Archive | iMac RSS feed for this section

Moving Pictures…………..

26 Feb

I am getting on in years, and converting from glass slides to film and now on to the latest digital thingys has been an ongoing steep learning curve, and that’s without throwing in learning how to drive the Mac.

So I take my hat off ( the one that keeps the sun off my widening bald spot) to the new generation off photographer/videographer. Vincent Laforet, www.laforetvisuals.com  and Chase Jarvis,www.chasejarvis.com are just two of the new breed setting the world on fire at the moment. Well guess what, we breed them here as well, Nathan from DreamSpace productions www.dreamspaceproductions.com.au is one that I have been lucky enough to work with on a few shoots and his skills as a conceptualist, director, camera operator and Mac pilot just seem to have grown at a stellar rate every time we team up.

I turn up one bag, some stands and lights and off I go shooting, easy. Nathan and his crew carry out what amounts to a logistics campaign every time, daunting to us stills only togs, but to these guys its just a day at the office. Wires, batteries, drive units, remote focus units and other gadgets that look like they are straight from the Star Wars movies. The incredible thing is that after doing the tech work, they seamlessly change rolls and go all creative.

The equipment is fantastic, but when you combine this with natural talent the results are world-class. Nathan shot his latest piece for the beautiful Kristina, the shot was dreamt up on the spot the night before, gear was carried and assembled at a location that the DreamSpace team had never seen before in the dark early the next morning, the guys shot the footage and a preview clip was presented to the model that day. I exhausted just retelling the tale.

I took some nice stills of the beautiful Kristina and push a button on the BTS shots…….that was enough for this dinosaur.

 

Colour shines through………….(with a little help!)

29 Jan

I took the kids for a drive to the north end of the Gold Coast today, just to get them out the house if nothing else. Low and behold the rain held off and we managed a walk and the kids had a play.

It was still overcast and grey but I couldn’t help but take a few shots…you know how it is, a camera is no good in the cupboard and with digital you can always delete at no cost.

When I put the images on the Mac at home there was something missing…colour!

Now I don’t have one of the HDR programs that are available not because I don’t like HDR, it just that I would hardly ever use it and therefore I can use the money to buy my son yet another pair of larger shoe’s.

I fiddled for a while in Camera Raw and these are the results, remember they are just a bit of fun!

Seascape photography…….bloody hard work!!

13 Nov

Those of you that know me realise that I subscribe to the photographic persuasion that believes “if the subject doesn’t have eyes, its boring”. Well soon to be stunned reader, I let you into a revelation, Seascape photography is complex, difficult and anything but boring. The waves don’t stand still, they refuse to take direction, they will not reset because the photographer would like to change angle. Then there is the lighting, you can’t move light modifiers to suit a new composition and try placing a flag or gobo on the rapidly rising sun. Sure there are clouds to help soften or spread the light, but lets face it they drift around aimlessly anyway.

If these issues’ weren’t enough to deal with, no sooner do you set your tripod up on wet sand but it starts to sink, or, and this happened to me just the other day, a particularly devilish wave sneaks up while you are adjusting settings with the sole intention of testing the water tight integrity of the mighty Nikon…not funny, Poseidon . Then just as you are getting comfy with the ever-changing environment,  you realise that settings are changing faster than the incoming tide and you require at least 5 more stops of filter to compensate for the sun frying your sensor.

So you get a few shots, pack up your gear, wash your tripod in fresh water  and then download your images to the Mac only to find…….lets see, umm mediocre at best. This seascape thing, whilst still not my passion, is no doddle. You cannot just take a point and shoot to a pretty location and bingo, have a hangable masterpiece, no this genre takes practice, dedication and perhaps a degree of insomnia. One of the masters of this art form here in Queensland , William from Liquid Boulevard, said to me only two days ago,” If you’re not on the beach by 3.45am, your too late”, OMG !!

The plus side beside the chance to record some stunning emerging light, is that this genre gets you outside taking in the natural wonders that are on our doorstep here on the sunny ( at about 4.15am ) Gold Coast, I have to say though I kept thinking “wouldn’t a raven haired model wrapped in golden silk look good on that rock”,  sorry I still like eyes……………

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!!

Real or……..

29 Sep

 

When you look at an image today you sometimes are aware almost immediately that it has been altered. Really, that is okay as you would have had to been asleep for the last twenty years since digital made its first baby steps to not realise that the digital darkroom is very powerful. Darkroom techniques are not new, it is just that anyone with a digital camera and a computer can distort the real image that was captured. The name Photoshop is now used by non photographic people to describe all sorts of electronic trickery, and free less powerful clones of this amazing tool are available at the press of a button. What does that all mean to us in the photographic community? Well for me it means I have another tool in my arsenal, however getting the image right in camera will always be the goal. Having said all that, these manipulating tools are great fun and can be used to produce images that can never be captured in reality. The following image is obviously the real deal, with trees, stand and dust spots on the lens filter from a near by excavation side helped by near gale force winds.

Things are not always what they seem….

1 Sep

I was in my sons’ room this afternoon helping him clean up and the afternoon sun was streaming through the window, which happens a lot here on Queenslands’ sunny Gold Coast. As we moved clothes and other random ( his word, not mine) stuff around we both noticed that dust particles were being captured by the stream of sunlight. My son grabbed his iPod and tried to capture the scene but he got reflections from the walls and furniture, and the there was too much light coming through the window which was causing the image to blow out. We quickly rigged two black panels, one to camera right and one reducing the area of light at the bottom of the window and grabbed the Nikon D5000. Bingo, first frame at about 85mm,f5.6 iso 200 and all we had was particles reflecting light and a pure black background. The boy took a couple and I took a couple and then downloaded to the iMac, fiddled for a minute in iPhoto printed to the Epson 1410, framed in an Ikea frame and onto the wall in his room as an artwork. I positive that no one will guess what the image is of…… Great fun, quick project and a bit of bonding. Photography just has so much going for it. Thanks to Sylights free iPad app for the lighting diagrams…easy to use and makes explaining image capture so much simpler.   

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:  http://www.lightroomkillertips.com/2007/video-surreal-edgy-effect/ ). 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….

 

 

 

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.