Another shot early morning of fishermen on the Busselton Jetty. Processed the RAW image using Adobe Photoshop 5 then ran the psd file through Nik Software Color Efex Pro - with the black and white HDR effect which creates an impressive dynamic range for a single frame HDR image.
As i continue my love affair with Nik Software and its range of post production filters and photoshop plugins continues i thought i'd share 3 quick photos that i ran through Silver Efex Pro.
Silver Efex Pro offers an excellent way of processing images into black and white. There is a large selection of presets available varying in contrast, tone, key, and traditional film effects. And as with all Nik Software plugins you can also maintain precise control with micro adjustments to brightness, contrast, structure as well as the ability to control specific sections of an image with control points.
For those who grew up shooting film (or those stubborn enough to hang onto the benefits of still shooting film) you will be pleased to be able to apply your knowledge of coloured filters and replicating film type with specific grain and contrast capabilities of your favourite films including Kodak, Fuji, Agfa and Ilford.
For the shots above i've chosen a "Film Noir" preset then custom adjusted get the gritty contrast and reduced tonal range with the degraded / bleeding edge that used to add that fine art touch.
Again these three shots were taken during my recent trip through Rajasthan India, with the two portraits taken in Ranthambore and Ranakpur and the landscape taken in Jaipur.
Prior to visiting India for the first time, i met someone who said to me visiting India is "an assault on all your senses from the moment you get off the plane". That quote has stuck with me and i can't think of a better way to sum up my experience in one sentence.
From the moment i stepped foot on Indian soil i was overwhelmed with initially the noise, congestion and heat - And the time was just past midnight. I hadn't been outside the airport terminal doors for 3 minutes before i was being scammed (unsuccessfully) that my hotel was full and i had to go with another man to his hotel.
However 3 days in and you adjust to the pace of this country, its inefficiencies and more importantly the true beauty of the landscape, people and cultures that make it one of the most remarkable countries i've visited.
Once you've acclimatised you find that your senses are still under assault every day, though in a good way. Sure the smell of sewage is still a smell that is hard to acclimatise to regardless of the longevity of your visit. And the seemingly endless and piercing sounds of car horns that do not stop day or night can take some adjusting to (especially when trying to sleep) but these are small inconveniences when compared to the overall experience you can get from sub continent.
The Indian cuisine is nothing short of jaw-dropping. Flavours, intense and powerful with specialties in each region. I particularly like the Northern Indian cuisine with influences from Tibet and other himalayan areas.
Equally impressive and diverse as the food is the Indian scenery. From sun-drenched palm dotted beaches of the south, to desolate and sparse desert regions such as Rajasthan and snow capped mountainous regions such as Lakdah make India a true photographers paradise.
I can't recommend this country enough as a place to visit and experience for yourself. Like me i believe you will leave disappointed you didn't allow yourself more time to immerse yourself in a culture like no other.
These three portrait images are part of my initial portrait series from Rajasthan, India. All three a worthy shots on their own accord but i have just started to play around with the HDR Efex Pro photoshop plugin by Nik Software. I've been blown away by the power of this program and its capabilities to enhance photographs.
The control you have over the Nik software settings is astounding. You can easily add control points to alter small sections / tones of an image. You have mirco adjustment control over exposure / contrast / blacks / whites and other standard settings you'd see in Adobe Photoshop Raw. But then you also have a series of presets down the left hand side that make editing a very quick and easy process to achieve stunning photographic results.
As these three shots were of elderly men, i wanted a very raw and contrasty finish that really amplified the textures and wrinkles in the faces. Below is an example of the Nik Software HDR Efex Pro interface.
The Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful, inspiring and indeed photographed buildings or monuments in all of India if not the world. It is a truly inspiring structure not just in its attention to detail and shear scale but also in the story behind its construction.
For those unaware the Taj Mahal was built between 1632-48 by Mugal emperor Shah Jahan as an offering to his his third wife Mumtaz Mahal who died during child birth.
So what do you expect when you visit the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. The first thing to realise is that it’s one of the most visited monuments in the world with over 2.5 million visitors each year. So it’s a given that you’ll need to prepare for crowds.
The best time to visit is at sunrise where crowds are lower (but still in abundance) and the light is softer. An amazing feature about the Taj Mahal is it’s ability to change colour depending on the light. As marble has both some translucent and reflective properties its colour is dependent on the colour temperature of the light bouncing off it.
It changes from a cool grey at first light into a warm yellow as the sun rises. This offers a range of opportunities to take photos from the same view point at different times through the day with remarkable differences.
The key position “The Postcard Shot” as i like to refer to it as is dead centre looking down the water channel with the line of fountains lining up directly with the centre tear drop roof of the Taj Mahal. This vantage point is very congested especially just through the main gate as every tourist is huddled around the centre waiting for their photo to be taken. My suggestion is to bypass the first series of fountains and move closer until your just past the half way point of the gardens. As the distance is considerable from the first view point through the gate and the Taj itself looks very small in relation to the foreground in between.
Instead take some time to look for alternative view points to photograph from. Searching for view points or different perspectives on famous landmarks one of the great challenges and enjoying parts of photography.
If you get the chance there are some great photographs to be taken from the reverse side of the Taj Mahal on the other side of the Yamuna River. It runs dry during the tourist (cool) season but there are still good photographic opportunities.
Quick photo straight out of the camera with very little editing in Adobe RAW apart from the conversion to black and white and slight contrast adjustments. Found the Melbourne markets fascinating and was very disappointed when i didn't get to discover the meat and fish produce sections. Highly recommend anyone touring Melbourne to check out these markets. They are located in the North West corner of the Melbourne CBD and are easily accessible by tram or on foot. I hope to post some more images before i leave for India.
This image of pocket watches on chains was taken on my Sigma 50mm at F1.4 at 1/40 Second. The shallow depth of fields works well to highlight the second watch face while bluring the remaining watches.
For the uninitiated Roller Derby has been described as Rugby on Roller skates. As part of a commercial job for Voyeur Magazine i shot this series out at the Midland Rollerdome. I must confess while it was highly entertaining and exciting i'm still left confused as to what the "Rules" if any are.
For the publication these shots were provided in colour as was the brief, though as part of my personal photography folio i liked the feel of these gritty shots after processing them with a cool monotone photoshop action. The challenge in this shoot was most definitely the light availability. I found the best compromise was to set my ISO to 800, open up my lens and utilise some of the slow shutter speeds to capture what the sport is about...Speed.
I can thoroughly that if you get a chance to get along to a Perth Roller Derby event as they seem to be great fun and great action. Check out: http://www.perthrollerderby.com.au/ or http://warollerderby.com.au/
I had a great morning today as part of a photography tour around the streets of Fremantle that's aimed at giving all participants the basic photography skills to take better photos whether around Perth or for future travel photography.
I will be taking running some of these courses in the coming weeks and months so it was great to pick up on the advice of other professional photographers in Perth as well as Sydney.
The aim of the course was to communicate in a 3 hour lesson some of the key principles and elements of photography such as line, texture, form, shape as well as tips on portrait photography in direct sunlight and shady conditions.
The tour took us on a leisurely stroll through the picturesque town of Fremantle, Western Australia starting at the Fremantle town hall and ending at my favorite destination...Little Creatures Brewery.
The photograph above was taken at the Moores gallery on Henry Street Fremantle. Aside from having without a doubt the best coffee in Fremantle (Moore & Moore Cafe) if not all of Perth, the Moores gallery hosts some amazing exhibitions. Currently there is a photographic exhibition on street art which features some fascinating photos of graffiti and derelict buildings including the famous South Fremantle Power Station. The top floor of the Moores gallery was in this case empty and i loved the light which was falling through the window on to the raw floorboards and rustic walls.
If you have any interest in participating in one of these photography courses please contact me and i will forward you all the details.
Click here for the full skateboard gallery
The 4Sure Youth Festival was held on the Nedlands foreshore in Perth, Western Australia. It was the was also the site for the latest round of the YMCA Perth Skate competition run with the generous sponsorship from Odyssey sunglasses and the legendary Perth skate company GMTA as well as Healthway, Drug Aware and Department of Sport and Recreation.
Skateboard photography is always a challenge due to the speed these guys can move at. I like to up my ISO to 400 even on a bright day such as when these photos were taken. This allows me to really freeze the skateboarder in the moment. There are exceptions to this such as when try to capture the movement and emphasise the movement and speed when i will go for a slower shutterspeed such as 1/25 of a second and try and take a panning shot. If done correctly panning photography will keep your subject sharp at the point of focus and blur the surroundings.
Another tip i suggest with skate photography or any sports photography for that matter is to change your focus mode if you are using a DSLR to "Servo". This mode constantly adjusts its point of focus to account for moving objects. It takes a bit to get used to but is really the only way to photograph fast moving action or sports photography.
With these shots from this series i have chosen to include the skaters surroundings to help indicate to my audience how high these guys can get and the type of moves they're performing. I find a low vantage point is best in general for skate photography as it can create really dynamic scenes. The problem with this is that your camera will normally account for the sky in the light meter and adjust accordingly. If uncorrected your photos will come out with varying degrees of silhouetting with little or no detail in the body.
To correct for this I set my base camera exposure to over expose by 2/3's of a stop. This allows some detail to be registered when shooting against a bright background such as the sky. In some instances i want to create a silhouetted image such as the last image in this blog. If this is the case then i would expose for the sky and in this instance i have used the dodge tool in photoshop to bring out features in the skateboarders face.
If anyone is interested in purchasing any photos of the day please feel free to contact me and I will happily send through a price list. I also have hundreds more photos if you were there and wanted to know if i had any photos available of you. Please contact me with details
I love this shot of Joel Fiegert of the Perth Demons. Taken during the double header at Steel Blue oval on August 21st 2010 vs Swan Districts. This lonely shot of Joel i think summarises the long, hard season for the wooden spoon Perth Demons Football Club during another heavy loss.