Archive for November, 2009

Well today… I decided to use the action sports photography techniques that my cousin Barry taught me in Melbourne. Boracay is a major place for kite boarding and wind surfing. The Bolabog beach is perfect because the beach is shallow for a long way out. This means that if you fall off, you can easily get back on.

This is pretty much my first attempt at this sort of photography… so it was more of a practice session and inspect the images afterwards. Sports photography is quite hard and the pros make it look so easy! There’s a lot that you need to look out for and framing is extremely important!

I noticed that the reflections of the water were quite strong and I decided to use my polarising filter to remove the reflections. Wow! You can really see the colour of the water in some of these images!

Let’s have a look then eh…

Bolabog beach full of kite surfing gear!

ISO 200, 1/2000 sec, F2.8.

ISO 200, 1/1250 sec, F2.8.

ISO 200, 1/1600 sec, F2.8, Aperture Priority, +0.3 EV.

ISO 200, 1/1250 sec, F2.8, Aperture Priority, +0.7 EV.

ISO 200, 1/1000 sec, F2.8, Aperture Priority, +0.7 EV.

ISO 250, 1/1600 sec, F3.5, Aperture Priority, +0.7 EV.

ISO 250, 1/1000 sec, F3.5, Aperture Priority, +0.7 EV.

ISO 250, 1/800 sec, F3.5, Aperture Priority, +0.7 EV.

ISO 250, 1/800 sec, F3.5, Aperture Priority, +0.7 EV.

ISO 250, 1/1000 sec, F4, Aperture Priority, +0.7 EV.

I then wondered over the White Beach... Photo to the left...

Photo to the right...

Just look at how the polarising filter brings that colour out!


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It was sad to leave Australia… I had a great time and loved seeing all the family! I woke up at 4am on the last morning and the airport taxi arrived at 5:10am. My journey took me to Sydney (1.5 hrs) and then on to Manila (8 hrs).

My time in Manila was quite stressful! In fact, I nearly came back straight to the UK! Let me explain…

The Philippine peso is a restricted currency. This means that you can only bring in or take out a small amount of cash in/out of the country. The last time I was here, it was a $100US worth in local currency (about 4,500 peso’s). I ended up bringing 4,000 peso’s. The restriction is now 10,000 peso’s which I didn’t know.

Knowing that 4,000 peso’s wont get you very far when traveling, I tried to cash in some of my travelers cheques at the airport. None of the banks and currency exchange places wanted to change them!! This got me a little worried and so I tried the ATM, “Sorry cannot contact your branch”! Fortunately, I had $30 AUS which I changed and that gave me an extra 1,240 pesos.

I decided that maybe the banks were closing soon at the airport and they simply couldn’t be fussed to phone up for the approval codes. So I got a taxi which cost of 500 pesos, checked-in into the hotel, showered and went across the road for a pizza and a beer.

During the night I did start to worry that “what if?” nobody would change my travelers cheques? I only had 4,000 pesos. If I continued to Boracay and still couldn’t change my money into local cash, I might not have enough to get back to Manila’s international airport. So I had to find a way to change cash in Manila before leaving for the airport the following day.

I set myself a time limit that if I could not change some my travelers cheques by 10:30am, I’d have to arrange to go back to the UK. The last place you want to be is in a foreign place like Manila with no money! I tried all the banks within a visible walking distance from the hotel (you don’t want to wonder too far in a place like Manila). None of them would change UK Pound Sterling travelers cheques. They would only do US Dollar cheques! My immediate thought was “travelers cheques suck!”… On my way to the hotel the night before I saw a HSBC bank about 1km down the road. I got the hotel to arrange a “safe” taxi… When I arrived at the bank, I had smiles when I asked to change my travellers cheques! Whew! I cannot describe the relief I had!!! Even the cashier commented that I looked tired! Eish! It was 9:45am.

The HSBC bank would change £300 into local currency which was okay with me. I also drew out £260 at the ATM inside the bank which gave me a total of 42,000 pesos. But now wondering around Manila with that much cash gives you a different feeling! You don’t want to be carrying that much cash either! Gees, what do you do? Carry no cash and have travelers cheques which mean nothing to anybody, or, carry hard currency which makes you a target!

I spoke with a British fellow in the hotel who comes to the Philippines once a month. Last week he was in the south and said it was a very dangerous place down there. For those that don’t know… the South of the philippines is not a safe place for any body! That is where kidnappings happen and there are groups of muslim extremists in the region. Anyway, this chap said last week he had to “change a lot of money” at a money changer in the middle of the street where everybody could see what was going on. He said it was not a pleasant experience! I can only imagine… In fact, this guy was going back down south this week… no way would I be doing that!! Eish!!

Getting to the local airport and onto Boracay was plain sailing as they say. I was much more relieved and when I saw the island from the air… well…. I was very excited to be back! I got to change my money on the island with no problems, paid for the apartment and started settling in…

Having not really eaten properly for 2 days, I had a US imported Angus Steak and a beer! Just what I needed! And the following morning, I had a good breakfast and I’m now starting to relax…

The pics below was my walk to breakfast…

I walk past the pool area from my apartment.

The distance to the beach is about a 30 second walk along this path.

The beach is just ahead...

Right on the beach.... I turn right and walk for a while...

The tourist centre is just on the right. This is where I changed my travellers cheques.

Taking photos of just about anything!

The colour of the sea is exactly how I remembered it 😉

Could you imagine being here? 😉 getting some shade from the sun...

Okay.. back to the walk along the path by the beach front.

Getting close to my breakfast place...

This is where I finally had breakfast 🙂 Rumba's...

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Some Family Portraits

Here are a few family portraits I like… I took these whilst in Australia.

Little Ava going to the pool...

Ava playing within the pool area...

Ava playing in a park nearby...

Ava posing near a tree at sunset.

My brother Cliff with his gardening hat on.

I love Kristian in this photo!

I love this photo also... I've took a few like this. It was hard to choose, but felt the framing of this one was probably the best of the bunch.

Gwen, Kristian & Dylan together...

I was starting to struggle with shutter speed here and had to increase my ISO 😦

This is my favourite I think...

ISO 800, Aperture Priority, +0.3 EV, 1/80 sec, F4.5.

We took quite a few photos at this location.

My last frame of the shoot...

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Day 48 was fantastic!!! We started off having breakfast near the coast line and walking through the beach front at Surfers Paradise. Later around lunch time, the whole family came round and we had a great time in the pool and enjoying some home brew beer! Yeah!!

Surfers Paradise in the distance...

A family photo... used flash at +1 FEV. Photo by Vania Cole.

Me at the Surfers Paradise gates! 🙂 Photo by Vania Cole.

Partying at my brother Cliff's home. I'm in the pool... 🙂 Photo by Cliff Cole (I think?)

All of us chilling out, enjoying the weather and having a beer! Photo by Owen Cole.

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Day 47 was about seeing Brisbane! We went into the city on the train and wondered around. The river boat is cool and in general, it is a very nice place. Okay… time for some pics…

First up was a stop passed a Navy boat.

Interesting... looks like a mobile lighthouse?

Part of the river running through the town.

The walk way we used to gain access to the water front on the river.

A temple on the river front.

The temple door. What more can I say? 😉

I liked the elephant...

The temple was nice. Getting good exposure was quite difficult!

The temple entrance...

A view of the Brisbane sky scrappers from the river.

I loved the architecture of this building! Unusual...

We jumped on river boat and took in the sights and sounds of Brisbane.

This was the river boat we were on...

Cliff and Vania on our walk through the Brisbane Botanic Gardens

I noticed this boat on the river walk... hmm... interesting...

Hmm... how about this boat?

We walked quite a long way... very nice though!

Yip... it's me... No flash was used. I used the fill light feature of Lightroom. Photo by Vania Cole.

Cliff and Vania heading towards a different part of the river front.

We stopped not too far from here for a beer.

Another perspective of the river front and the bridge behind.

Cliff and Vania waiting for me to catch up... 😉 Photographers eh!

The view of where we had just walked...

I think I got carried away taking photographs!

I think the last time I saw a boat like this was on the Discovery Channel... 😉

Close up of the water wheel turning.

Me again feeling refreshed after a beer!

Brisbane is full of modern architecture.

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Day 42 – Owen Portrait

On Day 42 I had an idea to light up part of the garden for a portrait of Owen. I used both my flashes. A flash on the right to highlight Owen and a flash on the left to highlight the background.

First, I took a quick test shot to look for any surprises…

As you can see, the plant leaf is very distracting! So I turned this plant around...

Now it was time to get Owen into the frame and after about 3 shots, I got this frame…

This is the frame I kept. The flash on the left is wide open and I fathered the light so it just hit Owen and highlighted more of the background.

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After our visit to Coffs Harbour and the surrounding area, it was time time to go back home. We stopped at a small town called Yumba which was lovely. Nothing flash, but had a lot of character and would be a nice place to visit in future. We then moved on to Byron Bay which is much more popular with tourists and back packers. It looks like there’s lot to do in Byron Bay and there’s always something going on.


The light house house at Yumba.


A retired couple admiring the view...


The beach at Byron Bay.


Great beach... The which is safe to swim in... 😉


This was taken around 12pm on a Monday...

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