So while I was still in New Zealand…Andrew and I saw some stuff. I’m actually in Australia now, but I still have shots left over from NZ that I wanted to post. I’m still working on the panorama…(I hope I can work something good enough to post with it ever)… I think I lack Andrew’s finesse with the panorama stuff (I guess that’s his specialty). One of the things I CAN do, however, is 1-shot HDRs and the standard type. Andrew and I went around the Otago Peninsula, which is near Dunedin, and saw/photographed some awesome wildlife, including sea lions, penguins, and albatross. We were spectacularly lucky to see this pair of sea lions playing together at Sandfly Bay, which we later learned from a local were a male/female pair. Then, we went to the end of the peninsula at Taiaroa Head and saw two Royal Albatross within minutes of each other, which we later learned was a fairly rare sight. Next we went to a penguin reserve and saw this juvenile yellow-eyed penguin, which uniquely was unafraid of humans, unlike normal yellow-eyed which are extremely shy. Overall, we were exceedingly lucky and fortunately were able to take some pictures of this amazing wildlife.
Hopefully Andrew will post some of the stunning video footage we got of these two playing...We didn't realize how fortunate we were to see them until later when we learned that there are only approximately 20 sea lions living in the entire Otago Peninsula area.
I admit freely I processed this somewhat heavily...I really wanted to focus on the penguin and the somewhat epic pose it was in. I was fortunate enough to steal a few shots with Andrew's 70-200 f/2.8L IS, which I discovered is an awesome lens. Perfect for this kind of wildlife photography where you don't want to get close but still want to get a close up kinda shot.
Well, it’s about time I get some of these up… I’ve lately been working on panoramas of different places I’ve gotten to go to and it has been eye-opening. I’ve been sitting on the raw files for maybe four or five different pans now, trying to tease the best possible results out of the sets, one of which was composed of 11 shots to be combined, or a total of 33 raw images with the minimum 3-shot bracket for each of the 11. Yet, some scenes have been begging for a 5-shot bracket but the amount of work necessary for that is questionable… whereas normally if I’m 3-shotting a scene I will elect for a simple two stops in each direction, for the pans, if a 5-shot is needed I’ve just been skimping and increasing the bracket size to 2 2/3 or maybe 3 and going from there. Anyways, enough numbers — suffice to say that this is one of my favorite end results and quite possibly the image that does the best job of capturing a mood that I think I’ve ever managed. When I see this (and skirt around in its 15,612 x 4,834 pixels worth of real estate) I am very vividly drawn back to this exact moment in time, about 5 seconds before the only battery I had on me went completely dead in the middle of taking the would-be 7th bracket for this scene (on the far right). More so than other posts, I really encourage you to click through to the full 17MB file so you can really get a feel for the view from the Botanical Gardens Terrace. As the Kiwis say, cheers!
Few places in the world like this. Here's hoping I can find as many as I can while I'm here for such a sort period of time: Dunedin, NZ
Every Saturday morning, the parking lot at the train station turns into a bustle of kiwi locals scrambling for the freshest produce to come to market. There are stands that sell everything from cuts of meat to fresh apricots and blackberries. There’s even a place that will prepare you a fresh French crepe for breakfast! I went last week as well but the weather was fairly bad… this past Saturday though, the sun peeked through the clouds in a few places and made for a rather fun scene.
The mood is fun and laidback and the atmosphere nothing short of welcoming. The kids running around the tree and the man with the girl on his shoulder are right at home here: Dunedin, New Zealand
I have the extreme misfortune of being housed within 200 yards, er, metres, of Dunedin’s Botanical Gardens. Sadly, the weather is only allowed to have one clear day/week over here but it just means I have to take advantage of them when I can. Yesterday was one of those days and happily included a trip up the Taieri Gorge Railway complete with all you can eat BBQ. I’m still sifting through the hundreds of pictures from the train ride through the countryside so I will be adding one or two of those onto T.A.G. soon. For the most part, shooting from a moving train tends to be unhelpful when it comes down to setting up tripod brackets (who would have thought?) so I will do my best to handle a few single-shots in the next few days. As we walked back home from the train station, I decided that even though I was already quite tired, I had to take advantage of the visible sunset and veered off towards the gardens. Spectacularly, they are spread across a small, level area that then sprawls up the side of a large foothill. Finding a clearing in the trees, I set up shop just as the sun found a gap in the sparse clouds…
The gardens are stunning this time of day if you're lucky enough to see sunlight. The University Clocktower is actually visible down the hill: Dunedin, NZ
Well, I made it safely to New Zealand and so far the prettiest thing I’ve seen has been the flight in. Weather is pretty touch and go in Dunedin (pronounced Du-KNEE-din) and I have a feeling I’m going to be battling total cloud cover for most of the time I’m going to be here. On Saturday, I went with an international student from France to a farmer’s market type thing that happens every Saturday morning and asked her how many sunny days she’d seen over here since she had already been in New Zealand for about 7 months. “I’ve been here all winter… do you really want to know?”
Fortunately, yesterday was about halfway clear for most of the day and we decided to take a bus to the nearest beach, St. Clair. Very windy. Water was very cold. The blowing sand was very painful. Other than that it was gorgeous! We walked up the beach a ways and after a few hours we got back on the bus and headed back, stopping for an outrageously good ice cream snack along the way. Below, a few of my friends climbed on some long-abandoned posts that must have been part of a pier at some point. Weirdly, there’s a small island (not pictured) that looks to be a few miles off the coast and the line formed by these posts points straight to it.
Biggest challenge here? Holding the camera steady in the gusting wind while it snaps off three quick ones: Dunedin, NZ