Love in the Milky Way

Love in the Milky Way

I call this one “Love in the Milky Way”. It was shot at about 11:00pm on December 9th at Cradle Mountain National Park in Tasmania. This was my second attempt at capturing this image. The previous night, I had waited till midnight in freezing temperatures with a chill wind blowing. The waters were choppy, but the absence of the moon (it had been rising during the day) and a clear sky gave me a perfect view of the Milky Way running north to south down the valley. Not content with my first shot, I came back the next night. It was clear as the previous, and completely calm. The waters rendered a perfect reflection. Shooting at f/4 at ISO1600 with a 30s exposure, I came away with a series of shots – of which this is my favourite. This image featured in the 2012 Plus One...
Milkshake Panorama

Milkshake Panorama

This was shot at one of my favourite lighthouses along Great Ocean Road Рthe Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet. I had organised a photo shoot with a few friends in February on the new moon, with the intention of capturing some time-lapse footage. Four of us made our way here on the evening, just in time for sunset, and we stayed here till about 2a.m. On a clear night, the skies in this part of Victoria are pretty amazing. This image was shot with the Olympus E-PL5 using the Rokinon 8mm fish-eye . I had no expectations on how this micro four-thirds camera would perform in low light at high ISOs Рso I was very pleasantly surprised with this result.  I must admit that after this outing, I have become somewhat of a sucker for astro-photography. I guess I will be somewhat nocturnal on clear nights on the weekend when there is no moon in the night sky. Anyone else want to come and join...
Venus Rising

Venus Rising

On the weekend of February 9th 2014, I headed down to Aireys Inlet for the second time in two weekends. My driver was that I had just purchased a new lens Рa Sigma 20mm f/1.8 which would allow me to capture even more light in low light conditions. I purchased this lens specifically for astrophotography. I had spent the previous weekend there with friends shooting a fair bit of time-lapse footage, and wanted to push the envelope. The moon was still young, and it was setting fairly early in the evening, which meant that I had adequate time in the early hours of the morning to be able to make the most of the dark skies. After having shot since 2a.m., Venus began to rise at about 4:00am. She was unmistakable.  Without a doubt, she was the brightest object in the sky at that hour. Given that my eyes had become so accustomed to the dark by that time, I was amazed at how much I could see with the light reflected of its surface. Aireys Inlet is a 2 hour drive from Melbourne, and while the skies remain dark, there still is a little bit of a glow from Melbourne in the north-east. Nonetheless, it is perhaps one of the best locations near Melbourne for night-time photography of the stars. This image was shot at f/1.8 with a 30s exposure at ISO 3200. I have since read reviews about this lens, and recommendations not to use it for astrophotography at apertures wider than f/2.8. It will remain to be another day before I get the opportunity to...

Photo Shoot on Great Ocean Road – March 2014

This past weekend, a few friends of mine and I met up at Port Campbell along Great Ocean Road. I had been tracking solar activity and had noted that there had been a Class X, and several Class M solar flares in the week leading up to this. With a new moon, I felt that it would give us good odds of spotting the Aurora Australis. As it turned out, the weather conspired, and the clouds came in. I did catch a very faint glimpse of the Aurora over the horizon, but nothing particularly dramatic that I would celebrate. I shot a fair bit of time-lapse, and some regular video with a camcorder which I put together into this short behind-the-scenes video of the shoot itself. If you’d like to hear about upcoming shoots that I organise around Melbourne, connect with me on Google+ or Facebook, or subscribe to my newsletter to hear about it first. My photo shoots are non-commercial – no cash changes hands. I try to keep them small – typically under 6 people including myself. Everyone who attends takes their own responsibility to get to the destination. The idea is to create a comfortable social atmosphere spending time in nature, while looking out for each other’s safety. In the end, it’s about making a few friends, and hanging out doing the things that one enjoys...

Split Point Lighthouse in Time-Lapse

This has been in the works for a while, and I finally got around to gathering enough footage to put forward a short, but very sweet time-lapse film of one of the most easily accessible lighthouses on Great Ocean Road. This short film was shot at Aireys Inlet at the Split Point lighthouse. The various segments have been shot at different times and seasons during 2013 and early 2014 and attempt to convey what Split Point Lighthouse looks like under different light conditions. Most visitors to Split Point Lighthouse only see it during the daylight. But as with all lighthouses, it truly comes into its own after the sun goes down. Aireys Inlet is far enough from Melbourne to have dark skies. This makes it perfect to visit after dark when the moon is not in the sky. The astro-photography segments were shot during the new moon of February 2014, and a week after the new moon after moon-set. I discovered that Aireys Inlet gets really dark after 2a.m., when almost all the local residents turn off their lights. That is when the Milky Way really becomes visible. Also visible during this time, were Jupiter and Venus, and both the Large and the Small Magellanic Clouds. This short film was shot with a Canon 5D Mark II (with Magic Lantern) using a Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0 wide-angle and a Sigma 20mm f/1.8 wide angle lenses, and an Olympus E-PL5 with a Rokinon 8mm fish-eye...
Candle in the Milky Way

Candle in the Milky Way

This is from my trip to Aireys Inlet and Split Point Lighthouse from the night of February 1st 2014. I had gone there with a few friends with the intention of doing some night-time photography, and particularly being able to capture the stars in the night sky on a clear summer night. We got the best conditions we could hope for. This was shot with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon 17-40mm EF lens as part of a time-lapse sequence. The camera was mounted on a tripod on rocky ground, and was triggered using Magic Lantern’s intervalometer. The bright spot just above the lighthouse is Jupiter. I had also carried my telescope with me, and we got a good look at the giant planet and two of its moons which were visible on the night – complete with its well-defined stripes. I did run into a few challenges on the night. It turns out that after the sun drops below the horizon, coastal areas like Aireys Inlet are susceptible to dew. I discovered this after having shot 200 frames of time-lapse footage over two hours when I saw the water droplets on the lens. While this did affect the time-lapse sequence, the effect that it caused does work for creative purposes; nonetheless, it meant that I had a lot fewer perfectly clear frames than what I had hoped to capture. My other challenge was my lens itself. The EF 17-40mm lens is not particularly fast (it’s just an f/4 lens). I have since acquired a Sigma 20mm f/1.8 lens and am now raring to go on my...
Under a Southern Sky

Under a Southern Sky

Summer in Australia is my favourite time to go out for night-time photo shoots. In a nation which offers a combination of dark skies and an average of 200 days of good weather every year, the conditions make it great to occasionally look into the heavens and relive boyhood desires of being an astronaut. This was shot on the night of February 1st 2014 at the Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet, just off Victoria’s Iconic Great Ocean Road. I had organised a shoot with a few friends there, and the heavens smiled on us – literally. This particular image was shot with an Olympus E-PL5 using a Rokinon fish-eye lens, placed at the bottom of the lighthouse. No additional light was used – this was shot purely with available light. I’ve done some post-processing in Lightroom where I have applied some geometric distortion correction and some tonal effects. I’ve also applied an adaptive wide-angle filter in Photoshop, cropped it to a 16:9 ratio, and have cleaned up the noise in Noiseware. I thought I had planned for everything last night – and I did come a cropper on something I had not thought about. It turns out that on a hot day, after sunset, the moisture from the ocean condenses in the presence of the warm air off the land to precipitate in very fine dew. This results in your camera lenses picking up a fair bit of moisture, which needs to be cleaned periodically. I suppose you learn something new all the...