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.
In January I have been fortunate enough to be able to take some time off and travel to Bali, Indonesia. These images were taken when I was presented a unique opportunity to go inside a family commune on the outskirts of Ubud. Hidden behind high walls was a small congregation of basic accommodation and buildings.
It was fascinating to discover how these people live and associate with each other. Generations of family living in close proximity to each other with a hierarchy of buildings dedicated to God, the elderly grandparents (pictured here) as well as food and meal areas and special recognition for chickens who are important in their culture.
I absolutely love the faces of the elderly grandparents i have photographed in these two images. To me it feels like you can see the wisdom and experience in every contour of their face. Being invited to experience the way of life for these traditional Balinese people was probably the highlight of my trip. These type of experiences are what makes travel photography so rewarding, particularly when you visit cultures and places that are so different from our western lives.
Travel photography is so enjoyable and as an Australian, I feel so lucky to have Asia on our doorstep to offer amazing experiences and photographic opportunities. Bali is only 3 hours flight from Perth and in less than a day you can leave behind the demands and hectic lifestyle of a modern western city and feel like you've traveled back in time where people live such basic, yet happy and fulfilling lives. It often makes me question who has it better? Yes i have plasma TV, ADSL internet, brand name clothes...but for what? Are we any happier than these traditional people who live off the land and live in a tight community where family is everything?
I always come home asking myself these questions and that's what i love Asia for.
For more images from my latest trip to Bali, Indonesia: Click here
Chris Bishop professional commercial, landscape & travel photographer based in Perth, Western Australia.