Desert Sun Flower

After an immense amount of rain, these stunning sun flowers appear in the remote deserts of Central South Australia.

Happy shooting

Old Holden’s Never Die !

Whilst wandering around in the central deserts of Australia, I found this old Holden car which nature had started to reclaim. Rust was slowly eating away at the panel work and all of the valuable parts had also been removed. Some one also had decided that it was a good spot to set up camp and sleep in the car. I figure they must have been desperate to sleep in it but when I got there the only thing living in the car was a dirty great big snake. I don’t know who was more surprised, me or the snake. The snake left and I decided that I had walked to far not to come away with at least a couple of shots.

Happy Shooting

Thief Images

 

A short history on Thief Images

I know that I signed up for the post a day/ week but I must admit that I have been pretty busy of late and there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done that is on my “to do list” and my days have been starting well before 6 am and finishing long after 8 pm. I have had to re-learn to prioritise what I do and then re-prioritize again at the end of the day and unfortunately my writing or posting images to my blog have suffered immensely. So I sat down and reflected on how I had got to where I am now and where I am going to in the future and this is what I realised.

Quite some time ago I decided that I need to catch up to the digital age and start to post photos somewhere on the net, I chose Flickr because it certainly looked like fun and I could hopefully learn as well from other people on the site. But after about 18 months on Flickr, I was informed that some of my images were being downloaded and then sold on ebay. I did send an email asking the the gentlemen to stop and that I would pursue legal action for breach of copyright. I am unsure if he did or not because legal action is expensive for starters. Now I am no expert on Copyright but here in Australia if you take a photo and do nothing with it, it is covered by copyright automatically for 50 years, but if I was to have that photo published, it is covered for 70 years automatically, now here’s the funny, or even strange thing, this includes things like you doodling on a piece of paper. Its actually covered by copyright. So I decided to stop using Flickr because it was so easy to download your hard work and people actually believe that because its on a photo sharing website such as Flickr, its free game.  So I moved away from it completely.

I went looking for another site and I found Smugmug.com and that’s where I originally developed the “Thief Images” idea and they were pretty good but if I needed to enhance my site, I need to learn to use HTML. I am a photographer not a web guru. I weighed up was it really worth it being with Smugmug who are US based and wanting to target the Australian market specifically I once again started to look for another photo site that was more of a website builder than a photo sharing site. Don’t get me wrong, if I was based in the US I would have stayed with smugmug, They did what I wanted but cost about $240 a year to use. Its not that expensive at all and they offered a lot of products that could be sold such as mugs and calendars plus framed prints etc.

I then started to search for Australian based photo websites and I come across Redbubble.com. They were Australian, operated in a large variety of countries and did all of the work for me, including shipping. Redbubble have come a long way since I started with them and they make it really easy for people to buy your artwork regardless if its paintings, T-shirts or framed photographic prints. So I set up thiefimages.redbubble.com and run with it but after awhile work got in the way of it all. Once again I had been away for about 12 months overseas and when I came home I decided that I needed a really professional look to thiefimages because its a business and not a hobby so I once again started looking once more for a suitable site.

After a long search on the net and asking many other photographers I found a site called Photomerchant.net and had a really long look at them, tried the 14 day free trial and signed up. They offer what my business needed and also give you the opportunity of looking after the printing yourself or having their preferred Pro lab do the lot, deciding on ensuring that the product that I sent to the client was of a high standard I went with using a pro print lab myself which then sparked another search on the net, then visiting them and making sure that they lived up to their claims.  After all of the searching and ensuring that the product that reaches the client is of a high standard, I reached a decision point, Do I just shut down my redbubble site or just leave it sit idle for awhile. In the end it sat idle because life got in the way yet again.

Now you may be wondering what the hell made you keep two websites up and running, the work load on one is enough I assure you but redbubble has a community of artists that I also relate to. I get to comment on other peoples work and that for can also keep you be inspired to get out and take those photos, it helps make that decision to get out of bed early on a winters day to get that shot at dawn.

On making the decision to keep redbubble as well as Thief images.com, and realising that a massive clean out and reorganize was required for both sites to give them a fresh clean look. So for the last couple of weeks I have been post processing a large amount of images that I have had sitting in my archives which I needed to deal with. I also decided that I needed to upgrade my galleries on Redbubble and Thief Images to what I thought was above an acceptable standard. Slowly over the last three or so weeks I have been deleting the images from Redbubble and then uploading fresh images and completely reorganizing the site. It has been slow and some times painful but has proved worthwhile. Whilst I have been doing that I also entered two competitions and much to my amazement I won. The prizes for one of the comps was bragging rights and the other was a $20 voucher so I was happy that I had won. The main reason that I entered was to gauge if I was on the right track with my photography and my to ensure my business was headed in the direction that I wanted it to go.  Seems I am because since the clean out and recent uploads of fresh work I have sold two pieces.

All that is left is to sort out the thiefimages.com website, get the host (photomerchant.net) to set up digital downloading and everything in the Thief Images world will be a happy again. After that picking up the camera that is slowly collecting dust and get out and do what I love to do, shoot landscapes, candid portraits and street scenes. In the end I hope to be able to be living up to the motto of Thief images and that is “Stealing those precious moments in life” that we all see and only some recognize as special, and present to the world to see and hopefully appreciate.

Happy Shooting

Oh and if you’re wondering how I came up with the name Thief Images. My last name is Crook and when I get asked to spell my last name, I simply say  “Crook as in thief”. No problems with spelling my last name after that.

 

 

44 Gallon Drums and a Domestic Dispute

It has been raining for a month solid, the fact that its raining shouldn’t stop you from getting out and doing what you love to do but it makes it hard when you get a month of fat sideways rain, everyone knows what I am talking about. the rain that soaks you wet to your bones every time you step out into it. Doesn’t matter if you are getting out of your car to got to work or into the shops, by time you walk in the office door, you are soaked to the bone and there is nothing you can do to avoid getting that wet.

Well, I am always keeping a keen eye out for new locations to shoot especially once the rain had stopped, so late this afternoon the rain had stopped and I decided to head to what I thought was going to be the best spot for me to shoot. If people drive past this and probably not think to much of it. There is what I would probably call a compound with the walls made from old and rusty 44 gallon drums. These walls stand about 8 to 9 feet high but that nots what I saw. I saw a load of different colours and textures that I wanted to photograph. So I made a plan to simply drive out and introduce myself and ask if they minded if I took some photos of their 44 gallon drum wall. I also wanted the background story behind the wall as well. I mean there aren’t to many people that build walls around their property out of this stuff.

But when I arrived at the gates to property I found them to be locked but I could hear voices. Should be no problem, I’ll just walk up to the gate and say excuse me but would you mind if I took some photos of your 44 gallon drum wall and hopefully they would have been nice enough to say sure, why not.

That’s not what I got at all. I got an elderly couple in the midst of a full blown domestic dispute. My original thoughts were, holy crap he’s man handling her pretty bad and they seem quite drunk. Do I say something or do I just stand here quietly?

I decided that I would stand there quietly and watch them walk off into their property, but I did realise that the old male was not actually drunk but walking his female companion away so she could sleep off her drunken stupor. I slowly backed away and got in my car and when I figured they were far enough away I started up and drive off and left her to sleep it off.

After all that excitement I decided that I couldn’t just go back home with out getting any photographs at all. It was pretty dark by now and I scoped out the usual lookouts but because of the humidity there was a haze that hung over the city which made it difficult to photograph the city lights. Deciding that I need to practice getting the ISO and White Balance correct in camera.

So in the end all was not lost and I have promised myself that I will go back to the property and photograph those 44 gallon drums and I got this photo of some neat light trails going sown Castle Hill road.

Happy Shooting.

Sleep Anywhere

This US Soldier had been part of a fighting patrol in Southern Afghanistan and been awake for nearly two days.  One of his many jobs was to ride the ATV with all the essential items in a small trailer, like food and water. He also decided to share it around so other members could use it to rest whilst moving.

At one stage during the patrol, he was riding and when they had stopped, he had been told that they were going to be stopped for over an hour he decided to have a quick nap without getting off his ATV.

Some how soldiers develop a skill of “Sleep Anywhere”.

Happy Shooting

A Check For Danger

A US Soldier gets out of his vehicle at dawn to check for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in his immediate area to make sure that his buddies are safe when they get out of the vehicle. His team had only recently been told that they would be spending up to 15 months in Southern Afghanistan fighting the Taliban. Nearly all of his team were yet to tell their loved ones back home that their deployment had been extended.

Portrait of My Son

Its always pretty hard to get family members to pose for me when I pull the camera out but once I get my son involved his personality really comes out and he will pull some poses that are really quite funny. He is quite a laugh and I must admit I am proud of him. He has taught me so much and continues to do so everyday.

 

Twin Cats

Well, they’re not my cats and they do look like twins thats for sure and I wouldn’t like the food bill either however these two tigers would make a very good security tool, Imagine coming face to face with one of these cats when they broke in. Then again, after that you might not have to worry about the food bill for these two.

These two big cats are part of the family that live in Dreamworld on the Gold Coast. They are impressive.

What a way to get from A to B.

The Afghanis use many methods of getting around their country and this is one of them. Its called a Jingle truck because the Afghanis put a lot of bells and other decorative items all over the truck and when the trucks travel these desert roads they “Jingle”.  They also load family members, all of the belongings and in some cases their animals in the back and travel the long distances over harsh and unforgiving terrain.

Happy Shooting

National Photographic Portrait 2011

I haven’t posted for awhile because I have been away in the central deserts of Australia. I must say that there has been some extremes of weather in the desert this time around including 48 degrees Celsius one day and the next at about 11 degrees. Certainly makes it hard to pack your bags for when that happens but now I have a reverse cycle aircon for 24 hours so stuff the weather outside and as luck would have it I have managed to get some internet connectivity.

Once in the aircon because its still 43 degrees outside I immediatley started surfing the net checking the usual sites like email and the news to see what has been happening in the world and I found these two photos from the National Portrait Prize 2011.

I didn’t even know it was on and accepting entries but I must admit these two images are certainly striking thats for sure. I especially like the image of the female Australian Soldier because it shows that soldiers are human,  and are not robots that do what ever they have been told, they do think, they have feelings, they do get pregnant, they do get married etc. The image titled Selfless is an amazing image.

And I must admit that the image of Bob Hawke, a former Australian Prime Minister really captures the passion the man has for politics. I wish all politicians shared the same passion. Bob Hawke made many changes in Australia, some were liked by the masses some were not. Either way, the photographer certainly captured that passion because thats what I see in his eyes.

Happy Shooting