Panorama of the Lake

Panorama of the Lake from Belmont

To me peace is
Sitting by the water
And watching the world
Go by

After a few weeks of really cold, wintery weather, we had a lovely warm day yesterday and I decided to wander down to the lake to take some photos and shoot the sunset.

When I reached the lakefront it was almost the end of the golden hour and the lovely glow was starting to catch some of the clouds as well. It was a beautiful scene and I wanted to capture as much of it as I could so I decided to do a panorama.

Normally I don’t like doing panoramas over water as it makes stitching the images together much harder but I thought the water looked still enough to give it a try. So I took six images handheld and it stitched together quite well in the end.

I really like the final photo. I think it captures the scene well and I like how enormous the lake feels, almost like you’re being swallowed by the water. It really does feel that impressive in person too.

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2017

Playing with Fire

 

The photography group I’m part of here in Newcastle met over the weekend and we did something a little bit different from normal: rather than go for a photo walk or do some landscapes, we played with fire.

Fire is a really interesting subject to photograph as there are so many different ways to capture it and you’ll never get the same photograph twice. If you use a short exposure, you can freeze the flame and show its power; use a longer exposure and you can make the flame seem silky and fluid. You can even use sparks to draw in the air and create interesting patterns and images.

I’ve experimented with playing with fire and light before so I had some idea of what we’d be doing but it was a really fun evening and it was great sharing it with other photographers, swapping ideas. Our group’s organiser, Steve, was our fire model for the evening and enjoyed it so much that he didn’t even get to take photos himself!

We also were very careful about safety and made sure there was minimal danger. That’s one of the other things that has stopped me from experimenting with these kind of images more often as I don’t like shooting them alone, so it was great being with other people.

I was pleased with how the images came out and I particularly like the black and white ones. I like the mood and contrast and they seem to really pop in monochrome. I like the shooting sparks as well – they were fantastic and lots of fun to shoot.

Photos © CJ Levinson 2017

Nobbys Lighthouse at Night


I watch the stars shine
Over the ocean
While waves crash
And the wind roars

I took this photo a couple of weeks ago while on a photowalk in Newcastle. I’d started to pack up my gear after getting a few shots of the sunset over the Newcastle ocean baths and with night setting in, there didn’t seem like much point hanging around.

On my way back, though, I stopped to look at Nobbys Lighthouse for a while. I’ve always liked the lighthouse but whenever I’ve tried to photograph it I’ve often struggled to get a photo I’ve been happy with, one that feels unique.

Looking at the scene now though, with the stars out and the water reflecting the light, I thought it looked quite striking and might make for a really interesting and different photograph. So I quickly set up my tripod to take a few shots.

Shooting at night, particularly with a moving subject, is often tricky as you need to balance quite a few factors to get your composition and exposure right, most notably your aperture and ISO. I find it takes some experimenting to get it right and it took me quite a few shots to get the effect I was looking for.

I like the result though. The colours and the contrast with the dark sky really make the image pop for me and I find it very peaceful, which was what I was hoping to capture. I’m definitely glad I stopped!

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2017

Dusk Silhouettes

Moments fade quickly
There is only how you live
And the way you love

I took this photo a couple of weeks ago now. I had thought I’d shared it after I took it but I just noticed that I didn’t. Oops! I guess I’m getting forgetful in my old age. In any case I really like the photo so I thought I’d share it now anyway.

I had popped down to the lake to shoot the sunset and I’d been down there for a while without getting anything interesting… it was one of those lovely days that you hope will end in a beautiful sunset but ends up being a bit of a fizzer unfortunately.

But just as dusk settled and I was about to give up, the light changed and this beautiful band of yellow light spread across the horizon – the day’s dying rays.

So I started setting up my tripod to capture the scene, fiddled with the composition, and then… just as everything was finally ready and I was about to take the shot… a mother and her son walked into the frame and started fishing!

I know there’s not much you can do when something like that happens – it’s just bad timing and it is a public area, after all – but honestly at the time I couldn’t help but feel a little pissed. I thought I’d lined up the perfect shot, only for someone to walk right into it. Plus I was there first and it was obvious what I was doing – couldn’t they have waited? I only needed a few seconds!

I grumbled a bit to myself under my breath and wondered what to do… I still had a shot lined up but usually I don’t like taking photos that have children in them without permission, particularly if it might show their faces (occasionally I will with street photography when they walk into a scene but again I try not to show faces). But the mother looked over at me and sort of smiled and nodded at me so I took that as permission and took a couple of shots.

It was actually nice watching them fish through the lens, they were laughing and having fun and I felt guilty for feeling a bit annoyed before. So I took the shots and then left them to their fishing and headed home.

When I got back I loaded the photos to have a quick look and this one immediately jumped out at me. The dying light and the colours and the water were beautiful, but it was the human element that really jumped out at me; the emotion, obvious even in simple silhouettes. And ironically, after all the fuss, I think it is that element that helps to make it a far stronger image than if they hadn’t been in it at all.

My only regret now is that I hadn’t thought to offer them a card, I thought afterward that they might like to see it. Oh well. Maybe next time.

Photos and haiku © CJ Levinson 2017

Revenge of the Fifth


A long time ago
In a shopping centre
Not so far, far
Away

Yesterday was May the Fourth, or Star Wars Day for fans of the series. It’s a fun day where fans show their love for the series and generally just embrace their inner geek (myself included).

In that spirit I was out shopping yesterday afternoon and came across some of the Southern Cross Garrison of the 501st Legion in full costume outside 2012 Tattoo in Charlestown Square. 2012 Tattoo were having Star Wars-themed events all day and the 501st were there posing for photos for a gold coin donation for charity, so I gave them a couple of dollars and took this.

For just a quick portrait I really like it and it was nice meeting some of the members of the 501st. Their costumes are absolutely fantastic and they do great work for charities and helping to bring cheer to sick kids in hospitals etc. I’ll have to keep an eye out for them when Episode VIII opens and maybe see if they ever need a photographer to cover any events for them, it looks like fun!

I meant to post the photo yesterday for the 4th but ran out of time. So I’m posting it today instead – on the Revenge of the Fifth! 🙂

Photos and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2017

Easter Sunset

17966452_10155990558055744_115705987504655217_o

Another Easter
Passes quickly
As the sun sets
And the birds sing

Happy Easter to everyone celebrating today. I hope you’re having a nice day wherever you are in the world.

I spent my Sunday having a fairly quiet day at home before wandering down to the lake in the early evening, partly to walk off some chocolate (yum!) but also because it was a lovely, warm day and I thought it might be a beautiful sunset too.

It was! Just as I got down to the lake the sky seemed to explode with colour and different shades of pink, blue, purple and yellow stretched across the horizon. It was gorgeous and only lasted for about fifteen minutes before the sun disappeared but it was one of the prettiest sunsets I’ve seen in a long time.

I managed to snap a few shots. This one was my favourite as I thought it captured the colours and the sky perfectly. Definitely a nice way to end the weekend.

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2017

Blue Hour on the Lake

Blue Hour on the Lake

A hot Summer’s day
Begins to fade into night
As birds sing farewell

It’s been very hot again this last week so I haven’t been able to get out and photograph as much as I would have liked to. As you can probably tell I’m not much of a Summer person so I’m definitely looking forward to the beginning of Autumn soon!

I did manage to get down to the lake once it had cooled off a bit this evening though and I took this while I was down there. It was a little after sunset, right in the blue hour, and I thought the still water and the yachts made for an interesting contrast with the clouds and dying light.

Most photographers love shooting in the golden hour (the period just before sunset) and I do too but on the whole I actually prefer shooting during the blue hour personally (late dusk). I find it works very well for creating drama and mood and often produces very strong black and white photos.

I mention it as I know a lot of people leave straight after photographing a sunset but if you have time, try hanging around for a while afterwards – you might get something interesting and a little different in the blue hour.

Photo and haiku © CJ Levinson 2017

Golden Sunset

Golden Sunset

Seconds, minutes
Hours, days –
My life passes by
Like the setting sun

We’re going through a heatwave at the moment and it’s been uncomfortably hot for most of the last week, so hot you don’t want to go outside. I managed to get down to the lake yesterday evening though and took this as the sun was going down. It came out well and it was a beautiful sunset. Made braving the heat worth it!

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2017

My Favourite Photos from 2016

A belated Happy New Year to everyone. I hope 2017 is a good year for you and a better one for the world in general.

I thought I’d start off the new year by posting some of my favourite photos from last year. They’re a mix of landscapes, portraits and street photos and there are a few images here I haven’t shared before so I hope you like them.

2016 was a pretty good year for my photography. I had several sales, started doing some portraits and in general I think my photography improved a lot during the year. I had a few setbacks as well – most notably a broken foot which has sidelined me for a while – but overall I’m pleased with how the year went and I’m happy with how all of these photos came out.

My main photography goals for 2017 are to keep improving and testing myself and to increase my exposure locally. I’d also like to experiment more with using flash creatively – which probably means buying another flash, so we’ll see!

I hope you enjoy the photos. How was your 2016?