Ian Cambourne  

Cockatoo Island by Ian Cambourne

June 2022 - Cockatoo Island

June 2022 - Ian Cambourne


About the Image(s)

This image was taken in February this year. Location is one of the islands in Sydney Harbour, Cockatoo Island, an old, now disused ship repairing / engineering facility. I am on the western end, with our Harbour Bridge and Opera House, behind me, to the east. This image was an exercise in light control for myself. I wanted to take a long exposure in the middle of the day and flatten the water surface as much as possible, to give it a silky appearance, despite the normal harbour traffic that is constantly happening. A variable ND filter cranked up to its maximum, or nearly there did its job. Time of capture was between 11am and 1pm on one of our summer days. I was visualising the resultant image as a panorma at the time of capture. Details are: Sony a850; Sigma 50mm lens; ISO 100; F16; cwa exposure; -0.7 exp compensation; tripod and cable release: 20 second exposure. Processing in LR, PS and then tonal contrast in NIK. Those bright areas in the clouds, in the original just had to go and affected how much sky (and water) could remain in the final image.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
7 comments posted

Tom Barbernitz   Tom Barbernitz
Greetings Ian. Looks like you got the silky water appearance you were after. Can be very hard to do during peak sunlight hours. I have never tried a long exposure that included clouds / sky in the image - generally just on water falls or riverbeds. For me personally, the blurry clouds distract me in this image and make me feel like it is out of focus. Just my observation. The crop and framing seem spot on.   Posted: 06/10/2022 18:05:01
Ian Cambourne   Ian Cambourne
Thanks for your comments Tom, the whole thing for me was that exercise with the variable ND filter to affect the water at the extreme level of bright sunlight. Our art of photography is a wonderful thing, allowing us all to act on and comment our own thoughts. Yes, flowing water (to some extent for me) is what I try for, but I also quite like blurry clouds. Our differences are what make photography so good and subjective.   Posted: 06/23/2022 05:56:30

Dhananjay Rao   Dhananjay Rao
Nice shot. Great attempt to do slow shutter during the harsh light. I, however, am not sure where to focus - the building on the left and the bridge on the right - both seek attention.   Posted: 06/13/2022 21:10:37
Ian Cambourne   Ian Cambourne
Thanks Dhananjay, I was just taking a general scene from our Sydney harbour, showing whatever was in front of me while experimenting with that filter in harsh sunlight.   Posted: 06/23/2022 05:58:47

Sherry Icardi   Sherry Icardi
I have a friend that likes to do night skies and he also enjoys doing the long exposures particularly to get the "blurry clouds and smooth water". This reminds me of one of his photos from the 9/11 monument in NJ (Hackensack I believe). It looks right into Manhattan. In your image my eye goes immediately to the bridge, thinking "out loud" what if you cropped out the building on the far left and cut out some of the water? It would still be a panorama but give the eye a defined end point? Just a thought. Water would still be visible but not dominate the image. What I don't know is if the building on the left has some significance....or were you focusing on getting the bridge span....technically you certainly achieved the smooth water and blurred clouds...just some ideas to play with the image.

I think the experimentation is one of the fun parts of photography....and I know you particularly like to try different things. I like the image and convinced you achieved your goal, which I like as well! Congrats!   Posted: 06/17/2022 21:08:00
Ian Cambourne   Ian Cambourne
Thanks for your comments Sherry, the whole image was nothing more than an exercise in controlling light with that filter in the very bright conditions, with the sole aim of smoothing the water. The bridge itself, is just one of our suburban bridges crossing the harbour, nothing special or historic about it, but as it's in the center of the frame, I fully understand where you are coming from. That building on the left, is actually what I focused the camera on, locked the focus and the re-composed the scene. Again, just some photographic fun with a seldom used filter, to see what might happen with it in the future.   Posted: 06/23/2022 06:04:02

Peter Cheung   Peter Cheung
Very nice capture. The image looks a little overexposed and little bit flat to me. You can try to darken the sky and increase the contrast of the image. Long exposure to the clouds and water is challenging, but I think you did very well.   Posted: 06/25/2022 23:37:53