Technically, we (as in Steph and I) found the sunflower field in a little place called Nobby, which is further down the road from Cambooya. There used to be loads in Cambooya but I was told by a friend who has to travel via that area to go to work that they didn’t plant them this year.

Bummer.

No fret, we just thought we’d take a drive and see what else we could find…we thought of turning back over five times but God must’ve been driving because I just followed the road until we got to a railway crossing. Across the road way up in the countryside was something yellow.

“It couldn’t be”, I thought…”Let’s check it out anyway!”. Steph also didn’t think that it could’ve been a sunflower field. We turned the car around and tried to find a way in that direction. We hit a couple of dead ends but eventually we were greeted with a huge sunflower field!

I’m talking BIG. It extends all the way to the horizon. Here’s a couple of pictures to give you an idea of what I’m talking about:

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That not enough for you? hmm..OK, imagine this: You are now seeing the image above in reality. Now turn 90 degrees to your left and you’re looking down the field from an elevated position…and this is what you see:

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Yup. Thats a heck of a lot of sunflowers. Just as I was getting my gear out of the car the owner of the field happened to walk by with his dog. I greeted him and he let me go crazy so I had myself a photo-frenzy. I didn’t have my camera out yet so I didn’t get a shot of him. Next time I’ll be sure to bring the polaroid so I can give him a little something for his generosity.

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Oh, by the way, be prepared to have your screen blasted with all sorts of shades of yellow. I love composing shots by colour. However, something funny happened while I was taking pictures of the sunflowers. Check out the image below and tell me whether or not its edited…

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Am I seeing things or does it look like an HDR image? (for the noobs out there who do not know HDR is High Dynamic Range. What is it? Google is your friend). It looked the same way on the camera screen which I thought was weird. This is actually straight from camera. No post processing, no photoshop, no nothing! Even looking at it now I can’t help but think how “edited” it looks…am I right?

Also, this wasn’t a one off thing. Check out the following six images which were all taken straight from camera with no post processing whatsoever. Only adjustments made (if any) are to crop and/or straighten the horizon.

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Is that weird or what? Those of you who follow me know that I like to get the shot right in camera but even I’m amazed at this! In the interest of full disclosure I will share some of my settings with those who are interested. Camera on variable aperture/shutter speeds depending on the shot (Duh!). All shot on “more vivid” picture mode, cloudy WB, and with a 0.9 (3x) Graduated Neutral Density filter (cheapo Tian Ya brand but works great!). Obviously a wide angle was used – in this case a Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 mostly at 10mm. Any explaination people?!

Moving on, we also brought along our little guinea pig, Shybrow who kind of got high from all that fresh vegetation.

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Shybrow is no little piggie, shes a big fat piggie and shes still growing but at around six months old and almost too big to hold her comfortable in one hand, shes no match for the sheer monstrosity that is a sunflower. I mean that thing could literally eat her up!

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Man, I could almost see this shot advertising for something…for example:

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How’s that? haha…fortunately that not the extent of my graphic design abilities but thats all I could think of in two minutes. Ideally, the sky would be a gorgeous deep blue but I’ll have to go back again in the near future to get that shot. More about revisiting this place at the end of the post.

Heres a shot that was inspired by another photo I saw somewhere on the internet but I can’t remember where. If I find it I’ll credit it.

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Sunflowers are one of the few “photogenic” flowers. I say so because of their beautiful texture. Not to say that other flowers aren’t great but a macro lens and a sunflower would really produce some amazing results. I didn’t bring one along as it was a cloudy day and I knew it would be too windy to take macro shots (maybe next time I can steal a flower and photograph it at home?) For now, the crappy Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 will have to do.

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Heres a great little pano I shot:

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Altogether we were there for over an hour. Brandon called me and said that it was raining in Toowoomba so we packed up and left. Looking up there was a flock of birds. I had my telephoto lens on so I took a couple of shots of them. Nothing impressive but I sort of like this picture:

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Would have loved to stay til sunset…but that was hours away. Perhaps next time. For now I can only imagine…

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As I previously mentioned, I will be going back there to get some shots with blue sky instead of a cloudy one. If you don’t already know, this area has been in a 6 year drought and having clouds is a rarity so I took the opportunity to make the most of it. I will be going back on a nice clear summer day to get some different perspectives. I’ll probably go down again in a week or so. Anyone interested in joining me? let me know in the comments!

Til next time, good bye and God bless!