22 September 2014

A virgin outing, leading lines and vanishing points, and an annoying black spot

As we slip further into spring, it is inevitable that the days are getting longer. Which I know most people will be rejoicing over, but for this early bird who likes to catch the sunrise - guess what that means - I have to get up even earlier! Back in July, visiting Castlepoint and New Plymouth, I could roll out of bed around 6.30am and still get to my photo shoot location in the almost dark preparing for the sun which would rise anywhere between 7.30-8am.


The morning I took these shots I had to set the alarm for 5.30am to make sure I could drive to Seatoun and be ready for the sun to rise around 6.30am. Well you might say that's no big deal as the alarm always goes off at that time during the week for me anyway, but I do look forward to a slight sleep in on the weekends.  Anyway, as it's entirely my choice to be out taking photos at this time of the day I just need to suck it up!

The last time I came to Seatoun Pier was on Queens Birthday weekend and it was about 3 degrees and I'm pretty sure I wasn't even shooting my images in RAW format at that stage. So I was determined to get some better quality shots here and also road test the new D800 camera - that alone was enough to get my butt out of bed if nothing ese. The last time I was here there wasn't a cloud in the sky which was lovely in its own way, but do think I prefer the moody skies that I captured here on this morning.

The one thing I immediately noticed upon setting up the camera was how amazingly big the eyepiece is, and looking through the viewfinder at a scene like this above was enough to make me gasp in excitement. There may have been a few 'holy wow's spoken to myself during this session after seeing the shots that were being captured - just saying.

I do love piers because of the lovely symmetry and lines they offer in a shot - the technical photographic terms for this phenomena is 'leading lines' - the way your eyes are led down the centre of the photograph towards the 'vanishing point' - where the lines appear to disappear altogether. This shot below is quite possibly my favourite ever example of both leading lines and vanishing point - I'm seriously tempted to put this one up as a canvas at home - and that's saying something with all the other shots I've taken and loved these past few months!

But there's only SO many shots you can take of  a pier after all so I decided I'd head around the bays a bit further to Scorching Bay.

The light here was rather lovely - the sun had risen and was hiding behind all those clouds on the left hand side and was trying hard to break through in places. I put on the neutral density filter to get a longer exposure which gives the clouds that lovely silky look, and the muted reflections in the water were quite lovely too.

It was at this point that the morning took a bit of a turn for the worse. I suddenly noticed that there was a very large black speck showing on the photos - see the photo below as an example. As I'd only just put the ND filter on I thought it might have been something on the filter. So I checked and cleaned both the filter and the lens and tried again.

Same deal.

Then I tried using the in-camera image cleaning sensor which worked and the speck disappeared, but only for about 5 shots before it reappeared in a slightly different spot.

As you can imagine I was cursing somewhat. After spending several thousand on a new camera the last thing I wanted to happen was this!

Thankfully with the wonders of Lightroom, you can see with the shot above as a 'before' and the shot below as an 'after' version, and I have managed to 'heal' the photos in post-processing and also crop where needed to get rid of the speck but still that's not really the point.

You can also see the difference between using the neutral density filter above and not below and the effect this has on the water and clouds. Both are lovely in their own way I guess.

I really love this shot below too, it's so very calming don't you think?


As I had to drive back around the point to get to the main road, I decided to stop in again at the mini lighthouse in Kau Bay because the light and clouds were just too lovely not to stop!

It was lucky I did get out and get these shots because the day turned to custard about two hours later and remained that way for the rest of the weekend.


When I got home, I had to wait two hours, but the minute that the photo store opened I was on the phone explaining what had happened to the camera. I took it in to show them and they agreed this was not just a little piece of dust on the lens but something far more obvious and unwelcome! On zooming into shots, it looked rather like a piece of plastic or metal had gotten itself dislodged from the body housing.

I'm thankful to say that I walked out with a brand new camera body after only ten minutes in the shop - so good on them for coming to the party. Just another reason why I am super grateful I bought locally with a 3-year Nikon NZ warranty and not over the Internet where I might have saved a couple of hundred dollars but I would have had no comeback with an issue like this, I would have needed to send the whole camera back to wherever it came from (probably China), so this little mishap alone completely vindicated that decision!

Here's to more lovely mornings like this (minus that little black spot!).

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