Golden Trees

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

Newcastle Photo Collage

Collage 2

I’ve been busy moving over the last few weeks. I’ve been thinking about moving for a while and after the break in a few months ago and some other safety issues, I finally decided I’d had enough and needed to get out. So I’ve put most of my possessions in storage for now and I’m staying with my mother in Belmont while I recoup some of the costs and eventually start to look for a place of my own.

I am happy to be out and in a safer area but I guess I have slightly mixed feelings as this is the second time in three years I have had to put everything in to storage and leave home. On the other hand it’s the first time in a long time that I feel like I’m not looking over my shoulder and worrying about ice addicted neighbours which is a big relief. And it’s nice being with mum again and being able to help her and shares costs, etc.

More than anything I think this will be a good opportunity to find some peace and heal. It’s a beautiful area right by the lake and this little cabin already feels more like a home than where I’ve been living did.

So at the moment I’m still settling in and since I packed most of my photos I thought I’d look at printing some new ones to make my room a little more inviting. What I really want is to create a kind of gallery feel so I thought I’d create some collages.

The photo above is the first one I’ve done so far. I compiled it in Photoshop and it’s made up of photos I’ve taken around Newcastle and Lake Macquarie since we left Sydney three years ago. It seemed like a good place to start and I really like how it’s turned out and the contrast between all the photos.

I also plan to do two collages of photos from Sydney and another of photos from New Zealand, which I’ll then print to around poster size. It should create a nice showcase and hopefully be a bit of a talking point too.

I hope you like it. I’ll post the other collages as I do them too.

Photo © CJ Levinson 2015/16
Like the photo? Click here to buy it for $5

An Afternoon at Fort Scratchley

Fort Scratchley canonCannon outside the fort

I went on a group photowalk around Fort Scratchily in Newcastle yesterday afternoon. I’ve not done that many group photowalks before and I enjoyed it. It was nice being with other photographers and I think other people seemed a bit more comfortable around us as well which was nice.

The weather held off for most of the time, before absolutely bucketing down. I was well and truly soaked by the time I got back. It made for some interesting and atmospheric photos though so I can’t complain too much.

Fort Scratchley is an interesting place. It sits atop Flagstaff Hill, giving good views over the Tasman Sea and the Hunter River, and was originally built in 1882 to defend against a possible Russian attack. It’s probably best known for returning fire during the shelling of Newcastle by the Japanese on June 8, 1942.

It’s a museum now and an interesting place to spend an hour or two wandering around. It also still keeps the seafaring tradition of firing a gun in tandem with a ball drop, which happens at 1pm every day and is interesting to see.

I’ll have to go back for a proper tour at some stage, hopefully when the weather is a bit better.

Most of the photos came out quite well and the overcast sky lent itself particularly well to black and white photos. I wanted to give them more of a contrasty, filmic look and I really like how they came out.

A few of the photos had rain spots on them as well but I actually quite like the effect. It reminds me a bit of the discolouration and scratches you’d get with film sometimes which I find interesting.

So that was my Sunday. Hope you had a nice weekend too. 🙂

Fort ScratchleyApproaching Fort Scratchley

Fort Scratchley

Looking towards Newcastle

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