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Photo 150 "2022" - Wetapunga

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Wētāpunga View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wētāpunga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Photo 150 "2022" - Wetapunga
    Posted: 13 January 2022 at 02:28
This year I'm aiming for three themes in my 3 images per week.

The themes are telephoto, scenic (wide enough in scope to cover seascapes, landscapes, interesting buildings, maybe even the Milky Way), and 'creative' (again, wide enough in scope to include a simple black-and-white conversion up to more elaborate shots, including video).

Week 1: January 4 to 12

In Week 1 I drove out (117km) to the Manukau Heads, partly to take a photograph of the lighthouse and partly to see what the view of the Manukau Harbour is. (For those of you a bit light on geography, Tāmaki-Makarau (Auckland) has two large harbours, the Manukau on the western side and the Waitemata on the eastern. The Manukau is the largest, being 340 square km in size.

So the first shot (telephoto) is of the Lighthouse

a7Riii and Zeiss Batis 135/2.8

I was somewhat disappointed at how much regrowth of vegetation there has been, and the absence of any tracks or paths down from the headland to the sea. I probably won't bother visiting again as there are many better seascape scenes and views much closer to home.

The second shot (scenic) is the best view of the Harbour I could find (really only the channel into it).

a7Riii and Zeiss Loxia 21/2.8

The final image is a video (<3min) of one of my bike rides, so counts as my creative.


After a serious accident in 2019 that wrecked my bike and gave me a concussion, I use action cameras to record my rides. While it isn't an alpha-mount camera, it is still a Sony (an HDR-AS300). It's not practical on long rides to record the whole trip as a video, as this burns through the battery life and produces hours of footage.

So I've taken to creating time-lapse moves as above. This records a shot every second, is much more economical on battery life, and in the event of a biking mishap, I will have photos of the motorist at fault...

The images are imported into the free Sony Imaging Edge software and used to create a HD movie (with no sound). I then imported the footage into Final Cut Pro X (FCPX), added a title, a freeze-frame and some 'thought bubbles'. I'd recorded the sound of biking on my field recorder 2 weeks ago, and produced some short wav clips that were generic enough. (I taped a lavalier microphone to the back of my cycling jersey pointed tward the chain, and shielded from most of the wind noise). Then this was incorporated into the clip as ambient road cycling noises, and sped up to better align with the cycling movie.

So effectively, a bit over an hour of riding ends up being a movie under 3 mins long.


Edited by Wētāpunga - 13 January 2022 at 20:23
α7riii, α9- Voigtländer 15/4.5, 110/2.5 M; Zeiss Loxia- 21/2.8, 35/2, 50/2 & 85/2.4, Zeiss Batis- 85/1.8 & 135/2.8; Sony 24-105/4 G; Sigma 70/2.8 M; Tamron 150-500 f5-6.7; Sony SAL 135/2.8 STF
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote 4paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 January 2022 at 04:43
hee hee I need a guide because I'd be riding on the wrong side of the road LOL. I guess it takes a while to get out of traffic. Do bicyclists get rear-ended much? Here people have dashcams on the rear of the bike in case they get rear ended
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wētāpunga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 January 2022 at 04:55
@4Paul - there's some routes that have isolated bike lanes but the area I rode in has a lot of traffic to contend with to get to countryside. I appreciate these vids can be disconcerting for people who drive on the opposite side of the road, as I get told this a lot!

Most serious accidents between cyclists and motorists in NZ occur at intersections (like my accident) so the forward mounted action camera is the most important. I have another action camera I want to mount facing the rear (to record dangerous/close passes) but so far, haven't found a suitable action camera mount for the seat-post.
α7riii, α9- Voigtländer 15/4.5, 110/2.5 M; Zeiss Loxia- 21/2.8, 35/2, 50/2 & 85/2.4, Zeiss Batis- 85/1.8 & 135/2.8; Sony 24-105/4 G; Sigma 70/2.8 M; Tamron 150-500 f5-6.7; Sony SAL 135/2.8 STF
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Howard_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 January 2022 at 10:26
I enjoyed the video - good to see you're on the *right* side of the road And you have the problem of cars parked in the cycle lane ...

(I must get myself sorted for the 2022 challenge too.)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wētāpunga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 January 2022 at 20:40
Week 2: January 10 to 17

It's nesting time at the takapua (Australasian gannet) colony at Muriwai, so you might expect to see a lot of gannet photos in the next few weeks . The last time I tried to photograph flying gannets was with my a700 and 300/4 G lens. That was quite some time ago, and part of the success was picking a time with very strong winds, which meant the birds were slowed significantly. I got some nice shots, but one of the issues with the sensor was its limited dynamic range. I still ended up with blown highlights on the feathers in some areas.

So the first shot from my first expedition to the colony is my creative shot. I'm attempting a Bird-in-Flight image with the a7Riii and Tamron 150-500. The a7Riii isn't really optimised for bird photography (at least, flying birds) and I struggled with the shutter blackout at times.

Basic settings were to use shutter priority at 1/2000s, set the ISO at 400 and let the camera worry about the aperture. I also used a 1-stop reduction in exposure to preserve the highlights in the feathers. I set the camera to wide-area autofocus and had a play. Not a lot of keepers, as the birds were zooming through the field of view very quickly at 500mm, but got some keepers.

#1 (Pic 4) Takapu flying (Creative- BIF)


Out of interest, this is what one of my 2008 shots with the A700 looked like.

There seems to be a definite improvement in sensor technology, and back then I could not eliminate the blown highlight on the leading edge of the wing.

#2 (Pic 5) Grooming the chick (Telephoto)

Obviously with nesting time, there are a lot of gannet chicks. The nests have moved closer to the viewing platforms as the Takapu popuolation has grown, so you have plenty of opportunities. I selected this shot as the chick wasn't passive and cooperated with its parent to get that "hard to reach" place groomed.

For the edits in C1, I used two additional adjustment layers with the magic brush to reduce the exposure on the highlighted area on the dorsal surface, and increase the exposure of the beak.


Edited by Wētāpunga - 13 January 2022 at 23:09
α7riii, α9- Voigtländer 15/4.5, 110/2.5 M; Zeiss Loxia- 21/2.8, 35/2, 50/2 & 85/2.4, Zeiss Batis- 85/1.8 & 135/2.8; Sony 24-105/4 G; Sigma 70/2.8 M; Tamron 150-500 f5-6.7; Sony SAL 135/2.8 STF
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 4paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 January 2022 at 22:59
I guess the camera is okay after Gannet splatter?!

In Florida we use exposure compensation down to -2 or more since many sea birds have white, except for black wingtips (apparently the black pigment makes feathers stronger so the flight-critical feathers are black), it's usually better to crush the blacks than blow the whites, but new sensors can recover most of it.

I'm holding my breath until we get sensors with roll-off to protect highlights LOL
There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks. - Schrödinger
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wētāpunga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 January 2022 at 23:24
@4paul - it turns out the gaskets on the 7Riii are good enough in the short run, to protect the camera from Takapu guano... I did use a lot of Isopropyl Alcohol to clean it when I go back, including a fine painting brush to clean around the buttons and dials. Then added some silicon oil back to lubricate and seal. So far the incident hasn't repeated itself.

With it being early in the morning (I stopped shooting around 10.30am) and the much wider dynamic range of the sensor, I gambled that I could get by with just an exposure compensation of -1. I also used the highlight slider in C1 to recover the detailing in the white feathers. So agree, the new sensors do let you recover a lot of detail that would be lost in older tech (hence why I posted that a700 shot to compare).

The shutter blackout was probably my biggest problem, so much so I've had a look at a9ii prices already this morning...

@Howard_S

Glad you liked the video- I thought it wasn't "too long" for viewing. While I do on occasion run into vehicles in cycle lanes, that isn't the problem here. The problem is the cycle lanes are fragmentary and often disappear (usually at the worst possible spots). So none of the cars parked on the side of the road were in cycle lanes.

I think the logic here, long ago, was that if the Queen of England thinks driving on the left side of the road is appropriate, that's good enough for us to follow...
α7riii, α9- Voigtländer 15/4.5, 110/2.5 M; Zeiss Loxia- 21/2.8, 35/2, 50/2 & 85/2.4, Zeiss Batis- 85/1.8 & 135/2.8; Sony 24-105/4 G; Sigma 70/2.8 M; Tamron 150-500 f5-6.7; Sony SAL 135/2.8 STF
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wētāpunga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 January 2022 at 08:39
Week 2: January 10 to 17 cont.

#3 (Pic 6) Setting Sun at Island Bay

This was also my "Day Prime" shot (15mm for 15 Jan).

As noted in the Day Prime post, I was hoping Tropical Storm Cody (downgraded from Tropical Cyclone Cody) would have been stirring up the waves and giving wonderful dark clouds to photograph in some dramatic scene. But it passed too far to the east of us. You can probably tell how calm and clear it became instead. So I set up this shot at Island Bay near sunset instead.
α7riii, α9- Voigtländer 15/4.5, 110/2.5 M; Zeiss Loxia- 21/2.8, 35/2, 50/2 & 85/2.4, Zeiss Batis- 85/1.8 & 135/2.8; Sony 24-105/4 G; Sigma 70/2.8 M; Tamron 150-500 f5-6.7; Sony SAL 135/2.8 STF
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wētāpunga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 January 2022 at 20:22
Week 3: January 17-23
I think I might be trickling in pics when I have the chance rather than saving it all for a single hurried batch.

As promised, or err threatened, there is more Takapu pics from the colony at Muriwai.

#1 (Pic 7) Flying Takapu, Telephoto theme

and a crop from the same, just for added interest.




Edited by Wētāpunga - 17 January 2022 at 22:39
α7riii, α9- Voigtländer 15/4.5, 110/2.5 M; Zeiss Loxia- 21/2.8, 35/2, 50/2 & 85/2.4, Zeiss Batis- 85/1.8 & 135/2.8; Sony 24-105/4 G; Sigma 70/2.8 M; Tamron 150-500 f5-6.7; Sony SAL 135/2.8 STF
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wētāpunga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 January 2022 at 05:49
Week 3: January 17-23

I know focus stacking isn't something I'm unfamiliar with, but this time I'm using a Nisi Macro Rail for the first time. It's pretty good. Smooth and precise action in both directions, plus a very useful Arca quick-release clamp.

I've got an LED light below and above the Zeiss lenses on the table.

#2 (Pic 8) Big Zeiss, Little Zeiss (Creative shot)

44 images stacked in Helicon 7
a7Riii and 50/2 Loxia, at f8, ISO 400 and 1/40s.
α7riii, α9- Voigtländer 15/4.5, 110/2.5 M; Zeiss Loxia- 21/2.8, 35/2, 50/2 & 85/2.4, Zeiss Batis- 85/1.8 & 135/2.8; Sony 24-105/4 G; Sigma 70/2.8 M; Tamron 150-500 f5-6.7; Sony SAL 135/2.8 STF
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wētāpunga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 January 2022 at 02:37
Week 3: January 17-23 cont

For the third shot I'm going with one of my wild cards. I had spotted this gannet with something in its beak, flying toward Motutara Island. I couldn't see what it was on the camera viewfinder, but I did hope it was going to be interesting.

It was seaweed. Nesting material. Ah well.

#3 (Pic 9) Takapu with seaweed (Wildcard 1)
α7riii, α9- Voigtländer 15/4.5, 110/2.5 M; Zeiss Loxia- 21/2.8, 35/2, 50/2 & 85/2.4, Zeiss Batis- 85/1.8 & 135/2.8; Sony 24-105/4 G; Sigma 70/2.8 M; Tamron 150-500 f5-6.7; Sony SAL 135/2.8 STF
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 January 2022 at 09:50
Originally posted by 4paul 4paul wrote:

In Florida we use exposure compensation down to -2 or more since many sea birds have white, except for black wingtips (apparently the black pigment makes feathers stronger so the flight-critical feathers are black), it's usually better to crush the blacks than blow the whites, but new sensors can recover most of it.

I'm holding my breath until we get sensors with roll-off to protect highlights LOL

Yes, The A900 seemed to have a little of that. I find the same issue with swans here. I end up using -3 EV and +3 DRO, then pulling down the tone curve in PP to make the mid-tones look better. I have tried using centre metering but that's so variable. The zebra is a great help.

Brilliant bird pics, though. I'm quite envious! I've never managed to get that close to gannets here. They're usually too far out to sea to see, or too far below me on the cliffs.

Edited by Miranda F - 23 January 2022 at 09:53
Miranda F & Sensorex, Sony A7Rii, A58, Nex-6, Dynax 4, 5, 60, 500si/600si/700si/800si, various Sony & Minolta lenses, several Tamrons, lots of MF primes and *far* too many old film cameras ...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Howard_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 January 2022 at 00:13
I'm very impressed by all the Takapu shots. That cropped shot reveals some astounding detail
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Wētāpunga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 January 2022 at 01:33
@Miranda_F - thanks, we are quite lucky with the colony at Muriwai. The viewing platforms are roughly on the same level the birds fly at, and the expansion of the colony has brought the nests closer and closer to the fence-line. So while there's a lot of takapu that are still too distant to shoot, a lot come in close enough to the platforms to view and photograph.

Howard- also thanks, I know the Tamron isn't say a 500mm f4 G lens, but I think with the right lighting conditions you can still get some quite good shots with it.
α7riii, α9- Voigtländer 15/4.5, 110/2.5 M; Zeiss Loxia- 21/2.8, 35/2, 50/2 & 85/2.4, Zeiss Batis- 85/1.8 & 135/2.8; Sony 24-105/4 G; Sigma 70/2.8 M; Tamron 150-500 f5-6.7; Sony SAL 135/2.8 STF
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