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Pic of the Week_Vista_West MacDonnell Ranges_Central Australia

Hasselblad 500CWi camera and Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar f4 lens with Kodak Ektacolor Pro 160 Professional film

Central Australia is one of my favorite locations. The region offers the adventurous photographer colorful characters, indigenous culture, the remnants of European pioneering settlement and a sublime, seemingly timeless landscape.

I made the above image along the West MacDonnell Ranges near the end of a fantastic day full of driving, walking and photography. It really doesn’t get much better than that. I was looking directly into the sun so I tilted the camera down to reduce the likelihood of flare. The back light produced a lovely rim-light effect highlighting the trees, the shape of the hills and the stony ground. I employed Adobe Lightroom 2 and Adobe Photoshop CS4 to render the original color file into black-and-white and then applied a warm/cool split tone.

If ever you get the opportunity to visit Central Australia make sure you allow enough time for a leisurely exploration along both the East and West MacDonnell Ranges. Ensure you’re in a position to be photographing at the edges of the day and you’ll likely produce memorable images.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography


Pic of the Week_Sunrise_Ormiston Gorge_Central Australia

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

Ormiston Gorge, a major stop on the West MacDonnell Ranges, is situated 135 km west of Alice Springs. Offering photographer and walker alike a range of great opportunities the gorge is best visited in the cooler months (May to August) when the 7 km Ormiston Pound walk can be undertaken without too much physical stress.

The above image came about as much through persistence as through technique. I awoke early and walked down to the dry waterhole in the pre-dawn light. The morning was cold and windy and the light flat. It looked like the sunrise was going to be a fizzer. But my experience is that, once you’re out of bed, it’s worth making the most of the situation and either sitting it out and waiting for the light or, alternatively, moving around the location to discover alternative angles or subject matter.

As the sun rose the cold, bleak dawn light gave way to the warm, luminous light hitting the distant cliff tops and reflecting down into the water in the middle of the frame. The magenta blue light from the overhead sky washed over the foreground rocks and provided a great contrast with the more dynamic sunlight. And, while I wouldn’t recommend drinking from the pool in the bottom right corner of the frame, it did provide me with an added visual element. As well as illustrating that the water is stagnant the green slime leads the eye from the foreground through to the reflection in the middle of the frame and, from there, onto the sunlit cliff tops in the background. As green is the opposite or complimentary color to magenta the slime, in the absence of direct sunlight, acts to separate and emphasize the color of the foreground rocks.

I’m very interested in dualities and the exploration of opposites is a constant theme in my photographs. While the color of the rocks was interesting, the lack of dramatic light in the foreground was initially a concern. This photo is not so much about the sunrise but about the variation in light and color throughout the frame. I employed a 21mm wide-angle lens on my beautiful Leica M6 camera and walked in close to place extra emphasis on the foreground rocks. The idea is to explore the relationship between shaded foreground and illuminated background and encourage examination of the similarities and differences within the frame.

The original slide has been in storage for some time. After scanning it was great fun to bring the image back to life with Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

If ever you have the chance an extended stay in Central Australia is great for both your photography portfolio and your soul. It is an ancient landscape embedded with Aboriginal Dreamtime mythology where ancestor beings both walked through and shaped the landscape. Their presence remains evident in that most inspiring landscape.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Sunset_Ormiston Gorge_Central Australia

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

Ormiston Gorge in one of my favorite locations in Central Australia. Situated along the West MacDonnell Ranges, an hour or so out of Alice Springs, great hikes and spectacular photography opportunities await the intrepid traveler.

The above image was made at sunset. I employed a 35mm mild wide-angle lens to convey the grandeur of the location and Kodak Ektachrome Elite 100 Extra Color film for its warm, saturated color rendition.

The difficulty with a scene like this is that it contains so much information for the viewer to deal with. The trick is to concentrate their attention on the most important elements throughout the frame. The image is made up of sand, water, trees, rock and sky. But it’s the light, distributed throughout the scene, that separates major focal points from their surroundings, light from dark, warm from cool and foreground from background. This enables the viewer to more easily navigate their way around the image.

The original 35mm transparency was scanned prior to processing in Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

The Track Back_Trephina Gorge_Central Australia

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

Situated 85km east of Alice Springs, along the West MacDonnell Ranges in Central Australia, and known for its sheer quartzite cliffs and river red gums, Trephina Gorge offers excellent opportunities for photography and hiking alike.

Today’s image was made, at dusk, from a viewpoint above the gorge. I’d hiked up earlier to photography the sunset and had to hurry to get back down before darkness descended. But the surroundings were so beautiful in the soft twilight that I stopped to make a few quick pics on the way down.

In putting together an interesting image I wanted to explore the space between the foreground rocks and trees and the cliff face beyond. The dualities of hard rock against soft foliage, the warm/cool color contrast and the relatively limited orange and green palette dominated compositional considerations.

The original film based image was scanned then processed in Adobe Camera RAW and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Pic of the Week_Serpentine Gorge_Central Australia


Hasselblad 500C camera and Hasselblad 150mm f4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 film

Hasselblad 500C camera and Hasselblad 150mm f4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 film

Here’s a favourite image that I made a number of years ago and, except for one exhibition, has remained relatively unseen until this post. I came across it while hunting through images for a recent talk I gave on my life, thus far, in photography.

It’s great to think that the talk, and the work associated with putting the presentation together, re-introduced me to this and other images.

The image in question was shot at the end of a full day of photographing along the West MacDonnell Ranges near Alice Springs in Central Australia. I arrived at Serpentine Gorge, 100 km west of Alice Springs, late afternoon and climbed atop a rocky outcrop just in time for the sunset. As you can see the view was spectacular and a privilege to behold.

Important to indigenous people as a resting place for the Rainbow Serpent, the gorge seemed imbued with power. I descended and followed the path, framed by Red River Gums and ancient rock, back to the car in the eyrie near dark. The sense of pervading quiet was intense and stayed with me for some time after I’d left the Gorge.

Central Australia remains one of my favourite places and is rich in photographic opportunities. I recommend it to anyone interested in landscape photography and a taste of the ‘Other Australia’.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography

Pic of the Week – Sunrise, Ormiston Gorge, Central Australia

The terms ‘Back of Burke’, ‘Outback’ and ‘Woop Woop’ are Australian euphemisms for remoteness. And, outside of its major areas of population, Australia has more remoteness than most other countries.

Central Australia or the ‘Red Centre’ is home to many of Australia’s grandest landscape icons. Uluru (Ayres Rock), Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and Kings Canyon are all within a day’s drive of Alice Springs, the regions largest town.

Now here’s a little bit of local knowledge. There are many other locations in the region that provide fantastic opportunities for landscape photography. In fact I’ve yet to find anywhere else that provides such a unique and mesmerising mix of light and color. Though to experience it you’d want to be sitting quietly, at the edges of the day, in an area open to and able to reflect light. Very much about time and place, such sites offer a sanctuary from the stresses and strains of the modern world.

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