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.

Most Popular Post – 2018

I have no idea why but the most popular post for 2018 wasn’t even written in 2018. I originally wrote this blog post in 2011 and to this day, still attracts viewers. Drum roill please, The most popular blog post of 2018 is 12 Real Landscape Photography Tips

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Some of these tips are, to be honest, are real obvious but how many times have you gone out to take photos and not known the tides or worn incorrect footwear, left the torch at home etc. We’ve all done it at some stage and I’m still forgetting something. For example, recently I had to hold the filters in front of the lens because I forgot the filter holder attachment and I knew exactly where it was, at home!

Maybe I should add ‘Don’t forget filter holder attachment’ and change the name to 13 Real Landscape Photography tips.

Let me know in the comments if you have any tips that should be added to the list.

Change Your View, Get Down Low

Need to spice up your photography, you can do just one thing and its free. Try getting down low to see the world in a whole new way.

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By putting your camera on the floor, and if your camera has the feature, tilt the rear screen upwards to help you compose the shot, if not shoot blind and see what you get. I used this technique to capture those odd non slip plastic knobs in a new way.

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or try laying down on the floor so you can photograph the sleeping family dog. Scout, our family Border Collie is pretty hard to sneak up on but doesn’t mind being photographed.

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By squatting or kneeling down and letting the subject come to you will help you capture moments that you would not normally see from a standing position.

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Don’t afraid to use man made structures to help provide a stable platform to photograph from. Try placing your knee or elbow hard up against a wall will reduce camera shake while squatting or kneeling to assist in composing your shot to capture that moment.

And don’t forget if you have small children, get down to their level to photograph them. It will change your view of the world through your photos.

Feel free to post a link in the comments to your down low photos as I would enjoy seeing what you come up with.

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.

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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.

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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?

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

 

A GoPro Time Lapse

Experimenting with a GoPro Hero Black 5 has been loads of fun. Its an impressive little camera and is very easy to set up for time lapse video or as i have done is stuck it to the  roof of my4WD to capture a a track being driven through thick bush.

This footage was taken at Mission Beach, Queensland, Australia nearing the end of winter, I know, winter right! I’ve also attempted a night time lapse whilst camping but all I managed was complete darkness. This is probably down to a couple of errors, such as not enough ISO for the sensor or I failed to set the camera up properly, which is probably the most likely reason.

To achieve 12 seconds of footage, I needed more than the 20 or so minutes that I spent on the beach watching the sunrise and in hindsight, I realised that if I had some patience for another 10 or 20 minutes I would have captured a lot more footage but I was pretty eager to see the end result. It certainly would have provided more footage for editing and wouldn’t leave you with a feeling of an incomplete sunrise.

I found this to be a real fun and easy way to capture a time lapse, however the only downside is the battery doesn’t hold enough charge for any long time lapse videos say for an hour or more (a lot of patience needed). Even though, I have plans to do more in the future and I have a location in mind over looking a light house.

Happy Shooting

Are We Ever Truly Alone ?

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Rip Curl Pro Surf Comp at the iconic Bells Beach here in Victoria earlier this year and I was just like the rest of crowd that took up every conceivable spot on or near the beach to watch and be swept up in the emotion on the day. I managed to capture over 700 photos, some blurry and some went straight to the delete folder but there were a number of keepers. However there is one image that I keep going back to and staring at, and I stare at it for several minutes as well.

 

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World Surfing Chanpion, Steph Gilmore answers questions via a microphone while a drone watches over her.

 

We live in a world where we are connected to each and everyone through the use of smartphones and social media. Which is why every time I look at this photo, I ask myself and we ever truly alone? how do we get time to ourselves? Time alone to sit and think, time to think about where life may lead you or just to think of others like family and friends.

And that’s why I continue to stare at this photo of Steph Gilmore, Australian World Surfing Champion answering questions while a drone watches over her as she waits for the wave that will propel her to greatness.

Happy Shooting

P.S This photo looks so much better on the big screen than it does on Instagram

I’ve Got SOS – Shiny Object Syndrome

I have something that I need to get off my chest and I’m sure that there are a lot of people out there who will be in the same boat. I have recently mentioned this to a doctor and he laughed, laughed a lot actually and said he has the “same issues” but was unaware of any treatment options. This has all come about due to a self diagnosis I made (whilst I was standing in another shiny object shop) and have determined that I have two horrible diseases that have had a profound affect on not just me but also those around me. These disease are not well known or well researched however I believe that I have contracted SOS and CRAFT disease!

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Mick Fanning showing off his moves during the finals

SOS does not discriminate between genders and knows no age barrier and has been seen in small children. Once this horrible affliction takes hold, well lets say that it doesn’t end well. To add to the burden of having SOS I have also contracted CRAFT disease. I know that this doesn’t sound pretty but first let me explain what SOS actually is.

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Top of the wave crashes down over Mick Fanning.

SOS is not to be underestimated by any measure and to my knowledge there is no cure for it either. SOS or “Shiny Object Syndrome” doesn’t suddenly appear over night but is gradual over time and will effect people differently. Recent research has seen it passed onto family members and friends with devastating effects.

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Stephanie Gilmore won the 2018 Women’s Rip Curl Pro

As I said, I also suffer from CRAFT disease which has similar symptoms to SOS and doesn’t suddenly appear over night but also takes hold slowly. I have suffered from this disease for some time now and I’m not sure if it will ever get better. As with SOS there is no cure nor medication that can alleviate the symptoms but research has not seen CRAFT disease passed onto family and friends easily.

By now you are probably wondering what CRAFT disease is, and as with SOS, this disease should also not be underestimated. CRAFT or “Can’t Remember A F$#%ing Thing” is horrible and is only noticeable when you are standing in a room wondering why you went in there in the first place. Disturbingly this disease has some serious offshoots, the most prominent and not so obvious until its to late disease is “I’m not sure how I spent that much on a ………!” however to aid in the treatment, self treatment I might add was by losing my wallet which has seen a sudden and profound downward effect on my “I’m not sure how I spent that much on a ……………!” affliction.

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Winner Rip Curl Pro 2018 – Italo Ferreira

The direct result of these two diseases is that I keep becoming distracted and forgetting that I need to spend time not just photographing and processing the images that I take but also writing on this here little ole‘ blog. To be honest there were some serious good intentions to write about the Rip Curl Pro, the huge crowd with the enormous amount of photographers present on the beach (some serious lens/gear envy), the ability to get up close and maybe get “that shot” or mention that I had the opportunity to use a Nikon D810 with (what I thought was huge) 400mm lens. Unfortunately I became distracted by SOS and eventually CRAFT kicked back in resulting in me forgetting to write about this amazing and sometimes emotional event.

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Mick Fanning Paddles Out

There should be a support group for people who suffer from SOS or CRAFT disease. Somewhere their loved ones can drop them off for a few hours where they can be monitored and not make any unnecessary or spontaneous purchases of shiny new objects. Oh wait, there is such a place. Its the Pub and that’s where I’m off to.

Until next time, Happy Shooting Photographing