Nature detail, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase NP – June 26 2010

Fern detail, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase NP, NSW

Image specs: Olympus E-3, f6.3, 1/30, ISO 200, 50 (100mm), Zuiko 50mm, f2.0 Macro, white balance auto’, shot in manual mode, vivid, manual focus, tripod, raw.

Today’s bushwalk in Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park in the northern sector of Sydney near Turramurra, has been a regular haunt of mine since the day I arrived in Australia in 1992. I am familiar with most of it’s tracks, rock formations, inlets, flora (and flies). The rain had been slight and now the clouds sat overcast, ideal lighting for a photo excursion in this beautiful reserve alongside Cowan Creek, park of the Hawkesbury River system. Today I’m using both the Olympus E-3 and the EP-2 in varying scenarios. E-3 for close-up work with the phenomenal f2.0 50mm Macro lens and the EP-2 for general landscape. I enjoy the 16:9 aspect ratio and trust it’s high end results.

I walked in from the Turramurra entrance along the sphinx track. It was only a matter of minutes before I had stopped and set up the tripod for the first couple of shots. It could take me an hour to cover 20 metres, due to setting up and composing … which is rather a good sign as there’s plenty of subject matter to keep me busy.

The droplets below could easily be missed if your goal is a fast cuppa and pie at the Bobbin Head cafe. Looking for nature detail requires focus and patience. Occasionally I pop up the on-camera flash for this kind of work, which, as I’ve mentioned before, I find essential for travel work providing a useful range of lighting possibilities, especially when the flash can be exposure compensated to soften the hit. I used it here to contrast the stalks and splash some light specs on the water droplet. I varied my exposures however, with and without flash, bracketing manually and reading the histogram for precise info to help the exposure. This was a pleasing result as it saturated the greens.

Image specs: Olympus E-3, f11, 1/6, ISO 250, 50 (100mm), Zuiko 50mm, f2.0 Macro, aperture priority, white balance auto’, flash: slow 1st curtain, exposure compensation -1, vivid mode, manual focus, tripod, raw.

Shooting close-up under an overcast sky does not present too many exposure problems. Yet, when the sun comes out it throws all sorts of complications into the mix. Harsh shadows and blown highlights are not usually desirable. Solving it is not easy. Re-compose, bracket your exposures, filter the sky or take multiple exposures for a composite image? A few possibilities there.

Gum trees, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase NP, NSW

Image specs: Olympus EP-2, f8, 1/20, ISO 200, 14 (28mm), 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 Standard Wide Zoom (M.Zuiko), white balance custom: 14000K, shot in manual, i-Enhance mode, manual focus, hand held, exif-JPG.

So, after spending an age photographing on what is normally a two-hour bushwalk, I belted off along the high trail back to my car enjoying the climb through gum forests lit with speckled light, avoiding yet another temptation to set up and shoot.

© Warren Field 2010


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