Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sitting on the Dock

Saturday we decided to head down to the Soldier's Point Marina and wander.  It was a beautiful day and I was so glad we went out.  I got a great picture of Nathan, we saw dolphins, and they were able to chase some birds!

The boys were fascinated with the floating dock, even though they were a bit concerned with all the movement.  We eventually got them comfortable enough to just enjoy the moment.

Hanging with daddy

I finally got Nathan to let me take a picture of him.  He's terrified of waves so I can't usually get him too close to the water's edge, although he's doing a bit better.  We've tried to get him over it since we are living by the ocean.  I want him to enjoy where we are, but it's such a thin line between terrifying him and getting him to just deal with it.  Anyway, I feel like this photo captures Nathan very well.

A few minutes after this I caught what I thought were dolphins out of the corner of my eye.  We all looked and saw dolphins launching themselves out of the water.  They were a different shade then we're used to seeing - almost a gunmetal color.  They were beautiful, but of course they stopped jumping so high out of the water.  Here's the best I got.
The boys think this looks like a shark.  It's not.

Will was thrilled to chase a flock of seagulls.  It's one of his favorite things to do!

Here I come!

And there they go!

Have to get the next group as well.

Nathan even took a picture of us.  He loves taking pictures, but we usually end up with some wonky angles.

Exhibit A

I went ahead and cropped our legs out - they looked really odd.  And I'm clearly getting ready to say something, but it's nice to have any picture of us together.

Wednesday evening my photography class went out to do a night shoot at the marina.  It was pretty windy, so it was hard to get a decent long exposure, but I ended up with a few decent pictures.

Windy night

I like it when I can get what I want to happen.  I love the flag in this picture, especially that several of the stars are very visible.

I think I could really get into night photography.  I'm really looking forward to when we go to Sydney in a few weekends for the Royal Easter Show.  I should be able to get some of the pictures I've been wanting in Sydney.  Very excited for that opportunity!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Set the Night on Fire

I received an invitation from my photography teacher to meet with a local photography group that was going to be light painting with steel wool.  I was intrigued and clicked on the link to look at some pictures, which were beautiful.  I decided to go with them, thinking worst case scenario I'd get to see sunset on the beach.  What I got out of it was way more than I hoped for. 

Upon arrival, I knew nobody.  I introduced myself and began to get my camera ready, as did the rest of the group.  They had much more equipment then I did and generally knew what the heck they were doing.  I felt a bit intimidated, through no fault of theirs.  I'm just not used to having so little knowledge when I go to do something.  I mean, I read what the settings needed to be to shoot the light painting, but these were serious photographers out to capture some lovely images, I'm sure.  The group was nothing but encouraging, making kind suggestions on exposure and telling me that the pictures I had taken were just fine.

One thing that made me feel better was it was assumed I was a local until I opened my mouth.  I had one person ask me where was a close, more isolated place to take some shots of the Milky Way - and I was able to suggest a beach where house were not as close.  Second, I had a pair of surfers chat me up.  It's nice to feel like I don't stand out as a foreigner.

First, the sunset was lovely.  Not as brilliant as the other night, but any time you're on the beach for sunset is a good time, as far as I'm concerned.  Scratch that, anytime at the beach is perfect!

A little info on light painting.  Basically, you take a metal chain and attach a kitchen whisk to the end of it.  In the whisk you stuff in some steel wool - the good kind.  I didn't know there was a difference, but the better grade lasted much longer.  Then you set the steel wool on fire and begin to spin the chain around.

To photograph, you need to set your camera on a long exposure.  I don't have a tripod yet and was going to use my bag as one.  However, one of the blokes was going to be doing a lot of the spinning, so he let me use his.  After taking these pictures, I'm out to buy a tripod today.  Here's why-

Green Light Stick

While there was still some light out, it was decided a trial run was in order.  This was taken with an 8 second shutter speed.  Fairly impressive, but let's look at the ones on fire.

That's Venus in the top right corner.  Jupiter is out as well right now.  Once I get my tripod, I'm going to have to find time to shoot pictures of the stars.  Seeing the Milky Way is incredible.  You know in your head that there are that many stars, but seeing it is a whole different thing.

Full on dark

 I love the reflection off of the rocks - it looks like lava to me.

It looks like Cinderella's Pumpkin Carriage

Interesting pattern in the middle

 I won't bore you with any more.  It was interesting how the patterns changed in the middle, dependent upon how the person was spinning.  I don't know who think of these things to do, but they get my thanks.  It was really fun to do and the pictures are pretty much fail proof, if you know the settings.  Easy as!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Let's Go Surfin' Now

Brian had mentioned a few times that he always had wanted to learn how to surf.  When I suggested he take lessons, he always said he didn't want to take away from family time.  I thought he might as well take advantage of living on the water, so I forced his hand by getting him surf lessons for Christmas.  Wise in theory, but I may have created a monster!

We finally had a weekend when nothing else major was going on and the weather was supposed to be good, so I booked him an introductory lesson.  Unfortunately, Will had a birthday party to go to at the exact same time.  I took the boys to the party and Brian left for One Mile Beach.  I had already decided to leave the party a bit early because there was no way I was missing out on watching Brian learn to surf.  The boys were happy enough to go along with the plan.

When I got to the beach I knew I wasn't going to be able to find Brian easily - there were way to many surfers out that day.  I decided to ask a couple of Aussies that were clearly surfers.  They knew exactly where the surf class was because, and I quote, "we like to watch and laugh."  They pointed out the surf class and off we went down the beach.

Nath climbed up on the dunes to watch.  Wills and I went down to the water to try and catch some decent pictures.  Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here you go!

Off to catch a wave

Waiting for the proper time to stand
Made it to standing
And rode it all the way to the shore
So, granted they may tend more towards ripples than waves.  It's more then I want to do!  He didn't make them all in, but apparently only got hit by his board once.  Apparently you're always supposed to bring your arms over your head so your board doesn't knock you out.  Stellar advice, I believe.

Nathan wasn't very happy about Bri surfing, but he tolerated it ok.  In all fairness, he did scream the first time he saw Brian dive into a pool because he was afraid his daddy wouldn't come back up - he was 3ish.  Nath watched under duress, but Wills went right down to the water to cheer on his daddy.

In fact, he was so into Brian surfing that this was the result.

At least he's smiling!

After 2 hours, lots of paddling, and about a gallon of salt water, Bri's lesson was done.  He had a great time and is ready to go again.  I told him I'd get him an intermediary lesson and then he's on his own.  At least I'll have an easy time with ideas for his birthday this year!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Another Day in Paradise

Brian has had a few long weeks at work, so it didn't take much convincing for him to take Friday off and explore some different beaches.  Besides gorgeous scenery it was nice for us just to hang out together!

I had bought a book about a month ago that has all of the bush walks in the area mapped out.  Several of those lead to the sea, so we thought we'd head for a few of those.  Big Rocky Point was supposed to be wonderful, so off we went.

We drove through the bush on a tiny, sandy road, all the while glad for our 4 wheel drive.  We saw lots of massive spider webs (and spiders), spotted a Wallaby, and had two Kangaroos bound across the path in front of us.  At this point I decided to get my camera out of the bag, so naturally there were no more Roos to be seen!

We walked down a small path from the car park and were not disappointed.  Big Rocky certainly gets it's name honestly!  We hopped across a small stream and some rocks to an "island" that I'm certain would be inaccessible at high tide, which was coming in quickly.  I was glad we didn't bring the boys.  Nathan hates loud noises and the waves were crashing in very loudly.  Trying to get the boys across the rocks would've been difficult as well.  The views were certainly worth the work!

See, crashing waves

After walking around there for awhile, we decided to search for Samurai Beach.  We have heard very good things about the beach but hadn't been able to easily find it, and probably for good reason - it's the only "official" nude beach.  We actually had to pull into the Resort Park and ask how to get there!  It is only accessible by 4 wheel drive and was right next to the Resort Park.  It was marked by a very small sign. No worries -  kept on our clothes! 

Interesting side note, the beach has a head nudist.  While I find that funny in and of itself, one of the people Brian works with was originally in the RAAF and his commanding officer was said head nudist.  How do you salute him without giggling?

All the nuders on this beach were retired gentlemen - not exactly the kind of people you want to see naked!  Here are some carefully framed pictures!

Seagull dining amid the foam

Flowers blooming in the dunes

 After a quick bite for lunch we headed off to Kingsley Beach.  Nathan's class is taking an excursion there at the end of the month to look at the rock pools.  We wanted to be able to warn him if it was very wavy, which it is.  They will be going at low tide, so at least the waves will be a bit away!

This doesn't do justice to how high the water was crashing

One of the many rock pools

Rock pool facing the beach

 After climbing and being out in the sun we headed back to the house for a quick clean-up before heading to St. Philip's for assembly.  We knew Nath was getting an award and wanted to make sure we saw it.  He was awarded for excellence in reading and writing.  We have been making a big deal out of the writing part.  He has worked very hard most nights at writing and it has clearly been paying off in our minds.  We were glad to see that his teacher was noticing as well.

We had already decided to head back to Birubi Point after dinner to catch the sunset.  Sadly, the clouds started rolling in, but we decided to head out anyway.  What's the worst that could happen - I don't get great pictures?  We're still able to hang out together at the beach!  When we first got to the beach there were a few big black clouds.

Still pretty though

Will contemplating the sea

 It even rained a bit on us, but we decided to stick it out.  I'm so glad we did!

Simply beautiful

Finally the sun began to set.  We had enough clouds, but not so many that there was no reflection of light.


My favorite sunset picture ever

Thanks to my cousins Josh and Stephanie for their recent blog post about not leaving as soon as the sun has set!  I would never have gotten the above shot without that tip.  The colors were truly that amazing - I promise I haven't added any red!

I love the black clouds with the red on the bottom

Fairly soon after that we packed up to go home.  Here is about the last shot I got as we were leaving.

Lovely colors over the dunes

I'll try to get a post up about Brian's surf lesson tomorrow.  I promise it won't have a million pictures like this one! 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Back to School - My Turn

This has nothing to do with the post, however I want to say how thankful I am that my family and friends seem to be safe from the horrible tornadoes that passed through Kentucky on Saturday.  The destruction that happened so close to where I lived is scary enough.  Although we are praising God for His protection of those close enough, we are also praying for peace and relief to the many that are hurting.

So, what to do with all this new found time on my hands?  Well, nothing too exciting - cleaning the house, having coffee with friends, helping with reading groups at school, helping with childcare for a parenting class at church... OK, things have been filling up quickly.  I'm not certain how that happens!

One of the fun things I'm doing is taking a photography course.  I've wanted to know how to "really" use my not-so-new DSLR since I bought it.  Unfortunately, classes have never worked out with my schedule and I've been using my automatic settings.  Boring, and not why I actually wanted the camera.  So when the local community college offered a course, I decided to take it.

I had my first class last Wednesday and took to the beach Sunday evening to practice the small amount of new knowledge I have.  I feel like I've taken good pictures previous to this, however these are much more intentional, in terms of composition and lighting.  I took a ton of pictures.  Many of them were the same, just with different shutter speeds and/or ISO settings.  It's incredible the difference just a few hundredths of a second can make! 

Here are a few of my favorites at the moment:

Stockton Dunes at Birubi Point
This one is a tad on the light side, but I love the dunes with the blue sky and the patches of green beneath it.

 This is the same general place.  The curves are what makes this picture for me.

Birubi Point

One Mile Beach

The sun was beginning to set at this point.  Unfortunately, the sunset was behind this beach.  However, we were getting nice muted shades over the beach.  This one I like because the foam really did appear to be a pale pink.

One Mile Beach had a beautiful curve to it.  I was up on several rocks trying to get the whole beach.

This is a little on the dark side,  but I think the colors are pretty.  Also, the moon!

Those were most of the landscapes.  The rest of these pictures have Wills in them.  I feel terrible that Nath isn't in any, but he hates the bigger waves and wouldn't come down to the water.

Birubi Point

This is a transition picture.  Will was interested in the man fishing out in the middle of the water.  I was very pleased with this picture.

This may be my very favorite picture.  I was pretty sure I was going to be happy when I took it.  I knew I had captured the dirty knees, reflection, and shadow.  What pushed it over the top for me was the little curled toes.  I'm not entirely certain why this picture is so appealing to me, I just know that it is.

I'm calling this my dumb luck photo.  I know it's a bit overexposed, but I actually like Wills and the dog being dark.  The dog just wandered up and they looked at each other for a split second - I saw it happening and was hoping I caught it decently.  The truly dumb luck part was the symmetry of the feet up.

So my plan is to try to several pictures a day and hopefully get some good shots to upload.  I would love feedback on the pictures - especially why you like or dislike a picture.  I'm curious about the gut reaction - what makes a picture appeal to people.  I know about the rule of thirds, golden mean, etc., but sometimes it seems like you can't label it.

Thanks for letting me know what you think!