Sunset at Black Rocks

Reading a post from 35hunter about ‘How many photographs should we share in one blog Post‘ had me rushing to review how many photos have been included on this blog and the result is on average 3-5 photos per post. Dan raises an interesting question for sure, which I don’t think is easily answered however Dan made a statement about a single photograph. This statement has really stuck with me for about a week and I can’t seem to shake it, Dan states that:

‘With a very short post that can be purely the photograph with no text, or the photograph plus a few paragraphs of text, I find this approach can be very powerful.

I love the author’s commitment – “This is the single photograph I have chosen for the post, nothing else would do, and now here it is standing up proud”.

I think it encourages those of us reading to give that single photograph more commitment too, to perhaps linger a little longer, and search a little deeper, than we may do if there are two or three other images in the post.’

emptyname

I do whole heartedly agree with that statement because as society we have become numb to the sheer volume of images across our social media streams. The effect is most people, including me, scroll without thought or using any brain power.

So I thought that I would apply this thought process to a least one blog post this year but Dan also states that it should be your best work, obviously showcasing your skills as a photographer (or other creative work) but if I did that I would never post any photos as I don’t think I’m yet to produce my best work.

Please jump on over to 35hunter to say Hello and have a look around and ask yourself when was the last time you looked at a single image longer than 0.3 of second and appreciated a photograph.

And I’m curious how many photos you post to your favourite social, either Insta, Facebook or blog?

Happy Shooting

 

Like a 5 Year Old in a Lolly Shop

Not every photo or photo opportunity works out, some times no matter what you do or how hard you try, it just doesn’t happen and thats what happened to me. Late December, I spotted a group of race horses training on my local beach and an idea formed to photograph these beautiful horses. I conjured up images of horses galloping or swimming on the beach with moody clouds in the background, maybe even a little fog or early morning mist. To achieve that I needed everything to align including the Weather Gods to do their job at the same time the horses were training on the beach but alas it was not to be.

dsc_1441

Yep, its a horse on a beach, with rocks in the background!

I don’t know why but several weeks went by with no luck of seeing any race horses however there was plenty of evidence that they had been there as they had left hoof prints in the sand. Taking this to mean that they must train either pretty early in the morning or only on specific days. For the next couple of weeks, I got earlier and earlier every day determined to spot these horses, finally spotting a lone race horse.

dsc_1418

Excited like a 5 year old in a lolly shop to finally see the lone racehorse caused me to forgot the basics and I didn’t ask myself any questions. Over time these questions become second nature these questions are asked and answered pretty quickly before I hit the shutter which reduces the amount of mistakes that could be made in a high pressure situations when getting it right counts.

  • What’s in the background’? Rocks! – Move to improve!
  • Am I shooting into the bright morning sun?’ Yes, maybe photograph down the length of the beach with a telephoto lens would be a better option.
  • What’s at the edges of my frame?
  • Where is my focal point? Is it on the subject
  • Is it in focus? Do I need to put my glasses on for it to be focus? Sadly the answer is Yes, I need my glasses to see the LCD screen/view finder clearly.

As I said these questions form part of a mental checklist in an attempt to reduce the amount of mistakes but there are occasions that the answer you get may not be answer you want or neded. This then provides you the opportunity to determine then and there on the spot if you need to change anything to improve or accept the result.

I may have come away with something different and something that I was happy with if I had asked myself any of the above questions, but I didn’t ask any questions. Maybe I’m being a bit to hard on myself, I’m not sure however these horses train reguarly so there is ample opportunity to improve the overall result.

13th horse

When I achieve something decent with this project, I’ll post an update until then I’m off to the lolly shop, anybody want anything?

Oh and remember, Move to Improve!

The 3 Things Challenge

700 hot rods, a hundred or so motorbikes and a few outlaw motorcycle gang members always make car and bike shows interesting. Car shows are a great location to practice your photography skills, either it be people photography or still life. You have ample time to compose your shot and think about the background, Depth of Field, focal points etc and the majority of people are more than happy for you take photos of their pride and joy.

dsc_1395

I always find that this is a fantastic opportunity to challenge yourself to improve your photography skills and you could do something similar. The challenge was 3 things that would force me to stop and think, stop and look and force me to think about my crop in post processing.

  • Use a fixed prime lens

Using a fixed prime lens does one thing really well, it forces you to think! It forces you to really think about how you will compose your shot, forces you to consider what’s at the edges of your frame and probably the most important part of using a fixed prime lens is  you are forced to slow down and take your time.

dsc_1389

However not everyone has a fixed prime lens and if you don’t, don’t stress as most lenses have a little button on the side where you can lock the lens in to a set focal length. If you don’t have that option, there are numerous options you can use to prevent you from zooming in or out like placing some tape over the lens to prevent it from moving.

  • Have a theme

Look for a theme when shooting, it could be a color or a number or a letter, absolutely anything that takes your fancy. This will also make you look harder for your chosen theme and forces you to think how you will incorporate the theme into your image.  The theme I selected was red, not a complete red vintage hot rod as that would have been way to easy but find small amounts of red used in the details on cars or an oversize teddy.

dsc_1357

  • The Post Processing Crop

Its not always possible to be either close enough or far enough away to ensure that there are no unwanted distractions in the shot. Even though a prime lens was used there are distractions such as people in the background or its simply not possible to get close enough due to barriers. Unfortunately, you are forced to crop in post however I decided that the challenge would be to use one crop size only and in this case I chose 16×9. This forces you to about what you were trying to achieve when you hit the shutter, forces you to think about what story is being told through the images and it forces you to think about what you want to keep in or out of the finished image.

 

So that’s the challenge I set myself and maybe next time you are out with your camera, you can set yourself a challenge and drop me a link in the comments below so I can check them out.

dsc_1402

Oh, and I couldn’t help but photograph the overall winner of the day, a Red Chevrolet Belair, a beautiful car.

Happy shooting.

P.S I’m to scared to take photos of outlaw motorcycle gang members! They’re scary people.

From the Archives

Updating my photo library from Capture One Pro 11 to Version 12 had me scrolling through the photos which had been taken throughout 2018. The total number is just under 2500. Not all photos have been accounted for though because film has also been shot this year (30 – 40 photos) and the amount of photos stored on my smartphone is unknown as 2018 is not over just yet but I suspect that there will be approximately 200 – 300 photos bringing the number to just under 3000.

DSC03136

I took these photos in Febuary on Cottesloe Beach, with two of the three photos being shared on Instagram however there is another 100 or so remaining that need to be processed or rejected and then deleted.

DSC03124

What do with all of the photos that we take, some are shared with friends and family but how many photos just sit in a digital library either on your phone or on a hard drive somewhere. Forgotten about?

DSC03116

How many photos do you have in your photo library and when was the last time you looked through them?

 

The Small Details Matter

The photographic opportunities at car shows to practice are endless. I haven’t met a car enthusiast yet that isn’t happy for you to take photos of their prized possessions.

DSC02818

However the problem with car shows is that a lot of people crowd around cars, and I always seem to find that they get in the way whilst trying to take a photo or you’ll end up with a lot of people, who are as photographic as I am, in the shots. So to avoid having photos with people in them I try and photograph the smaller details or find a view point that is often over looked by everyone else.

DSC02819

With these two shots (above and below) I wanted to process them in such a manner that they would have a 70’s or 80’s feel to the overall image. This is something that I was thinking about when I took the photos as well however I’m not sure that I have managed to achieve the look but I may let them sit for awhile and come back and have another look in a couple of weeks to see if I’m still happy with the result.

DSC02823

Some times the smaller details are in the windows.

DSC02833

There were quite a few people around this muscle car either taking photos with smart phones or DSLR cameras but I would say that most of them ended up with photos that had a lot of people in the way or in the background. I simply didn’t want that so I had to look harder to see what I could photograph. I spent a few extra minutes walking around the car I found that the GTR Badge with the thick black racing stripes which hopefully leads the viewers eye away from the badge towards the window making you see the other colours and more of the car.

DSC02840

HOLDEN = Hope Our Luck Doesn’t End Now

Well that what I think of every time I see a Holden Badge.

DSC02847

As young fella I had a Holden GTR Torana, It went like the wind and handled like it was on rails but every time I turned the engine over the police would turn up and book me for some thing, anything they could find which forced me off the road and ultimately to sell it. The police were happy about it, I wasn’t !

DSC02848

Some of these hot rods or muscle cars have interesting signage on the doors and this sign is something that I wanted to photograph because of the originality of it and the likely innuendo that the sign writing implies.

The end result is a set of images that are all about cars showing the smaller details that are often over looked which in some cases the small details matter.

Happy Shooting

Fast Jets, Fast Lenses

What photographer doesn’t love an airshow. So many opportunities to photograph aircraft of all shapes and sizes. The only downside is the sheer number of photographers that are attempting to do the same thing you are doing.

“MASH” 47D Helicopter. I felt pretty nostalgic about this one as I grew up watching MASH on the old colour Tv. All that was needed was a Radar O’Reilly saying “Choppers” to make this best helicopter at show.

FA15 (I think) This was one of the hardest aircraft to photograph as they are incredibly fast and sop many photographers were trying to photograph them.

“Red Barron” A beautifully restored replica of the original aircraft. Also pretty hard to get close to due to the sheer number of people trying to get a look and snap a photo themselves.

What an adrenaline rush flying these planes, the pilot threw this around unlike anything I’ve ever seen. incredible to watch which is why I forgot to photograph it more than I did.

Airshows are full of photographers with incredible long lenses, my advice is that if you struggle with the horrible disease of ‘Lens Envy’ that you don’t attend as it may result in a unwarranted purchase of very long lens and some very long looks from your financial advisor (the wife!)

The faceless Women

Literally stumbled across a huge display of photos that had been hung in Hyde park, Sydney CBD. As it turned out there was a showing of about 10 finalists in a competition run by Art & About Sydney. These photos were mighty impressive and as you can see they are huge covering diverse subjects about Australia.

dsc00019

It wasn’t until after the photos had been downloaded and I had started to process the images that I realised both women in the shots have their backs to me. It was unintentional but it works not being able to see their faces which certainly makes you wonder, what do they think of the photo?

dsc00022