Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Muriwai: Round 2

With the Tauranga airshow coming up, I wanted to get in some practice with my Sigma lens as I haven’t used it much. I need to be ready for the show!

As a way to practice, Rob agreed to head out to Muriwai with me to photograph the Gannets. We decided late afternoon would be best to get the low tide. This would allow us to shoot up at the Gannets from the beach. Since low tide was quite late, I figured I may as well stay on and photograph the sunset.

It was a good time to head out to the colony as it was busy! Gannets everywhere. Their young are still little fluff balls, but a number are maturing and will soon be off. We were surprised to discover a large number of Terns around the colony. To get started, we headed up to the colony viewpoints before heading down to Maori Bay. On heading down to Maori Bay, there was another surprise in store…. the Tern had been nesting along the rocks on the shoreline. They also had a lot of young close to maturity. Some even seemed to be having a crack at flying from the cliffs.

We first got down there around late afternoon. Conditions were hazy, but a strong onshore wind meant the Gannets and Terns were having a good time in wind. With it being a cloudless day the light was still pretty harsh.

I decided to post these photos up as is, i.e. no adjustment, tinkering or tidy up in Photoshop (apart from the using the image processor to reduce the file size for uploading. No cropping either to adjust position.

I set my camera to Tv 1/640 and ISO 100 to start shooting. Here’s the results:

I'd hoped that I might be able to get a couple shots of one of the young being feed.... I had one nicely lined up, but clearly this was the wrong young 'un...

And of course, there always has to be one show off....

The fishing had seemed to be pretty good for the Terns.

After a couple of hours we decided to head back to home base to check how the photos had turned out and have a break. On review and a little research Rob suggested changing from evaluative metering for exposure to centre averaged exposure. We headed back to try this out in the early evening where the light from the sun was also a little softer.

So take 2… Tv was set the same, but I played around with the ISO a little bit. Most of these are at ISO 200.

 Kids aye, who'd have them....

Finally, as the sun went down and my arm tired, I changed to my smaller 18-55mm lens for some landscapes. Rob had found his neutral density filters so I could try some very low shutter speeds to get the water moving effect.

The light was still a little bright for this, but some turned out okay.

(I might have used Photoshop to adjust some of these photos..... :) )

And a little set that I put together in Photoshop...

Actually, I wonder if I should have tried using my polarising filter on these shots?

Finally the sun set. Again still too hazy for a nice sunset, but the clear conditions gave some nice shots anyway.

So, final thoughts on my Sigma lens?

I'm pretty happy with it overall and the photos I took. I struggled a bit to find the best way to hold at zoom, but second time round it got a lot easier. The weight is going to take some getting used too, but being able to let my shoulder strap take most of the weight between shoots definitely helps. Hopefully the zoom loosens up a little bit overtime.

Roll on the long weekend. Please stay away rain.