Wednesday, 26 April 2017

People of Ironfest 2017


Last weekend I went to a very interesting event in Lithgow, a city several hours drive from here, over the mountains. The festival of Ironfest is an alternative grunge/medieval/steampunk event with all sorts of wonderful characters setting up tents and giving  displays at the show ground. Must admit I wasn't fond of bayonet battles and canon fire (loud!) but I loved talking to various people about their interests and what brought them there. Here are some of my photos, untouched, as is. It was a cool cloudy day, perfect for roaming around having a good time!























Have a good weekend.
Val.






Sunday, 16 April 2017

Reflected in water



I was down the coast and after church I went for a walk and took a few photos. I've been experimenting with a circular polarising filter. I've been told that Australian skies are blue enough and not to use them in situations such as this but I found that it cuts down on mid morning glare - like sunglasses for your camera!




Happy Easter everyone.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

The Hydro Majestic


In the Blue Mountains that form a natural boundary to the west of Sydney, there is a historic hotel called the Hydro Majestic. It's beautiful and has been revamped. There's glass walled cafe and gourmet goodies and trinket shop in the new section to one side where you can stop for overpriced nibbles and see the view. The original building way down the other end that looks like a little castle is now hidden from the road by giant hedges. Go figure!


The original building way down the end.


The new glassed in extension holds a bar and a gourmet food and gift shop.



It is quite a view though, isn't it? Anyway we went inside to have a look at how it's all been revamped. The big dining area that was cafeteria style in the past is now off limits unless you are guests or are there for a full meal. I have good memories of drinking amazing hot chocolate on the freezing cold balcony before driving back to Sydney in days gone by when it was casual and truly shabby chic. Now it's all historic glamour and I guess they don't want to let the riff raff in. I understand that but I sort of miss just being able to walk in for a while to reacquaint myself with the mountains. There are tea rooms and even a tea house but it isn't the same!


We explored what we could and ended up in 'Cat Alley' a corridor full of gorgeous 20's style furnishings and the scent of all sorts of exotic tea, which you can order and have there.


I couldn't resist a shiny table reflection.


I also couldn't resist taking a shot showing the view from the windows.


Have a good weekend,
Val.

A note: I've put up then taken down a few posts lately, having a existential crisis in regard to whether my photography is any good or not, technical enough, creative enough. I was feeling a lack of confidence after having good shots heavily criticized by experts at photo club. I know that's what they are there to do but sometimes it was done in a very non constructive way and felt horrid, hence the moment of 'what do I have to offer?' But I do have something to share, what I see with my eyes, so from now on I'll just post my work and own it because documenting it gave me joy and because I hope it's of interest to you.



Friday, 24 March 2017

Feather Reflections


It's hard to make feathers look dramatic in photographs but I was mucking about taking shots of  feathers floating in the bird bath and I found that amazing things happened when I converted some of them to monochrome...









Have good weekend everybody.
I'll be linking to my favourite meme, James' Weekend Reflections,
Val.

















Saturday, 18 March 2017

Chasing photos in the rain


Yesterday I took off in another direction, a fairly unfamiliar route up the mountains toward Richmond and further along the Bells line of road. There are beautiful homes with open gardens. The weather was dismal with fairly steady showers all day but I thought if nothing else I can suss it out for later and maybe get a few bedraggled shots. Here are some of my favourites.


Old petrol bowsers for sale


Me in a store window in Richmond. First time I've worn boots this season!


Every town's got to have a Ritz!



The road through eucalyptus and temperate rainforest, at the moment soaking up all the rain!


A closer look at the eucalypts (gum trees) shedding their bark and having a growth burst.

It's interesting that the oil from eucalypts gives the air a slight bluish tinge, which is why our Blue Mountains look blue and the introduced trees lean towards a yellowish haze whenever a bit of light hits them. I tried to google just which variety these gum trees are and found out we have 894 recognised species! They are not Stringybarks which are a lot rougher so for now they'll remain a mystery.  I do love the smell of them in the rain. It's Australia in a bottle. Then there's the Englishness of the gardens and avenues of Mt Wilson. I did not get out to explore any, which means I'll be back!


 Oak trees at Mt Wilson


Gateway to one of the grand homes.

There's so much more to go back to see when the weather is better.
Have a good week, or the rest of your weekend!
Val.


Thursday, 16 March 2017

Light, salt water and the pull of the Sea


There is a jagged rocky point an hour down the coast that is one of my favourite spots to photograph surfers as they pick their way through the rocky platform and then plunge with their boards into the sea. I am after silhouettes, I don't yet own a sporty enough zoom to photograph them in action. To make sure there are surfers the tide has to be high and the swell has to be right with the wind coming from the north east. I google all this beforehand on the surf sites. Then I set my alarm for four thirty, drag my unwilling body into the car with my gear and go to my favourite spot. I took my swim gear for a dip later. This is the in-between season I like best until the air becomes cooler than the water. We are lucky, the sea will stay relatively warm for another month.
But back to the photography. I am still experimenting with all the various ways to get the effect I want. These were shot with a wide angle lens. Hopefully next time I will use a zoom lens to get in a little closer on the silhouettes of the surfers. My aim is to get silhouette against the sunrise shots without that much haze! Here I was experimenting with a fairly high shutter speed to 'freeze' the figures into clear silhouettes than I'd managed previously.
Click on photos to enlarge.










Have a good weekend,
Val.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Cloud Illusions



A few weeks ago in the late afternoon twilight I was walking to my car parked near an inner western Sydney station and I noticed the clouds in the window with glimpses of dashboard. Birds and planes did not co-operate with my 'mirror' but the clouds sure did.






Posting to Weekend Reflections. Have a good weekend,
Val.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Return


I suspect from reading blogs that lot of photographers tend to return to favourite places and see if they can take photos again but do it better. Or perhaps a place was a successful subject the first time and keeps delivering. Or maybe a wall of blue catches the eye. Here are three more shots of a favourite spot of mine, the UTS (University of Technology) walkway tunnel. The green and blue shots are reflections of passerby, the grey one is one of three faces that are part of the art work. I wonder how many people notice them as they hurry to class?







Have a good weekend,
Val.



Friday, 3 February 2017

A swim at the beach



I went for a swim at the beach, as you do. Perfect sky, prefect temperatures, lovely refreshing water. At home, I uploaded the shots and thought I'd broken my camera. Was there water in it? No, the ring that circles the lens had come a bit loose and had been holding a bit of water. Let's call it artistic effect shall we  ;) Oh, and the camera is fine.








Have a good weekend,
Val.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Little Shrimp


I'm still discovering wonders at the edge of the sea. I know it's a cliche that the sea holds more than we can imagine but the seaweed-smelly low tide rock platforms do too. I position my camera and focus and wait till the sand stops swirling, try to catch the light from the right direction. Mostly, because there is no view finder, I am shooting blind. I was trying to get a good shot of a submerged shell and I got a surprise bonus of a little shrimp.


It makes me want to learn to scuba dive.
Have a good week,
Val.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Red & Rooster


Last weekend in the city, my friend and I were walking toward the train station after seeing a band in the park - see previous post - when I swung around and said 'I've got to take a photo". He said 'Of a chicken? 'I said "Of the reflection". He was rather bemused as we went on our way. But I think it's a cracking reflection! Don't ask me why there was a golden chicken, or rooster, whatever -used  as a prop for designer handbags. Unless they are now making handbags out of chickens!




Have a good weekend,
Val.





Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Joyful


Last weekend was the start of the Festival of Sydney, a summer celebration with lots of free public events and I was invited along to the "Soul of Sydney" gig in Hyde Park. What could be better than a soul band playing and public dancing? Taking a few photos as well. It was joyful.











You can click on photos to enlarge.
Hope you are having a good week,
Val.

Just a note. I have a problem with blogger linking to an old defunct email and I don't know how to fix it. Emails sent to the current one do get through, but does anyone know how to fix it trying to link to the old one? It was linked to my first clumsy attempt at having a blog on blogger.com and I thought I had deleted everything but the issue persists. Help!