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Rising Sun_Uluru_Central Australia

Rising Sun_Uluru_Central Australia

Hasselblad 503CW Camera and Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar f4 lens with Kodak Professional Ektachrome 100VS film

Here’s a most untypical view of Uluru, a photographic and tourist icon in Central Australia. I’ve been fortunate to photograph the rock at sunrise and sunset; in bright and inclement weather; at midday and early evening. I’ve walked around Uluru, but have never climbed it. It never fails to awe me with its beauty and power.

The above image was made shortly after sunrise as the quick rising sun began to warm the landscape. With most folk either sleeping or shooting from the designated sunrise location, I continued around to the opposite side of Uluru and position myself for a very different experience.

The dynamic diagonal line of the rock and the shape of the trees produce a strong silhouette while the presence of the sun adds a sense of hope and explores the notion of time within the still photograph.

You haven’t experienced Australia until you visit the Uluru/Kata Tjuta National Park. Do all you can to visit and, when you do, ensure you stay for at least 4 days. You’ll need that much time to explore the many wonderful photographic opportunities offered.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography


Apple 3Gs iPhone_It’s a Gas!

Merri Creek, Clifton Hill, Victoria. Camera: Apple 3Gs iPhone

I hope that my Apple 3Gs iPhone photos, and the text that accompanies them, may be of interest to folks who either have or want to buy an iPhone. But it dawned on me that many folks won’t be using Adobe Lightroom 2 or Adobe Photohsop CS4 to process their images. Even for professional photographers and enthusiasts who have the software, time may be better spent processing images from their ‘real’ cameras. And with Twitter and Facebook the chosen way of sharing their pics, most folks just want to shoot and upload their favorite photos, directly from their iPhone, pretty much on the fly.

Laneway Scene, Clifton Hill, Victoria. Camera: Apple 3Gs iPhone

But our images can always be improved with a little processing and there are numerous apps (software applications) that are designed for processing and, in some cases, uploading your images directly from your iPhone.

Drinking Kirin Beer with photographer friend, Gary Bosely (Boss Photography). Camera: Apple 3Gs iPhone.

I never intended this site to be a camera or software review site. It’s primarily about the art of photography and communicating the beauty of our natural world and its people. But, where issues relating to technique, equipment or software seem relevant, I’II use this site to illustrate, examine and demystify much that relates to those areas. My aim is to ensure that your own photography remains as much fun as possible.

Street Scene, Clifton Hill. Camera: Apples 3Gs iPhone.

Regular followers of this site would know that I purchased by new Apple iPhone 3Gs around the middle of December. While I’ve been shooting with digital cameras exclusively for the last 4 ½ years, I have an extensive film-based background. As a consequence I still shoot, pretty much as though I was still shooting with a film-based camera. I’ve probably taken no more than 100 photos with my iPhone, and the ones that accompany this article were all shot over the last few days.

Painted Van, Clifton Hill. Camera: Apple 3Gs iPhone.

I’ve sourced several camera-related apps for my iPhone over the last few weeks. The one I’ve spent the most time with is the Best Camera application, created by US photographer Chase Jarvis. It takes a little getting used, but its pretty intuitive and quite fast, given the changes you’re potentially asking it to apply to your images. You can also use the app to upload your photos directly to Twitter, Facebook and a site for users of the Best Camera application.

From my point of view many of the visual effects (e.g. Candy, Paris, Warm Tone) are too heavy handed. It would be nice if you had the option to determine the degree (e.g. 40%) of each effect applied. Nevertheless it’s a lot of fun and, through experimentation, its possible to mix effects and, thereby, diminish the strength of a particular effect. Available through iTunes and at US $3.99 it’s as cheap as chips.

Vandalised Bus Shelter, Clifton Hill. Camera: Apple 3Gs iPhone.

All the images in this article where shot with my Apple 3Gs iPhone and processed by the Best Camera application. Please let me know if this information has proved helpful.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Pic of the Week_Textures_Tidal River_Wilsons Promontory

Canon 1D Mark II camera and Canon 100mm f2.8 lens. Exposure Details: 1/125 second @ f7.1 ISO 100

The above image was made at Tidal River in Wilsons Promontory National Park on the southern tip of Victoria, Australia. It is a beautiful location that offers a range of photographic opportunities that vary with light and tide.

As you can see the colors present in this scene, really only a detail of the much larger Tidal River landscape, is full of color and texture. While wonderful to behold the challenge for the photographer is to make sense of all this information. A painter can choose to delete one or more of the elements on the canvas, while a photographer’s ability to include or exclude trees, rocks, water and grass is greatly reduced.

You can change focal lengths and, thereby, the angle of view encompassed by your composition. Moving closer or further away is another option, as is changing your shooting position (e.g. worms eye or birds eye angle of view) to alter the apparent relationship between elements in the frame and the relationship between foreground, mid ground and background.

A key problem faced by photographers is the need to deal with what is actually in front of the camera and, excluding a range of exotic desktop solutions and make overs, the best solution is often image design.

Canon 1D Mark II camera and Canon 100mm f2.8 lens. Exposure Details: 1/125 second @ f7.1 ISO 100

While color was probably the element that drew me into this scene, I find it gets in the way of what, in this case, are more important design elements. It is the tones, textures, lines and shapes within the frame that are the real subject matter of this photograph. A black-and-white, split toned rendering was required to quiet down and simplify the image and, thereby, emphasize its most important elements.

I hope you agree that, through the conversion to black-and-white the resulting photograph is a quieter, more subtle and, ultimately, more beautiful rendering of the scene. I’d be very interested in your comments.

The original color image was processed in Adobe Lightroom 2, while the black-and-white, split toned version was achieved in Adobe Photoshop CS4.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

The Apple iPhone 3GS_First Impressions

Image made with Apple iPhone 3GS camera under sodium vapor lighting

Today’s the first of my industry news posts. I though it would be appropriate to bring your attention to the new Apple iPhone, particularly in relation to its picture taking capabilities.

I began to have pretty significant difficulties with my last phone during December and was forced to replace it. The good news was that, together with a wonderful new phone, the plan I signed up to provided me with lots of benefits, including over $500 per month of extra calls, for not much more than my previous plan cost me.

As to the phone itself I decided to go for the top model, Apple’s iPhone 3GS is their best yet. It renders web pages and email attachments up to 2X faster than the iPhone 3G; includes 32GB of storage; video recording, in either landscape or portrait orientations, at VGA resolution which can be edited and shared directly from the phone to email, YouTube, iTunes and to your MobileMe gallery; and voice control to call up any song within your iTunes library and lets you place a call to anyone from your Contact list.

I would have preferred a camera that captured more data than the phone’s 3-megapixel camera. Image files are saved as JPEGs, a format with which I’m not particularly fond of. Nevertheless, under the right conditions good pics are relatively easy to produce. Like many point and shoot digital cameras the ability to move in incredibly close and produce sharp images, without the use of a tripod, is fantastic. The camera has the added advantage of allowing you to enhance subject sharpness by tapping on the area where you want the camera to focus.

Another great feature is the ability to rotate the phone to allow you to work in landscape mode. This will provide you with a larger keyboard to assist in the preparation of email, messages, notes and browsing the web via safari. You can   access the web, by using your iphone’s 3G connection to allow wireless internet connection of your mac notebook or pc laptop.

And of course there are said to be 100,000+ apps available, many of them for free, for the iphone.

Up until last night the only time I’d used a phone camera was by accident. I literally hit the wrong button. It seemed to me that, as I had great cameras and lenses specifically designed for making pictures, a phone was for making phone calls.

Of course I started to realize that there are a range of advantages offered by a phone camera. It could be taken on a recky and would allow me to make snapshots of an interesting location without having to carry a full camera kit. On return I could determine whether it would be worthwhile coming back and, if so, what time of day and what part of my kit would allow me to produce the best results. The fact that the recky would likely be physically less demanding should be a motivation in itself to get out more often. Around a year ago, when I first started this blog, I began to realize the advantages associated with social networking. To share my images and the joy of photography with a larger and more diverse audience, and to communicate the beauty of our natural world and its people is now a reality for me. And for this I thank you.

So last night I decided to try the camera out and, after working out how to use it, went for a walk around sunset. On my way home I decided to make a few pics with the iphone. The image above is one of them. In case you’re wondering it’s a plastic cup stuck into a thick wire barrier on top of a walkway overlooking the Eastern Freeway in Melbourne, Australia. I positioned the camera so that the bright mercury vapor light, positioned to illuminate a road sign on the top of the walkway, lit the cup from behind.

I enjoyed the process so much that I’ve decided to publish one or more pics, and probably some video, from the iphone every Tuesday. I purchased the phone as a business tool, but I’m now looking forward to having a lot of fun with it’s built in camera. Look forward to some adventurous and abstract images over coming weeks.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Blog Schedule for 2010

I’d like to take this opportunity to announce a new schedule for my blog during 2010. Last year I posted, almost every day of the year, on a variety of subjects, techniques and photography genres. I added and re-organized the blog inline with the posts I produced. Now that my blog has become a pretty good reference source I felt a slightly more organized approach to the type and timing of posts is now appropriate.

An outline of my plan for 2010 can be described as follows:

Monday – Travel Photography

You can expect local and overseas images and writings exploring destinations, people and technical concerns facing the wanderer within us all. I decided to schedule my travel-based posts on Mondays to bring some joy to many who face the beginning of the working week with diminished enthusiasm.

Tuesday – Industry News

This is not a site for ‘full on’ reviews. I’m just not that interested in either reading or writing that type of post. Rather you can expect short and to the point (and somewhat biased) commentary on the products, gadgets and trends that are of interest to today’s photographers.

Wednesday – People Photography

A variety of people-based photography will be explored on Wednesdays. Formal portraits, environmental portraits, candid, flash and experimental photography will all be featured.

Thursday – Tech Talk

Articles on light, color, design, genres and camera techniques will all be explored. Where possible an image will be included to illustrate the article.

Friday – Pic of the Week

I’m really glad to be continuing my ‘pic of the week’ posts that ran most weeks last year. As was the case during 2009 you should expect most of these images to be landscape or nature based. Hopefully that will provide many of you with an extra incentive to get out and commit photography over the coming weekend.

Saturday – Quote of the Week

I’II be commenting on a series of fun, challenging and thought provoking quotes from which we can all find relevance. Where appropriate I’II include an image to illustrate the quote and/or my commentary.

Sunday – Image Processing Tips

Here’s some great news for users of Adobe products. Whether you’re a Lightroom, Camera RAW, Elements or Photoshop CS4 user you’ll find articles designed to educate and help you along the way to producing great images.

There are other exciting changes that I expect to be able to announce around the end of January 2010. I work hard to provide content that’s interesting, informative, relevant and explained in a way that’s easy to understand and relatively straightforward to apply. Please feel free to visit regularly.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Before and After Previews in Lightroom

I received a great question yesterday and thought the answer would make an interesting post.

The question related to how to see a before and after Preview of your image in Lightroom (more accurately know as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom). Now there are actually several ways of approaching this answer, including the option for simultaneous viewing of before and after versions of the image on the screen. But the way the question was phrased, where the photographer was looking for a feature akin to the Preview button in Adobe Camera RAW, caused me to answer in the following manner.

Develop Module

Hitting the backslash key will show you a before and after view. But be aware that the before view takes you back to what the original file looked like before you applied any changes in the Develop module. As long as you only hit the backslash key ( \ ) to cycle back to the very beginning and forwards to your last adjustment nothing will be lost. The position of certain keys may vary from keyboard to keyboard. On a Mac you’ll usually find the backslash key positioned directly above the enter or return key.

You can achieve the same effect by bringing up the left hand group of panel, while you’re in the Develop module, and opening up the History panel. Simply scroll down and click on the word Import at the bottom of the stack to show you what the image looked like before any changes were applied. To ensure you don’t lose any changes make sure you click back on the last instruction or adjustment you made to the image, which will be listed at the top of the History stack.

You can also use the History panel to take you back one or more steps in the editing process. This is great if you think you’ve messed things up, but don’t need to go back to the very beginning and start again. Simply click on the last adjustment, with which you’re happy, and then make a new adjustment (e.g. move any of the sliders in the Develop Module). That final adjustment will be recorded, but all of those sitting above it, that you decided weren’t any good, are now deleted.

I hope this post has been helpful to Lightroom users. There are literally hundreds of tips I’d love to share with you all regarding Lightroom. I’m working on ways to do just that and I hope to have some exciting news in that regard by the end of January.

Stay tuned because in a few days I’II be announcing the first of a series of improvements I plan to make to this blog over coming weeks.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Summer Coda_The Party Tree

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm lens @ 32mm. Exposure Details: 1/13 second @ f4 ISO 1600

I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan and have been influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien’s tales and the Middle Earth mythology he created since I was introduced to The Hobbit in form 2 (year 8) at 14 years of age.

The above image was made on location at Dareton in far southwest New South Wales (NSW) during filming of the Australian motion picture film, Summer Coda. I fell in love with this tree the moment I saw it. Standing on top of a bed of lush, deliberately overgrown grass it reminded me of the famous party tree at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring, the first part of Tolkien’s epic trilogy. With light from me old gaffer illuminating parts of the tree, it looked even better at night.

So, while its not a Christmas tree, I hope that the peace and beauty I felt in the presence of this marvelous life form brings you a little closer to the source at this special time of year.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a happy and safe Christmas. May 2010 be a year full of fun, love and peace for us all.

Kindest Regards,


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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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