Central New South Wales Trip

A week ago I returned from a week’s trip to central New South Wales in Australia, driving from Sydney down to (almost!) Batemans Bay, then up again to Newcastle and then back to Sydney.

The aim was to spend a bit more time exploring places I’d skipped / missed when I motored through quickly on my trips passing through NSW in 2018 and 2019 - which I did end up doing, however it turned out I’d forgotten I had actually visited some places before! Jervis Bay Territory in particular - although this time around it wasn’t overcast, so I was able to see it (and the white sand beaches) with the sun out.

The weather was excellent, and once again I got some photos I’m pleased with.

Lake Illawarra before sunset:

Sunset looking out over Lake Illawarra, NSW

Green Patch Beach, Jervis Bay:

Green Patch Beach, Jervis Bay, NSW

Mollymook Beach sunrise:

Sunrise at Mollymook Beach, NSW

Fitzroy Falls:

Fitzroy Falls, NSW

Simple Photo Collage Generation

Last week I implemented support for generating very simple (grid only) collages from photos/images in my image processing infrastructure.

Example Photo Collage of Pedestrian crossing lights in Wellington

I had wanted to create some simple grid-based collages of some photos, and I was somewhat surprised to discover that neither Krita nor GIMP (free/open source image manipulation software) seem to provide any built-in functionality to generate this type of output, without manually setting up grids/guides and resizing and positioning each image separately - which while not difficult in theory - is somewhat onerous, especially when you want to generate multiple similar collages from different sets of input images in a procedural/repeatable way.

I did briefly look into (free) web-based solutions, however I wasn’t really happy with that avenue either, partly due to most web solutions having the same lack of procedural/recipe generation (i.e. being able to just change the input images and get the same type of result without re-doing things from scratch again), but also because many web solutions seemed more targeted at “artistic” collages with photos having arbitrary positions and rotations, rather than having grid presets, as well as the fact that many (although not all) of the web apps in question required some form of registration or sign-in.

So I ended up just quickly implementing basic support for this collage generation myself in my image processing infrastructure, which took less than two hours, and means I can now generate arbitrary grid collages from a ‘recipe’ source parameters file which configures the target output resolution, the row and column counts, input images list, inner and outer border widths and border colour, as well as the image resize sampling algorithm/filter to use (i.e. bilinear, bicubic, Lanczos, etc) for resizing the input images to fit into the collage grid.

Timelapse Blending

Over the past few months I’ve made some attempts at timelapse photography, mainly motivated by seeing this site/software on High Dynamic Time Range Images which effectively “blends” multiple images taken at different times into one final image.

Rather than use the above software (which is written in Perl), I decided to write my own implementation using my existing image processing infrastructure I have, and have so far come up with a simple implementation that supports linear “equi-width” blending, and in the future I plan to implement more varied interpolations similar to the original software, as from experimentation, Sunrises/Sunsets and the progression from day to night are not often linear in the resultant brightness of captured images.

Scenes with many lights in that progressively turn on within the timelapse duration seem to work very well generally: here are two examples I’m fairly happy with, showing both non-blended and fully-blended examples of each.

San Francisco:

Time Blend of San Francisco

Time Blend of San Francisco


Time Blend of Wellington

Time Blend of Wellington

There do though appear to be some types of scenes that don’t always seem to work that well with this technique, in particular ones where the sun is either quite prominent or the sky gradient in the horizontal direction is very noticeable: this can lead to “odd”-looking situations where the image “slices” which show the sky should in theory get darker as you progress through time, but due to the sky colour gradient in the source images, it counteracts this on one edge of each image slice, looking a bit weird (at least to my eyes).

I also tried converting a sunrise timelapse sequence I took several years ago in Australia which had clouds moving very slowly across the sky horizontally in the frame, and this produced what almost looked like an artifact-containing/repeating-pattern image (it was technically correct and valid though) in that the same bits of cloud were repeatedly in each image slice by coincidence due to their movement across the sky being in sync with the time delay between each subsequent image.

Other things to look out for are temporal position continuity when blending (see the Wellington blended version with the boat masts moving between captures above), where things like people, vehicles, and trees vary position over time, meaning the blending leads to “ghosting” due to the differing positions in the adjacent images which are being blended/merged together.

Trip Photos

Two weeks ago I returned from a trip back to the UK for a few weeks, stopping off in San Francisco for a few days on the way out, and I have almost finished processing the DSLR photos I took, so this is just a quick post containing a single photo each from some of the locations I visited whilst away.

San Francisco:

Photo of San Francisco


Photo of Bristol


Photo of Bath Crescent


s College Cloisters


Photo of Chichester

Needles, Isle Of Wight:

Photo of the Needles, Isle Of Wight

Autumn Leaves

Last week I spent a few days down in the South Island around Queenstown and Wanaka, mainly to try and photograph the Autumn Colours. Apparently the term for this is a “Leaf Peeper”!

I’ve been several times before, but always in Spring or Summer, so this was the first time I’d seen any of the South Island in Autumn.

Autumn Leaves near Queenstown, in the South Island, New Zealand

Whilst there is a bit of colour in Autumn in the North Island in places (in parks north of Wellington for example), there’s not much that I’ve seen in general (at least in comparison to the Northern Hemisphere), so it was a nostalgic memory of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, seeing the very widespread colours that occur there and I grew up with.

Autumn Leaves near Queenstown, in the South Island, New Zealand

I think I’m correct in saying that almost all of the trees in New Zealand that have leaves which change colour in the Autumn are “exotic”, non-native species that have been imported from Europe, North America and Japan, with there being very few native deciduous trees (most are evergreen), and of those very few of them actually change colour. Maples, English Beech (the native New Zealand Beech species are evergreen from what I can tell), Gum, Cherry and Horse chestnut trees seem almost certain to have been imported by early settlers, and the fact they seem to mostly be found along rivers and near settlements rather than being found out further away in more remote parts of the landscape seems to re-enforce that theory, but it’s difficult to know for certain.

Autumn Leaves near Queenstown, in the South Island, New Zealand

Regardless, they do provide a very noticeable splash of colour on top of New Zealand’s already beautiful scenery in the area, and I did get some nice photos I’m happy with.

Autumn Leaves near Queenstown, in the South Island, New Zealand

Aurora Australis (Southern Lights)

I’ve just got back from a fantastic week and a bit in the South Island, and was very lucky to have perfect weather for most of the trip, as well as getting a lucky view of the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) one night.

Aurora Australis (Southern Lights)

I was in Queenstown at the time, and a phone app I have which gives notifications when Aurora might be visible at your location alerted me that it was likely visible, so I grabbed my camera and tripod to try and photograph it, starting during the later stages of dusk. There were two different “types” that were fairly faint but just visible to the naked eye: a green glow that really looked like light pollution - although there were no large towns in exactly that direction, and it morphed over time changing shape - and blue streaks, gently pulsing over time.

With a long exposure, they are much more clearly visible.

A very magical experience.

I also managed to get some excellent views of Aoraki / Mt Cook.

Aoraki / Mt Cook

Sunset Photo

Sunset Photo

No matter how many times I see stunning sunsets, I never get bored of them. Similarly with photographing them and looking at the photos afterwards: even though they can to some extent technically be repetitive when looking through photos of them later, there’s just something I find very magical and awe-inspiring about them.

Christchurch and Canterbury trip

I spent the second half of last week on a short break in the South Island based mostly in Christchurch, although I ventured out a bit to the wider area of Canterbury. The weather was excellent for landscape / travel photography, and I managed to get some pretty good shots of snowy mountains, and for my third trip to Banks Peninsula finally got to see it in nice weather (although once again got the timing of the tides wrong as I often do!).

Snow covered mountain peak

Sunrise over the Pacific Ocean

Rocks on the Banks Peninsula

The general lack of international visitors / tourists was pretty pronounced, even in normally popular tourist spots.

Camera Repaired

A few weeks ago I finally got around to sending my Canon EOS 5D Mk IV in to Canon Service to be looked at regarding the very bad battery drain it has had since I got it almost a year ago, even when fully turned off.

Last week Canon returned it saying they’d replaced some parts to fix it, so as well as testing that they had - which was confirmed by a fully-charged battery still being charged 12 hours after being left in the camera overnight with it fully powered off! - I spent a few hours walking around town doing some photography.

Queens Wharf


Tasmania Trip

I got back from a nice trip to Tasmania last week, meaning I’ve now visited all of Australia’s states, and most of its territories (not Jervis Bay!).

The weather was not great, although it was mostly dry and there was sun occasionally, and I even found a bit of snow falling (and gathered) in the Central Highlands where it got down to 3 degC, as well as some on top of Mount Wellington in Hobart.

A surprise was driving through a region called Dorset: funny how names are re-used in other parts of the world by settlers.

A beach on the East coast of Tasmania

Table Cape, North coast of Tasmania

Central Highlands of Tasmania

Coming back to New Zealand via Sydney, it was very apparent (flying in and out) the number of bushfires in the area from the smoke in the air and the amount of haze and limited visibility.

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