MtCook

NZ Photography Trip – Day 4

April 19th, 2017

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any colder… 0° tonight. It’s 5am again, and we’re off for another sunrise photoshoot.

Rinse repeat with the battery charging – me sitting in the visitor centre waiting for everything to charge, while Anton is off taking photos somewhere. Some instant soups, apples and bananas later, its time for another hike!

Today to see the sunset we didn’t just hike a mountain. Oh no. We went up 2200 steps of Sealy Tarns Track to get a great view of the whole valley. It was tougher then expected. Hiking up a incline is one thing, but going up steps for 1.5 hours is a completely different beast.

The whole time we were going up – not a single cloud (at all, just clear blue skies; thats not that great for landscape photos). We finally reached the top of this track and we got a gorgeous view of both Mt Cook and the valley with the village.

Just when we thought that walking up was hard, going down was even worse. We could feel our legs shaking by the end of it, but we knew we had to keep going. It was pitch black and all we could see is the step beneath us thanks to our flashlights, and the stars above us. Oh the stars were absolutely amazing. We could clearly see the whole Milky Way every day, as no light pollution at all!

Once that was over, what awaited us was going to be the coldest night of our whole trip.

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NZ Photography Trip – Day 3

April 18th, 2017

Another day, another early rise. This time so we can get to our next stop – Mt Cook Village. But first a sunrise at lake Pukaki. After driving about 5km on a dirt road, we stumbled upon 2 cars parked next to a pond, and a bunch of people with tripods next to it. So we figured that that must be some kind of photography group or tour, as there was 1 guy who was teaching people what to set their settings to, to achieve certain creative effects. “Perfect” – we thought to ourselves, “if a photography group is here, this must be a good spot!”. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get many good shots, due to the mountain ranges being pretty much fully covered in clouds, but was still a good stop.

Mt Cook Village is a small touristy village, with a grand hotel, visitor centre and a few restaurants. It also has a camp site – White Horse Camp Site, which is 2km away from the village itself. Unlike the one in lake Tekapo, this one doesn’t have electricity or hot water. That proved to be a rather big issue, especially because I only had one battery for my new camera, which would die after 1 day of shooting and a night of freezing in the cold.

We improvised by going to the local (back in the village – 2km drive) cafe and visitor centre to replenish the power in both the battery and our own bodies.

The plan for the sunset for today was to go to Hooker Valley – 1.5 hour hike one way. It wasn’t a hard hike, more like a walk, but still took a while. During the walk we made numerous stops to take photos of Mt Cook – the tallest mountain in New Zealand. And then at the end was the glacier lake – Hooker Lake with a gorgeous view of Mt Cook and its reflection in the lake.

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Lake Tekapo

NZ Photography Trip – Day 2

April 17th, 2017

Early to bed, early to rise right? Well, it was 5am and we had to be ready to hike up a mountain. Mount John was our first target. Apparently the whole lake would have been visible from the top, if it wasn’t covered in clouds… We only got a small glimpse above the layer of clouds and fog, until it consumed us as well.

That was not the best morning, but shortly after coming down form MT. John the clouds cleared up and gave us some beautiful views of lake Tekapo. After brunch and some shopping we went on another photo hunt, this time with seasonal trees and beautiful mountains.

For the sunset we went up the same mountain, but this time, the sky was completely clear, and the valley was just breathtakingly beautiful. We welcomed the night on the top of Mt John and then got some great shots of the milky way above it.

At that point I realised that my battery was dying on me and that this might prove a problem for the whole trip. A full charges takes about 2 hours, and I couldn’t just leave it overnight in the communal kitchen of our camp. That was a rather long evening of sitting there, charging my batteries and playing Pokemon Moon on my 3DS.

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New Zealand Photography Trip – Day 1

April 16th, 2017

I recently got myself a new Camera – Canon 5D Mark IV. So of course I need to test it out by taking photos of the most beautiful landscapes in the world – New Zealand.

My colleague – Anton and I embarked on a journey to the land of Middle Earth, with one goal in mind: “take as many beautiful landscapes as possible”.

NZ 2017 Day 1 – 16th April:

We flew from Sydney to Christchurch on an Emirates Airbus A380, like you normally would, and enjoyed the great entertainment that was provided to us onboard. Upon arrival we instantly encountered our first issue – getting held up by quarantine. We were carrying a tent, so to remove all possible remnants of soil, quarantine had to inspect and vacuum it. After a small delay and a quick lunch, we collected our rental car and drove about 270km to Lake Tekapo. Arriving at around 10pm, our next struggle was to set up our tent. That proved a bit more difficult than initially expected. Mainly because it was 4 degrees outside, a bit windy, and we couldn’t figure out how to assemble the thing. Eventually we got it done and I spent my first night in a tent. Oh we also took some night shots of the church!

Tekapo Church

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Sand Dune Photography

March 5th, 2017

I figured it about time I upgrade my kit. I love landscape photography, but I was constrained by my camera and lenses. So before embarking on a new journey, I upgraded a bit of my kit. I ordered the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM from Amazon Japan. Its so much cheaper from Japan then here in Sydney, so happy with the cheaper price I got.

So to test out this new baby, Anton and I headed for Port Stevens to take photos of some dunes. The weather wasn’t the best, but we still got some good pics:

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flexboxes

CSS Flexboxes

February 26th, 2017

Today I would like to tell you all about this awesome property that CSS got a while back, but is now finally fully supported by all browsers and should be used by all web designers and developers. This property is called Flexbox or display: flex.

Why should you use it, you might ask. The reality of it is, if you have ever tried to centre something vertically and horizontally in CSS, you know the struggle that it is, and you know how after swearing at the screen for 30 minutes, you’d just end up cheating and setting the pixels manually, cause nothing else works. What if I told you that flexboxes allow you to centre an item within a container with 3 lines of code, and it would consistently work across all browsers? Well it can:

display: flex;
align-items: centre;
justify-content: center;

Flexboxes use the concept of a container and items within it, and uses tools like: justify and align to determine the position of the items within the container. Furthermore, you can easily flip the direction (order) of the items using flex-direction, change the direction from row to column and  grow and shrink the items with just a few lines of code. Its that simple.

I have started using flexboxes at work exclusively, and have not even had to write another "margin: 0 auto" in months! Now I am in the process of fixing up the anime club sites with the same stuff, to make them more robust and the code cleaner and more manageable.

If you want to learn more about this, then here is a link to CSS Tricks, a great website for learning about various interesting css properties and selectors.

Also there is a flexbox game, where you can learn how to align elements in various ways. Unfortunately though, they dont show you the code, but you can work it out from the buttons you are pressing on their UI.

And here is an article (with GIFs), that goes over all the flex box selectors and explains how they work.

Mongolian Throat Singing

January 8th, 2017

You know that country between Russia and China? That country that no-one really talks about at all, and the last time was involved in something was in the 1200s. I am of course talking about Mongolia.

Recently I have been researching interesting places in the world to travel to, and Mongolia is high up on that list, of obscure places where people don’t usually travel to. Once of the reasons my eyes were set on Mongolia, was due to this beautiful performance and the stunning views behind him. As a photography enthusiast, I just jump at any opportunity to take some amazing shots of exotic places around the world. And I believe Mongolia will offer me some great views.

Lets hope that my plans work out and in 2018 Feb I will cruising down the valleys of Mongolia.

2016

2006 vs 2016

December 21st, 2016

So this year there is this thing going around: me in 2006 vs me in 2016. So I decided to get on this bandwagon and combine it with my yearly retrospective post.

In 2006 my family had our annual trip to a new country – Australia. We visited Sydney, Uluru, Alice Springs, and Cairns during the 2 weeks that we were here. I was a small boy, exploring the world, one country at a time, trying to not get eaten alive by flies (as you can see by the photo).

Now, 10 years later, I am once again in Australia, more specifically Sydney, living my life here as a uni graduate and a software developer. Could I have imagined that I would be here right now 10 years ago? Probably not, but I am sure glad as to what I have achieved and how much I have grown.

So what actually happened this year? (And last year kinda, cause I never did a 2015 retrospective, and 2014 was still in Japan )

  • I got a proper job in IT in 2015, working as a software developer at WiseTech Global and I am really loving it! Still there, going strong, working on some really cool stuff.
  • I gave little Ringo-chan an uplift in February by redesigning this whole site.
  • Alex and  I moved to a new apartment in Mascot, now 10 minutes away from work in Alexandria.
  • Went to Singapore and Malaysia with my parents in March.
  • At around this time as well, I started doing sunrise and milky way photography with my coworker Anton. Even though I have been taking photos since 2006 (what a coincidence!), but now I believe I can truly explore this hobby more without having to travel somewhere far. Check out my photos on Flickr.
  • You know what a NAS is? what PLEX is? Well neither did I until I got a NAS and installed PLEX on it and now I have my whole media collection available to me anywhere.
  • June = Pokemon GO! came out allowing us to catch Pokemon everywhere! “A new region to explore, a whole new bunch of Pokemon to catch!”  – Vadim 2014
  • Then pretty much since July I didn’t blog as much and didnt do as much, was just focusing on work and getting my visa situation sorted out. Now I have a 4 year temporary working visa (457), so then in about 2, I can apply for permanent residency!)
  • In October, my parents came to visit me for my graduation! Thats right I am done with uni, no more classes, no more lectures…. no more fun times with my friends from the anime club… No not really, I am forever their we(e)bmaster.
  • Oh and of course we went to Middle Earth and visited Hobbiton. That was amazing. Wish the weather was a bit better, but hey, what can you do.
  • And now I find myself spending Christmas and New Years with my friends, and looking forward to a great 2017.

Hope you all had a good year, and see you all in the future!

uts

I ‘member UTS

December 5th, 2016

I ‘member the good old time, you ‘member? – South Park

It’s been almost 6 months since I completed my almost 6 year degree in UTS. And now thinking back, I kinda miss being a student. Of course doing what a love at an amazing job that I got is great, however that feeling of going to university to learn, and socialise is something that I started to miss over the past few months. Of course I can say that I’ve had the best time of my life while at university and that I owe this to the amazing people that made that time so… well… amazing! However I am still involved in anime@UTS and to some extent JASS, so I can’t say that I’ve left campus life for good.

The reason for this reminiscing post is because I stumbled upon an article written by UTS International Office – about me! I did an interview with them and got them to take my photo, but never actually saw it used anywhere, but then today I did a Google search for my name (Vadims Brodskis) I came across this article. Isn’t it cool! Hopefully this stays on the site for ever, or at least a long long time, then I can say that I have made history! And with such a quote:

With the knowledge UTS has given me, I’m confident I can enter the job market, show them that I’m amazing and make then hire me.

Now, how many of you have your own university page?

Muza Birthday

Happy Birthday Muzaffar!

November 6th, 2016

Some people go to dinner, others just chill at home, what does Muza do? He organises a place at Jervis Bay for the night and gets together a gang of Russians (Uzbek, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian and Kazak Russians) and takes us all to the beautiful beaches. Early wakeup on Saturday followed by a 2.5h drive out to Jervis Bay resulted in us getting some good sun, a few dips in the cold water and a hike through the national park. In the evening, as per tradition, we have shashlik (skewered meat) on the grill and some drinks, while chatting into the night.

All I wanna say is a big thank you to Muza, for organising, cooking and well being such a great guy! Happy Birthday my friend, wish you health and happiness, and of course all the best with work and your personal life.

Photos from our outing are right here:

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