2016 In Review

Faversham
The Faversham vintage van in Avon Terrace, York, Western Australia. Olympus OMD EM-1 with Olympus OM Zuiko 35-105mm f3.5-4.5 lens. Exposure: 1/200 sec, f5.6 ISO 400.

 

If you have slightly geeky bent, and to be honest if you are reading a photography blog it’s pretty much a given that you have, then Adobe’s Lightroom has several useful tools. One of the ones I’ve been looking at is the ability to look at your photographic work for a specific time frame, and in this case it’s for the year 2016. You can also look at the cameras and lenses you used for that period which enables you to see what patterns of equipment usage emerge. It might ultimately save you money i.e. if you have a hankering for an expensive lens you can look back on your past year to see if that focal length/s you used and whether the objective lens of your desires is one you’d actually use or not. This has actually happened to me – a while back I was working on my project Broncos and Bulls and I felt that the Canon EF 75-300 f4-5.6 IS was costing me shots as it wasn’t the fastest lens to focus and the images at the long end were pretty soft. I wanted a Canon 100-400 L IS but my then preferred local dealer didn’t have one in stock and after waiting nearly 3 months they informed they couldn’t get one. I allowed them to talk me into buying the Canon 70-200 f2.8 L IS with the Canon x2 converter which they had in stock. Their logic was that I’d end up using the 70-200 much more and would hardly use it combined with the teleconverter. Now looking back through my Lightroom library I can see that I’ve hardly used the 70-200 at all on its own and virtually all the times I have used it was in conjunction with the teleconverter. I should have stuck to my guns and gone to another dealer and that way I’d have a lens that met my needs gave and gave good image quality rather than put up with a convenient compromise.

 

Gotcha!!! by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Gotcha. Steer roping, Boddington Rodeo Western Australia. Canon EOS 5D with Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS L and x2 converter. Exposure: 1/800 s at f/5.6 ISO 200
 So what have I deduced about my photography for 2016? Well I’ll start with commenting on 2015 – for that year over half my photographic output was shot with a DSLR (50:50 split between full frame and APS-C). In 2016 that dropped to 10% the other 90% was shot on mirrorless. The DSLR was only used for some macro work (radio controlled TTL flash), some architecture (a specialised lens) and one event where I had a crisis of confidence and didn’t think the mirrorless cameras would cope with high ISOs and low light focussing. When I look at lens usage it comes as a big surprise that one-quarter of the images were taken using adapted lenses and these with a focal range of between 15-135mm in full frame terms. Hmmm well I knew I preferred shorter lenses than

 

Quairading Railway Station by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Aboriginal art at Quairading Railway Station, Western Australia. Sony A7r with Olympus OM Zuiko 24mm f2.8 lens. Exposure: 1/4000, f8 at ISO 400.

longer already, the main thing is that I enjoyed using legacy lenses and was more than happy with them in terms of image quality. I don’t have to use legacy lenses at all as I have 20 to 600mm covered by modern dedicated AF lenses. For work where it is appropriate I will use the legacy lenses because they give a certain aesthetic that I like which is a less digital and clinical look.

 

York Mill by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
As you drive into York on the Great Southern Highway standing tall on your left is the historic York Flour Mill built in 1892, home to The York Mill. Sony A7r with Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 Super Wide – Heliar lens. Exposure: 1/25 sec, f16 at ISO 100.

Well what will 2017 bring. Well for 2016 I experimented with finding a certain look. For 2017 will be more project driven as I have found the style I wanted and now want to put it to practice. There will be at least one new book (work on that has already started) and there will be some multi media projects. So exciting times indeed.

 

Hillside Farmhouse by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Hillside Farmhouse was designed by Sir Talbot Hobbs, a leading architect and built in 1911 for Morris Edwards in the historic Wheatbelt town of York in Western Australia. Sony A7r with Olympus OM Zuiko 35-105mm f3.5-4.5 lens mounted via a Fotodiox adapter, Cokin circular polarizing filter and +3 stop graduated neutral density filter. Exposure 4 seconds, f16, ISO 50.

 

I hope for my readers that 2017 will be all that you hope and that you’ll be healthy and happy.

 

Everlastings by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Everlastings on Mount Brown in York, WA. Sony A7r with Olympus OM Zuiko 135mm f2.8 lens. Exposure: aperture priority with +1 stop exposure compensation, 1/1000th sec, f2.8 at ISO 100.

 

 

Everlastings

Everlastings
Everlastings on Mount Brown in York, WA. Sony A7r with Olympus OM Zuiko 21mm f3.5 lens and Cokin “P” 2 stop graduated neutral density filter. Exposure: 1/30th sec, f16, ISO 100.

 

Everlastings
Everlastings on Mount Brown in York, WA. Sony A7r with Olympus OM Zuiko 135 f2.8 lens. Exposure: 1/1000th sec, f2.8, ISO 100.

 

Ambling In The Avon Valley – part 2

York

York Town Hall and the Imperial Hotel on Avon Terrace.

The pearl in the Avon Valley, York is approximately 100 Km east of Perth. First settled in 1831 it is WA’s oldest inland town and it prospered as an important agricultural centre. The Gold Rush saw York become an important commercial centre and fueled its rapid growth. Many of York’s historic buildings date from this era and it is the number of intact Colonial and Federation buildings that has earned the town its National Trust classification of historic town. The main focus of activity is Avon Terrace and walking along it is like stepping back in time. The town hall was built in 1897 and was renovated in 1911 to give it the large and grandiose Romanesque entrance hall that is seen today. Next door is the Imperial Hotel opened in 1886 and is a particularly fine example of a railway hotel. It was the first two storey commercial building in York to be made out of local stone.

The historic streetscape of York’s Avon Terrace, Western Australia’s oldest inland town. The old Saregent’s Pharmacy building, and the Castle Hotel are fine examples of Gold Rush era colonial architecture.

The Castle Hotel , just a little further up Avon Terrace, has the distinction of being the oldest inland hotel in WA and was built by ticket of leave men from the York Convict Hiring Depot in 1853.  Other significant buildings on Avon Terrace are the Courthouse and Gaol Museum  and Settlers House .

York Motor Museum on Avon Terrace in York.

Also on the terrace is the York Motor Museum  which houses the Peter Briggs collection of one hundred and fifty vehicles that range from an 1894 Peugeot to a Williams FW07 which Alan Jones drove on his way to becoming the 1980 World Grand Prix Champion. The  Residency museum on Brook Street ((08) 9641 1751) is all that remains of the original Convict Hiring Depot which was built in 1852. In 1867 the building became the residence of the colonial governor and now houses an interesting museum. Close by is the old hospital building which opened in 1896 in response to a cholera outbreak in the Goldfields.

An old farmhouse sits derelict on a hill just outside York in Western Australia.
Parts of Mount Brown, in York Western australia, are covered in a carpet of pink everlastings.
White spider orchid, caladenia longicauda, is one of Western Australia’s most well-known orchids. Mokine, Western Australia.

In spring the surrounding areas of York become festooned with a huge variety of wildflowers, many of which can be found on the roadside verges. If you wish to see more prolific displays the main wildflower sites are:

  •  Mokine Reserve  has great many different species of wildflower with silky blue orchids, white spider orchids, donkey orchids, leschenaultia, and fringed lily being just a few.
  • St Ronan’s Reserve just off the Great Southern Highway does not have the density or variety of Mokine Reserve, but if you have time to walk around it will not disappoint.
  • Wallaby Hills Reserve off the Goldfields Road also puts on an impressive display including climbing fringed lilly, calytrix, yellow hibertia, rosy cheeked donkey orchids, paperlilly, peabush, cowslip orchids, and dryandra.
  • Mt Brown in York itself is also a great spot for everlastings and donkey orchids.
  • The roadside verges along Wambyn Road, which is a turn off from the Great Southern Highway, have blue leschenaultia, blue/purple dampiera, yellow/orange pea flowers, cowslip orchids, Donkey orchids, everlastings, white candle flowers, kangaroo paws, fringed lily flowers, and running postman creeper.

Beverley

Beverley by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Beverley is 130Km east of Perth in the historic Avon Valley. It is a quiet agricultural town with a unique blend of architectural styles that gives its characterful appearance.

 

Beverley is 130 Km east of Perth and is a quiet agricultural town with its own distinct character which has been created by the wide range of architectural styles used to build it. A walk down Vincent Street will take you from Colonial, to Federation, to art deco to a 1960’s geodesic dome. It all sounds a bit of a hodge podge but it really hangs together well. There is a collection of farm machinery at Ferguson’s Machinery Shed on Hunt Road that recalls Beverley’s by-gone years as an important agricultural hub.

 

Vampire by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
A Vampire jet on the Beverley-York Road

 

 

Beverley Station Arts by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
The entrance to Beverley Station Arts in the Western Australian town of Beverley.

 

 

The Railway Station was designed by George Temple-Poole and built in the Victorian Tudor style in 1886. It ceased to be a working station some years ago and has been renovated and converted into an arts centre. The Beverley Art Collection is on permanent display, there are resident artists, workshops and an outdoor theatre. The Dead Finish Museum was originally a hotel of the same name, its displays give an insight into what life was like in the early days of the district.

Dead trees ring Lake Yenyenning which became a salt lake after the land surrounding it was cleared for agricultural use. Beverley, Western Australia.

Outside of town are the Yenyenning Lakes which are a haven for birdlife and used for water sports, for directions ask at the Visitor Centre. Also out-of-town is Avondale Discovery Farm  which has an 1850’s era homestead and is a working farm run by the National Trust using historic agricultural machinery and techniques.

 

Beverley by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Ute Muster at The Beveley Agricultural Show.

 

 

Events:

All the details for these events can be found at www.beverleywa.com/calendar.html .

  •  Beverley Ester Art Exhibition – a very popular event which attracts lots of visitors to the town.
  • Beverley Clydesdale and Vintage Day has demonstrations of horse-drawn ploughing and vintage tractors and is held at the Avondale Discovery Farm in June.
  • The Great Southern Working Sheepdog Society Finals coincide with the above event and are also held at Avondale.
  • Beverley Agricultural Show is  a real agricultural show. There are jam and cake competitions, pony events, tug of war, competitions for the best poultry, sheep, and cattle, and displays of country crafts. It is held in August of every year.
  • Beverley Harvest Festival at Avondale has displays of historic harvesting methods, working dogs, local produce to taste all capped off with music and dancing.

 

Beverley by Paul Amyes on 500px.com
Riding the mechanical bull at the Beverley Agricultural Show.

 

 

The Spring Flush Continues

Jug Orchid, Pterostylis recurva, Mount Observation, Western Australia. Canon EOS 550d, Sigma 105mm macro, I/125 sec at f8, ISO 1600 with fill flash.

My shoulder has recovered well from the recent surgery and I’ve been able to get out and about round York. The other day I took a speculative drive out looking for dancing spider orchids when I found this solitary little jug orchid. Normally not seen up in the wandoo forest and when found they are usually in largish colonies. So it was a nice little find and compensated for not finding the others.

Parts of Mount Brown, in York Western Australia, are covered in a carpet of pink everlastings ( Rhodanthe chlorocephala ssp rosea ). Panasonic Lumix LX-5. Exposure: AE priority 1/250 s at f/8.0, ISO 80 with -1 stop exposure compensation and -1 stop flash exposure compensation. Focal length the equivalent of 24mm lens on full frame

Every other day I’m walking up on Mount Brown, which is in York, with the dog and it is now covered with a carpet of flowers that are a riot of pinks and yellows. Even the weeds are looking fantastic!

Non-native yellow daisy Arctotheca calendulae. Mount Brown, York, Western Australia. Panasonic Lumix LX-5. Exposure – aperture priority 1/640 s at f/8.0, ISO 80, with -1 stop exposure compensation with fill flash with -1 stop flash exposure compensation.

Of course me on my hands and knees crawling among the flowers created a lot of amusement for Frida, my bull terrier. It took ages to clean the dog slobber from off the front element of my lens.

Frida running through a meddow of pink everlastings on Mount Brown in York, Western Australia.

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50!

Roy and Beryl Amyes taking Paul to be Christened 26th May 1963. Bromley, Kent, England

On Saturday 6th April 1963 I was born in Bromley, Kent, England. Fifty years later on 6th April 2013 in York Western Australia I’m celebrating my birthday. All in all looking at the two photos here I don’t think I’ve changed that much!

Paul and Frida, his faithful canine companion, out on Mt Brown in York, Western Australia on the morning of his 50th birthday.

I must say I don’t take “selfies” very often, but this morning I thought I would as it is not every day you turn 50 and I wanted to mark the occasion somehow.I’d left the house to take Frida (aka the puppy piranha) for her morning run and I’d put my Panasonic LX5 in my pocket. When the creative urge struck I thought this’ll be a piece of cake – birthday or otherwise – as I’ll just put the camera in self-portrait mode and snap away. On checking the LCD screen I saw that the shots were a dismal failure – the sky was over exposed and I was under exposed. Thankfully over the course of my fifty years I have learnt a photographic trick or two so I put the camera in manual and set a shutter and aperture combination to under expose the general scene by 2 stops. I then activated the pop up flash and set it to under expose by 1/2 a stop. The icing on the cake was getting Frida to sit with me while I took the shot. On getting home the image was fed through Lightroom and I played around with newly re-launched Nik Software Collection to make my visage suitably aged and distressed looking.