The Sunday Snap 32

A Smiling Portrait

Photographing protests allows you to capture people, sometimes at their best and sometimes at their worst and the Invasion Day (Australia Day) rally I recently photographed was something different. It stood out from both protests last year as both had feelings of anger and frustration, this year had the feeling of the opposite as it was filled with cultural dancing in the streets and generally, people from all walks of life getting together to protest against something they believe needs to be changed and doing it with a smile.

Australia Day/ Invasion Day Protest

Want to see more of my photography then jump over to my Flickr page and you don’t need to be a member to check any of the photos out, otherwise please subscribe, click on the like button or drop a comment below.

Until next time, happy shooting

The Sunday Snap 25

Finally the horror show of 2020 has come to an end, therefore I would like to wish everyone Happy New Year and (hopefully) 2021 is a whole lot better than last year for everyone.

Also, the Thief Images Photography Blog has recently reached a few milestones. Firstly, I’ve been blogging here on WordPress for 10 years and I’ll be the first to admit, I never expected it to last this long. The blog has undergone some changes over the years, even had periods of inactivity but I kept coming back and blogging, probably because other social media platforms are well, not for me.

Secondly, this is blog post number 301, personally this is mind blowing achievement as it goes hand in hand with the “I never expected it to last this long” comment. Here’s to another 300 blog posts.

The first post of 2021 will be a little different, decided to share a short YouTube video of an adventure. A group of mates (friends) finally called me on something I have been talking about for what might seem an eternity. To try and conquer a remote four wheel drive track in Western Australia called the Holland Track. Stretches for approx. 260 kilometers, the track can be challenging, technical and filled with deep muddy bog holes and after much pressure and persuasion, I planned a boys trip and we went for it.

Day one wasn’t without its challenges as we only covered 50 kilometers in just a little over 5 hours. As you can imagine it took several days of driving through beautiful scenery that constantly changed. It was an a really enjoyable trip and we are now trying to work out where the next trip should be, and who in 2021 will be planning it.

Until next time, happy shooting.

P.S Edited using Davinci Resolve 17 Beta – Its Free and is amazing video editing software. If video editing interest you, check it out. Link is Here,

Your photos are very Political!

2020 has influenced the way many of us photograph our chosen subjects, with COVID safe plans in place to being watched, and some, fined by the police to being locked down and not leaving the house to pursue our passion for photography. To that end, I have been forced to take a ‘what’s happening in my city?’ and a ‘am I allowed out?’ approach to photography.

Antidote Required

The came these bombshell comment from a colleague, ‘Your photos are very political!’ only to be further echoed by other colleagues leaving me scrambling to justify my choice of subjects. I noted as they scrolled through my Instagram feed none of them mentioned or commented on composition, cropping or even the editing technique etc. but rather commented on the theme behind each image.

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I like to think that I’m the same as everyone else who enjoys photography, we are all, in our own way trying to tell a story with each and every single photograph and politics or a political theme is something I have gone out of my way to avoid by putting my efforts into capturing the emotions of people attending and the emotion around the event.

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These comments stuck with me for quite sometime only to realise that you may inadvertently capture the politics surrounding the event whilst trying to capture peoples emotions.

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Until next time, happy shooting……….

Would you pay $108 for Social Media?

The search to share my photography on a suitable social media platform has been ongoing for some time and along the way I discovered some unusual platforms like Vero and MeWe, only to realise they were either clunky or didn’t suit me or my needs. There are the usual suspects such as Instagram and Facebook but due to the ever-present privacy issues surrounding Facebook reminded me why I’ll never go back to Facebook.

Storage here on WordPress is also starting to become a problem where I will either need to upgrade my account or find alternatives such as cloud storage or share directly from social media accounts. Neither of these options interested me due to likely ongoing associated costs, quality control etc. It was about the same time that I learnt of the open letter from Don MacAskill, Flickr CEO about their financial situation.

Prompted by Don’s open letter to take a look at Flickr left me wondering why I originally left. Was there something else that was (perceived to be) better come along or was it because all of my family and friends were on platforms like Facebook, without any real answer I signed up for a free account.

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This solved the storage problem and Flickr is a pretty good alternative to Facebook, not to mention the perks associated with a pro account like discounted Adobe products, camera bags and 50% off SmuMug Subscription so after a week or so, I signed up for a Pro account.

And I didn’t want to see a social media company such as Flickr fall only to leave Facebook owned platforms. That would be boring and quite frankly horrible.

But I have one gripe which hits me in the wallet, the true cost of a Flickr Pro account.

For reference, costs for a Flickr Pro account have been taken directly from Flickr’s pricing FAQ

  •  The USA – The price for an annual subscription is USD $59.99, plus tax
  •  International – (where the countries currency is not yet supported) is USD $71.88, tax inclusive.

However what is not considered in the pricing structure is the exchange rate and for Australia, an annual subscription cost is normally over $100. When I signed up In February this year the cost was just over $108.00. At the time of writing, the cost of a Flickr Pro at $103.18.

I also know the folks at Flickr have as much influence over the exchange rate as I do but we live in a global online community where we should be all charged the same amount to sign up regardless of where you live.

Now before you go jumping on your keyboard sending me all sorts of angry comments, let’s look back to the past. For e.g. Adobe charged more for software (Photoshop) that was digitally downloaded. A considerable amount more which resulted in Australians becoming well known for pirating the required software and licenses. Thankfully, for the most part, this has changed as companies adopted a subscription business model.

So I would like to ask Don MacAskill, Flickr CEO to take a similar approach to Adobe, Nextflix and Spotify to consider charging the same amount regardless of where we live in the world. The result may be more people becoming a Flickr Pro members if we all pay the same ultimately saving the company.

Would love to know your thoughts so drop us comment below

Until next time

 

The Friday Snap (TFS 23)

I find it impossible to not look down at train stations as there are so many colors, lines, a variety of people and at various times of the day, shadows creating contrast adding mystery to your image.

But just where is the Yellow line?

Hope everyone has a great weekend

Until next time, happy shooting

5 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started out in Photography

I got a little older this year an hopefully a little wiser which has left me pondering if I was to magically go back in time what advice would I give my younger self about photography. Apart from investing in three small unknown companies (Apple, Samsung and Facebook) I’ve come up with 5 top tips for my younger self.

1. Take your camera everywhere you go

Taking your camera everywhere you go will pay off in so many ways. You will learn how to use your camera and all of its idiosyncrasies, you will take lots of photos which will help to improve your photography. You might not capture every moment but you will start to see things happen before it happens and you will be better prepared to take that epic shot.

2. Canon vs Nikon vs Sony vs Fuji……..

is quite frankly bullshit! and its not worth getting into an argument over. In today’s world, everyone has a camera, its called the iPhone and Samsung. They sold more cameras than any other DSLR or Mirrorless manufacture did in 2018, sure they have a smartphone attached to them but they all have a camera. Have camera – will take photos.

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I’m not sure how many DSLR or mirror less cameras were sold in 2018 but it won’t be anywhere close to these numbers from the 4th quarter of 2018, Samsung sold 70 million smartphone units and Apple sold just shy of 43 million units which begs the question. How many cameras (DSLR/Mirror less) do you see in the above photo?

3. Gear doesn’t matter

The older you get, the more you will realise that gear doesn’t matter, sure you need a camera and one or two lenses but you don’t need the best gear or the newest gear, you just need a camera to make photographs. Don’t waste your money and time except follow this simple principle – When it needs a service, get it serviced, when its broken get it repaired, when its passed broken its time to buy a new one.

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4. Printing your photos is important …..and awesome

I’ve uploaded more than my fair share of the 70 million photos to Instagram everyday  but if I was to stop doing photography today, my biggest regret would be that I haven’t printed enough. Having all of those photos sitting on a hard drive will only be forgotten about and never seen, never critiqued and never improved on.

5. Don’t be afraid to learn something new (or old)

There is this guy who is super passionate about his art, his eyes light up every time I talk to him about his style of photography. Even the near mention of a technique or the chemicals he uses to achieve an effect has the light in his eyes glow even brighter and he starts using his hands to talk. He is incredibly passionate and his name is Scotty, He runs The Travelling Alchemist using a really old school photographic process called “wet plate collodion” or “tintype”. I have found that after talking to him and being inspired I want to learn how he makes his photographs and develops the wet plate. So I figure the only way to see how its all done is get a portrait of my own. This shouldn’t be scary but I’m finding that I may not be as comfortable in front of the camera as I am behind it.

Bonus Tip – Photograph your loved ones…..and your fur pets children 

Don’t forget to photograph your loved ones. They’re important people in your life and they provide you with purpose and inspiration every day. They also provide a captured great  audience to practice your photography with and when that one day arrives you will have photographs you took to remember those special moments, those moments that can not be recaptured or replaced and your printed photos can be held and passed around to other family members as you remember the good times.

Happy Shooting

Happy Mistake Making

We’re well into summer in Australia which means its the season for hot rod shows and show and shines, which seem to be every weekend and they attract people from all walks of life and some of those people have clearly made some pretty bad choices and mistakes along the way. Mistakes like the mullet haircut (why?), poor clothing choices (pockets go on the inside) and rubbish tattoos which led me to think about mistakes I’ve made in photography and I was about to make another without realising it.

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Originally the plan was to photograph hot rods and cars as they cruised passed using a technique called panning. This technique requires slow shutter speeds and the subject needs to be tracked as it passes by. You also need to give consideration to the background as it may distract the viewer away from the subject and the one criticsal technique you need is patience as you shoot because you will more than likely need to adjust shutter speeds on the fly to perfect your shot.

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It wasn’t until the images were downloaded that I realised that none of the subjects were in focus. This is a direct result of my unwillingess to wear my glasses when photographing and resulted in blurry images. I firmly believe that If I had worn them I would have realised that the shutter speed to needed to be increased to ensure the subject is in crisp focus. Lesson learnt…..again

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Even though the subjects are not in focus these images convey movement, exposed properly and the location is, to me at least pretty good. Overall I actually like a couple of them however I am yet to determine if they are print worthy.

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You may not be able to see it but these lovely gentlemen were flashing their rubbish tattoos as their mullets were flapping in the breeze whilst showing me a rarely seen bird but what does stand out is their incredibly bad choice of car.

The key take away for me was to (wear my glasses) not to be afraid to experiment with the camera settings and shoot in manual. I also realised that every mistake I make is another lesson learned and hopefully that mistake won’t be made again in the future.

But we also need to remember that skills are learnt by trial and error. This is the method that we as photographers and creative types learn and grow.

So get out there and make mistakes.

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.’

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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 that’s 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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  • 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.

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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.