Tag Archives: travel


Modern Buildings surround the Circular Quay

Anxious to get out with my camera the morning after our arrival in Sydney several years ago, I headed first to McDonalds across the street from our hotel. A free internet connection there would allow me to check for email and announce our safe arrival to friends at home.  Out the door, across the sidewalk, a quick check for traffic on the left and as I was about to step off the sidewalk… a horn blared!!! Traffic comes from the right in Australia. I narrowly missed becoming a hood ornament on a bus. A geezer’s life can be an adventure!

Sydney is a dream come true for a photographer. Wrapped around a large natural harbour Sydney serves as the gateway to a wonderful and mysterious country. I was struck by its rich history, its multicultural flavor and its magnificent architecture.

Our hotel, situated about 2 km from the Circular Quay was just a stone’s throw from the free ‘Hop On Hop Off’ shoppers’ bus stop and was just down the street from the Central Railway station. A day pass on the transit system gave us access to the subway, the buses and the harbour ferries. With passes in had we spent 4 days touring the harbour with a stop over in Manley, strolled on Bondi Beach, visited the town to Cronulla  and the Darling Harbour district. And of course, we wandered extensively in the Circular Quay and downtown area. All the while I made sure my camera was very busy.

My 18 to 70 mm was my ‘go to’ lens on this trip. It turned out to be a very good ‘walk around’ lens. The only difficulty I encountered was at night. I did not bring a tripod on the trip and had no other way of keeping my camera still for night shots. So I improvised. With the camera on ‘manual’, I set the shutter speed so that I could safely hand hold my camera. Then I experimented with the ISO and aperture until I could record an image with decent resolution and depth of field. As long as I could stand firmly and brace the camera will with my hands and arms my results were fairly good. Had I shot in RAW I would have been able to use the power of my software to make some very good images.

In my next post I will leave my Australian trip for a week or so. My focus will be on the steps I have taken in learning about digital photography.

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Travel! A great perk for the retired. Travel can occur anytime. There are countless places, near and far, to visit and of course photograph. For the first 5 or so years of retirement our travel was confined to North America … the western  and central states and to British Columbia. However, after friends from Australia visited us we decided that ‘down under’ would be our next destination. It would be a time to catch up with friends we hadn’t seen for almost 40 years. It was time! The spring of 2009 was our trip target … spring here, fall there.


An Icon of Sydney, Australia

Fuel prices in 2008 were going through the roof when we booked our flights. I felt that we needed to make our trip before air travel became too pricey. Yeah, I know, that sounds a bit Geezerly and ‘She Who Knows All’ gave me that withering look that says, “Get a life.”

An Air New Zealand flight took us non-stop from Vancouver to Auckland, NZ, then on to Sydney, Australia. It was a good flight but long. Service was excellent! Virgin Blue handled our internal flights. We got some great deals. Our travel agent told us to book ourselves as she could not come close to the on line pricing we could get.

From mid March to Mid May we travelled the east coastal areas of Australia from Tazmania to Cairns. We also visited Adelaide in South Australia and Rotorura in New Zealand, near Auckland. Other than our hotel room in Sydney and when we stayed with friends nothing else was booked. Internet cafes allowed us to book our accommodation on line as we went.

I took a lot of photos on this trip. And… I made an error that affected many of my photos. I had decided to set white balance manually for each situation in which I found myself. The night before we started our drive along the Great Ocean Road I was shooting night street scenes. I had set the white balance for fluorescent light. The next day under brilliant skies, I neglected to change the white balance back to the ‘sunny skies’ setting.  This was definitely a senior moment. The result was all photos shot that day had a serious blue tint. I did not recognize this until I was downloading and processing the images that evening. On this trip I had decided to shoot my images in the .jpg file format. This, I reasoned would allow me to record more images on my memory cards.  I should have set my file format to RAW. Remember, that was one of the reasons I moved to a DSLR camera. Having shot them in the .jpg format correcting white balance in the computer was virtually impossible.

The Sydney Bridge frames the Opera House


The moral of the story, I should have set my camera’s white balance to ‘automatic’ and then recorded my images in the RAW file format. The RAW file format takes up lots of space on a memory card but cards are not expensive. RAW allows the photographer to have full control of creative and remedial adjustments.

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