Thursday, 21 September 2017

Voigtlander Bessa 1 and Kodak Portra 160

I love using this Voigtlander Bessa 1 folding camera.  So much more of a challenge than anything in digital!

I only get 8 exposures in 6 x 9 format from a 120mm roll of film (although if I used the 6 x 4.5 mask, I would get 16 exposures, I guess I should try that at some stage!).  So, because it is more expensive to develop and scan medium format film at my local lab, I have to factor in the cost of using it as opposed to a 35mm film.  I can't just leave it sit on the shelf as an ornament though!

The focal length when folded out is 105mm on a Voigtlander Color Skopar f3.5 lens.  As you can see, it is still really sharp for its age with no scratches or dust.  I can't open it out wide at f3.5 though because the fastest shutter speed on the camera is only 1/250.  It doesn't have the shutter speed to match the larger aperture which is a shame because I would love to use it for portraits and get that shallow depth of field going.  

There are a couple of solutions to that though.  One would be to use a lower ISO film.  There are still a few ISO50 films around but I would like to try an ISO25.  Problem being that most 120mm ISO25 films would be long expired and that introduces little idiosyncrasies into the shooting and development of the older films that may deliver an unwanted surprise package in the finished product!

The second solution I am thinking, would be to use an ND filter to block out some of the light which would allow the use of larger aperture and not require a speed faster than 1/250.  This requires me to do some maths to get the correct settings (maths has never been a strong subject with me!)  Also, I would have to adapt any filter to fit on the front of the camera over the lens somehow.  It's a job for when I have more time to experiment I think!

This is only the second roll of colour film I have put through this camera (which was the point of the exercise; I wanted to use colour!)  I shot the Kodak Portra 160 at 100 ISO and only adjusted the contrast slightly in Lightroom.  Both exposure and colour have turned out great!

In this first photo above, you can see that most of the scene on the left and in the middle is fairly sharp but, toward the right hand side it gradually loses the focus.  As the Voigtlander is opened and folds out, there are two locking points on either side.  The locking point on the right hand side has a nasty habit of popping out of lock.  Usually I am aware when this has happened but for some reason I totally missed it this time.  As you can see it ruins the sharpness on the right hand side of the photo.

The photos in this post and corresponding Google+ page are
Copyright  Life with Jordy Photography, All Rights Reserved 
and may not be used without permission.

Friday, 15 September 2017

The Quarantine Station at North Head, Sydney

There is a hidden gem in Sydney.  Well, it's not quite hidden because you can see it from the Manly Ferry on the way in and out from North Harbour.  It has its' own little beach and old style buildings and is in a very quiet spot on Sydney Harbour.  It's on the left as you leave on the ferry from Manly Wharf and get past Smedleys Point.  You'd probably see it and wonder what it was unless you had made the effort to visit North Head in the Sydney Harbour National Park.

North Head is the northern peninsula that guards the entrance to Sydney Harbour (and the southern peninsula that forms the other 'gate post' is aptly named.... South Head!)

North Head is a beautiful heathland on a sandstone promontory.  It has a special importance to the indigenous people of the Sydney area and, for them, it was a place of healing and a special ceremonial site.  A quarantine station was built there for the immigrants arriving at Sydney.  Prior to WWII, the military moved in and it became one of the most heavily fortified places in Australia during that war.  In 1998, the military moved out.  North Head these days is a sanctuary with many walks and tours.

The Quarantine Station operated from as early as the 1830s.  Migrant ships arriving with any suspected contagious disease were offloaded there as protection to the residents of Sydney.  The Quarantine Station operated up until 1984.  At that time the site was managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service for tours and as a function centre.  Because of ongoing funding shortfalls, the NSW Government leased the area to a private consortium with a history of revitalising old historic buildings and sites in 2006.  The Quarantine Station, after careful renovation, is now a series of historic buildings that offer 4.5 star accommodation, function spaces up to 180 guests, 2 restaurants and bar and a Visitors Centre that displays the history of the station.

There are great views to be held of Sydney Harbour from North Head and access to the Quarantine Station area is restricted to only a few vehicles.  There is a shuttle bus that can assist with getting around but there are also many places to explore by foot on the 30 hectare site.  Be warned though, if walking from the gate down to the beach, there is a large staircase on the walking path with 234 steps (my wife counted them)!

Want to know more?  Visit the websites for Q Station and  North Head where you'll find plenty of information.

It is well worth the visit!

The photos on this post and corresponding Google+ pages are
©Life with Jordy Photography, All Rights Reserved and may
not be used without permission.

Some of the photos on this post are for sale, 
contact me if you are interested.

The Quarantine Station from the Manly Ferry - Sydney, Australia.

The accommodation offers spectacular views of Sydney and the Harbour.

Manly Ferries dance on Sydney Harbour.

Manly Ferry en-route to Circular Quay.

These are the autoclaves at Q Station.  Passengers luggage would be loaded into these 'vaults'
and disinfected with extremely hot steam.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Wild Water

Kim & I had a well deserved getaway last week. We popped down on a Sunday to Manly on Sydneys northern beaches area for a look around for a few days. Kim had found a very nice 1 room apartment for a very nice price online and we decided to head off. The apartment was perfectly situated only a 2 minute walk from the Manly Shopping Mall and the pubs & restaurants!

Manly is such a lovely area! Although it is famous for its beach, it was very crowded. Unlike Newcastle where you can get beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see and sometimes there is not another soul to be seen. I guess that it what happens to beaches located in a highly populated city!

We were expecting some mild weather for our visit; not too cold, not too hot. However....... A weather change blew in just after we arrived and the temperature dropped considerably. The gale force winds didn't make it any more pleasant either, and the chilly winds just blew straight through us! We did have a bit of rain but mostly it was overcast and very windy.

One thing about the weather though, it brought huge ocean swells to the coast and that meant for some spectacular surf and really big waves. It was just phenomenal to see these huge waves come crashing in on the shore and, as you will see, made for some fantastic photos.

On the Monday we drove north just to browse the suburbs, the beaches and anything else that caught our eye. Through the suburbs of Dee Why, Freshwater, Curl Curl and up to Narrabeen and Mona Vale. During a Google Maps recon, I noted there was a couple of ocean baths and we popped in to get some photos. The ocean swell at Freshwater Pool was fantastic as the big waves came in and tried to squeeze into the smaller bay. The wind was gusting high and was bloody cold! Irrespective, we braved the elements to walk down the stairs to the pool and got some amazing photos. Another thing we learned that day was that, in the city; doesn't matter where you go, you have to pay for your parking. At each car park along the coast it cost us $5 for only 40 minutes. I pay that in Newcastle for all day parking at work (if I can't snag a freebie!).

Moving north from there we popped into North Curl Curl Rock Pool. This is a lovely spot with a short bushwalk from the Surf Life Saving Club out onto the headland. There is a walk around the headland to a place called Coles Ledge but the waves were too big to try and negotiate the rocks on this particular day. We went a short way off the beaten track to get some photos of the rock pool from higher up. It was a real buzz to see the giant waves here smashing against the rocks and resultant spray rising higher than the headland itself!

I love it when the wind whips the top off the waves as they curl over to break. It reminds me of a herd of stampeding horses; their manes tossing and front legs extended into the run!

From there we just basically decided to tour the area and stay in the car; getting a feel for the location, checking out the real estate (big $$$$ in this area!) and just seeing what there was to see. The wind gusts were getting stronger and the wind chill factor made for a really cold day; even the locals could not believe how cold it was for the time of year.

I'm currently editing more photos of our little escape so keep checking back!


The photos on this page and corresponding Google pages are
© Life with Jordy Photography and may not be used without permission

These photos are for sale. Contact me if you are interested!

Movement in Waves - North Curl Curl Rock Pool.

Wild Surf - Freshwater Pool, Freshwater.

Pounding Surf - Freshwater Beach, Freshwater.

Freshwater Pool, Freshwater.

Surfs Up! - Dee Why Head, North Curl Curl.

Rough Water - Dee Why Head, North Curl Curl.

Pool's Closed! - Dee Why Head, North Curl Curl.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

An afternoon on Lake Macquarie

I am so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of Australia!

Fantastic surf beaches to the east, picturesque rural countryside to the west, National Parks, large river systems flowing into a busy harbour and, Lake Macquarie.

Lake Macquarie is Australia's largest inland salt water lagoon at 110 square kilometres (42.5 square miles).  It is twice as large as Sydney Harbour and is apparently the largest salt water lake in the Southern Hemisphere.

I had wandered to the lake to get some photos of the boating activity.  First stop Toronto where there were a few sailing boats taking advantage of the stiff breeze.  From there I went further south to Belmont and then to Eleebana for the sunset.

It was a good afternoon although, a bushfire burning near the Teralba area was spreading it's smoke and haze across the lake in the distance.  I decided to make the most of this haze and convert some to black and white in the editing phase once I got the photos back home.

I also attempted to get photos of the water birds as they flew low over the lake, in amongst the boat masts.  Easier said than done but I did manage to get a few decent photos from that.  I shoot using only the one focus point and when the lens is maxed out to 300mm it is a little difficult to target a small moving object.

For a lot of these photos from my Canon 600D, I used a Canon EF 75-300mm zoom.

Photo editing in Nik Colour Efex Pro and Nik Silver Efex Pro.

The photos on this post and corresponding Google+ page are
© Life with Jordy Photography, All Rights Reserved and
are not to be copied or used without permission.

These photos are for sale,  contact me if you are interested

Managed to capture this Seagull as he flew through the moored boats at Belmont.

I was at Eleebana just on Sunset when I spied this fellow hunting in the shallows.

Using the midtones slider has lightened the background on this photo where the haze
from the bushfire smoke was drifting.  The black slider has brought up the water and boat wonderfully.

Zooming past the Belmont Wharf.

Not quite a sharp focus on the bird but lightening the background and playing with the black
slider has given  a silhouette look for the end of the wharf and the bird.  I added some 'digital
 grain' for a low light photo effect.

Burn tool used to create the vignette.

Small boats from the 16 Footers Club at Belmont making their way back home.  Because of the
haze from the bushfire, I decided to turn this to black & white and adjust the midtones to
lighten the background.  Once that was done I tweaked the black slider to bring out the 

boats a little.

From Toronto Jetty.
I could live on a Ketch like this.  Go north for the winter and south for the summer along the
Australian east coast.

Making the most of the beautiful afternoon.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

A First Birthday Cake Smash!

A famous French Queen once said, "Let them smash Cake!"   Or something like that anyway......

It has been almost a year since I photographed Peyton at 8 weeks old.  

She has just turned 1, and her Mum asked if I would return and photograph Peyton laying waste to a lovely cake.  Having never photographed a cake smash before, I thought it would be a fun thing to do.

Like her Mum, Peyton has a cheeky grin and personality to match!  A little unsure of what to do with the cake at first she finally got the idea to just rip it apart and play with it!  She also has such an expressive face; so much character already!

It was a lovely, colourful Unicorn Cake and she made short work of it.  She did get a bit upset at the end though, probably at the thought that she had smashed up the cake but had not actually eaten much of it at all!

Of course, when you're all covered in cake and icing, a young lady needs to take a bath.  

The cake may have have washed away, but the sweet smile remained!

All photos on this Blog and correspondingGoogle+ page are 
Copyright ©Life with Jordy Photography All Rights Reserved and 
may not be used without permission.

The photos in this particular post are not for sale.

Interested in a photo session yourself?  Contact me and let's see what 
we can work out! 

Peyton & Peppa discussing the pros and cons of wearing a headband.

'Wha'?  I can't play with the power socket?'

'Is she serious?  Smash the cake?'

'I don't get it; it's a perfectly good cake!'

'Whoops!  Too much cake already!'

'It's all gone!'

'Bath time is fun!'

Monday, 26 June 2017

Sand Dunes of the Worimi National Park

The sand dunes of Worimi National Park make for an amazing photo safari.

The lovely rolling, meandering shape of the dunes, the designs etched in the sand by both wind and rain, the light and shade cast by the Sun as it slowly set over this amazing panorama presents exciting challenges to be captured.  It is a very minimalist landscape without a specific point of interest so the challenge is to find or create that point of interest amidst the pleasing angles and rounded shapes of the dunes. 

It was a doubly pleasing afternoon safari, because my son Lachlan (a photographer in his own right - visit him at  Lachlan Jordan Photography) was able to join me; it's been a while since we were both free at the same time!  He was pretty excited because he had not been to the dunes before.

When we arrived there was a moment of uncertainty as some light rain started to fall but it turned out to be just a small shower passing over and out to sea.

Walking out on the dunes surprised me.  I was expecting soft sand similar to that of the beach but this was fairly compact and easy to walk on.  There was patches of soft sand but these were mostly found in the gullies amidst the dunes as the sand rolled down off the slope.

It is a very popular place.  Not only are there 4WD tours of the dunes but there are Camel rides and also sand boarding so, there were a few people hanging around.  There is also a 'road' that leads through the dunes to Birubi Beach which is popular with 4WD Clubs and individuals who like their surfing and beach fishing.  There is a Surf Life Saving Club on the beach also.  What does this mean for the photographer?  Trying to get a photo of the sand dunes without human or camel footprints all over it or tyre prints in the sand!  To walk to a remote area would have taken considerable time so I had to plan my photos carefully to avoid any of these distractions.

Most of these photos were shot using a Canon EF 70-300mm zoom.  Because I had that mounted on my Canon 600D (an APSC camera) it gave a 35mm equivalent zoom of 480mm when zoomed right out.  

We waited until the Sun was setting proper but it was a little disappointing.  The earlier light rainfall had cleared but there was still sufficient cloud low on the horizon to block any spectacular light or reflection off the cloud and back onto the sand.  Luckily, because of heavy rains in the weeks prior, there were little oasis of water in the flatter part of the park and these presented some great reflections of the sunset and lovely colour.  Mind you, those clouds hanging around made for a magnificent sky during the afternoon as you will see.

I'd love to be here for a Sunrise but it is about an hours drive from where I live and then about a 20-30 min walk to the top of the dunes so it would be a very very early start and then a walk on the dunes in the darkness so there will have to be some more planning before that occurs!

Click on the photos to view a larger version; looks much better!

The photos on this post and on corresponding
Google+ and Google Photos pages are
 © Life with Jordy Photography, All Rights Reserved
and may not be used without permission.

Taken with my Canon 50mm f1.8.  2 photos stitched for the panorama.

This photo is made up of 2 separate photos stitched to make the Parorama.  The person
standing on the dune on the left is my son, Lachlan.  

Sand People.  Using my Canon 70-300mm zoom I was able to get right up to
this group of people as they made their way across the top of the dunes.

The wind uncovers many secrets that have been lying dormant in the sand.

I don't know if this is a marker post or part of an old fence line across the dunes.  It was just there
in the middle of nowhere.

This is one of the photos used to create the panorama above.  Couldn't resist reverting the colour
to B&W.  Note the fantastic cloud formations that were present that afternoon!

Taken just after we arrived.  Camel Trek Adventures.  That light rain we had disappearing
out to sea leaving a rainbow in its departure.
Incredible cloud formations on the horizon!