Fish River Canyon

And so it begins, a two week landscape photography tour with a couple of my favourite photographers, Christian Fletcher and Nick Rains, and twelve other wonderful photographers who helped make this a very special journey for me. Stunning scenery, wildlife, more stunning scenery, more wildlife and one on one time with Christian and Nick plus the never ending supply of food.

Fish River Canyon

The second largest canyon in the world (the Grand Canyon in Arizona is the largest) is pretty spectacular but I found it rather difficult to photograph.  The enormity of it was overwhelming, so a little help from Nick and Christian was appreciated to get me started.  Individual cottages lined up along the rim of the canyon was our accommodation for the next few nights.

 Our accommodation at Fish River Canyon was in individual cottages lined up along the rim of the canyon.  The cottages branched out either side of the restaurant, reception, deck and pool area.  As the front of the cottages were glass fronted the view was incredible.  A brilliant coloured sunset greeted us on our first evening.  After that night the wind picked up to a howling gale and we quickly found out why there were no internal doors in the room.  They also provided earplugs with the room key for those that had trouble sleeping with wind noise.

Our days here here at the canyon filled with landscape photography, editing and a game drive for those that wished to.  We went looking for the Mountain Zebra.  Unfortunately the Zebra were not to be found but we did come across Springbok and Oryx.  Here’s a couple of pics from this location.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you enjoy seeing some of my trip to Namibia.

Fish River Canyon

Sunset Fish River Canyon

 

Sunrise Fish River Canyon

Sunrise Fish River Canyon

 

Quiver Tree

Quiver Tree

 

Fish River Canyon

 

 

Namibia – Leopard Lodge

Well I’ve made it home safe and sound from 3 weeks in Namibia.  I was hoping to update my blog regular while I was away but time restraints and slow/unreliable internet access put a stop to that right at the start.

Leopard Lodge

My first stop was at Leopard Lodge, ran by a friend of a friend.  It’s a hunting lodge just an hour from Windhoek the capital of Namibia.  Lots of wildlife including wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, oryx, kudu hyena, steenbok, baboon, leopard.  This caracal is a “Pet” that the kids handle regularly but is kept in a large pen.  Not the friendliest pet I’ve ever seen so took photos but didn’t go in a pat.

Lynx Cat

Caracal

 

Waterbuck Leopard Lodge Namibia

These Waterbuck came to drink at the waterhole while I was sitting up a small hill in a hide.

 

Giraffe Leopard Lodge Namibia

Giraffe

 

Crocodile Leopard Lodge Namibia

Female Crocodile – a long time resident at the waterhole with the hide

 

Cheetah Leopard Lodge Namibia

Cheetah – there were 2 of these beautiful animals on the property.

 

2nd Place Perth Nationals

2nd Place Rural Life

2nd Place in the Perth Nationals Australian Rural Life.

I’ve been entering the Perth Nationals or the (Perth Royal Show Photography Competition) for the last couple of years now and have achieved a merit in this category every year but have never been able to make it into a placing until now.  The above image was taken from a helicopter last year during our motorbike trip to Darwin.  It’s an aerial image shot over Packsaddle Plains.  I have no idea what the crop is that has been planted but it looks like an awful lot of something.

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New Zealand Photo Book Finally

New Zealand's South Island

Well it’s been 16 months in the making but the New Zealand Photo Book is finally with the printers.  That printer being Blurb, the only company that I use these days, due to the fact that Lightroom has the built in book module which uses Blurb.  I’ve gone for the large format for the first time (13″ x 11″) and gee I hope my images look good.  To take a look at the book click on the book below.

If you’re interested in creating your own book with Blurb please click here to Start creating your Blurb book today >>



Autumn in the South

By Chris de Blank

Crested Terns Fishing Bremer Bay

Crested Terns fishing at Bremer Bay.  What a lovely sight for me.  I’ve never taken the time out to watch these magnificent birds, what a mistake.  I’ll not be overlooking them in the future.  Their long pointed silvery grey wings seem to effortlessly soar them through the air.  How they manage to catch the smallest of fish from a plunge starting a couple of metres above the water, is beyond me.  While the photos are not top quality they’re my first of this type so I’m happy with them.  I hope that you enjoy them also.

Fishing Crested Terns

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fishing-terns-8

 

The Wonders of Victoria Dam

On a recent overnight visit to Perth I headed up to Victoria Dam (a water supply for Perth City) in Carmel early in the morning.  My aim was to do some birding but it turned out to be much, much more.  It’s quite a walk on the weekends as the 2nd car park is closed and that’s closer to the dam.  Armed with my 300mm f2.8 birding lens and backpack with some breakfast, oh and don’t forget the rain coat as it had rained overnight and was still threatening to start again.  I didn’t find any birds that I hadn’t photographed before.  I was hoping for some Firetails or a Western Rosella, maybe next time.

Birds

This Australasian Grebe was happy to forage around in his little pond with me photographing him until a family joined us and the noise scared him into the reeds.  I was quite surprised at how well he blended in with the ground and the water in the 2nd image.

The Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo is a common sight in many areas.  We have them roosting in the bush behind our place. This female was not alarmed by my presence and stayed long enough for me to get a few shots off.  This is a female (white bill and yellow spots) Forest Red-tail, a subspecies found in the South West of Western Australia.  These birds are listed as Vunerable, if you wish to read more about them here’s a link to the WA Museum.

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Australasian Grebe

Victoria Dam-5

 

and More

The early morning light, recent rain and a good quality lens at a big aperture make for good bokeh.  Here’s a great little article on Bokeh is you’re interested in the effect. I’ve never really used my 300mm lens for anything other than birding or sports photography.  Today was a different story.  There was just too much to photograph and I didn’t have another lens with me.

Victoria Dam-4

The low cloud cover, or was it fog, in the valley created a beautiful mood which I did my best to capture.

Victoria Dam-2

I was very surprised to see the city appearing out of the clouds.  Quite a cropped image but I think shows the diversity of the views from the walk down to the dam.  In conclusion, it appears that I didn’t photograph Victoria Dam itself.  And as I didn’t photograph any new birds perhaps I need to come back another time.

Victoria Dam-1

Anytime Fitness Model Shoot

I’m a member of a Facebook group called Snap Happy South West which organise a variety of shoots for it’s members.  This one in particular captured my attention.  2 well chiseled models, a gym (Anytime Fitness Treendale) and a huge learning curve for me.  With all of the mirrors around the walls and all of the photographers you needed to be creative to come up with poses and shooting angles where you or other photographers didn’t appear in the reflections.  Many thanks to our models Nathan Whitton and Danae Cornford.

The first 4 B&W pics were taken with 2 speed lights on stands, 1 with a soft box and 1 with an umbrella (can see these in the reflection in one of the images)

Anytime Fitness Shoot-1

Anytime Fitness Shoot-2

Anytime Fitness Shoot-3

Anytime Fitness Shoot-4

Anytime Fitness Shoot-7

No flash, high ISO

Anytime Fitness Shoot-5

Off camera flash with no soft box creating harsh light (aiming for the tough look)

Anytime Fitness Shoot-6

No flash, high ISO

Footy Photography SWFL

I was invited along to the Brunswick oval last weekend for some “footy photography”, thanks Ash!  I took along my birding lens, a Canon 300mm prime lens and using my Canon 5D Mkiii had a great time in the very muddy boundary area.  I was very happy with the action that I captured, although most of the game took place on the far side of the oval I was able to crop in on my images without loosing quality. Light was falling fast as the game didn’t start until 5pm, my last shots, taken early in the 2nd quarter were taken at 3200 ISO.  I kept my aperture on f4, my ISO and shutter speed fluctuated a lot according to where the play was i.e. in the shadows or in the light.

Going for the ball - footy photography

 

Here’s a link to the footy page of the Bunbury Mail if you’d like to see more from the match.  Images at this site were taken by Ashley Pearce.

Old Church in Thomson Brook

Headed out to Grimwade campsite on the Bibbulmun Track yesterday with a friend from camera club and we happened to pass by this old church in Thomson Brook.  This was my first trip out to this area but will definitely not be my last.  Lovely rolling green hills plus much much more.

Here’s a little bit of history about the church.  The St. Thomas Anglican Church was architecturally designed (by Eustace Cohen) for the Thomson Family in 1908 and cost 475 pounds to build on their property. The bricks were made on site.  The ceiling, floor and most of the furniture, designed by Cohen, was all made of local jarrah.  This church is one of a small number of churches in Western Australia that were privately constructed and has been almost continuously used by the Anglican community and in more recent times is also used for wedding and other special occasions.

All images taken with either 100mm or 50mm prime lens and processed in Lightroom with a Vintage Preset

Old Church Thomson Brook

Old Church Thomson Brook

Old Church Thomson Brook

 

Jurien Bay

I was fortunate enough to be up at Jurien Bay early morning on Sunday, the day after the big storm.  Missed the sunrise but only just.  The old jetty is a great subject for photos.  I happen to leave some gear in the car by accident so instead of going back to get it I thought no, how can I make this work without the ND grad filters which I wanted to use.  Lucky for me in my bag I had a 6 stop Neutral Density filter to give me the slow shutter speed of 2 and 4 seconds and also a circular polariser which reduced a bit of the bright sky for me.  A bit more of a touch up in Lightroom and all’s good.  The 3rd image is of the colourful change rooms which they have just set back off the beach.

Jurien Bay Beach Change Rooms

Jurien Bay Old Jetty 2

Early morning light on old jetty