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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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Sunset_Uluru

Uluru Sunset reveals shapes and textures in the landscape

Hasselblad 503cw camera and Hasselblad 50mm f4 Distagon FEL T lens with Kodak Professional Ektachrome 100VS film

Surely one of Australia’s most iconic natural attractions, the Uluru/Kata Tjuta National Park offers the visitor a range of fantastic locations for landscape photography. The above image was made from the car park where visitors often find themselves viewing the changing colors of the rock either side of sunset.

The low angled sun, skimming across the landscape, highlights the textural qualities of the foreground grasses and looming clouds as well as bringing out the shape of the rock. These qualities have been further enhanced through a black-and-white rendering.

I made this image towards the end of a long day. I was up well before sunrise to photograph the rock. I then undertook the long walk around Uluru, which was great fun and provided numerous images with which I remain happy to this day. Following an afternoon exploration through the Valley of the Winds at nearby Kata Tjuta I returned to the final location of the day where this image was made.

If you haven’t already had the opportunity I can certainly recommend a few days at Uluru/Kata Tjuta National Park. I’ve been fortunate to have journeyed there on three occasions and look forward to another visit in the not too distant future.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Pic of the Week_The Painted Desert

A surreal beauty is evident at dusk at the Painted Desert in South Australia

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

The Painted Desert is located northeast of Coober Pedy in South Australia. On the way to the location I stopped briefly at the Dingo Fence, one of only 3 man-made structures (I believe) that’s visible from space. The other structures in question being the Great Wall of China and the Hoover Dam in the U.S.A.

Famous for its natural beauty this isolated location has been employed as a set in motion picture films such as Mad Max.

The location’s vivid color palette, the result of erosion over 80 million years, makes it a wonderful place to visit and photograph, particularly at the edges of the day when the landscape takes on a somewhat surreal appearance. Just be sure not to run out of water or fuel. And don’t forget the spare.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

From Reality and on Towards Abstraction

There are many forms of abstraction open to photographers. Creative Blur, Black and White and Close-Up photography are popular examples. All the images in this post were all made with the camera very close to the subject.

I’d like to suggest that there are three ways of representing a subject, which can be outlined as follows:

Realism

A relatively straight rendering of the subject or scene, often made as a way to share and help remember important moments associated with the person, place, event or day in question.

Realistic photographs try to record what the photographer sees at the time of making the image.

Suggestion

A more creative approach where the photographer works to expand the representation of the subject or scene to include how they felt it. Successful examples often exhibit a mysterious quality and elicit an emotive response from the viewer.

In this case the subject matter is still recognisable, but photographed in such a way to cause the viewer to think about issues, memories and possibilities beyond that which is immediately evident.

Abstraction

Perhaps the most artistic form of expression, abstraction allows the photographer to take the viewer into a world somehow outside of their normal experience.

With the subject matter no longer recognisable the viewer is free to respond to the image as they fit. Responses vary depending on mood, age, gender, religion, cultural background, life experiences, etc.

Its important to understand that, while the photographer may have a particular message or theme that they want to communicate, the more an image moves towards abstraction the more open to interpretation it becomes. So, while I want to encourage experimentation, I also have to emphasize the point that, just like love, meaning is in the eye of the beholder.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Buying Camera Equipment and What I’ve Learned Along the Way_Part II

Monk, Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Equipment: Hasselblad 500CM camera and Hasselblad 150mm f4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Professional Ektacolor Gold 160 film

Continuing on from yesterdays article I returned to study in 1989 to a degree level photography course. The previous 2 years study at the private college was not recognized so I had to begin again at year 1. I needed another camera so I purchased a 60’s vintage Rollei SL66 camera with an 80mm standard and, I think 150mm portrait lens. This was a medium format camera, producing 12 _6x6cm images on a roll of 120 film. The newer versions of the camera, 70’s onwards, were superb. Unfortunately mine was a dog and caused me some grief.

That year I also purchased a 4”x5” large format camera. Rather than the large, heavy and cumbersome monorail version, favored by studio photographers, this was a flat field camera that folded flat. It was lightweight and ease to carry. A beautiful thing all word and brass that I purchased with a secondhand wide-angle lens. It’s the sort of camera where you load a single sheet of 4”x5” film into the camera, composing the image on a similarly sized ground glass screen with a large cloth (ideally black on the inside and white, to reflect the hot sun, on the outside) wrapped around to cut back reflections on the ground glass screen.

Not being terribly competent with the camera I took it on my second overseas trip. Sadly, after arriving in Ladakh following a torrid journey through Kashmir and over the Himalayas, with numerous adventures along the way, the lens packed it in. Unable to have it repaired, I had to carry the whole kit around for the remainder of the 10-week trip. I did make several usable images, a few of which I may still have. I remember, in particular, some shots of a young Korean Buddhist nun I photographed on a rooftop in Leh, Ladakh. It was a romantic notion to be using that type of camera, much like the great early travel photographers such as Samuel Bourne, in India and the middle East, or Timothy O’Sullivan in America. The fact was neither me or the equipment was up to the task.

In 1990 I returned to another 6×6 medium format camera. I wanted a brand new Rollei SL66 kit but, being almost impossible to buy through the Australian agents at that time, I upgraded to a new Hasselblad 500CM. The blad was a good camera, though a little clunky with one or two really weird foibles that had remained with the camera since the original model several decades early. Once again I bought an 80m and 150mm lens. My old boss, John Noyes, was now National Sales Manager at the Australian distributor for Hasselblad cameras. That made the purchase of this expensive new kit somewhat easier. In case you’re wondering he’s retired and those days are long gone.

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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   

Architecture Bathed in Light

man-and-stools_mandalay-hill_mandalay_myanmar

Hasselblad 503C camera and Hasselblad 180mm Sonnar f4 lens with Kodak Portra 160VC film

This is a largely design based image. Made at sunrise on Mandalay Hill in Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma) I remember being drawn to the scene by the color and shape of the architecture and the lovely quality of the light. I organised the composition to emphasize the line, shape, repetition and colors within the scene. I loved the way the freshly washed tiles and mirrored walls reflected the warm sunrise. The resulting warm/cool color contrasts add an extra dynamic to the image. The presence of the human element helps provide a sense of scale and introduces a narrative to the image. I feel the red plastic chairs add a sense charm, albeit somewhat kitsch, to the image. 

Next time you’re in Mandalay consider a visit to Mandalay Hill. Best visited for sunrise or sunset, the experience can be very peaceful and quite sublime.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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