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Shapes_Curves and Shadows in Architectural Photography

Shapes and Curves_Etihad Stadium_Melbourne

Canon 5D camera and Canon 24mm f1.4 L series USM lens. Exposure Details: 1/200 second @ f16 ISO 800.

Here’s a photo with which I’m happy. It’s nominally an architectural photograph, as it features the bottom part of a sculpture at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. But really the image is an exploration in abstraction utilizing shapes, curves and shadows to shape the image.

In fact the shadows have been used to link individual man-made elements within the frame. And, of course, there’s no shadow and, therefore, no shape, without light.

So, while I prefer to photograph under low light conditions, both indoors and also outside in the landscape, the above picture is an example that, with care, it is possible to make compelling images outside under very bright conditions.

Basic image processing was conducted in Adobe Lightroom 3. A warm tone and gentle glow were applied in Adobe Photoshop CS5.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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Apple 3Gs iPhone_Shooting Melbourne Architecture

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Welcome back folks. After around 2 weeks without a computer I’m finally up and running and back on line. I have to say the first few days without a computer were a little surreal. I read a book, went for a few walks and undertook some very useful project planning. Except for a terrible flu, which lasted for 10 days, I enjoyed the change in lifestyle. But, now that I have my computer back and have re-installed most of my frequently used applications, I’m glad to be back blogging again.

Today’s post features a series of images made with my Apple 3Gs iPhone during a location shoot as part of an introduction course in photography I was running in the city of Melbourne. As you can see I’ve opted for a slideshow by which to display these images. I hope you enjoy it.

It’s helpful for me to make images during classes and workshops. I find it helps motivate participants and provides them with unique perspectives and approaches to otherwise familiar subject matter. While they tend to be preoccupied with Shutter Speeds, Apertures and ISO I’II always try to bring them back to the light and how they might better tune into what’s going on around them.

All images were processed in Adobe Lightroom 2.

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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

Pic of the Week_Rock Pool #1_Cape Schanck

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 USM lens. Exposure Details: 1/100 second @ f11 ISO 100

I recently conducted a 2-session private class with 2 gals from the Mornington Peninsula around a 1½-hour drive from my place in Clifton Springs. We had a great time covering camera and photography fundamentals, macro and landscape photography.

The final half of our second session brought us to Cape Schanck National Park. We walked down from the cliff tops, near the lighthouse car park, following the edge of the cape to a rocky beach and beyond to a series of fascinating rock pools by the seashore.

What a wonderful time! We were there during the middle of the day and, while the strong, hard light produced some problems, it was great to be out and about by the sea, on a warm, clear sky day.

The bright light produced a fairly flat light that reflected a lot of color and texture off the water and rocks. To reduce the problem l employed a polarising filter. Yet I couldn’t help but think how much more beautiful the location would have been at the end of the day.

After initial processing of the RAW files in Adobe Lightroom 2 I decided that a black-and-white rendering was appropriate. This effect was achieved in Lightroom 2 and that’s where the journey halted for the next week or so.

I revisited the image today and, after a fair bit of playing around, came up with a technique that enabled me to produce a result with which l am very happy. I’m being careful not to claim that l invented the technique in question. I’ve been around long enough to understand that pretty much everything has been done before. But whether one or one thousand other people have stumbled across the same technique isn’t really the point. What’s important is that I now have another technique by which to make great images, even when the original shot was made under light that, while nice and warm, may not be ideal for the making of classic landscape photographs.

Final image enhancement was achieved in Adobe Photoshop CS4.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Pic of the Week_Water Pool_Uluru_Central Australia

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

Uluru is Australia’s most iconic landscape. Situated in the Uluru / Kata Tjuta National Park it is a superb location for photography and offers the visitor a wonderful introduction to the culture and mythology of the local indigenous people.

The above image makes use of foreground (grasses), mid ground (rock) and background (sky) elements to enhance the sense of 3-dimensional space.

One of the problems with photographing under bright, sunny conditions is that the bright light acts to reflect much of the color and texture off the surface of important focal points (e.g. rock, sand and grasses). By employing a polarizing filter its possible to prevent this from happening and produce images that display quite vivid color reproduction. In much the same way as polarizing sunglasses a polarizing filter can also darken and saturate and already blue sky. It works best when the sun is directly behind the photographer.

After scanning the original 35mm color transparency was processed 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

Apple 3Gs iPhone_The Journey Continues

Above Merry Creek at Sunset_Apple 3Gs i Phone

This week’s set of pictures from my Apple 3Gs iPhone were all from an evening walk I undertook around my neighborhood in Clifton Hill, Melbourne. I’ve included them in the order in which they were made.

On my return I employed Best Camera, the iPhone app created by US sports and commercial photographer Chase Jarvis, to enhance the images prior to uploading, via Adobe Lightroom 2, onto an external hard drive.

Rocks_Merry Creek_Apple 3Gs iPhone

The process of using the iPhone remains great fun. It’s easy to produce very good results, providing you’re working under reasonable levels of light and relatively low contrast conditions. But move outside of that fairly limited criteria and problems arise. While not necessarily visible on screen, prints of 5″x7″ or larger would clearly illustrate the problems.

Afterglow_Clifton Hill_Apple 3Gs iPhone

I’m happy with the visualization and design associated with today’s images. But the camera’s ability to handle low light conditions is limited. You can easily make the shot, and it may look good on your phone’s LCD screen. But, viewed on your computer, such images will likely display a low contrast, de-saturated and noisy appearance.

Night Sky_Clifton Hill_Apple 3Gs iPhone

Similarly the Best Camera app is quick and easy to use. It has a good interface and produces a range of interesting effects. But, without an option to control the degree to which each effect is applied, photographers used to working in Adobe Lightroom or Apple Aperture will often feel the need, as I did tonight, to employ such software to produce a more realistic result than what is usually possible with the Best Camera app. Of course amateurs may well be seduced by the punchy results achieved through the Best Camera app. More seasoned campaigners, while appreciating the speed at which such effects are applied will, nevertheless, wish for the ability to produce a somewhat more subtle result.

Rose by Moonlight_Clifton Hill_Apple 3Gs iPhone

I find this unfortunate because the less work completed on the desktop the better. And, while a camera phone is used for fun rather than profit or serious art, the user needs to have one or more apps that provide them with the type of control offered by RAW Converts/processing software.

Outside Lamp_Clifton Hill_Apple 3Gs iPhone

I still think the Best Camera app is great value and well worth purchasing. I just hope that the next generation of the program will include the ability to control the degree of the effect applied.

I will continue my investigation of this camera/software paring over coming weeks.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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