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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

A few Words on Creation

Hasselblad 503CWi and Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar f4 lens with Kodak Portra 160VC Professional film

By living the life of the artist you add, on a daily basis, to the miracle that is life. Many say that the very existence of life is a miracle. While we tend to load the word miracle with religious connotations, the word itself is simply the ancient world’s way of making sense of the miraculous or unexplainable. And assigning responsibility for such events to an all knowing, all-powerful creator-being is not an unreasonable approach to take. I have no issue with that concept either historically or in contemporary societies. The problem is when politics and power are imeshed so deeply into the teachings that they become synomonous with the religion in question.

While I have an interest in world religions, as a fundamental component of culture, I do not personally subscribe to any one message or faith. And while I admire religious devotion I abhor dogma. My desire is for a multi-faceted approach to the eternal, one that has room for science and faith, expression and ritual, male and female. I encourage pluralism and debate and dream of a society where the only wars we engage in are against the terrany of oppression, corruption, hunger and disease, and our own innate negativity.

So, why we are not god’s, our choices, attitudes and endeavors can, at their best, be described as god-like. It’s about intent and energy. The purer the intent and the more focused the energy the closer we put ourselves to the source: the great, ongoing mystery that is creation. Creativity is taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. And, through our photography, each of us has the choice to participate in the ongoing mystery that is creation.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Wheel of Law_Lhasa_Tibet

Hasselblad 503CWi camera and Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar f4 lens with Kodak Portra 160VC Professional film

The Wheel of Law represents the teachings of the Buddha and the endless cycle of death and rebirth known as Samsara. The hub represents moral discipline, which stabilizes the mind; the spokes wisdom to dispel ignorance; and the rim training in concentration to hold everything together. The wheel’s eight spokes are also a symbol of the Noble Eightfold Path from the Buddha’s teachings while the motion of the wheel is a metaphor for the rapid spiritual change possible by adherence to these teachings. The Wheel of Law is often a central element in a Mandala, which is a geometric representation of the Buddhist universe.

The wheel or chakra is a significant symbol in Buddhism. The Buddha’s teaching are referred to as the Dharma, so the term Dharmachakra, which literally translates as the wheel of law or transformation, symbolizes both the Buddha and his teachings. When flanked by two deer, as is commonly the case in Tibetan Buddhism, the wheel symbolizes the Buddha’s first sermon at the deer park in Benares, known today as Varanasi, in present day India.

Today’s image features the Wheel of Law photographed on the rooftop of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. The image was made with a Hasselblad camera on medium format color negative film. After scanning the image was processed in Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Cloud Power

Hasselblad 503CW camera and Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar f4 lens with Kodak Portra 160VC film

This dramatic image was made at sunset in Central Australia. The powerful shape of the clouds, their brightness and warmth contrasts with the flat, dark blue of the surrounding sky. It was a glorious sight to behold and a perfect way to finish a great day of photography.

The original color negative was scanned prior to processing in Adobe Lightroom 2 and Adobe Photoshop CS4 where extra saturation and contrast further enhanced the scene.

Hasselblad 503CW camera and Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar f4 lens with Kodak Portra 160VC film

Shape is a major design element. My concern with the above image is whether the image’s dramatic color contrast was  overpowering the shape of the cloud.

Just for fun I decided to try a black-and-white rendering with an even darker sky. The idea was to produce the look of a night sky. A subtle split tone, with a blue-black sky and yellow-orange cloud provided the final touches. I think it’s an interesting alternative, particularly for those folks that are bothered by highly saturated images. Which do you prefer?

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Pic of the Week_Serpentine Gorge_Central Australia

 

Hasselblad 500C camera and Hasselblad 150mm f4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 film

Hasselblad 500C camera and Hasselblad 150mm f4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 film

Here’s a favourite image that I made a number of years ago and, except for one exhibition, has remained relatively unseen until this post. I came across it while hunting through images for a recent talk I gave on my life, thus far, in photography.

It’s great to think that the talk, and the work associated with putting the presentation together, re-introduced me to this and other images.

The image in question was shot at the end of a full day of photographing along the West MacDonnell Ranges near Alice Springs in Central Australia. I arrived at Serpentine Gorge, 100 km west of Alice Springs, late afternoon and climbed atop a rocky outcrop just in time for the sunset. As you can see the view was spectacular and a privilege to behold.

Important to indigenous people as a resting place for the Rainbow Serpent, the gorge seemed imbued with power. I descended and followed the path, framed by Red River Gums and ancient rock, back to the car in the eyrie near dark. The sense of pervading quiet was intense and stayed with me for some time after I’d left the Gorge.

Central Australia remains one of my favourite places and is rich in photographic opportunities. I recommend it to anyone interested in landscape photography and a taste of the ‘Other Australia’.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Quiet Amidst the Turmoil_Sri Lanka

 

Hasselblad 503CW camera and Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar lens with Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 film

Hasselblad 503CW camera and Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar lens with Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 film

Situated on a rocky outcrop, just 11km north east of Anuradhapura, Mihintale is of enormous spiritual significance to the Sinhalese as the place where Buddhism originated in Sri Lanka. It is here where, in 247 B.C., King Devanampiya Tissa was converted to Buddhism after an encounter with Mahinda, the son of an Indian King and the first missionary of the Dharma. Apparently Mahinda appeared to Devanampiya Tissa in the place of a deer the King had been hunting.

Today, the feeling of seclusion and tranquillity still exist in this lovely, relatively isolated location.

The stupa or dagoba, an architectural innovation imported from northern India, usually enshrines relics of the Buddha and other celebrated illuminati associated with early Buddhism. These solid hemispherical domes, which blend simplicity and serenity, provide a subdued but effective expression of the essence of Buddhism.

The above image features the 1st Century B.C. dagoba, situated on the summit of Mihintale Kanda, which is said to contain a single hair of the Buddha. The site offers magnificent views of the surrounding country‑side, including a superb view toward the great dagobas of Anuradhapura.

Due to years of civil strike Sri Lanka is somewhat off the tourist map for most travellers. It is, however, rich in history and natural beauty. It remains one of my favourite photography destinations.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography   

Golden Rock_Kyaiktiyo Pagoda_Myanmar

 

Hasselblad 503CW camera and Hasselblad 150mm f4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Portra 160VC film

Hasselblad 503CW camera and Hasselblad 150mm f4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Portra 160VC film

At just 5 1/2 meters high the tiny Kyaiktiyo Pagoda may not sound that significant. But, given its position atop a large gold-leaf covered boulder (known as the golden rock) and perched, delicately, on the edge of a cliff on the top of the mountain, you may begin to appreciate this truly splendid Buddhist icon.

The 10 km hike up the mountain ascends over 1,000 meters and is quite arduous, particularly when you’re loaded down with camera gear. I managed to get some of the way up in the back of an incredibly crowed pickup truck. It was exciting and I would gladly have taken the ride all the way if allowed. Maybe the experience that followed was meant to be earned, as in all pilgrimages.

Arriving just before sunset on my second last day in Myanmar and, despite the rush and associated fatigue of the trip, the site of the golden rock and the atmosphere that surrounded it made that day a highlight of my time in Myanmar (Burma). It is a most serene location and, despite the fairly large crowds, the beauty of the location and the devotion of the pilgrims was an experience I will long savour.

I was fortunate to be able to photograph the golden rock at sunset and, again the next morning, at sunrise before driving back to Yangon and my flight to Bangkok. After a short rest I travelled onto Laos and more adventures.

The above image is actually made well after sunset and illumination was provided by a series of artificial lights, such as those on the bottom left of the frame. The warm color cast by these lights further emphasized the golden color of the rock and pagoda. The exposure was quite long, in excess of 30 seconds. Naturally a tripod and a cable release was required to reduce camera movement during the long exposure.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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