The tide was right this morning for a Long Reef shoot.

What the sky would do was anyone's guess.

Tony, Glenn and I were delighted with what the show it put on for us, and this is the result.

This image was <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/xenedis/6082371432">featured on the front cover of <i>Australian Photography</i> magazine (September, 2011)</a>. Long Reef Longing
Mount Mee Morning
My first outdoor HDR image, comprised of four exposures. Darling Harbour by Twilight
Inspired by Nicole's image <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/sydney_inquisitive/404933086">Fire and Ice</a>, and created with her.

Lighting setup:

1.  Canon Speedlite 580EX II at 1/64th power and 24mm zoom, positioned behind the subject, outside a light tent with a blue backdrop, and triggered with a PocketWizard PLUS II.

2.  Desk lamp with fluorescent light globe at 90 degrees camera left.

3.  Desk lamp with tungsten light globe at 90 degrees camera right. Riedel
Lighting information:

Natural light, with a gold reflector positioned at 45 degrees camera right. Sarah Jane
An image from a series of interior architectural photos I took inside Adelaide's St Peter's Anglican Cathedral on Labour Day of 2011.

As I use a non-tilt/shift ultra-wide rectilinear lens, normally I go to great lengths to keep the axis of the lens perpendicular to the ground so that straight lines remain straight, but in this case I've exploited the lens's wide field of view to capture the altar and surrounds, from the floor right up to the ceiling high above. The Altar
Happy Anniversary, Baby
This is Peppers Convent, a secluded romantic hotel right in the centre of Pokolbin in the NSW Hunter Valley.

Peppers Convent, built in 1909, was formerly home to the Brigidine Order of Nuns at Coonamble, NSW. The building was transported 600km from Coonamble to Pokolbin.

We stayed here for my 2012 birthday celebration. Peppers Convent
Tree on Mee
Almost five years ago to this date, an old Flickr contact of mine, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/richlegg/">Rich Legg</a>, created a <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/richlegg/370451211/">photographic image of a smoking gun</a>. I was impressed, and I commented on his image at the time.

I recently decided to have a go at this type of shot myself, and did so today.

This is the result.

Lighting information for the firearm:

1. Canon Speedlite 580EX II at 24mm zoom and 1/2 power, placed high at 45 degrees camera left, fired through a 42" translucent umbrella, and triggered with a PocketWizard PLUS II.

2.  White backdrop placed under the firearm to bounce light under the muzzle and barrel area.

3.  Silver reflector hand-held at 45 degrees camera right to bounce light back into the muzzle and barrel area.

Lighting information for the smoke:

1. Canon Speedlite 580EX II at 80mm zoom and 1/4th power, placed at 90 degrees camera right, fired bare and triggered with a PocketWizard PLUS II.

You can read about <a href="http://xenedis.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/the-making-of-the-smoking-gun/" rel="nofollow">how I created this image</a> at my <a href="http://xenedis.wordpress.com" rel="nofollow">blog</a>.

A few important notes:

1.  Yes, this firearm is real.
2.  Yes, it is mine.
3.  Yes, I am licensed to possess and use handguns.
4.  No, it is NOT loaded.
The Smoking Gun
Model: Jessyka Graham (<a href="http://www.modelmayhem.com/1394739">Model Mayhem #1394739</a>).

Makeup artist: Nikya Blackburn (<a href="http://www.modelmayhem.com/1794849">Model Mayhem #1794849</a>).

Lighting information:

2.  Canon Speedlite 580EX fired at ½ power through a softbox, positioned close at 45 degrees camera right and triggered with a PocketWizard PLUS II.

1.  Canon Speedlite 580EX fired through a translucent umbrella positioned further away at 45 degrees camera left and triggered with a PocketWizard PLUS II. The Look of Lust
To learn about the processing that went into this image, read my <a href="http://xenedis.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/post-processing-tutorial-southern-mist/">post-processing tutorial</a> at my <a href="http://xenedis.wordpress.com">blog</a>. Southern Mist
This image is my first attempt at HDR imaging using Photomatix Pro.

The source files consisted of seven raw images, bracketed a stop apart, ranging from -3EV to +3EV.

The problem with HDR imaging is that people often overcook the processing, which results in artificial, over-saturated, halated, illustration-like images. I prefer photo-realism, and hopefully I haven't overdone it on my first attempt. Queen Victoria Building Interior
White Bay Wheels and Pipes
Read about the <a href="http://xenedis.wordpress.com/2010/06/26/the-making-of-wine-is-a-primary-industry/">making of this image</a> at my <a href="http://xenedis.wordpress.com">blog</a>.

Lighting setup:

Canon Speedlite 580EX II at 24mm zoom and 1/64th power, placed between the subject and a white backdrop, fired at the backdrop, and triggered with a PocketWizard PLUS II. Wine is a Primary Industry
She's All Smiles
During an Easter weekend dawn shoot at Narrabeen, I was treated to an incredible sky. This image, for me, would be the stand-out image from the highly-productive session. Blazing Torrent
The Tudor Mansion
Brolga
Together Alone
Sydney Twilight
The Great Cathedral by the Sea
I shot some casual portraits of Kara with Dave and Ray on a quietish Sunday afternoon in the Spring of 2009.

I've photographed Kara over a period of nearly three years, and seen her change a lot in that time.

In some shots such as this one, she has a simple, understated expression, which I think works well in a portrait. Kara in the Spring of 2009
It Rises from the Abyss
Stormy Lurline
The Narrabeen Gorge
Dawn at Cathedral Rocks
Lighting setup:

1. Canon Speedlite 580EX II at 24mm zoom and 1/64th and -0.7 power, placed high at 45 degrees camera right, fired at the backdrop, and triggered with a PocketWizard PLUS II.

2. Canon Speedlite 580EX at 24mm zoom and 1/128th power, placed low on camera axis, fired at the backdrop, and triggered with a PocketWizard PLUS II. Shiraz Escapism
Profile of a Lioness
Dusk at the Entrance
Read about the <a href="http://xenedis.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/hawaiian-mercury/">making of this image</a> at my <a href="http://xenedis.wordpress.com">blog</a>.

Lighting information:

Canon Speedlite 580EX II positioned at 45 degrees camera left, pointed at backdrop, set to 1/64th power and triggered with a PocketWizard PLUS II. Hawaiian Mercury
Rushing
Only the Lonely
Model: Dani Hurley (<a href="http://www.modelmayhem.com/1526934">Model Mayhem #1526934</a>).

Makeup artist: Nikya Blackburn (<a href="http://www.modelmayhem.com/1794849">Model Mayhem #1794849</a>).

Lighting information:

1.  Canon Speedlite 580EX fired through a softbox, positioned close at 45 degrees camera right and triggered with a PocketWizard PLUS II.

2.  Canon Speedlite 580EX fired through a translucent umbrella positioned at 45 degrees camera left and triggered with a PocketWizard PLUS II.

3.  Canon Speedlite 580EX pointed at the backdrop and triggered optically. Dani
The Spire
A quirky angle, depicting the altar, pipe organ and crucifix of St Peter's Anglican Cathedral in Adelaide. High Above
Blue Mist
Fire in the Sky
Bare Island at Dawn
Seepage
This morning I headed down to Cathedral Rocks at Kiama Downs for a dawn seascape session with Stanley Kozak.
The forecast was for decent cloud over, but unusually, it turned out to be wrong, and the sky was completely cloudless, apart from a few small patches that appeared here and there.

Given the clear sky, I decided to capture the Milky Way, which in the darkness of this location, can be quite clearly seen, despite being close to the populated areas of Wollongong and Kiama.

I am quite happy with the result, which is a different style of image for me.

I hope those who view it also enjoy it. Beneath our Southern Skies
Here's the setup for this image:

1. Sheet of glass on top of a black shirt.

2. Room darkened, but low ambient light from a lamp in the corner.

3. Maglite (six D-cell) pointed to the left (but not at the subject) to balance the lighting.

4. Tripod-mounted camera, macro lens and long exposure.

A few important notes:

1. Yes, this ammunition is real.

2. Yes, I am licensed to possess and use this ammunition.
Luger's Army
Model: Jessyka Graham (<a href="http://www.modelmayhem.com/1394739">Model Mayhem #1394739</a>).

Makeup artist: Nikya Blackburn (<a href="http://www.modelmayhem.com/1794849">Model Mayhem #1794849</a>).

Lighting information:

2.  Canon Speedlite 580EX fired at ½ power through a softbox, positioned close at 45 degrees camera right and triggered with a PocketWizard PLUS II.

1.  Canon Speedlite 580EX fired through a translucent umbrella positioned further away at 45 degrees camera left and triggered with a PocketWizard PLUS II. I'm Not That Innocent (B&W)
Gong for Shore
Cathedral Onslaught
Archibald Fountain at Twilight
Bare Tranquility
Fire on a Distant Shore
Magic at Long Reef
Washing Machine
Natural light, with a gold reflector positioned at 45 degrees camera right.

I've named this image <i>Berrima Girl</i>, as it reminds me a little of Steve McCurry's famous 1984 image <i>Afghan Girl</i>.

I didn't set out to create an image along the lines of McCurry's shot, but the wide eyes, headscarf and warm light all kinda played out that way unintentionally.
Berrima Girl
Enshrouded
An image of the famous Three Sisters at sunset is somewhat of a photographic cliché, but one I hadn't personally repeated until our trip to the Blue Mountains for the 2012 Queen's Birthday weekend. The Golden Girls
Easter Blues
Fire Water Burn
There's only one way to get a shot like this, and that involves getting in the line of fire! Facing the Front
I painted this distinctive rock with my Maglite torch, which contains six D-cell batteries.

The 16-year-old globe in this torch is tungsten, which results in the warm tones in the rock and sand. I think it works well in a scene like this with rich, blue sky in the background.

As is the case with a cloudless dawn, the sky exposure is very difficult to control. Under-exposing the background while painting the foreground allowed me to avoid blowing out the brighter parts of the sky. Solid Gold
Turimetta Blues
Here are two outstanding modern vintages of Penfolds' flagship red wines: Penfolds Grange 2006 (shiraz) and Penfolds Bin 707 (cabernet).

I have tasted both (this vintage of Grange twice), and both years were exceptional vintages in the Barossa Valley and surrounds.

The 2006 Grange consists of fruit from the Barossa Valley, Coonawarra and Magill, while the 2008 Bin 707 consists of fruit from Coonawarra, the Barossa Valley and Wrattonbully.

Lighting information:

1. Canon Speedlite 580EX II set to 1/16th power and 24mm zoom, positioned 45 degrees camera right at a distance of 30-40cm, fired through a 40 x 30cm softbox and triggered with a PocketWizard PLUS II

2. Canon Speedlite 580EX set to 1/128th +0.3 power and 80mm zoom, positioned behind the subject and pointed at the backdrop, fired bare and triggered with a PocketWizard PLUS II.

3. 80cm white reflector dish placed at 90 degrees camera left, 20cm from the subject.
Luxurious Hydration
A continuation of my photographic study of St Peter's Anglican Cathedral in Adelaide.

This ultra-wide view looks down the nave of the magnificent cathedral, showing the timber work on the roof, as well as the stonework of the arches upon approach to the altar. The Nave of St Peter's
Narrabeen Surge
Model: Carli (<a href="http://www.modelmayhem.com/798476">Model Mayhem #798476</a>).

Captured in natural light. Carli: The Keeper of Secrets
Until the creation of this image, I had been on something of a hiatus, having not shot a seascape in several months.

As of this morning, that drought has been broken, with south Cronulla offering me an interesting, colourful sky in the pre-dawn light. South Cronulla Awakening
The Little Cove
Model: Bo.

Shot in natural sunlight. The Wind Caught Her Hair
Lighting information:

Two 80cm gold reflectors positioned to bounce the late afternoon light onto the model. Shani at the Park
Lighting information:

Two 80cm gold reflectors positioned to bounce the late afternoon light onto the model. Wind-Swept
A few months ago, I discovered a fantastic seascape photography location on the NSW south coast, which appears not to have been visited by many photographers in the photographic communities of which I am a part.

I have visited this location twice -- first with seascaping buddies Sonia, Steve, Malcolm and Don -- and again today. The sky was terrible during my first visit (and I was not happy with the images), but this morning it was moody and produced much better results.

I am very surprised that this location has apparently not been photographed much. I only know of a few people who have been there, yet is is so accessible, dramatic and powerful.

In my opinion, it rivals and even exceeds many of the prime seascaping locations on Sydney's Northern Beaches, with big gorges, splashes and cascades aplenty.

This rock shelf features many striking features, and is only a few minutes' walk north from the ocean pool on the northern rock shelf at Kiama.

It is well worth visiting, and while the place can produce huge seas, there is plenty of space for retreating, and it is not as isolated as other rock shelves along the coast.

If you haven't been yet, I thoroughly recommend this location. There is a lot to shoot, and plenty of drama when the big sets of waves roll in.

Here is a short video I produced, showing the fantastic main gorge and cascading, churning water:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRo84xVqXI0 Dawn Drama
This image was captured much later in my second session at the Kiama North rock shelf.

For this image, I used my ten-stop filter, and in processing, went for a dark, high-contrast 'etherial' look.

It's quite different to my usual style, but I like the result and think it is an effective form of treatment for a location like this. The White Abyss
High Above Sydney
Hyde Park and Beyond
Signature
Clyde
Twilight Outcrop
Whale of a Cascade
Channel Interrupted
Flat
City Lights and City Nights
A B&W reproduction of the <a href="http://500px.com/photo/7544707">original colour image</a>. Darling Harbour by Twilight (B&W)
The light beams from this tower illuminating the Sydney Opera House immediately attracted my attention.
Light 'er Up
Northern Aspect
Sisterly Presence
To the Point
Lady Chapel
Shepherd's Warning
Sunrise over Holt's Point Jetty
Barbed Wire Fence by Sunset
This was shot the morning after <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/xenedis/3621170939"><i>Two</i></a>.

This time I painted these giant rocks with my 6D Maglite in total darkness, painting the rocks for two minutes out of the five minutes for which this image was exposed. Two Part II
Summer Sunset over Long Reef
Churning
It's that time of year again when Turi puts on a magical show with its rich green moss. Month of Magical Moss
Flat
Whooshka
Narrabeen Reflections
Meerkat Moment
City of Blinding Lights
During a weekend in April of 2012, Xenedette and I spent some time in the Hunter Valley, and stayed in Peppers Convent.

Peppers Convent, built in 1909, was formerly home to the Brigidine Order of Nuns at Coonamble, NSW. The building was transported 600km from Coonamble to Pokolbin.

During the evening I decided to photograph some of the interior of this beautiful French Baroque-style building, and in this scene is depicted an antique piano, which sits in the lounge. The Nuns' Piano
Sydney Opera House at Sunrise
Federal Parliament by Night
A group of BridgeClimbers climbing the famous "Coathanger".  I've done the BridgeClimb three times, and thoroughly recommend it. It's a Long Way to the Top
Makepisi is a male leopard who inhabits the Timbavati region of Kruger Park in South Africa.

On an afternoon/evening game drive on our first day here, we were luky enough to find him resting on a termite mound a mere 10 metres from our vehicle.

I also shot <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFKQRIIrw1U">video footage</a> of Makepisi. Portrait of Makepisi
Another beautiful African sunset after a rewarding game drive in the Timbavati Private Game Reserve in Kruger Park, South Africa. Sunset on the African Savannah
This is Rockfig Jr, a female leopard we encountered on the second morning of our safari in the Timbavati Private Game Reserve.

This image would have to be my absolute favourite from the safari, and it was an intense experience to be only a few metres from Rockfig Jr as she rested in the grass.
The Leopard Rests
One of the images I wanted to create during a four-day safari in Kruger Park, South Africa, was ironically not an image of the stunning wildlife, but a landscape image.

The Timbavati region of Kruger Park is a very diverse territory, with lush green foliage, as well as many dead or dead-like trees.

During a game drive, our ranger-driver Chad, knowing I wanted to shoot a long-exposure starfield image, pointed out this tree.

After an afternoon of spotting and photographing giraffes, white rhino (etc.) and chasing a leopard through the bush after sunset, we returned to the tree in the darkness, and I proceeded to create the image I had in my mind.

This is it. Afrika se Nag Lug
During our four-day safari in Kruger Park, South Africa, this was our first of two lion sightings.

Two female lions were basking in the morning sun on a mound.

It was an intense experience to be a mere few metres from wild lions, who were completely unfussed about our presence.

Please view <a href="http://500px.com/photo/15447119">500px.com/photo/15447119</a> to see Mario Moreno's image of the same lioness; Mario was our tour guide, and was 1.5m away from me when I photographed this lioness. Regal Lioness
The photographic conclusion to our first day in Kruger Park.  What a magical day it was, with sightings of many African wildlife, including Makepisi, a male leopard.

Please view Mario Moreno's behind-the-scenes image of me capturing this image at <a href="http://500px.com/photo/15521625">500px.com/photo/15521625</a>. Timbavati Sunset
Watching and Waiting
During one of our morning game drives, we spotted a giraffe or two at sunrise, and stopped to shoot a silhouette of the magnificant creature standing tall. Standing Tall at Sunrise
A closer view of Rockfig Jr as she sensed something in the distance. Rockfig Jr on Alert
On our fifth game drive in Timbavati Private Game Reserve, we finally found male lions.

The news up to this point had not been good: very little lion activity had been detected in the area.

On the 6th of October, 2012, we were very lucky. Not only did we encounter both female lions (in the morning) and male lions (in the evening), but we encountered and photographed all of Africa's 'Big Five' in the one afternoon game drive. The King of Timbavati
On our first of two game drives in Tala Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, we encountered numerous zebras, including this cute juvenile who was happy to pose. Baby Zebra of Tala
During our first trip to South Africa, we headed out on eight game drives across two private game reserves in the country.

We spotted quite a few kudu, but achieving a clean portrait of a kudu looking straight at the camera, without any scrub cutting across the animal's face, is quite a challenge, as kudu like to hide in scrub to avoid predators, and they seldom stay in the open, which makes photography quite difficult.

Finally, this aftenoon, on our final game drive before we head home, we were fortunate enough to encounter some kudu, which, while typically skittish, actually did cooperate, and allow me to land a nice, clean portrait in pleasant surroundings.

Hence, the elusive kudu portrait. The Elusive Kudu Portrait
The Colours of Afrika
Ingwe is the Zulu word for Leopard.

This particular leopard is a female, called Rockfig Jr.

We had a terrific morning watching, photographing and videoing her. Ingwe
On our sixth and final game drive in the Motswari Private Game Reserve, we were fortunate enough to find ourselves immersed within a herd of grazing elephants, which included a few infants, as well as this lager elephantm whose face shows signs of age and experience. The Old Giant
The mighty King of Timbavati, during a late afternoon sighting on our last afternoon/evening game drive in the Motswari Private Game Reserve.

It was an intense experience to witness this wild male lion and his companion resting in the late afternoon, and to photograph them from a short distance. The King's Face
This is Makepisi, a male leopard who inhabits the Timbavati region of Kruger Park.  He was the first leopard we saw on a magical four-day safari in Motswari Private Game Reserve.

Makepisi was sitting on a termite mound, and as the light fell, we continued to observe and photograph him, while he sat only several metres away from us.

Makepisi (roughly pronounced "Muh-keh-peez") means "hat" in the Tsonga language.

I also shot <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFKQRIIrw1U">video footage</a> of Makepisi. Makepisi by Night
On our very last game drive in Tala Private Game Reserve, we were lucky enough to encounter a kudu which was willing to stare me down long enough for me to capture a portrait in pleasing surroundings. Staring Contest
It was our final day at Tala Game Reserve, and we had booked a game drive for the afternoon.  The following day, we would be leaving South Africa.

We were pleasantly surprised to discover that it was only the two of us on our game drive.  We had a private game drive.

Amongst the many wildlife we saw, we encountered the giraffes of Tala.  People we had met during our four days in Tala had been talking about these giraffes, and wanting to see them.

On our private game drive, we went off the usual track and into the thick, where seven or eight giraffes, including two pregnant females, were grazing all around us.  We were allowed to exit the vehicle and stand in these giraffes' back yard.

One giraffe was inquisitive, and approached us.  During our personal encounter with the giraffes of Tala, I photographed this beautiful creature. Personal Encounter with the Giraffes of Tala
Profile of Rockfig Jr
Another portrait of one of the beautiful Jacaranda pride lionesses we encountered on day three of our safari in the Motswari Private Game Reserve in the Timbavati region of Kruger Park, Mpumalanga, South Africa. Jacaranda Pride Lioness
A view of Rockfig Jr (female leopard) sitting on a mound during a morning game drive in the Motswari Private Game Reserve in Greater Kruger.

She is such a majestic leopard, and a pleasure to see and photograph. Leopard on the Mound
The mighty King of Timbavati, during a late afternoon sighting on our last afternoon/evening game drive in the Motswari Private Game Reserve.

It was an intense experience to witness this wild male lion and his companion resting in the late afternoon, and to photograph them from a short distance. The King's Face (B&W)
Motswari Night
During our second morning game drive in the Motswari Private Game Reserve, we were fortunate enough to spot a pair of southern yellow-billed hornbills perched high in a tree.

Fortunately our vantage point was such that the warm morning light shone upon the hornbills. Portrait of a Southern Yellow-Billed Hornbill
An image from an awesome sighting of two Jacaranda Pride lionesses during our third day of our wildlife safari in the Motswari Private Game Reserve, located in the Timbavati region of greater Kruger Park, Mpumalanga, South Africa.

This Jacaranda lioness was perched atop a mound, happily gazing into the distance in the morning sunlight. Morning Gaze
The title <i>Eye of the Leopard</i> is homage to the awesome National Geographic documentary of the same name, shot by Beverly and Dereck Jouvert, featuring the life of Legadema, a young leopard in the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

The leopard in my image is Makepisi (which means "hat" in Shangaan).  I captured this image of a stunning leopard on the first game drive we took in the Motswari Private Game Reserve, which is located within the Timbavati region of greater Kruger Park in Mpumalanga province, South Africa.

Makepisi was the very first wild leopard we encountered.

We spent quite a nice time in close proximity to Makepisi, watching, photographing and videoing him.

Be sure to see my <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFKQRIIrw1U">video footage</a> of Makepisi. Eye of the Leopard
The hippopotamus is the most dangerous animal in Africa.

It is very aggressive and territorial, and will charge at anyone or anything that invades its territory, including boats and humans.

Hippos, despite being large, heavy creatures, can reach running speeds of 30km/h, and can therefore outrun humans.

Alongside with African wildlife photographer and now friend, Mario Moreno, I shot this image of a hippo yawning in Argyle Dam, where we'd stopped at sunrise during the third day of our African wildlife safari in the Motswari Private Game Reserve in the Timbavati region of greater Kruger Park, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.

I shot this image as I stood not far from the waterline -- the back yard of this and other hippos, as well as crocodiles which live in Argyle Dam.
The Hippo's Yawn
It was our final day at Tala Game Reserve, and we had booked a game drive for the afternoon. The following day, we would be leaving South Africa.

We were pleasantly surprised to discover that it was only the two of us on our game drive. We had a private game drive.

Amongst the many wildlife we saw, we encountered the giraffes of Tala. People we had met during our four days in Tala had been talking about these giraffes, and wanting to see them.

On our private game drive, we went off the usual track and into the thick, where seven or eight giraffes, including two pregnant females, were grazing all around us. We were allowed to exit the vehicle and stand in these giraffes' back yard.

One giraffe was inquisitive, and approached us. During our personal encounter with the giraffes of Tala, I photographed this beautiful creature. Smiling Giraffe
This was one of the earlier images I captured of Makepisi male during our first of two encounters with him during our safari in the Timbavati.

In this image, warm patches of sunlight can be seen shining on his fur as he rests on the termite mound on which we found him. Makepisi Male in the Sunshine
One of the two Jacaranda Pride lionesses we encountered on the morning of our third day of our safari in the Motswari Private Game Reserve. Timbavati Queen
Around 15 minutes after we encountered Rockfig Jr female during our second game drive in the Motswari Private Game Reserve, something caught her attention.

Rockfig Jr got up from the termite mound on which she was resting, and headed over to a thicket, where she keenly watched a bachelor warthog which we had also seen, and which was perhaps 50 to 100 metres away.

There was a possibility that Rockfig Jr would attack the warthog and provide herself a nice breakfast, but instead, she sat watching intently.

She soon returned and came extremely close to us. At one point she was less than two metres behind our open-top Land Rover. I was perched in the rear part of the vehicle, and it was the closest I had ever been to a leopard. I Spy with My Little Eye
Check out Mario's very similar image of the same Jacaranda Pride lioness:

<a href="http://500px.com/photo/17978717">500px.com/photo/17978717</a>
Pretty Kitty
Two male impala engaging in sparring.  These two weren't at war, but were engaging in play-battle.  Were a dominant male to encounter an invading male, there'd be a much more intense battle for dominance. Headbangers
A magical sighting of Makepisi male leopard at night on our first night of our African safari adventure in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, greater Kruger Park, South Africa.

As the light fell, Petros, our tracker, brought out the spotlight so we could continue to view and photograph Makepisi as the sun set over a beautiful African savannah landscape in Mpumalanga province.

We saw Makepisi twice during the trip, and he is a special leopard we will always remember.

I also shot <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFKQRIIrw1U">video footage</a> of Makepisi. Leopard of the Night
Majestic Timbavati Lioness
A profile of Rockfig Jr, the second of three unique leopards we encountered in the Motswari Private Game Reserve in South Africa, during an intsene and life-changing photographic safari in October of 2012.

The background blur is not artificially introduced; it is the optical result of the use of a long focal length at a wide aperture within close proximity to the leopard.
Panthera Pardus Profile
A tightly-framed portrait of one of the two Jacaranda Pride lionesses we encountered on the morning of 6 October, 2012, in the Motswari Private Game Reserve, South Africa.
Looking at the regal elegance of this fairly young lioness, it's hard to believe she is also a ruthless hunter, willing and able to attack and kill a 2,000kg buffalo in order to provide food for the pride.

It's nature at its harshest and most contradictory. An Elegant Huntress
Dave, Lea, Xenedette and myself headed away to the Snowy Mountains of NSW for a two-day sojourn and photography expedition.

Having visited Charlotte Pass and nearby Spencers Creek on the first day, we decided to return later in the evening for some starfield photography by the creek.

It was exceedingly dark, and very difficult to compose, both due to lack of visibility, and soft, grassy ground on which our tripods were resting.

This image is the result of the best of what I shot on the night.

Unusual for my style, it is shot at a relatively high ISO setting, hence the lack of 'clean' presentation.

I hope viewers like the image.

While the trip wasn't terribly fruitful in photographic sense, it was nice to get away for a few days and see a place we hadn't seen before.

The orange glow in those distant clouds is not the rising or setting sun, but the soon-to-rise moon, which peeked over the ridge not long after this image was shot. Snowy Mountains by Night
Xenedette and I are in Israel for a few weeks.

Tonight we headed to the Azrieli Centre in central Tel Aviv, where I shot this twilight cityscape looking south-west over Tel Aviv and towards the Mediterranean Sea.

Unbelievable as it may sound, our time in Israel so far has been wet, stormy, windy and cold.  We haven't seen much sun at all, and in this image, heavy patches of rain can be seen moving into Tel Aviv from the sea.

Not long after I captured this image, the rain poured heavily, thus ending the cityscape session. Tel Aviv by Night
We spent the past two days travelling around the north of Israel, visiting the Sea of Galilee, Golan Heights, and Rosh Hanikra near the Israel-Lebanon border.

Yesterday we visited the Church of the Loaves and Fishes, which is located on the north-west shore of the Sea of Galilee in the area where Jesus performed the miraculous feeding of 5,000 people with a bounty of loaves and fishes.

This modern church, which now stands where churches stood in the fourth and fifth centuries, preserves an early Christian mosaic and the traditional stone on which the miraculous meal was laid. Church of the Loaves and Fishes
During our first visit to the Old City of Jerusalem during our January trip to Israel, we visited numerous sites significant in Christianity.

Our first stop was the Church of All Nations, also known as the Basilica of the Agony or the Church of the Agony.

This is one of the architectural images I captured of the incredibe interior.

In this image is depicted a large mosaic of Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night where Jesus was praying. It is in this small garden that Jesus was arrested.

The basilica is located right next to the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, where even today, there are olive trees over 800 years old. We got to see these and walk around the garden.

Being in this church, and knowing the significance of what happened, was an amazing experience. Church of All Nations - Jesus and Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane
The Look
Featured in this image is the magnificent ceiling and support columns of the nave of the Church of All Nations, which is also known as the Basilica of the Agony.

This stunning basilica is located on the Mount of Olives outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Right outside the basilica is the Garden of Gethsemane (גת שמנים; Gat-Šmânim), where Jesus was arrested. Nave of the Church of All Nations
I Can See You
A view of the magnificent architecture, mosaics and stained glass inside the Church of All Nations, which is also known as the Basilica of the Agony.

This stunning basilica is located on the Mount of Olives outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Right outside the basilica is the Garden of Gethsemane (גת שמנים; Gat-Šmânim). The mosaic on the left depicts Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot in Gat-Šmânim on the night he was betrayed and arrested. Ceiling of the Church of All Nations
One of the most magical dawns I've seen (and photographed) in recent years. Cracker Sunrise
An image captured at the North Kiama rock shelf, a photographically rich location with lots of gorges, cascades and splashes to be captured.

Most of my visits to this location have been on cloudy, moody days. One day I hope to return to a stunning, colourful sky. Coastal Moods
Another tight view of Rockfig Jr female, a stunning leopardess who inhabits the Motswari Private Nature Reserve in the Timbavati region of greater Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga province, South Africa.

We had a fantastic morning with Rockfig Jr, and she was all too happy to sit and look stunning as we snapped away. Big Cat of the Kruger
This image is one of the earliest images I captured on a magical morning on 07/04/2012 at Narrabeen.

I have been shooting seascapes for years, but despite that, I have rarely seen such a sky.

I captured a number of pleasing images on that morning.
As the Day Was Dawning
The Cenacle, also known as the Hall of the Last Supper or the Upper Room, is the site at which Jesus held the Last Supper with his disciples in the days leading up to his arrest and crucifixion.

It is located on Mount Zion just outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

We visited the Cenacle during my second visit to the Old City of Jerusalem, where I captured this image and a few other views of the interior of the gothic structure.
The Cenacle on Mount Zion
One of a few images of the Sydney skyline I captured from east Balmain in the autumn of 2011.This particular vantage point offers a very nice view of a picturesque city, and it's not the usual postcard view. The Colours of Sydney
This morning, I found myself immersed in a bizarre combination of three unusual circumstances:

1.  I went out for a dawn shoot.
2.  I wanted a plain sky.
3.  I photographed the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

These days, each of these factors on its own is quite rare.

Firstly, I seldom get time or motivation to head out at dawn. With more or less three jobs, when I get time on the weekend, I look forward to not having to be anywhere, and rising at 3am and travelling somewhere for a dawn shoot is usually far from my mind.

Secondly, I cannot stand plain skies, and generally do not even shoot if there isn't good cloud cover. I keep an eye on weather and sky condition forecasts so I know whether or not it's worth heading out. Apart from plain skies being very boring, the light is harsh and difficult to shoot, particularly when facing east.

Thirdly, I rarely shoot the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It's a subject that has been shot to death by seemingly just about every photographer who lives in Sydney, or who has visited Sydney. It generally bores me in the photographic sense, and apart from one aerial flight during which I captured it from the sky, this is the first time I've photographed the bridge in a good five years.

Because I haven't been out for shoots much lately, and with my recent holiday period starting, I felt the itch, and wanted to take advantage of some free time before heading to London late this week.

My original plan was to head out on Monday night and shoot a twilight cityscape, but the weather forecast was for cloud and possible rain, and sure enough, the cloud rolled in and would have ironically spoiled the image I had in mind.

So, I decided to head out for a shoot on the following morning.

Inspired by an image captured by a contact of mine, I headed to Kirribilli, on the north shore of Sydney Harbour.

I had never visited this location, let alone shot from it.

I arrived nice and early, and captured a few images from my location during the morning blue hour before the light became dull and harsh. Unusually for my morning shoots, I was facing south-south-west rather than eastward.

While this image is what I'd call a postcard shot (hence the title <i>Greetings from Sydney</i>) and terribly <i>cliché</i>, I felt the unusual desire to produce such an image, and I'm happy with the result. Greetings from Sydney
During our 2013 trip to England (the first time I've visited since 2000), we visited some friends in Cambridgeshire.

We visited the city of Ely, and its spectacular cathedral, which was built from 1083 to 1375.

Ely Cathedral is an architecturally stunning building, with a central octagonal lantern tower, shown in the centre of this view of the cathedral's ceiling.

This image is the first I shot of a series of interior architectural images, depicting the magnificence of Ely Cathedral. Ely Cathedral Epicentre
This is another view of the magnificent interior of Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire, England.

In this view, the beautiful organ and ornate architecture of the ceiling of the nave can be seen, right down to the stained glass windows beyond the high altar.

Ely Cathedral, which was built from 1083 to 1375, is well worth visiting, and in my opinion, is an architecture photographer's paradise.

It is magical even to view it with one's own eyes. The Organ and the Nave of Ely Cathedral
An image of the London Houses of Parliament, Elizabeth Tower, the Westminster Bridge and the River Thames was on my list of quintessential London scenes to capture during our fleeting five-day visit.

On the first night, it was wet and miserable, and my efforts down at Tower Bridge weren't as pleasing as I had hoped.

On night two, we were on our way back to London from Ely and Cambridge, so a twilight shoot was not possible.

Night three saw us catching up for dinner with some good friends who have recently moved to London for a few years.

Night four was my last chance to capture the iconic scene.The weather has been wet, cold and windy for the entire duration of the trip, but I decided that I was going to capture my image no matter what the weather presented.

After standing in cold rain for over an hour, waiting for the right light and for the lights to switch on and illuminate my subject, I finally landed my image.

It was worth it. London Blues
This image of London's famous clock tower -- colloquially and incorrectly called 'Big Ben', but in actuality now called Elizabeth Tower -- is one of a series of images I shot of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster on our last night in London on this trip.This image is something of a 'labour of love'.

I dragged Xenedette into the cold, rainy and windy streets where we stood in constant drizzle for the better part of two hours while I waited for the right light and shot my series of images.

To say I am pleased with the result is an understatement, as I've been wanting to shoot some twilight images of London's 'postcard' scenes for a while, and the weather has been less than accommodating.

Even tonight, the weather was not ideal or pleasant, but even during cloudy nights, the twilight produces a royal blue sky, with some additional texture in the way of the clouds. After 9pm on a Rainy London Night
One of the first images of Ely Cathedral I captured was an exterior shot.

I positioned the lens quite close and pointed up for an exggerated angle of the large cathedral. Ely Cathedral
A view of the magnificent interior of Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire, with its distinctive central octagonal lantern tower (colloquially known as 'The Octagon').

We spent a wet, grey afernoon inside Ely Cathedral, where I captured a series of images of this very ornate 11th-13th century cathedral. The Octagon
A view of the east window of Ely Cathedral, located behind the high altar in this stunning 11th-13th century cathedral. The East Window
This is my latest guitar: a Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster in ash, with a maple neck and fretboard.  The finish is called Aged Cherry Sunburst.

It joins my lineup of electric guitars, three of which (including this one) are American Fender Stratocasters.

Not only does it sound and feel great, but the Aged Cherry Sunburst finish looks awesome.

I wanted to capture the beauty of the finish, in what proved to be a tricky image due to the highly reflective nature of this Strat.

My <a href="http://xenedis.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/photographing-guitars-is-difficult/">blog article</a> offers some more insight into the making of this image. Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster in Ash
A magnificent lioness from the Jacaranda Pride which inhabits the Timbavati region of the greater Kruger National Park in South Africa.

We had a fantastic morning with this lioness and another from her pride. Panthera Leo
This is the wide-eyed male leopard Makepisi, who inhabits the Timbavati region of greater Kruger National Park in South Africa.

This image was amongst the many we captured during an intense four-day safari in Motswari Private Game Reserve.

Makepisi was the first of several leopards we would encounter during the trip, and this image was captured on our first game drive. Night Leopard
A view of one of the magnificent lionesses from the Jacaranda Pride, which we encountered on our third day in the Motswari Private Game Reserve in South Africa. Pretty Face
A magnificent sunset closes out our first day in the African bushveld. Lone Tree on the Savannah
On a wet and cold Sunday, I decided to re-visit a six-year old image and process it quite differently.

In this version, the distortion has been corrected, and the contrast is much less aggressive.

As a point of comparison, here is the original version:

www.flickr.com/photos/xenedis/2042602845/ Brisbane City from Kangaroo Point
A profile of leopardess Rockfig Jr, who inhabits the Timbavati region of Greater Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga, South Africa. Bukekayo Ingwe
It's been quite some time since I published a seascape image, and longer since I shot one.

The year 2013 was not "Year of the Seascape" for me, as my interests were elsewhere, and motivation for photography was significantly lacking.

Today I dragged out an old, unpublished image from the archives.

This image was taken in 2012, on one of the rare mornings I've encountered, in which the light and conditions were superb.

Perhaps I should re-visit seascaping again in the new year. Play Misty For Me
There is nothing more rewarding than heading out for a dawn landscape shoot in inclement weather, knowing that the conditions will probably be quite dreadful, and then encountering an utterly amazing sky during a small window of opportunity so familiar to landscape photographers.

This is an awesome sunrise on Mt Mee, north-west of Brisbane in Queensland.

During this shoot we only had a brief window of magic before the inclement conditions returned, and the rest of the day was grey, wet and gloomy. You'd never know that such a sunrise happened on an otherwise dull day. Dawn on Mt Mee
Yesterday I went for out a shoot for the first time in six months.  Yes, it has been that long!

For quite a while I had wanted to shoot the Sydney skyline from a different vantage point to the usual places, and Ballaarat Park on Darling Island in Pyrmont was the place I had in mind.

I set out to capture the golden hour light, and later, the blue hour light of twilight, which was my original intention.

However, having arrived early, I decided to shoot a long-exposure image using my ten-stop ND filter.

In post-processing, I decided that a moody, punchy monochrome version in 2:1 aspect ratio looked best.  Besides, at the time the light was flat and dull, and not ideal for photography.

I am pleased with the result. Long Day in Sydney
I captured this twilight view of Sydney on 18/12/2013, which was the first photography outing for me in over six months.

It has been an even longer time since I photographed the Sydney skyline, and the presence of a substantial number of cranes at Barangaroo, which is now a major development site, is testimony to the changing face of Sydney. The Changing Face of Sydney
Lighting setup:

1.  Canon Speedlite 580EX II at 1/64th power and 24mm zoom, positioned behind the subject, outside a light tent with a blue backdrop, and triggered with a PocketWizard PLUS II.

2.  Desk lamp with fluorescent light globe at 90 degrees camera left.

3.  Desk lamp with tungsten light globe at 90 degrees camera right. Glowing
An incredible morning at Narrabeen, in the Northern Beaches district of Sydney.

The sky was sensational on that morning, and resulted in many pleasing images from this excellent rock shelf. Swishes and Swirls
On Valentine's Day of 2014, I bought some roses for Xenedette.

I rarely shoot flowers or macro images, so I've shot an image combining both.

I wanted some dramatic side lighting, and I wanted to highlight water droplets on the rich red petals, so I used my trusty LED headlamp in a darkened room, manually holding it during a ten-second exposure. Valentine Rose
Another close-up view of a rose.

This time I photographed a different rose, used a longer focal length, and employed the technique of focus stacking to provide deep depth of field and sharp focus throughout the image.

For more details on how I created this image, visit the following article:

http://xenedis.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/overcoming-the-challenge-of-depth-of-field-in-macro-photography/ Petals
This is Big Nigrescens, a spot in the Timbavati region of South Africa, through which we had passed during a morning game drive.

I wanted to capture stunning silhouettes of jagged, dead trees against the magnificent night sky over Africa.

After some fantastic wildlife spotting and photography, including pursuit of a leopardess on a stalk some thirty minutes earlier, we returned to Big Nigrescens where I shot this image and a few others in the pitch blackness of a warm African night. Big Nigrescens
A productive sunset shoot at the much-photographed Turimetta Beach. Zig Zag
On our first night in London for a long time, we headed to Tower Bridge, where I had intended to shoot the bridge in the royal blue twilight light.

The weather had other ideas.  As the darkness crept in, so did the rain, and it drizzled relentlessly as we cowered under the barely-adequte shelter outside London's City Hall.

Earlier, I did manage to land a shot adjacent to The Scoop, looking west along the riverside.

In the distance can be seen The Shard, one of London's newer buildings, which affords stunning views of London.

The London skyline has changed a lot since my previous trip in 2000, but the weather can still be quite miserable! Rainy Riverside
This composition is a slightly different take on an earlier image I published, depicting Westminster Bridge, Elizabeth Tower and the Houses of Parliament in London.

This was the last night of our fleeting five-day visit in May of 2013, so I've appropriately titled it "Last Night in London". Last Night in London
At a Chinese friend's wedding, I captured in beautiful side-lighting this elder Chinese man, wearing a richly-coloured shirt, engrossed in conversation. Conversing by the Window
A fantastic morning at Lurline Bay in the eastern suburbs of Sydney.

The threatening sky and the rich textures of the foreground rocks combined to create a sense of drama and contrast on this moody morning. Stormy Lurline (B&W)
On the weekend of 12-13 April, 2014, I went away with <a href="http://www.davidoliver.com.au">David Oliver</a> and <a href="http://www.petereastway.com">Peter Eastway</a> -- two of Australia's leading photographers -- and some friends from the Flickr FOCUS group.

We attended an intense two-day landscape photography workshop with David and Peter, and shot in and around Gresford and Dungog in the picturesque Hunter Valley, both from the ground and from the air on an early-morning helicopter flight.

The aerial photography component was all about beautiful lighting and capturing the contours of the landscape.

This was the stand-out image from the aerial session.

With this image, all of the elements aligned, except I didn't know it at the time.

A glorious patch of light illuminated this isolated tree on the rolling hills, and a natural leading line points right at it.  Also hidden within the intricacies of this image are animals grazing on the hills.

It was a fantastic weekend, and this image alone was very pleasing.  Peter made an A3 print of this image, so I will have it framed and hang it proudly in our home. Hills of the Hunter
On the weekend of 12-13 April, 2014, I went away with <a href="http://www.davidoliver.com.au">David Oliver</a> and <a href="http://www.petereastway.com">Peter Eastway</a> -- two of Australia's leading photographers -- and some friends from the Flickr FOCUS group.

We attended an intense two-day landscape photography workshop with David and Peter, and shot in and around Gresford and Dungog in the picturesque Hunter Valley, both from the ground and from the air on an early-morning helicopter flight.

This image was captured along Bingleburra Road between East Gresford and Dungog.  Some moody skies had been constantly changing the conditions, and we encountered rain.

A few of us headed up for a higher, and different view over the valley.  This view looks south, and on the distant ridges, rain can be seen falling. The Moody Hunter
This older image was captured at Long Reef in 2010, on what turned out to be a spectacular morning which yielded pleasing images.

This particular location is on the outer part of the reef near the breaking waves. A magical sky and rich colour provided for a beautiful, glassly lake surrounded by Long Reef's many boulders. Blue Lagoon
For the past few days, we have called this magnificent Edwardian hotel -- Caves House -- home; for we headed to Jenolan, in the Blue Mountains, for a pre-Queen's Birthday long weekend getway to reconnect with nature and give ourselves a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of daily life in the big smoke.

During our stay at Caves House in Jenolan, we spent many hours immersed in the magnificence of 420 million-year-old limestone caves, adorned with calcite crystal formations which have developed over thousands and millions of years.

Over the coming days I will publish more images from our Jenolan Caves getaway, featuring not only this magnificent hotel, but the incredible formations in the six caves we visited.

I captured this image of our lodgings on the second night of our stay, having recently emerged from the Imperial-Diamond Cave, in time for the beautiful twilight that presented itself in the short time before we went for dinner.

I hope you enjoy this image. It will always remind me of the fantastic time we had here. Jenolan Caves House
A scene from an amazing morning at Narrabeen in the autumn of 2012.  The water takes on a misty blue appearance as the rich red and orange sky of an imminent sunrise lights the jagged rocks on the rock shelf. Misty Blue Waters
On a stunning sunrise at Long Reef in 2010, I captured this serene natural rockpool on the outer reef.

The main rock featured in this image resembles a guitar pick, hence the title "Guitar Pick Island". Guitar Pick Island
The stunning leopardess Rockfig Jr surveys her territory, observing a  potential meal in the distance. Observation
A majestic lioness from the Timbavati region's Jacaranda pride rests at ease on a termite mound.

She provided us with an intense experience on an early morning game drive. At Ease
A view towards Dungog from high above Mount Richardson in the Hunter Valley, taken early in the morning with David Oliver during his portraiture and landscape photography weekend. Valley of Mount Richardson
Having recently bought a 400mm f/2.8 lens, I have been somewhat keen to use it.

I bought it to photograph wildlife during our next African safari, but for the lack of any local leopards or lions, I decided to use this lens for the next best subject: the moon.

Here, on 6 September, 2014, the moon is in Waxing Gibbous phase.

I headed outside earlier this evening to photograph the moon, which was a challenge given the heavy cloud cover that was blowing over.

During one of a few short windows of opportunity, I captured this frame.

Ignore the focal length of 800mm; I actually shot this at 1,120mm as a result of having stacked both my 1.4x and 2x tele-converters; but when stacking more than one tele-converter, the focal length and aperture are not transmitted to the camera, so it appears that I used only my 2x tele-converter. Waxing Gibbous
A view of the edge of the rock shelf at Narrabeen, captured on one of the finest dawns and sunrises I've ever photographed. On the Edge
Last night I attended the Focus Photography 2014 Annual Awards with many photography friends and associates, and being in the company of such people and such images can often give one a bit of a kick-start.

While my photographic output in 2014 has been very low, after hearing the winner of one of the awards relating how the image had sat idle for many months after shooting it, I thought I'd look back at some of my own work and see if there was a hidden gem.

Sure enough, there was, and this image was it. I shot this image towards the end of 2013, a year in which I had spent time photographing scenes in England and Israel, yet a year in which I had also found the time and inspiration to photograph my own city.

I don't know how I didn't recognise the potential of this image; it was completely overlooked in favour of other images I captured during the same shoot.

But today, looking through inspired and perhaps different eyes, I saw something that I had missed earlier, and here is the result of taking a second look.

Based on this experience, I would encourage all photographers to go back through their archives and just see what is there, waiting to be given the attention it deserves. I have found that after some time away, it's possible to find a gem which for a long enough time was hidden in plain sight, or spotted once but since forgotten. Streak
This view of a tempestuous sky in South Cronulla was an image I shot over four years ago, and originally processed and published in black and white.

Here is a newly-processed colour version. To my eyes years later, it looks just as effective in colour as it does in black and white. Enter the Darkness