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From a Different Place

One of the first things I realised when I got to the beach at Brighton yesterday was that you could see the city from there.  One of the amazing things about Melbourne is that the city is the only place that has skyscrapers, and you can see it from a long way away. I showed some images two days ago of the city from the East.  Here is the city from somewhere completely different.

This is the view you could see from the beach.  You can see the city off in the distance.  In between where we are is St Kilda.

This image is pretty much the same, only zoomed it more so you can see the city more.  I really like the cloudy sky and the sun hitting the tall buildings.

All these images have been 5 image bracketed shots.  Again, with the cloudy sky and the buildings, I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything.  They are all processed the same way as the images were yesterday.

There was a separation between the clouds and the horizon so as the sun hit the back of the clouds there were sun rays coming out the bottom of the clouds.  They looked a lot better in person, than what this photo shows.  I have never really tried to photograph them before, I think there must be an art to it.

This is pretty much the same image as the previous one, only I turned towards the beach boxes a little more.  You can see them on the far right, I hope.

It was nice getting some different images of the city and perhaps I should try and do more.  You can get images of the city in many, many different places.  Get anywhere with a bit of height and you can see them.  You can even see them from the top of a hill near me.  I should go and take some photos one night, do you think?

Some Expensive Real Estate

When I woke up this morning, I had planned on going to Mostsalvat to take photos.  Montsalvat is an artists colony in Eltham.  They have some beautiful buildings and it is an amazing place.  I wanted to go in the morning, but then I realised I had to be somewhere at 12, so there was no time to go.  I had to think about where else to go and there was one place I’ve been meaning to get to for years and late afternoon was the perfect time of day for it.

On Brighton Beach are a number of these boxes.  They are a famous landmark in Melbourne.  It is amazing that I haven’t photographed them before.  They appear in many publications about Melbourne and by the number of people there taking photos, I would say it is a very popular place to go and take photos.

I took all the images with 5 bracketed shots and they are all HDR’s with various degrees of post editing.  Again, I’ve used Photomatix for the HDR’s and Photoshop CS5 for the post editing.  I decided that HDR’s would be a good option due to the cloudy sky and the brightness of the boxes.

I really wanted to capture the boxes straight on with the clouds behind them.  I like the contrast between the clouds and the colourful boxes.

The boxes have a very long history in Melbourne and there is a website that gives lots of information about them.  If you are interested click here.  They are all privately owned and when they come up for sale, they seem to sell for around $200,000.  They are an expensive piece of real estate.  They have no amenities, you can’t live in them.  You have to pay rates, apparently they are around $500 a year.  Not bad for a wooden box that just sits on the beach.

There are a lot of them, no idea how many exactly.  They all have numbers and they are all painted in very different ways.  They are certainly very colourful.

I took my daughters with me and I think I really need to start going on my own.  One of them didn’t bring a jacket, even though I said she should, so she was cold and wanted to go.  I should have know it would happen.  I get worried about going places on my own, so I should start to get over that and just go.

I was hoping to show one of the photos I took with Instagram, I sent it to facebook, but it has disappeared into cyberspace somewhere.  If I ever find what happened to it, I will post it.  So enjoy the beach boxes.

Field Trip – More on the City

When we first went out, we were going to photograph the freeway, that was the main reason for the field trip, but as we were heading to the boulevard, I could see some amazing lights hitting the city, so I suggested we stop there.

There was a beautiful sunset and it seemed like the right thing to do, to stop and see what we could get.  The light was hard, with the bright light coming from the setting sun, and everything else was dark, so the only thing to do, well so it seemed, was to do some bracketed shots and do some HDR’s.

We were only here for a short time, but it is amazing how much the light changed in that time.

I am hoping that I am getting these in the right order, but I think you can see that more lights have come on in the buildings in the city, so it would be a fair bet that this one was taken after the last one.  Of course, if I had any sense, I would do the HDR’s in the order I originally took the image, like I said, if I had any sense.

I love these images.  I don’t know what it is about them.  My husband said they had a futuristic look about them, I don’t know if that is true, but they have something.

The freeway lights have come on, and I know this was one of the last images I took.  I don’t know which one is the best, you can help me decide.  Please?

I have taken photos from this spot before, but the last time it was already dark and the images were just lights, much like the ones I showed earlier today.  I like the clouds behind these.

As I already said, they are all HDR’s, with 7 bracketed shots.  I used Photomatix to process the HDR’s and then did post editing with Photoshop CS5.

I wasn’t going to show this, but I like the city in this one and the lighting was similar to the other one.  What do you think?

Perhaps another day I will show some more, but that is enough for today.  Two posts in one day for me.  Unusual, but don’t expect it too often.  Sometimes, I just have too many photos to show.

Field Trip – A Sneak Peak

Last night was another field trip and we went to the Yarra Boulevard and took some photos of the city.  I used my remote shutter release and let it take long exposures of bracketed shots while I supervised the others. It worked quite well.  I wasn’t that interested in taking too many shots as I have done these before.

The above image is not something I have taken before and it was a new spot we tried.  I think it was great, and think it would be great to go back there some time when the sun is setting.

The image is a HDR, I don’t think I would have been able to get the detail in the sky if it wasn’t a HDR.  I should have a look at the straight images and see what i can do with them.

I zoomed in more for this image.  No idea if it is better, though you lose a lot of the detail that is in the sky.

I have some others, that I will try posting later today.

Bracketing Shots, yes, no

Recently I discovered that I could take bracketed shots with my camera.  It does it automatically for you.  I can select 3, 5, 7 or 9 shots.  I have only done the 9 once.  It is interesting, it does the first shot at the right exposure and then does a series of images from darkest to lightest.

I usually do them for HDR’s, though I do remember doing bracketed shots when I was working with film.  It was a good practice incase your camera doesn’t expose an image properly.  It has happened to us all, where we have taken images and then looked at them and realised they were either overexposed or underexposed.  It doesn’t happen so much now because you can see straight away with digital.  Or does it?

This image was taken last weekend when I went Arthurs Creek.  I was bracketing shots because I thought I was going to use them for HDR’s, which of course I did.  But one of the things I noticed when I got home and put the images on my computer is that the first shot in each set was overexposed.  So the shot above is the first shot in the set.  Here is the fourth shot in the series.

To me this is the right exposure.  It is the fourth exposure so it shouldn’t be right.  This is one of those times where I am glad I took bracketed shots. One of the things you might have noticed is that the trees in the background of the first one are really washed out, whereas in the second they are all there.  I have used curves in both of them to even them out, nothing else.  As you can see in the first the trees don’t come back, if they aren’t there you can’t make them there.

This can happen a lot.  I would recommend that using bracketed shots can be a worthwhile thing to do.  You don’t need to use 9, but using 3 is good, one above, one below and one at the suggested settings.  With digital you aren’t wasting shots or paying for images that don’t work, but you might find it interesting to see how your camera takes images.

It is Everywhere

Can you guess what I am talking about?

Instagram.

The above image is my first attempt at doing one.  Jason over at O’Brien’s Pix has been trying to get me to use it for a while.  The first problem was that I don’t have an iphone, but they have brought it out for Android now, so I had no excuses.  Took me a while to work out how to get on it and today I finally worked out that I had downloaded the wrong thing.  I have it now.

You can apply some pretty jazzy special effects, though you don’t have a lot of choice with the basic app that you can download. I know that there are other people who use instagram all the time and have downloaded other apps to help with the manipulation of the images.  I haven’t gone that far yet.  This is my first day.

I thought today I would try playing around with it and tried to remember to take photos throughout the day.  The above image was taken at the supermarket.  I wanted to take something else, but forgot all about it until we were at the checkout, so this was close.

One of the things I’ve found is that it isn’t quick.   I also found that after you have done the image, you don’t seem to be able to save the images to your phone.  After you work on the image you have to upload it to something, facebook, twitter etc.  I find that a little annoying.  If you don’t upload it, then you lose the work you have done.  I’m sure there must be some way of uploading the photos to wordpress, but haven’t worked that out yet.

Remember the sunflowers from a few weeks back, well I still have them and this is what they look like now.  Well, with help from Instagram.

I was discussing it with my husband and I was telling him how you have to upload the images, he suggested I check out the copyright terms.  He thought that I might lose the copyright of my images, so I check out the conditions and found this

By displaying or publishing (“posting”) any Content on or through the Instagram Services, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide, limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such Content, including without limitation distributing part or all of the Site in any media formats through any media channels, except Content not shared publicly (“private”) will not be distributed outside the Instagram Services.

So it looks like he was right.  If you put instagram images up, then the instagram company can do whatever they like with the images and there is nothing you can do about it, because you have agreed to the terms when you started using it.  That is a worry.  If you have an amazing image, they could make millions using it for advertising and there would be nothing you could do about it.  Sounds like, you would still own the copyright, but you would share it with them.  I could be wrong, but that is how it reads.

Just to be on the safe side, I would only use fun photos.  I wouldn’t be giving them access to any images that I thought were fantastic.  I am sure you can do a lot of the stuff that they do on Photoshop.

Another thing that concerns me is the terms you have to agree to if you want to sell your images through their gallery.  You only get 20% of the sale price.  That is crap.  I don’t care if they are doing the marketing for you, or whatever, it is a rip off.  I have had work in galleries and the most they take is 40%, so you get 60% and you decide the price.  I don’t know if you can decide the price on instagram.  I also have to wonder how many images they sell when people are putting up 100’s.

This is for Amanda from Wannabephotographer87.  Amanda this is our cat Tiddles, don’t laugh at his name.

Time will tell how it goes, perhaps it will be like polaroid images from the 70’s.  It is certainly a craze right now.  I have to wonder how long people will keep doing it.  Also, as more people start doing it, it also becomes very common.  I am not going to say that I am not going to do it, I will, I know I will.  I will have fun with it, but my DSLR will always be number 1 for me.

Lest We Forget

They are words that I have been hearing my whole life.  In Australia, the 25th of April is ANZAC day.  Everyone in this country knows what that is.  Well people who grow up here.  It is hard to include everyone when it is a multicultural country and we have lots of new immigrants.

What is ANZAC day?  It is primarily a day of remembrance, a day to remember everyone who fought for our country and died trying.  It really started with the soldiers who lost their lives in Gallipoli.  I am not going to go into the history of it all, Wikipedia explains it really well.

Every town in this country has one of these.

This is a war memorial and it usually has all the names of the soldiers who died engraved onto it.  I don’t know if this one does.  This one is in Heidelberg and right near the hospital, that is the Austin and Mercy in the background.  There would have been a service there this morning.  There is a massive memorial in the city, and I was going to go and take photos of the parade they have, but it was raining “cats and dogs” this morning.  Maybe next year.

I did this as a quick HDR, though I don’t think it is as good as the ones that aren’t HDR’s, perhaps more detail in the sky, but that is about it.

ANZAC day is a strange day.  There are many many people who consider it very special.  People who have lost people in war, or have family that served.  It originally was for World War I men who served, then it incorporated WWII, now it is for all wars.

I don’t know how I feel about it.  No one in my family, that I’m aware of, ever served.  No one I know ever died in a war.  ANZAC is a day to remember, but when they do the minutes silence, I have no one to remember.  It is not that I am ungrateful that people died or served, but it happened a very long time ago and I think I tend to think of the mistakes that were made, and why were Australian soldiers being used like canon fodder when, for most of the wars we are talking about, weren’t anywhere near us.  Perhaps I’m being selfish.

I do believe we should remember, they were horrible times, but I also think we need to remember that war is started by people who will never fight, and never have to deal with it the same way that everyone has to.  I don’t like war, and I think most wars are a waste of human life.  I probably aren’t explaining myself very well.

We tend to remember the soldiers, but what about the sacrifices those people who lived in war torn areas had to make.  Or wives and children who husbands and fathers went away to war.  The Memorials all say the men who died, but war doesn’t affect only the men, it affects everyone, and I think more thought should be given to that.

This is the last image I am going to show, this one is my favourite.  I just wish I had got more of the flag in it.  That will teach me to allow myself to be rushed.

War is bad, but I do agree if we forget the past then we are likely to repeat history.  I also believe that we should remember those that died.  I am just not sure about the way we do it now.

I have no idea what people do in other countries.  A dawn service is held here, and then later in the morning in the city there is a ANZAC day March.  It is also a public holiday here and the shops stay shut until 1pm.  It is also the only day of the year that the game 2up is legal to play, I believe.

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