23 October 2015

Sydney at night

It's been nearly 10 years since I last took photos of Sydney at night from across the Harbour bridge. Here's an earlier photo, taken when people were less concerned about saving electricity and left the lights on over night.
Opera House and night lights reflected, Sydney

And here's one taken this week. I'm not standing in the same place, which is why there's more of a gap between the Opera House and the rest of the city buildings. I also now take long exposures (this was 2 min 20 s), which makes for softer and brighter reflections.

Night skyline, Sydney
Here are two photos of a detail (Circular Quay) of the Sydney skyline taken 1.5 hours apart.
Circular Quay at night, SydneyCircular Quay at dawn, Sydney
I love the solitude and peacefulness of the city at this time of the day night (an hour or two before sunrise). And I get the pleasure of seeing a beautiful side of the city which you miss if you are only there during the day.
For more photos of Sydney, have a look at the Others/City gallery.

15 October 2015

Overcast night

It's been overcast in Sydney for a few days. We normally get rain when this happens, but not this time. The clouds stayed low over the city leading to mild temperatures and fairly still, dry conditions.

City lights tend to reflect off clouds, so these conditions presented an opportunity to photograph Sydney with the buildings against a light background. I was delighted with the results.
Golden city, Sydney

Overcast night, Sydney

Clicking on any of the images above will take you to the relevant galleries where you can seem more photos.

22 September 2015

Common and unusual


As you know, I love fog, so here's another image with fog. I love the way the sun shines through the fog to light up the side of the tree.
Tree and fog, Rooty Hill


The following images are not common, but unusual.

Firstly, here's a black and white (unusual for me) photo of an unusual event. I was in Mildura and decided to visit Lake Hawthorn (see also this post). But when I got there I couldn't even get out of the car due to the clouds and clouds of midges (small flies). The whole area was covered by them, looking more like smoke or fog than flies. So I sat in the car and shot this photo.
Midge madness, Mildura
Whilst visiting family in Victor Harbor, SA, I took the opportunity to go out before dawn to see if there was going to be an interesting sunrise, and there was. Here's an unusual treatment of one of the images where I've changed the white balance to make the blue-looking clouds grey. I love the colour contrast between the pink and grey.
You can see the the more common or natural looking photos in the Victor Harbor gallery.
Pink and grey, Victor Harbor
Finally, here's an unusual photo in that, at least to me, looks like the stars in the galaxy. In fact, it's the early morning sun shining through our bathroom window!
Galaxy, Blacktown

Clicking on any of the images above will take you to the relevant galleries where you can seem more photos.

06 August 2015


Google Map link
At the northern end of Coledale beach there's a tidal flat and across it are the remains of an old outflow pipe (sewage?). I first saw it driving back from taking photos at Wombarra (see previous post). What interested me was the morning light shining on the concrete pillars. It created an interesting colour contrast.
Outflow supports, Coledale
To get there you have to navigate a bit of an inlet. When I crossed it going to the tidal flat it was still dark. But on the way back, with the sun now well up in the sky, I noticed this beautiful green-clad rock amidst the surrounding grey ones. Not only that, but there was also a bright yellow reflection off the water and wet rocks - green and gold, a great combination.
Green rock, Coledale
Lastly, here's a very different take on sand lines compared to "Sand lines, Wombarra". A small creek flowing across the sand had carved out it's tracks and the morning sun caught the little ridges making them stand out clearly.
Sand lines, Coledale
Now, I've tweaked this one quite a bit to give it the feeling I like, which is why it's in the Art gallery. Just to give you some idea of what it actually looked like, here's the more "natural" image.

Clicking on any of the images above (except for the last one) will take you to the relevant galleries where you can seem more photos.

12 July 2015

Where is that?

I often return to the same locations from time to time, partly because conditions are constantly changing, and partly because my style of photographing changes over time. In the process of documenting where I took the photos, I've learnt the names of suburbs and towns that I didn't know existed.
Here are some photos taken recently from two such locations.


Google Maps link
Monterey is one of the Sydney suburbs beside Botany Bay. You get views of Sydney's skyline, planes landing at the airport, and the lights, cranes, and tanks at the Port Botany freight terminal. All of this from just one location - great value for money!
Sydney dawn skyline 2, Monterey

Port Botany tanks at dawn, Monterey
There are also other things that are interesting photographically, such as the groynes (those long fingers of rocks built out from the beach that you can see in the first photo above), and posts used to hold shark nets like the image below.
One post, Monterey


Google Maps link
There are a number of small coastal towns on the scenic road south from Sydney to Wollongong. I'm attracted to the beach pool at Wombarra as the still waters are great for reflecting the sky and the fence line adds an element of interest.
This photo was taken nearly an hour before sunrise. The colour of the sky isn't what you would have seen if you had been there, but the camera picked this white balance setting and I like the purple/yellow combination better than the blue/orange of the actual colours.
Pool at dawn 3, Wombarra
There's also a place where water flows across the sand into the sea and this leaves interesting patterns in the sand. The next image shows this, though I've changed the contrast and exposure quite a bit to give it the feeling I like.
Sand lines, Wombarra

You'll find these and other images in the Nature/Coastal, Others/City, and Others/Art galleries.

25 June 2015

Cold mornings


I went out early in the morning (OK, so it was actually night time - 4:30 am and the sun not due to rise until after 7 am) hoping to take photos of trees and street lights at the Penrith entry to the M4 motorway. The forecast had been for morning fog but when I got to Penrith there was none.
So I drove home and did a bit of a detour because there was fog in the Blacktown area, but nothing grabbed my attention. I was finally on my way home when I noticed that the lights had been left on at the stadium (accidentally, I assumed) and they were lighting up some trees in the adjacent park. I love the feel of these side-lit trees wrapped in mysterious fog.
Trees in night fog, Rooty Hill


There's a stand of trees at Marulan (about 140 km from home on the way to Goulburn) that I would love to photograph in fog lit up by the morning sun. I saw it once fleetingly as I was driving to visit family in Adelaide. I regularly return to this place when the weather bureau forecasts fog for the Goulburn area. When I got there this time there was fog (great!) but it had all dissipated by the time the sun had risen over the hills.
It was a cold and frosty morning (-2 °C) and I noticed that plants and fence lines had a coating of frost. While I waited for the sun to rise I took some photos. I have no idea what this plant is, but I think it's stunning the way the delicate branches are encased in frost and back lit by the rising sun. The ice drops on the spider web lines are an added bonus.
Frost rimed - light, Marulan

You can find these and other photos in the Nature/Blacktown and Nature/Southern Highlands galleries. You can also see all the most recent photos in the Recent gallery.

Soft lines

I like the shapes created by moving shadows (see Morning Shadows) and here is another one. As the early morning sun streams in through the blinds it is creates lines. These are then turned into a dancing shadow play by palm leaves gently waving in the wind.
Blind shadows V, Blacktown
Of course, a photograph is not the same as a video. So getting an image that is interesting requires taking lots of photos and then picking the ones that best express the feeling of the dancing shadows. I took 150 photos and only kept two.

You can see this and the other one in the Others/Abstract and Design gallery.

17 June 2015


We've lived in Blacktown for more than 30 years. The area around us has changed quite a bit over the years. I recently discovered a number of parks close to us that included a large field with a single tree in the middle of it. I thought this might be a good place to photograph the tree against the sky. All I needed was a nice sunset.
The day I chose to take the photos had some soft, high level cloud which I hoped would catch the light from the setting sun. I had finished taking my photos (about 15 minutes after sunset) and packed my gear away. Then I noticed that the sky had changed yet again and looked really interesting (yellow horizon where the sun had set, dark sky as night started to fall, and pink in the clouds catching the last light from the sun). So I quickly unpacked my camera and took a few more shots of the tree. I'm glad I did as this was my favourite and I ended up not keeping any of the earlier photos.

Tree at dusk, Blacktown
You can find this in the Nature/Blacktown and Recent galleries.

26 May 2015

Mixed bag

The latest additions to the web site are of lots of different types of photos:
  • Abstract
  • Design
  • City - autumn
  • Impressions
  • Nature - autumn
  • Nature - water
You can find them all in the Recent gallery or by looking through the various different categories: Nature/Water's Edge, Others/Impressions, Others/Abstract and Design, Nature/South West Plains, Nature/Blue Mountains, and Others/City.

Let me share with you the autumn and abstract ones.


I've found that we've had a rather wet and warm autumn, so I didn't come across the usual brilliant colours that are triggered by cold snaps and frost. But that doesn't mean autumn is boring. Here are three very different images that say "autumn" to me.

This first one is about the fog that is part and parcel of this season. I love the muffled quietness, the way subjects are isolated from each other, and the way distracting details are hidden in fog. These are trees in the median strip of a main road near to where I live.

Tree trunks in fog, Blacktown

I love the colour contrast and shapes in this next one. These leaves covered a section of sandstone wall. The colours looked stunning, but it took me some time to find leaves that were both interesting and separate from those around them.

Autumn red on sandstone, Blaxland
Lastly, these are vines on a cloudy morning near Mildura. The yellow and green autumn colours of the leaves contrast nicely with the pink and dark grey of the sky. Because the leaves aren't bright red and orange, they don't grab the attention, which makes the picture as a whole more interesting.

Vineyard at dawn, Gol Gol


I was walking across the causeway to Granite Island in Victor Harbor, SA. It was quite blustery and the wind was creating ripples on the top of the water. Add to this the fact that shallow waves were travelling under the causeway from two different directions (one set from the north east and another set which seemed to have come around the island from the south west). All of this created some very interesting textures on the water under the causeway. I took about 200 photos (it's easy to just point the camera down over the side of the causeway and click away as the waves and wind did their thing) but kept only three.
What I love about these is the feeling you are looking at a landscape from way up in the sky. I imagine the three photos printed large and hanging side by side on a big wall.
You can see all three of the images in the Others/Abstract and Design gallery, This one is my favourite.
Topographic 3, Victor Harbor

17 March 2015

Surprised by joy

(With a nod to CS Lewis)
One of the delightful joys of photography for me is the surprise of coming across something that I immediately want to photograph. This is not the result of careful planning or of patiently waiting for the right conditions to materialize, rather it's the happy discovery of an unexpected beauty.
I find that many of my photos fall into this category. Here's the latest example plus a couple more.

Gum trees

I decided to drive up to Blackheath to check out a park that might be interesting photographically. The day was overcast and drizzly and a bit misty as the mountains were in the clouds.
On the way through Katoomba some pale gum trees in the mist caught my eye. I took the next turn-off and tried to muddle my way back to the road I had just passed. As I was driving around I came across another group of pale gums that were perfect! So for the next hour I stood around in the mist photographing these trees.
When I was processing the photos at home I tried different combinations - pale trees in a dark image, various lighter versions, a very light or high key version - and fell in love with the high key version.
I ended up with this delightfully surprising photo only because I caught a glimpse of something that interested me, I drove through parts of Katoomba that I'd never been in before, and the weather just happened to be heavily overcast and wet (I went back the following day when it was dry and the trees were uninspiring).
Ribbon bark gums High Key, Katoomba
You can see this in the Others/Art gallery. Also have a look at the more "normal" version of this image in the Nature/Blue-Mountains gallery.

Rubber tree

I was out for a walk on my way to a a coffee shop. I'd been reading a book by Bruce Barnbaum called The Art of Photography and really liked some of his high contrast black and white photos. As I walked along I saw some leaves on a tree which reminded me of Bruce's black and white photos because they were glossy, dark, and had bright stems. I didn't have my camera with me, so I went back a number of times to take photos of the leaves - the conditions had to be just right: not bright or else the reflections on the leaves are overexposed, and no wind or the leaves sway in the breeze and blur in the photo.
I took about 70 photos but only kept this one. I tried a black and white version of it, but I prefer this coloured version a lot more.
Rubber tree leaves, Blacktown
You can see this in the Nature/Blacktown gallery.

Blind gap

I was standing in our lounge room and noticed that there was a gap in the drawn blinds. And just in the gap I could see a few small roses - all lined up to fit in the narrow strip of a gap.
Blind gap, Blacktown
Regrettably you won't find this in Gracious Light because, while I love the look and concept of this image, I got the top and centre roses too close to the blind. I should have moved them a fraction to the left. Ah, well. Mistakes do happen, but they provide opportunities to learn and improve skills.

So, there you have it - three examples of being surprised and delighted by unexpected and unplanned-for images. For more photos that I've taken recently see the Recent gallery.