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Looking Seaward_Whisky Bay_Wilsons Promontory National Park

Leica MP camera and Leica 21mm f2.8 Elmarit Aspherical lens with Fuji Velvia 100F film

Quite light at days end provided a great opportunity to explore the relationship between the various elements within this scene. There’s a lot of information within the foreground shrubs and rocks. Their inherent color, shapes and textures provided a fairly complicated foreground. I had to be careful to position myself so that I could find the best arrangement by which I could do the following:

  • Illustrate each individual foreground element
  • Contrast the softness of the scrubs against the hardness of the rocks
  • Ensure there was sufficient space by which the viewer can navigate their way, from element to element, and then pass through to the island in the background. The small patch of sand at the bottom left of the frame provided a nice pathway into the image.

I’ve employed Adobe Lightroom 3 and Adobe Photoshop CS5 for image processing. The vivid color saturation associated with Fuji Velvia 100F film helped lift the otherwise subdued color palette. I’ve increased that saturation further during image processing. If I were to make a fine print for display I’d work to reduce the degree of saturation, particularly in the aqua/blue and magenta colors. But this is a small image, viewed on the web, and I doubt the extra punchy color will upset too many people.

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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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Photography in the Mist


Leica MP camera and Leica 35mm Summicron f2 Aspherical lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 Extra Color film

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

Photographing in the mist can be a fun and exciting experience. The air, heavy with moisture, seems to pervade and encroach around you and your sense of space seems to be diminished. I’d even go so far to say that time seems to move more slowly. Perhaps that’s because you’re more aware of where you are than would be the case during the more ‘normal’ day. 

I found this old wagon outside a property near the Great Otway National Park, not far from Apollo Bay in Victoria, Australia. Together with the nostalgic nature of the wagon, the scene’s vibrant colors were increased by the soft light illuminating the wet surfaces of the ground and forest.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography 

Polarising Filters_Don’t Leave Home Without One


Leica MP camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron-M Aspherical lens with Fuji Velvia 100F film

Leica MP camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron-M Aspherical lens with Fuji Velvia 100F film

Here’s an interesting image made at The Beeches, prior to the recent horrific bushfires, near Marysville in Victoria. I found this lovely little grove on a walk with my photographer friend, David. The backlighting passed through some of the leaves and illuminated patches of ferns throughout the scene. This provided a great contrast with the dark tree trunks.

The problem was that the light was reflecting a lot of the color and texture off the surface of the ferns. A polarising filter would have gone a long way to solving this problem. Unfortunately I had left mine at home. To produce a similar effect in Photoshop, as you see in the above image, took a great deal of work and proves the point that it’s best to get it right in camera. Sure you can fix a lot of problems in Photoshop, but who has the time? What’s more I’m a photographer first and a desktop jockey way last. I work hard to get it right in the camera and then utilise Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop to finesse the image to a new level of excellence. The day I left the old polarising filter at home created a few problems. I got through and learned a hard lesson along the way. But, hopefully, that is one of many such lessons that will prepare me to make great photos in the future.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography 

Low Light Photography

Under low light conditions (eg. at the edges of the day, indoors or under heavy shade) it’s often best to shoot with a wide Aperture (eg. f4). This will provide a faster shutter speed than would otherwise be the case. As a result you have more chance of being able to freeze action, reduce camera movement and the need for a tripod or flash. A wider aperture may also concentrate the viewer’s attention on the subject by de-emphasising their surroundings.

For more contemplative work (eg. Landscape, Environmental Portraiture, etc) the use of narrower apertures (eg. f11) to increase Depth Of Field and display more detail throughout the scene may be appropriate. Of course narrower Apertures allow less light to reach the film and the resulting slower Shutter Speeds may require the use of a tripod to prevent camera movement.

It’s important to note that the quality of light produced under low light conditions can provide a beautiful soft, wrap-around type of illumination. It’s often the most flattering light under which to make photographs.

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