Monday, 10 June 2013

A glorious morning @ Nobby's Beach

If there could only be one iconic landmark in Newcastle, it would have to be Nobby's Beach. Famous for its swimming and surfing conditions, and of course the lighthouse, Nobby's is one of Newcastle's most loved beaches. It is a place that speaks to the heart of all Novocastrians; it's part of our history, our childhood memories and our present day lives.

For photographers, Nobby's Beach is one of the most photographed locations in Newcastle. Wander in to any photography gallery in Newcastle and this beach will surely be featured. On numerous occasions I have attempted to photograph Nobby's Beach, but each time I have tried, nature decided to have the day off. Instead of the gorgeous scenes I had seen elsewhere, I was presented with gloomy days and dark grey clouds. The sunrise that I desired to capture was eluding me with quite some success. And just to rub it in, earlier this year I managed to sleep in while my photography buddy Kane was capturing a brilliant sunrise at Nobby's. Just my luck!

But this all changed on a cold morning in June 2013. Kane and I had arranged for a sunrise session. The timing of the sunrise, tides and the weather forecast were lining up nicely. All we needed was a nice bit of cloud coverage high in the sky (but not right on the horizon) and we knew it would be game on.

I awoke to the sound of the Marimba ringtone on the iPhone, time to get up. I threw my clothes on (including the thermals), slammed down an "Up&Go" and flew out the door when Kane arrived. The suspense grew as we drove closer to the beach. Out of the darkness appeared the first glimpses of light. The clouds began to shimmer with a soft glow of orange and we began to see what awaited us. Thank God, I had not slept in!

We arrived at the beach and were greeted by a number of other photographers who had the same idea as us. We chose our spot on the beach and waited for the light show to begin. Little by little the colour appeared, and then all of a sudden it lit up, and remained so for the best part of 20 minutes. We snapped away with grins on our faces. We knew we were capturing a "winner" so to speak.

When I got home I quickly uploaded my images and began the editing process. I was quite pleased with the results. What I love about this image is the contrast of the blue and orange sky, it really does add an extra dimension to the image. I also love the reflections in the bottom right corner of the image and the banding pattern in the sand. And last, but not least, I love the tiny silhouette of a ship in the distance. This really caps off an the image.

What do you like about the image?

Nobby's Beach, Newcastle, NSW

I have finally captured a stunning sunrise at Nobby's Beach. This image is going on my wall (and hopefully on many others too!). I will surely be back to this spot, there are still many creative possibilities and amazing sunrises to capture.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Swansea Headlands - Two photos, ten minutes, two distinct images

Hi All

I recently headed out for a photography session with Kane. We decided to try out a new location - Swansea Headlands, Lake Macquarie.

Upon arrival we quickly scouted the location. I was immediately drawn towards a jetty and decided that it would be the focus of my composition. However, after a few test shots, I realised my original composition wasn't really cutting it. I had no foreground interest and the composition seemed unbalanced. I glanced around for a fresh perspective and noticed the beautiful golden hue of the setting sun lighting up some tall grass on the shoreline. Foreground interest - Check.

Over the next 10 minutes the light changed rapidly. The following image was taken just over 10 mins after the image above. An amazing change in the scenery.

I like both photo's for different reasons. To me the first image distinctly captures the golden light of the afternoon setting sun. The second image is moodier (as most silhouettes are) and captures the glory of twilight - that small window of time after the sun has dipped below the horizon. Here you can see the light from sun's rays reflected on the clouds above and in turn water below.

So which photo do you prefer? Pop a comment below and let me know why you prefer one over the other.


Saturday, 27 April 2013

An Icon of Newcastle - The Rotunda

I was recently asked to capture a photograph of the Rotunda at King Edward Park, an iconic Newcastle structure. Naturally, I was quite excited when I was approached and I gladly accepted the job. Oddly enough I had never thought of photographing the Rotunda, so I viewed the job as a good opportunity to expand my portfolio.

When I arrived on location I quickly scoped out my composition. The following vista immediately captured my attention. You can see the gorgeous afternoon light piercing through the foliage of the surrounding pine trees, dappling the light across the ground.

I remember the thought process when I looked on the back of my camera. I loved the play between light and shadow and I knew the image would come up a treat in post production. Normally, I would be satisfied with one keeper image from a shoot, but on this particular day I decided to try a few more compositions. I searched for a different perspective, something more creative perhaps. I ventured towards the rotunda and noticed the magnificent detail of the lattice work. I set up my tripod once again and captured a frame. I checked the image on my screen and I knew immediately that I wanted to edit this image in black+white. The detail of the lattice work was lost in the busyness of a colour image, but I could see the potential of this image. Here's what I came up with. 

In the end, I personally prefer the second image. There's something about black+white that is timeless, powerful and engaging. I am interested to hear your thoughts - do you prefer the colour or black+white image? Pop a comment below and let me know.


Friday, 29 March 2013

Ronsley and Rochelle's Wedding

It was Wed 13.02.2013 and the alarm sounded off at the crack of dawn. Usually this means one of two things: 1) An early start to measure up the men who are volunteering for my PhD project or 2) a sunrise photography session. This day it was neither. I was off to Brisbane to celebrate (and photograph) the wedding of Ronsley and Rochelle Vaz. 

Ronsley is a cousin of mine...although it's one of those "my-mother-is-first-cousins-with-your-grandfather-so-technically-we're-related-but-it's-a-stretch" type relationships. But in actual fact, Ronsley is like a brother and son in our family. So naturally, I was delighted when he invited me to his wedding...even though it was mid week (still confused about why haha...). 

I was booked on the first flight out of Newcastle - 6am. Well it was supposed to be 6am, but the ground staff detected some damage on the body of the aircraft. Two hours of later we finally took off. Jetstar fail...but at least we know they take aircraft safety seriously. 

I arrived in Brisbane and was greeted by Ronsley and his father (Uncle Ricardo). We drove back to the house where we were to relax for a few hours before the ceremony. Ronsley and Rochelle decided not to stick to the custom of separating the bride and groom before the ceremony. I thought this was a brilliant move. Ronsley and Rochelle got to spend the day with their family in the peace and quiet of their home before all the formalities and hectic nature of the wedding day began. This also presented me with the unique opportunity to capture photos of both Rochelle and Ronsley prior to the wedding ceremony.

The time arrived to leave and we headed into the marriage registry for the ceremony. Many of Ronsley and Rochelle's friends were able to attend, which made the occasion really special. Unfortunately Rochelle's family (who live in Goa, India) could not make the wedding here in Australia. In a beautiful gesture of welcome, Matt Kelly (Ronsley's brother in-law), offered to walk Rochelle down the aisle. A truly special moment in my eyes.

After the ceremony I had the opportunity to photograph Ronsley and Rochelle with their family. Ronsley and Rochelle were a great couple to photograph and we had great fun creating these memories. I barely had to coach these two in terms of postures and poses, these two just naturally did it. They talked, laughed, kissed, cuddled and smiled. They did all the hard work and I just clicked away. 

The reception was held at Ronsley's restuarant Goa-Doodle-Do, a Goan-Portuguese fusion restaurant and bar. Ronsley closed the restaurant for the night and his staff put on a feast fit for kings, including several jugs of Sangria to enhance the celebrations. Ronsley and Rochelle also made the cake themselves and they did a fantastic job.

I hope you have enjoyed this viewing these images as much as I have enjoyed creating them.

I wish Ronsley and Rochelle all the best for their future together. I'm so glad that I was able to share their special day with them.


Sunday, 17 February 2013

Afternoon Delight - Redhead Beach

Twenty Thirteen has already been a big year of photography (and we're only 2 months in). I recently set up my own photography business (Elroy Aguiar Photography) and have already completed a few jobs (WINNING), despite not having advertised at all. It seems that word of mouth is a great advertising tool. I also purchased a new camera (Canon 5D mkII), which quite frankly kicks butt! The new camera is a significant upgrade from my Canon 50D. However, the upgrade meant that I had to buy a few new lenses to suit the full frame sensor (what a shame).

Whilst I have used the 5D mk II for a few business jobs, I haven't had much of a chance to get out and test it during a landscape session. Finally I had a free afternoon on my calender and the weather decided to play nice. After viewing Kane's recent blog post featuring Redhead beach, I decided that I needed to return to this favourite spot of ours. Once again this location produced superb conditions and great light.

My objective for the session was to capture the water in motion and the golden light of the setting sun. I think that the following set of images has achieved this. In fact, I'm extremely happy with how they all turned out.

What do you think about these images? If you had to pick a favourite, which one would you choose?

Water In Motion - Redhead Beach, NSW

Out of the Shadows - Redhead Beach, NSW

Swirls - Redhead Beach, NSW

The Iconic Shark Tower - Redhead Beach, NSW

Sunday, 20 January 2013

A mixed bag

Over the past few weeks I've done quite a bit of photography (which has been awesome), but I've had precious little time to edit them. I recently had the chance to sit down and have a decent crack at the images. Here's what I created.

The first set of images was captured at The Bogey Hole, Newcastle, NSW. It was an extra special photography session since I had my little cousin Christopher with me, who was visiting from England for Christmas. Christopher had his own high-end Sony point and shoot camera, so I dragged him out of bed for the sunrise and taught him a few tricks of the trade.

The Bogey Hole, Newcastle, NSW
Behind the scenes with Christopher and Kane - The Bogey Hole, Newcastle, NSW
Behind the scenes with Christopher - The Bogey Hole, Newcastle, NSW
Over the week that Christopher spent with us, he became quite the avid photographer. Here is a little project shoot that we set up in the lounge room to master the skill of depth of field. I liked the shot so much that I decided to edit it and include it in my photography album.

Depth of field with a delicious bottle of Port

The next image is from Mt Tomaree, a spectacular location in Port Stephens (about 1 hr 15 from Newcastle). I've long wanted to capture the surrounding beauty from the top of the mountain, but never seemed to get there. Finally, the chance arose while giving a tour of Port Stephens to a Canadian intern (Erika) from work. I had in mind a panoramic shot, since the landscape is quite vast. Though I am still very much getting used to panoramas, I think this one turned out ok. While I like the composition, I think this shot would be greatly improved with some nicer clouds and some colour in the sky.

4 shot panorama of taken from Mt Tomaree, Port Stephens, NSW
Some of you might recall seeing my previous new years post featuring the Sydney fireworks. The following image was captured earlier that evening. This shot was a single image, cropped into a panoramic ratio. I just love the city lights and the boats swaying in the harbour. I think this one might need to be framed up!

New Years Eve on Darling Harbour, Sydney, NSW

And the last image in my mixed bag is a portrait shot of me with 'my precious' - a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, which I recently acquired (Merry Christmas to me!). This photo was captured by my partner  in photography crime Kane.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Years Fireworks - Sydney Harbour

First entry for 2013 - New Years Fireworks from Sydney Harbour. What a spectacular display! A great way start the new year.

Kane, Cassie and I caught the early train from Newcastle to Sydney, to visit some friends (Simone and Nick), in Waverton (North Shore, Sydney). We arrived around 9.30am and relaxed for little while. At around 11.30am, we decided to investigate our vantage point for the evening firework display. A short 5 minute walk from their place and we were greeted with an uninterrupted view of Sydney Harbour Bridge - simply spectacular. We had a quick look around and picked out the prime real estate, a large and tall rock ('pride rock', as we called it). This really was the best seat in the house. Because it was so tall there was no possibility of anyone sneaking in front of us and obscuring our view. We decided to mark our territory with a rug and a chair (that we picked up from the side of the road...haha) and then proceeded to the pub for some lunch and cold beverages. Six hours later we returned and amazingly our territory had not been invaded. Brilliant we thought. We got to enjoy the afternoon, consuming beverages at the pub and avoiding the scorching sun. Meanwhile, a hoard of people had slogged it out through the hottest part of the afternoon...melanoma anyone?

Kane and I took up our positions while Cass, Simone and Nick returned to the house for food and drinks. We set up our cameras and tripods and sussed out the best composition. Before we knew it, the 9pm fireworks display erupted and the sounds of exploding fireworks echoed around the cove. Kane and I fired our shots away, capturing some great images. But these were just the warm up for the main event at 12pm.

New Years Fireworks - Sydney Harbour

New Years Fireworks - Sydney Harbour
The wait from 9pm-12pm went by a little more slowly as the early start began to take its toll.
But it was all worth the wait. Once again the fireworks boomed across the harbour and it was soon alight with all manner of shapes and colour. Since the camera was on a tripod, the composition locked in and the camera settings dialed in, all I had to do was look to the sky and click my remote shutter cable. Too easy.

New Years Fireworks - Sydney Harbour

New Years Fireworks - Sydney Harbour

New Years Fireworks - Sydney Harbour

Well that's all for the first blog entry for 2013. I think I can safely say that this was a trip well worth its while. Hopefully there will be many more successful photography outings to come.