Category Archives: seascape

50 in 50: the wrapup

When I got the idea for the 50 in 50 project, I thought it would be interesting to challenge myself to take a photo every day with the same lens, and to restrict myself to using only that lens for a whole month to see what new perspectives I could get by limiting my choices. I had initially thought I’d use my 24mm prime lens because, well, because I love it and I could see myself using just that lens forever and never using anything else.

Day 50: 50

But loving that lens so much, I didn’t think that it would be a huge challenge to not use it. The 50mm, on the other hand, well, that was something different. I wasn’t exactly sure why I’d bought it and I’d rarely used it. I think I’d heard it was a good lens for portraits but, as portraits aren’t a genre I’m very interested in at all, I’m not sure what I thought getting a portrait lens would achieve.

Nonetheless, I had it and it was sitting there in my lens bag unused. Everytime I went to use it, everything would be SO CLOSE and I’d hastily swap it for my 10-22 where I was a lot more comfortable.

I’d set myself the goal of completing a 30-day project with one lens in 2020 as part of my 20 in 2020 list that I write about on my other blog. I realised at the end of October that time was running out if I wanted to get this done. I was on a short break in the middle of a very frantic time at work when I decided, in that way you make crazy decisions when you’re relaxed and on holidays, that I was going to start the project the very next day with the 50mm lens and it was going to be a 50-day project, not a 30-day one. Because 50/50/50 was just so much tidier than 30/50/30.

The challenge was set and the rules were made. I locked all my other lenses away in my camera bag and began. The main rule was that I needed to make at least one photo every day and post it. I didn’t actually have to edit or post it the day I took the photo, as long as I’d actually captured a photo every day. I was a little bit flexible with the challenge and I did allow myself to continue to use my phone for thing I’d normally have used my phone for anyway like casual daily photos and Hobart Street Corners.

So what did I learn?

Not allowing myself to crop the images, other than what was needed to straighten them, meant that I had to be a lot more careful in my framing in-camera. In some photos that were very tight, I found it difficult to make the adjustments I needed to compensate for the viewfinder showing me a slightly different view than what appeared in the image. More than once, an image that I thought I’d framed perfectly ended up with something I thought I had excluded sneaking in on the right hand side, or the image wasn’t framed exactly the way I had thought it was.

Day 2: It’s not centred!

It was also difficult to step back as far as I needed to get what I wanted into the frame, so in a lot of photos I ended up getting closer and including less in the image than I had intended. This is why there are a lot of photos from the challenge of the tops of buildings or details, because the 50mm perspective just didn’t allow everything to be included. There are limits to how far you can step back sometimes, because there are things like brick walls or roads with heavy traffic that stop you. Getting run over in the pursuit of my art is not really the way I want to end my life!

Day 5: Just one more step back would have helped this one

Doing this challenge forced me to look at things in a different way to how I would have if I was using the 10-22 lens and trying to get everything in. It helped me to isolate details that I found interesting and to really think about what was interesting about a scene. It often felt like it was a lot more of a personal way to make photos, to find the element that spoke to me within what was usually quite a cluttered space, and to focus on that and to show it from my perspective.

I’d go out with one idea in mind and then, after being in the space for a while and taking the photos I thought I’d wanted, I’d look around some more and see something completely different. I’d then go and explore the things that had caught my eye and end up with a totally different image to what I’d imagined. Light playing on a surface, a creeping shadow, a small feature that I’d never have noticed if I’d been looking at the big picture. Something on the ground. Something sitting on a fence. I’d capture these things as I saw them, and I’m glad I did because, more often than not, I’d come back the next day and they’d be gone.

Day 29: Specs in time. I came back the next day to rephotograph this scene because I wasn’t happy with any of the images, and the dandelion had gone.

Of course, not everything worked out as I’d wanted it to, and some days I ended up just taking a photo of something, anything, just to complete the challenge for that day. These were not some of my best moments.

Day 35: Hmmmmmmm……

I found I really enjoyed getting up close to a feature and making it the focal point of the image, with a very shallow depth of field to blur the background.

Day 31: Some sandstone at some old building

Some of these types of photos worked well; others not so much. I had a couple of days where I’d get a photo I really liked only to find I hadn’t quite nailed the focus, whereas similar shots with less pleasing composition were tack sharp. What to do there?! My choice was to go with composition over sharpness and to remind myself it’s okay to take more than one photo of exactly the same thing if I think it’s going to be a good one. Maybe one day I’ll remember this.

Day 42: Composition trumps focus

16 December was the last day of the challenge and I’d already picked out my subject a couple of days earlier on my morning walk, when there was great light. I’d taken a few test shots and thought I could make it work on the last day. All I needed was the same light and the same lack of traffic on the highway. Sadly, the light didn’t come and I woke up feeling very unwell. Not unwell enough to not go for a walk but not exactly raring to go either. So I didn’t get the photo I wanted to round the project off. I took a couple of photos while I was out but nothing really worked and all I wanted to do was go back to bed. Which I did.

It was a disappointing end to what had been a fantastic project that, for the most part, I enjoyed doing. Overall, I’m pleased with the photos I made for the project, and there are a couple that are up there with my favourite images of the year.

Day 10: A re-edit of one of my favourite photos from the whole of 2020

I’m not in any great rush to stop using the lens and, now I know some of its possibilities, I’m keen to use it more often.

Day 38: I love this one and several of the others I made at the same location

It’s been a great experience for me. I would say if you feel like your photography is getting stuck or same-y or you want to mix it up a bit, set yourself a challenge like this where you restrict yourself to one element. Go out for a couple of weeks, a month, however long feels right to you, and make photographs every day within that restriction. Maybe you could restrict the lens, or the aperture you use (or even both!). You could restrict yourself to making a photo at a particular time of day or within a particular location. One challenge I have always been interested in is the “one block” challenge, where you can only make photographs of things that are within one block of your town for whatever period you choose. Maybe a back and white challenge is more your thing (I did that for a year in 2018), or you photograph only yellow things every day for a month. Or birds. Or cups of coffee. Or sandstone (nah, just kidding, don’t do that). Anything where you limit your options, I think, will help you to focus on one thing and to get more creative as you can’t get distracted by the many other variables that could distract you.

Now I have to plan myself a new challenge for 2021.

Have you thought about undertaking a photo challenge like this? Or done one? Let me know in the comments.

Farewell, Orange Roughy

On Saturday, the Aurora Australis left Hobart for the last time.

August 2018

If you’ve been in Hobart for long, you’ll probably have seen this boat anchored at the wharf. It was, until this year, the Australian Antarctic research vessel, and has been in service for the last 30 years.

April 2019

She made her final voyage to Antarctica earlier this year, and many people were concerned about what would happen to her after that. There were reports that she was going to be sold or even scuttled, and there were calls for the government to buy her and convert her into an Antarctic museum in Hobart.

April 2019

That didn’t happen. The latest reports are saying she is sailing to Dubai and after that, a possible future in Argentina.

April 2019

I’ve enjoyed photographing her over the past few years.

August 2020

The last couple of months leading up to her departure, I’ve made a few trips to the waterfront to capture her for the last time.

October 2020
November 2020

On Friday, I went to the waterfront to see her for the last time (with only my 50mm lens). I wasn’t the only person there.

11 December 2020

There was a group of workers from the dock, or maybe from the ship itself, having their photo taken in front of it, and several other people stopping to take photos and say goodbye. One lady said she’d heard the ship might be going to be used for cruises to Antarctica, and if that happened, we might well see her again in Hobart.

11 December 2020
11 December 2020
11 December 2020

I hear that there was a huge turnout on Saturday morning to see the Aurora Australis off as she sailed out of Hobart for the last time. A flotilla accompanied her as she departed, and there was a lot of emotion in farewelling her. I wasn’t able to be there, but I was able to catch a final glimpse of her as she sailed down the river.

A dodgy phone photo through the trees

I saw her for the last time as just a spec on the horizon and wondered what her future would hold. Perhaps she would have been a wonderful museum, but perhaps it’s better for her to continue her life on the sea. It brought to mind that quote “A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for”. I have no idea who said that but I like it. (And it’s not really about ships, is it?)

A final farewell

In the words of my friend, who had found a spot on the river bank to say her goodbyes as the “Orange Roughy” sailed past, “Go well, little ship”.

50 in 50: week 4

I’m past the half-way point of my 50mm challenge and I have no real wish to go back to any of my other lenses. I’m struggling a bit with taking a photo every single day, but I’m loving the days when I have the time to go out and spend some time wandering round with the lens.

Day 22: Cull the corrupt
Day 23: Morning yellow
Day 24: Diagonal light
Day 25: Mount Stuart Hall
Day 26: Tiny house
Day 27: A duet of daisies
Day 28: Morning solitude

50 in 50: week 3

These are the photos from the third week of my 50 in 50 challenge, where I use only my 50 mm lens for 50 days and post a photo a day. I’ve been a bit behind in posting because I had all the Open House Hobart photos to post as well, so there will be a couple of catch-up posts now.

Day 15: The Gull
Day 16: The Supreme Court
Day 17: Abstract sunrise
Day 18: The Magistrates Court
Day 19: Rust
Day 20: Rooftops
Day 21: Three

Behind the sunrise

I slept in every day this week and missed all the beautiful orange sunrises that I saw in my social media feeds earlier in the week. I was disappointed because orange skies are my favourite skies and I rarely see them in person. But I only had myself to blame.

I finally decided that, as I  describe myself as someone who walks a bit, maybe missing my morning walks isn’t particularly congruent with who I profess to be. I walk every day, and this week I haven’t.

I went out this morning and, of course, today wasn’t the day for an orange sunrise.

Well, it was orange, it just wasn’t the dramatic orange I was hoping for.

20190426 Sunrise Taroona Beach edit edit

River Derwent | 26 April 2019 | 7.00am

Not to worry! I was back out doing what I loved and that was the main thing. Not too long after the sun rose, it started to rain. Lightly, at first.

Where I was standing on the beach are some boat sheds, which I sometimes photograph if the light is right. This morning it was, and I took some photos from where I was standing—the usual place I try to photograph them from. I was waiting for the light.

20190426 Taroona Boathouses 2-Edit edit

Waiting for the light

The light hadn’t quite hit the boat sheds when something made me walk along to the other side of them to see if I could get a better angle from there. As I turned around, I saw a rainbow over the beach and realised this was the shot I needed to take: the photograph behind the sunrise.

20190426 Taroona Boathouses 6 edit edit

Behind the sunrise

By the time I’d clambered over rocks to try and get the right shot, the rain was getting heavier, the wind had come up and it was becoming unpleasant. I took some okay, not great, images of the boat sheds from the other side and decided it was time to go.

A man at the house over the road had been watching me, probably thinking (not unreasonably) that I was mad to be standing around taking photos in this onslaught. “It wasn’t like this when I left home!” I complained, in response to his comment on the “wild and woolly” weather. (Totally off topic, where does that phrase even come from? It makes no sense to me at all.)

I carried on along the street, turned the corner and headed towards home, eager to be warm and dry again.

As I was walking, I looked ahead and saw the most wonderful sight: a modest-looking house sitting on the next corner, shining in the golden light. It looked beautiful! This was really the thing I was meant to see this morning, not the sunrise, not the boat sheds, not the rainbow. This one photograph, of all the ones I captured this morning, made it worth getting wet and almost blown away. I just wish I’d had my camera instead of my phone.

20190426 Shiny house-Edit edit

Friday morning light

When I was taking the photos of the rainbow, I’d been thinking how funny it is that sometimes the thing you really need to be looking for is right behind you. (Does that sound too much like an airline safety briefing?) And, after seeing the house, I realised that if it’s not behind you, it will be somewhere else you didn’t set out to look.

sunday morning

I love walking.

I especially love going on long walks with my camera and taking photos of things that catch my eye.

Today I went for a long walk, which was wonderful. Here are some of the things I saw.

20190127 derwent from alexandra battery 1. edit edit

The view from Alexandra Battery at 7am

20190127 nicholas drive, lipscombe ave & churchill ave 729am edit edit

One of my street corner photos: Nicholas Drive & Churchill Avenue, 7.30 am

20190127 dead tree on churchill ave 7 edit 2 edit

A dead tree on Churchill Avenue and the moon

20190127 utas 11—arts lecture theatre. edit edit

Arts Lecture Theatre, University of Tasmania

20190127 utas 20—arts lecture theatre edit edit

Arts Lecture Theatre, University of Tasmania

20190127 utas 38—old medical sciences edit edit

Old Medical Sciences Building, University of Tasmania

20190127 utas 51—agriculture edit edit

Agriculture Building, University of Tasmania

20190127 utas 62—engineering edit edit

Engineering Building (I think!), University of Tasmania

20190127 utas 68—chemistry edit 1 edit

Chemistry Building, University of Tasmania

20190127 sandy bay rd & princes st 1011am edit edit

Last one from the street corners project: Sandy Bay Road & Princes Street, 10.11 am