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Detail_Mungo National Park_NSW

Detail_Mungo National Park_NSW

Leica M7 camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron-M Aspherical lens with Kodak Ektachrome E100VS film

Mungo National Park in far Southwest NSW, Australia is a fascinating location for exploring and photography. It’s an ancient, arid landscape that many thousands of years ago was part of a huge inland lake system that supported a range of flora and fauna and, as a consequence, the regions indigenous people.

This image was made at the end of a long day’s exploration. I’d photographed the sunset, which rendered naturally sculptured elements on the dunes into surreal, vividly colored forms. The light lingered for at least 20 minutes after sunset and produced a soft, warm glow to the landscape. Noticing the tuft of grass, on the top of a mound of sand, I moved in for a close up. It’s a straightforward image that relies on the color contrast between the grass and sand, the repetitive pattern of the lines and the bizarre relationship between the seemingly disparate elements of grass and sand.

This small tuft of grass, isolated by the surrounding sand, acts as a metaphor that could suggest a range of thoughts including the following:

  • The risk to our way of life posed by a changing environment
  • The ability to survive, despite your environment
  • Your ability to grow, despite hardship
  • People that seem to have nothing in common, co-existing peacefully

The vivid color saturation associated with Kodak Professional Ektachrome 100Vs film did a great job of portraying the strength of color in this image. I’ve employed Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS4 (I processed this image prior to upgrading to CS5) to process the scanned transparency to reproduce, as accurately as possible, the colors recorded by the film. A strong vignette was added to help draw the eye towards the key foreground elements.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Branches and Sky_Treasury Gardens_Melbourne

Branches and Sky_Treasury Gardens_Melbourne

Canon 5D camera and Canon 85mm f1.2 L series USM lens_Exposure Details: 1/125 second f1.2 ISO 100.

How can you possibly photograph a forest? More than likely you’d have to move so far back and shoot from above to include it all in your photograph. But from that distance you’re unlikely to capture the grandeur of the forest or the more intimate moments that occur within it. You can’t really understand anything by looking at it from a distance. Perhaps its better to journey into the forest and, through a more detailed examination, become a part of the environment into which you’ve journey.

So, how do you tell a story about a forest? Sometimes by photographing a single tree or even a leaf. And the same is true for city parks and gardens, such as Treasury Gardens in Melbourne where the above image was made.

Wanting to explore the upper portions of the tree I moved in close and photographed upwards, concentrating my attention on the junction of branches in the lower centre of the image. Careful focusing and a shallow Depth of Field (DOF) placed further emphasis on the area in question.

Initial image processing of the original color file was conducted in Adobe Lightroom 3. It’s possible to produce lovely black-and-white, monochromatic (strictly speaking that means one color, such as a sepia tone) or split tone images in Lightroom 3. However, as was the case with the above image, I often prefer to apply such changes, particularly split toning, in Adobe Photoshop CS5.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Landscape Renewal_Wilsons Promontory National Park

Grass Trees Regenerating After Fire_Wilsons Promontory National Park_Victoria

Canon 1D Mark II camera and Canon 24-70 f2.8 L series lens @ 24mm. Exposure Details: 1/50 second @ f11 ISO 400.

I love Wilsons Promontory National Park. Situated on the southern most tip of the Australian mainland, its one of my favorite places for landscape photography. Over recent years several fires have adversely affected the prom’s landscape and wildlife. In response to this devastation I undertook the production of a series of photographs that explored nature’s regenerative powers at work at the prom.

The above image of a common grass tree, photographed along the Lighthouse Walk track, was an ideal candidate. While the central element was severely blackened, the surrounding blades of re-grow suggested a positive outcome to the story. In fact many Australian flora species rely on fire to stimulate the grow process.

The original color image was rendered into black-and-white in Adobe Lightroom 3. A subtle warm tone was then applied in Adobe Photoshop CS5.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Shrubs on Dune_Mungo National Park_NSW

Photographing shrubs on a sand dune_backlit by the rising sun_Mungo National Park_NSW

Leica M7 camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron-M series lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 film. Exposure Details:

Mungo National Park in far southwest NSW is a great place for the intrepid traveler and landscape photographer. The harsh, arid environment and the park’s formidable distance from capital cities, around an 8-hour drive from Melbourne where I currently reside, ensure it doesn’t receive the quantity of tourists it deserves. And that’s one of its charms. I travelled around the park for several days and only saw one other independent traveler and a bunch of retirees on a tour. But the very best times to photograph, early morning and early evening, I was alone. And that’s heaven for a landscape photographer.

The above image was made just after sunrise with the shrubs backlit by the fast rising sun. I decided to render the original color transparency into black-and-white to better achieve the starkness I needed to convey the sense of eerie silence I experienced at the time the image was made.

It seemed to me that this relatively banal subject matter, somehow surviving in a most inhospitable environment, offered me an opportunity to explore notions of survival, hope and growth, despite adversity.

Such notions provide powerful metaphors for the photographic artist that can help take your photos up to the next level. So remember, your photographs should not just be about what you see, but how you feel about what you see. And that is as important for landscape, portrait, architecture and documentary photographers as it is for the painter, sculpture or writer.

Image processing was conducted in Adobe Lightroom 3 and Adobe Photoshop CS5.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Sunset_Mildura

Beautiful photo of tree branches during afterglow near Mildura_Victoria

Canon 5D camera and Canon 180mm f3.5 L series lens with Canon 2X Extender. Exposure Details: 1/1000 second @ f7.1 ISO 400.

Mildura is a great place that I’ve had the good fortune to visit several times. I spent the best part of a month there in November and December 2009 as stills photographer on the soon to be released Australian motion picture film Summer Coda.

Today’s image was made during an earlier trip to the region with my good friend, Ashley. We’d undertaken the long drive from Melbourne, but were happy to stop the car on several occasions to photograph.

The silhouette of tree branches against the warm afterglow, following a classic sunset, brought our car to a sudden halt. The tree branches add a strong graphic element that only enhances the intensity of the background color.

Within a few minutes after the camera’s shutter had been tripped our world began to darken and the night followed soon after. We continued our travels for an hour or so until we reached Mildura after a long day’s travel.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Making Something Out Of Nothing

Canon 5D camera and Canon 180mm f3.5 L series lens

The images in today’s post were made during a workshop in Central Victoria. The weather was inclement and the participants, while keen for information, were less than enthusiastic about photographing outside.

You can’t really teach enthusiasm, but you can inspire through example. When teaching on location its important to be out there, in the trenches, regardless of the conditions. Participants are expecting to come away with great images and a tutor must do their best to help them achieve their expectations.

On the day in question the light was flat and uninspiring. There was little hope of classic landscape imagery, so a different approach was in order. Out came the macro lens and a quick demonstration followed. The above image features a close-up of a portion of an olive oil bottle, surrounded by aluminum foil, photographed on the kitchen table at our workshop base. The tip for participants, without such a specialized lens, was to set their own lens to manual focus, walk up close to their subject and move and then rock the camera back and forth until sharpness is achieved. While not macro, the average kit lens will allow you to produce interesting close-ups when used in this manner. So, with a new way of seeing the world and a more physical approach to their photography, bad weather was forgotten and the group got on with having fun and making great images.

Canon 5D camera and Canon 180mm f3.5 L series lens

The image of the kangaroo skull was taken mid afternoon, when a sudden blaze of sunlight caused us to head into the shade for more controlled lighting conditions. I found the kangaroo skull nearby and photographed it on an old sheet of rusted iron, which I placed on top of my car bonnet for some on location tabletop photography.

Canon 5D camera and Canon 180mm f3.5 L series lens

The final photograph emphasizes the texture qualities of a wild flower near the shores of a reservoir. While the poor weather prevented the opportunity for our planned sunset, matching alternative subject matter with appropriate technique produced a worthwhile image.

All images were processed in Adobe Lightroom 2 and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Roots and Rock_Ellery Creek Big Hole_Central Australia

Leica M6 camera and Leica 35mm Summicron f2 lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 Extra Color film

Ellery Creek Big Hole is a tranquil stop over 126km west of Alice Springs along the Larapinta Trail. This is a particular important part of the West MacDonnell Ranges evidenced in an excellent 3km trail around the site that details significant geological formations.

As well as the beautiful, permanent waterhole I was impressed with the way trees found their way through the rocky terrain towards the waterhole. The above image features one such group of roots exposed on the side of a rocky outcrop.

I moved in close with my medium wide-angle lens to emphasize the roots and surrounding rock. To highlight the textural qualities of the scene I opted for a black-and-white rendering of the original 35mm color transparency.

After scanning the image was processed in Adobe Lightroom 2 and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

For those exploring the region by car Ellery Creek Big Hole provides a cool and refreshing break. With lots to see, a great place to swim and a stop over on the world class Larapinta Trail photographers will find this place a gem well worth exploring.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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