Under the Milky Way

The Milky Way
Stretches across the sky:
I see your face
In the stars

I took these shots in Newcastle last week. I’ve always loved the stars and have often wanted to try to shoot the Milky Way but there’s usually too much light pollution around to shoot it properly. I took these at Nobbys Breakwall and while there was still light pollution, it was dark enough to get a few shots. I was pleased with how they came out, particularly not having done a lot of astrophotography before. Not bad for a first attempt!

Photos and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2019

Cliffs at Redhead Beach

Rocky towers
Rise from the sand,
Silent guardians
Of this ancient land

I took this at Redhead Beach a couple of weeks ago. The light was beautiful and I loved the contrast between the shadows and the orange rocks and the blue sky. The whole scene reminded me a little of the temples and tombs at Petra.

Photos and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2019

Belmont Jetty at Dusk

A purple and yellow sky
Dotted with clouds
Marks the end
Of a long day

This is from a couple of weeks ago, by the new Belmont Baths. I’m really enjoying exploring the baths and jetty, there are a lot of fantastic opportunities for photos, particularly now there are less people around.

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2019

Between Speers Point and Warners Bay

Walking by the water
The sun on my back
A breeze on my face:
Peace

This shot is from a couple of weeks ago. I was actually walking in the opposite direction but noticed how beautiful the light was and swung around in time to capture this moment. It’s easy to forget to look behind you but sometimes that’s where the best shots are.

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2019

Lightning over the Lake

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A bright streak
Flashes across the sky
Lighting up the night
And your eyes

We had an amazing, fairly sudden storm this evening. It had been overcast most of the day but the thunder and lightning still seemed to come without warning. Luckily I was nearly home when it started and so I grabbed my camera and tripod and hurried down to the lake to try to get some shots.

Lightning is tricky to photograph and it took some experimentation – you’d think you’d want to use a high shutter speed to freeze the strike but because lightning is so unpredictable, I find you actually have to go the opposite way and use a slow shutter speed to give yourself more time to capture a good strike. Working out exactly how long though is a bit of trial and error so it can be fiddly and if it’s a short burst, you might not get anything at all.

I really like how this one came out though. It was a 25 second exposure which is about the sweet spot I find, particularly at night. I’ve taken a few lightning shots before but since moving to Belmont I’ve always wanted to get a dramatic one over the lake. I guess that’s one thing I can check off the bucket list now. 😀

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2019

The Obelisk

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The Obelisk

For one hundred and seventy years
I have stood high atop this hill
A lone sentry watching over
The ever-changing skyline below
This place changes constantly
The boundaries always shifting
As the water meets the city
And the city meets the bush
Yet through all the changes
Still I remain
Standing tall
Surveying the world below

I was built as a guide for the mariners
A beacon on the hill
Where the old windmill used to stand
In my heyday I was magnificent
A gleaming monument
Visible for miles along the coast
During storms and calm seas alike
I would point you towards
The port of Newcastle
With its promise of safe harbour,
A hot meal, a warm bed,
And work in its growing industries

But now I am older
And the world I knew has changed
I have lived through great wars
And seen times of depression and despair
I have seen the birth of Federation
And watched the rise and fall of kings
I have been burnt by lightning
Broken by earthquakes
Desecrated by vandals
Surrounded by weeds
Oh the stories I could tell
But no one wants to listen

And so after almost two centuries
Still I stand here
Atop this hill
Watching the world go by
And I find myself wondering,
Will I still be here in another century
Or will I have been replaced
By something new?
Something more like the buildings below
That have replaced the green trees
That were once my friends
But now are only memories from long ago

Poem and photo © CJ Levinson 2018