For those that have been on one of the Perth Photography Tours that i run through the port city of Fremantle, Western Australia you may recognise this location? It's our meeting point at the Fremantle Town Hall.
From this point I take photography enthusiasts for a leisurely photo walk through Fremantle passing iconic locations such as the Fremantle Markets, Historic Wedding Wall, Limestone Tunnel under the Fremantle Round House as well as taking in the fabulous heritage listed architecture that dominates the "West End" of Fremantle.
Along the way I aim to teach a series of creative principles and elements of photography that participants are then challenged to achieve in small groups with their cameras.
As well as hopefully imparting some creative tips that customers can take away, I mix this with a series of technical points to encourage participants to go beyond the Auto mode on their DSLR or compact camera and start getting a greater understanding of the modes and capabilities of these cameras.
If you're interested in coming along for what i believe is Perth's best value photography course, tours run every Saturday morning all year round.
As mentioned earlier, the meeting point is at the Fremantle Town hall at 8.30am and finishes down at the Fremantle Harbour near Little Creatures Brewery, which can be a great place to unwind and discuss the mornings events.
Perth Photography Tours run for 3 hours and is limited to a maximum of 10 participants to ensure plenty of one on one tuition and opportunity to ask questions and feedback. These tours are great value at just $99.00
Please click this link to take you straight to the online and secure booking form.
Just out of interest i'd love to hear peoples opinions on which composition they prefer out of the two photos above.
Sunday 21st August - Judgement Day. The East Fremantle Sharks fighting tooth and nail for the right to compete in the 2011 WAFL finals campaign faced the classy Claremont Tigers who look comfortable perched at the top of the ladder.
Conditions were terrible, strong breeze, intermittent showers were hardly the ideal conditions for a game of critical importance for both sides and perhaps season defining for the Sharks. Lose and it could be curtains for season 2011 given the Subiaco Lions and South Fremantle Bulldogs, teams they will play away games to complete the home and away season sat above them prior to this game.
After the completion of the first term, it was clear the league leading Tigers were in for a fight. Kicking with the aid of a 4-5 goal breeze the tigers felt themselves ambushed by an aggressive and determined Sharks team had clearly heeded the words of the coaching department and came out and not only neutralised the breeze but seemed to be the more switched on team. The second quarter saw the sharks arrest the narrow deficit and take a handy two goal lead into the half.
The third quarter was another tight tussle between two desperate teams in trying conditions with the rain and wind making a case for back to basic football. Strong tackles, clean footwork and backing your teammates. At three quarter time there was signs of an upset brewing with the East Fremantle Sharks heading into the 4th quarter with the aid of the breeze and a narrow lead.
This was when the game turned. A 7 goal to 1 onslaught saw the Sharks storm home to win by 45 points in a stunning upset that would be sure to boost confidence given the tough schedule remaining. Not only did they get the four points but with the upset loss by the Bulldogs the Sharks jumped from 5th to 3rd position, a spot that seemed almost unachievable prior to this round commencing.
Luke Blackwell and Thomas Lee impressed again for the Tigers with 27 possessions, while for the home team Rory O'Brien was outstanding with 36 touches and two goals and club stalwart Jamie McNamara had 32 touches of the Burley.
Next weekend gets no easier for the East Fremantle Sharks as they face another "Finals" type game against fellow top 4 aspirants Subiaco, while Claremont face the unpredictable Peel Thunder who will be looking to spoil their opponents quest for top spot.
Last week I had an architectural photography job for a Melbourne advertising agency that required larger RAW files than possible on either a Canon 5DII or probably any DSLR that is currently on the market. The solution to this was hiring a Pentax 645D for the shoot.
As the purpose of my blog is to keep it as creative and graphical as possible, I'm going to keep the nitty gritty tech specs to a minimum as there are several reviews that detail these in great depth.
The purpose of this review will be twofold. First i want to show you some images. The second is to touch on the usability and practicality of this camera and compare this to its competitors.
We'll start this on this point, competitors. Who are they? Strangely this medium format camera could arguably fall into two or potentially none. Why?
Well, never before has a medium format camera offering a staggering 40MP with accompanying quality of build and lens quality been able to compete around the price points of the top of line of high end DSLR such as the Canon 1D MkIV.
PRA Imaging in Perth retails the Pentax 645D for $12,500 AUD body only. Compare that to anything on offer by Phase1 or Hasselblad and your a mile in front financially and you'd have to work hard to convince me of the superior image quality available by the aforementioned. Similarly it is priced in the ball park of the Canon 1D MkIV and Nikon D3 F, yet trumps both for megapixels and sensor size.
Aside from it's competitive price point, there is a lot too like about this ground breaking camera. Where to start. Well it's a big camera…but not too big. Weighing in just under 1.4kg for the body you feel secure in it's build quality but it's not bulky to the point of fearing taking this on an extended shoot or to use on a daily basis.
One of my greatest praises i can sing for this camera is it's simplicity of use. As my commercial job was for for a sunrise architectural shoot i didn't want to have to spend the night sifting through the instruction manual to find out how to change the shutter speed or ISO. Thankfully it is a very intuitive camera and i worked it out without having to refer to the Pentax instruction manual once (I know a typically male trait!).
Among the functions that i love was it's mirror up dial that sat just above the view finder. Simply twist the dial and the mirror flips up for the ultimate in stability, perfect for my Perth cityscapes taken on 30 second exposures. The dials were very similar in layout to a Canon DSLR which aided in a simple and natural learning curve for me. There were pre-set modes including shutter and aperture priority modes, program mode and full manual. With two dials within finger reach of the shutter release there was no delay in getting the correct exposure.
The menu system was very shallow with no requirement to go digging through multiple levels of navigation for any function that i required. It really is a photographers camera and while i hate cliche's it really became an extension of your vision and felt very natural to use.
Image quality. One word "supurb". Colour reproduction was impressive as was noise level at higher ISO.
Now for the fun bit the images. My initial plan was to take the Pentax 645D up to Kings Park in Perth to try and get some super high res panoramas for the typical stock library shot of a Perth skyline at sunset that are always good to have on file and are also popular with tourist publications and sell well. However all that went out the window when it took me two hours to travel from Mosman Park to PRA Imaging in East Perth. Arriving ten to six, my opportunity to get back across town in time for the last of the fading light was in taters. My contingency plan was to visit the river inlet around East Perth and fire off a few shots while there was some colour in the sky before making a second stop on the Perth foreshore and get some night time cityscapes.
While web optimised images are the sacrificial lambs of photography (and a necessary evil in any photographers folio), i can truly say i was amazed in the colours, low noise levels and image quality of these shots. I hope to print a few of these at a large size to demonstrate the amazing detail contained in each RAW file.
In conclusion, I'm a huge fan of the Pentax 645D and would love to own one. While the price point is ground breaking compared to others in the Medium Format Market the investment i have in my Canon DSLR kit with the variety of lenses and accessories means i can't make the switch immediately, but for those in a position to invest i believe you will be very happy with your decision. For the time being i hope i get some more commercial photography work in Perth that requires me to use this camera again.
Chris Bishop professional commercial, landscape & travel photographer based in Perth, Western Australia.