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

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

Golden Trees

6CE7DCD8-AE7D-4E84-B7DF-33862D406041

Never have I seen
A tree or lake
That could not take
My breath away

Beautiful light on the Newcastle foreshore last Sunday afternoon. I was heading to the ocean baths to shoot the sunset and stopped quickly to shoot this scene on the way. The light was amazing… I was definitely lucky to be in the right place at the right time!

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2018

The Leaning Tree

I am like a tree
The wind blows me to and fro
But still I stand tall

I spotted this tree on the Newcastle foreshore while shooting the sunset last week. I thought the way it was leaning was interesting and I really liked the way it framed the scene and the dying light.

Photo and haiku © CJ Levinson 2018

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

On Nobbys Beach

I’ve got sand
Stuck in my shoes,
Reminds me of us
And who we were

We had a beautiful Autumn day yesterday, sunny blue skies and nice and warm with a cool breeze, so I thought I’d make the most of my Saturday and go for a photowalk.

I’d not gone on one in a while and I decided to go to Nobbys Beach in Newcastle as the last time I went I didn’t get to photograph the lighthouse there and I thought a beautiful day like this might be the perfect chance!

Well, that was the idea anyway… turned out I didn’t quite make it to the lighthouse. I found a few other great spots first – and then suddenly the best of the light was gone and I still hadn’t reached the lighthouse. Oops!

Oh well. Next time I guess. I still got some good photos and it was a beautiful sunset. What better way to spend the end of a beautiful Saturday? 🙂

Photos 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?

Pigeons Above the Gate

Pigeons Above the Gate

Life is
Full of surprises ~

We must try to welcome them
When they come

The weather has been really weird around Newcastle lately. We’ve had some really nice, warm days and then some bitterly cold, wet ones – sometimes we’ve had both in the same day and it’s been very frustrating.

That’s pretty much what happened yesterday. I was going to meet a group for a photowalk around the Newcastle Baths in the evening but I didn’t get there in the end as it poured with rain. I got about as far as the Customs House Hotel before the rain came and then it didn’t stop for hours.

I managed to find cover underneath an awning in Foreshore Park and while I sat around for a while, waiting to see if the rain would stop, I spotted this interesting gate nearby.

I found the different textures and the colours quite striking and I also liked how the pigeons were all in a row, sheltering from the rain. So I snapped a quick shot and I’m really pleased with how it turned out and the symmetry in the photo.

When I left to go to the Newcastle Baths yesterday I had a few ideas in mind but I certainly didn’t imagine I’d come across a photo like this. And I probably wouldn’t have if it hadn’t rained. It just goes to show how you should always be open to the world around you and not focus on just one idea or thing. You never know what you’re going to find.

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2016

On Newcastle Beach

Newcastle Beach 25/06/16

Coarse sand, crashing waves
The smell of salt in the air ~
The ocean is home

I went on a group photowalk yesterday afternoon. There were about eight of us and we wandered around Newcastle Beach and the ocean baths for about an hour or so around sunset, taking photos and talking photography.

It was absolutely freezing and very windy but it was a nice afternoon and I enjoyed taking photos as part of a group. It feels different to taking photos on your own and makes for a nice change.

This is one of the photos I took. I particularly like the contrast between the gritty textures and soft colours, and the way the lines lead the eye toward the ocean.

As you can see, it’s a beautiful spot and the ocean baths in particular are very historic. I’ll have to go back with my tripod at some stage for some long exposures as walking around gave me a few ideas I’d like to try.

I’ll post a few other photos from the walk once I’ve edited them. Will have a new poem to post soon too.

Photo and haiku © CJ Levinson 2016