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Roving-Eye Gallery update and newsletter #26 for July-August 2023

Hello to everyone and thank you to the new subscribers.. welcome aboard!


With the latest update just uploaded head to What's New - August 2023 | and you can scroll back month by month for an easy catch up for previous months too!


This newsletter covers both July and August so in the link above just scroll back another month to catchup with everything!


First some housekeeping..

There is a handy master index for all newsletter and gallery updates at


Secondly don’t forget look at the YouTube channel.. I have a growing and significant collection of videos covering so much more than I can on the regular landscape gallery pages.. just head to on a regular basis.. or subscribe.. since there is plenty of fresh and interesting material being uploaded regularly!


Lastly it’s been a couple of months and I also wanted to chat a bit with this one so please forgive the slightly longer than typical newsletter.. I hope you enjoy!


Now to the newsletter!


I’ve included 3 images that I wanted to touch on so let’s get straight to it!


These images are linked directly to the gallery page so you can just click and instantly be there for a detailed look around if you want!


The whale image is a Southern Right Whale and calf.. they are part of an endangered East Coast population and are closely tracked and monitored with any sighting adding to the database of knowledge of movements and health maintained by National Parks NSW.


Port Macquarie is at the northern end of their typical range so any sighting is highly valued and last year we had only one and that was a couple kms out to sea off a near deserted beach that I was supremely lucky to get.


This year however we were in for a real treat as the mother and calf lingered in the mouth of the Hastings River for several hours allowing hundreds of people a good close look with such ease since they were literally just 30m off the public walkway at the breakwall!


As a part of my “make a difference” philosophy I discussed last newsletter I am a registered volunteer “citizen scientist” with National Parks and have their full authority to get close up images of their white markings called “callosities” which uniquely identifies each animal and means they can follow their movements, rates of having calves, individual health and any new scars and thus boost and update knowledge of this population and help formulate policy to ensure their protection!


Also just recently an Australian based internationally known whale researcher has become aware of my growing and significant repository of whale videos covering all manner of whale sightings and behaviours and I’ve given them full permission to use any and all of my material to publish scientific papers that refer to that and help “make a difference” in a very real sense!


Another way to raise awareness, educate and thus value things is to ensure the public at large have the same access to knowledge that these videos show. In the same gallery page is a great set of humpback whale feeding images (and video on the channel!)


I regularly post images to the local community pages to share in such sights and one lady saw fit to arbitrarily announce “whales do not feed on migration”.. on the post showing them doing that very thing.. the irony was supreme to say the least.


So for such statements, and in fact any posted to social media, be careful with immediate conclusions you may draw from what you read.. it may be completely false.. so knowledge is key and authentic images are a great truth deliverer!


The 2nd image is the moon rise over Bago Bluff. I had done my research and knew this shot was possible.. I just needed the clouds to co-operate come the crucial time and they did! (for once!)


There are 2 key things that always come in to play with moon shots no matter what camera you have.. composition and exposure.


Firstly composition.. you have 2 main choices, either go wide angle or go super telephoto.


Wide angle shots give you a great way of relating the moon to a large landscape but of course you relegate the moon to a dot typically.. that’s fine because people recognise it for what it is but kiss goodbye to any thought of also including detail of the moon itself.. it’s just a compromise you sometimes need to make.


The other extreme is as above, a super telephoto. This can be done of the moon alone of course but I find it way more interesting when relating it to something on the ground.


This is a case where gear does matter. I used an 800mm lens from 5 km away and shot this cliff face with the moon rising above it. You need to buy the right lens to make this happen, there is no other way.


I posted this shot to local pages and got a very substantial 1,000+ reactions.. which while I know won’t rock the Kardashians metrics if you looked at it from a simplistic numbers only point of view but it’s significance becomes apparent when you consider this is to a local community page of which only a section of the population will take part and of that section only a proportion will take the time and energy to click and react.. so the number shows how very well the image was received and shows it was spot on in the choice of composition and timing.


The other major aspect of moon shots is exposure.


I nearly always like to shoot the moon around sunset the evening before full moon. That’s when it’s not only rising at a handy angle above the horizon for compositions such as this, and perhaps with some interesting residual colour in the sky, but crucially the brightness values of the moon and the landscape are very similar and so you can then have detail in both with a single shot in-camera, no special shooting techniques or advanced editing methods and post processing needed.. it is very straightforward and delivers a very pleasing image in a reliable way.


At other times, and without significant technical and editing steps taken, you have to choose between the moon and the landscape for proper exposure. If you prioritise the landscape then the moon becomes the classic bright searchlight because it’s reflecting 100% daylight back at you and you have a dark foreground and camera sensors can’t span that brightness range in a single image without significant steps taken to get otherwise.


Alternatively you can expose for the moon but the landscape is entirely dark then, which is fine if the look you’re after is a silhouette or a similar dark style, which is another compositional and exposure combination entirely.


In the image above it’s taken on the 1 evening of the month where you can get this exposure as shown and for the few minutes (at most) where it is also placed with the composition alignment you were aiming for.. and as I alluded to earlier.. inconvenient clouds sure are a party pooper! Miss it and you have to wait another month for another chance at those few crucial minutes.


The 3rd image is a great example of opportunistic shooting and how very much I am open to any and all images at all times!


I was on my way to Albury for a weekend jetski ride down the Murray with friends.. it was a long drive to get to the starting point the night before, 900kms in fact, and I was dressed comfortably for a long day behind the wheel. The group had booked a table for dinner at 6:30pm so there was a definite clock ticking so I had left very early and made plenty of provision for rest stops and unforeseens to make it on time to be respectful of my friends and make every effort to be there on time.


The weather on the way was miserable and not very promising of anything but a tiring time and work on such long tedious stretches of the Pacific and Hume highways. As I had a lunch stop in a region where I had lived for many years it was exactly as I remembered typical winters there to be.. lots of cold biting wind with grey low scudding cloud and frequent passing showers.. a coffee and hot pie were going to be my only highlights on this drive I had thought!


How wrong I was.. in fact the next few hours gave me flat out the best landscape lighting I could ever possibly wish for.. you’d think Disney itself was in charge of the movie set and making this up to order!


The storm clouds were dark, low and relentless in their cover and so was the wind driving them.. but because this was now towards the end of the day the sun was low on the western horizon and then small holes in the cloud would happen to line up and POW the most amazing spotlight would pour in and light up some part of the hills and my heart rate went off the scale!


Also as great luck would have it these very hills were rising to the left of the road and so I could both pull up and also face directly to where I needed to be to get a front row seat to nature’s amazing light show with the sun coming from behind.. it just doesn’t get any better than that!


Of course one of the things about such spotlighting is they come and go quickly.. and move across the landscape quickly.. and so you either need to screech to a halt and sprint if something opens up.. or after having spied how good it was but gone quickly you then wait for another such hole.. if one were to come again!


There are two troubles with all of this..


Firstly it was a jetski focused weekend and so I had packed light with overnight travel on the ski in mind and outside of action video cameras my “serious” camera pack was kept to a minimum.. just 1 camera body, 1 lens and a lightweight set of filters.. that’s it.. no full sized tripod or backup storage.. the onboard SD cards and what I had in my hands was IT to work the scene!


So I had to work it hard and think on the fly about quickly nailing the crucial focus points, image sharpness, exposure and composition of a very dynamic situation with the 1 lens I had and be thankful for the ultra large capacity SD cards I had installed.


The single lens I had however was a very versatile zoom covering 12-100mm (24-200 in 35mm equivalent) and so I had very reasonable compositional options at least and the card capacity would well and truly cover my needs for today and tomorrow at any reasonable and considered shooting rate so even with this minimal setup I still had a good chance of making a full suite of worthwhile and pleasing images as long as I didn’t stuff anything up “in the moment”!


The second problem was that I wasn’t dressed for standing in the cold and wet for ages.. but this was what I needed to do now.. I had long-drive comfortable shoes on and jeans and they were both getting wet (and cold) quickly as I sometimes needed to go through up to 100m of waist high wet grass to get into the best position to avoid such things as inconvenient power lines draped across my otherwise perfect landscape!


The very thing that is beautiful to capture, rainbows, stormy backdrops, glistening landscapes and such insane constantly moving spotlighting is also miserable standing around in because it’s raining off and on, it’s wet, it’s cold and the wind chill factor from the winds driving the whole show just makes it feel worse!


The way I figure it though is that long after the discomfort is forgotten the images will last forever and THAT makes it all worthwhile!


Oh and the dinner booking still so far away that I was constantly thinking about all the while?


As the sun went down and the lighting disappeared and I had used up all my time provisions stopping so often I had to drive in a very determined way to get there on time.


I arrived at the restaurant door at precisely 6:31pm just 1 minute late after 900kms driving and a manic shooting situation so yeah.. I felt very drained but satisfied.. and now with a dry pair of socks on and a beer and good company it felt very good at the end of such a long day with these incredible shots in the can!


I hope you found the images and stories interesting.. who knows what will happen between now and the next newsletter but I will share more then and I hope you hang around to read it and get something from it!


Take care and thank you for reading this far and sharing the journey!

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