Sunday, 13 October 2013

Sunday Photography Lessons

Sunrise Miranda

The best way to learn about photography is to just head out, try different settings and push the button. So, that’s what I did today. Rob agreed to head out with me to do some shooting and impart some advice on what settings to try. I think this is going to turn into a loooong post! :)

We’d been keeping an eye on the weather all week as it had been pretty changeable with fine spells then heavy showers all week (typical Auckland weather really!). The weather forecast for today was good and with the high winds overnight…. we believed the forecast,…. Based on that, we decided to head out to Miranda to catch the sunrise and then see what migratory birds were around at the sea and shore bird sanctuary. After taking photos of the sunset at Muriwai, I’ve been keen to try photographing a sunrise. As it turned out…. we should have known better about trusting the weather forecast…!!!

Old Hide Miranda

But anyway, after getting up at 4:30am (I’d forgotten that hour existed), we met up and headed off to Miranda to meet the sunrise at 6:40am. The wind was still blowing pretty strong (and did for most of the morning we were there), so I’d hoped it would clear any cloud away. Unfortunately some cloud seemed stuck on the Coromandel peninsular and refused to budge meaning the sunrise was pretty average. Still, I think I managed some nice shots…

Sunrise Miranda

Sunrise Miranda

Sunrise Miranda
 
One of the things I’d wanted to try and adjusting the white balance to aim for some warmer colours. Previously I’d just left AWB set on auto, but changed it to shade for a number of shots to bring out more yellow/orange therefore making the shot look warmer. Definitely prefer the shots using AWB on Shade.
 
At that time in the morning (and with the weather), there wasn’t a lot of wildlife around. But… as the sun came up things started to stir. Pied Stilts where the first up and headed out for breakfast.
With the light still low, I thought I’d try a few photos with the Stilts flying past and being silhouetted against the low sun….
 
Pied Stilts

Pied Stilts
 
They never really came close enough for me to be able to use my 55mm to 250mm lens, so Rob let me have a go with his 400mm lens. Definitely took a bit to get used (and not just the weight of it!) as it was great for the close-ups, but much harder to find the subject and track it… Overall, the low light, wind and constant showers passing through made photography difficult, but all good fun. Here’s some of the better results:
 
Pied Stilt

Pied Stilt

Pied Stilt

Pied Stilt
 
And there was certainly a few Pied Stilts around….

Pied Stilts
 
Pied Stilts
 
Pied Stilts
 
I’d hoped to also try getting some good reflections of the birds in the water, but it was low tide and too windy. I did get one good one though…. breakfast is served!

Pied Stilt
 
And the other wildlife that joined us later….

White-faced Heron

White-faced Heron

White-faced Heron

The Heron were pretty wary and weren't keen on us getting even remotely close.
 
Geese

Geese

Geese
 
And these little fulla’s…. poor guys were flapping their wings against the wind and going nowhere or just straight up before darting down and around the grass. Felt a bit sorry for them :)

Little Bird

Little Bird
 
One bird I have been keen to photograph is a Hawk, but they tend to be quite elusive and quick to escape when spotted. It’s almost like they don’t want their picture taken!?! There was one around coast, but it disappeared quick. On the way to the next stop, we spotted another, but were too slow to react. Third times a charm though…. helped by the fact I was ready with keeping the camera ready to go on my lap :) Not the best focused photos, but still….. I’m happy:

Hawk
 
Hawk
 
Seemed it was too busy having a bit of biff with a Magpie to notice us…

Hawk vs. Magpie

Hawk vs. Magpie
 
Last stop was Hunua falls. With heavy showers over the last day or so…. the falls were pretty cool to see......
 
Hunua Falls

Hunua Falls

Hunua Falls

 
Whoever came up with idea of the setting up the picture frame deserves a pat on the back:

Hunua Falls

Rob suggested I lower the shutter speed to give the water the look of movement…. makes quite a bit of difference:

Hunua Falls

Whilst we were at Hunua, the local Corvette club popped in… here’s some of the nicer ones. Boys and their toys…

Corvette

Corvette

Corvette

Corvette

Corvette
 
Finally…. I had another go at some panoramic sets during the day and was actually pretty happy with the results. I used Photostitch to merge them. Unfortunately you can make out some of the merging of the photos in the sunrise ones as it’s hard to merge them with the light changing quickly. Still… much easier than trying to do it on Photoshop. Thanks Photostitch! :)

Sunrise Miranda

Sunrise Miranda

Hunua Falls
 
(The first picture is this post is also a panoramic set.)

After all that it was home time as I was in serious need of a nana nap. A nap and a good workout at the gym brought me back to life this evening ready to look through my photos and update here :)

Total photo count – 756….. still definitely only a beginner.

All in all, not the best day for photography…. could have stayed in bed! But… a good oppourtunity to play around and learn what some of the settings will do before the really good weather comes along. Overall, I’m happy with the results. Next time I’d probably try and check the best time/time of season to be at the sanctuary to see more wildlife! 

Hope you enjoyed :)