I won this fortnight’s Canberra Flickr theme comp “Winter”

I won this fortnight’s Canberra Flickr group competition where members had to post their best three photos associated with “winter”. My entry that won was this photo taken at Kosciusko National Park in 2008:

Icy cold river, Kosciusko National Park.

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Don’t worry about all this processing

My photostream on Flickr has become a bit of a mess of highly post-processed images in the last week. It’s just a temporary phase, playing around with channel mixing in CMYK mode, and applying my grain filter to images that otherwise weren’t sharp enough or interesting enough to upload from Hawaii and elsewhere.

In general I’m not a big fan of such processing – I like photos to look real and believable, to put the viewer in that place, to feel what I felt as a photographer both physically and emotionally … the icy winds blowing off snowfields, the cheery warm glow of a sunset on a tropical island or the gloominess of a ghost town.

Over-processing tends to make scenes look alien or fake and can disconnect the viewer. That’s contrary to what I want to achieve with my photos so I’m usually quite subtle in my processing and very light touch with HDR. Of course that means that I very rarely get a photo featured on Explore but I can live with that.

Highly processed photo of a farm shearing shed.

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Experimenting with Photoshop Actions

Most of the time when processing my photos I’ll tweak and fiddle around with various settings, filters and effects. I also have a few actions for sharpening and applying vignette that a friend gave me. But I wanted to experiment with developing my own effect, to develop my own unique feel to my photos that some photographers have in their processing.

I don’t want all my photos to look heavily cross-processed or desaturated in a way that makes all my photo look uniformly bleak, cold or alien. I think the latest action I recorded today is over the top but I like it. I created it using Channel Mixer in CMYK mode to shuffle around the channel source ratios for the output channels (which I think works better in CMYK than RGB), plus Curves in RGB mode to alter the contrast in each channel.

I’ve also created a grain action that I’ve used in this pics of my friend Rachel Greaves that reduces a copy of the image to 20%, applies grain, then sizes it back up and superimposes it at 70% over the original:

Rachel Greaves.

These ones have a variation on the grain effect that applies it only to midtones, keeping the whites and blacks relatively clean by making a new channel and applying Curves to drop the highlights down to black and bring up the midtones to white then making it a selection for the noise filter.

Al Stoiche.

Richard Giles.

Margery Tongway.

This photo has natural grain from high ISO:

Tub of ice with shoes.

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My trip to Sydney, June 2010

I’ve been in Sydney the last couple of days catching up with friends, following up a few work opportunities and of course taking photos.

View the full set of photos from my trip to Sydney on Flickr.

First up was the Sydney Harbour Bridge:

Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Graffiti under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

… including under the Bridge and around The Rocks:

Park under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Stone driveway in the warm sunset.

I tried my hand at candid street photography but was too chickenshit to get close enough to anyone to do anything decent:

Woman holding sign on Sydney street.

… and went out for yum cha with some friends at the East Ocean Restaurant for brunch:

Yum cha at East Ocean Restaurant, Sydney.

I think this graffiti I found on some steps sums up my trip beautifully:

Today was a good day.

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My shopping list, June 2010

From Lensbaby to use with my Composer:

General photographic supplies, which I’ll probably get from D D Photographics in Sydney.

… and then later this year, hopefully, a Canon EOS 7D and a Canon EF 200mm f/2.8 L II USM (not the massive white zoom lens with image stabiliser).

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Experimenting with flash

I was dead against flash photography until a year ago before our trip to Hawaii when I decided I really should give it a go otherwise I would risk missing out on some great photo opportunities on our holiday. So I invested in a Canon Speedlite 430ex II and a Cactus V4 remote trigger kit.

A year later and I’ve taken some great photos using flash that otherwise would have been impossible due to low light or tricky ambient lighting even with my f/1.4 50mm … but I still don’t understand it. It’s like cooking – following a recipe and knowing how to cook are two different things. Flash photography to me is a bit of a mystery. Pointing it at the ceiling (if there is one) usually works but I just don’t know enough.

So this afternoon in order to better understand flash lighting I took a series of test shots using one of Jenny’s studio props.

Continue reading

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Cold weekend at the coast

So we wait until the long weekend to go down the coast, but only go down for one night … which means we could go any weekend and not wait until a 3-day weekend. Anyway, we have things we need to get down around the house tomorrow on the public holiday so it was all we could manage; a quick run down to Moruya and then stay the night in Bateman’s Bay and come back via Farringdon and Captain’s Flat.

View more photos of our trip to the coast on Flickr.

Jenny was hoping to meet up with someone in Moruya but that didn’t happen so we found ourselves down by the water for a beautiful sunset:

Sunset at Moruya.

Sunset at Moruya.

Moruya sunset.

And just to cement our reputation as sunset addicts, some nice photos we took on the way back near Tallaganda State Forest:

Farm fence.

Sunset.

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