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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

Kids Hanging Around_Lhasa_Tibet

Canon F1 camera and Canon 50mm f1.8 lens with Agfachrome CT100 precisa film

Today’s image is from the archive. Made on my very first overseas trip in 1988, this image from Tibet features a near candid of 4 likely lads.

The original transparency (slide) has not had an easy life. Adversely affected by poor processing and then scanned with, by today’s standards, the quite average Kodak Photo CD workstation, it’s one image that I never could throw out. So, while far from portfolio standard, its fun to finally get it out into the world thanks to Photoshop.

In the process of preparing this image for posting I couldn’t help but wish I’d made more of my opportunity and photographed the boys individually. They’ve all got such interesting faces. To think they’d all be in there 30’s now. Assuming they’ve survived. I wonder how their faces have changed and if they’re still in contact with each other.

The circumstances surrounding the making of the original image are very vague now. The positioning of the boys with their fly’s down or belts out adds both a sense of humor and an important design element to the image which, I think, is why I made the shot in the first place.

Image processing was conducted in Adobe Camera RAW and Photoshop CS5.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Learn Photography_Sunday Evening in the City of Melbourne

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Last Sunday evening I had the good fortune to be holding a practical photography class in the city of Melbourne. It was a good day, shared with great folk, and the above images illustrate some of the fun we had photographing portraits and architecture around the city.

Starting in the city alleyway’s we moved on to Federation Square prior to a dusk shoot at Birramung Mar by the shores of the Yarra River. The light at the end of the day was particularly flattering for both portraits and architecture. The longer we stayed the better it got. And times like that I don’t might what time I head home.

The images were processed in Adobe Lightroom 2.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

From My Window_Old Delhi_India

Canon New F1 camera and Canon 24mm lens with Agfachrome 100 film

Over recent weeks I’ve very much enjoyed re-visiting some very old images from my first overseas trip in 1998. The above image was made from the upstairs dorm window of a backpacker hotel in Old Delhi, India. It was a relatively cheap place to stay that proved to be a great place to meet other backpackers. The food downstairs was good and, other than the usual problems associated with theft and illness, I enjoyed my time there.

Of course Delhi is madness. Yet, amidst the chaos there is serenity. The wealthy locals and diplomats find it in their palatial compounds, the up class tourist and business person in top of the range hotels and the masses through patience, a devote spirituality and a belief system that defines their place in the cosmos.

I remember making this image. I’d been looking out the window at the rain, a habit I’ve enjoyed since childhood. Rather than causing folks to hurry and seek shelter, the average man seemed to continue on at a steady gate from one task to another. There’s certainly a metaphor and message here for the lazy, overly pampered, hair and fashion obsessed individual – a little of which resides in most of us.

These workers have no time for appearance. They live their life from day to day doing their best to provide their families with the most basic needs. So with pay TV, holidays, ballet lessons for the girls, car payments and a mortgage not an issue, what’s a little rain when you’re trying to feed your family?

While the above image isn’t going to win any awards it does help focus my attention on some of the more important aspects of life. From an image making point of view I was standing where I was with the viewpoint I had. I only had one lens with me at the time. The light and colors were, pretty much, as you see. All I could control was the moment at which I pressed the shutter. I simply waited until the figure carrying the pack above his head moved into the space between the overhead power lines, thereby creating a frame within a frame, before I tripped the shutter. Having the Brahman cow in the foreground added another interesting element that helps identify the scene with India.

The original 35mm transparency was scanned then brought back to life with Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Pic of the Week_Sunrise_Ormiston Gorge_Central Australia

Leica M6 camera and Leica 21mm f2.8 Elmarit lens with Kodak Ektachrome 100 Extra Color film

Ormiston Gorge, a major stop on the West MacDonnell Ranges, is situated 135 km west of Alice Springs. Offering photographer and walker alike a range of great opportunities the gorge is best visited in the cooler months (May to August) when the 7 km Ormiston Pound walk can be undertaken without too much physical stress.

The above image came about as much through persistence as through technique. I awoke early and walked down to the dry waterhole in the pre-dawn light. The morning was cold and windy and the light flat. It looked like the sunrise was going to be a fizzer. But my experience is that, once you’re out of bed, it’s worth making the most of the situation and either sitting it out and waiting for the light or, alternatively, moving around the location to discover alternative angles or subject matter.

As the sun rose the cold, bleak dawn light gave way to the warm, luminous light hitting the distant cliff tops and reflecting down into the water in the middle of the frame. The magenta blue light from the overhead sky washed over the foreground rocks and provided a great contrast with the more dynamic sunlight. And, while I wouldn’t recommend drinking from the pool in the bottom right corner of the frame, it did provide me with an added visual element. As well as illustrating that the water is stagnant the green slime leads the eye from the foreground through to the reflection in the middle of the frame and, from there, onto the sunlit cliff tops in the background. As green is the opposite or complimentary color to magenta the slime, in the absence of direct sunlight, acts to separate and emphasize the color of the foreground rocks.

I’m very interested in dualities and the exploration of opposites is a constant theme in my photographs. While the color of the rocks was interesting, the lack of dramatic light in the foreground was initially a concern. This photo is not so much about the sunrise but about the variation in light and color throughout the frame. I employed a 21mm wide-angle lens on my beautiful Leica M6 camera and walked in close to place extra emphasis on the foreground rocks. The idea is to explore the relationship between shaded foreground and illuminated background and encourage examination of the similarities and differences within the frame.

The original slide has been in storage for some time. After scanning it was great fun to bring the image back to life with Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

If ever you have the chance an extended stay in Central Australia is great for both your photography portfolio and your soul. It is an ancient landscape embedded with Aboriginal Dreamtime mythology where ancestor beings both walked through and shaped the landscape. Their presence remains evident in that most inspiring landscape.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Its so easy being Green

Nikon FE camera and Nikon 35mm f2 lens with Agfachrome CT precisa 100 film

During a big clean up, following a recent flood at my place, I discovered some old photos I’d made during the first few months of 1986. It was my first year of formal photography study and I was staying with my oldest sister, Maree, and her family in the Melbourne suburb of Box Hill South. I’d been given an assignment, to produce 3 photographs that explored the color Green.

It seemed like a dumb idea at the time and it wasn’t until the night before it was due that, with the help of my brother in law, Steve, I got it together. I made a pic of a watermelon with a face cut into it. The pinkish red of the fruit’s flesh made a strong color contrast with the green on the outside of the fruit.

The above image, the second in the series, featured Maree’s 2 oldest kids: Rachel and Richard Gray. (Her youngest child, Patrick, was a chubby bubby at the time). The image was made in a few short minutes under the shade of a beautiful maple tree in the family’s front yard. The green, leafy yard provided the perfect background. The kid’s green school uniforms were an added bonus. It was then simply a matter of adding some extra props (green cordial, cups, serviettes and fruit) to complete the scene.

Nikon FE camera and Nikon 35mm f2 lens with Agfachrome CT precisa 100 film

The final image features Rachel, dressed in emerald green and adorned with green nail polish, posing in front of the bathroom mirror. Rachel was a great model, very patient and co-operative.

Both the kids were great fun to work with and I’m so glad I’ve re-discovered these old images. While they’re not portfolio standard they’re great keepsakes that allow us all to remember our time together. It may not be that much longer before both Rachel and Richard can share those memories with their own families.

Rachel is now an experienced and highly regarded secondary school teacher, while Richard is well and truly making his way as a director, writer and producer in the motion picture and television industries. But, back then, Richie was a typical 6-year-old boy: with a love for cartoons and a very competitive backyard cricket player. Rachel, who I guess was 8 years old at the time, was highly organized, very bright and a talented piano player. Richard was full of life and energy, a beautiful child who loved his mother very much. Rachel was a delightful girl. In fact she was perfect.

If you’re feeling like your own photography is a bit stale of late, perhaps it’s worth trying a Green, Red or Blue assignment for yourself. Of course you could take it further as color is also cultural. White is a metaphor that, depending on the country or culture in question, can suggest completely different things. When I re-visit familiar places I sometimes limit myself to a single focal length (e.g. 24mm wide-angle or 100mm Macro) to force myself to see the familiar anew. Whatever challenge you set yourself will help revive your enthusiasm and broaden your vision. Go on, feed your creativity.

Both images were made with Agfachrome ISO 100 transparency film on a 35mm Nikon FE camera. The original transparency was scanned prior to processing in Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Sunset_Ormiston Gorge_Central Australia

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

Ormiston Gorge in one of my favorite locations in Central Australia. Situated along the West MacDonnell Ranges, an hour or so out of Alice Springs, great hikes and spectacular photography opportunities await the intrepid traveler.

The above image was made at sunset. I employed a 35mm mild wide-angle lens to convey the grandeur of the location and Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 Extra Color film for its warm, saturated color rendition.

The difficulty with a scene like this is that it contains so much information for the viewer to deal with. The trick is to concentrate their attention on the most important elements throughout the frame. The image is made up of sand, water, trees, rock and sky. But it’s the light, distributed throughout the scene, that separates major focal points from their surroundings, light from dark, warm from cool and foreground from background. This enables the viewer to more easily navigate their way around the image.

The original 35mm transparency was scanned prior to processing in Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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