Green and Pink

Last week I managed to get some extra shooting time in, which was great, but possibly a signal that I would not be able to do so much this week. Misfortune would have it that the day after my half marathon I stood on a nasty big rusty nail, which has left me limping around home on meds. My cameras are looking at me, but I cant get much further than the front door… the weather is amazing also!

Not much of a story to tell for today’s image, shot on the Nex 5N. Close up of some bright pink flowers with the kit lens.

Catch you you tomorrow!

It’s Emily Again

Over the weekend we were visited by our friend Emily, for an impromptu BBQ. Whilst waiting for the food to cook I took a few snaps with my 5N and the Sigma lens.

Although the focus wasn’t crystal sharp on today chosen image, it was one of my favourites simply for the day-dreamy though in her eyes/face.

Shot at 400iso, under a old light, I played with the levels a little to bring up the whites and create a bit more of a softness to the skin tone.

Thanks again for the pose Emily!

Here and Gone

Another two shot image today. I took ‘Here and Gone’ down at the Onepoto Domain on the North Shore. A great mid sized park with tracks to walk and cycle, a playground for kids and a like where hobby radio control sail boats are often raced. Its also packed with ducks, gulls, pukeko and pigeons.

Heading down with my Nex, I was aiming to look for some bird-life to get with the 210mm zoom. I did capture a number, but chose the above sequence for the simple there then gone story it tells.

In Gimp I simply put the two images onto one canvas and resized. Nice and simple for a Monday!

Waiting for the Marathon

Today marked the annual Auckland Marathon – New Zealand’s biggest marathon that starts at Devonport on the North Shore, heads into the CBD, out of it to the east bays and back into the CBD again. The more popular half Marathon also takes a similar journey, ending in the CBD rather than continuing on.

For a number of years now I have got back into entering such events, and for the Auckland Marathon, this was my third half, also doing the full marathon several years previous. I think I can firmly say its also my least training half marathon (literally having about 4 runs over the last 3 weeks to get prepared).

There is always an energetic buzz of excitement and nervousness as we count down to begin. Some people are entering for the first time, unsure what to expect, others are old hats, clear what they are getting themselves into. As the first 3-5km pass I run by a number of people who have unfortunately taken off to strong and ended up pulling muscles or twisting joints. The local residents turn out in the mass cheering people on. We hear towards the harbour bridge crossing and the number of runners chatting dies as breaths become louder and faster. The final 3 km’s are torture – not just because the legs want to stop for a walk, but because the sun is fully up, and we are running past the tank farms – local storage of petrol, diesel and the like. Then you finish!

I would have loved to take more images, but this is one such outing where I needed to focus on the goal. I was quite pleased that with limited training, I didn’t stop once throughout the race, and although not a personal best, it was closer to that side than the other. My legs wont be thanking me for it tomorrow though…well they are already complaining!

Image wise, I played around with how to combine and display the ‘in front’ and ‘behind’ me groups, but in the end simply settled on combining the two with a simple boarder divide. They were the only two I snapped as we waited for the countdown. I also added a cross-process filter which helped give the blown out white sky in the left photo a bit of a golden tone.

Outside the PumpHouse

Back at Lake Pupuke for a walk with the Nex 5N and kit lens, I captured The PumpHouse up a little closer than I have before in a previous post. Once used, unsurprisingly, to pump water to the local suburbs, the PumpHouse is now home to a cafe, and hosts regular stage shows and art works.

Image wise, using Gimp, I played around with some of the film grain simulators. They are fairly customizable, and although nothing is real film grain, I think they can do a pretty good job if that is the look you are going for. I also applied a sharp filter and played with the levels a little until I got the look I was after.

Tomorrow morning is the Auckland Marathon. I’ll be in the half marathon, so don’t think I will get the opportunity to take any action shots, but will see if I can get something themed around it…assuming my low-to-no training allows me to walk after!

One Gear

Quite a few years back I started building a few single speed and fixed gear bikes. At the time, it was before the whole single speed/ ‘Fixie’ culture took off, and only the bike couriers and track cyclists in the area had them. I have often had conversations with people as to why do I have one gear, fixed at that.

For me its a combination of simplicity and movement. Bikes are an amazing piece of machinery. By modern standards, there is nothing particularly technical about them. As far as bikes go, nothing rides, is as silent, or simple as a fixed gear bike. You are also part of the bike, or it of you, when riding. Much like walking or running, you cant just lift your feet to coast down a hill, nor can you change your leg size to climb up a hill. If you want to go slower or faster, you move your legs slower or faster. If you want you can go backwards!

I’m not in any way knocking geared bikes, they are great, and in many ways more practical. Perhaps its like the film vs digital debate in cameras – both take pictures, but they create them in slightly different ways, and provoke different feelings.

That’s my few lines on bicycles for the day. Image wise, I converted to B&W in Gimp and added a vignette.

Catch ya tomorrow!

Sun Searcher

I think whenever one is struggling to find an interesting shot, its always good to switch to macro and explore the smaller world a little. ‘Cant see the wood for the trees’ is not quite the right expression I am looking for – but sometimes stopping, sitting and looking a little closer opens up a whole new world…’Stop to smell the flowers’?

Today’s shot, ‘Sun Searcher’ came about from a walk I took the other day. It had been a long day, and searching for inspiration felt a little like it was hiding. Taking a short stop I noticed a line of buttercups on the crest of a small grass mound. Almost approaching sunset, the light was getting quite low – the golden hour. I took a few shots and settled on the above for today.

Using Gimp in post processing, I added a cross-processed filter and then adjusted the levels more to my liking. Something about cross-processing always adds a bit more of a ‘memory’ effect to images. Its quite popular with a range of modern smart-phones (and digi cameras) at present – a sort of instant retro I guess.

The ‘Behind’

When out looking for shots, whether it be in the bush, or more-so in built up areas like town, I am always more interested in finding the less trodden path. Along small alleyways, behind big department stores, up delivery drives and near fire escapes – all are often more interesting than the ‘front door’. I think usually it is because they are run down, dirty and…well, not in need of being presented, because few people intended for inside go there.

Today’s image is one such that I took in town over the weekend with my Ricoh GR1, using ilford PAN 400 film. My film scanner has colour and B&W settings, and I used the colour setting which gave me the more sepia finish. I decided to keep it rather than convert to grey-scale. Other than that, using Gimp I straightened the image a little, applied a sharpening filter and kept the image as is.

Its been a little while since I used my Rollei 35. I have been meaning to measure its light-meter calibration against one of my digital’s. If I have time this weekend (outside running a ‘limited training’ half marathon), I might stick my last Ilford in it and give it a run.

Frustration

Frustration is something that hits all of us at some time or another. Perhaps its dealing with an awkward customer, job or family member. It might also be self directed due to ones inability to do something they feel they should be able to, or because they didn’t perform as well as they expected.

Often when you practice a bit of mindfulness and look at the reasons for the frustration – break them down, it can alleviate, or at worst give one a learning point for next time. I was recently discussing this at work, where a colleague talked about the frustration they had with something their partner did. when they stopped to think about it they worked out the frustration was because the said partner was not behaving the way they wanted them to. They then went a step further and look at why the partner might be doing what they are doing – and also spoke to them about it. That new perspective put a whole new twist on the event, and the deeper understanding no longer caused them to get frustrated each time.

Today’s image ‘Frustration’ came more from one of the learning for next time events. The image was one of my possible finals for part of a series of images for a competition…only I misread the final submission time and missed out by 2 hours. After a quick run to ‘steam’ it off, I was content with the fact there was nothing that could be done, and hoped I would not make the same mistake next time.

Image wise, snapped on the GRD IV, I converted to B&W and resized in Gimp.

At least I got to put it up somewhere!

NZ Labour Day Relax

As I mentioned on Friday, today is Labour Day in New Zealand. to quote from Wikipedia:

In New Zealand, Labour Day is a public holiday held on the fourth Monday in October. Its origins are traced back to the eight-hour working day movement that arose in the newly founded Wellington colony in 1840, primarily because of carpenter Samuel Parnell‘s refusal to work more than eight hours a day. He encouraged other tradesmen also to work for only eight hours a day and in October 1840, a workers’ meeting passed a resolution supporting the idea. On October 28, 1890, the 50th anniversary of the eight-hour day was commemorated with a parade. The event was then celebrated annually in late October as either Labour Day or Eight-Hour Demonstration Day. In 1899 government legislated that the day be a public holiday from 1900. The day was celebrated on different days in different provinces. This led to ship owners complaining that seamen were taking excessive holidays by having one Labour Day in one port then another in their next port. In 1910 the government stipulated that the holiday would be observed on the same day throughout the nation.

Although I took this image last week, I chose to keep it for today as it highlights what for me Labour Day is – a day to relax, take back some of that work-life balance (well, on a day off, throw it out the window and not work at all). Sadly for many in our modern consumer driven ‘now’ times, many people don’t get to enjoy Labour Day. Sure the working week for many may be ~40 hours, but come a public holiday everyone still want/needs to shop etc. etc. The malls are full, and the poor shopkeepers are busier than a normal working day. There has been a lot of talk in recent years about opening stores on Christmas day. What happened to relaxing and taking the family out somewhere that does not involve shopping (I read somewhere shopping is in the top 3 recreational activities for several western countries now).

I recall when shops were not open on Sundays (I was pretty young at the time). TV didn’t have ad’s on Sundays (then again, TV was not on 24/7 either!). I think there is a level of moving with the times, and modernising for sure, but should it come at the expense of well-being?

I am lucky enough to have a workplace that observes stat holidays, so for me, I’ll relax, and pay a thought to those who unfortunately don’t get the option to.

Image wise, in Gimp I desaturated the image slightly, but didn’t make any other changes other then the usual resize.

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