Category Archives: Photography

Photography related stuff which usually includes new gear acquisitions, photo galleries and random tidbits that I come across.

A not so Vivid

Vivid seems to be getting duller and duller for me as the years go by. This year everything felt super spread and to me that meant a low reward to effort ratio, that is having to walk too much to see so little. Thought I would have been a little more enthusiastic as well being the first chance to stretch the legs on my new Sony A7 mk2 but that could only do so much

First up was a quick dinner at the Malaya in King St wharf, just picked a random place with Dimmi and AMEX’ $20 off deal. It was a busy place, great for groups but not ideal for a quiet dinner. Entrees were the samosas and chilli fried chicken wings.

The former were super light with good skin and full of flavour; not cheap though. The chilli fried chicken wings had heaps of sauce, too much in my opinion and a lot of batter which masked any taste of chicken.

Mains were the king prawn laksa and chicken sambol.

The laksa was delicious, a lot better than I expected; plenty of flavour, chilli and not too heavy on the coconut. A richer version of the Hunter Strett laksa (which is definitely my favourite). If it wasn’t for the price, this would be a sure favourite. The sambol was also really nice, again they don’t skimp out on flavours, it was bold and spicy; I was a bit worried that the flavours would be watered down due to location, but I was pleasantly surprised overall.

So, back to Vivid. Bangaroo was a new addition this year and the night I went it was rather quiet. A walk with sting rays turned into immersion with projections and lastly aquanauts roaming the streets. Loved the detail in the suits and the cloud hovering about their heads.

The walk to Circular Quay (behind customs house) was a decent walk with my favourite being the colourful umbrella jellyfish (not sure if that’s what they were meant to be though). A couple of projections in the laneways, a canon stand taking photos of us and a sundial type clock (where you’re the dial) were pretty cool.

All shots were taken with Sony A7 mark II with either the Sony 35mm f/2.8 and a Zenitar 16mm fisheye adapted from a Nikon mount. One thing I didn’t realise with the fisheye before it was too late is that when adapted, the distance markings were out of whack, more so than when mounted on a Nikon camera. Most of the shots are out of focus with the focus going beyond what I was intending.

The rest of my Vivid trip was simply around the harbour with my favourite being an installation at the overseas passenger terminal which almost looks like heavy rain coming down. The opera house was quite pretty this year and I thought it was pretty cool that there was an interactive station where you could control what colour the bridge and surrounding buildings were; it did mean that sometimes the colour combinations were horrible.

All in all, quite happy with the A7m2, I wish the lens was a bit faster, f/2 would have been great, but the in body stabilisation does work well allowing me to go as slow as 1/10 with the 35mm without much trouble. I’m still getting used to the RAW files from the camera, but initial impressions is that that darks and shadows don’t hold as well as the Nikon files (that, or Lightroom doesn’t handle them as well).

That’s all from Vivid, photos aren’t exciting as previous years and I didn’t even bother with a tripod this time round.

Floofs at the park

Been spending time trying to consolidate and sort the photos I’ve taken over the years into a single catalog. Primary reason is so that it’s backed up to my server and then consequently to the cloud at backblaze. $5 USD for unlimited back up of the 1 computer, for home server, I’ve got over 9 terabytes backed up. The random collection today is from a year ago when we had dogs hanging out at bicentennial park.

First we had Congee the Corgi, his floppy ear is super cute!

Then Mo the Pom

Mo the pomeranian

Marlene’s Cookie

Amanda’s Ivory (only have a single shot)

Ivory

And Tofu the Spitz (also only have 1 photo of him)

It seems that I’ve lost some photos and there was another BBQ where there were more dog photos, but there’s more photos below:

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Making the switch from Nikon to Sony!

So getting rid of all my Nikon camera gear leads me without a camera (well I’ve got a Sony NEX 5R that always seems to be absent from my posession). The D4s is way too big for travel and when you mount on any sort of f/2.8 zoom (especially the Tamron 15-30), it becomes rather bothersome.

Despite using Nikon for about 10 years, it’s time for a change.

So in comes the A7 mk II, Sony full-frame interchangable lens camera with inbuilt body image stabilisation (yes it’s a mouthful). It was a tough choice with Fuji being highly appealing due to a nice selection of small and fast primes, but full frame’s something I’ve been used to for  a while now, so the choice was Sony, in part also for its video abilities. The A7 II was choice despite lacking 4K video recording, I figured the in-built stabilisation would make it for any shortfalls. Time will tell.

It’s getting paired up with a Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 Sonnar T*. Definitely don’t think this lens is worth the $900 price tag, but at $400 for a used one, I think it’s decent value, given its compact size.

First impressions, it’s small, but by no means compact. A little smaller and more blocky than the smallest DSLRs. It’s pretty comfortable to hold with the deep hand grip and distinct hump for the thumb. The exposure compensation wheel is a bit stiff, not as tactile as the other wheels which move with ease.

Whole bunch of custom buttons which are nice, but there’s no markings for a default function, might take a while for them to become memorised. EVF is decent, bright enough and fast enough, doesn’t feel like there’s a lag in low-light (one of my worries with an EVF) but could be more crisp, depending on what’s in frame, the aliasing (jagged lines) are pretty noticeable and you’re hoping the autofocus has got your subject spot on.

Autofocus speed has been good, haven’t seen any major issues. I don’t anticipate to shoot any fast moving objects so not too concerned with continuous focus speed, manual focus on the 35mm is average, it feels much better than previous lenses I’ve used on the Nex 5R and the indicator for focus distance is a nice touch and helps with finding where you’re pointing, seems to track better to your ring movements. The hood is interesting too, it’s designed to sit on the lens permenantly and doesn’t really add much bulk.

Just for the lols, check out the size difference.

Both 35mm lenses (but granted one is f/2.8 and the other is f/1.4), the size difference is huge, not that it’s suprising or anything.

Will be taking it out for Vivid to see how it really goes.

Defqon.1 2013 – in photos

Photographing Defqon.1 in Sydney’s always been a fun and challenging gig, expectations are high and there’s a lot to go on making it hard to capture moments that stand out. Here’s a small collection of shots which I think demonstrate the atmosphere from the day. Still getting a full album ready to upload onto my photography page.

The venue:

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The stages:

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The main stage:

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Performers:

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The punters:

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DJs/Acts:

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Production/Night time:

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The rest:

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photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography Defqon1 Australia – 2013 photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography photos by ntranced photography (facebook.com/ntrancedphotography

 

 

Timelapse/video of Vivid Sydney 2013

Since getting a video capable DSLR and my Sony NEX, I’ve been a lot more fascinated with video and filming. As part of Vivid this year, I felt like I could put something together and the video below is the result of that. Continue reading Timelapse/video of Vivid Sydney 2013

Latest toys

Been purchasing a few tidbits lately, probably more than I should be, but when they come up for a great price, how can anyone say no? OzBargain is a curse and blessing in itself!

The first purchase was the lovely Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens, a lot of hype around this lens as it was announced and stock was hard to come by in a Nikon mount. Purchased for $810 when DigiDirect had 10% off excellent price for essentially the first batch to Australia. Continue reading Latest toys

Vivid 2013 – a few photos

Being more focussed on the video and timelapses this year, this means the number of photos I have from Vivid has suffered. Rather lazy so most (if not all) of these shots are hand held without a tripod. The super fast aperture of 1.4 from the Sigma 35mm lens proved to be extremely handy. Its sharpness meant there was no hesitation to shoot wide open. Continue reading Vivid 2013 – a few photos

Sony NEX-5R twin lens kit

An opportunity recently came up for me to procure myself one of these Sony NEX mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras and what better time than right around the corner from Christmas? Main reason for wanting this sort of camera? First, a HUGE sensor relative to the size of the camera (1.5x crop like most DSLRs) and fantastic video abilities. Without further adieu, I present to you the latest Sony NEX-5R(Y) with the Y denoting the twin lens version.

For a small camera, it comes in a decently sized box which is quite packed, so what’s inside? At the top of the box is multiple manuals (differently languages), warranty/support cards and software CD. Lifting the top flaps reveals 3 compartments, the left contains the Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS zoom lens. The middle compartment contains the NEX-5R body itself attached to the Sony E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS zoom lens and the final compartment on the right containing a host of power cables, microUSB cable, desktop charger, battery pack, shoulder strap and detachable flash.

Now the original NEX series cameras came with the 18-55mm F3.5 which was pretty big when mounted on the NEX type cameras (similarly sized to a crop body 18-55 equivalent lens from Nikon or Canon), this made the camera unpocketable. This new 16-50mm is definitely much smaller and retracts when powered off, another additional feature is the power zoom; there’s a little rocker type switch on the left hand side which allows you to zoom in and out like a regular point and shoot, some will love it, some will hate it.

It has a similar hinged screen to the 5N, however slight improvements have been made to allow it to flip backwards so you can get the perfect self portrait, bear in mind however, if the flash is attached, the screen can’t be flipped all the way up. A little nice touch is when the screen is flipped for self portraits, a 3 second timer is automatically activated.

The screen tilts upwards and downwards to allow easy high angle or low angle shots.

Upward tilt
Downward tilt

It’s also touch sensitive, but I do believe it isn’t of the capacitive type and isn’t too sensitive which severely reduces its effectiveness. I was hoping a phone style interface with gestures but alas, it wasn’t meant to be, it does help access some features, but I have a feeling it won’t be used for proper shooting.

Now, the lenses, as mentioned the new 16-50mm which shipped with the camera does retract when powered off, below are some comparisons of size, note that the 16-50mm ‘waves in and out’ from wide to tele, i.e. longest when wide and zoomed all the way in and shortest when in the middle, also note the 55-210 is ridiculously large when mounted onto this camera.

16-50mm retracted
16-50mm extended
55-210 at 55mm
55-210 at 210mm

Unlike the NEX 6 though, the 5R doesn’t have a standard hotshoe, this small proprietary connector serves multiple purposes but has the problem of only serving one at a time, that means you can use the flash and not the optional microphones or viewfinder at once, personally won’t be a big deal, but an integrated flash like the 6 would have been that little bit better, especially for travel.

The integrated WiFi combined with the PlayMemories apps does make for a nice touch, but I do feel it’s still in its infancy. This combination allows for new applications to be downloaded and installed and at this time, there’s currently a Time Lapse ($10), Pro Bracketing app ($5), Cinematic Photo app ($5), Multi frame noise reduction ($5) as well as a few free ones; Direct upload, Photo retouch, Picture Effect+ and Smart remote control.

I personally don’t think the paid apps offer much and should actually be standard features, maybe for the exception of ‘Cinematic photo’ which allows you to create a hybrid stills/video leaving some areas still and others moving. The Smart remote control app is very basic and allows for a live view image to displayed on your smart phone and the ability to trigger it remotely, in this situation, the camera acts as a hot spot.

This has been a brief intro opening and I’ll try to report back with my feedback after it’s used for a few outings, so far it is pretty impressive and it does feel like a solid camera. The autofocus is pretty quick, still not as quick as D600 or D700, but definitely plenty fast for a holiday situation. For the price I paid (and definitely if I get rid of the 55-210 lens) I don’t think anything could have matched it, just need to get myself a Nikon F mount to Sony E mount adapter and I’m set.

Paul Kalkbrenner – Live in Sydney (2012)

I can’t believe I had only discovered the music of this man about a year ago and I definitely love the stuff he makes, I do believe this music is called Techno, but it’s definitely not what the doof-doof music commonly (and mistakenly) associated with the word.

This music to me, is simply beautiful, it’s progressive and has a moving melodic sound. It was then of great pleasure to be asked to photograph this event and be paid for it on behalf of Future Entertainment.

The event was held at the HiFi in Moore Park Sydney which is a large-ish venue holding about 1400 people, I don’t think it was sold out but it was certainly very full (especially the main floor).

The night was opened by Paul’s own partner Serena, whom I must say is pretty hot and I think it sets the mood perfectly for what’s about to come. While her music style is a little different, it does open the night well.

Photographically, it was a little bit challenging, but still very manageable, the main problem was the elevation of the stage combined with the relatively small (projector-based) screen and limited direct lighting on Paul himself. The crowd was too packed to move through as well and not being allowed the use of flash in the pit, I had to carefully time some long-ish exposures to capture people using the strobes on stage.

The projection does cover his face at times and the small screen means it’s hard to get an interesting background without funky patterns on his face. I was glad I got the initial opening shot with the full PK logo. In Paul’s fashion, he’s always gonna have a cigarette lit up and I think this shot captures it nicely.

The crowd was fanatic for him and the cheers for him after the show were immensely loud, louder than the speakers producing the music!  He loved the crowd and did come out for another round of waves. I was quite lucky with this shot as it was manually focused.

Having a DSLR capable of video nowadays means I will be recording more and more video from events I shoot at, manual audio gain control means I can get some recording without massive distortion, but there’s still a lot to be desired for in terms of audio quality.

The first video is Paul’s most known song, called Sky and Sand which was a collab with his brother Fritz, it’s the song which introduced me to Paul Kalkbrenner and his music.

The other video I have is of another one of his bigger tunes, called Aaron.

For more photos, check out the following facebook album and be sure to like my facebook page to keep up-to-date with upcoming photo gigs.

I had an absolute blast shooting this and will definitely look forward to his next visit.

Unboxing the new Nikon D600

With Nikon’s announcement of the D600, I pondered if it was worth switching one of my D700’s to this new camera, few questions went through my mind, is this actually an upgrade? Should I be spending the grand or so for this swap? After a short period of deliberation, I decided to jump the gun and get it and now I have on me, a lovely Australian stock D600. I’ll save my thoughts and comparison for later, but in the mean time, here’s the unboxing process of Nikon’s latest FX (full frame) DSLR.

First the box, standard Nikon design but fairly compact, doesn’t feel as big as the D700 box.

Opening the lid, you’re greeted with the paper work, very standard, nothing to get excited about.

Included here is the warranty card, quick start guide, user’s manual, software CD and a  myPicturetown pamphlet. Removing this and opening the divider flap brings us closer to the closer to the camera itself, it’s neatly laid in bubble wrap and plastic inside a cardboard compartment.

Next to the camera is the accessories box.

Unwrapping it all, you’re led to the following goodies, (obviously) the D600 camera itself, EN-EL15 battery (same as the D7000, D800/e and Nikon 1 V1), charger, localised power cable, neck strap and eye piece cover.

Here it is on the box

On the left side are the covers for the various ports and jacks, on the D600, we have a 3.5mm headphone port (for audio monitoring) as well as a 3.5mm microphone port, these are used in conjunction with video recording. In the middle is a mini-HDMI port (which also allows a clean uncompressed 1080p output) and a mini-USB. Down the botton is a port for an external GPS receiver (for geotagging your photos)

You’ll also notice on the left side is the flash pop-up button (which is a digital button not a physical trigger which opens the flash), bracketing button as well as the D7000 styled AF switch and button.

Shot of the rear; you can see the square viewfinder, rear dial, playback, delete and auto-exposure lock buttons (no AF-ON button here sadly) as well as the diopter adjustment on the top. Along the left, Nikon’s changed the layout slightly and this falls in line with the D800 (minus the OK) with the Menu, touch-up, lock/help, zoom in, zoom out buttons. Few things to note here, from the D800 and D600, Nikon has flipped the zoom in and out buttons around. Similar to the D7000, these also control White Balance, ISO and Quality.

Along the right hand side is the directional joy pad with an OK button in the middle along with the focus point lock switch surrounding it, underneath is a D800 styled live view switch with the Live View button in the middle. Under that is the info button (which I’m not sure if anyone uses). Also around here is the little speaker, memory card write indicator and infrared receiver (for a remote shutter).

Not much to say about the right hand side, the memory card door sits here and underneath are dual SD card slots which can be used in various configuations. You can duplicate to both, use it as overflow (writes to the second card when the first is full) or put RAWs on one card and JPGs on the other.

The front has the standard red Nikon flair on the grip, a function button, DOF preview button and a light for auto focus assist in low-light. The top of the camera has a secondary LCD screen which details key info like focus mode selected, number of shots remaining, shutter speeds and aperture and a whole host of other icons.

The left has two dials (similar to the D7000), one for shooting modes and the other for your standard PASM modes. They’ve included a little click button to move the PASM wheel which makes it a little bit trickier to change modes while the camera is up on yoru face. The right hand side has Nikon’s dual action power/illumination switch, a soft shutter button within and surrounded by a dedicated video record button (like the D800) and the metering mode and exposure compensation buttons.