Archive | August, 2011

Playing with Photoshop

31 Aug

Today was not a day for taking photos. The weather was great, I had time but life jumped up and said “time to attend to the mundane stuff, Andrew”, bills, shopping and washing even ironing got priority over image making. Never mind, these jobs are all part of the family lifestyle and I try to tackle them with the mindset that once they are completed I will have free reign to produce images. I know, I too can detect optimism laced with a hint of desperation. I did manage to skulk away to the iMac for a few moments and read a great piece on edgy image conversion in Adobe camera raw (see link attached: ). I quickly found an image that I thought may benefit from some digital manipulation and had a go. Now this sort of result is certainly not to everyone’s taste, it’s really not my thing either, however it elicited a wow from my daughter and two almost decipherable grunts from my not quite teenage son and therefore I have concluded that this form of our art does indeed have an audience. Truthfully for me a classic one light, crisp monochrome is the stuff dreams are made of…….once again, each to their own.

A second look….

29 Aug

Another thing that is kinda’ cool about digital image capture is the ability to review what you have shot so easily. Whether it be during a shoot tethered to your iMac or Macbook Pro, or later at your workstation. Lately I have got into the habit of going back over images I have shot days later and quite often an image that I have dismissed or skipped over in preference for another jumps out of the screen at me. Sometimes a little play in Photoshop can make a world of difference, reducing background clutter, tweaking a bit of fill or shadow or simply running a noise filter and sharpening takes an ok image to a favorite. The following image kept waving at me, I think it was because the model was so good at Fashion against Disaster and the dress was plainly stunning but I kept going for another one very similar. With just the few PS changes listed above the image has become a keeper and a favourite. You gotta love digital….




Champion Sportsman.

28 Aug

Today the sunshine returned to the Gold Coast and the family and I ventured out to find a park to enjoy. We stumbled upon a Kids sign on and try day at Broadbeach, there were all sorts of activities for the kids (and adults) to try and it was all free. There were sports clubs, surf life saving and even an acrobatic school with a fantastic instructor who had lots of kids under control and enjoying trying new skills. He even got me into a wheel that turns you upside down..great fun. Just as we were about to leave, the sporting car club announced that the current leader of the V8 supercar championship, Jamie Whincup was there to sign posters etc. We walked across and sure enough here is the man who is at the pinnacle of our premier formula of motorsport and, one would image, as busy as bee, calmly chatting and signing posters for adoring fans with a great big smile on his face. I took a couple of snaps, the kids got a poster signed, and this true gentleman of the sport seemed all the while to be enjoying the day out. Bravo, Jamie, a lot of so-called celebrities could learn how to put on the public face from you. You do yourself, team, sponsors and sport proud, and although I have been a Ford man all my life ( go young Moff ‘) I will from now on have a cheer for you. Well done , sir!!

Fashion Against Disaster

27 Aug

In world that seems to be continually facing one natural disaster after another, the Japanese Tsunami is one that truly stirs up feelings of despair, horror and hopelessness. The incredibly graphic images of walls of water invading towns and villages still, when viewed today send shivers down my spine and of course when you let your imagination place you into those places, where families, young children, grandparents and friends were going about their normal lives, it makes you realise that we really have no defence when mother nature wants to make a statement . What we do have control over is how we act to help those effected by these disasters.

A group of caring and motivated people here on the sunny Gold Coast organised a fashion show to raise funds to assist in the rebuilding stage for the victims of this terrible event. Established and emerging local designers teamed with stunning models, make up artists and the wonderful crew at The Temple Lounge Bar, to create an evening of swirling colour, music and performances of traditional Japanese dance. The clothing was simply fantastic, great colours, fabrics with texture and luminance  and new, innovative cuts.

A great evening was had by all, even more so knowing that the funds raised would help restore some normality to the many shattered lives in Japan.

When the sun doesn’t shine……

24 Aug

As photographers, light is both our friend and nemesis, giving us moments of pure joy and hours of utter despair. Its raining here on the usually sunny Gold Coast, in fact its bucketing down and there is no way that I am going to expose either the Nikon D700 or myself to the vertical flood hammering down onto the roof. This of course means looking for other photographic outlets to play and practice with. Firstly an art style shot from inside the house taken while I was cleaning the camera gear

Of course this dragged me over to the other wonderful part of this photography thing, the computer, iMac of course, and Photoshop. Now those that know me well will tell you that I am no computer guru and also that I believe strongly in getting the image capture right in the camera. This doesn’t always produce the result you or equally important the client requires, so then computer manipulation plays it part. Learning this process is ……… at best time-consuming, at worse, bloody frustrating but when something works and you get the result you were aiming for or you simply amaze  yourself, then you realize why people get addicted to this digital art form. The ability to transform images in something quirky, strange or just recover a mistake of ISO, shutter speed or white balance is kinda’ cool.

Having said all this nothing beats setting up, composing, metering light and receiving the exact image you had in your mind.

Event Lighting

21 Aug

The most difficult thing for a photographer to tame is light, no more so than with lighting at events. If your lucky you may have the chance to talk the organiser into moving a light, but almost all the time it is what it is and you just have to be prepared for anything. Fast lenses, Full Frame sensors, a monopod maybe or if your lucky, use of a speedlight. Then of course be prepared for lasers, coloured strobes and mixed styles of lighting, all this coupled with fast movement can make you start to think that landscape is easier ( it isn’t). However as long as you have the gear above, a pocket full of spare cards and batteries shooting events is great fun. Time goes quick, your arms get a workout and thigh muscles scream for a break but every now and again magic happens and you get a card full of shots that the client gets excited about. When you shoot events be prepared, have a ball, enjoy the show and just remember, it is what it is….great fun, remember you could be working for a living.

Burlesque !!!!!

20 Aug

If all entertainment was able to combine so many facets of our basic make-up, the world would be a better place in my opinion. I was lucky enough to shoot a show put on at Temple”” on the sunny Gold Coast by the wonderful talent from Multiplay Entertainment “” . What a fantastic time I had, pre show shots for the cast in full costume and then on to images taken throughout the incredibly fast paced, saucy and sexy show. Great dancing, singing that was of the highest quality, and without sounding creepy some of the most beautiful girls you are ever likely to see all clothed in traditional burlesque style. The great low light capability of the Nikon D700 sensor was put to the test and came through brilliantly. Shooting with 24-70 and 70-200 f2.8 lenses at an average ISO of 1600 most of the images came out with little noise. This was the first time I used the recently obtained Black Rapid strap and I swear I will never go out to sports or event shooting without it again, just great!! Do yourself a favour (thanks Molly for the great aussie saying) and catch a Burlesque show soon and if your lucky enough to see one put on by Multiplay Entertainment you will have the best night you have had for a long time.

Coffee time !!

19 Aug

When you walk around almost any part of Australia, be it urban or rural, it is quite easy to see we have learnt something most important from migrant Europeans. We realise the importance of coffee. Australians regularly on masse take to the pavements and verandahs of our most scenic, our most bustling and our most peaceful locations to pay homage to the bean. Of course whilst partaking in an espresso, latte or what ever is coffee de jour, we socialize, take time to smell the roses(or coffee), read the paper or just relax. For me strolling along the beach or walking up a hinterland path with the trusty Nikon along for the ride is made so much more special by concluding this restful pastime  with a well made cappuccino from talented and friendly Barista. Of course we are becoming spoiled for choice here on the sunny Gold Coast, and there always seems to be a special cake to tempt you to linger that bit longer. Hooray I say to those wonderful European migrants that bought this civilised ritual down under.

The most sickening sound ever…………

18 Aug

Shock, horror, rain came to Queenslands sunny Gold Coast last night and with rain comes clouds and clouds in the morning mean great sunrise pics right?……. right!. I creaked out of bed at 5.30 am grabbed the Nikon D5000 with 10-20 attached, remote release in pocket and tripod over shoulder. I decided that Burleigh Heads  volcanic rocks at the foreshore would look at bit specy with backlit storm clouds. A quick drive to the foreshore, and amongst all the fitness devotees running and exercising I gingerly made my way out through the pebbles and driftwood to the start of the rocks. Here I paused and thought ” I should put the camera around my neck so if I slip it will be held near me”, but no, I soldiered on and yes, over I went and in the process of slamming down onto my right knee I heard the most sickening sound a photographer can hear, that of the camera and much-loved lens landing heavily on the unforgiving rocks. Remember it is still semi dark and all I could see whilst fumbling for my torch was the lens cap a foot or so away from the camera. Double Bugger!!, torch in hand, knee swelling rapidly I carefully picked my first real DSLR up expecting the worst only to find not only was the body ok, but also the lens was good as new. Even the filter wasn’t scratched, the no original battery grip had a large chunk out of it, but the camera works fine. Because of my now very sore and stiff knee I elected to stay a while and try to capture something. In the end the sun didn’t poke through and the results were only okay, but I reckon that I will always look back on them with a feeling of relief.

As a postscript, a trip to the hardware store (Bunnings) and a tube of two part “knead-it” and some black spray paint saw the hole disappear and the battery grip as good as new. It only cost $8.00 dollars but what a valuable lesson, think about where your taking your equipment and be prepared for the worst. Next time the Nikon with be cocooned in a padded camera bag as it should be……..

Oh yeah, thanks for asking, the knee is fine……………………………

Eating my words………

17 Aug

“You know mate, I just don’t enjoy taking pictures without people in them !”. Only yesterday I made this rather grandiose statement, and now I am looking like a complete muppet because just this morning after the school run, I took the Nikon D7oo with 24 – 70/ 2.8 attached and went for a walk along the iconic Burleigh beach. Far to late for imposing sunrises, it was just a case of point and shoot and enjoy the day, weather and the fact that there was no expectation to provide the next Ansel Adams masterpiece in fact I really thought it would just be a nice walk, the chance to say G’day to some now familiar locals and play with the camera. But guess what, the abstract creative juices flowed and I found myself looking at shells and pebbles, driftwood and even clouds. Framing, composing, rule of thirds, the magic ratio, white balance, yep it was all just there and the thunderbolt struck, when you love doing this it becomes ingrained and even when you don’t plan to shoot anything in particular the artist inside is always seeing life through a viewfinder trying to capture a slice of this very special world. In effect we, the photographers of the world are also historical artists. Cool isn’t it and you thought you were taking happy snaps.

I also learnt a second lesson today whilst browsing one of the local e-papers entertainment sections, two upcoming events were advertised, so bold as brass I emailed to see if they had event photographers squared away or not, and guess what ?, yours truly has secured both positions, one this week, one the week after, and have since been contacted and asked to shoot at the rehearsals and do the VIP pics…who dares clicks…not quite as catchy is it.