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

Self-Portraits (Part Two)

I took these last night for a bit of fun. I like to do some festive self-portraits in the lead up to Christmas and after I had a lot of fun doing my some studio-style self-portraits a few week ago, I thought I’d do these in the same style too. I like how they came out and I did some more normal, non-Christmas themed portraits too. Hope you like them.

Photos © CJ Levinson 2018

Towards the Belmont 16s

16s at Night

At night 
The world seems so different
Like a mirror’s
Dark reflection

I went down to the lake earlier tonight to try to get a photo of the moon. It was a beautiful golden crescent and I thought it would make for a really great shot suspended just above the yachts. Well I failed miserably at that – I think I was probably using the wrong lens and it just didn’t seem to work.

So I decided to try something else and took this long exposure looking towards the Belmont 16s instead. It ended up being a 120 second exposure which meant a lot of waiting but it turned out well and better than the original idea I had. Photography can be funny like that, often it’s the shot you weren’t thinking of that turns out the best.

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2018

Through the Grass

Through the Grass

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”
—Dorothea Lange

I took this shot on the weekend near the 16s in Belmont. It was just before sunset and I really liked the way the light was reflecting off the water and falling on the grass. There was a nice breeze too and the whole scene felt very warm and peaceful.

In editing it I wanted the photo to have a bit of a vintage, filmic feel as I thought it really leant itself to that style and my landscapes seem to have been moving more towards that lately. I guess it’s normal for our tastes to change and I feel a bit nostalgic for film as well sometimes. Maybe I’ll have to pick up a film camera second-hand to play with.

Photo © CJ Levinson 2018

Looking Across Warners Bay

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” — Ansel Adams

I took these photos a couple of days ago at Warners Bay. It’s a beautiful area, one of my favourite places to sit and take some photos as the sun goes down, although unfortunately on this day it was a bit clouded over. The clouds gave the scene a nice atmosphere though and the light was very soft and even.

I was in two minds about going originally as I thought it might rain but I decided to risk it as I hadn’t been to the foreshore in a while and I really wanted to get a shot with this sculpture that was installed there recently.

The sculpture is called Soloist by Alex Seton and it’s a very interesting piece, definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area. Ironically it was actually an accident that it ended up on the foreshore at all – Seton had been commissioned to do another work by the Lake Macquarie City Council for its Creative Lake Art Trail but the piece wasn’t ready in time, so Seton lent Soloist in its place until the other work could be installed. But the sculpture created a lot of interest and debate and it’s now staying permanently.

I really like it and I think it suits the landscape perfectly. There is something very meditative about it and it makes me think of the importance of finding your peace in our hectic world, of allowing yourself a moment to just sit still and be. I guess that was the feeling I wanted to try to capture in the photos. I think they came out quite well in the end.

Photos © CJ Levinson 2018

Ghosts on the Sand

Ghosts on the Sand

Ghosts on the Sand

Wet feet
Childish laughter
Footprints in the sand:
Memories to cherish

I took this shot at Nobby’s Beach in Newcastle earlier this afternoon. It was a bit of a tricky shot as while I liked the way the light was falling on the headland and how it contrasted with the water and the rocks, there was an ugly wire fence in the way and none of the compositions I tried seemed to work very well.

I finally managed to find this composition by pushing the camera through a small space in the fence and just as I was ready to take the shot, a couple of children wandered into the bottom left of the frame. They had lots of fun running up to the water and jumping in, then squealing and rushing back the other way as the tide suddenly came back in.

I thought I’d try to capture some of that in the photo so I set up for a longer exposure. This was the result, I really like it… the motion blur’s almost made them look like ghosts playing on the sand. It captures the scene quite nicely.

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2018

The Lake at Night

In the dark night
The world looks similar
But different;
I walk on

I took these photos along the Belmont lakefront last night. It was a lovely clear night and I thought it was a good chance to see how my new camera performed at night as well as to stretch my legs.

I used to do quite a bit of night photography in Sydney but it’s not something I’ve done as much of lately. I’ll have to do more of it. Night shots can look quite unique, particularly street photography, and I like how it can give a new perspective to subjects you’ve photographed before as well.

Photos and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2018

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