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Detail_Mungo National Park_NSW

Detail_Mungo National Park_NSW

Leica M7 camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron-M Aspherical lens with Kodak Ektachrome E100VS film

Mungo National Park in far Southwest NSW, Australia is a fascinating location for exploring and photography. It’s an ancient, arid landscape that many thousands of years ago was part of a huge inland lake system that supported a range of flora and fauna and, as a consequence, the regions indigenous people.

This image was made at the end of a long day’s exploration. I’d photographed the sunset, which rendered naturally sculptured elements on the dunes into surreal, vividly colored forms. The light lingered for at least 20 minutes after sunset and produced a soft, warm glow to the landscape. Noticing the tuft of grass, on the top of a mound of sand, I moved in for a close up. It’s a straightforward image that relies on the color contrast between the grass and sand, the repetitive pattern of the lines and the bizarre relationship between the seemingly disparate elements of grass and sand.

This small tuft of grass, isolated by the surrounding sand, acts as a metaphor that could suggest a range of thoughts including the following:

  • The risk to our way of life posed by a changing environment
  • The ability to survive, despite your environment
  • Your ability to grow, despite hardship
  • People that seem to have nothing in common, co-existing peacefully

The vivid color saturation associated with Kodak Professional Ektachrome 100Vs film did a great job of portraying the strength of color in this image. I’ve employed Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS4 (I processed this image prior to upgrading to CS5) to process the scanned transparency to reproduce, as accurately as possible, the colors recorded by the film. A strong vignette was added to help draw the eye towards the key foreground elements.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

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Shrubs on Dune_Mungo National Park_NSW

Photographing shrubs on a sand dune_backlit by the rising sun_Mungo National Park_NSW

Leica M7 camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron-M series lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 film. Exposure Details:

Mungo National Park in far southwest NSW is a great place for the intrepid traveler and landscape photographer. The harsh, arid environment and the park’s formidable distance from capital cities, around an 8-hour drive from Melbourne where I currently reside, ensure it doesn’t receive the quantity of tourists it deserves. And that’s one of its charms. I travelled around the park for several days and only saw one other independent traveler and a bunch of retirees on a tour. But the very best times to photograph, early morning and early evening, I was alone. And that’s heaven for a landscape photographer.

The above image was made just after sunrise with the shrubs backlit by the fast rising sun. I decided to render the original color transparency into black-and-white to better achieve the starkness I needed to convey the sense of eerie silence I experienced at the time the image was made.

It seemed to me that this relatively banal subject matter, somehow surviving in a most inhospitable environment, offered me an opportunity to explore notions of survival, hope and growth, despite adversity.

Such notions provide powerful metaphors for the photographic artist that can help take your photos up to the next level. So remember, your photographs should not just be about what you see, but how you feel about what you see. And that is as important for landscape, portrait, architecture and documentary photographers as it is for the painter, sculpture or writer.

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

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Pic of the Week_Sand Dune and Cloud_Mungo National Park_NSW

The luminous quality of the light is enhanced by the blackness of the sky in this cloud and dune, sky and ground

Leica M7 camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron-M lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 Extra Color film

Mungo National Park, in far southwest NSW, is a harsh, arid environment. But long ago it was part of an extensive inland lake system that provided local indigenous people with a bountiful food supply and, despite common perceptions, allowed them to live in seemingly permanent settlements. This challenges common perceptions that Aborigines were nomadic people, a way of life that appeared backward to the conquering British Empire. It’s now evident that indigenous Australians adapted their lifestyle and practices to the environment in which they lived.

I rendered the original image, shot on 35mm color transparency film, into black-and-white to illustrate the inherent shapes, textural qualities and tonality within the image. The luminous nature and strong shapes present in the cloud and dune have been enhanced by the deep tonality of the sky.

The high contrast nature of this image, together with the grain inherent in the film, has produced a look somewhat similar to that normally associated with black and white Infrared film. I hope you enjoy it.

© Copyright All Rights Reserved

Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

A Sunburnt Country

 

Leica M7 camera and Leica 21mm f2.8 Elmarit Aspherical lens with Kodak Professional Ektachrome 100VS film

Leica M7 camera and Leica 21mm f2.8 Elmarit Aspherical lens with Kodak Professional Ektachrome 100VS film

Our environment is under siege. Most of Australia has experienced a prolonged drought over the last 10 years. The water supply to the city where I live, Melbourne, is down to around 1/3 capacity. The landscape throughout most of the country is parched and the heat wave that has affected South Eastern states over the last few weeks has resulted in fatalities, bush fires and loss of substantial fruit crops.

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Metaphors in Photography

We are all aware of how metaphors such as ‘stubborn as a mule’ form part of our spoken language. But metaphors also permeate our visual language, providing photographers with a powerful means of communication.

Derived from the Greek metaphora and translating as meaning transference, metaphors allow us to compare seemingly unrelated objects and provide a window or association to an experience outside that of the object’s environment.

An image of a down and out farmer from the Great Depression tells us not just about the hardships of the individual, but of a whole segment of society. An image of a child ravaged by hunger or disease talks to us of the inequities that exist in our world.

Metaphors allow us to explore the Human Condition and provide an important connection between our physical and metaphysical worlds.

 

Leica M7 camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron-M lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 Extra Color film

Leica M7 camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron-M lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 Extra Color film

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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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