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Branches and Sky_Treasury Gardens_Melbourne

Branches and Sky_Treasury Gardens_Melbourne

Canon 5D camera and Canon 85mm f1.2 L series USM lens_Exposure Details: 1/125 second f1.2 ISO 100.

How can you possibly photograph a forest? More than likely you’d have to move so far back and shoot from above to include it all in your photograph. But from that distance you’re unlikely to capture the grandeur of the forest or the more intimate moments that occur within it. You can’t really understand anything by looking at it from a distance. Perhaps its better to journey into the forest and, through a more detailed examination, become a part of the environment into which you’ve journey.

So, how do you tell a story about a forest? Sometimes by photographing a single tree or even a leaf. And the same is true for city parks and gardens, such as Treasury Gardens in Melbourne where the above image was made.

Wanting to explore the upper portions of the tree I moved in close and photographed upwards, concentrating my attention on the junction of branches in the lower centre of the image. Careful focusing and a shallow Depth of Field (DOF) placed further emphasis on the area in question.

Initial image processing of the original color file was conducted in Adobe Lightroom 3. It’s possible to produce lovely black-and-white, monochromatic (strictly speaking that means one color, such as a sepia tone) or split tone images in Lightroom 3. However, as was the case with the above image, I often prefer to apply such changes, particularly split toning, in Adobe Photoshop CS5.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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

Coastline_Port Campbell National Park_Victoria

Wave crashing on cliff face near Port Campbell_Victoria

Canon 5D camera and Canon 17-40mm f4 L series USM lens @ 17mm. Exposure Details 1/80 second @ f5.6 ISO 100.

This photo was made from a rocky outcrop near Port Campbell along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. I produce a range of postcards and greeting cards and was at the end of a long day selling and stacking stands. I needed to make some pictures and, despite the dreary weather, managed to find this interesting location right at the end of the day.

While I timed the exposure to coincide with the wave crashing into the cliff face I also wanted to draw attention to the rocky terrain and the foreground foliage. This is the reason why I placed the crashing wave slightly away from the centre of the frame. The use of the 17mm focal length added extra emphasis to the foreground, thereby further diminishing the power of the wave.

Image processing was conducted in Adobe Lightroom 3 and Adobe Photoshop CS5.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Family_There’s Nothing More Important

Portrait Photography is best undertaken in controlled light conditions

Canon 5D camera and Canon 85mm f1.2 L series USM lens. Exposure Details: 1/30 at f4.5 ISO 200

Having photographs of your loved ones is a great benefit of being a photographer. The older I get the more importance I place in making these pictures and the happier I am to share them with my own family. Though not always easy, it’s absolutely worth the effort.

The above image features my dear old mum, Mary Guy, and my younger sister, Gabrielle Luhrs. The photo was made at my mum and dad’s house in Hamilton, Victoria.

It was one of those bright, sunny days when folks are happy to go outside and be photographed. The problem, of course, is that bright light spells death for the portrait photographer. To make a good picture under such conditions you have two options: use diffusers, reflectors and/or flash to control the light or, alternatively, move your subjects into softer, more flattering light. I do both, but usually favor moving the subjects into open shade where the light is less harsh and they can open their eyes.

Referred to as the windows to the soul the eyes are probably the easiest way by which the viewer can interact with the subject. What’s more when the eyes are open their color is revealed and wrinkles are reduced.

The above picture was made under my parent’s front verandah. It wasn’t hard to bring the two of the girls closer together. I utilized the overhanging creepers and background shrubs to fill the surroundings and allow the eye to travel easier towards the subjects. A very subtle vignette and a lovely warm tone were applied to further enhance the photo.

Image processing was conducted in Adobe Lightroom 3 and Adobe Photoshop CS5.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Dusk_City at Night

Finding unique views of your city will allow you to produce unusual and, sometimes, great photographs

Canon 5D camera and Canon 85mm f1.2 L series USM lens_Exposure Details: 3.2 seconds @ f11 ISO 100

When photographing a city skyline it’s often a good idea to look for an alternative view to those more commonly depicted. The above image was made from the south and west and places the city in relation to a more industrial, working class foreground.

It’s a highly composed image with diagonal lines running through the industrial structures in the foreground, vertical lines defining the outside of the city buildings and less defined horizontal lines marking the demarcation between floors. The shapes of the buildings are rectangular, as are most of their windows.

Despite the quiet nature associated with most photos made at the end of the day, this image’s warm/cool color scheme gives it an extra dynamic which lifts the buildings lit with warm light out from the cool blue background.

Next time you’re out and about in good light don’t forget to check out what, at other times of day, might seem banal. Beauty is a matter of perspective, and also of viewpoint. And unfamiliar viewpoints can produce interesting results from both iconic and commonplace subject matter.

Image processing was conducted in Adobe Lightroom 3 and Adobe Photoshop CS5.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Genres in Photography

Quirky Photo of a Service Station_Beechworth_Victoria

Canon 5D camera and Canon 24mm f1.4 L series Aspherical lens_Exposure Details: 1/500 second @ f8 ISO 100

How would you define a landscape or documentary photograph? And, in relation to that question, what’s appropriate subject matter? For some folks rules and regulations make sense. They provide a measure of certainty amidst an otherwise complicated series of options. For others art is a form of free, boundless expression. Definitions and rules probably seem like anathema and (maybe even) the work of conservative elements trying to hold back your progress.

Just between you and me, I really don’t care about such debates. In formal teaching roles I’ve often had to stick to a particular institution’s definitions only to bend in line with those of another later the same day. In fact sometimes the rules change from semester to semester within the same institution. But when we get down to it, and outside the need to produce a folio with (say) 6 natural landscapes, 6 urban landscapes, 6 people photos, etc. does it really matter. From my way of thinking a nude is just another type of landscape. You know, sand dunes and rainforests.

The above image depicts a service station in the tourist town of Beechworth in northeast Victoria. I was attracted to the scene by the red signage on the garage’s glass frontage. While displaying a snapshot quality the image is highly composed. Every pane of glass acts as a frame within the overall image frame. Each of the red letters is framed inside an individual pane, the bottom frames frame little scenes and moments occurring in the background, and the frames around the top panes further break up those on the inside of the veranda. The red color of the signage is repeated in the background signage and also in the streamers. This emphasizes the sense of 3-dimmensional space within the image. The fact that one of the letters is missing adds a sense of humour and communicates the notion of aging (history) within the image.

So what kind of photograph is it? A good one, I hope. OK, but to what genre does it belong?

While I was originally attracted to the color of the signage the image is largely composed around architectural elements. So, is it an urban landscape, an architectural or documentary image? Personally I’d call it a documentary photo. I like it and I hope you do as well. Ultimately, that’s what matters most.

Image Processing was conducted in Adobe Lightroom 3 and Adobe Photoshop CS5.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Exploring Stain Glass Windows through Photography

Stain glass Windows

Canon 5D camera and Canon 85mm f1.2 L series USM lens_1/25 second @ f 10 ISO 400

Beautiful to behold, stain glass windows allow us to see color when the glass is backlit. This seems a much purer experience of color compared to our usual experience via reflected light. The panels are also beautiful as individual pieces of art and, in the case of the Christian tradition, for the stories revealed when viewing them in sequence.

I’ve long found the experience of viewing stain glass windows to be calming and somewhat mesmerizing. One day I may well undertake a short course and produce one or two for my own place.

Due to the height of the windows I was forced to photograph them from below, resulting in a somewhat skewed perspective. In this case I like the way it leads the eye from the bottom through to the top panels providing a greater sense of 3-dimensional space.

The original color image was rendered into black-and-white and further enhanced through the addition of a subtle split tone.

Processing was conducted in Adobe Lightroom 3 and Adobe Photoshop CS5.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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