The Lake at Night

In the dark night
The world looks similar
But different;
I walk on

I took these photos along the Belmont lakefront last night. It was a lovely clear night and I thought it was a good chance to see how my new camera performed at night as well as to stretch my legs.

I used to do quite a bit of night photography in Sydney but it’s not something I’ve done as much of lately. I’ll have to do more of it. Night shots can look quite unique, particularly street photography, and I like how it can give a new perspective to subjects you’ve photographed before as well.

Photos and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2018

I Can’t See New York

Seventeen years ~
Feels like a lifetime,
And yesterday ~
We remember

In some ways it’s hard to believe that it’s been seventeen years since September 11. It seems like an age ago – it was more than half my lifetime ago now, in fact. The world has changed so much.

And yet in other ways it barely feels like much time has passed at all. I still remember seeing it so clearly on television; watching the second plane crash, the towers fall. The horror, the shock, the disbelief.

Perhaps that is the way of historic moments though. In searing themselves into our consciousness, they change us, change the world. And so when we think of them it’s almost like time continues to stand still, even after so long.

I wanted to do something to mark the day besides a short poem, so I thought I would share a song as well. Tori Amos is one of my favourite artists and it was actually through this song, I Can’t See New York, that I discovered a lot of her more modern music.

It’s from the 2002 album Scalet’s Walk, which is about a young woman’s journey from one side of America to the other, exploring Native American history and learning about political extremism and American culture, as well as a thousand other things.

The album is a masterpiece and as Amos’s protagonist approaches the end of her journey, she puts her on a plane above New York, circling above ash and dust, confused and terrified as a plane crashes and 9/11 unfolds.

It’s a hauntingly beautiful song and I’ve always thought one of the most powerful songs about that day. So many years later it still captures that awful sense of confusion and sadness so very well.

My thoughts to everyone in the US today.

Haiqua © CJ Levinson 2018

Rise to Save Our Coast

Rise for Climate Newcastle Panorama

Rise for Climate Newcastle Panorama

The Rise for Climate event was on this Saturday, September 8. You may have seen some of the news reports about it over the weekend but if you didn’t, Rise for Climate saw hundreds of cities and towns around the world join together to hold peaceful protests and rallies calling on the world’s leaders to take action on climate change.

It drew some huge crowds around the world, particularly in the US and San Francisco where thousands marched ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit to be held in San Francisco next week.

Here in Newcastle, the RISE to Save Our Coast rally at Newcastle’s beautiful Bar Beach was organised by Stop Seismic Testing Newcastle and was attended by hundreds of people from all across Newcastle and the Hunter. It was a great event and the energy was fantastic despite it being a very cold and windy day.

Originally I didn’t think I was going to be able to go to the event as I had plans in Sydney for the weekend. But I ended up having to raincheck and in the end it worked out well as I was able to attend after all.

I shot the rally with a couple of other members of the photo group I’m part of and it was a busy hour of shooting but a lot of fun. It was very overcast and damp which was challenging at times but the atmosphere was amazing regardless and the clouds actually gave a nice soft, moody light that really suited the feel of the event.

Afterwards I went to a McDonald’s nearby and frantically edited some of the photos on my laptop to upload as soon as I could. We wanted to get them up within an hour if possible so the rest of the world could wake up to the event – it was tight but we just managed it. I don’t think I’ve ever edited so fast in my life.

I’m pretty happy with how the photos came out. I’d never shot an event like this before and I think most came out well and I definitely learnt a lot. On top of that this was only the second time I’d used my new camera so in the midst of running around like a demented chicken, I was still trying to work out how everything on the camera worked. Note to self: maybe don’t switch camera systems right before an event next time, CJ.

More importantly, though, it was great to be a small part of a cause I really believe in. I’m a pragmatist so I don’t expect the world to change overnight but unless we as citizens speak up and call for change, there is no incentive for our leaders and politicians to ever act decisively on climate change (or any issue). I see events like this as a vital part of that.

And, hopefully, part of leaving the world a better place for our children and grandchildren to live in.

I hope you enjoy the photos.

Photos © CJ Levinson 2018

Mr Percival

Mr Percival the Pelican

Nature’s prime favourites were the Pelicans;
High-fed, long-lived, and sociable and free.
~ James Montgomery

The weather has been pretty wet and ordinary around Lake Macquarie lately, not the best for taking photos, although given how bad the drought is in NSW I don’t think anyone minds the rain. It was nice today though, sunny with a bit of a breeze, so I thought I’d go for a walk by the lake to stretch my legs and take a few shots.

I got a new camera the other day, a Sony A6500, and I’d been looking forward to putting it through its paces. So I was very happy when I came across Mr Percival the Pelican here as he made a very good model and seemed more than happy to pose for me! I guess the fame from Storm Boy has gone to his head.

The light around sunset was beautiful and I really like how the shot came out. Simple but sometimes that’s all you need.

Thank you, Mr Percival. You can pose for me any time. 😉

Photo © CJ Levinson 2018

Seagulls by the Lake

Seagulls by the Lake

Seagulls by the Lake

A cold wind blows
As I sit and watch
The sun set
And the seagulls swarm

I took this down by the lake in Belmont this afternoon. The light was beautiful as the sun started to go down but it was bitterly cold, particularly in the wind. It made for some nice choppy waves on the water though.

The seagulls were everywhere too. Unfortunately I didn’t have any chips for them but these two were kind enough to pose for me anyway. 😉

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2018

Central Street Revisited

Central Street Revisited

Central Street Revisited

Just a day, just an ordinary day
Just trying to get by
Just a boy, just an ordinary boy
But he was looking to the sky
~ Ordinary Day, Vanessa Carlton

I took this photo about a year ago during a day trip to Sydney. It’s of one of my favourite spots for street photography in the Sydney CBD, Central Street, a little avenue opposite the Event cinemas on George Street.

I’ve taken several photos there over the years, including this one which is one of my favourites. It’s a great little spot to go back to as the scene is always changing and there’s always something new and interesting to photograph.

I was quite happy with how this one turned out. It’s very simple but captures a slice of ordinary life that I find really interesting and I like the tones and textures as well.

The area looked very different the last time I was down as well with all the construction going on at the moment. I’ll have to get a couple of photos of that too.

Photo © CJ Levinson 2017

Sunset Over the Hills

Sunset Over the Hills

Sunset Over the Hills

Seven worlds will collide
Whenever I’m by your side
Dust from a distant sun
Will shower over everyone
~ Distant Sun, Crowded House

I took this a few weeks ago while walking by the lake in Belmont. It was a beautiful sunset and I loved the way the sky was lighting up just behind the hills. It came out quite well… I do love a nice silhouette! 🙂

Photo © CJ Levinson 2018

Blowing in the Breeze

Blowing in the Breeze

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Tall grass
Sways gently in the breeze
As the sun sets
On another day

I took this a few days ago down by the lakefront in Belmont. The sky had just started to turn this beautiful orangey-yellow and there was a lovely cool breeze as well blowing through the trees and grass. I knew the sunset would make for a nice photo but I really wanted to try to capture the feel of the breeze and motion in the image too, so I thought I’d try to juxtapose the gently moving grass with the sunset. It took me a couple of shots to get it right but I really like this one… it’s simple but really gives the slight feel of motion which I was going for.

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2018

Newcastle Customs House

Customs House Hotel

Customs-House-watermark

This is one of my favourite buildings in Newcastle, the Newcastle Customs House. It’s a beautiful masonry building designed by James Barnet, who as the New South Wales Colonial Architect also designed many of NSW’s most distinctive buildings, like the General Post Office in Sydney’s CBD.

I particularly love the tower; it’s 32 metres high and the clock, lantern and time ball are still intact, one of only three such examples in Australia. It must have been quite a sight in its heyday.

The building is heritage listed and known as the Customs House Hotel now and run as a popular restaurant and bar. You can still really feel the history though and they’ve done a great job of preserving the old while welcoming the new too.

I’ve tried taking photos of the building before but I’ve never been very happy with the results. It’s quite a tricky building to photograph, particularly at night. I’m happy with this one though. It feels bold and dramatic, which I think it needed to be to do the building justice.

Customs House Hotel black and white

 

I also like it in black and white. It feels a little more timeless and I think that suits the building too, in a different way.

Photos © CJ Levinson 2018