Newcastle Ocean Baths in Black & White

The Newcastle Ocean Baths is my favourite spot to shoot in Newcastle. There’s just something about the light and all the interesting areas to shoot and the rich textures that really inspires me when I’m there. I think it’s almost impossible to get a bad shot there.

I did a photo challenge at the Baths with my Newcastle photography group last weekend. The idea was to try to shoot in a way that you normally wouldn’t so I used a filter on my camera to shoot entirely in black & white. At the time I thought it was going to be quite limiting but it was actually fantastic. There’s something about seeing your composition in b&w at the time rather than converting it later that feels really liberating and I almost felt like I was seeing the place with new eyes.

I’ll have to do the challenge again from time to time just to change things up. Maybe try shooting with a different lens too. I hope you like the photos.

Photos © CJ Levinson 2019

Belmont Baths Sunset

I wandered down to the new Belmont Baths and Jetty to shoot the sunset a couple of days ago. It’s a great time of year to shoot at the Baths at the moment as they’re rarely very busy and the sun sets right across the lake so you get beautiful light and colour.

I took the chance to get a few photos of the new amenities block as well. It looks very nice and really completes the area. It’s been fun watching it all go up over the last year.

Photos © 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

2018 Favourites

With today being the last day of 2018 I thought it’d be fun to post a collection of my favourite photos from the past year. I hope you enjoy them.

2018’s been an interesting year for my photography. I actually didn’t start taking many photos until about April but it’s been pretty much non-stop since.

Part of that’s been that I decided to do a calendar for the end of the year. I thought it would help inspire me to get out and shoot more, which it did. It ended up being a really fun project.

Along with my landscapes I started doing more portraits as well, particularly studio portraits which have been fun and have helped my understanding of flash. I’ll be doing more paid work in 2019 so it’s been good practice for that.

In general I think my photography has improved a lot this year. In particular I’ve refined my editing a lot and I’ve found myself focusing on combining long exposures with movement which has created some really interesting images.

I also won the Lake Macquarie Float Your Boat photo competition and my calendar sold much better than I expected it to – it actually sold out twice and it came together very well in the end.

I also switched to Sony from Olympus midyear which was a bit of a learning curve at first but has worked out really well in the end.

So all in all 2018’s been a pretty productive year. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2019 will bring. 🙂

Happy New Year! Hope it’s a good one for you.

Belmont Baths and Jetty

The new Belmont baths and jetty opened on Saturday. The old finger jetty was destroyed by a severe storm several years ago and the council used the opportunity to design a new one and reopen the community baths as well.

I live in Belmont so I’ve been watching the construction closely over the last few months and I popped along on Saturday to have a look now it’s all finished.

I quite like them. The jetty is fantasic and the baths look like they’ll be great on a hot day and they’re an interesting design. I was a little surprised by the boundary posts though; I thought there would be more connecting them than the shark nets but I guessmaybe that would have ruined the view.

I went back for a proper photowalk on Sunday to explore some more and catch the sunset. I like how the shots came out and the different views of the baths and jetty and the lake. They’re definitely interesting to photograph, I think it’ll be an interesting area to go back to every now and then.

Photos © CJ Levinson 2018

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

Self Portraits

I took these self portraits a couple of nights ago. I’ve been thinking about starting to do more studio-style portraits and as I wanted to see if there was enough room to do them at home, I thought I’d try it out myself.

I took them in our lounge and I honestly wasn’t sure how it’d go at first but it actually worked out quite well. We have some dark blue velvet curtains which were great for the background and I used two flashes on light stands and stood about a metre from the curtains which more or less turned the background black. I had my camera on a tripod and triggered it with a remote which gave me time to pose and try different things.

I didn’t do any full body shots as I didn’t want to move any furniture out of the way but there would be enough room to do that if I wanted to in the future which is good to know. In this case I was more interested in shooting from the waist up anyway.

The main thing I found a bit hard was positioning the flashes given it’s a small room and if I wasn’t careful the light could spread too far; sometimes the background looked totally black in camera but later on my computer I found I could make out the curtains. So I think I’d use a proper background next time and maybe step a bit further forward to fix that. A textured muslin background would look good too.

They came out well overall though and for just a fun experiment I like them a lot. I particularly like the shots with the masks. I’ve been thinking a lot about the masks we wear in our everyday lives lately, how the person we are in public differs from the person we are in private. I wanted to try to convey that in the images: the tie and jacket contrasting with the mask, a scream of repression.

With the Venetian masquerade mask I was particularly thinking of the Uncle Sam Wants You poster from World War I and how governments use masks of propaganda to convince people of their cause and given a lot of what’s happening in the world at the moment, I thought doing a take on that pose was interesting. Looking at the final image, it feels a little accusatory which I like as well… it gives it another dimension and I guess it’s a reflection of what I was feeling in that moment too.

I also thought the masks just looked pretty cool too which was the main thing!

I hope you like the photos. I really enjoy making creative self portraits like these, I’ll have to get back to doing them more regularly.

Photos © CJ Levinson 2018

Lake Macquarie and Newcastle 2019 Calendar

Lake Macquarie and Newcastle 2019 Calendar (digital)

Just a quick note. I’ve spent the last couple of months working on incorporating a store into the site and it’s live now if anyone wants to check it out.

I’ve had a small store on Etsy previously but I think it makes more sense to incorporate it into the site. And cheaper too.

All the photos are digital files so they can be printed at home or through a print shop or used as wallpaper, etc. They’re $12 each.

I’ve also just finished making a calendar for 2019 which is on the store now too!

The calendar features 12 of my favourite photos from around Lake Macquarie and Newcastle, including some that I’ve never posted before.

It was a lot of fun to make and I really wanted the calendar to capture the spirit and beauty of Lake Macquarie and Newcastle and I really like how it came out.

If you’re interested you can order it here. There’s also a digital version which avoids postage costs.

I hope you like it. 🙂

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