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Pelican_Murray River_Victoria

Black and White photo of a pelican photographed with a telephoto lens

Canon 5D camera and Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L series IS USM lens with Canon 2X Extender_effective focal length 360mm_1/500 second @ f7.1

I was fortunate to be able to photograph this beautiful pelican on the marvelous Murray River in beautiful Mildura. It was a simple matter of setting the camera to a relatively fast shutter speed, balancing exposure and firing off a few shots as the bird swam past.

What a feeling to be so close to such a wonderful creature. Pelican’s are remarkable and their antics make them great fun to watch.

The textural qualities of the water and the bird’s black and white plumage determined that a black-and-white rendering was appropriate. I added a vignette around the outside edge of the frame to help lead the eye towards the pelican and enhance the feeling of light closer to the centre of the image.

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

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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Crow #1_Wilsons Promontory National Park_Australia

Take a look at this photo of a cheeky Crow_Wilsons Promontory National Park_Australia

Canon 1D Mark II camera and Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L series lens @ 200mm. Exposure Details: 1/500 second @ f4 ISO 200.

Avian or bird photography is one of the most challenging disciplines a photographer can pursue. Being small, the subjects are usually quick moving, shy and somewhat protective of their personal space. Being unable to communicate or direct the subject we have to rely on it alighting nearby, within the range of our lens, at a time when the light illuminates it in a satisfactory manner. By comparison portrait photography seems so much easier.

I was fortunate indeed when this crow landed on a burnt tree trunk following a major fire at Wilsons Promontory National Park several years ago. It bobbed around from spot to spot and allowed me to approach quite close to make a series of shots over several minutes. My guess is that, as I was at a popular campsite along the Lighthouse Walk, the bird was somewhat accustomed to humans and was popping in to see if there were any tasty snacks to be had.

The setting was a small clearing in an otherwise relatively dense forest setting. A very shallow Depth of Field (DOF) allowed me to isolate the subject from what would otherwise have been an overly complicated background. The direction of the light brought out the texture of the birds feathers and highlighted its eye. The result: a dramatic photo that captures the power and impishness of the bird. I’II post a short slide show tomorrow that will allow me to further illustrate the bird’s cheeky nature.

I’ve done very little avian photography, but whenever I make a good image I want to do more. What does that tell you? We are motivated by successful outcomes.

When it comes to photography being prepared and choosing to photography scenes and subjects that are not terribly challenging is a good approach for the beginner. Build on your success, over time, with more difficult assignments. Compare that with the person or buys there first DSLR camera, a day or so before and important event (e.g. child’s school concert or overseas skiing holiday), only to be frustrated by the technology.

We are just as responsible for our failures as we are of own success. We are all intelligent and talented, but how often do we make decisions that set us up for failure? And what low opinion of ourselves must we have to make the kind of choices that set us up to fail?

I hope photography provides you all with an abundance of fun and joy. It should be rewarding and the harder you work at it the more rewards will follow. But be careful not to kill the chance of joy with unrealistic expectations or being sucked into photographing jobs you’re either unable or unwilling to do. Be careful not to let your brand new camera become the ‘goose that killed the golden egg’.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Cockatoos_Kakadu

 

Canon 5D camera and Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L series IS USM lens and Canon 2X Converter @ 400mm Exposure Details: 1/640 second @ f5.6 ISO 400

Canon 5D camera and Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L series IS USM lens and Canon 2X Extender @ 400mm Exposure Details: 1/640 second @ f5.6 ISO 400

I photographed these little fellows on the wonderful yellow waters cruise in the Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia. They were part of a larger group of Cockatoos that were playfully teasing each other as they flew round and round fighting for the best place to perch. Birds were even using their beaks to grab onto the tail feathers of the bird in front of them in the same way a child might playfully tug on a playmates hair or jumper.

Adobe Lightroom 2.0 was used for basic processing of the original RAW file. Adobe Photoshop CS3 was then employed to boost color and make local tonal changes.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography  

Kookaburra

 

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm L series USM lens Exposure Details: second @ f4 ISO 400

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm L series USM lens at 105mm Exposure Details: 1/200 second @ f4 ISO 200 with Fill Flash

Here’s the first of a few shots I’II post from a recent 2-day workshop in and around Melbourne, Victoria. The first day concentrated on working with natural and existing light with studio lighting dominating the second day. Day one was held in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges on the outskirts of Melbourne. The arrival of a local kookaburra provided some added fun for the group.

I was able to get up to about 2 meters away from our feathery friend. As two of the workshop participants were somewhat closer, I made sure I stayed back so they could get their shots. Nevertheless we were all able to make some pretty reasonable shots without scaring our subject, always a consideration when photographing wildlife.

As the subject was backlit I used a little fill flash to add a catch light in each of the bird’s eyes and reduce the contrast between the bird and  a much brighter background. 

Initial image processing was conducting in Adobe Lightroom 2 with a few final local touches added in Adobe Photoshop CS3.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography 

Duck_Lorne_Great Ocean Road

 

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series USM lens

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series USM lens

Here’s the second image from last Saturday’s Landscape Photography workshop I ran in and around Lorne on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. I was photographing reflections in the water when I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, this lovely duck swimming towards me. I made several shots until, when the duck was around 2 meters away, it veered away from me to continued feeding.

The image was processed in Adobe Lightroom where it was rendered into black-and-white. I also utilized Lightroom to add the TV screen like vignette. Adobe Photoshop CS3 was employed to add contrast and a subtle warm/cool split tone effect.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography 

Saltwater Crocodile

 

Leica M7 camera and Leica 90mm f2 Aspherical-M lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 film

Leica M7 camera and Leica 90mm f2 Aspherical-M lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 film

The above image was made at Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory, Australia. Referred to as the Top End this region of Australia is remote and wild. Kakadu National Park is largely a water-based park and is best appreciated from the air or on a series of excellent water-based cruises exploring one of the regions incredible waterways. Rich in bird life Kakadu is home to a variety of reptiles including the world’s largest saltwater crocodile.

This image was made from the safety of a boat, drifting gently over the water, with the engine turned off so as not to scare away the big fellows. My camera was aimed straight down to provide the impression of a birds eye view. I like the way the monochromatic green of the water has been broken by the croc surfacing and, as a result, the blue skylight is also reflected into the water.

By the way crocs scare the life out of me. They combine the skills of a hunter, honed over millions of years of evolution with immense power and speed. Thrusting out from below the surface of the water they devour large birds whole and, for larger prey, their razor sharp teeth holds their victim in a vice like grip that pushes the air out from their lungs as the croc spins them around in a death roll.

The Top End is a great place to visit and will provide wonderful memories for the visitor. But be aware of the potential dangers for the foolhardy. Never swim in the sea or in creeks or billabongs. Saltwater crocs spend quite a lot of their time in estuaries and are known to follow rivers upstream for significant distances. During monsoonal floods they can be pushed a long way upstream. Over time many of these waterways dry up and break into a series of small water holes and creeks, isolating the croc. Visitors who ignore the posted warning signs and swim in these places are pushing their luck to the extreme. Enjoy this magnificent country, but ignore warning signs at your own peril.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography  

Iconic Silhouette

 

Canon 5D camera and Canon 70-210mm f2.8 lens with Canon 2X Extender

Canon 5D camera and Canon 70-210mm f2.8 lens with Canon 2X Extender

The above image was made in Kakadu National Park in the Top End of Australia. The bird, the color of which was actually light grey with dark wings, did not at first sight make a very compelling image. But by shooting into the light, from a lower angle of view, a fairly dynamic silhouette resulted.

It’s important to understand that as they are rendered black, against a brighter background, the individual identity of the subject is often lost. As a result it may be impossible to discern the following:

¨    Age

¨    Gender

¨    Ethnicity

¨    Clothing color and texture

With individual identity lost a well constructed silhouette becomes less about the individual and more about an iconic, sometimes mythical or archetypal rendering of the subject. Not Warick the warrior, but the Warrior. So, with virtually all individual identity removed, to ensure the subject stands out it is essential that they are positioned in such a way so as to form a graphic shape.

The image was made with a Canon 5D camera and Canon 70-210mm f2.8 Macro L series USM lens. The lens’s telephoto capability was enhanced by the use of a Canon 2X Extender (sometimes referred to as a tele converter), which effectively doubled the focal length to 400mm, allowing me to increase subject magnification and isolate the subject from its surroundings.

The original image was rendered into black-and-white and then split toned in Adobe Camera RAW. Final image enhancements were applied in and Adobe Photoshop CS3.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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