Up early again / by Mario Mirabile

It’s the first time in over a year that I’ve been out of the city for more than a couple of days. I’s quite liberating not having to get up to go to work or deal with regular day to day issues. After a long weekend in Halls Gap in central Victoria, I’m based in Port Fairy in the state’s southwest for 10 days. I have no particular itinerary and plan to take each day as it comes.

The Halls Gap excursion was an annual camera club field trip that takes us all over the state.  Looking back, I find it curious that despite regularly being a great social success, there have been surprisingly few standout photos come out of the trips. I suppose it just goes to show that you can’t force a great picture.

Despite not having to rise early for work, the lure of sunrise and mist was enough to drag me out of bed one cold morning at Halls Gap. I got a couple of pleasing panoramas before the light and mist dissipated, leaving me with near frost-bitten fingers. I’m yet to kick off the covers before dawn at Port Fairy, but I’m sure I’ll manage at least once.

Tech Talk
Even if you’re familiar with the control layout of your camera, it’s still a tricky business doing it in the dark. It doesn’t help if you have frozen fingers and have forgotten to bring along the torch you took great care to pack. Another tricky ting is getting accurate focus. Even the best modern autofocus systems need light to work, and manual focus won’t help if you can’t see your target. Fortunately the trees in the middle distance of these pictures managed to provide some contract once the sky started to lighten, but even so a couple of panorama sequences weren’t sharp. I did manage to get a couple of pleasing sequences, but I wish the farmer who owns these fields had the foresight to build a dam or put a few haystacks in the foreground.

Olympus E-5, Zuiko Digital 12-60mm f2.8-4, Zuiko Digital 50-200mm f2.8-3.5