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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

Sunset_Uluru

Uluru Sunset reveals shapes and textures in the landscape

Hasselblad 503cw camera and Hasselblad 50mm f4 Distagon FEL T lens with Kodak Professional Ektachrome 100VS film

Surely one of Australia’s most iconic natural attractions, the Uluru/Kata Tjuta National Park offers the visitor a range of fantastic locations for landscape photography. The above image was made from the car park where visitors often find themselves viewing the changing colors of the rock either side of sunset.

The low angled sun, skimming across the landscape, highlights the textural qualities of the foreground grasses and looming clouds as well as bringing out the shape of the rock. These qualities have been further enhanced through a black-and-white rendering.

I made this image towards the end of a long day. I was up well before sunrise to photograph the rock. I then undertook the long walk around Uluru, which was great fun and provided numerous images with which I remain happy to this day. Following an afternoon exploration through the Valley of the Winds at nearby Kata Tjuta I returned to the final location of the day where this image was made.

If you haven’t already had the opportunity I can certainly recommend a few days at Uluru/Kata Tjuta National Park. I’ve been fortunate to have journeyed there on three occasions and look forward to another visit in the not too distant future.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Pic of the Week_Water Pool_Uluru_Central Australia

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

Uluru is Australia’s most iconic landscape. Situated in the Uluru / Kata Tjuta National Park it is a superb location for photography and offers the visitor a wonderful introduction to the culture and mythology of the local indigenous people.

The above image makes use of foreground (grasses), mid ground (rock) and background (sky) elements to enhance the sense of 3-dimensional space.

One of the problems with photographing under bright, sunny conditions is that the bright light acts to reflect much of the color and texture off the surface of important focal points (e.g. rock, sand and grasses). By employing a polarizing filter its possible to prevent this from happening and produce images that display quite vivid color reproduction. In much the same way as polarizing sunglasses a polarizing filter can also darken and saturate and already blue sky. It works best when the sun is directly behind the photographer.

After scanning the original 35mm color transparency was processed in Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Balancing the Rational and the Intuitive Mind

Leica M6 camera and Leica 21mm f2.8 Elmarit lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 Extra Color film

“The rational mind is the servant and the intuitive mind is the gift. We honor the servant and have forgotten the gift.”

Albert Einstein

I believe this quote is of paramount importance to aspiring photographers. More and more technique seems to dominate our education and equipment our photographic practice. Software companies release so-called major upgrades to their product around every 18 months. Likewise camera manufactures launch new feature-heavy and megapixel-laden cameras on a similar timeline. Some folks barely get their head around these new products before new ones are released onto the market.

In the case of the camera most are so overcome by complex interfaces and a plethora of options that they set their camera to one of the auto settings and use it, pretty much, like a point and shoot camera. Photoshop is no easier for the novice to comprehend than was the case with previous versions. Thank goodness for products like Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture which, unlike Photoshop, are designed primarily for photographers, both professional or enthusiast. After a little quality tuition the user is well on the way to producing excellent results without too much trouble.

But is it necessary to buy new software, computers and cameras and, for that matter, mobile phones every 18-24 months? The manufacturers want us to believe it is. And their marketing program uses the old features/benefits approach to convincing us that we’d be much better off with the new product. Despite the obvious financial implications of buying into this philosophy, is it the right action to take? I live in Melbourne, Australia where it’s said that inner city apartments are now in line with New York prices. Many aspiring homeowners may actually be better off putting their money into their deposit/home loan. The alternative might be to upgrade 1 or 2 items every 2 years, rather than trying to replace the lot within the same time frame. While not feasible for most professional photographers, amateurs and enthusiasts may find it worth considering.

Frequent followers to this blog would be aware that I’ve been posting photos from my new Apple 3Gs iPhone, more of which will follow tomorrow. But what you don’t know is that I had my last mobile phone for around 5 years. It was a top of the line model and well built. I bought it to last and looked after it. I only upgraded when the old phone died, quite a radical behavior in our contemporary throw away culture. You could never hold me up as being a slave to fashion.

I have, however, bought and sold cameras much more frequently than I should have. I’m writing a follow up article, which I’II publish next week listing all the cameras and lenses I’ve owned and my reasons for purchasing them. There are no world-records or bragging involved, but I hope the article will help folks make sense of the psychology behind their own purchasing habits. Who knows it might even save you some money.

The theme of this article underpins much of my own philosophy towards photography. We have to balance our rational mind, which is associated with logic, technique and equipment with our intuitive mind, which is free, creative and experience driven. The most boring photographs are often well exposed, sharp and made with great equipment. The most beautiful photographs often have little to do with the equipment or any traditional photographic techniques. They are not about the subject photographed, but about the photographer’s experience of the photographic event and about how, through the process of making or looking at the image, new possibilities or realities are experienced.

This may all seem like fluff to some of you. But it is a key difference that separates the act of photography, as a relatively poor 2-dimensional form of documenting our 3-dimensional world with photography as an art form.

I like to read Einstein’s comment that to be able to understand, quantify and explain (science, the rational mind) the beauty of existence you first need to learn to perceive it beyond the usual 5 sensory organs (sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing). Intuition should be trusted for I believe that to understand something, you first need to experience it. Only then should thinking be employed, and then only in moderation.

The above image was made from the car park at Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) in the Uluru/Kata Tjuta National Park, Central Australia. After scanning the original 35mm color transparency was processing in Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Tree and Rock_Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park_Central Australia

 

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

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

Here’s a detail of a tree at Uluru in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Central Australia. This is a truly wonderful place to both photograph the natural environment and gain an understanding of local indigenous culture and mythology. But, with so much to see and do, its worthwhile allowing 5 days or more to explore both Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the nearby Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) some 50 km away. Keen photographers will want to visit both locations at sunrise and sunset. The walk around the rock (Uluru) after a sunrise shoot is well worthwhile, as is the magnificent Valley of the Winds walk at Kata Tjuta. Just outside the park the tourist settlement at Yulara offers a range of accommodation, dining and shopping options for visitors.

Lots of visitors like to climb Uluru. For many the climb is a major part of what has become somewhat of a pilgrimage for many Australians over recent decades. The traditional owners request that visits refrain from making the climb. I’ve visited the rock on three occasions and have respected this request. As this is a culturally sensitive area I’m also careful to follow the guidelines as to what should and should not be photographed.

I would advise any visitors to the park to spend a little time researching these guidelines and visit the information centre as soon as possible after arrival. This will help provide a better understanding of the importance of these natural icons in the mythology of traditional owners and the value of the park to all Australians. A more enlightened view may well result in the production of more sensitive and evocative images.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography 

Uluru Twilight_Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park_Central Australia

Leica M6 camera and Leica 35mm F2 Summicron-M Aspherical 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

Probably Australia’s most iconic natural landscape location, Uluru is a must visit for photographers. This image was made at dusk with the aid of very diffuse light. The cloud on the left side of the image was illuminated and positioned within the frame for just a few seconds, prior to moving out of the frame just as the light in the rock and cloud dimmed.

The contrast in this image was just within the range of the film used. As a result the detail in the bright clouds and darkest areas of the rock is minimal. Nevertheless, the mood of this image is quite evocative and I’ve glad to share it with you all, particularly as I’ve never shown it to anyone previously. I feel this image conveys my response to this iconic location during that most mysterious time at the edge of the day.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Detail_Uluru_Central Australia

 

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

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

The making of this photo was a surreal experience. I was photographing Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the Uluru / Kata Tjuta National Park in Central Australia. Famous for its ability to change color in response to the changing weather and light conditions, this magnificent sandstone monolith is a wonder to behold and provides a range of opportunities for the landscape photographer.

While I’ve very much enjoyed photographing the rock in a range of ways and at various times of day, this particular image is one of my more abstract interpretations. I’ve long been fascinated by how the color of light can influence the color of the subject being depicted. After photographing a more expansive scene I noticed that light was reflecting various parts of the rock and surrounding landscape into a small puddle near my feet. In the resulting image the orange to yellow hue of the sunlit rock is evident, as is the cooler color of the heavily shaded monolith on the left side of the image. On the right we have the clump of grass, the reddish reflection of a shaded part of the rock and the reflected light from the blue sky mixed with the red earth below.

This was actually quite a difficult image to make. The hot, bright sun was beating down on the back of my neck and the clear reflections present in the puddle were constantly being disturbed by hordes of group tourists, many of whom found the need to tap me on the shoulder and point upwards to suggest that it was the rock and not the puddle that I should be photographing.

 

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

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

 

For fun I’ve included a black-and-white version of the image for the purposes of comparison. One image explores variations in color, the other in tonality.

The image was made with a Leica M6 camera and Leica 35mm f2 Summicron-M series Aspherical lens with Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 Extra Color film.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography 

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