A Good Day Out

Well the long weekend brought a few very pleasant surprises. I had entered the Kalamunda Spring In The Hills Photographic Competition on a last-minute whim. Literally there were minutes to go as I entered online. This was the image I chose to put in the open category.

White Spider Orchid
White spider orchid, caladenia longicauda, is one of Western Australia’s most well known orchids. Mokine, Western Australia. Canon EOS 5D Sigma 105mm f2.8 macro lens. Exposure 1/100 s at f/4.0 ISO 100.

I went to the opening of the competition at The Zig Zag Cultural Centre and was very chuffed to win third prize in the open category. The winners can be seen here. The icing on the cake came when I was told that I’d also sold the print. So all in all a very successful day out. Thanks to all the folks at the Gem Camera Club who organise the competition and the Shire of Kalamunda who are the hosts.

Copies of the print can be bought through my gallery .

The best camera….

…is the one you have got with you. It’s an old saying but it is a truism.  I’ve always been a proponent of having a high quality pocket camera for those times when you don’t want to carry a camera. In the days of film it was my Olympus XA or XA4 (see the picture in the heading of the blog), but now it is Panasonic LX-5. The make or model is immaterial, really the main criteria is that it has to fit in my pocket and be able to produce a good quality A4 sized print.  The irony is that most of my best-selling pictures have been taken with such cameras.

Yesterday was one of those beautiful winter days that makes living in the south-west of Western Australia so worthwhile. It had been a cold clear night and we woke to a crisp morning with temperature expected to rise to 23℃ – better than some country’s summer. So my partner and I decided to walking in the Darling Range just above Perth and we walked along Piesse Brook to a place called Rocky Pool which is a picturesque little spot. Once we got there my partner decided to sit and cool off her feet in the water and I decided to take a couple of shots for the relatives such as this one:

It’s fine as a family snap shot and it records a nice moment in our lives that we can share with family members living in the UK, but pocket cameras are so good these days they are capable of so much more. I turned 180º and looked at the pool at the bottom of the small water fall. It was a pretty vista and I wanted to record it but knew that the dynamic range of the camera’s sensor was not up to recording the huge subject brightness range of the scene. Hmm! What to do? I had no graduated filters, no tripod, no cable release, just my pocket camera. So I set  exposure bracketing dialling in +/- 2 stops and handholding the camera just above the water took a series of shots while crossing my fingers. When I got home I fired up the computer and imported the pictures into Lightroom and then chose to merge them into a HDR using PhotoShop. After a bit of jiggery pokery playing around with curves and a couple of plugins I got this:

Not a great work of art but it is a pleasing shot that sums what a great time we had.

It really is a great time to be a photographer.

Just as a gentle plug a while ago I wrote and illustrated a book on walking in Perth, this walk was included. The book can be bought from tourist offices and good bookshops in Western Australia or it cane be ordered online here:

http://www.booktopia.com.au/perth-s-best-bush-coast-and-city-walks/prod9781921606793.html