Hunter Valley.. wine, vin, vino, vinho, wino.. ?????

Audrey Wilkinson Panorama

Audrey Wilkinson Panorama

Last week/weekend I took the better half on a trip to the Hunter Valley staying at a lovely placed called Talga Estate. We decided on a quick get away, that wasnt too far a drive from Sydney and having never visted the hunter for wine itself.. it was a great choice. One of the best things about the area is that everything is in fairly close proximity.. so whilst there is a little travel between you still feel like you are in a rural area. We had penciled in a few places to visit from limited information before we left.. this was namely the Mt Pleasent & Tyrrells Wineries. They offer cheap tours ($5 each) which covers the process of wine making and then the tasting (which I think everyone looks forward too).

Tyrrells Wine Barrel

Tyrrells Wine Barrel

A tip: If you visit, try and land a Thursday in the mix! We were the only people on the Mt Pleasent tour (11am), and only a few more people were in our Tyrrells tour! (1:30pm). The times suit these two, as you have time to relax inbetween attending the next one (and try before you buy). There are numerous wine tours of the region, which would be great to do.. but would be a big day where everything just blends into each other…. visiting only a handful in a day was a great way to remember what you liked and what you learnt.

Now you cant go past the fact that the valley also has a couple of beer breweries :) So inbetween wine tasting we headed up towards the Bluetongue Brewery.. we also had a tip that Mistletoe Lane (opposite the brewery) could be a good spot for photos.. it was nice but it didnt quite capture what I wanted… alas driving back to our estate we headed down a new road (deasey’s road) and i found a great fence line, with the sun setting to take the shot below.

A Sunburnt Country

A Sunburnt Country

Being very pleased with what I had found, I decided to try for some Star trails that evening.. away from lights.. check… new moon .. no check :( .. no clouds.. no check :( .. but a cool dreamscape effect was achieved due to this. The cloud cover was low, and moving quite quickly and this lit up the land on a long exposure. Unfortunately.. i slightly stooged it up by forgetting my IR remote at home.. this meant no long exposures in bulb mode and I only had 30 sec exposures to play with. This was quite a bit of fun, as most of my star trail attempts thus far had remained on ISO200 (min on D90). This time i played with ISO1600 and ISO3200.. great stuff. I think I will make an effort to finding some more star trail locations close to Sydney in the future, I just love them.

Night Vines Dreamscape

Night Vines Dreamscape

We were set to stay with friends on the Central Coast on Friday and Saturday night.. so headed off from the valley about midday on Friday. With time up our sleeves we decided to head north of Newcastle, to Stockton beach. Stockton beach has some amazing natural sand dunes which havent completely eroded away (unlike Kurnell in Sydney :( ). Unfortunately there isnt much access to these dunes unless you have a 4wd! None the less it was nice checking out some spots in Newcastle, I think with a bit of local knowledge there are some great photo opportunities in the region. After our visit and relax, we headed down to Gorokan where we were staying (but our friend wasnt going to be home till 7pm). On our way through Belmont we noticed a fantastic colourful sunset in the distance, and unlike Sydney.. the area has lakes and things that make sunsets pretty (i.e – foreground interest not just colours). The shot below is a longer exposure to smooth the water, and capture the reflections on Lake Maquarie.. i also just liked the look of Pete.

Pete

Pete

After a night of a few beers and an interesting sleep on a futon, our friends decided to show us a nice beach on the coast, before heading to The Entrance for fush and chups. This saw us head north from Gorokan to a lovely spot called Catherine Hill Bay… this bay has a lovely beach and nice looking surf. The jetty has been decommissioned and closed off, but it must have loaded goods from the nearby mine in recent times. Below is a shot from the beach, in the set there is also a panorama of the area.

Catherine Hill Bay

Catherine Hill Bay

And then that is it for this little exploration. I had a great time (and seemingly so did the better half). I have tagged the location of most of the images in Flickr if you care to check.. if you would like some further information about where we stayed, what we did and where we ate im sure I can remember most of it. Ended up with a few decent bottles of wine too! I leave you with a shot of the better half, standing in a fantastic light on the Wednesday at Tatler’s Winery in Lovedale (same winery where Stormy Stormtrooper got a drink on last week).

Better Half

Better Half

As usual the full set can be seen here.

Till next time..

Munchen.. Tall Beers, Hall beers and the Disney Castle

Paulaner Beer Garten

Paulaner Beer Garten

Next stop on my alphabetical european adventure is Munchen! Set in the heart of Bavaria, this beautiful city which is home to events such as Oktoberfest offers a wide variety of drinking and photo opportunities. Munchen has many different beer halls and gartens, scattered around this well laid out city. It oozes european style with architecture and garten design making for a great place to visit.

Englisher Garten

Englisher Garten

We spent the most part exploring most of this town, and infact lots of walking around in circles looking for schnitzel and bier. The Glockenspiel is one of the most (if not the most) overrated attractions in Europe.. infact I would skip it altogether if Marienplatz wasnt in the middle of everything. The shopping is great too, with a wide variety of stores and styles.

Personal favourites for Beer visits was the Englisher Garten and the Hofbrau Haus… the Paulaner Bier Garten was nice as well, however a bit out of the way (tho we did wak there, should have just got the tram!). Well within day trip reach of Munchen is also numerous places.. including quick trips into Austria to visit places like Eagle’s Nest (near Salzburg).

So on the train we went… we saw some cool stuff… amazing views from the train window of the snow capped mountains..

From the Moving Train

From the Moving Train

We decided to head towards Neuschwanstein Castle.. which is what Walt Disney used as a design element for his classic animation Fantasia.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

This is a beautiful and classic building and one of the most breathtaking vies I had in europe. There is a draw bridge on the opposite side of the castle, unfortunately that side of the castle is under restoration (much like the rest of europe) and this meant a whole lot of scaffolding.. unfortunately I feel this just takes away from the building itself so have not included further shots of the castle. Definitely recommend a visit at one stage if visiting Europe or Munich itself.

The view as i mentioned was fantastic, as there are beautiful lakes filled with crystal blue water from the snow capped mountain tops.. it really feels like im talking about a fairy tale! This is the Alpsee lake with the view from the castle… it was gorgeous and I will leave the story of Munchen here. As usual click below for the full set.

Alpsee Lake

Alpsee Lake


The full set can be seen here.

Blue Mountains Explore

This is at the top of a 250m cliff, you can see the abseiling start chains just at the bottom left of the image.. hairy!

Hello All,

The other weekend my friend wanted to check out some start points for walks in the mountains, asked if I wanted to tag along. He knows the area fairly well, and has done canyoning/abseiling in the region for many years. So we did a lot of driving, but saw some wonderous places. Quite a tough place to shoot during the day, would be spectacular in the morning or in the evening. Id be keen to head out for a weekend, to get up for some shoots :)

Narrow Neck & Megalong Valley

This is Narrow Neck & Megalong Valley... a beautiful place. On the far right of the image you can see the tip of the Boar's Head.

We headed to Katoomba and around the Jamison Valley.. before heading along Narrow Neck and down into the Megalong Valley. We decided to go down Bells Line of Rd to head back to Sydney… lots of potential for sure and somewhere Id like to visit again soon. We also passed near the Colo River, which is a beautiful river system north west of Sydney. Im thinking a fishing/camping and photography trip to the region is in order during the warmer months.

I recommend the mountains for a day trip of food (wine and cheese) and shots.. if game.. the traffic can be a bit tiresome however.

On the Edge

On the Edge, my better half Rose standing on the edge of a 250m cliff infront of the Jamison Valley

As usual click the images for larger views.

The full set can be viewed here.

Till next time..

Week 29 – Winetrooper

Week 29 - Winetrooper

Week 29 - Winetrooper

Off to the Hunter Valley north of Sydney this week for Stormy. He got amongst the rows of grape vines and tasted some of the best wines on off. He has earnt his title of winetrooper this week.

Some more updates to come :)

Till next time..

Week 28 – Stormtrooper Study

Week 28 - Stormtrooper Study

Week 28 - Stormtrooper Study

The 25th of May is an important date on the Stormtrooper calender.. one that Stormy often reflects upon. The date of 2 of the most influential Starwars films. A sneaky check of dates shows the release of the films in May.. a coincidence stormy thinks not.

I have a few updates coming, but about to take a trip to the Hunter Valley :)

There is an update about a daytrip to the Blue Mountains, and also my upload of Munchen, Germany.

Till Next Time..

Week 27 – OOF Trooper

Week 27 - OOF Trooper

Week 27 - OOF Trooper

Mr Stormy Stormytrooper feeling a bit under the weather this week.. perhaps he’s just OOF colour? Howling at the moon is a sign of werewolves.. Or perhaps he is just posing for this month’s Iron Photographer.

Nikon D90
Nikon 50mm 1.8D
Manual Focus

London. You know: fish, chips, cup ‘o tea, bad food, worse weather, Mary fucking Poppins… LONDON.

High Key Abbey - Westminster Abbey

High Key Abbey - Westminster Abbey

So, 12 months on (well more like 14 for London) and I have finally finished editing.

What a great city, pardon the rude title but its very fitting from a great movie (Snatch.)

Path to Palace

Path to Palace

This was where i learnt the most in my short time.. since leaving home and actually having to learn to use my camera, there was the most shots out of any other city, the most swear words and the most frustration. But funnily enough in the end, after some processing some of my favourites.

I hope you enjoy and please click through and check out the whole set.

The full set can be seen here.

Week 26 – Skatey Skatetrooper

Week 26 - Skatey Skatetrooper

Week 26 - Skatey Skatetrooper

Mid Way!

Still not happy with a few of these shots, I am thinking that when i have some time later in the year I might re-shoot to replace, and then make a 2011 Calender with some of the better shots :)

I have had tech deck skateboards like this since i was in highschool, many many years ago.

I thought I would attempt to make the most of some of the props i have at home.. maybe i should make a paper half pipe? :)

This is also another shot with my new HTC Desire phone!

Till next time..

Week 25 – Original Trooper

Week 25 - Original Trooper

Back to the vault this week… Stormy finding a shot of his grandpappy in his hay day… I think Stormy is a splitting image

Still alive!

Got a new phone, a HTC Desire (as per my last post) so decided to Incorporate it into this project 52 :)

This week is the middle week.. half way… i have some ideas.. lets see how they play out.

Till next time..

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