Archive | October, 2011

Fairies in the forest……..

23 Oct

I had the pleasure of working with Shay, a young model with great attitude and ability, on a fairies in the forest themed shot. I always think to myself that a lot of these style of shoots are at best cliché, and more often than not just plain bad, so it was with a far bit of trepidation that I undertook this project. But as I worked through the logistics’ of the concept, it occurred to me that I was stepping out of the comfort zone yet again. No air-conditioned, light controlled studio environment, oh no gentle reader, this was location at its worst time. Almost midday on a very typical sunny Gold Coast day, what clouds there were took one look at the Nikon D700 and floated away south over the border leaving me with full sun and incredibly hard reflections. We set up under the most substantial corpse of trees we could find, and proceeded to erect and test the four speedlights, triggers, gels, diffusers and got down to establishing our settings, etc.

Of course the make up and hair stylist knew I would need a little extra time to get the test shots and waited just long enough to bring the model to the set, we proceeded to place her into the pre-tested location and bingo…..second shot of the day and there were smiles all round. The moral, know your gear, be able to produce results regardless of the conditions and be ready to work. When todays client said when will the images be ready, a look of amazement crossed her face when I replied tomorrow. Here’s the key, test shots to establish settings, compose in the camera and only take enough images to satisfy the brief. Once loaded into the digital darkroom of your choice, your time to complete the project will be reduced greatly. A previous AIPP POTY winner said anything more than a minute or two in post production per image is too long…Bravo!!

Now the following image did take a little longer than a minute or two to process, however this was really only due to the need to remove the ladder that the model was standing on, Lighting, exposure and composition hardly altered from the RAW file.

Real Glamour……

22 Oct

Those of us in the photography game (and it truly is a game), see advertisements for glamour shoots all the time. Heavily discounted, some as low as $50.00 including make up and simple hair styling. Targeted at a certain demographic usually, these studios in the main have 5 or 6 poses and styles, use the same lighting every time and then charge huge amounts for the finished product weeks later. If this is what your heart desires then great, however I truly believe that most women given correct lighting, creative direction, costuming that doesn’t make them feeling uncomfortable to the point of being embarrassed have the ability to be glamorous. Hollywood got it right in the thirties and forties, great lighting is the key and then add a little softness and you have real glamour. Copious amounts of bare flesh is not glamour, although in the right setting it can be glamorous but that is a whole different genre.

 

Iconic Australian Landscapes……..

17 Oct

So, the make up artist is booked, costumes are organised and the locations checked for sun position etc and the model get sick!. Too late to cast a new model, and besides the poor girl can’t help being ill and she is perfect for the concept. The dilemma I face is that I now have an intense need to make some pictures. The sun is shining and my first thought is go to the beach, get some photojournalistic stuff, there is always something happening. But by chance the traffic is already heavy in that direction so I head into the Gold Coasts stunning and under publicised hinterland. This the world of “Terra Nova”(www.fox.com/terranova/), cycads and dinosaur type landscape, creeks and waterfalls at every twist in the road. This is so far removed from the bright lights and bikinis of Surfer Paradise and yet it is only 20 minutes drive. As I drive further up one of the valleys there large rocky outcrops and sheer escarpments on both sides, and I can only wonder what sort of landscape photographers nirvana lies hidden behind the vines and ferns. I’m not alone on this twisty road, a peloton of middle-aged lycra clad cyclists have found this peaceful and scenic route ideal for their sunday jaunt and no doubt will stop at a peaceful and charming coffee shop to get their fill of Lattes and scones before riding home. Armed only with my Nikon D5000 and the terrific, versatile 18-200 DX VR, I shoot some of the landscape, more than anything to add to the location file for later shoots. The road eventually becomes a track and then nothing and I am forced to turn around, however when I get out the car to shoot the following scene, my senses’ are assaulted by the smells of steamy and humid tropical rainforest, fetid yet incredibly clean aromas that are such a contrast to the smells of the Pacific ocean only twenty minutes away. On your next holiday or outing to the Gold Coast do the ‘worlds’, Cavill Mall and Surfers but also spend some time up in the hinterland, you wont regret it.This image was converted to “Water Colour” in Photoshop and is available for sale in various sizes printed on canvas.

FIFO…not a dogs name

14 Oct

I know I have said many times that Australia is the lucky country..and it is, however one of the greater social implications of the being the lucky country is our reliance on the mining industry. Now before anybody  gets up in arms and I get hate mail or fan mail depending on which side of the green debate you support, I will make it quite clear that myself and my family have benefitted directly from participating in mining. The pay is great, and no one with a family can help but be tempted by the lure of a high level of both financial freedom and job security. Turn up, do your job and the company will ensure that you are safe, well fed and clothed and paid handsomely .

Now here comes the rub…you see it’s the turn up part that tests the way we live and the way families interact. Dad or mum, gets in a taxi, goes to the airport then flys away ( sometimes crossing the country) and then stays away for extended periods of time. Some rosters have their workers away for a month and return them home fatigued and  socially mal-aligned  for everyday society for a week. They take a day to get over the work rotation and travel, then have five days to cram in a months normality, then spend a day returning to the coal face ( no pun intended ).

Rates of family breakdown are high within these workgroups and those that make a good go out of it are realistic enough to understand that the time away can never be recovered.  Listening to your child describe an exciting event over the phone just isn’t the same as being there. The interesting things is that these FIFO (Fly In, Fly Out ) workers form little like-minded groups. Of course there is the so-called “Aussie drinking culture” . But when you stand back and look at who is involved it’s usually the hard-core oldies or the very young and new, lots of money for the first time and no mum or dad to tell them when to go to bed. Then there are the fitness fanatics, and I use that word kindly, they have time to kill and keeping fit keeps them away from the bar. A few study and a few play music.

These blokes were sitting around playing some R & B classics, having a quiet drink and a laugh. All of them would rather be home, but as they say no jobs back home, or that they want to give their kids every opportunity in life, I understand, I really do, but I can’t help feeling that not only do these husbands and fathers miss out on so much, but also their families are not as well off as they think because of the long periods of separation. This might be a case where being the lucky country comes at a cost. Next time you are at the airport and see a bunch of miners or construction workers in their distinctive hi-viz reflective clothing and safety boots, don’t just envy them for their high income, also remember the heavy cost it comes at.

PS. The colour cast of the above image is caused by the covers on the accommodation blocks fluorescent  lights that don’t attract insects…..as much!!

 

World Record Bikini Parade…

2 Oct

Queensland’s sunny Surfers Paradise confirmed the “paradise” tag today when the new world record was attempted for the number of beautiful girls in a bikini parade. Setting out from the Surfers Paradise Surf Life Saving Club, the collection of tanned, toned and made up girls promenaded along the beach for a distance of 1.6 kms and were counted through a stage/runway to the cheers of the thousands of people who had turned out on this glorious day. Not only had all these lovely girls given their time to attempt the record, but they had also paid $25.00 to register for the event.

All the money raised was then donated in full to the wonderfully dedicated people at the Surfers Paradise Surf Life Saving Club. These funds will be put to great use protecting the thousands of people who yearly flock to this iconic stretch of sand.

A big thanks to the girls for posing for photos, and a huge pat on the back for the organisers for making it all happen.

Now did the record get broken, well no, it got smashed, 332 bikini clad maidens were required and in true Aussie spirit, 357 girls of Queensland strutted their stuff. Well done all, great fun, great location and a very worthy cause.

Star Wars, a modern classic……

1 Oct

If you haven’t seen or a least heard about the Star Wars epics then you would be in the minority. There are many of our ancient classics and some of the more modern tomes that have not affected the way we speak as much as this easily consumed good versus evil tale.  “May the force be with you” is even heard in boardrooms as a way of wishing executives  good luck in their next battle with clients. Going over to the “dark side” is related to any change of team, and I recently heard this phrase being used to describe a paramedics’ defection to the fire brigade.

As I was typing this post there were three separate adverts on the TV for various forms of Star Wars toys for a new generation to consume. Now you may say that Batman, The Hulk and Superman have similar effects on society, but really when did you include sayings such as “precisely Robin !” or “Aarrhhh” ( the hulk) in conversation and as for costuming wearing undies (red ones at that) on the outside of your trousers is at best going to attract looks, at worst have you  completely  shunned by the majority of the population. Conversely when you see people dressed up for the many Star Wars conventions, most of us secretly smile and think its kinda’ cool. The only other modern show that I believe has had a similar effect is Star Trek and truly the current generation don’t get it….aahhh, beam me up Scotty!!

Anyway as my 11-year-old spent a large amount of his school holidays creating his Lego spin on space craft from that galaxy far, far away in time long ago, we thought we should put the Nikon to good use a record the result for further generations to enjoy. Using the low light capability of D5000s’ sensor, we used his Globe as a back drop placed on a black sheet and lit it with two hand-held LED torches. With some stars added in PP, the galaxy came alive in the bedroom….May the force be with you!!