Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Sculpture by the Sea, Part 2

The famous Bondi Icebergs Club building, shown with the salt water pool (lower left) that members go for a swim especially during winters (hence the name Icebergs! Crazy...). Splashed on the building, the "Sculpture by the Sea" event.

I can't help but publishing a part 2, all good things are serialised anyway. It's just such a waste not to publish these pictures of notable sculptures. I am sure I am not the only one taking pictures that day, but just to share it with those who were unfortunate not to see them in their grandeur settings.

Unfortunately I did not bought the guide to go with the tour (such a cheapskate am I not?). Hence, I can not relate to you the name of the artist and the title of their work (associated with number plates with the sculpture). But you can download here an audio commentary.

The first on the left hand side, instead of taking the photo with Bondi beach as background, I took it against the grey skies looming. I saturated the colours using a basic photo editing software to get that effect (if you can call it that.... Heheheee). While the one the right was taken with no flash, just available light. Obviously, putting a fill-in flash would inevitably destroy the depth and play of shadows. I seldom use one except for portrait pictures.
Part of the crowd of "art aficionados".
Background are the multi-million dollar flats and housing with water views of Bondi beach.

Monday, 19 November 2007

On the Way to the Seascapes

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Being a Sydneysider for the last three decades, one tend to take for granted things in Sydney and surrounding areas. One of them is the decade long annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition at Bondi beach. When I heard that it is going to be the last one due to funding problems, I said to myself I need to see at least one of these exhibits.

So at the very last day, which was yesterday; drove to Bondi beach and being summer and all, got stuck together with a throng of people. But it was well worth it! How can the combination of beach and sculpture go wrong?

While most of these sculptures caught my attention (those that didn't, I didn't bother to take pictures), the natural sandstone sculptures are as spectacular as well. Below are some noteworthy ones, and they are always on display.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

My First Wedding

In between the wedding and the reception, which is basically on the way to the reception; I saw this tree beside the church where we parked the van we were sharing with two other couples.

The texture of this old tree, beside this old Catholic Church (see photo below) and just in front of adjoining convent: it looks weathered and the character. It must have witnessed quite a few weddings in its lifetime.

This is my first Australian-Filipino-Lebanese wedding. It was such a treat and an experience seeing a Filipino-Lebanese combination of traditions. On the Filipino side, there was the veil, cord and candle part of the ceremonies.

There is also the coin (Aras) ceremony, which we must inherited from our Spanish colonizers. I can see only the Puerto Ricans doing the same ceremony: which is usually a set of 13 coins carried by the ring bearer and blessed by the priest for good luck and prosperity and given to the bride by the groom.

On the Lebanese (Christian) side, they crown both bride and groom like a King and a Queen, to symbolize that they are King and Queen of their home.

The reception was different as well in terms of food (there's two entree's plus so many food in between courses!). We knew why because there's plenty of community; and to a greater extent, tribal dancing. The bride and groom and their parents are carried on some poor guys' shoulders amid sounds of drum and music. This is much like the Jewish tradition of the bride and groom carried onto chairs called the Hora!

In short, the Church wedding ceremony is as spectacular as the reception. One of the best weddings I've been to, except of course mine! Did you know that the Anglo-Saxon root word of wedding is literally mean to "gamble" or wager... :)

See link: http://www.incommunion.org/articles/essays/reflections-on-marriage

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Young Joey Lawrence - Photographer/PhotoShop Creator

Above photo by Joey Lawrence (Copyrighted)

Below is an excerpt from an interview with young photographer Joey Lawrence (not the actor) (http://www.joeyl.com/). He is one of the young photographers who uses digital camera in conjunction with Photoshop. Not your traditional Ansel Adams nor your Henri Cartier-Bresson.

"Strobist: All over the world, digital cameras and cheap computers are opening up the process to millions of young, hyper-creative photogs. If you could talk to a roomful of a thousand 14-year-old shooters who want to reach a high level of shooting, what would you tell them?
JoeyL: I get e-mails from a lot of people even younger than me and it's always nice to see that because I used to do the same thing to cool photographers I found. My best advice would be to use the internet as a tool and post as much stuff as possible for feedback. But don't become discouraged -- try to develop something fresh and new. I have tons of really really old horrible pictures that are still around the internet but it's important to start somewhere, it doesn't bother me." (Click main title to read complete article.)
Young photographers today, as well as photographers who managed to made the transition to digital cameras, uses Photoshop or other software instead of the darkroom to enhance or manipulate their pictures. It is a totally different ball game altogether. It's up to the artist to choose which tool to use for his art.
Yet for some, like Australian photographer Rob Gardiner; (http://www.nyclondon.com/) uses expired Polaroid SX-70 film and pin hole cameras as medium and tool!

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Self Portrait

Well like most people, I would like to think I am cool... and this is my cool self portait of sorts.
On the way home one evening while waiting for a train at Meadowbank, I just looked down and saw this image. Good thing my stomach is not bulging (I think I took a deep breath for a second or two...).
Being cool, I like Matchbox 20.

Three in a Pot

Just practising my composition with this succulent plant. Looking at it, all I did was be inspired by the green and brown contrasting edges.
Cropped the original high quality image, taken with my Olympus point and shoot digi-cam. No flash just available light, late afternoon.
While all the glory and look was the plant, I DID have a hand in this: I planted this succulent and water it once in a while.

Flight of the Spider

I was shooting a series of pictures of my cactus and other various succulent plants (those are the only ones that survives my garden!), when I came across this spider.
But instead of shooting from the top and the ground as my background, I did crawled underneath its web and shot it with the blue sky as the background.

I cropped the original to get the impression that I was closer than I really was.
Again shot on high quality mode on macro setting with the auto flash turned-off.

I was deliberating whether to come as close as possible, but wanted that expanse of blue as background.

Probably if it was a red back spider, I would have opted to get a nice shot with its red trademark.

Probably next time I spot one I will!

Tree Silhoutte, Woodcroft

I was walking home from Doonside station (on the way from work) one rainy day, and this image caught my attention. It was originally shot in colour but I fiddled with the image and turned it into black and white. I cropped a bit to eliminate the wooden's fence on the bottom of the picture to give that symmetry.
Again, shot with my basic Olympus point and shoot. Before committing to a "proper" DSLR camera, I would like to take this digicam to the edge (If I can!). From the various images I managed to take with this camera, I think I can produce some passable images.
Original image is on high quality, giving me a jpg image of over 1.2 MB at 3072X2304 pixels.

Manuel "Manny" Librodo Jr - Featured Photographer

Above is one of Manny's photographs splashed on his pbase site under the collection "That Bali Feeling". Nothing beats that Bali inspires, but surely Manny has the talent and the skills to create such exquisite images.

I came across his works just now when I was trawling Jojie Alcantara's blog (http://www.witerary.com/). To say the least, I was very impressed with Manny's pictures. Hopefully I'll learn something from his works.

To view more and learn who Manny Librodo, please click on the title for his link at pbase. Truly his pictures are heavenly (Above was titled "Heaven 3").

(Eficient won the Melbourne Cup, an underdog!).

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Addicts, Platform 5 Strathfield Station

On the way to work one morning, while I was waiting for my connecting train at Stratfield station,(www.cityrail.nsw.gov.au/) I saw these array of caffeine containers. So I whipped out my Olympus digi cam and took two shots before these "rubbish" are seized by the cleaners. Yep, too much time on my hands that day, not running late... which is my usual day. Even managed to make coffee at home on my old 15-bar Krups espresso machine!

I did not even re-arranged the "addicts"; just found a suitable angle and light to get the optimum shot (which is mid-body). The other shot was with a fill in flash, had a quick look on the lcd panel and decided to turn off the auto flash to get the right lighting.
Again, the original is a high quality, 1.2 MB image, no cropping necessary and un-retouched.
Since taking my newish digital camera with me wherever I go (not in the loo!), I find that I(http://www.olympus.com.au/component/option,com_product/id,113/task,detail/Itemid,69/
enjoy the mundane in-between destinations. I am always on the look out for things to photograph. I pay attention more to people and things around me... hence I forego my usual reading materials for now.

Newish camera in the sense that I got this for a waranty replacement to the one I bought a few years back, another Olympus but a 5 megapixel model, the FE-5500. Which to my good sense and luck bought a two year warranty for A$50.00.
When I was younger; about 12 or thirteen, my dad gave me his Pentax viewfinder camera. I love that camera, which model I no longer remember. I remember when I took it apart because the shutter won't close. Never managed to put it back together. It is one of those film cameras with auto exposure settings. That and my Elgin watch (http://elginwatches.org/) that he gave me are the ones I treasured the most, my first gadgets. Unfortunately I don't have both of them.

The Tree, Car Park Canberra Botanical Gardens

On the way to my car, I looked up and saw this image of this huge Eucalyptus tree (my wife said, it is a Eucalyptus). I love the play of shadows and the colours. The shimmering silver-like bark against the sky blue background. I took just a couple of shots, as against hundreds and picking the "best" ones. I subscribe that if I could not take a good shot in a couple of shots I would not bother. To me it defeats the purpose of the "moment".

My mother loves gardens. So we; my wife and I, decided to take her to the Floriade (www.floriadeaustralia.com/). On the way, we also passed by Mt Annan Botanical Gardens

By the looks of it, my mum was not too impressed with Mt Annan, the Canberra National Botanical Gardens; (www.chah.gov.au/anbg/introduction/index.html) as well as the Floriade. It's partly our fault since we took her on the very second last day of the Floriade (take note for next Floriade). The tulips and most flowers are starting to wilt or are wilted. Hence it is not as spectacular as when they first opened the show.

But the saving grace is the Cockington Green Gardens (www.cockingtongreen.com.au/). She was impressed by the miniature village... I mean tiny houses complete with miniature trees, well landscaped grass and gardens. It was a sight to behold. She asked me to take pictures of all the houses and villages so she can probably show it off to my sisters. As well as to provide her with some "free" souvenirs.

For the above tree photo, I used my point and shoot Olympus FE-220 (7.1 Megapixel, 1GB memory) digital camera. Settings is as follows: Auto with auto flash turned off to capture the shadows. High quality mode (3072X2304 image), thus giving me a 1.2 MB JPEG image. The picture shown is not retouched at all (not even cropped!) and no lens filter was used (I don't think Olympus sell lens filter for this model anyway?). I did played around with another picture to make it look like that it was taken in black and white; but decided on the colour version. The other two pictures are also in HQ, no fill-in flash just available light.