13 December 2012
Wow, talk about finishing the year with a bang! I entered a few images in the International Loupe Awards this year, as always. I like to enter a comp every now and then to get a feel for how things are going with my images; you know, to find out how they compare with all those awesome photographers out there. This year, I actually managed to score two bronzes and a surprising gold award for Fallen.
Anyway, the big surprise came yesterday when my mobile started going crazy with calls and txt messages. Amazingly, I had placed first in the Amateur Landscape category. Now, I admit I thought I might be in with a chance of getting into the top 50, but first? … Wow.
Thankyou to all my friends and followers on facebook who raised the alert, and thankyou to the judges for the honor.
9 June 2012
Well, here we are and again it’s been a very long time between posts. Dear, dear, I’m such a slacker!
I do however have some exciting news to report. On Tuesday this week, I started to receive a flurry of congratulation messages. “Hmmm, what’s all this about?”, thinks I. It turns out Australian Geographic ran an article on the recent Epson International Pano Awards and one of my images appeared in the article. But when I eventually got the chance to check it out, I realised that out of the hundreds of images that make up the top 50 lists of each category, Australian Geographic chose one of mine as the lead image for the article. All I can say is: Wow! What a nice surprise!
It’s one of my favourite photos and, in fact, I have a large print of it hanging in my lounge room at home.
So thankyou to Australian Geographic for the honor and a big thankyou to all my friends and followers out there who sent me messages, if it wasn’t for you I would never have known!
20 August 2011
A few days ago I went out to shoot a sunrise with a couple of fellow photographers which re-enforced to me how important it is to ‘be there’, even if you think the conditions don’t look promising.
The forecast for the morning seemed to indicate there would be a chance of fog and about 20% cloud cover. With that in mind, a location was agreed and we headed out in the early hours of the following morning. We arrived about 90 minutes before sunrise, took some test shots while we waited for the predawn light to start.
Over the next hour the clouds began to grow quite heavy and the chance of fog completely vanished. Though the conditions weren’t anything like what we were expecting, we stuck it out to see what would come when the sun actually rose.
The clouds grew heaver still, yet the breeze died and the lake seemed to turn into a mirror. So we each set about trying to capture the reflections of the mountains on the water and the rocks at the lake’s edge in the pale pre-dawn light.
It was at about this time that the top of the mountain opposite us lit up red like fire. Well, it goes without saying there was a sudden flurry of photographic activity, lenses being changed, shutters firing, etc.
This beam of light moved down the face of the mountain and spread to the trees below along the water’s edge. The sun behind us was peeking through the gap between the land and the clouds creating a horizontal beam of light that lasted about six or seven minutes.
While we all came home with other shots, we’d been there for those few minutes of magic light and were able to witness (and photograph) a chance event.
The thing to remember is:
Sometimes we don’t get the conditions we expect and we have to look for alternative shots or styles. Sometimes we have to just wait and see what happens. But, it’s almost always worth being there.
26 June 2010
I recently had the pleasure of taking a couple of days holiday at Hervey Bay. Everyone that I have ever spoken to about this place said it was a very beautiful spot, so I just had to go and see for myself. Well, it sure didn’t disappoint, despite the intermittent weather, and I will definitely be heading back again; and for a little longer than two days.
When we arrived, I was gob-smacked at the water. So still, seemingly all the way to the unbroken horizon; it looked like a massive sheet of ice. In fact, much of Hervey bay is picturesque and I was spoilt for choices of places to photograph.
The Urangan Pier
The pier, of course, is worth a look for that classic very, vey long pier shot. It was built in 1917 to facilitate the export of sugar and later coal. These days the pier is a tourist attraction and young fisher’s mecca. In 2007 the Hervey Bay City Council (Now the Fraser Coast Regional Council) set aside a further $1.65 million for further Urangan Pier restoration works. The Pier is an impressive structure with it’s locally sourced turpentine wood piles that support over a mile of decking.
The shoreline around Point Vernon is mostly volcanic rock and is home to some very weather worn mangrove trees. These magroves are bent and twisted like natural bonsai. While the tides and the windy weather made photographing them difficult for me this time, I would say mid-tide on a calm morning, when you can get out amongst the shallow water and the mangroves, would be awesome.
Check out the rest of the Hervey Bay images at my Flickr stream!
8 June 2010
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Something I like to do when the sky is clear at night is to get out and shoot some star trails. The results can be quite dramatic and guaranteed to make all your friends go ‘wow!’.
And all it takes is a sturdy tripod, a remote shutter release and a bit of patience.
By far the most effective means of obtaining a successful result that I know of is to take a series of exposures and stack them together. The advantage of using a series of short exposures over one long exposure is that even in the suburbs, you can get good results without the sky becoming over exposed. Stacking the images can be done in photoshop or in specialist software like StarTrails.exe, which can be downloaded from http://www.startrails.de/html/software.html for free. NOTE: this website is often down, so just keep trying.
Using the widest lens you have, set the camera up using the following settings:
- manual mode
- 30 seconds
- mutishot mode
Set the camera to manual focus mode and focus the lens at infinity. Point the camera in the direction you want to shoot and press the shutter button to take a test shot. Check the test shot in the camera’s viewer, you should at least be able to see a few stars. If all looks good, lock the shutter button down on your remote switch. Your camera should now start taking a series of 30 second exposures, so sit back and enjoy the night view for a while. After about 30 minutes, you will have a good series of exposures to work with. Of course, the longer you leave the camera running, the longer the star trails will be. If you are out in the country and away from all the city lights, try setting the ISO to 800 or 1600, you will get more and brighter stars.
Why use a high ISO?
The stars themselves are not very bright, so you need to increase the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor in order to capture their light. Usually in photography, when we want to shoot a dark subject we lengthen the exposure time to get more light. However, because the stars are constantly moving, lengthening the exposure won’t make them brighter, it just makes the star trails longer. Increasing the ISO will increase the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor and get you brighter stars.
So armed with a little info, why not step out the back door, into the yard and have a go at it tonight?