Tigers and raindrops

During the summer my local zoo occasionally stays open late.  This week was the last time for the season, but a gentle ramble with friends was cut short by an amazing (if brief) rain storm.   All animals ran for cover, and so did most humans.  At the same time the sun was setting behind me, half covered by clouds, and the light was pleasingly strange.

203-4 Ali-Little

Still, at least one tiger posed nicely before the rain arrived – she is in heat, I was told, and certainly seemed verrry interested in the adjacent male tiger enclosure.   He in turn watched her every head toss and tail flick with a clearly fake nonchalance.


The Leap – Getting arty at the Island Bay fair

My challenge for today was to catch the idea of “motion” in an abstract sort of image.  This is a child leaping about in one of those bungy swing contraptions at a local street fair.   There was only a narrow angle of view where I could frame a shot to have just the child in it against the grey sky and not a messy background tangle of cords, struts, and the garish awnings of surrounding stalls.  I was very happy when there was a somersault in just the right place, and rather like the watercolour-painting look to the image.

Child sumersaulting

Details : 1/20 sec f/22 iso 100 135mm (202mm in 35mm film terms), a vintage Asahi Super-Takumar lens on Sony A6000.  

Zoo at twilight

I live near a small zoo, whose leafy paths make for a pleasant evening stroll.

My challenge tonight was to use just one manual lens of a fixed focal length.  This meant all interesting creatures more than a few metres away or those moving at any speed were not going to get captured.   There could be no classic watch-meerkat-on-a-rock shot against the sky tonight, no red panda in the trees, no jumping monkeys (just trust me, they were very cute), and entire animal kingdoms who remained at the back of their enclosures could not be photographed.

On the other hand, having to take the time to frame and focus each shot probably improved the ones I did take.   Except for the kiwi: my camera isn’t quite up to taking photos in the dark (or rather, the very red light has odd effects on the sensor), but it was still lovely to see a kiwi close up and active.

Shot with an A6000, and a Super-Takumar 50mm/f1.4 lens, mostly with the lens wide open.



Not a postcard

Oriental Bay by moonlight, non-pond conditions.

This is the kind of photo you get when the sea is sufficiently rough that a ten second exposure doesn’t really smooth things out at all.  And, you’re unable to take any viable shots longer than ten seconds, because energetic wind gusts rock your camera (precariously balanced on a backpack on a sea wall) at vaguely 15 second intervals.    And you’ve the wrong lens, so the moon is somewhat mashed, and lights have an excessively spiky retro twinkle.

But hey, I wasn’t planning to take photos tonight, just driving home when the moon escaped the clouds to go all splendidly Dean Martinesque over the harbour.  Not that I have quite the photographic evidence to prove it . . .

moon over water


Butterfly through a vintage lens

One of the things I most enjoy about my mirrorless camera is its ability to use (with a suitable adapter) just about any sort of lens – including the the kind bought of ebay for very small amounts of money.  This is taken using a SMC Pentax-A zoom, 35-70mm, which is pretty much the kind of all purpose lens that would have been on any keen tourist’s film camera in the way-back-when.    It’s capable of quite close focus, but with the addition of a couple of macro extension tubes it gets verrry close, to the point where you appreciate that a butterfly is a very 3D creature.

Macro butterfly

Slightly becalmed on the South Coast

The sea was pretty flat by the time we arrived at the beach, just after sunset.  It was nice, that is dull, and clouds meant my husband probably wasn’t going to see the Venus-Mars conjunction he was hoping for; we nearly turned around and went home.  But soon it was dark enough for some long-but-not-too-long exposures of gentle waves on a pleasingly rocky part of the shore.  Also in my evening’s photo haul: scenic fishing boats rocking very slightly at anchor and rock pools with beige seaweed.  You don’t need to see that.

long exposure waves rocks

18 sec, ISO 320 50mm, f 8-ish (hey it’s a manual lens and I was playing with dials in the dark)