Farewell 2012

Farewell 2012

A quick shot in between bits and pieces for the last day of 2012. Heading out for a bike ride, it was a beautiful day to cycle around, and for the beach.

Today (as anyone reading knows) marks the end of 2012. Typically a time of the year when people make resolutions and changes heading into the new year. For some its a change of jobs, improving those eating habits, cutting out drinking etc etc… I’m not generally one to have strong new year resolutions. Last year it was to not buy any more digital cameras for the whole year. I survived that, but do have more 35mm film cameras (at a fraction of the cost generally). 2013…I’m not sure yet. I guess I have several hours to decide…maybe

Image shot  at Narrow Neck beach on the Ricoh GRD IV and resized in Gimp.

To all of you who follow my posts and read the content, I wish you the best of wishes heading into 2013. Happy New Year!


No Family Portrait Today

Family Photo

Catching up with friends today in Devonport for Fish and Chips, it was decided the time was right for a family portrait…well, for all but the youngest member Emily. As soon as everyone lined up and cameras were at the ready, Emily heard the call of the sea-saw and rushed off.

I captured today’s shot just before she fell out of frame. Shot on the Ricoh GRD IV, in bleach bi-pass mode, I loved the lighting effect and the almost street photography like quality of the image.

In post processing using Gimp, I kept the focus on Emily and added some blur to different stages of the background. Other than the blur, its as is from the camera.

One more day left for 2012. Prior to a celebration/welcoming of 2013 with friends, I plan to be out for some of the day on the bicycle. I’m not sure where we will be going as yet, but likely I will find something to shoot!

Still Before Sun

Still before Sun

Now I am on holiday, sleep has been avoiding me for some reason. Still Before Sun was shot yesterday morning ~5.30am whilst on an early morning stroll down by the water. Prior to the sun coming up everything was still – only the odd person was about, there was no wind and the ocean was equally silent. Several birds were diving into the sea to get their breakfast, and the air was yet to warm up.

Shot on the Sony Nex and Sigma lens, I added some vignetting and noise/’film grain’ in Gimp 2.8.

Although I didn’t use any today, I downloaded some additional packages for Gimp that I will try out some time. For those that stop by often, you will be aware that Gimp 2.8 is my photo editor of choice. In fact, its been so long since I regularly used Photoshop, my work flow is really affected when I do switch back on the odd occasion.

The additional packages actually came about with a system change. For several years now, my main computer has been running Ubuntu – Linux. I also regularly use several versions of OSX and Windows, but have long been a fan of Linux and the community behind it. This morning I backed up and switched to Linux Mint (and hence re-assembled my Gimp setup). Its been getting rave reviews for some time, and so far, one day in, I am enjoying it.

I have still been meaning to get a few write-ups about my cameras, or ‘what’s in my bag’…I will endeavour to start on that before my holidays end!

Beside the Bombay Hills


At the southernmost point of Auckland is the Bombay Hills. For Aucklander’s they signal one is leaving ‘town’ and heading into the country. For non-Aucklander’s, it signals they are approaching the big city. Whilst mostly tongue and cheek, there is a bit of a division between Auckland and some other areas of the country. Its widely said not to say you are from Auckland – in reality I have never had a bad experience from it, just some friendly jesting from one Kiwi to another.

A popular area for various crops, what I love about the Bombay Hills is the amazing view one can get when driving south. Different seasons give a completely different, but equally magnificent view. Today’s image was just to the left, along a small road.

Shot on the Ricoh GRD IV(28mm) in bleach bi-pass mode, aside from resizing, I made no edits – its straight from the camera.

Not many days left in 2012 now!

Huntly, the River and the Power Station


On a trip to sell my car and visit some non-Auckland second hand shops, we passed through Huntly today. One of those ‘in between’ places, I have fond memories of Huntly from childhood as it was a common morning tea stop when we went away on family holidays.

Huntly is also home of the Huntly Power Station – a gas/coal station. Commissioned  in 1983, from what I understand, the power station is in its later phase of life with coal produced electricity not being the top choice for NZ. However, its likely we will still see it running for some time yet.

In the forefront of the photo is the Waikato river – New Zealand’s longest river at 425km in length – running down a good length of the North Island. The Waikato (a loose Maori translation Flowing Water) is also a supplier of about 8% of Auckland’s daily water needs.

Shot on my Ricoh GRD IV in bleach bi-pass mode, I only resized for the net.


Calf in the Store


A lazy day at home for boxing day today. We considered heading out to the shops, but with boxing day madness and nothing specific in mind, we wisely decided against it.

Todays shot, taken on the samsung galaxy and edited in afterfocus, was a small garden model I spotted in the shop a few days ago.

Heading out of town for a few hours tomorrow so hopefully we get some nice weather!

Upon the Tree


A big long day – Christmas! Merry Christmas everyone!

Today’s image is of one of the tree-top Angels from the family home tree. Still the same old tree I had when young!

In keeping it short for the day, image was shot on the Ricoh GRD IV and edited in Photoshop CS5. Its been quite some time since I used Photoshop – I have been using Gimp as my main PC editor for some time now…the Photoshop layout and menu was all backwards (If you use Photoshop, just swap the editor names around and it will make more sense to you). I am by no means criticizing it – at the end of the day its the better of the two…just not my usual or chosen editor.

The bad weather is starting to arrive, albeit not as bad as forecast. We will see what tomorrow brings!

Hope your Christmas has gone well!

Franklin Road, Christmas Eve

Franklin Road

The forecast weather bomb did not arrive yesterday evening as predicted and I managed to get over to town and walk the Franklin Road Christmas lights show. Celebrating its 20th year now, every Christmas a large number of the residents of this inner city area deck out their houses with a vast array of lights, models and even choreographed music at times! The crowds are generally very busy for the week its on – last night being no exception. Whilst driving up and down is an option, its much quicker to park the car and walk it as traffic is at a standstill – and then if you do manage to get your car on the road, you cant stop to look at houses at your leisure.

I only had my Jupiter-8 with me on my Sony (well, and my phone – but they are not so great for night shots), and found the 75mm equivalent quite tight framing wise with the crowds of people. I think today’s chosen shot was a nice balance of showing the colours of the lights, with the mass of people walking up and down. Hand-held (as usual) I was shooting at 3200iso and 1/50th sec.

Editing wise, in Gimp, I adjusted the levels and colour balance a little, sharpened a notch and resized.

Today of course also marks Christmas Eve! – I think as a child, I always found the 24th to be more exciting than the 25th! – I have fond memories of looking under the lit up Christmas tree at presents and looking forward to the whole extended family coming around the next day. My parents had a fake tree (which will please some and not others) that they still use to this day. <y mother has a blow up Santa from when she was young (although he needs an air top-up a little more now days). Now, with my childhood well behind me, its still an exciting time to head back to the family home and see all the family together. The odd present does not hurt either!

And whilst getting excited and celebrating, I also pay a thought to those for whom this is not the best time of the year. People in hardship or alone can really find this a difficult time.  Although not for everyone, it is great to see various community groups putting on events on Christmas day where people can get a nice meal, be around others and have some cheer spread.

Right, time to put out the cookies and milk…

Homeward Bound

Homeward Bound

It seems like an age since I have had a chance to head out with my Nex. In reality its not that long, but I have been pretty busy and using the camera on me – my mobile (Galaxy S2). Today I found some time and went out for a bike ride with the Sony and 210mm lens in hand.

The terrible cyclone that hit Fiji earlier in the week is due to hit New Zealand tonight (at a diminished power) and bring us rain for Christmas. When I headed out on my bike it was a lightly overcast sky. When I got home it had darkened up a sum.

Looking out to sea from the cliff top, I captured an image of a container ship leaving our waters, likely heading into the bad weather.

Using Gimp in post processing I pushed the contrast up a notch or two, desaturated all but the boat, added a light vignette and then added some ‘film grain’ before resizing.

All going well, I will head over to town this evening to look at the Franklin Street lights – possibly tomorrows Christmas Eve image!

Birthdays and Handball


Another quick ‘on the run’ photo day.

Some kids chalk, a ball and group of friends resulted in a round of Kiwi rules handball 4 square. – remembering our younger days!

Image shot on samsung galaxy s2 and shot using vignette.

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