Monday, 31 December 2007

Happy New Year 2008! [Fireworks]

Happy New Year!

fireworks - new year 2008 new year's eve fireworks display - stunning firework display photos - pictures of spectacular great fireworks
Wishing you a safe, happy and productive New Year in 2008.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

In my last post I asked you all what photo you would like as a Christmas gift. I have received quite a few varied responses, so thank you all for your feedback. In this post I've included two of the requests. A Merry Christmas to you all, and may you have a fruitful and happy New Year in 2008!

Nature Nut / JJ Loch asked for a photo of the interior of a church decorated for Christmas.
inside a catholic church at Christmas time - church decorations for Christmas inside a catholic church at Christmas time - church decorations for Christmas in the sanctuary
Tom and Anna asked for an "Aussie Christmas Tree" (Most of them are the same as he American ones!)
aussie (Australian) Christmas tree with decorations and star Star decoration on the top of an Aussie Christmas Tree

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Purple Garden Flowers - Purple Sunday

Purple Garden Flowers
purple flowers - purple sunday - purple garden flowers with green grass and green leaves in background color (or colour)
Here we are at the last
Purple Sunday in Advent. It's now only two days until Christmas, and the celebrations are already beginning. These next few days are an exciting time, especially for children, and we reach a culmination point on Christmas day, when gifts are exchanged and presents unwrapped, and everyone can feel the joy of the season. Although we don't get to see Santa riding through the snow here in Australia, we do get to enjoy all the colours and life of Summer in full bloom.

The flowers in this picture are a garden variety grown in the Spring to add a bit of colour to the area. Right now they are flowering profusely, probably helped by the recent rain, allowing me to capture this shot of a group of them growing together. As always, I would greatly appreciate it if anyone can identify the flowers, as I bought these in a "colour mix" packet of seeds and therfore don't know what they're called.

And now, I would like to set a question to you:
What would you like to see a photo of on this blog for Christmas?
Keep in mind that it's Summer here, so I'm not going to be able to get and winter-like shots, but send in your suggestions and I'll try to get a photo as a Christmas present for you all!

This photo taken with the Fujifilm S9600 digital camera.
Shutter speed: 1/340, F5.7, ISO 100

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Sun shining through leaves at Sunset - Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday
Sunset with silhouette of May Bush leaves - sun shining through leavesSunset with silhouette of May Bush leaves

This photo taken with the Fujifilm S9600 digital camera.
Shutter speed: 1/350, F4.1, ISO 200

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Pink Tulip Flower - "Purple" Sunday

Pink "Purple Prince" Tulip Flower - "Purple" Sunday
Tulipa Purple Prince - Pink Tulip Blossom Flower Bud - Purple Sunday
Now for the surprise.......

Yes, you read it right. Pink Tulip flower. Not Purple. Well, I said I had a surprise in store for this Sunday. This Sunday is not actually Purple! As the wikipedia article about Advent says: "On the 3rd Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, a rose [colour] is used since this Sunday takes on a more joyous tone." So, this being the 3rd "Purple" Sunday, I have a pink, or rose coloured picture for you today.

I got this photo of a pink Tulip blossom at a flower festival earlier this year. We were just entering Spring at the time, and you can see many other brightly coloured flowers in the background of this picture. I used a low aperture (F4.3) while taking this photo to ensure that the flower remained in focus while the background was blurred. I think this is actually a "Tulipa Purple Prince" flower, but it looks pink to me! Please tell me if you know the proper name of this flower, it would be a great help.

This photo taken with the Fujifilm S9600 digital camera.
Shutter speed: 1/120, F4.3, ISO 200

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

The Colors in the End of a Rainbow - Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday
Rainbow after the rain: The end of the Rainbow - is there a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? - colors of the rainbowColors of a Rainbow
The End of the Rainbow - A Pot of Gold?


This photo taken with the Fujifilm S9600 digital camera.
Shutter speed: 1/140, F4.9, ISO 800

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Purple Weed (Wildflower) - Purple Sunday

Purple Wild Flower - Purple Sundaypurple flower - purple weed wildflower - purple sunday - garden flower macro photo close up
Well, it's come round to Sunday again, only 2 Sundays to go until Christmas. As some of you will remember I have started a "Purple Sunday" series of posts, where I choose a purple subject for each Sunday until Christmas (although I'll have a surprise for you next Sunday, check out the wikipedia article for a hint!) Today I've got a photo of some purple wildflowers. I spotted these as I was getting a photo of an Agapantha flower, and snapped a few quick shots as I was passing. I used a low aperture to get the flowers in focus, while blurring the background.

This picture has an interesting pattern of drawing your eyes between the flowers themselves, and the base of the stem. The radiating stems then send your eyes back to the top of the picture again. Try it - it's amazing how much these little things affect the composition of the picture.

This photo taken with the Fujifilm S9600 digital camera.
Shutter speed: 1/450, F3.7, ISO 100

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Australian Kookaburra - Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday
Australian Kookaburra Bird - Dacelo novaeguineae - Kookaburra after the Rain - Kookaburra sits in the old gum treeAustralian Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) after the Rain

This photo taken with the Fujifilm S9600 digital camera.

Shutter speed: 1/350, F7.2, ISO 100

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Agapantha Flower - Purple Sunday

Agapantha Flower - Purple Sundaysingle agapantha flower - close up photo macro pic of an agapanthus africanus flower with stamen
Purple is the colour of royalty. As we approach Christmas, we enter the 4 week period traditionally known as "Advent" (from the Latin "to come"). The colour purple, or violet, is used to symbolize joy and expectant hope as we wait for the royal King to come at Christmas.

In keeping with this tradition, I have chosen the purple Agapantha (agapanthus africanus) flower for today's post. Last month you saw an unopened bud, but today the flower is fully open and blooming. The stamen are clearly visible, and the small yellow bunches of pollen at their tip are sharply in focus. The green stems in the background also provide a contrasting relief from the soft purple and white of the petals.

As we enter Summer here in Australia, and America enters Winter, everyone is preparing for Christmas. But I hope that amongst your shopping and decorating, you can also take time to experience the "joy" of the season, and have a look at the wonder of nature around you.

This photo taken with the Fujifilm S9600 digital camera.
Shutter speed: 1/89, F8.0, ISO 100

Friday, 30 November 2007

Lettuce Leaf - Fractals in Nature

Lettuce Leaf - God's Fractals in Nature
lettuce leaf - fractals in nature - spiky (spikey) edges of a lettuce leaf look like a fractal of creation
Yesterday I was out in the garden checking the lettuce plants we have growing, and I happened to look down from directly above a plant to see this pattern. The lettuce leaves formed a complicated pattern resembling the precise mathematical form of a fractal. The very fine edges of each leaf are curled in a delicate pattern which imitates the fractal's recursive spirals. This is an example of how creation is so complete - the forms which our best mathematicians struggle with are reproduced in nature without any human intervention!

This photo taken with the Fujifilm S9600 digital camera.
Shutter speed: 1/28, F3.9, ISO 100

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Thistle Spikes - Wordless Wednesday

Wordless WednesdayThistle spikes (spines) unopened flowerThistle Spikes - an Unopened Flower

This photo taken with the Fujifilm S9600 digital camera.
Shutter speed: 1/56, F8.0, ISO 100

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Daisy Flower Close Up - Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday
close up daisy flower purple center (centre) with stamen (macro shot)Close up photo of a Daisy Flower's Center

This photo taken with the Fujifilm S9600 digital camera.
Shutter speed 1/30, F8.0, ISO 200

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Urban Landcape - Sunset, Sun-rays, and Clouds

Sunset over Urban Rooftops
sunset with sun rays shining over urban rooftops with clouds - landscape photo of the sun setting
Last night I was outside during twilight, and noticed this amazing sunset. The Sun has already disappeared behind the clouds, but rays of light are still shining out and covering the sky. Although the photo above might look touched-up, I have not digitally manipulated this picture. The duotone effect (where the sun and it's rays are black-and-white while the sky near the top of the picture is blue) simply occurred naturally. This is a capture which is not likely to be seen again soon, I was lucky to be out at the right time to see it.

The photo below is of the same scene taken a few minutes later - you can see the huge difference between the pictures. In the photo below, the sun has set and the rays of light from the first picture are entirely gone, replaced instead by a reddish glow near the horizon.

sunset - the sun behind clouds at twilight with red glow on the horizonSunsets are always very beautiful to watch, and each one is different. As you can see from these photos, the scene changes even from minute to minute, giving you a very entertaining show. So why not step outside tonight, and have a look at this wonderful "theatre" of creation, free for all to see?

These photos taken with the Fujifilm S9600 digital camera.
#1: (Sun with Rays Shining) Shutter speed: 1/5999, F8.0, ISO 80
#2 (Sunset over rooftops) Shutter speed: 1/399, F5.7, ISO 100

Monday, 12 November 2007

Purple Agapantha Flower (Agapanthus africanus)

Purple Agapantha Flower Blooming
agapantha flower - purple Agapanthus africanus flowers buds blossoming blooming
As it's Spring time here in Australia, all the flowers are blossoming and the trees are growing fruit. One of the variety of flowers blooming here at the moment is the Agapantha flower, properly called the Agapanthus africanus. These purple flowers are just starting to bud - when they have opened they will turn into a loosely hanging bunch of bright purple blossoms.

The photo shown above depicts an agapantha flower that is just beginning to blossom - the left half has started to unfold while the right section is still a bud. The green of the flower blend in with the green grass in the background, and contrasts nicely with the purple blossoms just beginning to peek out of the flower. A this photo was taken with an aperture of F4.9, the background remains out of focus, thus keeping the attention drawn to the flower itself.

It was overcast when I took this photo, so the picture has a very soft look to it. There was still enough sunlight available for me to avoid using a tripod, but there weren't any hard shadows on the underside of the flower - perfect lighting conditions. I'll try to track this flower for you and get some pictures of it when it's fully developed - in the meantime you might want to check out last Summer's agapantha shots.

This photo taken with the Fujifilm S9600 digital camera.
Shutter speed 1/280, F4.9, ISO 100

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Lighting Striking Dead Tree

Lightning Striking at Night - Dead Tree Silhouette
Lightning Striking at night with a Dead Tree silhouette in front of lightning thunder bolt
The other night we had a big thunderstorm with lightning over here, so naturally I was out with the camera in the cold and wet while others were inside snug and warm. Actually, I wasn't so foolish as to bring the camera outside during the rain, but after the storm passed over I went out looking for lightning shots. I took a few 30-second exposures, but the noise even at ISO 80 was disappointing. Decreasing the shutter speed by increments, eventually I got down to a 2-second exposure at ISO 80. Now for lightning, there's not much chance of getting a good shot with only a 2-second exposure. But I tried anyway. And what turned out was amazing...

It was a one in a million chance. During the second exposure, a huge bolt of lightning split the sky - directly in the middle of the frame. And this is how it turned out. I find it amazing that I was able to get such a good shot on just the second try. The lightning is streaking through the darkened sky, ending in a flash of electricity near the ground. A dead tree stands in stark silhouette against the backdrop of dark purple clouds. The pitch black of the surrounding terrain serves to intensify the scene, as well as provide a natural frame for the action.


It just goes to show: don't rely on the tried and tested methods, do something different and strange - it might just work out!

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Dainty Birdwing Butterfly

Dainty Birdwing Butterfly - Close Up
dainty birdwing butterfly close up resting in the Sun - butterfly wing photo
When I was walking down the street at Boreen Point (near Noosa) I spotted this butterfly resting in the Sun. It didn't seem to be moving, and presented the perfect opportunity for a photo. Butterflies are normally very hard to get on camera, as they fly all over the place only stopping for about 5 seconds at a time. This butterfly proved the exception however, and stayed still calmly while I got some close-up shots.

This photo taken with the Fujifilm S9600 digital camera.
Shutter speed 1/149, F3.7, ISO 100

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Question: Have you ever Ego-Googled?

David McMahon posts an interesting question on his blog: Have you ever Googled yourself?

My answer to this: Certainly. I think that just about everyone who uses the internet frequently is overcome by the desire to find themselves in the vast realms of cyberspace. But for most people, the answer to the following question will be the same as mine:
Did you find anything?: No
Of course not all of us are famous, so we may not be within the first 30,000 odd pages of a Google search for our name. This really depends on how obscure your name is. When I Google my fake name which I sometimes use for dubious registration forms, I am at the top of the list. That is because nobody famous has that name. However, in a search for "David Webb", I'm nowhere.

What about you? Have you ever Googled yourself? If you want to answer this question, I encourage you to vote using the poll on the right hand side of this page. Next week we'll see how the votes fall - so keep posted!

Update: I have recieved a lot of feedback on this post, and everybody who has commented has pretty much the same story as me: they have Googled themselves, but they usually don't rank very high, if at all. This concludes the question - most people have Googled themseleves.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

New Life - Green Leaves with Sun Shining

Wordless Wednesday
new life - green leaves with the sun shining through and over them - Spring leaves photoGreen Leaves with Sun Shining Through - New Life

This photo taken with the Fujifilm S9600 digital camera.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Giraffe Neck Hairs Close Up

Giraffe Neck Hairs Close Up
macro giraffe neck hairs - close up of a giraffe's 'mane' with sharply defined hairs
Here's an interesting shot I got at the Dubbo Zoo - a close-up photo of a giraffe's neck, with the hairs and markings clearly visible. You can see that a giraffe does actually have a "mane" so to speak - there is a ridge of longer hairs along the back of the animal's neck.

It's evident from the composition of this shot that "more is not always best" as David McMahon says on his blog. Sometimes you just have to ignore the whole and crop in on a small part of the object to achieve a certain effect. This photo turned out extremely clear and sharp, and seems almost as if you could reach out and touch the rough fur of the giraffe.

This photo taken with the Fujfilm S9600 digital camera.
Shutter Speed 1/340, F7.2, ISO 100

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Chook Behind Bars

Wordless Wednesday
chook / hen behind chicken wire fence - a chook behind barsHen Behind Chook Pen Fence / Chicken Wire
This photo taken with the Fujifilm S9600 digital camera.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Emus on the Roam

emu head close up head on view - the australian emu - it can't fly, but it beats the pants off a kangaroo!


As I mentioned in the last post, I've recently had the opportunity to visit the Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, NSW. I took lots of photos (800+), so I've got lots of pics to post on this blog. For the first picture, I've chosen a subject that is uniquely Australian - an Emu.

The Western Plains Zoo has a good setup for photographing the animals. Instead of planting 8-foot fences between the people and animals, there is a sort of moat-and-wall arrangement, where you effectively stand on a mound of earth which puts you level with the top of the fence. This gives you a clear line of sight to the animals, which is great for photos

These emus were quite inquisitive, coming right to the edge of the "fence" to get their photos taken. With 10x zoom, I was able to get some good close-ups of the emus' heads.

The photo above shows a head-on view of the emu, while the photo below portrays the bird from the side. Both of these photos seem to portray a sense of action and alertness, as if the emu is utterly aware of your presence and is waiting for you to make the first move.

emu head side on view - wide angle wide-screen view - a photo of the Australian Emu


Overall the visit to the zoo was a fruitful exercise, and should merit a plethora of new photos for this blog. I look forward to sharing these photos, and I hope you will enjoy them too. I've been playing around with wide-screen photography, and the second emu photo in this post is an example of this. Hopefully I'll be putting up some of my shots in this format, it seem to convey a very different impression to standard 8x10 or 6x4 photography.

These photos taken with the Fujifilm S9600 digital camera.
Related Photos:

Monday, 1 October 2007

Holiday Time!

I'm going on a holiday for two weeks starting from tomorrow, so I'm not sure if I'll have internet connectivity during that period. If I do manage to get connected during the holiday, I'll try to get something up, otherwise, see you all in 2 weeks.

One of the places I'll be visiting is the Dubbo Zoo. This should be a great opportunity for some animal photos, something that I haven't had a lot of here lately. It's supposed to mimic African scenery, so that's even better.

Remember, while I'm away you could always try browsing through the "label cloud" on the right of the page, or use the search box above it. I've got over 140 photos up here so far, so I hope that's enough to keep you amused while I'm away!

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Moon Watching

(Nearly) Full Moon Close Up
nearly full moon close up photo of the moon - craters, spots, markings, man on the moon!
First, let me tell you one thing - no, I did not use a telescope. A few nights ago I got out with the new camera, stuck it on a tripod, and got some shots of the (nearly) full Moon. When I looked at them on-screen later (and with a bit of cropping), this is what came up! I've never been able to take a photo of the Moon as accurate and detailed as this before, but with the Fujifilm S9600's 10.7x zoom these photos turned out remarkably clear. You can actually see the minute markings and dark patches on the Moon.

I found, however, that using auto-exposure settings resulted in a washed-out Moon, even when I focused the camera on the Moon's radius. I actually had to increase the shutter speed to about 1/320 before the Moon's markings started to become visible. This also helped to make the camera steadier, so I was able to use an ISO setting of just 80.

Later in the week I got up on the roof and shot the photo below. The Moon is framed by the branches of the eucalyptus, or gum tree which fills up most of the frame, and the tree in turn is highlighted by the Moon's light. This photo was taken at dusk, just after the Sun had set.

After trying many times to get good Moon photos I had nearly given up, but this new camera has yet again proved its worth, managing to get some excellent photos of the Moon. My only piece of advice to potential moon-gazers is this - keep your shutters well up!

Moon behind Eucalyptus tree
nearly full moon silhouette shining through tree branches - moon outlined by treeThese photos taken with the Fujifilm S9600 camera.
Photo #1 (Moon Close-up): Shutter speed 1/319, F4.9, ISO 80
Photo #2 (Moon behind tree): Shutter speed 1/60, F4.9, ISO 100

Friday, 28 September 2007

5,000 A.D. - Beginning a new Millenium

Today this blog recieved it's 5,000th visitor! Interestingly this visitor was actually from Australia, which happens to be my home country. Here's some stats about that visitor in particular:

Time of Visit Sep 28 2007 9:23:54 am
Last Page View
Sep 28 2007 9:24:43 am
Visit Length
49 seconds
Page Views
3
Referring URL http://www.google.com.au/search?q=heart tomatoes&hl=en
Search Engine google.com.au
Search Words
bullock heart tomatoes

According to Google Analytics I've actually had 6,103 visits, but I'll use the sitemeter count for this post. Here is a graph of all the traffic to this blog so far this year:
As you can see, I've had a great increase in blog traffic over the past few weeks. Now I'm going to have to stop posting about every 1,000 visits, because at this rate I should get about 1,600 per month!

But it's not just the traffic that counts. As you will know if you have a blog yourself, the visitor loyalty is one of the key factors to ascertaining a blog's success. According to Google Analytics, about 5% of the visitors to this blog have returned 2 or more times. I think that's pretty good for 5,000 visitors - approximately 50 people have demonstrated some interest in the blog.

It's interesting to note the most popular search queries for this past year:

As you can see, my agapantha flowers post seems to be very popular, but overall people tend to come here looking for nature photography.

Finally, I would like to thank all the people who have visited and commented on this site, especially those who have subscribed. Running this blog has been a great experience so far, and I hope that you and many other readers will continue to enjoy it into the future.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Bird of Paradise Flower - The Onset of Spring

Bird of Paradise Flower - Spring has come!
Spring is now in full bloom here in Australia. The grass is growing, the trees are blossoming with flowers, and the cicadas chirp at night. The Mozzies are biting, the flies are invading our homes, and a large portion of every Saturday is spent mowing the lawn. Everything is on the move. And, of course, all this life and activity comes with a host of new photographic opportunities.

Yesterday afternoon I went for a visit to one of the local parks. The flowers there are in full bloom and provide great opportunities for macro shots. In that 2-hour session alone I took nearly 200 photos! Thankfully the era of digital cameras has alleviated the need for film, otherwise that session would have cost quite a bit.

This bird of paradise flower is one of the hugely diverse species of flora to be found in the park I visited yesterday. I took this photo just before sunset, when the sun's rays shining through the flower give it a bright and intense colour, and highlight the "flame-like" crest of the flower. In the background, you can see another dead flower, which mirrors this one, starkly contrasting with its vigorous life.

So far the photos I've got of this Spring have been mostly close-up, or macro shots, as the landscapes aren't quite out of Winter yet. But never fear, as soon as the landscapes come you'll be seeing them. At the moment I'm working on a photo-sequence showing the opening of flowers, so expect to see the results of that soon. In the meantime, sit back and enjoy Spring - mozzies and all!
(N.B. For the majority of my readers who are American, I'll be posting some more Spring-ish photos soon, so don't worry, you can enjoy it too, but without the mozzies (or mosquitoes in your language!))

This photo taken with the Fujifilm S9600 digital camera.
Shutter speed 1/124, F4.9, ISO 200

Related Photos:
After the Rain - Jasmine Flowers
The Blossom of the Pond (Water Lily Flower)
Sunflower close-up
Balloon Vine Flower (with water droplets)
Balloon Vine Flower (without water droplets)

Saturday, 15 September 2007

After the Rain Part 1 - Jasmine Flowers

jasmine buds (will be jasmine flowers) with water droplets hanging off them after the rainphoto of two open jasmine flowers close up (macro)
It's been raining here lately, so I though I might post a few of the photos I got just after the rain stopped.

These photos all show jasmine flowers at their various stages of development. The Fujifilm S9600's super macro mode helped here to get really close up shots. The two pictures on the left hand side show water droplets hanging off jasmine buds, while the photos on the right show fully opened jasmine flowers.

close up photo of jasmine flower bud with water droplet hanging of the bud
macro shot of jasmine flower fully open

These photos taken with the Fujifilm S9600 digital camera.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Bumble Bees in Motion

Bumble Bee in Flight - Landing on Rocket Flower
bumble bee flying hovering landing on pak choy plant's flower - Bee hovering in the air
The First Photos from the new Fujifilm S9600!
It's amazing how the best moments for photos seem to appear when you least expect them. Yesterday I was outside as soon as it stopped raining, taking pictures of the flowers & leaves all wet and bristling with dew drops. I got a few good photos which I'll get up here soon, but just as I was leaving I noticed some bees flying around the Pak Choy plants. I snapped some photos at a relatively high shutter speed, not expecting to get much out of them as the bees were moving very quickly. But it seems I had underestimated the new camera. The photos turned out quite well, even after I digitally cropped them to less than half their original size.

I've included two of the best bee photos here. The first one (above) shows a bee hovering in the air mid-flight, about to land on a yellow Pak Choy Flower. You can actually see the bee's wings as they flap through the air at top speed.

In the second photo (below) the bee has landed and is sucking the pollen from the flower. Notice the large yellow pollen sac at the middle of the bee's body. Again, the yellow flowers are from a Pak Choy plant.

Bumble Bee Feeding - Resting on Flower
bumble bee sucking sitting resting on yellow pak choy flower - Bee on flower
So far my experiences with the Fujifilm S9600 have shown it to be well worth the money. It certainly has exceptional macro capabilities, and it's great to have full manual control over the shutter speed and aperture settings. I'm looking forward to lot's more great photos in the months to come, and I hope you too can share in the enjoyment of this "wonderland of nature".

Coming up: After the Rain....

These photos taken with the Fujifilm S9600 camera.
Shutter speed 1/399, F5.7 (#1) & f7.2 (#2), ISO 200

Related Photos:
Bee landing on Lavender Flower
Life on a smaller scale [Mushrooms in Grass]
Close-up of yellow Pak Choy Flowers

4000 A.D.

Special Announcement: The 4,000th visitor arrived at this blog today from Papua New Guinea at 3:57:34 pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time).

Statistics:
Most popular search term: hairy caterpillars.
Average visit length: 3 minutes 47 seconds.
Average pages viewed per visit: 1.58.
Most popular page: The Sunflower that's not a sunflower.

I would like to thank all those who have contributed to this blog either directly or by giving feedback by comments or emails. It is great to share the wonder of nature with other people through the medium of the internet and photography. Thank you all for you support!

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

New Camera! [Fujifilm S9600]

Finally, the days of 3x zoom are over!

Yesterday I bought a new camera to replace the 4.0MP Kodak C330 that has served me faithfully for the last two years. Although I wasn't quite ready to make the jump to a (d)SLR, the model I selected has full manual features and most of the benefits of an SLR.

fujifilm finepix s9600The new camera, a Fujifilm FinePix S9600, features a 9MP Super CCD sensor with 10x optical zoom (equivalent to approx. 28mm-300mm on a 35mm camera). From my preliminary testing, the image quality is excellent, especially in low-light conditions. The Fujifilm also has a "Super Macro" mode which enables it to focus down to 1cm, so you'll be seeing a lot more macro photography soon. (Guess which label will be the biggest in a month's time!)

Today I'll be playing with the new camera a bit, so expect to see some new photos any time now. After I've used the Fujifilm for a while I'll also try to post a review with the real life Pros and Cons of the camera, so keep an eye out for that later.

Overall I'm quite impressed with the quality of the Fujifilm S9600. It's raining here at the moment, and you know how good nature photography looks after the rain, so expect a treat, coming soon....

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Labeling the Clouds

Some of you may have already noticed the "Label Cloud" I recently added to this blog's sidebar. Where there used to be a simple list of categories, I have added a fancier, more aesthetically pleasing "cloud" of categories. If you look at the coloured bar on the right hand side of this page, you should see something like the following (you may have to scroll down): new blogger label cloudBasically, this "cloud" is just a list of all the photographic categories in this blog, but with a twist - the categories with more posts in them appear bigger in the list, while the less populated categories show up smaller.

I hope that this new addition, along with the content rating system at the bottom of every post will help you to enjoy this blog more. So have a browse! Just click on one of the categories on the right to get started. And if you like a post, you can give it a rating simply by selecting your choice on the bar at the bottom of the post.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Amazing Grace - The Splendour of Light [Sun bursting through clouds]

Amazing Grace - Sun Bursting through clouds and treesphoto of sun breaking through clouds and shining rays through trees
Sun bursting through clouds

Recently I watched the movie “Amazing Grace”, an excellent movie about the abolishment of the slave trade in 18th century England. It follows the political work of William Wilberforce, a politician in the House of Commons. This photo reminds me of the theme of the movie – through all evils and tribulations of this world, God and goodness will triumph. The bright Sun, shrouded by cloud, seems to be bursting forth from its corner of the sky, spreading the Light to all corners of the globe.

This photo gains its impressive and triumphant effect mainly because of the parabolic nature of the image – the picture seems to have been taken with a “fish eye” lens, creating an effect of bulging in the centre. Surprisingly, I took this photo with a simple point-and-shoot Kodak C330 digital camera, and didn’t use a fish eye lens at all!

The trees in this photo create a natural frame for the picture. The gum tree (eucalyptus) is slightly offset from the left edge of the photo, so your eye tends to be drawn towards the left hand side of the picture.

On the whole, this picture conveys a sense of suspended movement and the glorious splendour of light. This picture, with its symbolism of light and goodness, is a reminder to us all to have hope for the triumph of good over evil.

This photo taken with the Kodak C330 digital camera.

Related Photos:
Dry Australian Landscape - the Aussie Bliss
Morning Sun
Sunset Vista

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Life on a smaller scale [Mushrooms in Grass]

small white mushrooms in green grasstall white mushrooms with brown mushroom heads in green grass and brown dirt
These two small groups of mushrooms are the type that spring up immediately after some rain, and then disappear as quickly as they came. Although we have had a lot of rain here lately, I actually took these photos a few years ago when the Kodak C330 was new. These photos depict two different types of mushroom, one group short with a slight brownish tint to their "caps", or "heads", and the other tall and thin, with flatter, white caps. I think this photo conveys a sense of silent, stealthy growth - the mushrooms appear to be "still life", but all the while they are quietly growing underfoot.

The first of these two photos has the popular "bi-focal" arrangement - two major subjects dominate the picture, complementing each other and providing an interesting field in which the eye can play. On the left, we have the tight bunch of 4 small mushrooms, while on the right a sprig of grass splays out, leading our eyes in the opposite direction.

In the second photo, the mushrooms seem to be straining upwards, as if they aren't content with their meager height and wish to lift to more lofty realms. The grass too seems to be following it, pointing skywards, following the lead of it's overshadowing companions. The green grass and pale white stems of the mushrooms contrast sharply, and bring an extra aspect to an otherwise monotonous image.

Both these pictures share a common theme, of still life, of nature, of minute activity in the undergrowth. Most of all, they demonstrate the wonder of God's creation, yet again, and remind us humans that we are not the only living things on this earth.

This photo taken with the Kodak C330 camera.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Lazy Sunday [Bearded Dragon Lizard]

Lazy Sunday - A Bearded Dragon Lizard in the Sun
lazy bearded dragon lizard lying in the sun on a gum tree log (eucalyptus)
Recently I was walking around a friend's property, mostly Australian semi-rural bushland, when I came across this little creature. Although he looks frightening, the Bearded Dragon lizard is practically harmless, and refused to move a muscle even when we picked him up! Before moving him, I snapped this shot at an unusual angle. The detail in this photo is amazing when viewed full-screen, especially around the lizard's head - you can see every small spike and inflection in his scaly skin. Although, as I said, these lizards are practically harmless, they can give you a nasty bite if provoked, so don't go picking them up!

This shot really makes you think. Whenever anybody looks at this picture they tend to automatically tilt their head counter-clockwise 90 degrees and look up and down the lizard's body. That's because of the unusual composition and depth of field in this photo.

The Bearded Dragon's head forms the primary focus-point in the image, with the beady eye attracting attention at the top of the head, and the split bark of the log leading the eye towards the dragon's frill further down.

I think the strangest thing about this photo is that you keep trying to turn sideways to look the lizard in the eye. The way the log and lizard combine to create an interesting "tilt" to the image helps to attract attention and create uniqueness. Just don't look at this picture too long - you might permanently bend your neck!

This photo taken with the Kodak C330 digital camera.

Related Photos:
A Hen-pecked Chook's Feathers
Another Hairy Caterpillar Photo
Prawns, Anyone? (Prawn Heads)

Saturday, 4 August 2007

The Blossom of the Pond [Water Lily Flower]

Pink water lily with water droplets in pond
pink water lily with yellow center (centre) of flower, and water droplets on it's light pink petals and water lily-pads in the pond
This Water Lily blossom is yet another example of nature's wondrous beauty. As with all flowers of this sort, the soft pink petals seem to serve as a showcase for the bright yellow center of the flower. Each petal has a delicate adornment of water droplets which help to bring time and depth to the photo. The background of lily-pads help show the close-up nature of the image. This photo was taken at Singleton, NSW, Australia. It shows a completely different aspect of Australia's natural heritage than the Dry Landscape shown before.

This photo is really just a point-and-shoot picture - there are no special compositional techniques used, no fancy aperture or shutter-speed adjustments, just a simple fill-the-frame photo from about 15cm away. The only noteworthy aspect of this photo's composition is the familiar "concentric focus" theme coming through again - the main curves in the picture converge on the central subject of the image.

This photo taken with the Kodak C330 digital camera.

Related Photos:
Sunflower Close-up
Balloon Vine Flower with Water Droplets
Soft-focus Flower

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Dry Australian Landscape - The real Aussie Bliss?

Australian Grazing Field - a Dry Landscape
dry Australian landscape grazing field
When I saw this photo, I immediately thought of the Windows XP desktop background "Bliss" that many will know so well. It depicts an artificially green meadow with a perfect sky in the background, and some distant mountains. Well, this photo shows a far from perfect landscape, with the dry, parched grass and hot looking sky, but I suppose you could call this the "Aussie Bliss". This photo was taken near Goondiwindi, in Queensland, Australia.

This photo differs from the "rule of thirds" we have been seeing lately - the photo is plainly comprised of two sections split vertically by the tree line. Both the curve of the clouds and the pattern of the grass incline the viewer's attention towards the center-right of the picture, meeting the horizon as it reaches the edge of the image.

The main feeling conveyed by this picture seems to be one of dryness, of a starved countryside that is deprived of it's utmost source of vitality. Yet the image also conveys a sense of beauty in itself, as if to say that no matter what happens, nature still retains it's equilibrium of life.

This photo taken with the Kodak C330 camera.

Related Photos:
"English Countryside"
Alternative Bliss Wallpaper 1
Alternative Bliss Wallpaper 2

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Spammerfied!

Two major events have occurred for this blog in the past few days:
  1. This blog received it's 3,000th visitor on Jul 26 at 10:12:18 pm
  2. This blog was classified as a spam site!
Yes, Google officially prevented me from posting anything to my blog, as I was though to be a "link spammer" and my blog was classified as spam. I quickly submitted a request for revision, and just got notified today that my blog was "fair dinkum" and that I am now allowed to post again.

Well, now that I'm able to post, I'll assemble a few statistics about this blog's visitors for the past few months. You're welcome to submit you favourite photos for inclusion in the upcoming best bits as well, I'll officially launch the "survey" soon.

That's all for now,

David

Friday, 27 July 2007

The Sunflower that's really a sunflower [Close-up of a Sunflower]

Close-up of a Sunflower
This Sunflower is really a sunflower. A close-up (macro) photo (pic, image, shot) of a yellow sunflower, with detailed hairs on leaf and yellow petals
Since I posted the photo of a pumpkin flower under the title of "The Sunflower that's not a sunflower", I've had people ask whether I have any real sunflower photos. So I had a look through my archives and found this photo. I took this shot a few years ago, when I had just got a new 4.2MP digital camera (the Kodak C330). The level of detail is amazing - try viewing this photo full-size and you can even see the fine hairs on the leafy part. This would definitely do well as a desktop background.

This photo really seems to draw you into it with a sense of depth and perspective, even though it has a relatively "flat" subject. The circular center section with the stamen in it seems to bulge out, while the petals radiating from the center appear to bend inwards. The eye is particularly drawn to the center section, but this image has to be viewed as a whole to be fully appreciated.

An interesting thing to note is the fact that this photo does not actually portray the whole of
the flower. The edge of the petals are cut of by the framing of the photo. This is another important photographic technique which is used often and does not, as one might think, detract from the photo's beauty.

This photo taken with the Kodak C330 camera.

Related Photos:
The Sunflower that's not a sunflower (Pumpkin Flower)
The Modest Blossom (Violet flower)
Balloon vine flower with water droplets
Balloon vine Flower

Friday, 20 July 2007

Cumulonimbus Thunder-storm Cloud at Sunset

Huge Cumulonimbus Thunder-head and Storm Front at Sunset
cumulonimbus thunder storm clouds at sunset
I've been browsing through my old photos lately, and this is one of the shots that turned up. This photo depicts a cumulonimbus cloud heading a storm front, with the main thunder-head rendered in a pinkish hue due to the late evening sun reflecting off it. The storm clouds themselves are a threatening deep blue, and the black silhouette formed by the treeline and rooftops at the bottom of the image only serves to intensify the general atmosphere of foreboding. This photo, I think, truly imparts a sense of awe at the great power of creation.

Moving on to a lighter note, this photo again uses a rough approach to the "rule of thirds". The silhouette forms the lower one-third of the image, the blue clouds another third, and the pink "anvil" of the cumulonimbus cloud rises toward the top of the frame.
The focus seems to be divided between two areas of this picture - the pink thunder-head is the primary subject, and the blue clouds below it form the secondary subject.
The main "breaking-up" devices in this picture are the two thin aerials rising toward the center of the photo - they direct the eye again from the lower section of the picture back up to the top again.

But don't let the composition of this photo distract you from enjoying it's awe-inspiring effect. Just remember, the interpretation of art is always up to the viewer: Take this picture, think whatever you like about it, just make sure you have fun!

This photo taken with the Kodak C330 camera.

Related Photos:
The Glory of the Morning (Sun breaking over Vine Stem)

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Green is God's Favourite Colour [Green Weeds]

Green Weeds contrast in Shade and Sunlight
green weeds in contrast - green is god's favourite (favorite) colour (color)
"Oh no!", I hear you say. "Not another contrast picture!" Yes, this is yet again a photo which has two contrasting sections of colour. I found this photo when I was walking around the yard, everything is so lush and beautiful right now after the recent rain - just the right time to get a close-up of what seems to be the Creator's favourite colour - Green.

This photo could be said to use a diagonal variation of the "rule of thirds," as the illuminated, lighter weeds occupy about two thirds of the picture, and the darker, shaded weeds the other third. Notice how the sharp distinction between light and dark even within the lighter section itself helps to break up the monotony of an all-green picture.

Note: For the Americans out there, this title would be spelt "Green is God's Favorite Color"

This photo taken with the Kodak C330 camera.

Related Photos:
The Glory of the Morning (Sun breaking over vine stem)
A Sign of Contradiction 2 (Dead Leaves with Clover)
Odd One Out - Camphor-laurel leaves in contrast

Monday, 16 July 2007

The Glory of the Morning [Sun Breaking over Vine Stem]

The Glory of the Morning - The rising Sun shines it's rays over a Vine Stem
the glory of the morning - sun shining over the stem of a balloon vine plant. Sun rays breaking shining
This indeed is a glorious shot. The rising sun is just peeking it's rays past the shining edge of a Balloon Vine stem, highlighting the fine hairs running along the side of the stem. The rainbow shower of light falling from the contact point shines out over the lavender flowers in the background, and the green leaves at the sides of this magnificent photo complete the image. This image has to be seen to be fully appreciated.

The structure of this image roughly follows the popular "rule of thirds" approach, placing an imaginary grid over the picture to determine the placement of the primary features. The contact point between sun and stem occurs about two-thirds of the way up the picture, and the green leafy frame occupies about a third of the horizontal space on either side. The weighting of this photo is obviously toward the top, with the bright contact point in the center of that region being the main feature of the photo.

This photo taken with the Kodak C330 camera.

Related Photos:
Balloon Vine Flower with Water Droplets
Prickle Resting on a Leaf - A sign of Contradiction

Friday, 13 July 2007

A creature from below... [Earth Worm]

Earth worm with grains
the earth worm - the creature from below - an earthworm on dirt with various grains: corn, sorghum, etc.
Here's some variety - an animal is featured as the subject of this photo. This earth worm is shown lying on the dirt beside some chicken-feed: various grains including cord and sorghum. We found him under a tarp we had out in the yard, and after the photo he died a noble death - he was fed to the Chooks!

The natural structure of this photo draws the eye firstly toward the worm, which occupies the greater portion of the image, and secondly to the grains in the lower-right corner. The picture itself is not designed with a specific composition in mind, the only notable aspects are the main focus-points where the eye rests. It is interesting, though, how the eye follows a rough "zig-zag" course along the curves of the worm, and doesn't follow the smooth line of the worm's body.

This photo taken with the Kodak C330 camera.

Related Photos:
The Modest Blossom
Close-up of a hen-pecked chook's feathers

Thursday, 12 July 2007

The sunflower that's not a Sunflower [Pumpkin Flower]

Bright yellow Pumpkin vine flower
bright yellow pumpkin flower in front of pumpkin vine leaves. The sunflower that isn't a Sunflower is really a Pumpkin flower!
Whenever I look at this flower I'm reminded of the sun. The vibrant yellow color and the flower's ray-like petals are like an ancient Greek portrayal of the sun, with it's flares of yellow shining out from the center orb. However, this flower is really only a humble Pumpkin flower, shown here in front of the Pumpkin vine's leaves.

This is very much a "standard" type of shot from a compositional standpoint - the main object of the photo is centered in the frame, and the background is very plain so as not to attract attention. This photo is an example of how you don't really need any fancy framing or exposure modes and settings to take a good photo - this photo was taken in point-and-shoot mode!

This photo taken with the Sony DSC-H1 camera.

Related Photos:
Balloon Vine flower with water droplets
The Egg Plant shows it's true colors... [Purple Egg Plant Flower]
The Modest Blossom [Violet Flower]

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