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Chasing the Sun at Port Macquarie – Sunrise and Sunset photos

2012 Road-trip up the NSW coast

Day 5 of 6

This journal entry highlights ‘Day 5 of 6’ of my road-trip with my good friend up the east coast of NSW back in 2012. We never been to Port Macquarie so it was a great opportunity to enjoy the sights. We stayed at T’s Tennis Resorts which was a big motel with great sporting facilities and known for their tennis courts, where many local tournaments are held. But they also have swimming pools, a spa and newly installed putt-putt /miniature golf circuit. Overall, it was a very comfortable place to stay over the duration of 2 days. We cooked on the barbeque and prepared our own meals to save money and eat better.

First Light at Town Beach

We didn’t get much sleep that night we were both very dazed when we woke up at 4AM to drive to Town Beach, Tim had even less sleep, apparently I was snoring and sleep-talking all night! –sorry mate! 

The night sky was a dark blue shade that faded into a light blue horizon, with the colourful wispy clouds ablaze with yellow and orange were it catches the first light of the sun, then fading off to a pink and purple. The beach was also reflecting these beautiful colours along the shore and in the sand.

Standing there in awe of such a sight, I couldn’t wait to scout the beach for angles, this happened to be my 3rd photo of the morning when we were walking along the beach to a section with giant rock platforms. It was already my favourite image for the day.

 
First Light - Port Macquarie  Sunrise - Andrew Croucher Photography.jpg

 

Golden Dawn

We got to the rock platforms and the sun was shining through the gaps of the heavy clouds above the horizon creating an orange and golden sky. The waves there were turbulent and smashing up againt thes rocks. You can see the rocks being formed by the water over millions of years.

Shortly after we packed and went back to the resort to upload and review the images and eat a nice warm breaky. A late morning snooze was needed after that morning session so we could continue shooting latet and shoot the sunset at another location in Port Macquarie.

Andrew Croucher Photography - Golden Dawn - Port Macquarie.jpg

After Glow

We arrived at a different location moments before sunset, only to find that it was a disappointing view, so then we were frantically chasing the sun, driving west, in-land from the east coast of Port Macquarie, past the town, and into the flat farmland where we could pull over on the side of the road to capture this beautiful Australian sunset. As you can see, by the time we found an ideal location, the sun had set behind some mountains off to the distance, but this had cast a huge shadow in the sky. The spectrum of colours in the sky and the brooding cloud formation made an interesting kind of sunset photo to share.

After Glow - Port Macquarie sunset Andrew Croucher photo.jpg

First Light - Port Macquarie  Sunrise - Andrew Croucher Photography.jpgAfter Glow - Port Macquarie sunset Andrew Croucher photo.jpg

Where is Port Macquarie?

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Canon EF-s 10-18mm and EF 16-35mm f/4L on Australian shores pre-release – My first impressions

It’s approaching the end of financial year and in the world of business, it’s another Christmas! Well, today it certainly felt like it when I met someone, lets call that person Santa, who had a few surprises in their camera bag.

My source informs me that I’m the 5th person to see this on Australian shores, so I am really excited to get my hands on them! These ultra-wide angle zoom lenses are a great addition to Canon’s range and will suit different levels of photographers.

I’m most surprised by the Canon EF-s 10-18mm IS STM, it’s tiny size (like a 50mm prime lens), light-weight, solid feel with many more features and I think this will sell really well at the price. I also think it will be the ultimate budget traveller’s Landscape Lens if you are a photographer that wants high quality,  light weight and low replacement costs in case it gets damaged of stolen.

It is replacing Canon’s EF-s 10-22mm , which was released in 2004 and is still a great lens if you want an ultra-wide angle lens that has ‘L-series’-style colour reproduction and overall, a sharp quality with little distortion. I haven’t had a chance to pixel peep into at the images from the EF-s 10-18mm on the 70D because there was no memory card in the camera! So I can only hope that this lens will be as good if not better than the EF-s 10-22mm’s image quality. Here are some pictures from Mic’s review of the Canon EF-s 10-18mm.

A few other features that stood out were the image stabilisation and an STM motor for a quick and ‘silent’ auto-focus. Great for any handheld work, especially landscape and architectural photographers and videographers.

For low-light situations, the image stabilisation will give you 4 stops more light, in the case that a real estate agent/photographer forgets to bring a tripod, they can shoot indoors handheld providing there is sufficient light, and a higher ISO setting may need to be used.

Canon EF-s 10-18mm IS STM specifications:

  • Focal Length: 10–18mm
  • Maximum Aperture:  1:4.5–5.6
  • Lens Construction: 14 elements in 11 groups
  • Diagonal Angle of View: 107°30′ – 74°20′
  • Focus Adjustment: Rear focus system
  • Closest Focusing Distance: 0.72 ft. / 0.22m
  • Filter Size: 67mm diameter
  • Max Diameter x Length, Weight: 2.9 x 2.8 inches, approx. 8.5 oz. / 74.6 x 72.0mm, approx. 240g

Canon 70D with EFs-10-18 f3.5-5.5 Australian Pre-release hands on review

 

And for the enthusiast, semi-pro or professional there is the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L USM IS Lens, the glass and the build quality in this lens is much better than the EF-s 10-18mm, but that’s because it is the signature L-series, with that comes a price and a quality standard to be expected.

This lens has the added benefit of image stabilisation, again, great for the videographers, although I don’t find it necessary for my handheld video or landscape needs, it will be great for the price, which is a little cheaper than the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L MKII.

As a current owner of the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L MKII, I can vouch for the quality of these L-series Ultra-wide lenses. They render rich beautiful colours with great micro-contrast within the details. I am currently using this lens on Canon 50D and 70D, both are APS-C cropped sensor cameras, and it has a very usable zoom-range of 26-56mm on an equivalent 35mm sensor. It is my work-horse lens that I use for landscapes, portraits and events.

In saying that there are still disadvantages of Canon’s wide angle zoom lenses like having corner softness. But hopefully this lens is sharp at f/4 in the corners. As mentioned above, I wasn’t able to pixel peep, but here are some sample shots from Canon Rumors Guy. Seems pretty sharp in the corners to me, I did spot 1 image that had corner softness, but it really depends on your focusing technique and the aperture setting of the lens.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L USM IS specifications:

  • Focal Length: 16–35mm
  • Maximum Aperture:  1:4.0
  • Lens Construction: 16 elements in 12 groups
  • Diagonal Angle of View: 108°10′ – 63°
  • Focus Adjustment: Inner focus system
  • Closest Focusing Distance: 0.92 ft. / 0.28m
  • Filter Size: 77mm diameter
  • Max Diameter x Length, Weight: 3.3 x 4.4 inches, approx. 21.7 oz. / 82.6 x 112.8mm, approx. 615g

 

Canon 70D with EF 16-35 f4 IS

 

 

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Stormy Dawn at Flat Rock beach and Newcastle Ocean Baths

Today in Sydney the weather is absolutely dreadful, I had some time off from work, and was inspired to finish editing these pics I took over a year ago in Newcastle during a landscape photography road-trip half way up the east coast of Australia with my friend and fellow photographer Timothy Yip.

2012 Road-trip up the NSW coastline

Day 3 of 6

This was one the most challenging environments I’ve shot in, and it was a choice we made to endure these conditions and see how much we (and our cameras) could physically take. Plus we didn’t really have a choice since we were only there for a couple days and had to make to the most of this trip! 🙂

Newcastle; canoe pool; andrew croucher photography; NSW; australia; Beach; east coast; storm; dawn; bad weather; dramatic; fine art; landscape; black and white; slow shutter; rain; seascape; nature; ocean baths; canon; 50d; tokina; 11-16;

Strong winds blowing seawater off the ocean bath’s surface.

So it was Boxing Day, 26th of December, 2012, 4:30 AM (2nd day of our NSW east-coast road trip), cold, dark, very windy with some light rain when we got to Newcastle Ocean Baths (right on the beach). There was zero chance of a majestic sunrise happening, and the conditions weren’t ideal for us or the cameras. Strong winds blew seawater and rain onto the lens and into the buttons of the cameras so we were frequently wiping the lenses dry only for it to get a few more drops the instant you take a shot. This limited our compositions too, we weren’t able to get out to the rocks facing the ocean because the waves were crashing violently and spraying up too much sea water which meant we couldn’t get down low to the water with the cameras and tripods for those awesome low wide-angle shots. So with our large hot cups of McDonald’s coffee and cameras in our hands, we braved the weather and began scouting the area to find some other interesting scenes to shoot.

We felt like we were National Geographic photographers risking our lives for awesome photos. The morning was long, we walked (marched) in the rain for hours, but towards the end of our journey, we ended up getting soaked by a few massive waves hitting a break-wall and then we had to call an end to it. We were freezing cold by this point, and had a long walk back to the car…

So far, my favourite two shots for the day (and the ones I’ll publish for printing or licensing) are taken at Flat Rock beach, Newcastle (shown below). This location is popular for surfing and there are annual tournaments held here. Newcastle in general has a huge surfing culture and waves are good year-round.

I liked the movement in the water and the clouds, even though the exposures where only for 5 seconds, you can see quite a bit of cloud movement, an indication of just how windy it was that day. I decided black and white also for these photos because they looked more dramatic and have this fine art quality about them.

Andrew Croucher Photography - Newcastle Flatrock Beach (1).jpgAndrew Croucher Photography - Newcastle - Stormy dawn - Flatrock Beach (1).jpg

Andrew Croucher Photography - Newcastle Flatrock Beach (1).jpgAndrew Croucher Photography - Newcastle - Stormy dawn - Flatrock Beach (1).jpg

 

 

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A Fitness Photoshoot with Carlos Teixeira

Back in November 2013, I had a visit at my home studio (and gym) from my friend Carlos, an IT expert and personal trainer with a new Australian group fitness and PT business starting up PROSCULPT FITNESS.

Carlos has been chiseling away at his physique for many years and his body was looking it’s best ever, so to mark this transformation milestone, he wanted to do a fitness photoshoot and at the same time, we could get some promotional photos for his new website.

He has put a lot of work into his bodybuilding regime to reach his goals and he certainly knows his stuff. We got to talking about our exercise and nutrition philosophies and exchanged some tips. I was also surprised by his professionalism, he was well prepared and knew what he wanted in the shots and was helpful in providing input for our collaboration.

The shoot began in my garage gym while he pumped-up his muscles with a series of weighted exercises, I took some candids of him working out and some posed shots. Later on we took some more posed photos in my living room studio against a black backdrop.

Here are some of the favourites out of the bunch.

Andrew Croucher Photography - Carlito 05.jpgAndrew Croucher Photography - Carlito (5).jpgAndrew Croucher Photography - Carlito 03.jpgAndrew Croucher Photography.jpgAndrew Croucher Photography - Carlito 07.jpgAndrew Croucher Photography - Carlito 02.jpgAndrew Croucher Photography - Carlito 9.jpgAndrew Croucher Photography - Carlito (4).jpg

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Empress Falls – Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Empress Falls, Blue Mountains

This stream runs from the spill off of the Valley of Waters Creek. Taking millions of years to cut a narrow canyon (now known as Empress Canyon, it is now popular for abseiling) through the upper layers of the Blue Mountains Sandstone to end up here at Empress Falls where the water spills 30 meters from the gorge and into a deep pool, surrounded by fern-filled ledges.

Empress Falls was the 2nd waterfall along the 9km Wentworth Falls circuit. It was a tough downhill trail with an even tougher uphill stair climb that reaches inclines of up to 60degress. Your legs will be burning with lactic acid as you climb up the steep stairs up the side of a waterfall, but with every step you take you remind yourself to hold on to the rail or you could fall backwards very easily down 70m to your death.

While taking this shot, a well-built shirtless man in shorts and sneakers was jogging past, as I waited for him to clear the scene, I realised that he could be running around the same trail that my friend and I were hiking which I thought was pretty impressive! And this inspired me to run this trail one day. I think it would be awesome to run through these wonderful scenes and breath in the forest air while getting a punishing workout!

Behind the image

This is actually 3 horizontal images stitched together to make 1 image. This was due to the fact that I broke my wide angle lens on another expedition, and had to rely on my Sigma 30mm during this trip to the Blue Mountains. Fitted onto my Canon 50D, I had to take a lot of multiple shots to fit in these epic waterfalls and landscapes. Not only does this take up more room on the memory card, but I would later have to stitch up these images which was a long process. But frankly, I enjoy the whole process of seeing it come together. And it ends up making my images a higher resolution (more megapixels), with more detail due to the multiple shots.

After stitching this image up, I played with the perspective of the image to get more depth and visual aesthetic.

Then converted it into black and white in Photoshop, while paying attention to the tones, I burned (darkened) some of the shadows to highlight and focus the eye on the waterfall.

Empress Falls - Blue Mountains - Panoramic -Andrew Croucher Photography.jpg

Empress Falls - Blue Mountains - Panoramic -Andrew Croucher Photography.jpg

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A couples photo shoot with Maddy May and Jacob Duque

This couples photo shoot took 3.5 hours with Maddy May and her friend Jacob. We endured high winds and sand-blasting at Balmoral beach located in North Sydney. My eyes, ears, hair and pockets copped most of the sand and my models did really well to carry on to get the shoot done. While my poor camera and lenses are gonna need a good cleaning and some TLC.

Thankfully the weather was fantastic and the late afternoon sun was just divine, especially during the golden hour. There were many locations in the area that made perfect backdrops for a romantic couples photo shoot, with much more I need to go back and discover. A big thank you to Maddy May and Jacob Duque for giving me the opportunity, and also to Karen (Maddy’s mum) and Carina Jager for being very patient while accompanying them and providing moral support with added critiques. Lovely to meet and spend the time with you guys, it was good fun!

Enjoy our couples photo album and hopefully you get some great couples photography ideas. Please get in contact with me to set up a couples photo shoot through my Contact page.

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Blue Haze at Blue Hour – Blue Mountains

Blue Haze at Blue Hour

It’s twilight (aka blue hour) and as the sun sets off to one side of the horizon, darkness begins to takeover, and a blue mist lingering over the valley becomes more visible.

This phenomenon is where the Blue Mountains receives it’s name, and is caused by the oil bearing eucalyptus trees releasing fine droplets of eucalyptus oil mixed with dust particles and water vapour.

Standing at a lookout in Wentworth Falls, off to the distance we can see Mount Solitary. It is surrounded by Jamison Valley to the left and Narrow Neck Plateau to the right.

Blue haze at Blue hour - Blue Mountains - Andrew Croucher Photography.jpg

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Sydney Panorama

Metropolis Syd- Panorama 2-Edit-2 web.jpg

Metropolis, SYD

Another place I call home, so many of Sydney’s landmarks can be seen from here including (from left to right) St. Mary’s Cathedral, Centrepoint tower, Fort Denison, QVB, Sydney Opera House, Anzac Bridge, The Rocks and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Metropolis Syd- Panorama 2-Edit-2 web.jpg

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