Recently at a theme park, mine and our long time friends climbed aboard a ride that shot straight up into the air, instead of photographing their expecting faces of the anticipated terror and fear I decided to shoot it differently from another angle. I figure that the good old family outing photos don’t have to be boring or even self explanatory but they can be different.
DJ Thief is not me, however we are related, He’s my lunatic brother and he is highly animated all the time, I actually think he is like that when he sleeps, if he sleeps but he has some serious talent in being a DJ. In the late 80’s or early 90’s he started DJ’ing and did tour several countries playing to audiences of anywhere from a couple of hundred to several thousand people. Even today I am still amazed at what he has achieved by simply spinning some vinyl. I have approached him about an interview for the blog which is something I am now working on, I just need to pin him down for long enough to ask him questions.
I was fortunate enough to learn that a group of Old School DJs that played Rave parties in the early 90’s were going to be together on one night and in the one place. This only happens once every twelve months or so and is a big event on the social calendar for the Brisbane social scene. Many old rave party fans come out and dance throughout the night working up a huge sweat. I pestered my brother for me to be able to photograph the event up close. Now I have never done anything like this before and I must admit that I had several problems to get decent photos of the DJ’s spinning the vinyl on the turntables and there are many reasons why I had so many problems getting quality images.
Overall I wanted I wanted the final images to be raw and up close and personal with the DJ’s as they may not be doing the event again next year. I think I achieved the results that I was looking for.
One of my rules that I like to follow is that I like to be able to do a check of the location first before I shoot, but I didn’t learn of the location until a couple of hours before hand which negated any chance of me checking it out, I did want to see what the lighting would be like, how much light there is available to illuminate the DJ’s, can I get in front of the DJs to photograph them which led to how big the stage area is and how high the stage is up from the dance floor. Where can I store gear securely and a good spot to change batteries or memory cards etc.
What I got was not even close to what I had imagined or what I had hoped for. I got a small stage, poor lighting, cables everywhere, alcohol flowing with hundreds of people going off. It was a wild night
I wanted to try and capture the DJs without flash but the lighting was pretty poor and there was no way possible synching me firing the shutter with the strobe that illuminated them. So I had to use a flash gun. I haven’t used a flash gun for quite awhile and I certainly needed some practice at getting the settings right. Where possible I tried to bounce the flash off of walls and the very low ceiling. That approach only worked some of the time
I had to vary the ISO from each spot that I was able to shoot from and this was because the lighting was different. On average the ISO was 800 which undoubtedly added some unnecessary noise to the images however that just added to the effect of the images being up close and personal.
I used the lowest aperture I could and I started out with my Macro Lens, Its not ideal but its got a bigger aperture than my standard lens plus its fixed at 60mm. After about 20 shots I realised that it wasn’t going to work so I had to switch out my lens and I ended up with an Aperture of f5.6 because that is a low as my lens would go. I did try to use another lens that was ‘Supposed’ to be good at f2.8 however it wasn’t fast enough and if it was I may have been able to lower the ISO down to say 400 or 640 which would have reduced the noise and provided cleaner images.
The best shutter speed that I could manage hand held was 1/80, This was a slow enough shutter speed to be able to catch them without using the flash however I didn’t work all of the time due to the fast pace of the action and I ended up with blurred shots so when I was really forced into using the flash so I made the Shutter Speed at 200. which worked well and in the end this shutter speed provided an a good overall speed for the night and I did use it consistently throughout the event.
I like to push my equipment as much as I can to see where it succeeds and where it fails and video in this case failed. Even the promoters Sony handy cam struggled and that was the latest that the he had purchased. So the video that I had taken looked alright on the LCD screen on the back of the screen but when I played it back….well I wasn’t worth wasting the memory space of the SD Cards.
So my poor old Nikon D90 didn’t handle the video that well in that environment which is something that I didn’t know when I started.
Overall, I did enjoy the night and I would do this again, I certainly learnt a lot from the experience like taking hearing protection when being on the stage as I was deaf for about 3 days afterwards and for over a week I had a constant ringing in my ears.
If you are interested in seeing more images from the event, I have uploaded them to a gallery on my website (thiefimages) and are currently free to download. I would also love to know what you think of these images as not all of them are Black and White. Please feel free to leave comments here or on my website.
I haven’t posted a Combat Pic in quite some time. I took this image during the fighting season in 2008 whilst on assignment as a photographer in Afghanistan. The Chinook helicopter, also called a Chook had landed and picked up Coalition Forces to extract them after an operation against the Taliban in Southern Afghanistan.
Yep, that’s right, Digital Downloads are now available from Thief Images.
Digital Downloads are priced so you can download them and use them as screen savers, backgrounds or even have the professionally printed on canvas or print them on your favourite photo paper so you can have them framed to hang on your walls.
How to Download your favourite image.
obviously go to www.thiefimages.com
1. Select your favourite image.
2. Click on “add to cart”
3. The Cart opens where you can select either “Prints” or “Digital Files”.
4. Click on “Digital Files”
5. Select what size digital download you would like.
6. Proceed to Checkout and the image is automatically downloaded.
And, because I am a not only a nice guy, I have priced them to make them affordable to everyone.
Why you ask, well I am the same as you, hurting in the hip pocket, paying high costs for fuel for some unknown reason, fed up with watching governments come up with new and different ways to extract money out you (tax you) so I believe that everyone should have access to art, paintings, sculptures or prints of images for a decent and fair price, not the price where you need to go and get a bank loan ! that’s why. Oh and I am a nice guy or did I say that already.
Pretty simple, check it out.
You never have to take the ordinary family shot, Look for different angles as you may be surprised to see what you end up with.
This shot is one that I took whilst at a theme park on the weekend, mine and my friends kids decided to ride something that I would call terrifying which shot straight up. I got this photo of them instead of their terrified faces before it shot straight up.
I must admit that the last month has been very busy but also very productive and this is why I haven’t posted much here lately. I was contacted to shoot for a client as the photographer they originally had could no longer do the shoot for them. So, literally overnight, I packed my bags, all the camera kit that I figured that I needed and headed north for what turned out to be just over a month. The shoot was planned for the first two weeks of the month which I did. The shoot went extremely well and the client was absolutely stoked on how fast the turn around was as I got them either prints or the images burnt to DVD. So I left the client happy and all the delivered.
But here’s the funny thing, I have had two family portraits fall out of the work for the original client. Both approached me on the same day, asked if I could do a shoot for them before I left, of course I said Yes, no problems, all I had to do was change my flights. Once again both clients were extremely happy with the end results and the families had a ball doing the shoots.
Since then, I have been contacted on several occasions for use of some images, one of the images that I have supplied clients with is going to be published in 3 different publications. One of the publications has an audience/readership of about 4 million people throughout Australia plus online. I asked to credited with the work which the client was more than happy to do so I will hopefully create more work and drive traffic to my website.
So being consistent is slowly paying off and work is increasing on a daily basis.
The laneways of Melbourne are the stuff street (graffiti) artists dream of, Space to openly contribute art without repercussions. And for the the photographer it is literally a spot to go with camera and tripod because of the colour that has been splashed on to the walls of the lanes. The area is quite busy with people drinking coffee in the small cafes that litter these lane ways. It is also fairly common to see photographers using the lane ways to shoot commercial, portrait and wedding shots. I must admit that its not hard to spend all day there shooting and drinking coffee. I am looking forward to going back and doing it all again.
The two links below, link to a photographers guide which is an awesome source for photographers all over the world. These two links provide excellent information before stepping out of the door. I have also written about this previously here.
I took the above image whilst I was there early in 2010.
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.
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.