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Branches and Sky_Treasury Gardens_Melbourne

Branches and Sky_Treasury Gardens_Melbourne

Canon 5D camera and Canon 85mm f1.2 L series USM lens_Exposure Details: 1/125 second f1.2 ISO 100.

How can you possibly photograph a forest? More than likely you’d have to move so far back and shoot from above to include it all in your photograph. But from that distance you’re unlikely to capture the grandeur of the forest or the more intimate moments that occur within it. You can’t really understand anything by looking at it from a distance. Perhaps its better to journey into the forest and, through a more detailed examination, become a part of the environment into which you’ve journey.

So, how do you tell a story about a forest? Sometimes by photographing a single tree or even a leaf. And the same is true for city parks and gardens, such as Treasury Gardens in Melbourne where the above image was made.

Wanting to explore the upper portions of the tree I moved in close and photographed upwards, concentrating my attention on the junction of branches in the lower centre of the image. Careful focusing and a shallow Depth of Field (DOF) placed further emphasis on the area in question.

Initial image processing of the original color file was conducted in Adobe Lightroom 3. It’s possible to produce lovely black-and-white, monochromatic (strictly speaking that means one color, such as a sepia tone) or split tone images in Lightroom 3. However, as was the case with the above image, I often prefer to apply such changes, particularly split toning, in Adobe Photoshop CS5.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

The Timeless Landscape

One of the very special things about landscape photography is the sense that the best photographs seem to exist outside of time. People often refer to traditional darkroom generated black-and-white sepia toned prints from years gone by as being timeless. While warm tone, monochromatic images go back to the very early days of photography what most people refer to as sepia probably refers to images made from the 1920’s up till the mid 1960’s. My point is that, as we can define the look of the classic sepia toned image by date, it’s hardly timeless.

So what do people mean when they use the term timeless in relation to photography. Rather than it being about a specific time or place I think the term is used to describe a look that seems somehow beyond fashion. While most fashion dates (even quintessential blue jeans almost went out of fashion in the west following the introduction of cargo pants, favored by skateboarders, around 12 years ago) the term timeless probably suggests a look, feel or mood that does not. Love does not date in so much as its possible to fall in love more than once or, for some hard working, honest and lucky folk, to remain in love ’till death us do part’. What we refer to as timeless probably suggests a purer, less complicated world. Photographs from those times depict a slower, less complicated and, on first impressions, safer world. So it’s logical in this day and age to harken back to seemingly the simpler times we associate with a bygone era.

I think this is one of the reasons way warm tone images still work today, even when applied to more contemporary subject matter. Whether it’s a portrait of a newborn baby or a grandmother, an urban landscape featuring an old Victorian style building or the outside facade of a suburban milk bar that’s been closed for years, a warm tone treatment can elicit a similar emotional response as a print from the 1930’s.

In the case of landscape photography I feel the effect can be even stronger. With water and/or clouds moving through the frame we also have the ability to explore the movement of time within the still frame. This strange juxtaposition, unique to still photography, is one of the landscape photographer’s most potent tools by which she may both explore the illusory nature of time and transcend the scene or subject depicted in a way that opens a door to a new understanding of reality. This, together with the interplay of light on the landscape, is the reason I love to photograph our natural world.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Photographing Reflections

 

Leica M6 camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron lens with Kodak Professional Ektachrome 100 VS film

Leica M6 camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron-M Aspherical lens with Kodak Professional Ektachrome 100 VS film

Photographing this scene was an incredible experience. I was spending the night camping with a few photography friends at the Pink Lakes National Park in Sunset Country 70 km west of Ouyen, along the Mallee Highway, in far North West Victoria, Australia. The Pink Lakes get their name from the deep red pigment carotene that is secreted from the alga on the lakes. The pinkish hue of the lakes is strongest in late summer, particularly when viewed early or late in the day or under a white cloudy sky.

The lakes rarely hold much water and during summer it’s common for the water to evaporate, resulting in salt crusts forming a series of seemingly random lines over the surface of the lake. While these lines provide an interesting design element and a way into abstraction, care should be taken when walking onto the lakebed. A heavy footfall could penetrate the surface and see you sink knee deep in mud. It’s also wise not to lay your camera directly on the ground, which is caked in salt, and to thoroughly clean the outside of your camera and tripod with a damp cloth immediately after each shoot. Salt is high corrosive and on your return home, to prevent your tripod seizing up at its joints, it’s a good idea to work some marine grade lubricant over the tripod. The lakes provided industry to the area with salt being commercially harvested between 1916 and 1975. Abounding with wildlife the visitor may well see Western Grey Kangaroo, Emu, Echidna and a variety of bird life. Springtime sees the emergence of lovely wildflowers.

I made the above image with a Leica M6 camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron lens with Kodak Professional Ektachrome 100VS film. Image processing was done in Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS3.

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Photographing a Silhouette

 

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

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

Backlighting can add a heightened sense of drama to the scene. It produces arguably the most dramatic form of lighting that, when teamed with the right subject, will produce dynamic results. The image in question features a fisherman on Inle Lake, Myanmar (Burma). I made the image from one of the local canoe-like boats that are used to ferry tourists to various spots of interest on and around the lake. Fitted with a small outboard motor these boats provide the visitor with a quite exhilarating experience as they cut and bounce their way over the surface of this absolutely beautiful lake.

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Photographing People in the Landscape

Here’s a fun shot of my old friend Lucy who I managed to convince to stand on a rock, moments before the tide came sweeping towards her. Except for the warmer tones in the rock and Lucy’s top (actually my top) the color throughout the image is blue. The cool blue light from the stormy sky is reflected in the turbulent water emphasizing the predominantly monochromatic bluish color.

 

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

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

So why photograph people in the landscape?

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Monochromatic Color

Individual colors are used to help us navigate our way through life. They provide us with vital information, often through symbol and metaphor. Think of traffic lights: green is for go, yellow for caution and red tells us to stop.

 

Color is also culturally based. Orange is the national color of the Netherlands. In Ireland orange signifies the Protestant religion, why green signifies Catholicism. The national flag of Libya is green. Vermilion is an important religious color in China, signifying life and eternity in the Taoist religion. In fact the color is in such common use in China that it is referred to as China Red. In India Hindu women place Vermilion along the part in their hair to signify that they are married, while men use it to adorn their foreheads during religious ceremonies.   

 

One of the most important compositional choices photographers make is to determine what should be included within the frame. The choice to simplify our composition is usually a good one, and a Monochromatic Color composition can produce wonderful results.

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