Las Vegas

Here's a little snap shot of what myself and a small creative team got up to at a huge event in Las Vegas. 9 Days of people, product and event photography with these behind the scene moments captured on iPhone 7 using the DJI Osmo Mobile smart phone gimbal. Enjoy!

Tune: Always by Panama

Nepal with a Canon 6D

It's never easy picking what photography gear to bring with you on a trip abroad when size and weight plays such a deciding factor. This time Victoria and I were headed to Nepal for two weeks. I'd have have brought my whole arsenal of equipment if I was guaranteed a sherpa to do the lugging every day, but sadly that wasn't to be the case. So with portability in mind I opted for a Canon 6D for it's full frame sensor and relatively lightweight construction. I also took along a 35mm 1.4 L II USM for it's excellent low light performance and friendly travel focal range, a 24-70mm 2.8 L II USM for it's versatility and sharpness as a go-to walk around lens and lastly for pure indulgence, and because I knew those snow-capped Himalayan mountain peaks weren't going to come to me, Canon's brilliant 70-200mm 2.8 L IS II USM. I'd decided that since I was taking what is an admittedly heavy lens in the 70-200mm, I'd forgo any lighting and make do with the natural light available to me. 

 Horns, dust and colour...  24mm f8.0 1/250 ISO100

Horns, dust and colour...

24mm f8.0 1/250 ISO100

Our first stop was Kathmandu where the honking of car horns, barking of dogs and the non-stop hassling for our tourist dollar at the marketplaces along the chaotic, dusty laneways made it clear we weren't in Sydney any more.   

 Two wheel chaos in Thamel.  200mm f3.5 1/250 ISO1000

Two wheel chaos in Thamel.

200mm f3.5 1/250 ISO1000

 A man wears his wares  35mm f2.2 1/200 ISO1250 

A man wears his wares

35mm f2.2 1/200 ISO1250 

 Shared paths through Thamel, Kathmandu.  70mm f2.8 1/50 ISO3200

Shared paths through Thamel, Kathmandu.

70mm f2.8 1/50 ISO3200

 Revered beasts near Pashupatinath Temple, a sacred Hindu cremation Temple located at the banks of the Basmati river north-east of Kathmandu Valley.   24mm f3.2 1/4000 ISO1000

Revered beasts near Pashupatinath Temple, a sacred Hindu cremation Temple located at the banks of the Basmati river north-east of Kathmandu Valley. 

24mm f3.2 1/4000 ISO1000

 Rituals along the Basmati...  88mm f3.2 1/2500 ISO100

Rituals along the Basmati...

88mm f3.2 1/2500 ISO100

 ...and family  175mm f3.5 1/200 ISO100

...and family

175mm f3.5 1/200 ISO100

 Swami.  190mm f5.6 1/800 ISO100

Swami.

190mm f5.6 1/800 ISO100

 Standard Kathmandu Chaos on our way to Swayambhunath, otherwise known as 'Monkey Temple',   24mm f11 1/25 ISO100

Standard Kathmandu Chaos on our way to Swayambhunath, otherwise known as 'Monkey Temple', 

24mm f11 1/25 ISO100

 Swayambhunath is a Buddhist Temple sitting atop a hill in the Kathmandu valley west of Kathmandu City. Holy monkeys populate the steps and roof tops.   24mm f10.0 1/320 ISO800

Swayambhunath is a Buddhist Temple sitting atop a hill in the Kathmandu valley west of Kathmandu City. Holy monkeys populate the steps and roof tops. 

24mm f10.0 1/320 ISO800

 200mm f4.5 1/200 ISO100

200mm f4.5 1/200 ISO100

 Hi!  65mm f3.5 1/400 ISO640

Hi!

65mm f3.5 1/400 ISO640

After four days we hopped on a bus and headed westward to Bandipur, a small village considered to be somewhat of a living museum of Newari culture beautifully preserved on a lofty ridge above the highway stop of Dumre roughly four hours from Kathmandu.

 41mm f10.0 1/125 ISO800

41mm f10.0 1/125 ISO800

 Children play freely along the small streets of Bandipur.  130mm f4.0 1/1250 ISO800

Children play freely along the small streets of Bandipur.

130mm f4.0 1/1250 ISO800

 24mm f3.2 1/200 ISO640

24mm f3.2 1/200 ISO640

 Construction projects like this one wait for builders to return...builders sorely needed around Kathmandu Valley where the earthquake of April 2014 hit hardest.  39mm f5.6 1/400 ISO640

Construction projects like this one wait for builders to return...builders sorely needed around Kathmandu Valley where the earthquake of April 2014 hit hardest.

39mm f5.6 1/400 ISO640

 Evening falls over Bandipur...tomorrow we head to Pokhara. 35mm f1.4 13.0 sec ISO320

Evening falls over Bandipur...tomorrow we head to Pokhara. 35mm f1.4 13.0 sec ISO320

After a day and a night in Bandipur we headed back down to Dumre and caught the next bus to Pokhara, a lakeside town a further two hours west and far from the epicentre of 2014's earthquake. Victoria described this relaxed lakeside town as the 'Byron Bay of Nepal'.

 And I quickly realised she was right as we enjoyed a peaceful drink on Pokhara's calm lake front.  70mm f18 1/200 ISO500

And I quickly realised she was right as we enjoyed a peaceful drink on Pokhara's calm lake front.

70mm f18 1/200 ISO500

 Although Hindus follow no single set of rules, reverence for cows is common throughout most of Nepal. Even when they stop traffic...  42mm f3.2 1/250 ISO100

Although Hindus follow no single set of rules, reverence for cows is common throughout most of Nepal. Even when they stop traffic...

42mm f3.2 1/250 ISO100

 Two wheels, too many views.  24mm f16 1/200 ISO800

Two wheels, too many views.

24mm f16 1/200 ISO800

From Pokhara we got on some motorcycles and hit the road. Destination: Ghandruk. Elevation: 2020m.

 Exploring the region on two wheels definitely has it's benefits. I became fast friends with this wonderful lady after greeting her granddaughter during one of our brief stops on the road.  135mm f6.3 1/200 ISO100

Exploring the region on two wheels definitely has it's benefits. I became fast friends with this wonderful lady after greeting her granddaughter during one of our brief stops on the road.

135mm f6.3 1/200 ISO100

 Higher and higher we went as the opposing hills began to reveal lodges and guest houses used by hikers on their way to the Annapurna Trail.  41mm f13 1/250 ISO800

Higher and higher we went as the opposing hills began to reveal lodges and guest houses used by hikers on their way to the Annapurna Trail.

41mm f13 1/250 ISO800

 After leaving our bikes at a homestead, trekking some kilometres and then climbing the hundreds of stairs leading to our guest house, we made it!  70mm f18 1/800 ISO1600

After leaving our bikes at a homestead, trekking some kilometres and then climbing the hundreds of stairs leading to our guest house, we made it!

70mm f18 1/800 ISO1600

 And the views didn't disappoint! We woke up to a clear view of Machapuchare jutting out of the backbone of the Annapurna Himalaya. The name translates to 'fish tail' in Nepalese. Machapuchare is sacred to the Nepalese and so it's closed to climbers. We were happy enough to enjoy it from where we stood.  200mm f14 1/640 ISO640

And the views didn't disappoint! We woke up to a clear view of Machapuchare jutting out of the backbone of the Annapurna Himalaya. The name translates to 'fish tail' in Nepalese. Machapuchare is sacred to the Nepalese and so it's closed to climbers. We were happy enough to enjoy it from where we stood.

200mm f14 1/640 ISO640

 The return trip to Pokhara took us across one of Nepals highest suspension bridges in Kusma. Quite a thrill for a learner rider like myself!   200mm f6.3 1/800 ISO100

The return trip to Pokhara took us across one of Nepals highest suspension bridges in Kusma. Quite a thrill for a learner rider like myself! 

200mm f6.3 1/800 ISO100

After one more night in Pokhara, we loaded our packs once again and jumped on a tourist bus to Chitwan National Park, a popular tourist drawcard about seven hours south-east of Pokhara. The World Heritage-listed reserve protects about 1000 sq km of forest and marshland containing rhinos, tigers, elephants, monkeys, wild boars, crocodiles and many other animals.

 70mm f3.2 1/640 ISO800

70mm f3.2 1/640 ISO800

 Asian elephants are such incredible creatures, so we were particularly excited about getting close to them in Chitwan. Sadly those used for elephant rides are reported to suffer damage to their spines and wounds from the bull hooks used by their handlers so we chose to give riding these majestic animals a miss.  165mm f3.5 1/2500 ISO800

Asian elephants are such incredible creatures, so we were particularly excited about getting close to them in Chitwan. Sadly those used for elephant rides are reported to suffer damage to their spines and wounds from the bull hooks used by their handlers so we chose to give riding these majestic animals a miss.

165mm f3.5 1/2500 ISO800

 200mm f3.2 1/320 ISO1000

200mm f3.2 1/320 ISO1000

 After a morning spent with more Asian elephants than we could count, we took to the river to enjoy more wildlife. We saw Baya weaver birds...  200mm f5.6 1/1000 ISO640

After a morning spent with more Asian elephants than we could count, we took to the river to enjoy more wildlife. We saw Baya weaver birds...

200mm f5.6 1/1000 ISO640

 Crocodiles...  200mm f5.6 1/1000 ISO640

Crocodiles...

200mm f5.6 1/1000 ISO640

 Rhinos...  200mm f7.1 1/500 ISO800

Rhinos...

200mm f7.1 1/500 ISO800

 But the ever elusive Bengal tiger remained always a few paw prints out of sight.   200mm f6.3 1/500 ISO640

But the ever elusive Bengal tiger remained always a few paw prints out of sight. 

200mm f6.3 1/500 ISO640

 Following a long day trekking through grasslands and marshes, we perched ourselves at a nearby river-side bar and enjoyed the Chitwan Sunset before heading back to our hotel for a meal, and then preparing for our return to Kathmandu the following morning.   70mm f13 1/2000 ISO320

Following a long day trekking through grasslands and marshes, we perched ourselves at a nearby river-side bar and enjoyed the Chitwan Sunset before heading back to our hotel for a meal, and then preparing for our return to Kathmandu the following morning. 

70mm f13 1/2000 ISO320

 After an eight our bus ride north-east back to Kathmandu we arrived tired but hungry enough to venture along Freak Street for some dal bhat and some momos, two of Nepals most popular local dishes. Freak Street is situated south of Kathmandu Durbar Square and was named in reference to the hippie trail of the 1960's and early 70's. During that time the main attraction drawing tourists to this ancient street was the government run hashish shops, but that came to an end by about 1974 due mainly to the insistence of the US government at the time. Today Freak Street is mainly known for its spice and produce traders as well as various souvenir stores, trekking agencies and guest houses.   35mm f2.8 1/800 ISO1000

After an eight our bus ride north-east back to Kathmandu we arrived tired but hungry enough to venture along Freak Street for some dal bhat and some momos, two of Nepals most popular local dishes. Freak Street is situated south of Kathmandu Durbar Square and was named in reference to the hippie trail of the 1960's and early 70's. During that time the main attraction drawing tourists to this ancient street was the government run hashish shops, but that came to an end by about 1974 due mainly to the insistence of the US government at the time. Today Freak Street is mainly known for its spice and produce traders as well as various souvenir stores, trekking agencies and guest houses. 

35mm f2.8 1/800 ISO1000

 35mm f2.0 1/1250 ISO1250

35mm f2.0 1/1250 ISO1250

 A glance down side streets often reveals people repairing damage caused by the April 2014 earthquake.   35mm f1.4 1/2500 ISO12800

A glance down side streets often reveals people repairing damage caused by the April 2014 earthquake. 

35mm f1.4 1/2500 ISO12800

 Final excursion: An overnight trip to Nargakot, a 2200m high village about 30km east of Kathmandu reported to have stunning views of the Himalayas at sunrise.   90mm f5.6 1/640 ISO640

Final excursion: An overnight trip to Nargakot, a 2200m high village about 30km east of Kathmandu reported to have stunning views of the Himalayas at sunrise. 

90mm f5.6 1/640 ISO640

 The reports weren't wrong. 6am facing North East. We enjoyed the views for about an hour before heading down for some breakfast and making our way once again back to Kathmandu.  145mm f8.0 1/800 ISO800

The reports weren't wrong. 6am facing North East. We enjoyed the views for about an hour before heading down for some breakfast and making our way once again back to Kathmandu.

145mm f8.0 1/800 ISO800

 Namaste!  24mm f5.6 1/500 ISO400

Namaste!

24mm f5.6 1/500 ISO400

I wasn't sure what Nepal would deliver beyond the religious monuments, snow-capped mountains and colourful prayer flags on display in travel guides. What we found was all of the above, but underlying the chaos, colour and clutter was a genuine feeling of peacefulness, a strong sense of community and a real appreciation for the little things in life that matter most- A positive outlook, compassion for all and a good hot shower. Farewell, Nepal!

 

Photography note -

I'm pretty happy with how the Canon 6d performed on this trip. At no point did I miss my 5D Mark III. It was light enough to carry around all day, the 11 AF zones never failed me and it's low light performance was excellent. In fact sometimes I question whether the 6D performs a tad better in low light compared to the 5DMk III. I found myself using the 70-200mm f2.8 L IS II USM and the 24-70mm f2.8 L II USM ninety nine percent of the time. Between the two I had most of my desired focal ranges covered. The 35mm 1.4 II USM remained in my bag most of the time because I just didn't need f1.4 all that often. Focal range flexibility was a higher priority. So I could've saved some space there. In hind sight I'd have swapped out the 35mm for a 2 x extender to get some closer shots of those snow capped peaks, but all in all I'm happy with the gear I brought a long. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for my next entry!

(Hint... It involves a big red rock)

Escape to Cox's River

Only weeks after my visit to the Basin Campsite at Watagans State Forest a couple of hours north east out of Sydney and it was time to hit the trail again. This time for a 10km hike with my good friend and videographer, Joe Harrison, to Cox's River Campsite; a spot about 14 km along the famous Six Foot Track in the Blue Mountains, NSW.

1S7A4945.jpg

The trail took us through some private angus stud paddocks disguised as rolling hills. With views like this not even a spot of rain could dampen our spirits. We stopped occasionally to pull out our cameras and enjoy what the path had to offer.

 Joe got up close and personal with a log...

Joe got up close and personal with a log...

 ...and so did I.   

...and so did I.

 

Six Foot Track Jeremy Plaisance

It's always a good feeling when the rope bridge comes in to view along the trail. It means the campsite's just a stone's throw away!

Cox's River Campsite

Once we had our tents pitched and the fire started, what else was there to do but sit back and enjoy a single malt as the sun came down?

Cox's River

...Grab our cameras and go exploring of course!

cox's river

Until nighted descended and there was naught else be fire gazing ahead of us.

camp fire
light writing

It was just an overnighter this time. Just long enough to get the city out of our systems, but not quite long enough to truly soak in this beautiful part of Australia. So we'll see you again soon, Cox's River.

blue mountains

Good Seed Great Harvest

Ahh take me back! My partner Victoria and I had been aching to taste clean air and smell some damp earth so the Anzac Day long weekend couldn't have arrived at a better time for us this year. We loaded our car with everything we needed for a two night camping trip (including a full frame DSLR and some lovely Canon glass) and headed up to the Basin Campsite at Watagans State Forest just over two hours north of Sydney for a couple of days R&R with some good friends.

Basin Campground - Watagans State Forest NSW.

The weather was cool, with a nice mix of light rain showers and afternoon sun. A nice time of year to visit the area.

The Basin Campsite is dog friendly, so you need not leave home without your best friend.

We enjoyed some amazing food and drink and did little more than bask in our surrounds until the city was well and truly out of our system. Oh, and of course I pulled the camera out! Moments like these are always worth capturing...

Cheese stuffed sausages. Nom!

Breakfast pancakes. Double nom!

The big chill.

 

This get away was just what we needed. Thank you, Watagans. We'll see you next time!