New Zealand Day 12 – Nelson To Punakaiki

Mountain Road

Buller Gorge

Today the weather was as good as it gets. Cool temperatures and blazing blue skies. We drive from Nelson to Punakaiki via Westport and Cape Foulwind.

Heading west we drove along Buller Gorge which is a very scenic drive where we had the opportunity to stop by the longest swing bridge in New Zealand. Oddly enough, Cynthia was terrified of the bridge. Still, she managed to work up her courage and made the crossing and was very proud of herself.

Buller Gorge Swingbridge

Cynthia Crosses The Buller Gorge Swingbridge

Buller Gorge Swingbridge

From there we drove to Cape Foulwind, which was not as foul as the name might imply.

Cape Foulwind

Lighthouse At Cape Foulwind

From there we drive a short distance to see the Seal Colony at Tauranga Bay

Seal Colony Tauranga Bay

After enjoying these sites we continued down the coast to our final destination of the day, The Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki.

Pancake Rocks

Pancake Rocks

London – Day 3

A BEAR!

Today was the end of our glorious sunshine. Clouds have rolled in, but fortunately no rain to speak of. We took The Tube to South Kensington to visit the Natural History Museum with the intention of also visiting the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Natural History Museum, London

The Natural History Museum is a fantastic building with an amazing collection of animal specimens ranging from insects to dinosaurs. I think the dinosaur exhibit is the most popular, especially with the kids.

Natural History Museum, London

Natural History Museum, London

I was struck by the beauty of the building itself. No tripods allowed, but I found a railing where I could perch my camera and shoot some longer exposure shots which yielded some good results.

Natural History Museum, London

When we left the Natural History Museum it was out intention to go to the Victoria Albert Museum, but we noticed that the Science Museum was right next door so we popped in there for a visit. I was curious to see the newly opened information age exhibit.

There were some very cool displays featuring technology that I was happy to see.

1959 Pegasus Computer

IBM System 360

I will say it is odd going to a museum and seeing technology like the Tandy TRS-80 that I used when it was new as a museum exhibit behind protective glass.

After we were done with the Science Museum we determined that we were a little too beat to try and tackle the Victoria Albert Museum so we headed back to the hotel to rest after having a late lunch. After we rested up a bit we caught The Tube out to Westminster to get some long exposure night shots.

Big Ben and Parliament

London Eye Up close

We walked around and took in the sites and then made our way back to the hotel for some snacks and now for some sleep.

Wider Than Wide

Experimenting with my panorama setup. The first photo is 8 shots taken in portrait mode with the Zeiss 24-70mm at 24mm while the camera is mounted to a Nodal Ninja pano head.

Living Room

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Living Room

The above panorama is known as a single row panorama. It is comprised of several photos, each take side by side while moving the camera a short distance between each shot. This next one isa bit more complex. It is a multi-row panorama and is comprised of 45 separate shots in 3 rows. The camera shoots a series across while angled up, a series across while angled down and then again along the horizon.

The House

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The House

Click any of the above images to see a larger version.

And for fun, another 360 degree panorama of the reading room shot with the Nodal Ninja and the fisheye lens. Comprised of 6 shots around and one zenith and one nadir shot. Click your mouse inside the picture and hold the left button down and you can then spin the image around and up and down to see a full 360 degrees.

Full screen, ultra-high resolution version (10 meg file) available here. Will take some time to fully load, but is VERY interesting!

La Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias de Valencia

It was worth packing a tripod just to get these extended exposure shots of The City Of Arts And Sciences in Valencia, Spain.

City Of Arts And Sciences

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City Of Arts And Sciences

City Of Arts And Sciences

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City Of Arts And Sciences

City Of Arts And Sciences

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City Of Arts And Sciences

City Of Arts And Sciences

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City Of Arts And Sciences

City Of Arts And Sciences

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City Of Arts And Sciences

Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias de Valencia

It was a spectacular day today so we walked the 45 minutes along the dry riverbed to go see the City Of Arts And Sciences.

It was like walking on to the set of a sci-fi movie from the 60’s.

City Of Arts And Sciences
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City Of Arts And Sciences

City Of Arts And Sciences

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City Of Arts And Sciences

City Of Arts And Sciences

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City Of Arts And Sciences

I was marvelling at how clean the water was. Then I saw this fellow.

City Of Arts And Sciences
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City Of Arts And Sciences

Very cool space and not overloaded with tourists oddly enough.

Ninot Exhibition

A few samples of the ninots from the exhibition. Each one is about the size of a person and is only a small part of the entire fallas, of which there are nearly 300 scattered about the city after the planta which is today.

Cynthia was, as those who know might imagine, quite delighted to find a giraffe ninot…

This gives you an idea of the workmanship that goes into these things.

Hard to imagine that these will all be burned at the end of the festival.

Brussels – Day 1

We’ve arrived in Brussels without incident. The plane ride went smooth and we easily sorted getting the train from the airport to Central Station for a mere €2.80 a piece and and before you know it, we were checking into our hotel which is literally across the street from Central Station.

I was amused to see a coke machine in the train station featuring Manekkin Pis.

Manneken Pis Coke Machine

It’s cold here. VERY cold. High today was right around freezing. But the sun is out! I’ll take it!

Grand Place

One of our first stops was Leonidas to get some chocolate.

Leonidas Chocolate

We did a little walking around but were were pretty exhausted so went back to the hotel to take a nap.

After sleeping for a few hours we headed back out. The sun was down and we wanted to see the light show in the Grand Place. It was really something to see. Moving lights set to music.

Light show in Grand Place

I’ll post a video later.

I’ll say this, swapping lenses and shooting with a tripod in this cold is not the most fun. But I am determined.

Now it’s off to bed to sleep in earnest. More tomorrow.

Landscape Lighting

Landscape Lighting

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Landscape Lighting

I am not the handiest guy around. I can manage the technical stuff, but when it comes to home maintenance and improvement I like to “leave it to the professionals.”

I’ve been wanting some landscape lighting for awhile now. For decorative as well as security purposes. I decided I would go to Lowe’s and check out my options. It took some time to sort it out, but I bought some lights, some cable and a timer enabled power converter and worked all day last Saturday installing it. There’s been a few tweaks over this past week and the above picture is the end result of my efforts. The pic doesn’t do it justice. It’s really something to see in person and I am quite proud of myself.

Studio Work

Allen Hill Entertainment Xmas Card 2008

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Allen Hill Entertainment Xmas Card 2008

I was contacted recently by my friend, Henry Davis, the brilliant graphic artist about a project. He’d been retained by Allen “King Of The Oldies” Hill to produce a holiday card for Allen Hill Entertainment and he needed a photographer to assist in the project. Apparently he couldn’t find one, so he came to me.

Allen wanted a card that depicted himself ice skating on the reflection pool in front of Houston City Hall.

Since it rarely gets below freezing in these parts, much less does it ever snow, this was going to be a studio project combined with digital chicanery. We arranged to meet up at the Houston Chronicle to “borrow” their photography studio and staged what we needed and Henry did the rest in Photoshop.

It was my first time in a studio with the new flash. I think it came out pretty well.

Exodus

Exodus

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Exodus

View On Black

Traffic is thick everywhere as Houston drivers who normally avoid the freeway use it to avoid congested surface streets with non-functioning traffic lights.

As a EZ-TAG card carrying user of the Houston toll system, I am personally frustrated with the fact that Houston has opened up the toll roads to all traffic for free. This has caused congestion on my main means of getting in and out of town. I am counting the minutes till Saturday when the tolls are once again enforced and the riff-raff is relegated to the FREE-ways.