Nikon D800

Starry, starry night

by Elizabeth on January 4, 2013 · 0 comments

in Melbourne, Nikon D800, Photo Posts

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Melbourne sweltered through an uncomfortable 42C (107.5F) day today.  Even as I write this at 11pm the temperature has only dropped to 35C, and in parts of the country there have been serious bushfires today that have been fueled by strong winds.  Black Saturday isn’t far from most peoples’ minds today.

The winds also cleared out all traces of cloud over Melbourne, so it turned out to be a nice night to stand on my driveway and take photos of the stars.  I’ve signed up for a NASA alert every time the space shuttle is visible from my city (sign up here, it’s free!) and with a sighting scheduled for tonight I decided to finally break in the tripod that Tim gave me for Christmas.

The space station zooms by quickly, so I only had a few minutes to grab my shots.  The photos below are 30 second exposures and if you know your stuff you’ll be able to spot Orion too.

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It blows my mind that there are actual people living on that space station, zooming all around the planet.  What an experience that must be.

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You’d think I’d have learned my lesson by month #7 of this challenge.

When it comes to being behind the camera I’m always ready to go.  All I really need is some pretty light and an empty memory card and I can find inspiration just about anywhere!  As long as the subject matter is something other than myself, taking a photo is as easy as taking a breath.  I could do it all day.

Photographing myself is a whole different ballgame, where the balls are made of rock and aimed at my face.  There’s pointy sticks and lots of blood and teeth and… are you following my analogy here?  The point is I don’t enjoy putting myself on the other side of the camera and that’s why I challenged myself to a self portrait for every month of my 101/1001 project.

Each month (without exception) I’ve left this thing until the very last possible opportunity.  I always begin the month with grand plans of whimsical lighting, props and themes to symbolise the month that was… and all of a sudden it’s the 31st of July and my tripod is broken and I’m late home from work.  It’s become a pattern.

This afternoon I knew I had to photograph myself, and once again my heart wasn’t in it.  I decided to set myself a really simple challenge to get the job done.

A colour photograph, straight out of the camera.

 

This photo isn’t the best of the bunch, not by a long shot.  I have hair across my face, I’m slouching and it’s just another reflection of girl holding camera.  The internet didn’t really need anymore of those.

I chose this photo because it was the best in terms of exposure, and I liked the way that my reflector worked in this shot.  The picture is sharp and the colours vibrant.  Tick, tick, tick, finished.

I didn’t set out to be valedictorian of self portraits when I took on this challenge.  At the end of this challenge it will just be nice to have 33 photos of myself that I don’t hate!

And besides, I have a new mantra.

Source: a free printable by Talisa from I {heart} Nap Time

 

I’m thinking of starting a club for reformed perfectionists, and I’m pretty sure that this going on our crest.  Can somebody find me a Latin translation so that we sound credible?

Or you know, Italian will do.  Look at that – it’s working already!

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Every month, as part of my 101 Things in 1001 Days challenge, I’m taking a self-portrait.  The temperatures in Melbourne have plummeted this month so it was pretty easy to pick a theme this time.

These two photos look very similar, but I like them for different reasons.  The bottom photo is sharper, and perhaps better in terms of composition.  But there’s something about the first one that looks a little more spontaneous, less staged.

I can’t make up my mind, so I’ve decided to leave it up to you.  Which one is The One?

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My Winter city

by Elizabeth on June 4, 2012 · 7 comments

in Melbourne, Nikon D800, Photo Posts

If every weekend was exactly like the one that just passed I wouldn’t mind one bit. 

That boy up there?  The one with the stubble and the mustshereallytakeanotherphoto smile?  He was the best part of all.  He was the guy who bought me breakfast at 2pm on Saturday and charmed my friends.  The same guy who made breakfast to my exact specifications yesterday and then brought it to me in bed. 

I must have been so good in a previous life.

Saturday’s pretty sunset was a distant second to the boy I love, but it was still pretty great.  I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but when I am a squizillionaire I intend to buy one of the Elwood mansions that faces this beach so that I can photograph it every day.

Until then I’ll just have to visit.

 

My little city is so beautiful, and right now we’re in the middle of my two favourite seasons. 

My love affair with Melbourne continues.

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I’m taking a photo of myself every month as part of my 101 Things in 1001 Days challenge.

You guys are going to be so sick of seeing my face by the time this challenge ends.  But don’t worry, there’s only 28 more months of this to go!

 

… I know.  I’m so sorry.

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My list of 101 things to do in 1001 days is never very far from my mind.

I explained my project to a workmate last week, and she told me that she loved the idea but could never sign up for that kind of thing herself.  It’s a conversation I’ve had a hundred times.  Mostly people tell me that they could never come up with 101 things that they wanted to do (really? That’s terrible!) or that they would wind up resenting the burden of another “To Do” list.

And what if they got halfway through, and then realised that they didn’t care about those goals anymore?

And I get it, I do.  It doesn’t make any sense to take on a commitment like this just for the sake of it, and it probably wouldn’t work out anyway.  The only way to succeed at this thing is to have some sort of an end goal in mind.

To do this well, you have to be able to speak confidently for the person that you will be in thirty-three months time.  You have to know yourself well – the good, the bad and the downright ugly – and be ready to grow.

My list is a really interesting snapshot of the person I am right now.  It reveals a lot about the qualities that I value, and which areas of myself and my life need work.  Even the fun, meaningless tasks on my list have some sort of basis in improving my life, my thoughts, my happiness or my relationships.

Perhaps that’s why I’ve never been worried about whether I’ll be able to finish my project.  When I think of my list, I’m not daunted by the number of days I have left to complete it.  There are no chores on my list, nothing to dread.

My list is invigorating because it was written for me, because I took the time to get it right.

 

Earlier today I sat down and wrote a new kind of list.  It’s a list of things that I can do right now, or the next time I have a spare afternoon.  Each of the things below will help me to cross an item off my list and get me close to my goal of 101 Things.

  • Make an appointment to donate blood (#2)
  • Get out the car manual, and find the instructions for changing a tyre (#6)
  • Investigate short courses at university/tafe/community groups (#8)
  • Pick a famous landmark to visit in the USA in September (#14)
  • Pick a new town to visit this weekend (#15)
  • Choose a 5km fun run, and register! (#23)
  • Go to a yoga or cardio class (#24 and #25)
  • Find a hiking trail nearby, and set a date to do it (#36)
  • Find daisies, make a daisy chain (#39)
  • Start a jigsaw puzzle (#40)
  • Wake up early and watch the sun rise from the beach (#41)
  • Buy tickets to the drive in cinema or the Astor, or see a movie by myself (#48, #49 and #50)
  • Watch a Scorcese film, an old classic or a silent film (#51, #52 and #53)
  • Find a YouTube video and learn to juggle (#58)
  • Write a note to hide in a library book (#62)
  • Start reading an old classic, or one of Tim’s graphic novels (#63 and #64)
  • Pick a cookbook from the shelf, and choose a recipe to cook (#71)
  • Take a sketchbook to a park and draw (#72)
  • Take some photos with black & white film, or on my Instax mini (#77 and #78)
  • Photograph myself (#100)
  • Sew something by hand or machine (#82 and #83)
  • Learn to crochet, or find a pattern for a soft toy (#84 and #85)
  • Spend some time art journaling in my altered book (#87 and #97)
  • Draw or paint a figure, face, hand, tree or still life, or something from my imagination (#89 – #94)
  • Make a video of a drawing or painting (#98)
  • Make a mix CD, or make some cover art (#99)

It’s hard to feel overwhelmed when you break things down this way.  Best of all, it looks more like a list of My Favourite Things to Do than a boring old To Do list!

You know what would be great?  If you can see something on my list that you can help me to accomplish, drop me a note.  Teach me to juggle, send me your book and movie suggestions or tell me where to find the best frozen custard in New England.  Whatever you can share that will get the creative juices flowing and keep me inspired.

This project can feel like a solitary journey sometimes, so I would really love to hear from you!

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My brand new Nikon D800 arrived earlier this week.

Unfortunately, thanks to a retailer I will never use again, there’s a really unpleasant story that goes along with it.  Part of me wanted to put the entire story here and let Google preserve it for all of time, but what good is revenge at this point?  The damage has been done, and I have responded by buying my lenses, memory cards, Black Rapid and my parents’ HD video camera elsewhere.

If you’re buying a new camera in Australia I suggest you do the same.

I took the day off work yesterday so that I could go to an appointment, and while I ate my breakfast I heard the screeches of a flock of cockatoos as they flew over my house.  I’ve heard them a few times lately, but they tend to fly overhead and disappear before I have time to grab my camera.  This time they stayed, and at one point they even gathered on my front lawn as a group to nibble the grass.  There must have been 200 birds.

The photos are beautiful, but they don’t even begin to explain just how many birds there were yesterday.  Cars driving down my street were honking their horns to scare the birds off the road so that they could pass.  People came out of their houses and gathered on the footpath to watch the spectacle.  At one point about one hundred birds flew directly over me – just two metres above my head – and I had to dive for cover in case I was bombed!  The dog almost lost his mind at that point.

It was this wonderful, magical experience that lasted for about 10 minutes.  I felt so lucky to have been home that morning, to have had my lovely new camera in my hand, and to have been able to capture some of the magic without really knowing my way around the new gear yet.

It was almost as though the Universe was trying to help dispel some of the negativity I was holding on to.  A little bit of fairy dust in the form of a flock of birds, and a morning at home so that I could enjoy them.

This camera really does change everything for my photography.  I am such a lucky girl.

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