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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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Dusk_City at Night

Finding unique views of your city will allow you to produce unusual and, sometimes, great photographs

Canon 5D camera and Canon 85mm f1.2 L series USM lens_Exposure Details: 3.2 seconds @ f11 ISO 100

When photographing a city skyline it’s often a good idea to look for an alternative view to those more commonly depicted. The above image was made from the south and west and places the city in relation to a more industrial, working class foreground.

It’s a highly composed image with diagonal lines running through the industrial structures in the foreground, vertical lines defining the outside of the city buildings and less defined horizontal lines marking the demarcation between floors. The shapes of the buildings are rectangular, as are most of their windows.

Despite the quiet nature associated with most photos made at the end of the day, this image’s warm/cool color scheme gives it an extra dynamic which lifts the buildings lit with warm light out from the cool blue background.

Next time you’re out and about in good light don’t forget to check out what, at other times of day, might seem banal. Beauty is a matter of perspective, and also of viewpoint. And unfamiliar viewpoints can produce interesting results from both iconic and commonplace subject matter.

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

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Play Your Own Tune_Night Photography

Great Night time Photo Opportunities in the City of Melbourne

Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24mm f1.4 L series lens. Exposure Details: 1/8 second @ f2.8 ISO 1600.

Here’s a very recent image from a winter’s evening photographing at Birrarung Marr in the City of Melbourne. I love the image’s rich gold and red color palette, the strong shapes of the bells and the extra impact given to the image through a low angle of view and the use of line to enhance the illusion of 3-dimensional space.

All light sources in the image are artificial. Spotlights illuminate the bells, from below, and the low-lying clouds reflect light from the city far below.

If you’re interesting in making images like this check out my upcoming Night Photography in the City of Melbourne workshop. Group numbers are limited to make for a friendly, non-competitive environment giving you space to work and plenty of access to your tutor (me) for one-on-one assistance. I hope to see you there.

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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.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Pic of the Week_Textures_Tidal River_Wilsons Promontory

Canon 1D Mark II camera and Canon 100mm f2.8 lens. Exposure Details: 1/125 second @ f7.1 ISO 100

The above image was made at Tidal River in Wilsons Promontory National Park on the southern tip of Victoria, Australia. It is a beautiful location that offers a range of photographic opportunities that vary with light and tide.

As you can see the colors present in this scene, really only a detail of the much larger Tidal River landscape, is full of color and texture. While wonderful to behold the challenge for the photographer is to make sense of all this information. A painter can choose to delete one or more of the elements on the canvas, while a photographer’s ability to include or exclude trees, rocks, water and grass is greatly reduced.

You can change focal lengths and, thereby, the angle of view encompassed by your composition. Moving closer or further away is another option, as is changing your shooting position (e.g. worms eye or birds eye angle of view) to alter the apparent relationship between elements in the frame and the relationship between foreground, mid ground and background.

A key problem faced by photographers is the need to deal with what is actually in front of the camera and, excluding a range of exotic desktop solutions and make overs, the best solution is often image design.

Canon 1D Mark II camera and Canon 100mm f2.8 lens. Exposure Details: 1/125 second @ f7.1 ISO 100

While color was probably the element that drew me into this scene, I find it gets in the way of what, in this case, are more important design elements. It is the tones, textures, lines and shapes within the frame that are the real subject matter of this photograph. A black-and-white, split toned rendering was required to quiet down and simplify the image and, thereby, emphasize its most important elements.

I hope you agree that, through the conversion to black-and-white the resulting photograph is a quieter, more subtle and, ultimately, more beautiful rendering of the scene. I’d be very interested in your comments.

The original color image was processed in Adobe Lightroom 2, while the black-and-white, split toned version was achieved in Adobe Photoshop CS4.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

iPhone Photography_Moving into Abstraction

Apple 3Gs iPhone photograph of Stairway Detail

For my third installment of pics from the Apple 3Gs iPhone I thought I’d venture into the world of abstraction.

The way the human brain works is that it looks for the familiar in what it sees. For the sake of this discussion we can refer to the familiar as the subject. The eyes move quickly over a photograph so as to locate a familiar point of reference that enables the viewer to identify the subject of the photograph and then to understand the context into which that subject has been placed. Let’s look at how changing one element in a picture can produce a very different context.

Little Johnny is standing alone on the beach on a beautiful sunny day. This image might suggest the joy of youth and a long and positive life ahead. An alternative scenario might feature Little Johnny standing alone on the beach with dark storm clouds approaching from behind. You could easily read this image, possibly influenced by the day’s doom and gloom in the media, as a metaphor for dark days ahead. But what happens to the viewing experience when there’s no recognizable subject?

Apple 3Gs iPhone Abstract Fence Detail Photograph

From my point of view abstraction simply means presenting elements of the world in such a way that the viewer sees the abstraction before they begin to identify what has actually been photographed. In effect the abstraction becomes the subject of the photograph. One way to move towards abstraction, and produce a more visually interesting image, is to move in closer and base your composition upon the design elements inherent to the subject. In this case the viewer will notice the design (e.g. line, shape, texture, color, balance or shadow) before they think to identify the subject (e.g. interesting pattern on a fence), thereby breaking there usual way of seeing, processing and understanding visual stimuli. As a consequence the photographer has allowed them to think less literally and provided them with a heightened visual experience.

Each of the images that illustrate this article was made by emphasizing particular elements, within larger scenes, that attracted my attention while scouting for locations with my photographer friend, Bill Poon. The vibrant green of a stone staircase, the textured patterns of paint forming in bubbles on a metal fence and the circular anti-slip dots, laid our in a series of straight lines, on a staircase.

Apple 3Gs iPhone Abstract Photograph of a Hardening Covering on a Stairway

Photography is a wonderful activity and there’s no reason why the production of art can’t be fun. The journey into abstraction is one way by which photography becomes art.

All images in this article have undergone fairly significant processing in Adobe Lightroom 2 and Adobe Photoshop CS4. I don’t plan to process all my iPhone images in this way, but the nature of these images indicated to me that their journey would not be complete without a little hocus pocus. What can I tell you, it was fun.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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