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

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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?

Sitting by the Tree

The Two CJs by the Tree

Lights, music
Gifts under the tree:
Another Christmas
Has come again

Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating today. I hope you have a wonderful day with much joy and laughter and have a peaceful rest of the year.

I took this photo last night for a bit of festive fun. I was trying to think of what I wanted for Christmas, then it hit me – I could really use another pair of hands around the house, so I asked Santa for a clone. My wish came true!  Thank you Santa. 😀

CJ and Friend

I took this one too which was fun. We have three of these mice, they’re very cute. And mischievous as you can see.

CJ by the Tree black and white

And this one too. I try to do a photo in front of the tree each year. I like how this one came out in black and white.

Merry Christmas. I’ll have my annual Aussie Christmas song posted later tonight as well. 😀

Photos and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2016

By Belmont Wharf

By Belmont Wharf

Purple light
Stretches along
The horizon
As another day ends

By Belmont Wharf black and white

These photos are from a couple of days ago, down near the wharf in Belmont.

The dusk light was lovely and the reflection off the lake was very beautiful. The perfect kind of scene for a long exposure and I’m pleased with how the photos came out.

I like the scene in colour but I also really like it in black and white, particularly with all the texture it brings out and the way the shadow near the bottom helps draw the eye in to the photo.

Usually I wouldn’t edit two photos with such similar framing but I really like both photos. I think they show the scene in very different ways despite their framing and it shows that sometimes you need to be willing to break your own rules. I’m glad I did here.

Photos and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2016

Self Portrait in Black and White

Self Portrait in Black and White

Sometimes I wonder
Who I am in this strange world?
I am simply me

I took this photo as a bit of an experiment. I’ve been playing around with flash in my spare time, trying out some different settings and ideas so I know I’ve got a few more styles to default to for portraits when I need them.

I’ve been using myself as a stand in and wasn’t expecting to use any of the photos but I actually really like this one. In this case I was experimenting more with creating mood and atmosphere and I think it’s quite effective, particularly in black and white. Reminds me of some of those dramatic sports profiles you see in magazines sometimes.

For anyone wondering how to create a look like this, it’s actually quite simple. I only used one flash (off-camera) and used a black reflector behind me to create the background (a black bed sheet or piece of fabric would work well too).

I had my camera on a tripod and sat about half a metre in front of the reflector and angled the flash across the right side of my face. At about 1/8th power that allowed the flash to illuminate just that side of my face without reaching the background.

It’s a simple setup and while this looks moody and dramatic, it works well for normal portraits too. It’s very versatile and a good setup to learn if you’re just starting out.

I don’t take that many self portraits but I’m fairly happy with this one. Might have to keep experimenting and do some more of them.

Photo and haiku © CJ Levinson 2016

Sunset Reflections

Purple Reflections

Reflections stretch
Across the lake
As I sit and think
About the world

I took this photo a couple of days ago. It was the day after the US election and I went down to the lake in Belmont to try to clear my thoughts.

I’m not going to say too much about the election as I plan to touch on it in a Q&A post soon but I will say that Trump’s win shook me a bit. Obviously I’m an Australian and not directly involved but the US sets the cultural tone for the world and affects all of us; we often say that when the US sneezes, the rest of us catch a cold, and that’s why we were following the election closely too.

It was an extraordinary result but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that many of us aren’t concerned by it and that was my immediate reaction. Not just because of Trump’s rhetoric but particularly because internationally we have little idea of what to expect from a President Trump and his presidency leaves the US-Australia Alliance, NATO and the future of the Asia-Pacific region up in the air.

So yes, like everyone I was a bit shocked by the result and as it continued to dominate the news the next day, I felt like I needed to clear my head and try to get away from it for a while. So I went down to the lake for the sunset.

It was a beautiful sunset and I just sat and watched it for a while as the sky turned a beautiful shade of purple and the reflections started to stretch across the water. After a couple of minutes I set my camera on my tripod and took a couple of long exposures to try to do the scene justice. This was one of them and I’m happy with how it came out, particularly the vibrant colours.

I felt better for my time by the lake. It was very peaceful and I think sometimes it helps just to get away from the world for a little while and not think about things too much. This definitely did that for me.

Sunset

I saw this woman walking her dog by the lake a little earlier as well and took a quick photo. She spent quite a few minutes standing there, watching the sun go down. I guess maybe she was reflecting on things too.

Photos and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2016