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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.

 

No post production required…….

21 Feb

A few posts ago in featured a shoot that was done at the beach with the superb Kristina, she was just great in so many ways..a real professional model.

I went back and review a few shots of her today as is my habit and wondered whether or not some post production may enhance her portrait.

For portraits, head shots that is, I cheat sometimes and use the wonderful Portrait Professional. Most people who go thru this digital make over are amazed by both the result and speed that the process takes.

I put Kristina thru the process and for the first time ever since I started with this enhancement tool, I discovered that she just didn’t need it.

With PP.

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!

Seaside serenity……………..

16 Jan

I took so time out to archive some old images on the back up drive recently and fell into the trap of reviewing some of my favorite images. I am sure most photographers have memories of shoots that went well, or produced some images that changed the way you think  about our art form. Great models help of course and sometimes you get shots that were not planned but just begged to be taken. You know what I mean, the model, hair, dress and location combine with great lighting turned on my mother nature to provide the basis for a great image.

For some reason this one disappeared into the archive until I reviewed the images recently, and with a little post production it is being aired for the first time. For me it brings back the memory of working with a large group of great people. three models, a fantastic make up artist, another enthusiastic photographer and watching the start of a young videographers career.

Nathan from Dreamspace Productions was with us that day, and produced some stunning work. Yesterday he emailed a media bite designed for a large fashion event thru to me for my thoughts. I watched it over and over until I realised the only thing I could offer was congratulations, please make your way across to Nathans site and feast your eyes on this guys incredible talent.

http://www.dreamspaceproductions.com.au/

Meantime enjoy the serenity that this image portrays……….

 

Photoshop……so much for so little

10 Jan

In the old days developing film was done in labs or bedrooms converted to labs (different to the labs found in houses today..lol) with all sorts of chemicals, dishes and containers. There was a sort of magical alchemy about the whole process and as the film developed you would see the result of all this effort, probably shot days earlier and with no chance of repeating the image. It was exciting, frustrating, joyous and disappointing all at the same time. When people came to the house they had that look on their faces that said “wow, he knows those secrets..clever”.

Well, it’s all gone now, except for a few studios with shipping containers full of cheap stock, enthusiasts, and a some arty studios that keep the magic alive. For the rest of use digital has meant instant review and if necessary reshoot and processing at the workstation without the need for a sink, tongs or rubber gloves ( there are some that miss the rubber gloves ?? ).

Photoshop has enabled even children to process digital images to a high standard and the presets embedded in all versions provide quick and easy ways to lift an image. Even professionals use some of the presets or purchase actions that are applied in less time that it takes to make a coffee.

Sometimes I miss the old ways, but then I remember the cost, the clean up so on and so on, and realise that as much as it seemed so very cool in those days, the digital darkroom is so much for so little.

The following image was converted from a full colour shot to this ” in vogue ” sepia tone with five key strokes which took about 30 seconds.

Fanning the flames…

2 Jan

It strikes me as odd the way our view of life and our surroundings is skewed by our passion, photography. We look at things in a different light (I am not talking inverse square etc), normal shapes, designs and images change in our built-in sensor, scenes of joy, despair, triumph and tragedy are processed and decisions about depth of field, contrast, hue and saturation, crop ratios come naturally. I find that when I talk with others suffering from the same affliction that they too have already put a slant on what ever they are viewing that would not occur to mere mortals that don’t love photography.

Why would someone slow a shutter to create silky water or reduce an aperture to decrease the level of light?, why because as artists we are driven to create and have a need to produce something a little different. I love studio work, but time is money and therefore don’t get enough time to just play with shadow, contrast, pose and light that I would like, but when I am out and about I find myself constantly looking for a different scene to capture. This morning I had an idea about motion, runners and cyclists, but found myself feeling uncomfortably like a voyeur and moved on. Yes I chickened out, perhaps a greater focal length is needed !

Whilst driving home I spotted a music shop that had been gutted by fire in the last few days and noticing that no barriers were in place, went to investigate and spied this…….I wondered if it fanned the flames?

 

 

Connecting with a model….

1 Jan

They are usually young, distracted by the thoughts of tonight’s party, not liking the hairstyle etc but before I get hate mail, I have been very generalist with my views on models. I have worked with quite a few creative, attentive models in the past and have enjoyed the time spent with them and the resultant images very much, however today I worked with a model who I had an instant and complete connection with. She was patient, compliant, and creative, she is also my wife.

We had taken our kids and those belonging to some friends to a local park for some time outdoors playing basketball and Nerf wars for the boys. Of course I had the camera with me and took multiple images of the kids playing, pulling faces and just generally being cute. I spotted a tree with the local creek in the background and asked my wife to pose…..naturally. Those of you that are married know that photos of your spouse are usually snapshots at weddings or other alcohol fuelled occasions which featured half closed, blood-shot eyes or questionable dance styles.

Not so today, my wife posed as I suggested, smiled naturally, and looked like she was enjoying the attention. Later in the day after we had off loaded what seemed like half the schools’ worth of kids, I did some processing on the raw image and was delighted when my wife asked me to download it for her Facebook profile. Yes there is some digital enhancements, but you know what, I think these adjustments just help her amazing inner beauty shine through even stronger.

 

 

Stepping outside the box……………..

14 Nov

Those of you that have read this blog before know that I shoot people..mostly. Models, kids, everyday Joes’, this is the genre for me. I have even started taking an interest in weddings #@!%#@ !!!!!..yep, now that a more editorial style is becoming popular and moving away from the 5 or 6 standard poses, its starting to be a bit creative. People like Sue Bryce, Paul Mac and JM Tran are really pushing into new and fun territory. Even Nathan and the guys from Dreamspace productions are getting involved.

So from what you have just read you are now expecting to see an image from a wedding, a cake, shoes or a cutesy wedding ring with heart shadow..wrong, what this post is about is stepping out of the comfort zone, trying something new. From my last post you will see that I have also played with seascapes (arrgh, harder than I thought). Well today folks I will present a faux HDR of a construction project, faux because I haven’t invested in the program as yet. I have shown this image and others like it to a few commercial would be clients recently and almost to a man they have expressed interest in having at least some of this style in their commercial advertising material. I haven’t signed anybody up for it yet, but I strongly believe in perseverance , bug them enough and they will give in just to shut me up. If nothing else it made me look at a pile of steel in a different way. I wonder what an ebony model in a silver catsuit would look like in this, umm……………

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.

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.