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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

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A Compassionate Subject

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

Compassion is a quality worth cultivating. I sensed it in this young chap from Thailand, photographed during a workshop I was running in country Victoria.

I remember chatting with a bunch of participants during lunchtime, when I noticed the light (as I tend to) on the subject’s face. It was then a simple matter of shooting with a wide aperture to produce a shallow Depth of Field (DOF) that, together with a tight composition, helped to separate the subject from his surroundings.

Processing was conducted in Adobe Lightroom 2 and Adobe Photoshop CS4 where the soft light has been contrasted with a more aggressive form of processing. The idea is to make the window-lit areas of the face appear even softer so that, together with the subject’s gentle eyes, his compassionate nature is emphasized.

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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

Pic of the Week_Dusk_Eagle Rock_Great Ocean Road

Canon 5D camera and Canon 24mm f1.4 L series lens

The Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most beautiful drives. Spectacular ocean views, tranquil rainforests and beautiful waterfalls await the intrepid traveller.  I’ve been fortunate enough to spend quite a lot of time photographing along the GOR, producing an A3 plus size calendar in 2003 and a large range of postcard and greeting cards over the following two years.

The above image features Eagle Rock under a brooding sky at dusk. Made from the observation site at Split Point Lighthouse, in Aireys Inlet, I remember feeling that I’d made a portfolio standard image the moment the camera’s shutter was released. A warm tone black-and-white rendering was all that was needed to evoke the sense of stillness I experienced when tripping the shutter.

Adobe Lightroom 2 and Adobe Photoshop CS4 were employed to produce the rich, velvet-like tones evident in the final image.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Pic of the Week_Vista_West MacDonnell Ranges_Central Australia

Hasselblad 500CWi camera and Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar f4 lens with Kodak Ektacolor Pro 160 Professional film

Central Australia is one of my favorite locations. The region offers the adventurous photographer colorful characters, indigenous culture, the remnants of European pioneering settlement and a sublime, seemingly timeless landscape.

I made the above image along the West MacDonnell Ranges near the end of a fantastic day full of driving, walking and photography. It really doesn’t get much better than that. I was looking directly into the sun so I tilted the camera down to reduce the likelihood of flare. The back light produced a lovely rim-light effect highlighting the trees, the shape of the hills and the stony ground. I employed Adobe Lightroom 2 and Adobe Photoshop CS4 to render the original color file into black-and-white and then applied a warm/cool split tone.

If ever you get the opportunity to visit Central Australia make sure you allow enough time for a leisurely exploration along both the East and West MacDonnell Ranges. Ensure you’re in a position to be photographing at the edges of the day and you’ll likely produce memorable images.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Ronbulk Gompa_Tibet

Canon F1 camera and 50mm f1.8 lens with Agfachrome 100 CTi Precisa film

Regular followers of this site will no doubt remember several articles I posted recently regarding my first overseas trip in 1988. During the research for those articles I discovered a number of images that would otherwise have remained unpublished. I’ve decided to bring those images back to life and share the results through this blog.

The above image was made at Ronbulk Gompa (monastery) in sight of Chomolungma (Mt. Everest). My travelling friends and l made a quick visit to the Gompa, prior to taking the short drive on to Base Camp, where we camped overnight.

During processing I employed a bit of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop hocus pocus to add extra depth and sharpness to the image that, together with most of the photos made during the trip, had been adversely affected by a camera fault resulting in significant overexposure. I also applied a sepia-like tone to add a sense of old world nostalgia to the final image.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Tone and Texture_Mount Buffalo National Park_Victoria

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

I love Mount Buffalo National Park. The drive up the mountain, the final stage of the trip north from Melbourne, really helps to get me into the right headspace for alpine photography. Of course the air on the mountain, like the weather, is often crisp and clear. It’s a wonderful place for short hikes with great views awaiting the more adventurous photographer. Anytime of year you’ll find lots to photograph.

The above image was made in the middle of the day with bright light burning out highlight detail and creating dark, hard shadows. I employed a polarising filter to reduce reflections and, as a result, hold much of the subtle highlight detail. What’s more, by reducing the reflectance and, therefore, the brightness of the highlights the shadows will be rendered lighter. It’s essential to understand that the brighter the light, the darker the resulting shadows will be. So, by reducing the brightness of the scene you will end up lightening the shadows.

From a compositional point of view I decided to tilt my camera down to exclude the bright sky and moved in close with a medium wide-angle lens to emphasize the textural elements in the foreground grasses.

The image is divided between the grasses on the top left and bottom right of the frame, and the dark water and reflection of the trees on the top right.

The original 35mm transparency was scanned with processing being conducted in Adobe Lightroom 2 and Adobe Photoshop CS4, where a subtle warm/cool split tone was applied.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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