• Article Index

  • Learn Photography

  • Family Portraits

Alice Springs_Where Old World Meets The Down Right Quirky

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

I love Alice Springs. With a population of around 28,000 people the Alice is the regions major town and a great base from which to explore, in any direction, the wondrous Central Australian landscape.

Part oasis, part frontier town with a tough, hard working ethic the Alice has long been a magnet for those wanting a better life. As a result much of the town’s current population have migrated there over the last 15 years. Adventure and opportunities provide strong motivation for many, including the lost and the lonely. Of course no town is an absolute Eden on earth. Ongoing issues relating to indigenous people, a large and largely secret US intelligence base and the likelihood of a major mining project set to commence within a few years act to divide the community.

The images in this post explore the old world nostalgia, associated with­ European settlement, juxtaposed against typical Central Australian humor.

The Ghan is an iconic term in Australia and the above image depicts a retired carriage that previously travelled the long rail route to and from Adelaide. Nowadays the line has been extended to Darwin, providing a single, continuous rail line from north to south.

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

The Alice Springs Regatta is a boat race held along the (usually) dry riverbed of the Todd River. This annual event provides fun for locals and tourists alike.

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

Driving in the centre is not without risk, particularly after dark. Whether it’s kangaroos or camels, you drive at your own peril after dark. And, depending upon your point of view, moonlight may not be the best time to be on the road anywhere near Wycliffe Well, 380km north of Alice Springs and a 13km drive south of the Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve. This area is famous for UFO sightings. Karlwe Karlwe, as the Devils Marbles are known to indigenous folk, is indeed a mysterious site. Huge granite boulders, piled on top of each other and set against a clear blue sky, provides a striking sight in an otherwise flat and seemingly unchangeable landscape.

When next you visit Alice Springs do your best to engage with the local town folk and try to see at least some of the more offbeat attractions both in and out of town.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Serbian Orthodox Church_Alice Springs_Central Australia

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

I photographed the interior of the Serbian Orthodox church in Alice Springs. The church is famous as one of three churches built under ground in the Alice as a way of providing a refuge for the faithful from the extreme heat of a Central Australian summer. The church provides a beautiful and serene environment and, like much of the regions landscape, a perfect place for meditation and contemplation. A function room adjoining the church provides a place for followers of this brand of orthodox Christianity to meet and socialize.

The color and texture of the stone, enhanced by the warm tungsten (incandescent) light, provide a great environment for photography. It was easy to set up for the above image. All I had to do was arrange the composition to keep as many of the individual architectural elements visible and lined up and still describe the space between.

Fortunately I was granted permission to make a few quick photographs before the day’s mass began. After a few short minutes of photography l stayed on to observe some of the service and was surprised that, other than the priest, the only other person present was a woman who appeared to have some kind of assisting role. I found the service to be a strange experience. I was impressed with the formality of the service, yet felt apart from it due the fact that it was conducted in Latin.

It should be possible for tourists to visit the site. Telephoning ahead is a good idea, as is quiet and respectful demeanor and dress. Leaving a donation is always appreciated, even when not immediately noticed.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

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.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

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.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Photoshop Madness_Part 1

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

Regular visitors to my site would be aware of some fairly creative images that I’ve made while goofing around in Photoshop. Today’s post is the most recent example.

I made the above image a number of years back in Alice Springs, Central Australia. I liked the image and, until today thought that it had merit. I realize now that I probably made the same mistake most others do with their own photographs – just because you were there and made a picture must mean it’s a good one. I think I was attracted to the subject, and the idea of producing a great photograph of this old rusted out car, in what is a thriving and yet very remote location in the centre of Australia. While I’m not particularly fond of cars there’s a kind of romance associated with the location and the idea of how such a car would have made it to and functioned, all those years ago, in such a difficult environment.

Looking at the scan I realized that I was not being objective enough and that the image was little more than a visual record. And, for me, that’s only the beginning of a great photograph. So I began to mess around in Photoshop, but the result, as seen above, looked pretty fake. Abstraction seemed like a way forward. When in doubt embrace the madness.

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

I started to wonder if I could play with the colors and tones to bring out a look and feel something akin to opals, for which this country is famous. I started down that path and then, being reminded of some of the creation mythology of the region’s indigenous people, started playing with the idea of the Rainbow Serpent from Aboriginal Australian Dreamtime.

The result as you see is more fun than it is art, but it does suggest potential for this type of work. I hope you enjoy the concept and the result.

The original film scan was processed in Adobe Camera RAW, prior to employing Adobe Photoshop CS4 to achieve the final result.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Ghost Gums_Trephina Gorge_Central Australia

Leica M6 camera and Leica 35mm f2.0 Summicron-M series lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 Extra Color film

Central Australia is a very special place and one of my favorite locations for landscape photography. I’ve been fortunate to have travelled to The Centre on tow occasions and, at one stage, seriously considered moving them. I still have a house in Alice Springs, though I may be selling it over the next few months.

The above image features ghost gums seemingly clinging to life in an environment consisting mainly of rock, sand and a fast shrinking waterhole. This is the very base of Trephina Gorge, a spectacular location on the East McDonnell Ranges 85km east of Alice Springs on the Ross Highway.

The strong lines of the ghost gums and the contrast in tones between them and the surrounding rocks made this a clear candidate for a black-and-white rendering.

The original color transparency was scanned and then rendered into black-and-white in Adobe Lightroom 2. Adobe Photoshop CS4 was employed to add a subtle warm/cool split tone.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

The Track Back_Trephina Gorge_Central Australia

Leica M6 Camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron-M series lens with Kodak Ektachrome 100VS Professional film

Situated 85km east of Alice Springs, along the West MacDonnell Ranges in Central Australia, and known for its sheer quartzite cliffs and river red gums, Trephina Gorge offers excellent opportunities for photography and hiking alike.

Today’s image was made, at dusk, from a viewpoint above the gorge. I’d hiked up earlier to photography the sunset and had to hurry to get back down before darkness descended. But the surroundings were so beautiful in the soft twilight that I stopped to make a few quick pics on the way down.

In putting together an interesting image I wanted to explore the space between the foreground rocks and trees and the cliff face beyond. The dualities of hard rock against soft foliage, the warm/cool color contrast and the relatively limited orange and green palette dominated compositional considerations.

The original film based image was scanned then processed in Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

%d bloggers like this: