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As Above_So Below_Port Campbell_Great Ocean Road

Ocean, Rocks and Sky_Port Campbell_Great Ocean Road

Canon 5D camera and Canon 85mm f1.2 L series lens_Exposure Details: 1/4000 second @ f8 ISO 400.

I made this image late one afternoon in Peterborough on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. I drove down to the seaside, right next to the golf course, for a walk around. It was bleak and very windy. Just before I arrived back at the car the sun came out. I turned around and noticed the beautiful, fluffy clouds standing out against the dark, brooding sky. I ran back to the beach to make the above photograph. I made sure I timed tripping the camera’s shutter release with the waves breaking onto the rock outcrop, just off the shoreline. Moments later the sun disappeared behind a cloud and the scene’s luminosity diminished.

While the image features water, rock, sky and clouds it’s really an exploration of light, tone, shape and moment.

Image processing was conducted in Adobe Lightroom 3 and Adobe Photoshop CS5.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Running Color

An photo that's primary subject matter is light and color has produced an impressionistic result.

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 L series lens @ 93mm. Exposure Details: 1/60 second @ f 11 ISO 100

The primary subject matter of this photo is light and color.

People will determine for themselves the relevance of the running/dripping text that had been applied to the front of the window. By photographing from the other side of the glass I was able to abstract the text and further enhance the sense of mystery. Most folks, looking for understanding, will no doubt try to make sense of the text by trying to read it. Perhaps there’s some hidden message that can be found by reversing the characters? Other folks will see the text as I did when I made the image: as design elements within the frame. Either approach is fine by me. As long as you can hold the viewers attention, and prompt them to explore and think about what they’re seeing, you’re doing well.

To further enhance their importance within the frame I was careful to compose the image in such a way to frame each character between the green vertical bars.

I love the muted colors, largely due to the frosted nature of the glass, and their complimentary (warm/cool) relationships.

Next time you’re out and about photographing you might like to set yourself an assignment. Try finding interesting subject matter that you can abstract. One of the ways of doing this is to base your image on the inherent design elements within the object you’re photographing. So instead of making a photograph that becomes a relatively accurate representation of a flower, which is unlikely to be as beautiful as the flower itself, concentrate your composition on the lines, shapes, textures and color present within the flower. These elements may well have drawn your attention to the flower in the first place. So why not explore your relationship with the subject by photographing what focused your attention in the first place? A rose is a rose is a rose. But the fun is in portraying your relationship with and your response to that rose. And that’s something worth sharing with the world through your photography.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Learn Photography_Journey into Abstraction

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The above series of images was made during a photography class I ran on low light portrait photography. Towards the end of the session I decided to have a bit of fun myself and, after making a few portraits, photographed and series of statues before making some abstract images of the patterns caused by rainwater falling onto the surface of a swimming pool.

No special lenses or filters were required. It’s all about seeing the light, being drawn to the subject and anticipating the fleeting moment.

So, which photographs stay in color and which become rendered into black and white? You’ll notice that the composition of the color images is largely based upon color. I was drawn to the color and am happy for it to be the dominant element in the final picture. The black and white images tend to rely on other, often more subtle, design elements like shape, texture and light. These elements had to be carefully considered, at the time of making the original exposure, and emphasized during processing.

The series also includes a few images featuring what I refer to as spot color. They are basically black and white images where the original color has been allowed to remain in specific/local areas of the image. The effect works well with certain subjects (e.g. black and white portrait of a bride where color is retained in some or all of her flowers) or scenes. But, be careful, too frequent use of this kind of effect diminishes the overall power of the presentation. Do you want to be remembered for your images or for camera or computer-generated effects? This is particularly important as, like fashion, many effects date poorly. I’m old enough to remember album prints where the bride and groom have been superimposed into a brandy balloon glass. That particular special effect has gone the way of the dodo, the boob tube and denim jeans with cuffed flairs. And, just in case your wondering, I admit to having an association with one of these. I hope you guess correctly?

Image processing was completed in Adobe Lightroom 2.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Blog Schedule for 2010

I’d like to take this opportunity to announce a new schedule for my blog during 2010. Last year I posted, almost every day of the year, on a variety of subjects, techniques and photography genres. I added and re-organized the blog inline with the posts I produced. Now that my blog has become a pretty good reference source I felt a slightly more organized approach to the type and timing of posts is now appropriate.

An outline of my plan for 2010 can be described as follows:

Monday – Travel Photography

You can expect local and overseas images and writings exploring destinations, people and technical concerns facing the wanderer within us all. I decided to schedule my travel-based posts on Mondays to bring some joy to many who face the beginning of the working week with diminished enthusiasm.

Tuesday – Industry News

This is not a site for ‘full on’ reviews. I’m just not that interested in either reading or writing that type of post. Rather you can expect short and to the point (and somewhat biased) commentary on the products, gadgets and trends that are of interest to today’s photographers.

Wednesday – People Photography

A variety of people-based photography will be explored on Wednesdays. Formal portraits, environmental portraits, candid, flash and experimental photography will all be featured.

Thursday – Tech Talk

Articles on light, color, design, genres and camera techniques will all be explored. Where possible an image will be included to illustrate the article.

Friday – Pic of the Week

I’m really glad to be continuing my ‘pic of the week’ posts that ran most weeks last year. As was the case during 2009 you should expect most of these images to be landscape or nature based. Hopefully that will provide many of you with an extra incentive to get out and commit photography over the coming weekend.

Saturday – Quote of the Week

I’II be commenting on a series of fun, challenging and thought provoking quotes from which we can all find relevance. Where appropriate I’II include an image to illustrate the quote and/or my commentary.

Sunday – Image Processing Tips

Here’s some great news for users of Adobe products. Whether you’re a Lightroom, Camera RAW, Elements or Photoshop CS4 user you’ll find articles designed to educate and help you along the way to producing great images.

There are other exciting changes that I expect to be able to announce around the end of January 2010. I work hard to provide content that’s interesting, informative, relevant and explained in a way that’s easy to understand and relatively straightforward to apply. Please feel free to visit regularly.

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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

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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The Original Isn’t Always Right – Perception and Memory

There is a common misconception among photographers that the colour and density of photographs they receive back from the lab is correct. Most folks are more concerned with whether the subject or scene pictured is rendered in line with the way they remembered it, than with a more objective observation of the print. So as long as ‘little Johnny’ is smiling, the result is pleasing and, therefore, the quality of the print is overlooked. But taking that file to six different labs will likely produce six quite different results, some better than others. The so-called ‘original’ print is simply the first one produced. Not necessarily correct nor the best possible print. This is as true for prints made from digital files as it is for prints from negatives.

If you were to have six different versions of the same image printed, which one would most accurately display the exposure, scene brightness range (contrast) and colour of the original scene? This question is somewhat confused by two quite different variables: the way the scene actually looked, the moment the shutter was clicked; and the way the photographer remembered that scene. It’s not uncommon for a viewer looking at a print of a great sunrise to say, “is that really what the color was like”. If the photographer is happy with the result they’d likely answer in the affirmative. The fact is every sunrise produces different colors, and those colors change from moment to moment. Most photographers simply can’t say, with any real authority, what the actual colors were. And I don’t mean to be smart when making this comment. The fact is that there are literally millions of colors in the natural world. Not only are there Red, Green and Blue but many, many variations in the brightness and purity of those colors. And let’s not forget all the new colors (e.g. duck egg blue, lollypop pink and in-vogue) caused my mixing two or more of the primary colors (R,G,B) together in varying degrees. To further clarify my statement I’d ask you to consider the following:

 

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