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Pic of the Week_Approaching Storm_Squeaky Beach

Hasselblad 503CW Camera and Hasselblad 50mm f4 Distagon lens with Fuji Velvia 100F film

Squeaky Beach, one of the most commonly visited locations on Wilsons Promontory National Park, is a great location for photography. I’ve been fortunate to visit the prom on numerous occasions. Situated on the southern most tip of the Australian mainland the wonderful landscapes, great walking trails, wildlife and varied weather patterns make it one of my favourite places.

The success of this image, made after the sun had gone down, is based upon balance, achieved though the juxtaposition of likes and opposites.

The approaching storm produced a brooding mood and a great contrast with the calmness of the water and the placement of the horizon in the middle of the frame. The separation of light and dark tones provides local increases in contrast, enhancing shape. The rocks on the left and the headland in the back right of the frame act to frame the water and increase the sense of 3-dimensional space within the image. A warm/cool split tone further enhances the sense of space by helping to lead the eye through the frame.

Image processing was conducted in Adobe Photoshop CS5.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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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

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

Sunrise from U-Beins Bridge_Myanmar

 

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

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

This is one of my favourite images, the making of which was a joyous experience. Taken toward the sunrise from U-Beins Bridge, Myanmar (Burma) the image is broken up into three areas: the water, either side of a large fish trap, and the sky above. The composition draws our eyes through the frame by the warm/cool color contrasts and by the line of the fish trap as it gently snakes its way through the foreground.

The bridge is constructed from teak, which is famous for it’s water resistant properties. Salvaged from the palace at Ava, a former capital, after it was deserted the one km long footbridge has provided passage for monks and lay folk alike for over 200 years. 

I was immensely fortunate to have had the opportunity to make numerous images from that morning with which I’m happy. Though at the time I didn’t understand the significance of that day, I now realise it was one of the highlights of my life, to date. I work hard to ensure similar days come my way in the future. To live in the light, albeit only for moments at a time, is a dream well worth a life time’s effort.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Mantra_Lhasa_Tibet

 

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

Hasselblad 500CW camera and Hasselblad 150mm f4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Professional Portra 160VC film

I discovered this mantra carved onto a rock on a hill overlooking the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. Often carved as a kind of meditation, I believe the process combines religious and artistic practices. It is for this reason that I consider such pieces to be art rather than craft.

I cropped the original medium format (square) color negative into landscape format prior to rendering in black-and-white. I feel the resulting image better conveys the significance of the mantra as well as the dramatic beauty of the country’s harsh climate and terrain. I employed Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop CS3 to process the image. Subtle split toning was applied to warm the highlights and cool the shadows.

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Tibet on two occasions. In 1988 I travelled from Lhasa to Kathmandu, Nepal including a side trip to Everest Base Camp on the Tibetan side. In 2000 I further explored Lhasa and visited the recently restored Ganden Gompa (Monastery) at 5,000 meters above sea level. I look forward to my next trip, which I expect will include the new train journey from Beijing to Lhasa. I can’t wait.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography  

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