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Rising Sun_Uluru_Central Australia

Rising Sun_Uluru_Central Australia

Hasselblad 503CW Camera and Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar f4 lens with Kodak Professional Ektachrome 100VS film

Here’s a most untypical view of Uluru, a photographic and tourist icon in Central Australia. I’ve been fortunate to photograph the rock at sunrise and sunset; in bright and inclement weather; at midday and early evening. I’ve walked around Uluru, but have never climbed it. It never fails to awe me with its beauty and power.

The above image was made shortly after sunrise as the quick rising sun began to warm the landscape. With most folk either sleeping or shooting from the designated sunrise location, I continued around to the opposite side of Uluru and position myself for a very different experience.

The dynamic diagonal line of the rock and the shape of the trees produce a strong silhouette while the presence of the sun adds a sense of hope and explores the notion of time within the still photograph.

You haven’t experienced Australia until you visit the Uluru/Kata Tjuta National Park. Do all you can to visit and, when you do, ensure you stay for at least 4 days. You’ll need that much time to explore the many wonderful photographic opportunities offered.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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Pic of the Week_A Moment of Reflection_Central Australia

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

One of the world’s great travel destinations, Central Australia offers giant landscapes, quite towns and tough, hard-working people. While indigenous Australians have clearly suffered as a result of European settlement, one can gain a sense of this ancient culture by visiting regions were the power of the landscape and the wisdom of its guardians remain strong.

The light raking across the landscape brought out the textures and vibrant color in the above scene. The green bushes and blue sky provide a nice color contrast with the orange-ochre rock face. The color of the shallow puddle in the foreground provided a connection with the mid-ground rock face. Finally, all these elements are brought together, to form a cohesive whole, by their individual shapes and the way they relate to each other.

Processing of the original file was conducted in Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS5.

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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

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.

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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.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

River Bed_Ellery Creek Big Hole_Central Australia

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

My first site of Ellery Creek Big Hole told me I was in for a treat. Alighting from the car and breathing deeply of the eucalypt-tainted air, the impact of the place was immediate and profound. I felt a deep sense of calm and wellbeing.

After a few minutes of bliss I grabbed my camera gear and began to explore the area. Walking slowing, not wanting to disturb the pervading sense of quiet, I wandered around mesmerized by the light and its interplay with rock face, tree and leaf.

After some time I entered an almost dry riverbed to make the above image. I photographed the tree trunk up close, employing an ultra wide-angle lens to place further emphasis onto it and extend the sense of 3 dimensional space between the tree and the background.

The original 35mm transparency was scanned prior to processing in Adobe Lightroom 2 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

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