2020 – Can We Have a Do Over Please?

2020 has definitely been a year that I, and I assume most of us, would like “a do over” if it was ever possible. We have witnessed so many terrible, tragic events such as the bush fires that ripped through the East Coast of Australia leveling thousands of homes, and sadly killing many Australians either trying to flee or fight the fires plus the unfortunate loss of up to a million native animals, COVID 19 tore through towns, cities and countries across the globe creating death and division amongst people, only to be followed by protests with many becoming violent pitching neighbor against neighbor. Death visited many families and took away loved ones way to soon, much like my Mum passing away, alone in a nursing home and her husband unable to be beside her due to COVID 19, only then to realise our family would not be able to attend her funeral due to state border closures and quarantine measures was gut wrenching.

Thankfully photographers and film makers from all walks of life documented many of these tragic, terrible and some times violent events and hopefully these millions of images and hours of video will serve an important visual record for future generations to look back and learn from our mistakes so they are not repeated well into the future.

The review of 2020 will be a little different this year. Its not just going to concentrate on the Top 20 photos of 2020 but rather a reflection of what I photographed in 2020 and the year started off with a bang. The first collection of photos was captured during the Australia Day protest march, also known as Invasion day by Indigenous Australians. I often find the best way to capture that shot is to be in amongst the protesters where the emotion is at its most raw and that is how I captured the below photo of an Indigenous Elder who has nothing but sadness in his eyes.

Early February, I learned Flickr had been acquired by SmugMug and the CEO had written a letter about how they were losing money. After some research and rejoining Flickr and not wanting Flickr to suffer the same fate as Google Plus, I stuck my hand in my pocket and become a Flickr Pro member. For an Australian this is not a cheap exercise as the exchange rate fluctuates and Flickr only offers Pro Flickr accounts in approx. three currencies, and the Australian dollar is not one of them.

The Black Lives Matter movement in the US grew rapidly and unfortunately spiraled out of control with people losing their lives. Here in Perth, Australia the protest organisers refused to heed the state government’s warning not to hold the protest due to likely COVID breaches but the organisers went ahead with the protest whilst managing COVID safe practices, it was pretty much a peaceful protest with the majority wearing masks and observing social distancing. The protest also provided many photographers who had been stuck inside for quite some time an opportunity to get out and photograph the people and the event.

After a long period of lock down my wife and I had an opportunity to escape to the Australian outback and go camping, the best way to isolate is be in the middle of nowhere with no one else around. Apart from nearly running out of fuel…..twice during the trip we managed to four wheel drive our way to the most Western point of Australia, Steep Point. It took over 3 hours but it was well worth it. Also managed to sneak in a visit to Natures Window in Kalbarri National Park.

Visited the Busselton area where I spotted several young men jumping off the Southern Hemispheres longest jetty into the cold Indian ocean, asked if they minded if I took a few shots and lo and behold, one of them pulled out a kids scooter and lept of the jetty.

Early November, myself and a small group of mates attempted and conquered a remote four wheel drive track. It was an epic adventure with all but one of the vehicles sustaining some sort of damage but as it turned out it was a much needed getaway for our mental health.

And lastly I visited mates who are veterans struggling through 2020 and we walked through the bush and talked about the old times, mates who are no longer with us and how we hope 2021 will be better, for all of us.

If you have made it this far, from the bottom of my heart, Thank you

Here’s to a better 2021, until next time…….

The Sunday Snap 21

Climbed Mount Holland, Western Australia to watch the sunset after some of the hardest four wheel driving myself and group of friends have ever attempted, and we weren’t even half way!

The Holland Track is only 260 kilometers long and is pretty remote with incredibly tough obstacles to navigate. The track threw everything at us and we weren’t disappointed.

A great long weekend four wheel driving followed by a great number of beers around the camp fire at night.

Until next time…..Happy Shooting

The Friday Snap (TFS 31)

This is typical of the majority of the Filipinos who allowed me to take their photo, they were smiling, happy and always willing to have their photos taken and with a thumbs up

BeggingShe was not shy in begging for money and every time I pointed the camera at her she shied away from being photographed until I held money next to the camera. As quick as I handed it over, it was gone and so was she.

Davao City 6Security is everywhere in the Philippines and probably for good reason, they are in the shopping centres, hotel lobbies and on street corners and I will admit, it can be just a little scary asking to photograph someone with a weapon, you just never know which way it may go but he was more than happy to have his photo taken.

I hope you have enjoyed the series from the Philippines. It’s definitely a place I would visit again in the future. If you have enjoyed it please leave a like or a comment below and if you want to see the next series, hit the subscribe button.

Until next time, Happy Shooting

The Friday Snap (TFS 7)

I’ve blogged about this little Yellow Bus previously and as anyone who has experienced long haul flights know that stop overs can seriously suck, however they don’t have to if you wander the airport with smartphone or camera in hand seeking out photographic opportunities becomes an indoor photo walk!

20180623_082130-01-ii9nxwrkCc7WderZtIcpVP7tAv1HDWDsFLW4lFvR1fgraCm8M3okC9kqqPrr4GOpiJCISO0_usS-upjjJwZNCg==-02.jpeg

Hope everyone has a great weeked.

Happy Friday

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.

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

DSC_1245 8.13.15 pm

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.

DSC02601

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.

DSC01126

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.

DSC02814

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.

DSC03439

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.

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?

 

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.

 

DSC_0008 1

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