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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.

Any light you can find…..

9 Sep

those of you that know me realise that I follow the K.I.S.S. principle  as much as possible. Probably because I can relate to simple. Last night I was lucky enough to be asked to shoot a function in Brisbane at the beautiful Gambaros restaurant, and whilst doing some portfolio shots for some of the performers I realised that the lighting equipment I had (speedlights) just weren’t achieving the look I wanted. So remembering words from the awesome Joe McNally, use what you got !. So by positioning these fantastic artists under a downlight and positioning a speakers lectern with a white table-cloth draped over it as a reflector, the desired look jumped off the cameras LCD screen and with very little PP some great images were achieved.

It just goes to show, think outside the square, use up some digital film (its free) and try something new.

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.