Pacifc Events Centre (revisted)

The Pacific Events Centre is just such a fabulous building I had to take another look.

Pacific Events Centre

Pacific Events Centre

Out front there are a series of “people cutouts” leading towards the entrance. Just ideal for leading the eye in a photo.

Here is a shot of the Pou Kapua (totem pole) that’s round the back. It was taken with an interesting lens, a Samyang 85mm f/1.4

Pou Kapua

Pou Kapua - click for full size

This lens is a low cost lens made in Korea. It’s completely manual so you need to adjust the focus and aperture by hand. But the quality is pretty good. Consider that is costs only around us$330, whereas the Canon 85mm f/1.2 costs around us$2100. Now the Canon is of course better, but some people say it’s not that much better, and that the Samyang can in fact hold it’s own. You can’t see on this shot, but the bokeh the lens produces is very good.

Auckland Botanical Gardens

I paid a visit to Auckland Botanical Gardens on a sunny winter day. I’m not sure that paid is the right word as entry was free.

Auckland Botanical Gardens - click to enlarge

Of course, gardens are not at their best in winter, but it was still very pretty. I will have to return when there are less people – it was quite an effort to get shots with no people on this very busy Sunday.

The shot below is from the children’s garden.

Children's Garden - click to enlarge

Both of these shots are taken with EOS 7D (grin) and EF-S 10-22mm. They are 3-shot HDRs, processed with Photomatix and Topaz Adjust / Topaz Simplify.

Telstra Clear Events Centre, Manukau

This is an interesting building, built a few years ago. From the side it’s shaped like a boat, but as you walk around it shows many interesting angles.

Telstra Clear Event Centre

The centre was opened in 2005 and has won a number of awards

Telstra Clear Event Centre

This is my favourite shot. It shows the sun rising, reflected in the glass. Also you can see reflected the “Pou Kapau” – totem pole.

Pou Kapau

The “Pou Kapua Taonga”, is a significant Maori/Pacific Indigenous cultural arts project. The Pou Kapua, carved from a magnificent ancient Kauri from the forests of the Iwi of Te Rarawa, stands more than seventy feet high, and is the largest totem of its type in the world.

The story of the Pou begins in the sacred house of knowledge, with depictions of our creation and our beliefs throughout. We have carved the journeys of the adventures of our tupuna, and Maori and Polynesian nautical myths, legends and histories of migration to Aotearoa.

Telstra Clear Event Centre

Telstra Clear Event Centre

It contains various facilities, including an arena for sports and concerts that holds up to 3000, a theatre and various other meeting rooms, etc.

All shots here are the normal recipe of 3-shot HDRs, Photomatix and Photoshop.

HDR Spotting Codes

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Autumn Shots

Here’s something different. Some non-HDR shots. A series of pictures I took of some trees in a local park. The colors were so striking that I decided to post a set of them.

Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Autumn 3

Autumn 4

Autumn 5

There was a little sharpening and selective color adjustment in Photoshop, but apart from that, they are basically the way they came from the camera.

American Modernist Garden

This is the American Modernist Garden at Hamilton Gardens (in Hamilton, where else).

American Modernist Garden

American Modernist Garden

Hamilton Gardens is so out-of-character with the rest of Hamilton. The gardens are well laid out with a lot of class.  A very pleasant place to spend time. (Hamilton itself is none of these.)

The picture was taken on one of the busiest days of the year, 2nd January, and it took some waiting to find a gap between the people.

The picture is processed in a slightly different way. It used 3 RAW files which were processed in Photoshop using a technique to bring out the detail – it goes like this: duplicate a layer, Invert; blend mode Vivid Light. Apply surface blur. Copy results to a new layer, which is blended with Soft Light mode.

This was done for each of the 3 RAWs, to create 3 jpegs. These were then processed with Photomatix and tone-mapped to give a normal HDR.

Back into Photoshop for some more tweaking – Hue and Saturation/Colorize mixed with Soft Light. Followed by Selective Color adjustment.

Dawn on Klondyke Road

Klondyke road is this gravel road that I have mentioned before. It runs from Port Waikato to Onewhero, about 12 miles. Here’s a shot I took some while ago on a dawn outing.

Dawn on Klondyke Road - click for larger version.

Most of the trees you can see are all Pine trees, grown for forestry.

The processing again uses some Calvin Hollywood tricks, mainly to bring out detail and adjust the color. I’m getting more used to what you can do with his techniques and recommend his tutorials.

Autumn is coming

Autumn Colors - click to enlarge

We’ve had a great summer here, very little rain and warm. But autumn (fall) is coming and the trees are turning.

This used the normal processing, plus some new stuff. Normal :  3 shots with Canon 450D, process and tonemap with Photomatix. New Stuff : using some techniques learned from Calvin Hollywood : Detail Enhance, Calvinize, Selective Color enhancement.

These are just some trees in a local park. In the next few weeks I hope to get some shots of Autumn Beauty from further afield.

Hunua Falls

Took a trip to Hunua Falls the other day. As we’ve been having an extended drought the falls were much smaller than usual but still very pretty.

Hunua Falls - click to enlarge

This place is great if you want to do some bush walking. There are a variety of tracks.

Bush Walk - click to enlarge

As far as processing goes, I’ve been using some techniques I’ve learned from Calvin Hollywood (who, despite his American-sounding name, is actually German!). He does an excellent tutorial called “Calvinize” that explains many of his techniques. Many are aimed at portrait photography, but several are universally applicable.

Huka Falls

Huka Falls is a series of waterfalls on the Waikato River, about 10km from Lake Taupo.  A few hundred metres upstream from the Huka Falls, the Waikato River narrows from roughly 100 metres across into a narrow canyon only 15 metres across. It looks like it’s man-made, but actually it’s entirely natural. The canyon is carved into lake floor sediments laid down before Taupo’s big eruption 26,500 years ago. (And that was one mean eruption – it formed Lake Taupo which is 46kmx33km or 30milesx20miles)

This is a picture of the canyon, taken from the bridge that goes across:

Huka Falls - click to enlarge

One striking thing about the falls is how blue the water is. I don’t know if this is just the reflection of the blue sky, or whether there are disolved minerals, but the water looked freaky blue the day I was there.

The largest fall is at the bottom of the series of waterfalls

Huka Falls - click to enlarge

Huka Falls is well known for the Huka Falls Lodge, one of New Zealand’s most exclusive and expensive hotels. Rates start at about nz$2000 per night (us$1400) and go up to nz$12,340 per night (us$8600). So I guess it must be pretty amazing..

HDR Spotting Invite Codes

I have some of these if anyone is interested. Please send me a link to some of your pictures.

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I went to stay in Napier for a couple of days and managed to take quite a good crop of pictures. The weather was ideal, glorious end-of-summer light.

We stayed at a beautiful house that sits on top of a hill overlooking the port area; this was the view from the balcony.

Napier Port - click for full size

Napier is a busy port; it ships wood and paper. It’s also the fruit basket of New Zealand and has many wineries.

It’s also famous worldwide for it’s Art Deco buildings. In 1931 it was devastated by an earthquake, 7.8 on the Richter scale (which is quite a decent size, more than 20 times the size of the recent Haiti earthquake).

Many of the buildings were destroyed and when they were rebuilt, used the prevalent Art Deco style. Now that Art Deco has become popular again, Napier is an Art Deco tourist destination. Here’s a classic example:

Napier Theatre - click for full size

This theatre was completely destroyed in the earthquake. It  was rebuilt and reopened in 1938. It was renovated in 1997.

HDR Spotting Invite Codes

I have some HDR Spotting invite codes; email me if you’d like one (send a link to your Flickr page or image portfolio). My email is bob at beausoft dotcom

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