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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


Re-Visiting the Familiar


Lake Bolac Sunset #1_BW

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

I was born in 1962 in Hamilton a provincial town in Western Victoria, 285km west of Melbourne the state capital, where I currently reside. I remember as a child the population, marked on signs at several main entry points to the town, was 10,200. Back then that seemed like a whole lot of people.

As a youngster trips to Melbourne were extremely rare until I got my drivers license and joined a band. While we played mostly in and around our hometown, we undertook several excursions to the big smoke to buy new equipment (guitars, amps, etc). My first job in photography was in retail. It was a few days after my 17th birthday and the old gentleman with whom I worked, Ernest C. Cameron was a photographer who, at 69 years of age, was working in retail after experiencing some financial problems. He told me that he had not been paid for the sale of his photography business.

Ern was still doing weddings on the side and I learned a great deal by assisting him. He gave me my start in professional photography, for which I’m extremely grateful. A year later Ern died and I ‘inherited’ the role of managing the store’s photography department and photographing an upcoming wedding he’d previously been booked to shoot. Within a short period of time I was heavily booked and within the next 6 years photographed over 300 weddings. After a total of 5 years in retail I decided it was time to move into my own studio, which I ran for 2 years prior to moving into photojournalism as a newspaper photographer with the Hamilton Spectator.

The next 6 months were frantic. As well as still undertaking many wedding and portrait commitments, I managed to convert a poorly run photography department into a considerably leaner and more professional operation. Inventory (particularly photographic paper) was dramatically reduced, photo sales were processed promptly and, if memory serves me right, overtime (which had formerly been taken in addition to annual leave) was reduced by around 4 weeks a year. At the end of that 6-month period my boss, to his credit, rewarded my success by making significant improvements to the departments equipment and working environment. But, having already decided to move on, I didn’t get to see any of that.

The next adventure was to move to the big smoke to study photography in 1986. But that and what follows is a story for another day.

The above image is of a Lake at the entrance to Lake Bolac about 80km along the road from Hamilton to Melbourne. It’s a familiar site from the many trips back and forth to visit family at Christmas and Easter since my move to Melbourne. I’ve always been pleased with the original color image of the lake, shot on transparency (slide) film. At this time of year I’m in the process of finishing current commitments so that I can concentrate my attention on Summer Coda, the Australian-made motion picture film that I’II shortly being working on as a stills photographer. My next job will be to begin planning for the (Australian) summer months and the first half of 2010.

With so much to do it’s interesting that one’s thoughts often travel backwards. Maybe it’s the way we resolve certain events from our past. When your inner self thinks its time to deal with them it brings them forward into the now. And now is always the best time for resolution.

So, with that in mind, I thought I’d use the above image to re-visit the familiar with a more nostalgic treatment, from the days of the black-and-white darkroom. The original color transparency was scanned and processed in Adobe Camera RAW. Subtle changes in color, somewhat akin to a black-and-white photograph treated with Selenium toner, were applied in Adobe Photoshop CS4.

I hope you enjoy the image and my little walk down memory lane.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography


Cuttler Taxi Fleet_Hamilton_Victoria

Reproduction of an old color photograph with a split toned black-and-white rendering

Reproduction of an old color photograph with a split toned black-and-white rendering

Darren Cuttler (Cutts) is my best friend. We met at a Dragon concert in 1979 in our hometown of Hamilton, Victoria. Dragon was a Kiwi (New Zealand) pop/rock band that settled in Sydney, Australia during the 70’s. They had a string of hits including Get that Jive, April Sun in Cuba, Are You Old Enough, I’m in the Sunshine and Rain.

As I write this post I realize that our friendship has lasted 30 years. While we shared a flat during the 90’s life got in the way and we haven’t spent as much time together as I would have liked. For a number of years we probably only saw each other a couple of times a year. Over the last year or so we’ve made a special effort to try to see each other on a more regular basis. When we can synchronize our calendars, based around the needs of his young family and my work commitments, we manage to meet for up to 2 hours on a Friday night for a few pints and a fair old chin wag. Such sessions are the highlight of my week, to which I really look forward.

Cutts’s dad, John, passed away several years ago. He was a great bloke and very kind to me. Well before I new the Cuttler family John operated a Taxi service in Hamilton. A little while ago Cutts gave me several digital files, which were scans of old color photographs made back when John ran his Taxi service. In the process of working on the files I’ve explored both color and black-and-white renderings of the images. For the above image I settled upon a split tone black-and-white rendering.

Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS4 were employed to bring the old, somewhat faded color print back to life. I really hope this image, and the resulting print, will be well received by Cutts, his brother Andrew and mum, Joan.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

A Day of Fire and Devastation


Canon 5D camera with Canon 85mm f1.2 L series Aspherical lens

Canon 5D camera with Canon 85mm f1.2 L series Aspherical lens

Two days ago I mentioned the fact that I was running a short course on Travel Photography and that the weather forecast was 43°C. In fact the City of Melbourne, where I was working, reached 47°C. What’s more the temperature reached 47.9°C at Avalon airport, around 30 minutes west of the city. It was the hottest day on record for any Australian city. I understand the records go back around 180 years.

Fortunately my class was run in an air-conditioned classroom, which commenced at 10am. What’s more questions kept me going overtime by 40 minutes. By the time I left it was 5pm. Nevertheless, it felt like an oven outside. It was incredibly hot, windy and dusty. Apparently the humidity was 5%, which is what you’d expect in a desert, not a major city of 4 million people by the sea full of parks and gardens. Thankfully within 10 minutes the temperature had dropped 10°C and during the evening dropped down into the low 20’s. The following day’s maximum temperature was 24°C and temperatures in the low 20’s are expected until the weekend. Unfortunately that’s where the good news ends.

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