Aurora Australis

13 07 2013

2013. Not a good year for me posting on my blog. But a very good year for the Aurora Australis. I’m told we are right at the high activity point of a 13?? year cycle, and that 2013 is going to be a strong one for aurorae.

Well, they are correct.

Aurora Australis

Finding a good spot seems to be key. Too much light pollution and its hard to make them out. Too boring a scene, well, it’ll simply be a boring photo with colourful sky lights.

So far we’ve come up with a few good spots. Near the Battery in Bellerieve, Taroona Beach, and the old Battery in Tinderbox.

Aurora Australis

Aurora Australis

Lots of experimentation to be done. Shutter speeds, aperture, focus etc. All result in a card full of dodgy images and the occasional gem.

Aurora Gun

Seems to be simply a trial and error thing. Harder is trying to predict where and when they might show. A few times we’ve turned up to find people telling us we should have been there 10 mins ago. Grrrrr. Still, sit back and wait it out. It might happen again.

Hobart Sky




Petronas Towers

22 09 2012

Lets dig through the processed pics and see what we find. Back to the Petronas towers it is. These things are huge. So huge you need to go up the KL tower to get the best view.

KL Tower SunSet

Strangely the Petronas towers are hard to get up. It’s a first come, first served on the tickets with only limited availability each day. Damn expensive too. The KL tower on the other hand, much cheaper, you can just rock up, and the view is spectacular.

Twin Tower Tips

Some more pics of the towers, taken from the base.

Twin Towers

Petronas Towers

And my favourite. The pic with the little girl. She didn’t seem to be posing for anybody, but just doing that thing kids do. Very cool.

Twins and One

Some more random pics of the latest trip coming soon. However they are of course on my flickr page already. See the last few pics to the right, or click the flickr link at the top of the page.





Le Puy-en-Velay

21 07 2011

This was really our starting point in France. The ancient town of Le Puy-en-Velay. Took me a good few weeks after having been there to be able to remember its name. Why did we end up in Le Puy? No idea other than it was a few hours drive from Lyon where we picked up Felicity (Peugeot 207).

We started the day in Lyon having arrived the night before. Lyon itself, no idea. We spent the night in an airport hotel in order to pick up Felicity first thing the next morning. We were very pleasantly surprised by Felicity. Brand spanking new, we got her through the Peugeot Open Europe lease program. So cheap for a new car. Fantabulous.

So, Lyon to Le Puy as seen below. Of course, we had some quirks driving in France for the first time. Excitement was had all around.

Lyon-Le-Puy.png

What is Le Puy-en-Velay famous for? Its old cathedral and the chapel on top of a rock. As well as the statue of the Virgin Mary overlooking the town.

Look, lets have some pictures. They are more fun than me waffling.

First, an overview of the town.

Le Puy-en-Velay

Our Lady and the Cathedral

The old Cathedral

Cathédrale Notre-Dame du Puy

Cathédrale Notre-Dame du Puy

The Chapel on the rock, the Saint Michel d’Aiguilhe.

Saint Michel d'Aiguilhe

Chapel on the Rock

And the Statue of the virgin Mary. Its hollow, and you can climb the whole interior, right into the head. Scary but fun.

Notre-Dame de France

All in all, a really interesting, historic and fun place to start a road trip through South West Europe.





40D of sadness is now happy.

9 11 2009

I should have updated this a week ago, but my camera is back in fine working order. Thanks to our friend, Lee, It was sent off to Canon, quoted on, repaired and delivered back to me all in the space of about 2 weeks.

Final cost? Pretty well bang on the estimate at W380,000 including shipping.

What did they do? From what I can gather they replaced the whole “mirror box”, seeming the entire guts of the camera from the shutter forwards.

Does it work? Yup, as good as, or better than ever. Everything is sparkling clean inside and if anything, it feels slightly more solid now. Mounting lenses is a slightly tighter fit, with more of a machined finish, in no way a bad thing. So far I haven’t taken many pics, but focus seems spot on, which was my biggest concern.

All up, great work from Canon Korea.





The 40D of sadness

22 10 2009

Yargh, Urgh, AAAARGH.

Maybe it was in retaliation for purchasing a small point and shoot camera the week previous, or maybe it was just irritated with 2nd grade too, but no matter the reason, my Canon 40D decided that enough was enough. Shooting in sports mode (6.5fps) the first 2 pics worked and then it jammed. The mirror inside seems to have lost one of its hinge points, and now is jammed into the body. No moving mirror, no pictures = expensive fix.

canon_40d_insideout.jpg

You can see the mirror in the pic. Mine seems to have jammed off center, with the top left hinge probably being broken. Result? the mirror no longer swings up when a photo is taken.

Usually when you push the shutter, the autofocus does it thing, the camera calculates the exposure, the mirror flips up and then the shutter fires. Now mines still does all of that with the exception of the mirror. So all photo’s consist of just the top 10% of the frame, where light leaks past the faulty mirror.

Never a good feeling when your expensive toy decides to break.

Still, help was on hand. As it was obviously time to send it back to Canon for some TLC I went to see my friend Lee, who runs our local photo/computer store. He helped my out greatly by calling Canon, organising it to be sent back for evaluation and a quote.

Warranty? Unfortunately no. I bought it about 18 months ago, grey market from the markets in Yongsan. Basically I saved about W400,000 by buying a Japanese domestic market body. Very much worth saving. Even so, it would be out of warranty anyway.

Well, it was sent on Friday, was inspected and quoted on Tuesday and I should get it back this week. Amazingly fast. But how much? This much :

W376000.jpg

Thats W376,000, or about AU$350. About what I expected really. They are replacing the whole mirror box, so it should come back better than new and hopefully much cleaner. This is where I’m thankful to be in Korea. I’ve heard some bad stories about Canon Australia and the long slow process of repairs. Especially repairs to overseas bought cameras.

So it should all turn out ok, except for the wonderful out of pocket $$$. Isn’t it funny how every single month something crops up to cost $300 or $400 that you were not expecting.

I’m looking forward to getting my camera back and taking more pics. It feels strange using a small point and shoot camera, its just not the same sense of taking a photo. That physical feeling that you just don’t get with an all electronic camera.





New toy, like sunglasses for your camera

7 07 2009

I read a few weeks ago about using ultra dark camera filters in order to do daylight long exposures. Well, i’ve been thinking about it for a while and decided to splurge. So, here it is.

4B24A783-C67B-439A-8741-B7F669F47003.jpg

Yup, a Hoya ND400 filter. 9 full stops of light killing power. This thing is dark. Should be a bit of fun to play around with.

62B0CA69-CCE7-4FD1-974C-A6CF81F465D9.jpg

Hoya say that :

Photographing solar eclipses and ultra-bright light sources can be extremely dangerous. This filter reduces light values by 9 stops to less than 1/500th of its original intensity and allows safe photography. It can also be used to achieve super slow shutter speeds in daylight to render moving subjects invisible.

Lets hope the sun comes out tomorrow so I can blot it out with this beastie.