May 2016 Desktop Wallpaper

May 2016 Desktop Wallpaper

Canvas print of landscape photo of rocks at sunset, Mt Maunganui, New Zealand

It’s that time again, so here’s another free wallpaper for your computer or device. This one is a long exposure image I made on the north side of Mount Maunganui this last summer. Gotta love the long warm evenings for shooting during sunset and dusk. Being able to get out in the water to shoot these kind of images without worrying about getting cold makes landscape photography so much more enjoyable!

As always, this is a high-resolution desktop background that will suit any screen size from your smartphone or tablet up to laptops and large desktop monitors. Just click the image above and follow the instructions to download the image file. Hope you enjoy it, and please feel free to share with your family and friends!

The Power of Shutter Speed In Two Photographs

The Power of Shutter Speed In Two Photographs

Shutter speed is one of the first elements of photography that you learn as a beginner. Learning how to control your camera’s shutter speed to make sure your images are sharp and well exposed is Photography 101. Learning how to use shutter speed creatively to manipulate the look and feel of an image is something else entirely, and something that I continue to experiment with a lot.

No doubt you have heard of and seen long exposure techniques used to create beautiful images with smooth, milky water and clouds. Long exposure photography is addictive, and I use the techniques a lot, especially when I’m photographing seascapes. Leaving your shutter open for extended periods, from seconds to minutes, opens up a whole new world of possibilities. You can make a crowd of people disappear, capture stunning streaks of stars crossing the night sky, or turn crashing waves into haunting mist. Alternatively, faster shutter speeds can freeze motion.

The following two images illustrate the power of your camera’s shutter speed to create very different images. Despite the composition being almost identical and the images being captured within minutes of each other, they not only look different, they feel different.

They were captured recently on the rocks under Mt Maunganui, New Zealand. The waves were BIG this particular night, and I eventually had to abandon the spot due to the rising tide bringing them closer and closer to the point that I really wasn’t safe.

Waves crash over rocks under Mt Maunganui, New Zealand1/5s, f/11, ISO 200

Long exposure landscape photo of rocks at sunset Mt Maunganui New Zealand107s, f/11, ISO 400

As you can see, the the 1/5-second exposure freezes the waves beautifully while the 107-second exposure blurs the waves into a mist. The images have also been processed slightly differently to help with the different feel I was wanting to create.

Creating very long exposures requires neutral density (ND) filters, which are very dark and limit the amount of light being allowed through the lens and into the camera’s sensor. I personally use the Lee Big Stopper, but there are a number of options.

Next time you’re photographing a scene with movement, try experimenting with your shutter speed to create different images and play around with how different amounts of movement and blur make the images feel.

Leave a link to your images that show creative use of shutter speed in the comments, I would love to see them!

Mauao Summit Track Sunrise

Mauao Summit Track Sunrise

Sunrise at summit track on Mount Maunganui New ZealandClick to buy.

Walking up the Mount is a pretty popular activity for locals and visitors to Mt Maunganui. I really had no idea how popular it is though! I got to this location around half an hour before sunrise and even in the dark there were loads of people on the track walking or running up to the summit.

This is the only photo of dozens that had nobody on the track. I must be overdue to hike right up to the top for sunrise again. It’s well worth setting your alarm and getting up there for sunrise if you haven’t done it before. Great way to start the day!

April 2016 Desktop Wallpaper

April 2016 Desktop Wallpaper

Sunset at Leisure Island (Moturiki), Mt Maunganui, New Zealand

I’ve been lucky enough to call Mount Maunganui home for a few years now, and I’ve photographed Mauao (“The Mount“) many times from Leisure Island, but I haven’t spent a lot of time exploring the island itself as a subject. The island (also known as Moturiki) has a lot of history, including at one stage being a huge water park, complete with water slides. It’s hard to imagine, as it’s covered in trees these days. I made this image one night while exploring the beach. It’s almost unrecognisable from this angle, which I kind of like, as finding a new perspective on a popular location is always a challenge for a landscape photographer.

You can download this free high-resolution desktop background by clicking HERE and following the instructions. It will look great on any device or screen from your smartphone or tablet to your laptop or large retina display. Enjoy, and please share!

Tribute To A Beautiful Soul

Tribute To A Beautiful Soul

It’s not often I write about personal things here on this blog, but sometimes the most personal stories are the ones worth telling. I apologise in advance if it’s a bit of a downer.

This one is about a beautiful girl named Xena. Unfortunately, for reasons I would prefer not to explain, Xena was put to sleep a few days ago. We adopted her after she was found wandering the streets, skinny and clearly neglected, and was taken to the SPCA here in Tauranga. Xena was the perfect fit for our big rottweiler Kaiser, and was very gentle and loveable, so bringing her home was an easy decision. She and Kaiser got along like a house on fire 99% of the time, but due to whatever had happened to her in the first 2-3 years of her life, she sometimes started something with him that she couldn’t finish. Most of the time they were besties.

IMG_20131108_122605 The day Xena came home.

IMG_20140201_202821_1 Who doesn’t love to spoon?

Unfortunately Xena and Kaiser didn’t have long together before Kaiser went to Doggie Heaven. It was a very sad day/week/month for all, including Xena, who had lost her BFF. We couldn’t stand to see her so depressed, and being a firm believer that dogs are pack animals and aren’t meant to be alone, we got her a new friend. Meet Milo!

IMG_20140711_134346 Xena was finally the big spoon!

Xena and Milo very quickly became besties and she was great with the little pup. Milo is almost 2 years old now (and the size of a horse), and one of the friendliest dogs you will ever meet. Xena, on the other hand, was amazing with people and children, but a little unpredictable with other dogs due to a rough start in life and what was likely a lack of socialisation in her first couple of years. For the most part, though, she was a sweet, beautiful dog who everybody seemed to love. Her time was far too short, but I’m glad to have been able to give her a few happy years.

Goodbye beautiful friend. You will be loved and missed always. Say hello to Kaiser for me!

IMG_20150321_044221 Xena with her precious!