22 September 2014

Morning shadows

We have lived in our current house for more than 30 years, yet I'm still caught by surprise and wonder at the beautiful images I discover.
I had opened the blinds in the kitchen so that the sunlight could come in. I had already had my breakfast and had gone out to get ready for the day. When I came back into the kitchen, I saw that the sun was up, shining through the blinds onto the wall next to the breakfast table. There was a slight breeze and the leaves on the palm tree next door were moving slightly. Because the early morning sun was shining through the leaves, this created a moving texture of light on the wall.
This, in and of itself, would have been interesting, though not worth photographing. However, there was also a flower in a vase on the breakfast table which created a wonderful shadow surrounded by the moving palm leaf shadows.
I took some photos, but ran out of time because the rising sun soon changed position and the textured look disappeared.
When I looked at the photos I realised that it need a bit more planning to get the balance right and that I needed a flower with a more definite shape.
So, for the next two weeks I bought a gerbera each week, telling the flower seller that I didn't care about the colour, only the shape, which surprised him a bit. During that time the weather made things difficult by being either overcast or having clouds where the sun would rise. I eventually managed to get a repeat of the conditions I was looking for and with a nicely shaped flower and was able to get this photo.
Shadow flower V, Blacktown
You can see this in the Others/Art gallery along with a landscape version of the image.

13 August 2014

Foggy morning

Another morning outing to see what the fog produces. I left early, while it was still dark. I'd been out for about 40 minutes when this caught my eye. I love light rays and this was perfect:
Light fog, Castlereagh
I also decided to visit the Nepean river crossing near Agnes Banks just in case something nice happened. As it turned out, the fog was too thick for the sun to shine through it (fog and sun - great combination). But I was captivated with the feeling of emptiness created by the fog. A featureless grey backdrop that turned the quiet water surface into a similarly grey nothingness. I tried a few different options to capture the feeling of emptiness, but nothing was really working for me.
I'd seen these branches out on the water and was about to finish up, when I saw a bird land on one of the branches. That turned an empty image into an interesting empty image:
Bird in fog, Yarramundi
Warning: photography content

In spite of my years taking photos and being clear about what I like and what works well, I made a mistake with this one. I positioned the branches on the left and lower quadrant of the image. It feels grounded, balanced (centre of attention versus emptiness), and comfortable in that position. But the bird was looking at the frame. So I simply had to move the branches and bird to the right hand side (RHS) so that the bird was looking into the empty space. I could have done this at the time I took the photo (if I had been thinking about this), instead of doing it in Lightroom.
I took about 40 photos of this, trying to capture the bird in different positions. Because the subject was on the left hand side (LHS) I was hoping for the bird to look to the right (into the space), but that never happened. This shows I was aware of the problem of having the bird looking at the frame, but it never occurred to me to put the subject on the RHS. Also, the bird kept looking looking straight ahead and then left and shifting its position slightly. I went with this photo because the bird is leaning slightly to the left and has a clear profile.
And I've ended up with a stunning photo that perfectly captures what I was looking for - soft foggy image, emptiness, simplicity, muted colours, and yet captivating.

You'll find these images (and a couple of others) in the Others/City and Nature/Water's Edge galleries.

15 June 2014

Night life too

Ever since the night I took this photo, I've been looking for the conditions to be right for the second one. That happened yesterday. But more about that later.
Fog light, Blacktown
I love fog, as I've mentioned in Lithgow and other places. The weather forecast had said that there would be fog so I got up early to go to the mountains. Before I'd driven five minutes from home I came across this streetlight and just had to photograph it. I love the shape of the light streaming out - like a cone of light, the softness and isolation that the fog creates and the simplicity of the image, not to mention the leaning posts.
The rest of the morning was no good for photos as the fog had disappeared before I'd even got to the foothills of the Blue Mountains.

On the short drive from home to this streetlight I saw that in places the streetlights created puddles of light because the road was damp. Normally, when the roads are dry, you get a more diffuse light. But when they are wet, the light reflection stands out more clearly. The conditions would have to be right: wet roads but not raining (I don't like getting wet!), even spacing of the street lights, no traffic, and an appropriate length of road.
Yesterday morning (2:30 am!) the conditions looked promising. It had been raining recently, it wasn't actually raining, and there was no traffic. So I went off looking for streets that might have the right placement of lights and shape. It took me over an hour to find what I was looking for, but this was exactly right:
Light rain, Rooty Hill
You'll find these two images in the Others/City gallery.

08 June 2014

Night life

I visited friends on the Central Coast and we went for a walk after dinner. The sky was heavily overcast which generally doesn't interest me photographically - I like the contrast between light and dark, not uniform greyness. But I was surprised to find that the lights of the northern Sydney suburbs were reflected by the clouds creating an image that I just had to photograph - a wonderful contrast between light and dark.

Night lights, Ettalong
I realized that this could also work early in the morning, so I got up well before sunrise to take some more photos, but this time of the Gosford city lights. This is the last one I took before the sky became too light. I love the way the mooring posts stand out so clearly on the right hand side of the photo.

Night lights 2, Empire Bay
You can see these and other photos in the the following gallery: Nature/Coastal. Or, as always, in the Recent gallery (for a few months only).

04 May 2014

Mount Wilson

I have a reminder set in my calendar to visit Mount Wilson and other places during autumn (fall, for any Americans). I didn't expect very much this year as we've had fairly warm and rainy weather. You need cold snaps to create the wonderful colours typically associated with autumn.
But I was pleasantly surprised when I went up there. There wasn't the riot of colours I like, but there were some interesting images that grabbed my attention. Here are two of them; first the "normal" one:
Autumn tree trunk 2, Mt Wilson
Now the impressionistic one:

Autumn IM02, Mt Wilson
I also want to share this image with you. I love the soft colours, the way the light is graduated on the blinds, and the simplicity of the design. It was taken in our lounge room.
Light blinds, Blacktown
You can see all these photos in the the following galleries: Others/Abstract and Design, Nature/Blue Mountains, and Others/Impressions. Or, as always, in the Recent gallery (for a few months only).

09 February 2014

Socially minded

As you probably know, there's a Facebook page for Gracious-Light. I've recently added a Google+ page as well. Both of these are extensions of this blog as I'll post news and information here first, then share it on Facebook and Google+. Links to this blog, Facebook, and Google+ are on every page of the Gracious-Light web page.
I've also added Facebook "like" and Google+ "+1" buttons to Gracious-Light.
This should make it easier for all of you to share things on Gracious-Light.

While I'm writing this post, I'd also like to share a recent photo I added. It's a photo of the Iron Cove bridge taken early in the morning. I just love how the bars of the reflected lights fill the whole picture.
I went back a few times to take another photo (I wanted to make some changes to the camera settings I had used), only to discover that this is an unusual photo. It requires the tides and weather to cooperate otherwise the reflections are too short or the light morning wind disturbs the reflections. Needless to say, I didn't get to take another photo that looked as good as this one.

Iron Cove bridge, Haberfield