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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

Pic of the Week_Sunrise_Squeaky Beach_Wilsons Promontory National Park

Leica M7 camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron lens with Kodak Professional Ektachrome E100VS film

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

Squeaky Beach is a favourite location for visitors to Wilsons Promontory National Park in Victoria, Australia. This image was made at sunset. As I was facing the sun the difference in brightness between the dark foreground rocks and the much brighter sky was extreme. As a result the rocks were rendered as a silhouette. This image relies on the shape of the rocks, the texture in the water and the warm/cool color contrast of sky and water.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Group Shot_Myanmar

 

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 lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 Extra Color film

Here’s an image that’s bothered me for a long time. I was travelling in Myanmar (Burma) and had risen very early to ascend a hilltop not far from the famous temple site, Bagan. While the sunrise was not spectacular I did make several good shots of the surrounding landscape. Afterwards I descended towards the famous Arrewaddy River where I met a family who were camped on a small sandbar just offshore. They were lovely people, but quite shy so I was very careful not to bring the camera out until after I’d gained their confidence and permission to do so.

The problem I had was that the light, reflecting off the white sand, was blindingly bright. I couldn’t see a thing without my polarising sunglasses. What’s more the exceptionally bright light resulted in very, very dark shadows. Terrible conditions for portrait photography resulting in bright, burned out areas on the skin, dark eyes and screwed up faces.

Fortunately I did manage to make a few images under softer light provided by a tent-like structure. The above image, however, was made outside. To ensure the kids had their eyes open I positioned them with the sun somewhat behind them. In fact their faces are side lit, resulting in very dark shadows on the other side of the face. And while it is possible to expose in such a way to lighten the shadows, the brighter side of the face would also be lightened to the same degree causing it to render near white. It’s often possible to expose in such a way to render the brighter parts of the image with the density you’d like and then add fill flash or employ a reflector to ensure the shadows don’t record too dark. But, in this case, the variety of camera-to-subject distances ruled out either approach. For example, if I’d employed on-camera flash the subjects in the foreground would have received much more light then those in the background.

My only solution was our old friend Photoshop. I’m not proud to say that I was forced to do more work than I’ve ever had to do, with the possible exception of another one or two images, to produce the above result. It’s still very much a ‘work in progress’. I’ve converted the original color transparency (slide) into black-and-white, prior to applying a gentle warm color (tone) to produce a more life-affirming result. The light spots evident in the shadow side of the kids faces are actually a plant extract smeared over the skin as a kind of natural sun screen.  

From a design point of view we are not looking at people, we are looking at circles (ovals, if you prefer) and triangles. The circles are linked by invisible lines which, when connected, form the triangular shapes. There is nothing new in this technique, it’s clearly evident in oil paintings from hundreds of years ago. But it is these lines and shapes that link the individual faces into a cohesive composition. Try it for yourself. 

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography 

Cleaner, Lhasa, Tibet

 

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

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

I made this image during my second visit to Tibet. I noticed the elderly lady sweeping a hallway out of the corner of my eye. Because she was backlit by quite bright light I knew she would photograph as a silhouette. All I had to do was to ensure that my composition allowed enough of her body shape, and that of the broom, to stand out against the near white background. The trick when making silhouettes is to ensure that your subject forms a graphic shape. In the absence of color it is this important design element that provides the dynamic that moves the image away from the individual towards the iconic.

The original image was made on a Leica M6 camera and Leica 35mm Summicron-M Aspherical lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 Extra Color film. I employed Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop CS3 to render the original color image into black-and-white and then add a warm tone to the image. I’m happy that such a quick and simple snap (that’s all it was) can convey the concept of hard work and a positive view of the elderly.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography 

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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