Sunset 9/9/17

Pelican on the Lake

Oh to have the wings
And grace of a pelican
How far I would fly

It was a lovely warm day in Newcastle today; while the nights are still cool, the days are very pleasant at the moment and it’s starting to feel like Spring has sprung. Which is good for me as I find staying motivated difficult during the colder months – I love Winter itself but I pretty much just want to rug up and stay indoors a lot of the time. So I’m glad it’s getting warmer now and I’m starting to feel like shooting more regularly again.

Given it was such a nice day I wandered down to the lake for an hour or two to catch the golden hour and the sunset afterwards. I got a couple of decent shots and really like this one. The pelican came into the frame just as I was about to take another shot, so I quickly readjusted and managed to catch it before it passed. Good timing!

The sky was very vibrant and I didn’t need to edit this too much beyond just some fairly basic adjustments. When you get a sunset like this nature’s beauty speaks for itself.

Photo and haiku © CJ Levinson 2017

Belmont Sunset

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The light on the lake
Shimmers like golden fire,
Reminds me of you

I took this photo last week while walking home after doing some shopping. I wasn’t expecting to take any photos and didn’t have my best gear with me but the light was so beautiful that I knew I had to stop and try and take a photo anyway. I’m happy I did as it turned out well in the end. It’s true what they say, the best camera really is the one you have with you.

Photo and haiku © CJ Levinson 2017

Sitting and Reflecting

CJ by the Beach

Sitting by the water
I hear waves crash
And gulls call
And my heart sing

I took this photo last week while doing a photowalk near Pinny Beach. I was feeling a bit tired after walking for awhile and had quite a lot on my mind, so I thought I’d sit, watch the tankers on the ocean and let my mind wander.

I sat for about ten minutes and it occurred to me while I was sitting there that the scene might actually make for an interesting shot. I really liked some of the contrasts (particularly the rock with the sky and water) and I thought maybe if I put myself in it too, it’d give an interesting sense of scale. So I put my camera on my tripod, set a timer for about 10 seconds and then ran like a maniac to get back before the timer went off.

It took a couple of shots to nail the timing but in the end I think it worked well and captured the scene nicely. I think it also captured me quite well too, which I wasn’t expecting. The camera happened to catch me looking out over the ocean again and I think that kind of quiet reflection is quite true to my personality.

I guess I set out to take an interesting landscape and ended up with an environmental self portrait instead, which was actually better. Funny how that happens sometimes!

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2017

Float the Boat 2017

There was an interesting event on last Friday and Saturday near where I live in Lake Macquarie – the first annual Float the Boat parade, with over 20 boats decked out with bright lights sailing to light up the lake.

The idea was inspired by some of the flotilla light festivals that have been very successful overseas and the idea was to follow both sides of the lake, with Friday night’s flotilla starting at Marmong Point Marina and ending in Belmont, with the parade on Saturday night ending in Wangi Wangi.

I caught the parade at Belmont on the Friday and it was a really fun event – it was very cold and overcast but thankfully the rain held off and seeing all the boats and yachts lit up was fantastic. Some of the designs were very inventive as well; there was one of a shark I particularly liked and a lot of the kids watching nearby loved it too.

Taking photos of the parade was an interesting challenge. I enjoy night photography but it’s not often that I’d choose to shoot fast-moving subjects at night as it’s very hard to capture them without motion blur and my gear isn’t what you’d choose for the situation.

So I ended up settling for a bit of a compromise by trying to exaggerate the motion to create some interesting shapes, then once the boats had finished I walked round to the Belmont 16s and took some photos of the boats themselves. I quite like how the photos came out in the end.

I also took this video which shows some of the parade out on the lake.

It was a really fun event. The plan is for it to become an annual event and be even bigger next year so I look forward to seeing it again in 2018.

Photos and video © 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

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