I am finding my eye is drawn more and more towards black and white for landscapes, particularly when the rolling hills and mist are composed of such subtle tones.
Click for a larger photo.
I woke early on Sunday morning. It was still dark, and I took the short drive up to Katoomba, and Echo Point, to see the sun rise above the Three Sisters. It was a magical experience. Echo Point can get busy with tourists during the day, but I had the place to myself, and the weather was clear.
Amongst other shots, I took a series that covered the view I had across the valley, with Mount Solitary in the distance. The layers of hills, and the mist gave a wonderful effect, that emphasised the scale of this landscape. I know I talk about the scale of things here a lot, but it still amazes me. Even the highlands of Scotland look relatively compact, compared to this.
I stitched the photos together using Photoshop’s panoramic merge tool, and for a first attempt, I was quite pleased. I am tempted to return and make a better job, then get a good print made. This is definitely best viewed on a wall.
Clicking on the photo will get you a larger view.
Summer is here, and with temperatures reaching 40 degrees Centigrade (that’s 104 Fahrenheit for our American cousins) some days, we wanted to explore the Blue Mountains National Park. With shade from its trees and the prospect of taking our son paddling in the swimming holes, we headed out for Jellybean pool on a Saturday morning.
To our joy, no-one else was there, and we had a couple of hours to ourselves, exploring and splashing around, and I had some time to try out the Fujinon XF60mmF2.4 Macro on my new X-E1. While most people seem to go for the XF35, the XF60 is a fantastic lens to have in my camera bag. The focal length meant I could stay far enough away from my son while he played that I didn’t distract him (although the photo of him digging in the sand ended up in a major engineering project for us – I think he was trying to tunnel back to the UK). At wide apertures, the XF60 is able to separate the subject and background really nicely, and has almost Zeiss-like micro-contrast. It’s also extremely sharp. I can see this doubling up as a nice portrait lens. As a macro lens, it performs very well, although it only does 1:2 magnification, rather than the 1:1 of most macro lenses. I was able to hand-hold these shots (and remember, there is no image stabilisation) perfectly well. So, this lens inevitably makes compromises to achieve all these things at the size and weight Fuji have managed to get this down to, but for the extra usability (and the ease with which I can carry it around), it trumps my Canon 100mm macro lens, hands down.
Something else I learned – calling something Jellybean pool can lead to confectionary-related disappointment for a 4 year-old!
Named after the one of the original European surveyors, Govett, and the Scottish for waterfall (leap), this is the incredible view you get from Govett’s Lookout. Click on the image to see a bigger version.
The scale of the Australian landscape takes my breath away. I used to find the Scottish mountains “big”, in comparison to England, where I spent most of my life. The Highlands seem so small when you look out onto a vista like this.
The Blue Mountains get their name from the blue haze you see in the distance. This is caused by the eucalyptus oils evaporating from the forest and scattering the ultaviolet wavelength of the sun.
I’m still thrown by the seasons and the southern hemisphere!
It’s now September, which means Spring is here. The cherry trees in the Blue Mountains are bursting forth with their blossoms, and the air is filled with the scent of the trees.