Boxing Day 2011

Have never seen a butterfly this colour before. The sight of it brought me out of the house with my camera.

Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day.  I guess we just took this on as part of the colonial legacy in Papua New Guinea. There are no post-Christmas sales like everywhere else in the Western world. For most, in PNG, it is an extended holiday and especially so if Christmas was celebrated on Sunday or Monday.

A single bright pink bloom

It was a lovely sunny day in Port Moresby but I opted to stay home and just chill out despite the power black out which made any breeze-less day inside my house unbearable.

I looked out the front yard and was so happy at the sight of the lovely zinnias. The front yard was a flush with a myriad of colours, mostly lilac, hot pink and orange. It was a good time to experiment with different settings on my Nikon D90 and I must say I was pleased with the results. I am happy to share them on this post.

A beautiful lilac coloured zinnias. Looks like a windmill.

These flowers attracted the butterfly and a small bee-like insect. There could have been other insects too buzzing around with the odd mosquito which I did not notice as I was too busy trying to take shots of a couple of the zinnias which did not look too wind-swept.

Bee-like insect on the bloom. Took a couple of shots before I caught it on this one to take this close-up shot.

As I walked around my small front yard I could see that although Port Moresby has  33 degree temperatures all year through still anything can grow with very little watering but regularly.

A bright orange zinnias. Beautiful.

Another shot of the butterfly (below). I had to chase it around the garden to be able to take this shot. The tint of blue on its head and part of the wingspan is unbelievable which is not obvious on the first shot I took (the first photo on this post).

Another shot at the butterfly feeding on pollen.

The long power black out on Boxing Day drove me out of the house and onto the front yard and the searing heat however I was compensated with the sight of these beautiful flowers. A power blackout on Boxing Day was unacceptable because we couldn’t heat up food or have the fans on. I hope it doesn’t happen again next Boxing Day. I can only hope.

Lovely blooms but a little battered about with recent heavy rains in the area
The butterfly was almost a different colour every time I tried to take a shot. Here it looks kind of golden.

Next time there is a power black out and I’m home during the day, I ‘ll remember to take my camera and explore other flower gardens in the neighbourhood. Sounds like a pretty good one to include as a New Year’s resolution.

Happy Holidays to everyone.

Trigger-Happy: Learning To Shoot With My Nikon D80 – Part 2

Another amazing result! after lunch at Cafe Nero (one of 100s in London)
Another amazing result! after lunch at Cafe Nero (one of 100s in London)

The next lot of photos are images from lessons on white balance and the ‘A’ setting. Real eye openers. So let’s see how these shots turned out. I always had difficulty with indoor shots. Usually it’s either the lighting – too low or too bright, or the angle or something. This shot took my breath away. No flash used! can you believe that. Outside City Hall along the Thames are these mini water fountains. They are timed so you see gushing water every few seconds. Fun for the kids and fun for us as we clicked away. Some of my shots.


Happy picture...just had to call it that
Happy picture…just had to call it that
Some more of these fabulous mini water fountains…fun for the family and for the class – that’s us.
City Hall in the distance
City Hall and part of the London Bridge in the distance
I thought this was like an orchestra without a conductor. The water obeys the invisible conductor’s commands. Interesting water symphony…
Water ballet or a conductor-less orchestra?
Water ballet or a conductor-less orchestra?

 The next lesson was on the ‘A’ setting. I was in awe of my Nikon D80. It came to life and many thanks to my photo workshop. Worth every quid!

Love this shot - candy man!
Love this shot - candy man!
This next shot again took me absolutely by surprise. Not in a million years I thought. What is my Nikon D80 up to now? Whoever had the idea for a camera will be really shocked maybe not that technology has made this invention so intricate and so compact in so many ways. I am blessed with this piece of metal in my hand that has a mind of its own.
Wow! this shot turned out better than I thought
Wow! this shot turned out better than I thought
We did our revisions, asked some more questions on the lessons we covered and all too soon it was time to wrap up and go on our separate ways and to other plans. I asked the class to gather for a quick group photo. I am so glad I took this class which introduced me to the world of colour, light, speed, etc beside just the ‘Auto’ setting. The photo workshop was conducted byLondon Photo Tours and Workshops: Expert in Delivering Creative Photography Education. For more information on these tours and workshops visit their website:
So at the end of the workshop, I was so happy when my ‘classmates’ and the instructor agreed to take this photo with me.
Taken on a self-time and it worked
Taken with a self-timer and it worked!
It is sometimes difficult to describe what we learn when there are still so many gaps and grey areas still in our knowledge banks and still to acquire. What I learnt from this class. A quick evaluation.
  • My Nikon D80 is a first class camera – great features, easy to programme, lots of pleasant and awesome surprises.
  • Handle it with care and  it’ll make you feel like Ali Baba
  • Take a few more classes on specific aspects of photography to build confidence in the use of the Nikon D80 
  • Make sure it is a wokabaut workshop as it is the most pratical and you learn skills and acquire knowledge in real life
  • If at all possible take a photography course then re-read your Nikon D80 manual. It makes a lot of sense especially if you are learning to use a semi-professional camera but still want to keep it as an enjoyable hobby
  • Always ask questions when in doubt
  • Always write down the ISO setting, the shutter speed etc so you know what result you got from what setting
  • To be grateful for the subjects that you capture on camera
  •  To be grateful for the exercise from this wokabaut photo tour and workshop.

Trigger-Happy: Learning to Shoot With My Nikon D80 – Part 1

Nice! wonder where it is registered...
Nice! wonder where it is registered...
I took a photography course which I mistakenly had thought was taking place in Deptford! Just outside London and about 2hrs drive from where I live. Mea culpa! It was in Southwark an area outside the square mile that was the old City of London. Quaint place with lots of pubs and lots of history. There were five of us, all women in the class. Three of us had Nikon cameras – a D40, D70 and a D80 (that’s me), one Sony and one Canon. We met at the entrance of the London Bridge Mainline Station which is not the same as the London Bridge Tube Station. I got it mixed up and had to walk back where I came from to meet up with my group. Long long or what? Most stations have the mainline/overland trains and tube under one roof but with a million entrances so you need to find out precisely where you are supposed to go to meet people or which train to catch.
Anyway, our workshop was a wokabaut workshop which meant no classroom yipeee…That for me was a great way to spend a Saturday. I was of course late joining the group by about 10 minutes, was quickly forgiven and with smiles all around we set off.  Our wokabaut photography workshop was along the timeless River Thames and our instructor, guided us on our route which was packed full of great sights and subjects. Lots of families were out and about. It was an on and off sunny day with a slight overcast which came and went but did little to bother us. I had my umbrella so rain was of little concern to me.  This being London it is always a must to carry a small umbrella like having your purse/wallet – always with you.
Cruising on the Thames on a Saturday morning...
Cruising on the Thames on a Saturday morning...
Our first stop was a spot overlooking the Thames. The sight of the water was a really pleasant surprise for me.  Our first lesson was to set our camera dials to the ‘P’ setting and take as many pictures as we liked on that setting. No more ‘Auto’! I reckon ‘Auto’ is really a security blanket for amateur photographers – I am in that category. I guess we get so used to the liklik compact ones or as some call them ‘idiot cameras’ – don’t have to think about it -just point, frame and shoot – most people just point and shoot and so you know what the results are. Usually you end up with beheaded and amputated subjects! That’s what happens when you don’t frame your subject. Well, we live and learn!  As we were clicking away, I realised then why we were asked to have fully-charged batteries and spares as well because it was a very practical class – alot of peaceful bloodless shooting!  Oh yes and we looked like a motley crew of wannabe paparazzi. Well, hidden talents come in handy when you need them one day. 
Columns in 'P'
Columns in 'P'
Our next stop was in a building housing a small but impressive photo exhibition. I can’t remember the name of it. I had a quick look at some of the photos and was quite impressed. They were shots of ordinary things every day stuff but in their photographer’s mind these are transformed into subjects of beauty to behold. Our next lesson was to shoot this clown with the light infront of us. That was really something. With the lesson behind us I took these shots with the light behind me. This was an imposing sculpture. I estimated it to be about 12 – 15 feet high.
Dancing clown or....
Dancing clown or....
Court Jester?
Court jester?
Should have found out who the sculptor is of this impressive and imposing figure. It was right in our faces when we walked into the building. Quite clever that behind the blue is a grey piece which looked like bell bottoms or typical clown garb. I’m not sure whether it is carved out of one material or an ensemble of different materials pieced together to create this sculpture. I’m still wondering how it was put together.
Our next lesson was on ISO settings. We went through the Hays Galleria. Wow! the building was something else. Really lovely inside but lots of pigeons flying about which was a tad worrying because you didn’t know when they need to answer nature’s call and where. Nevermind, we went to a sort of arcade where we had our lesson on setting the ISO. We were instructd to increase and decrease the ISO settings on our camera to see what came up. I think I much prefer doing this manually but only when not in a tearing hurry to take a shot of something or someone. I think this was set on 200 ISO.
In 200 ISO?
In 200 ISO?
On our way into Hays Galleria I took these shots at the entrance. Quite an impressive building. I loved this shot – not part of the lesson though.          
An impressive building
An impressive building

 The next lesson, before we broke for lunch, was the setting ‘S’. Again we are instructued to take as many shots as we liked on different settings to see which one works best for us respectively, and we learnt what a histogram is. That was cool. A few years ago if anyone would have asked me what a histogram is I probably would have said something like, “never ‘eard of  ‘im”! Anyway, these are those funny charts that show up on the back of my D80.  I used to try to get rid of them – slow huh! Here are some shots on the ‘S’ setting. We were laughing, cameras clicking away – we must have looked a sight!   I was excited because I was learning alot from the workshop and discovering how much we each had  in our hot little hands.

We had to snap Ron whilst he is walking past...
We had to snap him whilst he was walking past...
There his is again! snap him! giggles, giggles
There he is again! snap him! (laughter)








  Then it was time for questions and sharing of discoveries.  Instructor and class take a short break to enjoy the sights and sounds along the Thames. 

Instuto and class take5!
Instructor and class take 5!

 On our way to lunch at one of the many Cafe Nero coffee houses in London, I took some shots of scenes and subjects  that interested me. I love photos of buildings. Here’s one I thought was impressive, taken in ‘P’

At low tide on the Thames
At low tide on the Thames
This is the end of Part 1. I’ll be posting Part 2 shortly so watch this space. In the meantime here are some more scenes along the river taken on my wokabaut workshop. 
Cruising...way to go!
Cruising...way to go!
Another cruise boat...
Another cruise boat...


Catch you in Part 2!