Peter Eastway: Blog https://www.petereastway.com/blog en-us (C) Peter Eastway eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Tue, 19 Oct 2021 23:08:00 GMT Tue, 19 Oct 2021 23:08:00 GMT https://www.petereastway.com/img/s/v-12/u1046656109-o702789578-50.jpg Peter Eastway: Blog https://www.petereastway.com/blog 86 120 Cappella della Madonna di Vitaleta https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/10/cappella-della-madonna-di-vitaleta

Italy, 2002. Canon EOS 1Ds, Canon 28-135mm lens @ 135mm
1/250 second @ f8, ISO 800, hand-held, no filter

When we arrived in Italy for a two-month holiday with our young family, there were two photographs that seemed to be everywhere we looked. One was a stand of trees in an undulating field near Montalcino, the other a small chapel sitting alone in a field on a hill, and they were on the covers of guidebooks and posters promoting travel within Italy.

Eventually I found them both, having asked every Italian I met if he or she could give me a clue (Google and Google Maps weren’t around to help me in 2002).

At the time, we were staying in Orvieto and it was around a 90-minute drive to Cappella di Vitaleta. I visited it three times, researching the best time of day and hoping for suitable light.

It never happened.

The weather simply wouldn’t co-operate, so I had to resort to a second-best exposure with poor illumination.

On my final trip, the wind was so strong I couldn’t set up my tripod outside the car, so I positioned the car on the road and sat in the back seat with the window down and waited. Every few minutes, the wind would drop, the car would stop shaking and I’d press the shutter button. I spent half an hour with a zoom lens exploring different compositions.

Most of the photos I had seen were of the chapel alone with the small cluster of trees around it, but in reality, just to the right was a large farm building. What I had imagined based on the photographs I had seen was a lone chapel in a vast field, but looking back on the photographs I had seen, I could understand how the framing and composition had fooled me (or perhaps, more correctly, how I had interpreted the scene).

My solution was to remove the farm building. The first time I processed the print was in 2002 using an early version of Photoshop. I used the clone tool to remove the farm building and adjusted the colours to be more inviting. The drab light had really only left me with varying tones of grey, but I could see the potential for colour in the trees below and the surrounding field.

This is one of the first images in which I explored The New Tradition. Not only could I process the file shortly after taking it (that night with a nice glass of red), I could transform my camera’s capture into something that better represented my thoughts and feelings about the location.

And some 10 years later, I reprocessed the file. This is not something I normally do because once an image is processed, I find it boring to revisit it. However, I needed a larger version of the file for a client and, looking at my original technique, felt I had to finesse it further. Yet another positive for The New Tradition.

Need a good read? Like to learn something more about photography? Interested in new ideas? Why not purchase a copy of my book, The New Tradition, which is full of great tales and ideas. It has 100 photographs and accompanying stories guaranteed to enthrall you - and you can save $30 on the purchase price right now - use coupon code TNT30. Check out more on the www.betterphotography.com website

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/10/cappella-della-madonna-di-vitaleta Tue, 19 Oct 2021 23:07:19 GMT
Different Ways https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/10/different-ways Glasshouse Rocks, NaroomaGlasshouse Rocks, Narooma

Glasshouse Rocks, Narooma
Cambo Actus DB-2, Phase One IQ4 150MP, 600mm Nikkor, f11 @ 1/4 second, ISO 50

I've just put together a little promotional video for the Narooma workshop I'm presenting (COVID hopefully) with Len Metcalf next year (3-7 May 2022) and the headings I've used are 'two teachers, two styles, one workshop'. When it comes to photography, Len and I are at polar opposites although we're both heading towards the same thing! Our backgrounds, our education, our approach are wonderfully different and as you view the photos in the video, you'll see what I mean.

Here's the link: https://youtu.be/fzF4_xf2mlk

At present, Len is into sepia tones and squares, but he strays into other areas from time to time. His first or second photo is a multiple exposure, a subtle ICM (Intentional Camera Movement) I am thinking, but it takes the photo away from 'just being a literal rendition' into something more interpretative. At least it is for me. However, Len's Narooma photos are not all monochrome...

Far from it. Len has taken some interesting tangents into strong colour and almost abstract compositions. Compare this approach with mine, where I feel my photos are much more literal in their framing and composition, but my 'other worldliness' comes from the use of colour and tone.

I think the movie shows that there is more than one way to take photographs. We don't have to practise what another photographer does to appreciate and enjoy it. Difference is great. Inspirations and ideas can be long lasting.

The photo above, also taken on our last Narooma workshop, such as comes from my love affair with telephoto landscapes. I've been influenced by a number of American photographers (such as David Muench and Johsel Namking) who have used long lenses with large format cameras to create beautiful captures. While most sensible photographers were using a mirrorless or DSLR with a telephoto on this morning, I was working with a Cambo Actus DB-2 and an old, large format 600mm Nikkor lens. It requires a 450 mm monorail and bellows and if there's any wind, the camera is next to useless because the fastest shutter speed available is 1/125 second on the Copal-3 shutter (too much camera shake - everything is magnified with a telephoto and a high resolution sensor). But we were lucky in the pre-dawn light and I was able to find a 'different' view of the Glasshouse Rocks.

Different ways. I think that's what we're all looking for - different ways that make what we create, in some small way, our own.

Good. Different. Maybe I need to go to the supermarket...

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Narooma https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/10/different-ways Sun, 17 Oct 2021 23:02:45 GMT
Kinloch Fisherman https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/9/kinloch-fisherman Kinloch Fisherman - New ZealandKinloch Fisherman - New ZealandWe could hear this fisherman quietly motoring the lake's shallows and every now and then the mist would clear enough for us to see him and his latest catch.

One of the rights of passage for photographers is to exhibit their work. It’s true that displaying work on social media or a website is a form of exhibition, but the process of turning a digital image into a physical print is, to my mind, the hallmark of a true photographer.

So much photographic potential is lost when you display your work on the internet. The small file sizes are generally over sharpened, the JPEG format loses much of their tonality, the colour space reduces the colour palette and, worst of all, you have no control over how your work is seen by your viewers. Goodness knows what monitor or display they may be using!

Online exhibiting has its place and its distribution is second to none, but I believe the context of a public exhibition of physical prints with controlled lighting is the pinnacle of photographic expression.

One marvellous aspect of an exhibition is that you get to interact with people – and all their foibles. Normally it is very polite and civilised, but several experiences come to mind, such as with this print of a fisherman on the lake at Kinloch, New Zealand. A woman was very interested in purchasing a large print, but just wanted to get her husband’s approval.

The husband returned a few minutes later, took one look at the fish being hauled into the boat and dismissed the photograph as being ‘Photoshopped’ and not worthy of consideration. He dragged his wife away.

I remember this keenly because of all the photographs I had in the exhibition, this had the least amount of Photoshop and the fish was captured in-camera. I think this experience has scarred me psychologically because now when people tell me they can tell if a photograph has been ‘Photoshopped’ (a term, by the way, which Adobe has actively discouraged), I wonder if they really can, or if they just think they can.

I guess it doesn’t really matter because when it comes to selling your work at an exhibition, the only opinion that matters is that of the buyer. I didn’t make the sale.

Footnote: Some seven years later, the boat sank and the owner was looking for a photograph to remember it by. However, I was told my print prices were too high. I’m sure he simply took a screenshot of my website and put the money he saved towards a new boat – the challenges of making a living as a photographer in The New Tradition.

Need a good read? Like to learn something more about photography? Interested in new ideas? Why not purchase a copy of my book, The New Tradition, which is full of great tales and ideas. It has 100 photographs and accompanying stories guaranteed to enthrall you - and you can save $30 on the purchase price right now - use coupon code TNT30. Check out more on the www.betterphotography.com website

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Kinloch New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/9/kinloch-fisherman Wed, 29 Sep 2021 00:45:00 GMT
Sharpening Selectively With Purpose https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/9/sharpening-selectively-with-purpose  

Middlehurst Station, New ZealandMiddlehurst Station, New ZealandMiddlehurst, New Zealand

From Middlehurst Station, New Zealand
Fujifilm X-T3, Fujinon XF200mmF2 R LM OIS WR, f2.8 @1/1900 second, ISO 160

This photo is out of focus! Well, that's not quite correct. The background mountains are sharply focused with my greatly loved Fujinon XF 200mm f2.0 lens, but the foreground mountains are a little soft. There wasn't sufficient depth-of-field to keep them sharp. I didn't worry about this initially until I produced an A2 size print when the issue became much too obvious. I could hide this error away on the website easily enough, but not on paper!

What happened? At the time, I was shooting Sue McDonald on her horse at Middlehurst (did we work out if her horse was called Tony or not from an earlier newsletter?), so I wanted the background for her to be a little defocused. The solution was to shoot with the lens nearly wide open (I'm a bit disappointed with myself to see that I shot at f2.8, whereas I spent all that money on an f2.0 lens!), but when I saw these lovely shapes in the mountains as I was waiting for Sue and Tony to get into position, I simply pressed the shutter. Who wouldn't?

Well, a better photographer would have closed the aperture down first, say to f8 or f11, and then the foreground mountains might have been a bit sharper - and they wouldn't have wasted a sheet of lovely Canson Rag Photographique paper!

So why am I coming clean about this? Why am I airing my dirty laundry in public? It's because technology has provided me with a solution: Topaz Sharpener AI. I've written about this plugin/standalone before and how it helped correct the softness in some of my aerial shots, so why not in a landscape as well? As you can see from the screen shot below, fixing up the foreground had unintended consequences.

It might be a stretch to see this on the screen shot above, so you'll have to take my word for it. On the left is the original with the slightly blurred foreground. On the right, the corrected version and while Sharpener AI has crisped up the foreground nicely, it has overcooked the background which was already correctly focused. The (2nd) solution to the problem with the (1st) solution is also easy: apply the sharpening to a copy layer and, using a mask, brush in the sharpness only on the foreground where required.

It used to be that if you didn't have the photo in your pixels, you didn't have your photo, but with a number of new plugins and standalone applications, such as Topaz Sharpener AI, I'm having to re-think this. It won't make me a sloppier photographer out in the field (I can fix it later in Photoshop), but it will expand my opportunities knowing that as part of the post-production, I can render the result that I want.

What a great time to be alive in the history of photography!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/9/sharpening-selectively-with-purpose Mon, 27 Sep 2021 00:43:11 GMT
The Future of Photography? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/9/the-future-of-photography Adelaide River, Kakadu, Northern TerritoryAdelaide River, Kakadu, Northern Territory

Adelaide River detail, Kakadu, Northern Territory
Phase One XT 150MP, 80mm lens, 1/2000 second @ f3.2, ISO 160

After talking about the history of photography last week, Better Photography magazine contributor Ken Spence challenged me to guess what the future holds. Good luck, I reckon! I can't even work out when we're all going to get out of Covid lockdown here in Sydney. Mind you, as Ken is in Melbourne, what else have we got to do?

There's a part of me that wants the print to remain the epitome of photographic expression. I love my Epson printers and Canson papers (unapologetic plug as I'm an ambassador for both brands) and I still get great joy out of making a print. Currently I'm working on a project with small prints, but I've also received an inquiry for a 60-inch print - big or small, the print is a beautiful object and something more than just the image.

But what if technology changes? What if my beautiful EIZO monitors (another unashamed plug) could be manufactured as ultra-thin, one by two metre screens which I could hang on a wall and stream images to from my computer or smart phone? The technology is there, but the screens are generally multiple monitors tiled together. I'm dreaming of a continuous surface - and maybe I can have different textures on those surfaces.

But would I be happy? 

Turn the power off and the image is gone, but that's not the case with a print. A print is a separate entity. It exists on its own. Is this 'existence' what attracts me to the print, or the image quality I can produce? I'll have to think about that because in the first instance, it's the image quality that is most important - my expression. If the expression is just as good in the future, but in some different way, why wouldn't I change my view?

Referencing history again, digital cameras produced poor quality in comparison to film and many photographers couldn't see the point. But that changed and so did our views.

So, once I can see what the technology in the future holds, I'll be in a better position to have an opinion. Or perhaps I'll have a third jab of the Covid vaccine which includes a special microchip co-designed by the CIA and KGB, and I'll hack the chip so I can stream my best photos from my body to screens all around the world - in fact, to every television and computer monitor there is. Even if they're not turned on, my hack will be so good the screens are turned on all by themselves and the world will see the brilliance of my photography! Wait on, why worry about a physical delivery mechanism - I'll just stream my photos virtually and everyone who has had the vaccine will be forced to see my images.

That's it! I have a plan!

And the end of lock down can't come soon enough...

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Adelaide River Kakadu Northern Territory' https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/9/the-future-of-photography Mon, 20 Sep 2021 03:40:19 GMT
Personal Favourites The Judges Miss https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/9/personal-favourites-the-judges-miss Middlehurst Landscape DetailMiddlehurst Landscape Detail

Middlehurst Landscape Detail
Phase One XF 150MP, 240mm Schneider Kreuznach lens with 2x converter, f16 @ 0.6 seconds, ISO 50.

We all have them - photos that mean something to us, but never seem to get the reward we'd like when we enter them into a photo competition or post them onto social media.

Does it matter?

No! The reality is we have no control over what other people like, whether judges or friends. Sure, we can choose subjects or techniques that are more likely to receive a positive response, but I don't think this is a great way to use a camera. Surely we should be taking photos we love first and hoping others like them second?

The photo above is one of my (many) favourites - and the photo at the end of the article another. Both were taken within a few minutes of each other at Middlehurst on a quiet evening. The light was soft, there was hardly a breath of wind and both were shot with a 240mm Schneider and a 2x converter, about as telephoto as I can get with a medium format camera.

So, why do I love them?

The main reason is the texture and the detail - texture and detail you'll struggle to see on a screen, I'm afraid. But as a print, the texture is visually tactile. You can see every blade of grass, every shiny pebble. They are simple in composition, plain in subject matter and they make me happy. They take me back to last century when I would shoot with 4x5" and 8x10" film cameras and marvel at the superb quality they afforded. And I laugh to myself because the quality I am capturing today is just so superior to back then, I simply couldn't imagine how good photography was going to become.

So, my challenge for you?

Whether you're in lock down (unlucky) or out and about (fortunate), spend a few hours looking through your archives and pull out some photos that you really love. Re-process them and post them on social media or make a print. Tell people why you like them. Take people on a journey and, with understanding, they might become favourites for others as well.

The results of the Better Photography Magazine Photo of the Year 2021 will be announced on Wednesday and I know there will be some mixed feelings with the scores, but just because a judge doesn't respond to a photo the same way you do, doesn't necessarily mean it's not a great photo, that it's not a 'keeper'.

And here's my second photo.

Middlehurst LandscapeMiddlehurst Landscape

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/9/personal-favourites-the-judges-miss Sun, 12 Sep 2021 23:35:36 GMT
At Prayer - Award Finalist https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/8/at-prayer---award-finalist At Prayer, Thimphu, BhutanAt Prayer, Thimphu, BhutanBhutan

At Prayer, Thimphu, Bhutan 
Fujifilm X-T3, Fujinon XF200mmF2 R LM OIS WR, f2.0 @ 1/500 second, ISO 1600

I'm asked why I still enter photo competitions? The main reason is that I enjoy the process. And being a photo competition judge, I also think it's important to know how it feels to be an entrant - we should never forget what it feels like to win or be rejected. The photo above was 'accepted' in the recent Olive Cotton Award, meaning it was printed and exhibited (even if the number of gallery visitors was limited due to COVID). However, I had another entry which was rejected (see the bottom of the article). As an entrant, I like them both, but entrants always have different views to the judges, unless you happen to be the overall winner!

It was a delight to have this photograph accepted and there is something haunting about the gentleman's gaze. Was he aware I was there and glaring at the camera? Or was he lost in prayer as he turned the large prayer wheel? Perhaps how the photo was taken gives a clue to the answer.

There is a large, open 'shed' in which a dozen prayer wheels stand, and seated a their base you often find the devout at prayer. I was using a 200mm f2.0 lens at its maximum aperture, so this throws both the foreground and background significantly out-of-focus. You can't really tell what is either side of the subject, but the ropes hanging down in front of his face are for turning the prayer wheel.

For me, part of the strength of the portrait results from using this selective focusing to highlight my subject. In post-production, I've darkened down everything else so the viewer is directed to the prayer's face - and his fully engaged eye. Was he looking at me or deep in thought? I'm pretty sure he knew I was doing something, but as I was looking down at the flip-out LCD screen on my camera and cradling the lens in my lap, I think he was just looking at me out of interest and completely oblivious to the camera. But I'll never know!

And the photo that didn't make it? A personal favourite taken elsewhere in Bhutan, but that's another story!

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bhutan Prayer Wheel Thimphu https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/8/at-prayer---award-finalist Mon, 30 Aug 2021 00:13:39 GMT
Why 343 Photos Was Okay! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/8/why-343-photos-was-okay Sue and her horse, MiddlehurstSue and her horse, MiddlehurstMiddlehurst, New Zealand

Sue and her horse, Middlehurst
Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujinon XF200mmF2 R LM OIS WR, f2 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 160

I'm in trouble on two fronts. First, I've forgotten the name of Sue's horse and that alone is a whipping offence (for me, not the horse). Second, I was in trouble a few weeks ago when I wrote that I took 343 shots of Sue on her horse, with the inference that it took this many to get a good one. Note, I said it was inferred, not implied!

Well, you could have heard the derisions of laughter from professional portrait photographers all around the world. Mind you, these were mainly family portrait photographers who would be aghast at having to wade through 100 shots of the same person - from their perspective, it is not only mindless, but a waste of time and money. So I understand that my suggestion to 'shoot lots' was poor advice in this context. Although, never being wrong, I would like to remind them that many of their heroes used to shoot lots of photos as well, in order to get just the right one! But agreed, not 343 of them.

So, with my tail between my legs and my reputation on the rocks, I am throwing caution to the wind and presenting some of the other 343 photos I took of Sue as she approached our camera position on Rocky the horse. Wait on, I think it might have been called Tony? Anyway...

Since I couldn't be in Middlehurst last month, nor this month or next, I've been looking through my files from our last visit back in 2019. While Tony (the photographer, not the horse) and I shoot alongside our 'students', we spend most of our post-production time back in the comfortable lodge helping students with their work and making prints (thanks to Epson and Canson for their support). So looking through my 2019 files, it's just like being back in Middlehurst and reliving a wonderful experience.

On this day, I wanted a shot of Sue on her horse. I wasn't quite sure whether I wanted a long shot or more of a portrait, so I shot lots - 343 to be precise. Above, is one of them, below are nine more for your viewing pleasure. They are preliminary edits - but getting close!

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/8/why-343-photos-was-okay Mon, 09 Aug 2021 08:55:53 GMT
Living With A Test Print https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/8/living-with-a-test-print Duffys Wharf, PittwaterDuffys Wharf, Pittwater

Test print photographed with iPhone on pin-board, Collaroy, 2021
Duffys Wharf, Pittwater

A few weeks ago, I posted a photo taken within 10 kilometres of home as the Sydney Covid lock down began. Well, the good news is we didn't have a bunch of demonstrators in the city this weekend (and isn't it interesting to learn these sensible fanatics had been encouraged by a European group that wasn't putting their own liberty on the line). The bad news is this lock down is likely to go on for quite some time, so if you have freedom of movement at the moment, enjoy it!

Actually, I'm quite comfortable in lock down. While life is completely different (i.e. no travel), lock down isn't as bad as isolation which I enjoyed 15 months ago. Everything is relative. And so are photographs.

The photo above is of a print stuck to my pin board in the office. It is opposite my desk, in full view. When someone rings me up to have a chat, like Tony Hewitt wondering if we will ever get over to Middlehurst this year, or David Oliver asking when he has to start judging the Better Photography Photo of the Year competition, and they start to drone on a little, I walk around my desk and look at the print more closely. I study it. "Yes, Tony, any day now. No, David, I have to prepare things first." And I have a pencil which sits balanced on two thumb pins so I can write a few notes on the print itself. What to change, what to rework, what to improve. This is a test print. It is designed to be written on.

For me, living with a photograph for a period of time is an essential part of the photographic process. And it never ceases to amaze me that even after spending hours and hours on a file, this process reveals even more insights for improving the finished product.

Now, I know when you compare the small screen files you have before, the work print above with the final file below, the differences don't appear huge, but when you're looking at an A2 print (or larger), these changes and improvements are so important. Others might not notice, but if you do, that's reason enough to fix things. Enjoy your photography, wherever you may be!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Duffys Wharf Northern Beaches Pittwater https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/8/living-with-a-test-print Mon, 02 Aug 2021 08:30:00 GMT
What Can You Find In A Ten Kilometre Radius? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/7/what-can-you-find-in-a-ten-kilometre-radius Pittwater Backwater, Northern BeachesPittwater Backwater, Northern Beaches

Pittwater Backwater, down the bottom of the hill.
Phase One XT 150MP, 32mm Rodenstock, f5.6 @ 1/125 second, ISO 50

We have an international readership, so not everyone will know that as a Sydneysider, I am in lock down with 5 million other lucky souls who live in the Greater Sydney Area! On the other hand, Australian readers will be well aware of the COVID restrictions and I have been receiving some condolences notes from Victorians who know what it's like. Thank you!

Tony Hewitt and I were supposed to be in Middlehurst, New Zealand today. We've postponed the 'experiences' until later in August and October, fingers crossed. In the meantime, Gladys (our premier) has finally introduced a sensible restriction, asking Sydneysiders not to travel more than 10 kilometres from their home when they are doing essential shopping and daily exercises. So the question is, what can you find within 10 kilometres to photograph?

Now, I know I'm not supposed to leave home to take photos, but I can't see any damage leaving home for an hour walk and taking a camera with me. You never know what you might find. Case in point is this scene not far from home. My wife and daughter 'discovered' it and suggested we get up early one morning and perhaps catch some mist. Although we arrived shortly after sunrise, the mist was already rising and not a lot left for my camera. 

The photo is hand held and the scene quite remarkable when you realise how close it is to a major city. In fact, there are lots of locations like this around the Pittwater backwaters and maybe this will be the first of a series.

In terms of processing, this remains a work in progress. I'm struggling a little to get the balance between the sky and foreground just right, and I also want to experiment with the colour grading a little more. But in the meantime, for someone in lock down, it suits me just fine!

Enjoy your freedom if you have it!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Northern Beaches Pittwater https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/7/what-can-you-find-in-a-ten-kilometre-radius Mon, 12 Jul 2021 00:04:37 GMT
Govetts Leap's Leap of Faith https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/6/govetts-leaps-leap-of-faith Pulpit Rock, Blue MountainsPulpit Rock, Blue Mountains

Pulpit Rock, Blue Mountains, pre-Lockdown
Phase One A-Series 150MP, 180mm Rodenstock, f11 @ 1/60 second, ISO 50

The workshop I ran with Ignacio Palacios up the Blue Mountains last weekend was on, then off, then on again, then curtailed by the Sunday restrictions. However, we managed to get through the program and enjoy some of the Blue Mountains' wonderful scenery as well.

This photo is taken from Govetts Leap where we congregated before dawn. I wish I were better at getting out of bed because when I do, I really enjoy it. However, I seem to take more of my landscape photography at sunset, rather than sunrise!

I had more or less put my cameras away when the sun started to creep around the edge of the bluff opposite, to which is attached a formation called Pulpit Rock. It's a slight telephoto lens, there's a touch of lens flare in the top left and bottom right, and the light is delightful. And the lens flare reminded me of how fashions change. It took me more than a little while to accept brides really did want lens flare in their wedding photos! And here I am, happily using some controlled flare to add to the quickly evaporating morning haze.

We discussed many subjects during the workshop, including the square format. When Ignacio gave a presentation on composition, he was asked why so many of his examples were square. I also confess to being partial to the square format - it seems to be less 'factual'. A horizontal makes me think of a landscape, a vertical is a portrait, but a square is anything you want it to be and sometimes cropping images to square seems to work better for me.

But it's a personal choice, of course!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Blue Mountains Govetts Leap Pulpit Rock https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/6/govetts-leaps-leap-of-faith Wed, 30 Jun 2021 00:31:58 GMT
Photography and Friendship At Bruny Island https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/6/photography-and-friendship-at-bruny-island Bruny Island Lighthouse, TasmaniaBruny Island Lighthouse, Tasmania

Bruny Island Lighthouse, Tasmania
Phase One XF 150MP, 55mm Schneider lens, f2.8 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 320

I'm not sure if friendship extends to a full bottle of Talisker, but as I saw the level in our bottle quickly diminish on the first night of four, I decided it had to!

While photography can be a lonely, individual pursuit, there are times when photographers come together. The AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography) is one organisation that facilitates interaction, APS is another - and your local camera clubs as well. It's great to spend time with other photographers and over the years, I've developed strong friendships with many. I consider myself very fortunate to be involved with a number of informal groups, one of which congregated on Bruny Island a week or so ago.

Richard Bennett and better half Susie, who live on Bruny Island, sent out the invitations. Richard is a past president of the AIPP, as is his daughter Alice who paid us a visit. Other invitees were David Oliver (hence the Talisker), Phil Kuruvita (I think he drank most of the Talisker, followed closely by Richard - Phil is also a past president of the AIPP), Nuran Zorlu, Bruce Pottinger (who sold us most of our cameras) and Kevin Cooper (who represented Fujifilm for the past decade or more and is a keen photographer and balloonist). Ian van der Wolde was invited (also a past AIPP president), but sadly his Victorian premier wouldn't permit him to travel.

So, among such illustrious company, one wonders how I was invited!

In addition to much socialising, David suggested we do a print swap and this turned into a highlight of the weekend. While we have seen each other's work in the awards, books and advertising, there was so much more about us all as photographers we didn't know and we each gave a little talk about our prints. It was a wonderful afternoon and I have also added to my collection!

The reason for mentioning this is that many of us have informal friendships in photography. Assuming we're not in lock down, it's not too hard to organise three, four or a few more people to spend a weekend together - and talk about photography. If nothing else, it can be very inspiring.

And the photo? We did a little helicopter time around the very south of Bruny Island. I had visited this area many times, but never really understood how magical it was until I took to the air. Unfortunately, being a national park, you might not get permission to fly a drone there, although interestingly the Tasmanian government had lots of drone footage in an informational piece playing on a big screen at Hobart's airport!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bruny Island Lighthouse Tasmania https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/6/photography-and-friendship-at-bruny-island Mon, 21 Jun 2021 04:47:43 GMT
Can You Shoot Mungo Under Starlight? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/6/can-you-shoot-mungo-under-starlight Mungo, NSWMungo, NSW

This photo is no longer possible for most of us. I’m sure National Parks would allow a National Geographic film crew in, but the average photographer will struggle to get this close to the eroding rock formations at Mungo, let alone stay there after sunset to photograph them with a backdrop of stars.

In fact, the average visitor will be kept well away from the rock formations. Access is with a guided tour only and I understand why. With so many visitors to Australia’s national parks, crowd control is needed if we’re not going to love them to death. Uluru has done it successfully, although some of its photography rules continue to perplex me. But I get it.

To take this photo, post-production was required. The rock formation was photographed on a stormy afternoon with dramatic clouds all around. We had a short burst of sunlight right on sunset – perfect timing or just plain lucky!

The Milky Way was photographed later that night from Mungo Lodge and while its angle to the rock formation may not be completely accurate, the resulting image has plenty of impact. The sky is a four minute exposure at ISO 800 using a Fornax star tracker, with advice and assistance from Glenn Martin. No matter how many YouTube movies I watched, there’s nothing like having someone who knows what he’s doing to help you out!

However, while the afternoon storms cleared at night for the stars, the following morning the rain set in and we were told to evacuate Mungo Lodge. This wasn’t great news on several fronts. First it was disappointing to be leaving so soon, and second, Ignacio Palacios’ car was an AWD, not a 4WD and we struggled to get out as the dusty road instantly turned into a muddy bog. However, I’m grateful to say Ignacio kept the wheels moving and I didn’t have to get out and push!

And just to let you know, the Better Photography Magazine Photo of the Year award will be open for entries on 10 June, with $5000 in cash prizes up for grabs and a judge comment for every entry. Click through to the competition website for details at www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com.

And there’s a capture to print workshop with Ignacio and me up the Blue Mountains at the end of this month – check out the website for details at www.betterphotography.com.

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Broken Hill Mungo https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/6/can-you-shoot-mungo-under-starlight Mon, 07 Jun 2021 08:12:57 GMT
High Resolution Workshp https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/6/high-resolution-workshp Silverton and Broken Hill in New South WalesSilverton and Broken Hill in New South Wales

Posted from Silverton and Broken Hill in New South Wales on a photo workshop with Mr Palacios!

Date and time: Tue., 8 June 2021 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm AEST

Location: Dee Why RSL, 932 Pittwater Road, Dee Why, NSW 2099

Price: $20

Here is the link: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/high-resolution-photography-with-peter-eastway-brought-to-you-by-phase-one-tickets-156998188809

AIPP Grand Master of Photography Peter Eastway will deliver an enjoyable presentation on capture and processing techniques required for high resolution photography, whether you're using a small mirrorless camera or a medium format back.

Peter will discuss choosing your lens's sharpest aperture, understanding the limitations of depth-of-field, the need to keep your camera stable and firing the shutter properly, plus focus trimming your lenses if required. He'll also discuss software approaches for making the most out of your images with a view to producing beautiful, high resolution prints.

Plus there will be a series of audio visuals, some entertaining travel stories and a Q&A session!

So why not come along for a light hearted evening of fun, sponsored by Phase One (you don't need to be a Phase One photographer to attend or enjoy this session).

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/6/high-resolution-workshp Wed, 02 Jun 2021 01:30:00 GMT
Can Crocodiles Really Fly In Kakadu? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/5/can-crocodiles-really-fly-in-kakadu Crocodile, Yellow Water, KakaduCrocodile, Yellow Water, Kakadu

Crocodile Showdown in Kakadu - Photo 1 of 3
Fujifilm X-T4 with 200mm f2.0 lens and 1.4x converter, f4 @ 1/1600 second, ISO 800

How do you define flying? If flying is being projected and moving above the water or land, then we saw a crocodile flying in Kakadu last week - and thank heavens it wasn't heading towards our boat!

For those in southern Australia, you probably don't want to know how warm it was in the Northern Territory last week. It's a wonderful time of year for the Top End and many of the locals say they wouldn't be anywhere else for winter. I'm not quite so sure as it was still pretty hot, but then again, as I write this on a cool, shivery evening in Sydney, perhaps I am!

Sharon Jones from the AIPP's Northern Territory chapter organised a series of lectures, workshops and a photo tour last week which gave me the opportunity to meet some wonderful people and do what I love most, take photographs! And with so little travel in recent times, it was great to sit on a plane again, even if my face was covered with a mask and my ears sore from tight elastic!

So, what about these three photos - and the croc when it flies?

The first image is a bit of a tease. I'm pretending it's the dominant croc moving towards another croc that has invaded his territory. The second photo shows the actual stand-off position and the third is when the croc launches himself and flies! It was a very special encounter and well documented by our group in the early morning at Yellow Water.

For action shots like these, I use continuous autofocus, image stabilisation and auto ISO. I set my shutter speed at 1/2000 second on shutter priority exposure mode and let the camera work out the aperture and ISO. And I set my camera to a high frame rate so I'm capturing as many shots per second as I can. And while I wasn't using a zoom lens, if I had, I would have zoomed further out to make it easier to capture and contain the action - my prime telephoto lens was a little long for this situation.

And in a perfect world? I would have been on the other side of the action with the croc coming towards me - and hoping like hell he didn't fly too far!

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) crocodiles kakadu https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/5/can-crocodiles-really-fly-in-kakadu Wed, 26 May 2021 00:53:02 GMT
Why I'm a Boomerang Photographer https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/5/why-im-a-boomerang-photographer Mullimburra Point, NSWMullimburra Point, NSW

Mullimburra Point, NSW (Preliminary edit)
Phase One XT 150MP, 28mm Rodenstock, f11 @ 30 seconds (frame averaging), ISO 100

There are two schools of thought when it comes to travel and photography. One school says let's go somewhere new, somewhere different, somewhere exciting. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it's a flop, but the experience of travelling into the unknown can be addictive.

The second school says that travelling photographers can't understand a location and experience it properly with a single, short trip. Especially if we're trophy photographers, it's unreasonable of us to expect the amazing light and climactic conditions we've seen in the hero photos of a location. Sure, we can be lucky from time to time, but statistics indicate that to get great light and conditions we need to allocate more time. Time improves our chances and that's why I'm a boomerang photographer. I'm always happy to return to a location that I like and see what's there.

Mullimburra Point is north of Narooma which is a popular base for seascape photographers. While I have surfed up and down the NSW coast, my first trip to this area as a photographer was with the Focus Photographers (www.focusphotographers.org). And every time I visit, I find something new. My most recent trip was with a mate and our primary focus was surfing, but there was so little surf, I convinced him to let me take some photos. I even flew my drone a few times (no crashes so far).

In terms of post-production, I was a little late to capture the sun on the rock, so in post-production I have used an adapted luminosity mask to select the rock and lighten it up, and I've also warmed up the colours so they contrast with the cooler, blue background. And the image is stitched as well - two frames with the XT being shifted left to right to get a wider angle-of-view of what is in reality a very small beach.

Is it better than my other shots of the same location? Hmmm, does it have to be better? Today I think it's better, but tomorrow I might not. Perhaps more important is the fact I enjoyed taking and processing the photo - and that's enough.

A small reminder that my updated How To Win Photo Competitions program is now available with a $50 discount (and yes, the coupon code is now working) - use COMPETITOR to purchase for $79 (full price $129).

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Mullimburra Point https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/5/why-im-a-boomerang-photographer Wed, 19 May 2021 01:42:58 GMT
I Shot 343 Frames to Get This One https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/5/i-shot-343-frames-to-get-this-one Sue and her employees, Middlehurst, NZSue and her employees, Middlehurst, NZ

Sue and her employees, Middlehurst, NZ
Fujifilm X-T3, 200mm lens, f2.5 @ 1/2400 second, ISO 400

This is Sue. Sue and Willy own Middlehurst in New Zealand where Tony Hewitt and I run our annual art photography experience. And I did take 343 frames to get this one, but I probably have 150 frames that are also pretty good.

Sue was out rustling sheep. Okay, so that's the wrong term, but it makes a better blog post! Each year at Middlehurst, Sue, Willy and their employees (dogs and horses) encourage a flock of sheep to run over some beautiful countryside towards our cameras. One of the shots you may be familiar with - the black and white blur of sheep as the dogs round them up. And every year there is something different: the weather, the clothing, where Sue or Willy stand or ride. It's never about just photographing the sheep. Yes, we're there to shoot the sheep, but as photographers it's also important to keep our eyes open for other opportunities.

Here I'm using the shallow depth-of-field of a 200mm lens (equivalent to a 300mm lens on a full-frame sensor) to throw the background out of focus. While blurred, there's enough information to tell you what it is like, but it's sufficiently muted to ensure the subject of the photo - Sue and her employees - stand out. The wider the aperture, the shallower the depth-of-field, but even at f8 or f11, the background would still be pretty blurred with this focal length. Depth-of-field reduces not only with longer focal lengths, but also the closer your focused subject is.

And note how the snow-covered hill in the background surrounds Sue and her horse. By being aware of the background at the time of capture, you can move yourself or your subject into position. Many of the other 343 frames don't have as successful a background - and that's why I was happy to shoot LOTS of frames, allowing me to choose the best one later.

We have now confirmed the second program at Middlehurst this July and have two places left for the 12-18 July week if you're interested, or possibly one in the 19-26 week. It doesn't look like Australians and New Zealanders will be travelling too far afield this year - and with a location like Middlehurst so accessible, it doesn't really matter! You can read all about the Middlehurst experience here. Or visit www.betterphotography.com, of course!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/5/i-shot-343-frames-to-get-this-one Wed, 19 May 2021 01:35:19 GMT
True Confessions of Someone About To Travel https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/5/true-confessions-of-someone-about-to-travel

Pages from the Looking Down Notebook, a personal project of aerial photos. 
Printed on Eggshell paper and spiral bound by Momento Pro.

I love the printed photograph. Originally, it was something printed in a darkroom or using an offset press. Today it is using an inkjet printer or an on-demand press. And if I'm honest, the quality I'm getting today is so much better than anything I produced in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Next week, I'm travelling. Just a small step from NSW to the Northern Territory where I'm running a number of workshops and photo tours with the AIPP. On the itinerary is an aerial workshop for an afternoon a little north of Darwin. When it comes to aerials, I have a preference for the 'squarial', the almost abstract pattern shots that are created by looking directly down from the aircraft and excluding the horizon.

To give the presentation, I thought it would be nice to share some of my work in the printed format, so I put together around 90 images and sent them off to Momento Pro for printing on their Indigo press. I'll also take a few prints made on my Epson SC-906, printed on Canson Rag Photographique. Are there differences? Of course! When you read your paper edition of Better Photography, as good as the reproduction is (also printed by Momento on an Indigo press), a four or six colour device can't match the 10 inks in an Epson printer. And Momento itself offers a premium printing service where it also uses exactly the same types of Epson printers photographers do to print the pages.

What I love about the printed image is being able to linger on the image, to see the detail just by moving my eyes, rather than enlarging and scrolling around. If you don't have your own printer, there's nothing stopping you from having some of your best images printed by someone like Created for Life or Brilliant Prints. Send them a digital file and they'll send back a physical print.

Ignacio Palacios and I are doing a short photo and printing workshop at Sydney's Blue Mountains at the end of June if you're interested in knowing more (here's the link), and while the Darwin workshops are all sold out, there's an evening talk on Tuesday 18 which has seats available (see https://aipp.com.au/events/ for details).

Below are a few more spreads from my Looking Down Notebook. And I hope I've encouraged you to make a few prints!

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/5/true-confessions-of-someone-about-to-travel Mon, 10 May 2021 00:14:44 GMT
The Ess Curve In Composition https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/5/the-ess-curve-in-composition Snow Hill Landscape 01Snow Hill Landscape 01Late Season, Antarctica 2020

Snow Hill, Weddell Sea, Antarctica
Phase One XF 150MP, 55mm Schneider lens, f10 @ 1/125 second, ISO 100, tripod mounted.

It may seem a little unusual to read 'tripod mounted' on a voyage to Antarctica, but there are many occasions we get to land. Last year on my first voyage, being late in the season, we were able to enter the Weddell Sea and travel south to the remote Snow Hill. I remember listening to the exhibition crew as we slipped through mirror-smooth waters, dodging icebergs and straining to see through low cloud on the horizon. They all had their fingers crossed that we would reach Snow Hill because there's usually too much ice, remembering that this is the general area in which Shackleton and his men were icebound on the Endurance, until it was eventually crushed and they footed it out, dragging their life boats behind them. It was not something we wanted to happen to us, naturally!

However, the weather gods smiled and we reached our destination. I think we were all a little surprised at how brown and ice-free the location was. Even though it was late in the season (March) and you'd expect the snows to have melted, the shadow of global warming had us thinking.

Towards the end of our short time ashore, I came across this wonderful line of ice on the shore. I guess you'd call them 'growlers', being the term for small 'icebergs', but really they are just shards of broken ice washed up on the beach by the tides and the winds. However, as a photographer, what I loved most was the shape of the ice as it receded into the distance. The classic 'ess' composition. The light was very flat, so a little remedial work was required in Capture One to resurrect the file.

I'm using this file to demonstrate Capture One and its 'adjustment layers' for an online event this Friday and Saturday, hosted by the AIPP. Called AIPP TV Level Up, there is a huge line up of great presenters - you can find details about the event at: https://aipp.com.au/event/aipp-tv-level-up-post-production/ - it is open to both members and non-members.

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) AIPP Antarctica PhaseOne Snow Hill Weddell Sea https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/5/the-ess-curve-in-composition Mon, 03 May 2021 00:35:38 GMT
What Does B&W Do? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/4/what-does-b-w-do

Monk, Mongar Dzong, East Bhutan
Phase One XF IQ4 150MP, 110mm Schneider, f2.8 @ 1/125 second, ISO 1600
 

Black and white strips out reality. It's a bold statement perhaps, given the history of photography itself begins with monochrome (and the photo above isn't strictly speaking black and white, rather a sepia tone). However, most of us see in full colour and so when we look at colour photographs, there's an element of expectation involved.

In the photograph above, colour would completely change the myth and mystery surrounding the portrait. The bright, gaudy yellow tent we are in is throwing sunshine colours all around, the monks are dressed in brilliant crimson, the ornamentation in the ceiling has every colour of the rainbow. The scene is festive, exciting and alive, yet amongst it all, the monk is poised pensively, quietly looking past the photographer (me) at something behind. Some of the other monks are looking too.

To concentrate on the monk and his expression, I felt that I needed to remove the colour. I wanted to reduce the image to just the key points, but without removing the context. Black and white does a lot of this. Darkening the surrounding figures and blurring them slightly helps as well, but it is the monochromatic rendition that does most of the work.

Fingers crossed we can get our tour to Bhutan happening next year - it's a wonderful place to visit.

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bhutan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/4/what-does-b-w-do Fri, 09 Apr 2021 02:06:12 GMT
A Slightly Wider View https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/3/a-slightly-wider-view Glasshouse Rocks, NaroomaGlasshouse Rocks, Narooma

Glasshouse Rocks, Narooma
Phase One XT 150MP with 32mm Rodenstock lens, f8 @ 1/30 second, ISO 50, frame averaging for 30 second, two-frame stitch.

Reading the technical details up above, I can imagine a few readers scratching their heads and wondering what I put in my coffee this morning! Let me explain!

The Phase One XT is a wonderful camera, but requires completely manual focus and manual exposure control. There are no creature comforts, but for photographers who have been around for a while (such as myself), there's a certain enjoyment to be found in doing things slowly and methodically, a little like we used to use 'view cameras' in the days of film. It's not a camera for all occasions, but the image quality is beautiful.

There were two features I used to capture this image. The first was frame averaging, which is like using a neutral density filter. Frame averaging continuously takes the same exposure over and over again, for as long as you desire. I used a shutter speed of 1/30 second continuously over a period of 30 seconds, because this was enough to blur the water and produce some slight movement in the clouds. I could have used a neutral density filter to achieve the same effect - so frame averaging is a time saver in that I don't have to worry about putting my filters on. 

However, frame averaging at shutter speeds (times) shorter than around 1/3 second can produce 'steps' in the exposure. This is because with short shutter speeds, there is an interval between exposures during which nothing is recorded. If you do frame averaging for four seconds at 1/30 second, you might take 12 shots and if you look carefully at the file, you will see 12 outlines of a breaking wave as it moves across the frame. Cloud movement is harder to see because it's movement is so slow. Compare this with a 30 second period where there are hundreds of exposures at 1/30 second and the wave and water movement gets so jumbled up, it produces a soft blur, just like an ND filter. So, for long exposure of 15 seconds or longer, frame averaging is perfect, but for exposures of 1/8 to 15 seconds, I think neutral density filters still have their place for the XT system.

The second feature I used is the back shift. The XT provides vertical and horizontal shift, so I can correct converging verticals (e.g. for architecture) or stitch two images together to create a panorama - and a wider angle-of-view. To fit the two Glasshouse rocks into the frame with my 32mm lens, horizontal stitching was required to provide a little breathing space around the outside of the composition.

And yes, this is taken on the same morning as a photo posted a couple of weeks ago. Still working my way through a productive morning!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Australia Glasshouse Rocks Narooma https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/3/a-slightly-wider-view Sun, 14 Mar 2021 23:48:28 GMT
Printing At Narooma with Epson and Canson https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/3/printing-at-narooma-with-epson-and-canson Glass House Rocks, NaroomaGlass House Rocks, NaroomaPhase One XT 150MP with 32mm Rodenstock, f8 @ 1/5 second, ISO 50, frame averaging for 60 seconds.

Glass House Rocks, Narooma, NSW
Phase One XT 150MP with 32mm Rodenstock, f8 @ 1/5 second, ISO 50, frame averaging for 60 seconds.

If nothing else, these are interesting rocks! And regular readers may recognise them as I have certainly photographed them before - but never quite like this. Different times, different weather, different thought-processes - it always surprises me just how much you can find to photograph if you stop to look. Of course, you're right to point out that I visited the wonderful South Coast of NSW, but my point is that things that have become commonplace to us can nevertheless be rediscovered with the right attitude?

Am I sounding a little philosophical? It's possibly because I've been teaching with Len Metcalf and his art-based approach to photography has had an effect. Some photo tours and workshops are mainly practical, others have a greater classroom content and while our program was reasonably adaptable, we spent around half our time listening, commenting, processing - and printing!

Both Len and I are strong printing advocates. A photograph isn't really a photograph if you're just looking at it on a small screen. The best way to present a photograph is in a printed form - such as a print, a book or even a card. As Len pointed out, a digital image is just an electrical current passing across a screen, while a print is a separate physical object. It has an existence of its own. It is tangible.

So, two suggestions. Firstly, Narooma is a great destination and there are lots of places within striking distance to photograph. 

Second, print your photographs! The Epson SC-P906 I took delivery of last week worked flawlessly, producing beautiful prints that all our participants loved and enjoyed. Thanks to Epson and Canson for providing ink and paper.

Above, Sue (left) and Julie discuss Sue's beautiful photo at Glasshouse Rocks with Len Metcalf. As you can see, the Epson SC-P906 printer is very small and it fit easily into the boot of my car for transport. We had a pack of the larger A2 Canson Rag Photographique to play with and there's no doubt that size does matter. With our modern cameras capturing so many pixels, there really isn't a reason not to print to A2 from time to time and, interestingly, I can see that Kayell has the Epson P906 printer on its website for $1695. You don't need to purchase one of the larger pro printers because these smaller models produce prints of exactly the same quality - and that print quality is second to none.

Check out the Epson SC-P906 printer here.

 

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Epson Glass House Rocks Narooma https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/3/printing-at-narooma-with-epson-and-canson Sun, 28 Feb 2021 23:30:42 GMT
Little Island Very Little https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/2/little-island-very-little Little IslandLittle IslandLord Howe Island

Little Island, Lord Howe Island
Alpa TC, Phase One IQ180, 23mm Rodenstock lens, 1/8 and 30 second exposures, f8 @ ISO 35

Last week, I realised my personal website (www.petereastway.com) was missing some of my earlier work and the above photo of Little Island shot on Lord Howe Island (off the NSW coast in Australia) was one of them. 

Lord Howe Island itself is quite magical, what you'd want in a 'desert island' if you had to be marooned somewhere. It's big enough so you'll never be bored, small enough to easily get around, and there are some very special locations, such as Little Island down the bottom of the trek up to Mount Gower.

Most of the time we were there, Little Island wasn't, but I imagine with big swells and tides, the water laps around it and hence its description. The challenge was finding an angle that included both its shape and location. Standard angles-of-view which included both sides of the island and a clearly defined shape were interesting, but I found this more closely cropped and squished composition to be stronger. Then it was a matter of ensuring sufficient detail in the island itself and dropping in a second exposure (taken from the same angle using a locked off tripod) with blurred water and clouds.

Why two exposures of the same scene? It was windy and the small bushes at the top of the island blurred during the long exposure. As photographers, we don't need a reason other than to say it was my preference to have the bushes sharply resolved with the shorter exposure.

When playing with exposure, the landscape can reveal all sorts of secrets and I love the discovery of the deep red rocks, almost buried in the middle of the island. By drawing out and enhancing the colour, you can almost imagine this a wound, a metaphor for what we're doing to the Earth in so many places. However, the main reason I drew out the colour was to create a point of interest in the composition and, as we all know, it's points of interest that make photographs engaging for our viewers, allowing them to apply their own interpretations and responses.

I hope you enjoy it.

This week, I am down in Narooma with Len Metcalf and a group of photographers on my first photo workshop in many months. I've taken an Epson SC-P906 A2 printer (I've actually purchased this for myself from Kayell, although as an Epson Ambassador, Epson would certainly have lent me one). We also have some great sample Epson Signature Hot and Cold Press papers, and also Canson's Rag Photographique, Platine and Aquarelle (I'm also a Canson Ambassador). Our plan is to shoot, process and print and, given the weather forecast, I think we will be having a little 'inside' time for plenty of printing!

Fingers crossed the world continues to open up and the vaccine does its magic.

In the meantime, don't forget my Landscape Photography MasterClass has been fully updated and you can read all about it and see a great little audio visual at www.betterphotographyeducation.com.

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Lord Howe Island https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/2/little-island-very-little Sun, 21 Feb 2021 23:00:54 GMT
Bhutan - The Myth Audio Visual on YouTube https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/2/bhutan---the-myth-audio-visual-on-youtube Wangdue Phodrang, BhutanWangdue Phodrang, BhutanWangdue Phodrang, Bhutan

Wangdue Phodrang Dzong, Bhutan
Phase One XF 150MP, 240mm Schneider Kreuznach lens, f5.6 @ 1/2500 second, ISO 125, hand-held.

I've been talking about my three books on Bhutan for some months now. They are still in production and it's interesting how I am putting off pressing the button, sending the files off to Momento Pro for printing. Sure, they are three large books to be inkjet printed and hand-bound, so they aren't inexpensive, but I'm actually enjoying the process of slowly working through the images and ensuring they are all exactly as I want them. I'm even proofing every image onto Canson Rag Photographique using my Epson SC 10070 down at the office (although I have just taken delivery of an Epson SC-P906 for home, so that might speed me up).

This photograph is from the Bhutan - Myth volume. It was taken late one afternoon from the road. Featured is the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong and the small village cascading down the slope below. It's one of those photos that works best with a telephoto because you're looking directly into the sun and you don't really want all the foreground and surroundings - just the silhouettes. And if you have a friend with a hat to shade the lens, so much the better. 

As I work through the photos of Bhutan, I keep pinching myself that this is a real place. When you're there, it all seems 'sorta normal', but as I process the photographs and relive the experiences, I realise just how special it is. The benefits of travel aren't just in the photos we take - in fact, the photos are secondary to the experiences that become a part of us.

I have put together a little audio visual of my Bhutan - Myth series on YouTube which I thought you might enjoy viewing - the link is https://youtu.be/C9W5k3DJeBE.

And I would be remiss if I didn't remind everyone that the Landscape Photography MasterClass has been fully updated and you can purchase it with 10 easy payments. Details on the www.betterphotographyeducation.com website.

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bhutan Phase One Wangdue Phodrang Dzong https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/2/bhutan---the-myth-audio-visual-on-youtube Sun, 07 Feb 2021 23:00:00 GMT
Check Out These Aerials In High Resolution https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/12/check-out-these-aerials-in-high-resolution Wendover, UtahWendover, UtahUtah, USA From a Squarial Series, Wendover, Utah, USA
Phase One XT 150MP, 80mm Schneider lens, f5 @ 1/3200 second, ISO 100

It's interesting to note how an image changes the more it is enlarged, the closer you get. One of the reasons I love prints is that you can move in physically closer to explore and experience the fine detail of the subject - and as long as your camera technique and processing skills are up to it, your viewers will not be disappointed.

Depending on where and how you are reading this, you may be able to click on the images below and they will open in a page that will allow you to enlarge the original file to 100 per cent.

If you're reading it as part of my weekly newsletter or on Facebook etc, use this link: CLICK HERE 

Have a look around, enjoy the detail in the files, note how distressed the pixels have become at 100% in order to produce the visual effects at lower magnifications. I know for some photographers the manipulation of the detail and colour will be more than they are comfortable with, but I confess I greatly enjoyed the process of taking an aerial and pushing the file as far as I wanted to.

There's no rule that says we should only follow one genre of photography. Take a deep breath, look around and maybe you'll find some ideas to push your own work along!

And just a reminder that my Landscape Photography MasterClass has been fully updated and includes sections on aerial photography and my techniques for enhancing colour and contrast. For more information, click here.

 

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) aerials usa utah wendover https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/12/check-out-these-aerials-in-high-resolution Fri, 04 Dec 2020 05:48:21 GMT
People Without Confrontation https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/11/people-without-confrontation Street scenes, Copacabana, Altiplano, BoliviaStreet scenes, Copacabana, Altiplano, BoliviaCopacabana street life

Street scenes, Copacabana, Altiplano, Bolivia
Fujifilm X-T3, Fujinon XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR lens, f4 @ 1/1400 second, ISO 160.

Although I've been taking photos for over 40 years, including a modest number of weddings and family portraits, I'm still not the world's greatest when it comes to photographing people in the street. Why is that?

When you're working professionally, you have an excuse. You're expected to walk up to the bride and take her photograph, or arrange the family on the beach - and with an excuse or a reason, I find I'm much bolder. However, on the street in a foreign country, things aren't so clear and the only excuse I have is my own curiousity. 

I often wonder how I'd feel walking around the streets of Sydney if a woman dressed in a large, colourful dress and a bowler hat walked up to me and asked if she could take my photo? In fact, this has happened to me (but not the woman in a colourful dress and a bowler hat) and, being a photographer, I've acquiesced. And if I were approached in the right way, well, actually I wouldn't have a problem.

And so it is for me when I am in the foreign land. I've taken a deep breath and approached someone to take a photograph and, nine times out of ten, I receive a very positive response. So, my message is that we should be bolder, when appropriate.

In popular tourist destinations, I find it a little more difficult. The locals are used to people with cameras and don't give them a second glance as they walk through your picture. However, because there are so many tourists, they are less likely to stop and engage. We are just another obstacle in their daily lives!

The photos in this post are from Copacabana in Bolivia. Copacabana is very much a tourist town and while tourism hasn't reached the dizzy heights you'd find in Paris or Rome, I do find people are less likely to engage with you. That's not to say they won't - we certainly had some great encounters - but generally speaking I found my photos were of street scenes with people in them, rather than portraits of people I met in the street.

And that's perfectly fine!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bolivia Copacabana https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/11/people-without-confrontation Sun, 15 Nov 2020 22:30:30 GMT
Housekeeping Duties https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/11/housekeeping-duties Cacti, Uyuni, BoliviaCacti, Uyuni, BoliviaBolivia - Uyuni and a small island in the middle of the salt pans, covered in cacti. We spent an entire day on the highly reflective salt and the underside of my nose felt badly burnt for the next three days!

Cacti, Uyuni, Bolivia
Phase One A-Series, 150MP sensor, f8 @ 1/125 second, ISO 50

There have been a few things to report in recent weeks, so let me quickly bring you up to date!

Better Photography December 2020 issue is currently with Momento being printed, so we're looking good to being out on 1 December and in plenty of time for Christmas. So, if you'd like a paper version of the magazine, now is the time to subscribe! Click here.

The Landscape Photography MasterClass is now fully updated with over 20 new movies. Much of the old MasterClass remains the same as the fundamentals of using layers has not changed, but the updated movies use the latest versions of Photoshop, Lightroom and Capture One. If you already have a subscription (it lasts a lifetime), visit the Better Photography Education (www.betterphotographyeducation.com) webite and login here. If you haven't joined the MasterClass, you can sign up with 10 monthly payments and use the coupon code LMC25 to get 25% off - you can join here.

My book The New Tradition won second prize in the Self-Published Book sub-category in the IPA (Int'l Photography Awards) which was nice and hopefully that will mean a deluge of book orders! I also earned four honourable mentions for photos in a variety of categories (similar to being in the Top 20 in our Better Photography competition), but no places. Is this a disappointment? Why do I still enter photo competitions? What do I have to prove? I think if you're a competition judge, it's really important to continue entering other photography competitions so you know what it's like to be an entrant, know what it's like to receive feedback - and it is always nice to be in the top section of entrants if you can.

Thanks to Qantas for upgrading my frequent flyer card. Returning from Antarctica via Uruguay on a special repatriation flight in April, I missed out on earning the final five points needed for Gold and when I explained my situation, the kind people at Qantas gave me the last few points as a gesture of goodwill, given my special circumstances. I like the Gold card as it gives me priority boarding and access to the lounge which make air travel that much more enjoyable! Thank you Qantas.

I shot a wedding a couple of weeks ago (don't ask) and used Fujifilm's new 50mm f1.0 lens on my X-T3 (the X-T4 is on its way, but I'm wondering if the new X-S10 is the go). The results at f1.0 are beautifully sharp on the plane of focus (something that wasn't always the case with other 50mm f1.0 lenses I've owned from Leica and Canon), and the background blur a delight. It's not a cheap lens at around $2700, but I am reticent to send it back, so a chat with my accountant might be in order!

And the photo? It's another Bolivian edit from Uyuni and a small island in the middle of the salt pans, covered in cacti. We spent an entire day on the highly reflective salt and the underside of my nose felt badly burnt for the next three days!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bolivia Cacti Uyuni https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/11/housekeeping-duties Sun, 01 Nov 2020 23:13:49 GMT
Back In Bolivia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/10/back-in-bolivia Cocoi Heron, Rio Yacuma, BoliviaCocoi Heron, Rio Yacuma, Bolivia

Cocoi Heron, Rio Yacuma, Bolivia
Fujifilm X-T3, XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR, f5.6 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 1600

I'm enjoying my spare time processing images from the Bolivian photo tour I did last year with Ignacio Palacios and a group of brave photographers - brave because we had some amazing adventures in many different ways.

I can remember coming back from our trip up the Yacuma River. There were two canoes and we were in the last one when our engine stopped. As the river twists and bends, the others didn't realise we were lagging behind. Worryingly, there were so many alligators along the embankment, we wondered if they knew how tasty we were. Fortunately, like all good boy scouts and girl guides, we only travelled with boatmen who had a spare oar and so slowly, slowly we limped our way back to the pick-up point.

The wildlife at this time of year (September) is highly concentrated because the floodplain waters have subsided and so all living beings seem to congregate along the river edges. I probably shot 1000 photos of egrets and herons in flight (I'm assuming this is a Cocoi Heron, but I stand to be corrected by a true birder), but this one worked the best. The background was in shadow and dark, the bird's wings were nicely positioned and, importantly, the bird was sharply focused.

In Lightroom, I darkened down the image overall until I was happy with the background. Then I used an adjustment brush to roughly cover the heron and used the highlight slider to lighten the bird, but not the background. Using the highlight or shadow sliders to adjust your exposure locally can work very well because it will adjust light values and not dark ones, or vice-versa, and this in turn means you don't always need a precise mask (or brush).

I used second and third adjustment brushes to further lighten the neck and the feet - and I like the way the little sunlit leaves on the right seem to be leading the heron on its flight path!

Some readers have asked about the 1:2 format. I am processing all my Bolivian photos with 1:1 or 1:2 format because I have a square format book in mind - a lay-flat book from Momento should present this image very nicely. However, I agree I'm wasting some image area for the A2 prints I make of each image before I send them off to be printed in book format, using my Epson SC P10070 and Canson Rag Photographique paper. No matter how good my EIZO monitor is, I still love looking at and handling a real print - I think it's one of the greatest enjoyments of the photographic process.

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bolivia Cocoi Heron Heron Rio Yacuma https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/10/back-in-bolivia Sun, 25 Oct 2020 23:24:56 GMT
Fashion In Bolivia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/10/fashion-in-bolivia Three women, Tiwanaku Ruins, Altiplano, BoliviaThree women, Tiwanaku Ruins, Altiplano, Bolivia

Three women, Tiwanaku Ruins, Altiplano, Bolivia
Phase One A-series 150MP, 23mm Alpagon, f11 @ 1/250 second, ISO 50

As you read this, the future of travel in our COVID world is looking better, but not getting any closer and it seems that some areas are struggling to free themselves from restrictions. This is disappointing on many levels and my best wishes go out to readers who are still stuck in isolation. I know we're all thinking of you.

In Sydney where I live, we're currently able to move about quite freely within New South Wales - and even over to South Australia. However, my diary is the emptiest it has been for a couple of decades, so I'm spending my extra 'free time' reviewing previous trips and processing the files I have been meaning to attend to for way too long.

And I'm loving the process.

Having spent a little time on my USA and Icelandic aerials, I'm taking a break, but staying at high altitude and moving over to the Bolivian Altiplano and Copacabana. Most of the images so far are not landscapes, but environmental or travel portraits. The image here might not be considered a portrait, but let's not worry too much about semantics! What's not to love about the colourful clothing and delightful hats the women wear. If I were a Bolivian photographer, it might just be normal life and perhaps not nearly so engaging, but for readers in most other parts of the world, the styles and designs are captivating.

We photographed these three ladies seated and after exchanging pleasantries, they walked away which is when I took this photograph. In many ways, it's doing everything 'wrong' by shooting into the light, but our cameras have such great latitude these days it's not difficult to bring out the colour and detail with the shadow slider. And I guess that's my message or tip: when you think a shoot is over, keep your camera turned on as you never know what might happen. And when it comes to people, once they think the camera has been put away, they can relax and offer you even better images.

For those reading the newsletter or on the website, I'll include the raw file for comparison purposes. You'll see that I have cleaned up a few stray tourists and a communication tower, simplifying the composition.

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bolivia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/10/fashion-in-bolivia Mon, 12 Oct 2020 05:47:08 GMT
A Little Sharpening Still Helps https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/9/a-little-sharpening-still-helps Glacial Textures, Iceland.Glacial Textures, Iceland.

Glacial Textures, Iceland. 
Phase One XF IQ150, f3.2 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 200

I hope you're enjoying the High Resolution Toolbox articles we're running in this newsletter (one each week). Yes, they are courtesy of Phase One, but the information in them applies to everyone with a high resolution camera, whether it is medium format or not. And it's for photos like this that understanding high resolution and getting your technique right is so important. Precise focus and a fast shutter speed to avoid camera shake and subject movement were essential.

What you can't see on social media or a hand-held device is the depth of detail, so you'll just have to take my word for it when I say the fragments of ice down below are razor sharp when you enlarge up to 100%. After processing aerials from Utah taken earlier this year, I'm now working on Iceland. Not every image 'happens' automatically. In fact, for this location I was working earlier on a different angle, but as yet I have been unsuccessful. In looking at alternatives, this image seemed to work a lot more easily, so at some stage I'll return to the earlier image and try again. Do you find yourself working like this? I hope it's quite normal!

Shooting with high resolution cameras, I often don't worry too much about sharpening - because there's enough resolution already. But for these aerials, I'm finding a little low-radius (meaning a radius of 0.6 or less) sharpening really brings up the details. I have a plan for sharing some of these images at full resolution on my websites shortly - I'm not quite ready yet, but there is a plan afoot!

I guess my message is that aerials with high resolution sensors, even when correctly captured, can still benefit from a little sharpening to bring out the ground textures and patterns we love to see. It's creative sharpening rather than remedial. And while drones can't yet compete with this resolution, I figure it's only a matter of time before new technology makes those tiny airborne cameras capable of much more - and shooting super high resolution aerials will be available to everyone!

Finally, not long before we announce the Photo of the Year 2020 award. Most of the preliminary work is now in place ready for the big announcement on Wednesday! The quality this year was amazing, so thank you to all the entrants and congratulations.

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Glacier Iceland https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/9/a-little-sharpening-still-helps Sun, 27 Sep 2020 23:34:07 GMT
Are Aerials Still Cool? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/9/are-aerials-still-cool Glacial Moraine, Iceland.Glacial Moraine, Iceland.

Glacial Moraine, Iceland.
Phase One XF IQ150, f3.2 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 800

Have aerial images lost their gloss? Based on the number entered into the landscape category of the Better Photography Photo of the Year Award 2020, I'm guessing not. And given we're normally land-dwellers, I think that a bird's eye view of the world will always intrigue us, no matter how many we see, simply because it's a different angle from what we normally see.

Look at any television show these days, from Nordic crime dramas to the Tour de France - the helicopter or drone shot has become an integral part of the director's craft. Simple aerials of a castle in a valley with a bunch of cyclists riding past are captivating; metaphoric patterns of a glacier can be mesmerizing. There was one Icelandic series that juxtaposed close ups of a dead body with aerial landscapes and it worked beautifully (even if it was a little macabre).

However, in a competition environment, it's getting harder and harder to impress the judges because we've seen so many fantastic aerials over the past few years. The extra few marks an aerial used to get because it was 'different' are no longer on offer. And in fact, an aerial entrant may have to work a little harder than a land-based landscape entry!

So, does that mean we give up on aerials and look for the next big thing? I don't think so. I love aerials, especially my aerials. No, I'm not suggesting my aerials are the best, rather that because I took them, I have a strong attachment to them.  And not every photo we take has to be an award winner. In fact, most of the photos you take and process need to make just one person happy: you!

Having just judged a very strong selection of landscape images, I don't think the image above is anything special in terms of a competition, but it ticks all of my personal boxes. I think it will make a great addition to my Iceland album.

The little 'craters' are depressions in the moraine. It looks like they were formed by big boulders that have since been washed away, but if that were the case, why have the depressions remained? Fortunately, I know I have some brilliant geologists as readers, so hopefully one of them will explain things to me (and I'll let everyone else know in my next blog!)

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Aerials Iceland https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/9/are-aerials-still-cool Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:03:31 GMT
Always Inspiring! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/9/always-inspiring Remnants of a flood, Wendover, UtahRemnants of a flood, Wendover, Utah

Remnants of a flood, Wendover, Utah
Nikon D850, Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, f5 @ 1/2500 second, ISO 200.

Years ago, Tony Hewitt, Christian Fletcher and I hosted photo workshops out at Karijini in the Pilbara. Photographers would come along to learn from us, but what we found interesting is that every year, we learnt something from our students. Sometimes it was an unexpected question that lead to new ideas, on other occasions our students brought their own sheer brilliance, but either way, teaching has always been a two-way street and I think it's given us as teachers an added advantage as photographers.

The same can be said for judging photo competitions. Judges have a great opportunity to see thousands of different images. We get to invest in an 'ideas bank': the different ways of framing, exposing and processing are lessons in themselves. The different subjects another resource - and all these ideas go into our personal 'databases' as inspiration for future explorations. I guess many readers would say it's like scrolling through a high quality Instagram feed.

Tony Hewitt, David Oliver and I are currently judging the Better Photography Photo of the Year 2020. I think Tony and David are finished and I am half way through. My role is a little more onerous as, in addition to scoring, I then add what I hope is a helpful judge comment. And it was while judging some of the aerials in the landscape category I was inspired to pull out some files I'd taken earlier in the year on a flight over Utah. I'm not sure how long the inspiration will last as I have probably a dozen aerial shoots that I haven't really processed properly yet, but now I've made a start on one of them.

The image above was taken over salt flats near Wendover. I was in the back of the plane while our 'students' were shooting through the open door, but I had been lent a Nikon D850 with a 70-200mm which let me shoot between the others from time to time. What attracted me here were what look like wooden palettes outside a break in a water embankment, pushed there by flood waters. I then explored what was a relatively flat and colourless raw file in post-production. I'm not quite ready to talk about my technique (it's still very much in development), but if you read back through recent newsletters, there are hints of what I've been thinking about lately.

I currently have 10 images processed and still going. I'll share a few more over the coming weeks - unless I'm inspired by something else in the competition! Thanks to all the entrants - it's an honour and great fun to review your work.

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) USA Utah https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/9/always-inspiring Mon, 14 Sep 2020 00:18:52 GMT
A Grand Grand Canyon https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/9/a-grand-grand-canyon Grand Canyon, USAGrand Canyon, USAOne of the many locations in the world that I struggle with (photographically) is the Grand Canyon. I remember before I had visited there the first time, someone told me I would be blown away by the scale. I was sure I would be, because everyone says how big it is, but there are big places in Australia, too.
Yet, knowing all this and thinking I was prepared for 'big space', when I first stepped out of the rental car and looked over the edge, I couldn't help myself, exclaiming "F*%# me, that's huge!!"
Now, I realise you will be utterly shocked to learn that I swear. My parents taught me proper, especially in public. On the other hand, if you have already visited the Grand Canyon, you're probably smiling and remembering your own first encounter with 'big space'.
Yet despite the Grand Canyon being so grand, I struggle to get great shots. Sure, I can take panoramas and overviews, but often there is so much haze that the photos struggle to look impressive. In the photo books you find in the souvenir shops, you see that this style of photograph works best when there's a weather system pushing through. And I guess the more times you go, the greater the chances of finding interesting light.
If the weather isn't cooperating (photographically), then early mornings and late evenings provide me with the best opportunities. If there's direct sunlight, it can be a struggle to deal with the high contrast: deep shadows inside the canyon versus the bright sky above. Before sunrise and after sunset, the light softens out and this is when the above photo was taken. There's also a bit of a colour cast in the file - from memory there was a little cloud over the horizon where the sun was rising - and I've chosen to keep the colour in the final image.
I've also used a telephoto. While everyone should take a grand view and a panorama, if you're looking for images with impact, then I think a telephoto allows you to concentrate on small sections of the Canyon. And there is no shortage of opportunities as you drive along the rim road.
This photo was taken earlier this year on a photo tour with Tony Hewitt, travelling from San Fran to Las Vegas. We're going again next February and there is just one seat left in our luxury van, so if you're interested, check out the website here.

Grand Canyon Detail 
Phase One XF 100MP Trichromatic, 110mm Schneider lens, f5.6 @ 1 second, ISO 50

I'm currently updating my Landscape Photography MasterClass, taking advantage of the quiet time I have with no travelling. While most of the existing material in the MasterClass is very relevant, it has been created on earlier versions of Photoshop. Now, if you know how I use Photoshop, you'll realise that more recent versions of Photoshop haven't made any significant difference to my workflow. However, if you're new to photography, then you may be wondering if the material in the classes is relevant.

Rather than taking the old material out, I'm just adding new material presented on current versions of the software, so if you're an existing Landscape Photography MasterClasser, the new material is available for you with your lifetime licence. If you're not yet a subscriber, check out the free sample lessons on the www.betterphotographyeducation.com website.

So, to the photo. This is one of the new examples I have added to the MasterClass and in the introduction, I explain that the Grand Canyon is one of the most amazing places to photograph, and one of the most frustrating. Having visited the Canyon a dozen times in all sorts of weather and at all times of day, I think it's fair to say that it's not possible to encapsulate the experience in a single image. Yes, it's one big hole in the ground, but the nuances of topography and vegetation create a myriad of photo opportunities.

Another observation I make is that I struggle to take a strong photo which includes both the canyon and the sky above. My default approach is to point downwards with a telephoto lens and remove the horizon, as shown here. Once I take this approach, then every time I visit I find new compositions and colour palettes to please me! I hope you enjoy it. 

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Grand Canyon USA https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/9/a-grand-grand-canyon Mon, 07 Sep 2020 00:34:11 GMT
Man in the landscape, Yazd, Iran https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/8/man-in-the-landscape-yazd-iran Yazd, IranYazd, IranMan in the landscape, Yazd, Iran.
Fujifilm X-H1, XF200mmF2 R LM OIS WR + 1.4x F2, f16 @ 0.7 seconds, ISO 200, tripod mounted.


Fujifilm X-H1, XF200mmF2 R LM OIS WR + 1.4x F2, f16 @ 0.7 seconds, ISO 200, tripod mounted

 

Thanks to everyone who entered the Better Photography Magazine Photo of the Year 2020. The competition is now closed and judging will begin later this week. We have around 800 entries to enjoy in four categories and we're looking forward to seeing them. There are quite a few photo competitions being held at the moment, but we're the only one this year that's giving a judge's comment for every entry (that we're aware of) - and hopefully in this way everyone is a winner in that they get to improve their art and their craft.

So, what would a judge say about this photo?

Another photo competition I'm involved with, the International Landscape Photographer of the Year, has tended to champion landscapes of the natural world. There are fewer urban locations or landscapes in the top 101 images each year where the hand of man is an integral part of the composition. Is this right? Well, as I'm not one of the judges making the decisions, that's not for me to say, but there's nothing in the rules that says a landscape needs to exclude buildings, roads or structures. Personally, I love these telltale signs as they can add to the story.

This landscape is of the mountains surrounding Yazd in Iran. Iran has some wonderful mountains to explore in all parts of the country, but it's hard to find a landscape where you won't see the hand of man somewhere - realising that this part of the World is often referred to as the Cradle of Civilization! I decided to keep the small quarry or mine at the base of the image because it gives the landscape scale, whereas other photographers may have chosen a slightly different angle or framing to remove these 'eyesores'!

A question to think about if you were a judge: does the inclusion of the small patch of sky at the top of the frame add or detract from the photograph? On the one hand, the eye is drawn to it and perhaps the result is we don't pay enough attention to the middle ground? On the other hand, it adds depth and distance to the image, and its size is insignificant enough not to be distracting. Sometimes, being a judge can be difficult, but fortunately for most of our photographs, we are the only judge that matters.

So the question will always be, are you happy with your result?


 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Iran Yazd https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/8/man-in-the-landscape-yazd-iran Mon, 24 Aug 2020 00:41:09 GMT
Photography In Isolation https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/8/photography-in-isolation Long Reef, SydneyLong Reef, SydneyPhase One A-Series, IQ4 150MP back, 70mm Alpagon, f11 @ 1 minute, ISO 50

Long Reef, Sydney
Phase One A-Series, IQ4 150MP back, 70mm Alpagon, f11 @ 1 minute, ISO 50

Our thoughts go out to our Victorian photographers and friends in isolation. We've been thinking of you. As a Sydney-sider, I realise I'm lucky because I can still walk down to the end of the street and take photos like the one above, simply because I see the weather changing. In fact, the sky was so good I took a few extra sky shots which I plan to drop into other views of Long Reef with which I'm struggling, but that's another story.

What do we do in isolation? What do we do when it comes to limited travel opportunities? None of us can go very far at this stage and in the future, we may be required to do two weeks isolation when we return to our home countries - so that may mean longer but fewer expeditions. Then again, as I listen to the Coronacast on my ABC Listen app (I know, I'm showing my age), perhaps a vaccine will solve our problems. I'm sure it will - this state of affairs won't be forever.

So, if you're in Victoria, maybe you can photograph your backyard or shoot some still lifes? What about revisiting existing files and seeing what you could do with them. Perhaps you have a great landscape and a lackluster sky - why not drop a new one in? Don't know how? Luminar 4 software will do it automatically or you can learn a little about layers and Photoshop. You have plenty of time! And if you don't take landscapes, why not drop a new background into a portrait you've taken. Composites might not be your thing, but challenge yourself to learn something new and make the most of a bad situation.

For readers who have some mobility, maybe it's time to look at your local town or suburb. As shown above, interesting weather can transform a landscape or maybe you can document street life and the different ways we now interact?

I think that's the beauty of photography - the fact that there's always something you can photograph and do. I think it would be much more difficult to go through these times without a passion like photography.

Here's hoping everyone is okay!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Collaroy Long Reef Sydney https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/8/photography-in-isolation Mon, 10 Aug 2020 00:29:38 GMT
Are We Lucky With The Weather? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/7/are-we-lucky-with-the-weather On the road to Maymand, IranOn the road to Maymand, IranFujifilm X-T3, Fujinon XF200mm f2 R LM OIS WR, f5 @ 1/3000 second, ISO 200

Over the years, I've always felt rather lucky with the weather, but I'm wondering if it's just the city-slicker in me who is so out of touch with Mother Nature that I'm pleasantly surprised every time I venture out!

Down in Antarctica earlier this year, I remember watching the low pressure systems scream around the continent and thinking how good our chances were of getting some wonderful weather changes (I'm currently using the Windy app on my smartphone). Let's face it, the most exciting landscapes are taken when the weather is doing something a little unusual - or at least different to that boring blue sky shown in all the travel brochures.

More recently, I've had snow storms in the USA and Georgia, huge thunderstorms in Kazakhstan and in Iran, we followed some heavy rain systems which produced a completely different desert vista. Normally when travelling in these areas, the flat salt pans are dry and dusty, but for our trip, we were presented with a thin film of water and some wonderful reflections. Given this is a desert area, it can't be that common, but then again, is it that rare?

So, are we lucky or is it just that in many parts of the world, the weather is changeable? If you take a two or three week road trip, is there a very good chance you'll cross some interesting weather patterns and then it's just a matter of being prepared?

This photo was taken with a 200mm lens (300mm full-frame equivalent) and then the image cropped top and bottom to create a more appropriate framing. I like the 'width' in the composition. The foreground sands were darkened, colour-enhanced and I also added a little clarity to bring out the texture. If nothing else, the colour contrast will get people looking at the photo!

On the road to Maymand, Iran.
Fujifilm X-T3, Fujinon XF200mm f2 R LM OIS WR, f5 @ 1/3000 second, ISO 200

Over the years, I've always felt rather lucky with the weather, but I'm wondering if it's just the city-slicker in me who is so out of touch with Mother Nature that I'm pleasantly surprised every time I venture out!

Down in Antarctica earlier this year, I remember watching the low pressure systems scream around the continent and thinking how good our chances were of getting some wonderful weather changes (I'm currently using the Windy app on my smartphone). Let's face it, the most exciting landscapes are taken when the weather is doing something a little unusual - or at least different to that boring blue sky shown in all the travel brochures.

More recently, I've had snow storms in the USA and Georgia, huge thunderstorms in Kazakhstan and in Iran, we followed some heavy rain systems which produced a completely different desert vista. Normally when travelling in these areas, the flat salt pans are dry and dusty, but for our trip, we were presented with a thin film of water and some wonderful reflections. Given this is a desert area, it can't be that common, but then again, is it that rare?

So, are we lucky or is it just that in many parts of the world, the weather is changeable? If you take a two or three week road trip, is there a very good chance you'll cross some interesting weather patterns and then it's just a matter of being prepared?

This photo was taken with a 200mm lens (300mm full-frame equivalent) and then the image cropped top and bottom to create a more appropriate framing. I like the 'width' in the composition. The foreground sands were darkened, colour-enhanced and I also added a little clarity to bring out the texture. If nothing else, the colour contrast will get people looking at the photo!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Iran https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/7/are-we-lucky-with-the-weather Mon, 06 Jul 2020 11:04:11 GMT
Where Do You Crop? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/6/where-do-you-crop Wangdue Phodrang, BhutanWangdue Phodrang, BhutanWangdue Phodrang, Bhutan

Wangdue Phodrang, Bhutan
Phase One XF 150MP, 240mm Schneider Krueznach, f5.6 @ 1/2500 second, ISO 125

Cropping and framing can be difficult decisions to make. On my last trip to Bhutan with David Oliver and an intrepid band of photographers, I set myself a new task: to shoot with black and white in mind. Obviously with a digital camera, my captures are in colour, but it's an easy matter to convert to black and white during processing.

This photo had very little colour in it to start with, so it was a natural to convert to monochrome. The strong rim lighting on the distant dzong (temple) and the houses at its feet was made for a telephoto lens and I love the hint of a road coming in from the bottom left corner.

On the one hand, I think it's quite a simple composition. Essentially there are two lines: a middle diagonal which starts with the road and runs up the hill to the houses top right; the second is the line that leads from left to the centre where the dzong sits. I like the lines, but I'm unsure where to crop - or if I leave it as it is?

I know there's a photo in there, but I'm not sure if I should keep the road in: would the photo be stronger if cropped from the bottom because the road is a distraction? Or perhaps the buildings and trees on the top right are distracting, complicating the otherwise solitary strength of the dzong? Should I crop them out, but if I do, is the dzong too close to the edge of the frame? Or do I just crop some of them out? Or optionally, I have also shot this with a much wider lens - do I process that and include more of the road on the left and the village on the right?

I haven't made up my mind yet, but the current framing is in one of the three photo books on Bhutan that I'm designing up, primarily for myself. The books all laid out, but I hear that Momento Pro has been pretty busy recently, so I'm happily sitting on it for a little longer until I'm completely happy.

And making decisions like these is what I love about the process of photography. So much can happen after the initial capture, if you'll just give it time. #ilovepostproduction

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bhutan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/6/where-do-you-crop Fri, 19 Jun 2020 01:09:11 GMT
Upcoming Webinars https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/6/upcoming-webinars Gullfoss, Iceland -Gullfoss, Iceland -

Gullfoss, Iceland - shot on my 2019 Better Moments workshop.
Phase One XF 150MP, 240mm Schneider-Kreuznach, f11 @ 1/8 second, ISO 50

Interested in knowing a little more about two cold places, or is it cold enough where you are already (it certainly is in Sydney just now)? And who knows when we're going to be able to travel again freely - but we will certainly be travelling again!

I have two webinars coming up and you're invited.

The first is this Sunday 7 June at 7.00 pm AEST (Sydney) - which is 12.00 pm MET (Middle European Time) - and it is being hosted by Better Moments. I work with Christian Norgaard who has a photo travel company with a great name, but we are not related. We're going to talk about photographing Iceland! We may have a workshop in Iceland later this year (the end of September), or it could be postponed until next year - who knows! But the webinar is on for sure. And you don't have to come to Iceland with us to find the webinar interesting (but you'd be most welcome)!

You can see what we have planned and book a place here: https://www.better-moments.com/free-webinars/

The second webinar is with Phase One. I've been asked to talk about taking medium format equipment to the polar regions - how to get it there, how to use it, the tricks to watch out for. And I'll be showing a series of images taken on my recent voyages to Antarctica as well. It will be on at 4.30 pm on Thursday 11 June.

You can see what is planned and book a place here: https://go.phaseone.com/P1-EN-2020-05-26-Peter-Eastway-webinar-v2_01Signupforwebinar.html

It seems that webinars are going to become a lot more common in the future, so why not join us and see what it's all about!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Iceland https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/6/upcoming-webinars Thu, 04 Jun 2020 23:45:55 GMT
Little White Islands of Snow https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/5/little-white-islands-of-snow Melchior Islands 01Melchior Islands 01Late Season, Antarctica 2020

Little White Islands of Snow, Antarctica
Phase One XF 150MP, 240mm Schneider, f4.5 @ 1/1600 second, ISO 800

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a photo which I suggested wouldn't win any photo competitions, but commented that I liked it anyway! My blogs are posted onto Facebook as well as my www.petereastway.com website, so they get a bit of traction - including a few comments that agreed with me and suggested we need better judges.

Now, that's a problem!

To start with, I'm one of those judges and, if you ask me, the photo above (and the one I posted previously) would not win a photo competition. They might be accepted, given a Silver Award or get into the top 20% of entries, but they are unlikely to come first. And as a judge, I wouldn't give them first prize, either.

But I still love the photo. It has lots of emotional baggage for me. I love small, snow covered islands. I remember the cold wind as we stood on the ship's deck, approaching Antarctica for the first time that voyage. And I love the light.

However, the point I was trying to make (perhaps unsuccessfully) is that not every photo we create needs to be something that everyone else in the world loves. I know I get a lot of likes and loves on social media (and thank you for doing so), but there are also a lot of people who just click past because my photo doesn't do anything for them. And that's okay!

We can't control how people react to our work. Now, while it would be untrue to say I've given up caring what other people think, I am training myself to accept that there are all sorts of views out there and not to worry too much about the 'negatives'. On the other hand, sometimes judges have made negative comments about my work which have been really instructive and useful. They have helped me become a better photographer - in my opinion. 

We all have opinions and that's a good thing. It's a first step to creating new and original photography, so we certainly don't want everyone agreeing with everyone else - that would be boring. And as for the judges, yes, there are times when judges get it wrong. So do photographers! But if you enjoy the competition process as I do, I think the solution is not to get upset by poor outcomes, but to work out if you're still happy with the photo.

Sometimes my work is criticised, I agree with the judges and the photo is no longer a 'favourite'. But if I still love a photo after it has bombed in a competition, then that to me is a mark of success.

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Antarctica https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/5/little-white-islands-of-snow Wed, 27 May 2020 00:39:32 GMT
How Minimalist Can You Go? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/5/how-minimalist-can-you-go Weddell Sea Study 03Weddell Sea Study 03Late Season, Antarctica 2020

Iceberg, Weddell Sea, Antarctica
Phase One XF 150MP, 110mm Schneider, f4 @ 1/1000 second, ISO 50

I would probably never enter this photo into a competition, yet I love it! In front of a judging panel, I'd suggest it is too quiet, too subtle to elicit much response. It hasn't got the impact of a competition winner, but that's okay. It is going to look sensational in my Late Season photo book, which I'm about to send off to Momento Pro. It is a 420mm square book based on my Middlehurst book - and all I have left to finish is the cover!

So, why do I love this photo so much? It was shot from the ship as we slowly sailed south into the Weddell Sea, always mindful that this is where Shackleton and Hurley were stranded on the Endurance (which didn't). While I was blissfully oblivious to the icy awareness of our captain as we ventured down towards Snow Hill Island, I was fully connected with the almost windless sea, the low cloud and the surreal 'icescapes' around us. 

It was magical.

And it was very minimal. The water reflected the mist above and it is only along the central line of the frame that anything is happening. Above and below, all is quiet. And in a big print, you can see all the detailed layering in the iceberg, which I have accentuated with a little clarity and sharpening.

No doubt this photograph does more for me and the other passengers on board who experienced this wonderful morning because it brings back memories. Having said that, I can't remember if it was completely silent - I'm sure it wasn't with the buzz of other passengers on deck - but that's the feeling I had as I looked out. That's the memory I have now as I write about it.

I have some wonderfully wild and dramatic landscape from Antarctica and I think they work all the better when you can compare them to scenes like this. And that's what a photo book or a slide presentation allow us to do that a single print cannot: tell more of a story.

And a small announcement for subscribers to my Landscape Photography MasterClass. I have added in a 19th chapter which provides a series of 8 movies on capture techniques, everything from understanding the histogram and bracketing, to stitching and focus stacking. And if you're not yet a subscriber, now's your chance - you can check the free lessons out at www.betterphotographyeducation.com.

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Antarctica https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/5/how-minimalist-can-you-go Mon, 11 May 2020 00:36:22 GMT
No Place Like Home! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/4/no-place-like-home Water Boat Study, Half Moon Island 01Water Boat Study, Half Moon Island 01Water Boat, Half Moon Island, Antarctica. Find Wally!

Phase One XF 150MP, 55mm Schneider, f8 @ 1/160 second, ISO 50

I'm home! You may have read about the travails of the Greg Mortimer and her passengers returning from Antarctica to Uruguay, then to Melbourne by charter flight for a further two weeks isolation - and finally home! And it's great to be home because friends ring you up and give you a hard time - in the best Australian tradition!

In fact, Gary rang me while I was in Melbourne to say he'd checked out my recent Antarctica 2020 portfolio on my personal website (https://www.petereastway.com/p428017922). He was very complimentary. He also suggested the weather I had was superior to the weather we had experienced a year or so previously when we traveled there together - and I had to agree with him. I think the weather on these two voyages was superb.

And then he asked me why I had left my camera bag in one of the photos.

Now, I imagine as you're reading this, one of two things has happened. Like Gary, you're nodding your head and thinking what an idiot Eastway is for leaving his camera bag in the photo. Or like me, you had to have another look at the photo above to see if there is a camera bag there.

Well, to my embarrassment, there is!

It is so obvious on the one hand and so beautifully camouflaged on the other. I have lovingly processed this photo, removed a couple of passengers in the background, and even dropped it into an InDesign document for the book I plan to print on Antarctica - called Late Season.

That's what I love about being home! Lots of calls and contacts from friends and family. And over the past month or so, many people have reached out to say hello. Thank you! It has meant a lot to me. And thank you Gary. The cost of the art book I plan to print is not inexpensive, so you have saved me a costly reprint! Even if you did seem to enjoy pointing it out just a bit too much. But that's what I love about being home!

If you're interested in listening to a podcast on my voyage down south, check out the Light Minded podcasts - https://www.buzzsprout.com/327884. There's lots of good listening for our days of isolation.

Now, be honest. Did you see the camera bag when you first looked at the photo?

Water Boat, Half Moon Island, Antarctica. Find Wally!
Phase One XF 150MP, 55mm Schneider, f8 @ 1/160 second, ISO 50

I'm home! You may have read about the travails of the Greg Mortimer and her passengers returning from Antarctica to Uruguay, then to Melbourne by charter flight for a further two weeks isolation - and finally home! And it's great to be home because friends ring you up and give you a hard time - in the best Australian tradition!

In fact, Gary rang me while I was in Melbourne to say he'd checked out my recent Antarctica 2020 portfolio on my personal website (https://www.petereastway.com/p428017922). He was very complimentary. He also suggested the weather I had was superior to the weather we had experienced a year or so previously when we traveled there together - and I had to agree with him. I think the weather on these two voyages was superb.

And then he asked me why I had left my camera bag in one of the photos.

Now, I imagine as you're reading this, one of two things has happened. Like Gary, you're nodding your head and thinking what an idiot Eastway is for leaving his camera bag in the photo. Or like me, you had to have another look at the photo above to see if there is a camera bag there.

Well, to my embarrassment, there is!

It is so obvious on the one hand and so beautifully camouflaged on the other. I have lovingly processed this photo, removed a couple of passengers in the background, and even dropped it into an InDesign document for the book I plan to print on Antarctica - called Late Season

That's what I love about being home! Lots of calls and contacts from friends and family. And over the past month or so, many people have reached out to say hello. Thank you! It has meant a lot to me. And thank you Gary. The cost of the art book I plan to print is not inexpensive, so you have saved me a costly reprint! Even if you did seem to enjoy pointing it out just a bit too much. But that's what I love about being home!

If you're interested in listening to a podcast on my voyage down south, check out the Light Minded podcasts - https://www.buzzsprout.com/327884. There's lots of good listening for our days of isolation.

Now, be honest. Did you see the camera bag when you first looked at the photo?

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Antarctica Half Moon Island https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/4/no-place-like-home Wed, 29 Apr 2020 00:45:00 GMT
Is This A Portrait? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/4/is-this-a-portrait Neko Harbour Landscape 03Neko Harbour Landscape 03Late Season, Antarctica 2020

Ian Goodwin, Glaciologist, Marine Climatologist and Geologist. Neko Harbour, Antarctica.
Phase One XF 150MP, 240mm Schneider lens, f5.6 @ 1/1000, ISO 64

Ian Goodwin was walking up the ice above Neko Harbour, ensuring there were no crevasses for our passengers to fall into. I was on a zodiac a kilometre or more away (distances are weird down south because the air is so clear) and I could see him walking into a patch of sunshine. I took a few frames. Then I got onto the radio. "Ian, Ian, Ian - Peter." "Yes, Peter." "Can you stop and wave please - oh, and don't forget to smile!"

And because Ian is good-natured, he stopped, but I couldn't tell if he was smiling or grimacing. Not from this distance. And not on the photo either. In fact, you're probably reading this and wondering where the hell Ian is in the frame. The answer is up the very top right of the triangle of sunshine. You can see a black vertical mark, but if you look a little more to the left, there's a smaller vertical mark and that's Ian.

Of course, on a large print, Ian can be easily seen. He tells me he wants a large print, but he's questioning my choice of a square crop. I actually like the rectangular crop as well, but this edit was produced for the Antarctica book I hope to get printed shortly with Momento Pro.

So, is this a portrait? Ian thinks it is. He says he loves how it talks about what he has done with his life. Stealing from The Conversation website (https://theconversation.com/profiles/ian-goodwin-727595), Ian has 40 years research experience in the fields of climatology, paleoclimatology, polar glaciology, climate change science, coastal and marine geoscience, coastal oceanography, and maritime prehistory. He has spent a lot of time in Antarctica. And until recently, he was an Associate Professor of Marine Climate and leader of the Marine Climate Risk and Austral Glacier Research Groups at Macquarie University. Ian is also the principal scientist of the consultancy ClimaLab, and a Shipboard Glaciologist and Climatologist with Aurora Expeditions. And most importantly for his CV, he went to school with me 40 years ago!

But is it a portrait? What constitutes a portrait? Who decides? Without Ian in the frame, it's certainly a landscape. But how big does your subject have to be before a landscape can become an environmental portrait?

I've decided it's a portrait. You can have a think while you're in lock down with the rest of us!

As I come to the end of my isolation down in a Melbourne hotel, and seeing quite a few readers have taken advantage of my 'at home with nothing to do' offer, let's keep it open over the weekend. If you'd like to upgrade your skills while at home, how about signing up to my Landscape Photography MasterClass or my Lightroom Atelier? I'll put a 50% discount on them if you use the coupon code CORONA. Visit our sister website at www.betterphotographyeducation.com for free samples.

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Antarctica Neko Harbour https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/4/is-this-a-portrait Fri, 24 Apr 2020 00:45:00 GMT
Picking Your Seasons https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/4/picking-your-seasons Port Charcot in Snow 01Port Charcot in Snow 01Late Season, Antarctica 2020

Late Season snow shower, Port Charcot, Antarctica
Phase One IQ4 150MP, 55mm Schneider lens, f5.6 @ 1/25 second, ISO 100 hand held

No matter where you travel in the world (and I realise we are not travelling at all just at the moment, but things will get back to a new normal eventually, one has to believe), the season in which you travel can have a big impact. In Australia, for instance, the Red Centre might look much the same in any particular season, but it's certainly more comfortable in winter. In Bhutan, the seasons produce dramatically different landscapes, especially the cultivated rice paddies which change from grey to green to yellow as the year progresses. There are also 'human' seasons with annual festivals punctuating the calendar and any trip to Bhutan needs to take them into account.

And so it is with Antarctica. Travel to Antarctica is between October and March and there can be definite differences. For instance, there's usually more snow around in October and November, but not always. And there's usually less snow in February and March, but that doesn't mean you can't have a snow storm. In terms of wildlife, the seasons have an impact on the number of penguins you see. Early in the season there are lots, but the rookeries are not full. In the middle of the season - say December to February - you're assured of seeing maximum penguin numbers and lots of penguin chicks. However, by the time March rolls around, most of the penguins have gone out to sea to feed and the rookeries can be relatively empty - but if you've never been to Antarctica before, you'll still be amazed at the number of penguins you see.

So, picking your seasons to visit a location is and isn't important. There will no doubt be differences, but I find that no matter what the season, there's always something great to photograph. Photography is as much about your personal attitude as anything else.

My two voyages to Antarctica this year were my first in March - the late season. From a landscape perspective, I found it to be the most beautiful I have experienced, the most visually stunning. You can see my portfolio at https://www.petereastway.com/p428017922.

And a personal update: Thanks to everyone who has reached out upon my return to Australia. I am now into my second week of isolation in a Melbourne hotel, so not long until I finally go home. I am comfortable, I can order in Woolworths and UberEats, and I've had lots of time to work on photos and update my website. For instance, I am adding new material to the Landscape Photography MasterClass, some simple 'lectures' on basic camera technique which I feel is missing from the original course. And I'm working on a new edition of 'How To Win Photo Competitions'. 

And quite a few readers have responded to my 'at home with nothing to do' offer. If you'd like to upgrade your skills while at home, how about signing up to my Landscape Photography MasterClass or my Lightroom Atelier? I'll put a 50% discount on them if you use the coupon code CORONA - for this week only! Visit our sister website at www.betterphotographyeducation.com for free samples.

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Antartica Port Charcot https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/4/picking-your-seasons Mon, 20 Apr 2020 00:45:00 GMT
More Love For Shallow Depth-of-Field https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/4/more-love-for-shallow-depth-of-field Crabeater Seal Paradise BayCrabeater Seal Paradise BayLate Season, Antarctica 2020

Weddell Seal, Paradise Bay, Antarctica
Fujifilm X-T3, XF200mmF2 R LM OIS WR, f2.5 @ 1/5800 second, ISO 160

I will probably never make it as a real nature photographer. For me, just as important as the animal depicted are the composition, light and gesture of the subject. I don't see my role as documenting an animal that is already very well known and extensively studied. Instead, I look for ways of depicting the animal as a part of its environment, without worrying about anatomical correctness or including the whole body.

What I loved about this opportunity was how the seal's face was tack-sharp, while the background was like an oil painting. So at the risk of repeating myself (as I wrote about shallow depth-of-field recently), this is easily achieved if you have three things working for you.

First, you need a telephoto lens. Telephotos produce inherently shallow depth-of-field. My 200mm on the Fujifilm X-T3 is the equivalent of a 300mm on a full-frame camera.

Second, you should use a wide aperture. In this case I used f2.5 and although I was using an f2.0 lens, my exposure at f2.0 (wide open) kept clipping with a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000 second and an ISO of 160. Thinking about it, I could have switched to the electronic shutter and then I could have had even shallower depth-of-field at f2.0 and 1/16,000 second.

Third, get in close to your subject. We all know how shallow depth-of-field is for macro photography and this is just an extension of the same optical law. The closer you are to your subject, the shallower the depth-of-field. The seal is perhaps five metres away from me and I'm sitting in a zodiac, floating past the iceberg upon which the seal was snoozing.

But I think the trick to remember is getting in close to your subject. You won't get this type of effect if your subject and focus are positioned a long way away at infinity. 

And for those who are interested, I'm off the Greg Mortimer and back in Australia, detained in a Melbourne hotel with a guard outside my door to make sure I don't leave for two weeks! So, I'm settling into the isolation period with lots of work to do and plenty to keep me occupied! And like everyone else in the world, I'm waiting to see what happens next!

Are you at home with nothing to do? How about signing up to my Landscape Photography MasterClass or my Lightroom Atelier. I'll put a 50% discount on them if you use the coupon code CORONA - for this week only! Visit our sister website at www.betterphotographyeducation.com for free samples.

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Antarctica Paradise Bay Weddell Seal https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/4/more-love-for-shallow-depth-of-field Wed, 15 Apr 2020 01:00:00 GMT
Thanks To Uruguay https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/4/thanks-to-uruguay Foyn Harbour Weather Study 02Foyn Harbour Weather Study 02Late Season, Antarctica 2020

Islet, Foyn Harbour, Gerlache Strait, Antarctica
Phase One XF 150MP, Schneider Kreuznach LS 240mm f4.5, f4.5 @ 1/1250 second, ISO 500

As I write this on Good Friday, we’re waiting to fly home to Australia from Uruguay. I’ve been on board the Greg Mortimer for over a month now, which was always the plan. What wasn’t in the plan was an outbreak of COVID-19 on the ship and, after the wonders of Antarctica, spending the past two weeks in isolation off the coast of Montevideo.

Fortunately for most of the passengers, their cabins have sliding doors and balconies, so there is some solace with fresh air and sunlight. And we also have to thank the Uruguayan government for their hospitality.

Initially we were refused entry to Uruguay due to the world-wide worries about COVID-19. Argentina and the Falklands had also closed their borders for the same reasons, so Uruguay was not alone and while we were disappointed, we understood.

However, we also had nowhere to go. There wasn’t any point sailing elsewhere if all the borders were being closed. We were in limbo, but comfortable and well fed.

A couple of our passengers became very ill and Uruguay took them ashore and put them in hospital. The Uruguay authorities also provided a replacement doctor as both our ship doctors had become ill. And now they are providing us with permission to fly back home from Montevideo, even though they are treating everyone on board as being COVID-19 positive.

What struck me was how friendly and accommodating the Uruguayans have been, from the medical teams who checked us out to the sailors on the barge delivering supplies and waving to us as they left. And just now, a Uruguayan navy plane, while circling over our ship, radioed the captain to say farewell and to wish us all the best on our flight back home. How nice was that!

We leave 16 non-Australian and New Zealand passengers on board, with plans to get them home to Europe and the USA as soon as possible. The ship’s crew will also remain and continue back to their home ports. And both the Australian government and Aurora Expeditions have been wonderful in the way they have navigated what must have been a giant bureaucratic challenge.

It’s very easy to complain about being inconvenienced, but to be honest, I am incredibly grateful to all the people who have helped bring us home. Thank you.

And the best news of all? I have a window seat on the flight tonight!

So, what about the photo? This was not taken in Uruguay! However, I’ve spent some very enjoyable hours, processing my Phase One and Fujifilm files on my Wacom MobileStudio Pro and backed up on LaCie’s Rugged SSD Pro drives, so it was hard just to choose one. The photo was taken on the first voyage in early March as we steamed out of Foyn Harbour. The little island peeking through the clouds kept me and a couple of other photographers entertained for over an hour, the fading light and clouds continually changing as we passed by. I just love the stormy feeling – a real Antarctic sky late in the season.

 

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Antarctica Foyn Harbour Gerlache Strait https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/4/thanks-to-uruguay Sat, 11 Apr 2020 01:00:00 GMT
Is Backlight Your Favourite Too? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/3/is-backlight-your-favourite-too Aspen Grove, Boulder Mountain, Utah, USAAspen Grove, Boulder Mountain, Utah, USAPhase One XF with 150MP IQ4, 240mm Schneider lens

What do you do when the sun is higher in the sky than you'd like? Photographers enjoy shooting at the ends of the day because of the beautiful quality of light raking across the landscape (side lighting), but it doesn't take too long before mid-morning takes over and the light loses its magic.

One option is to shoot in black and white. Another is to head to the mountains because you can usually find an angled slope that is side lit. The third is to look for back lighting - where you point the camera into the light and hope your lens shade is up to the task!

By the time we reached this part of Boulder Mountain on our recent American South West photo tour with Tony Hewitt, the sun was hotter than I'd like for the 'big views', but it was perfect for detailed angles such as this. Three things make the image work (in my opinion).

First, there's the backlighting. You can see from the shadows on the ground that the sun is up to the right, so it's slightly angled. The light doesn't have to be perfectly 'behind' your subject to be termed 'back light'.

Second, behind the stand of trees is a dark background in shadow. The tonality of the background is important because it allows the lightly toned trees to be more visible.

And third, the wonder that comes from landscape in the snow, is the fill lighting provided. In a non-snow environment, the tree trunks would appear a lot darker and the 'rim lighting' around the trunks would be more obvious. However, there is so much light bouncing around in this scene that the trunks are lit up, allowing me to create a relatively 'high key' rendition (light tonal values).

Some of my favourite shots taken on photo tours aren't of the iconic landmarks we advertise in our brochures, but little images found on the road that simply take my breath away.

Aspen Grove, Boulder Mountain, Utah, USA
Phase One XF with 150MP IQ4, 240mm Schneider lens

What do you do when the sun is higher in the sky than you'd like? Photographers enjoy shooting at the ends of the day because of the beautiful quality of light raking across the landscape (side lighting), but it doesn't take too long before mid-morning takes over and the light loses its magic.

One option is to shoot in black and white. Another is to head to the mountains because you can usually find an angled slope that is side lit. The third is to look for back lighting - where you point the camera into the light and hope your lens shade is up to the task!

By the time we reached this part of Boulder Mountain on our recent American South West photo tour with Tony Hewitt, the sun was hotter than I'd like for the 'big views', but it was perfect for detailed angles such as this. Three things make the image work (in my opinion).

First, there's the backlighting. You can see from the shadows on the ground that the sun is up to the right, so it's slightly angled. The light doesn't have to be perfectly 'behind' your subject to be termed 'back light'.

Second, behind the stand of trees is a dark background in shadow. The tonality of the background is important because it allows the lightly toned trees to be more visible.

And third, the wonder that comes from landscape in the snow, is the fill lighting provided. In a non-snow environment, the tree trunks would appear a lot darker and the 'rim lighting' around the trunks would be more obvious. However, there is so much light bouncing around in this scene that the trunks are lit up, allowing me to create a relatively 'high key' rendition (light tonal values).

Some of my favourite shots taken on photo tours aren't of the iconic landmarks we advertise in our brochures, but little images found on the road that simply take my breath away.

If you're interested in joining me and Tony Hewitt in the USA, keep an eye on these newsletters as we're working on our next trip for February or March next year. Optionally, email Kim (kim@betterphotography.com) and ask her to add you to the list and we'll let you know once the details are finalised. We're thinking about Yellowstone!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Aspen Grove Boulder Mountain USA Utah https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/3/is-backlight-your-favourite-too Mon, 16 Mar 2020 01:23:00 GMT
Is This The Perfect Mountain Stack? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/3/is-this-the-perfect-mountain-stack Grand Canyon, USAGrand Canyon, USAPhase One XF with 150MP IQ4, 240mm Schneider lens with 2X converter

I think I have photographed this scene half a dozen times before, but every time I visit the Grand Canyon, I'm drawn to photographing it once again. The force is simply irresistable, but no matter how hard I look for something else, I still have to capture this subject - the back lit ranges at sunset.

I think this is my best angle yet. There are a couple of dozen outlooks along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and on my recent photo tour with Tony Hewitt, for the first time we spent two nights next to the biggest hole in the Earth. That gave us two sunrises and two sunsets and we spent the time carefully, looking for angles and taking the time to work on our compositions. I'm very proud of myself because I took quite a few frames which included the sky.

Skies can be immensely problematic for me, but that's another story. Here, my challenge is using contrast and clarity invisibly, which I haven't quite achieved here. At first glance, you probably didn't think much of the technique, but hopefully you enjoyed the image. But look at it more closely. See how the ranges at the top of the image are more punctuated than those below. I've used clarity across the whole image, but probably I would have been better to use it locally. For instance, I think I could have less clarity up the top, but I need more clarity down the bottom. This can be done selectively with layers.

And if I can get away without using clarity, I do. Contrast is sometimes a good option, but not always. So, what's the problem with clarity? Clarity works a little like sharpening, in that the dark side of an edge is made darker and the light side lighter. This can create 'haloes' and if you look back to the main image, you can see a hint of a large halo around the central mountain top. That's what I would like to remove when I get around to properly finishing this image.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying a completely different landscape down in Antarctica with Aurora Expeditions!

If you're interested in joining me and Tony Hewitt in the USA, keep an eye on these newsletters as we're working on our next trip for February or March next year. Optionally, email Kim (kim@betterphotography.com) and ask her to add you to the list and we'll let you know once the details are finalised. We're thinking about Yellowstone!

Grand Canyon
Phase One XF with 150MP IQ4, 240mm Schneider lens with 2X converter

I think I have photographed this scene half a dozen times before, but every time I visit the Grand Canyon, I'm drawn to photographing it once again. The force is simply irresistable, but no matter how hard I look for something else, I still have to capture this subject - the back lit ranges at sunset.

I think this is my best angle yet. There are a couple of dozen outlooks along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and on my recent photo tour with Tony Hewitt, for the first time we spent two nights next to the biggest hole in the Earth. That gave us two sunrises and two sunsets and we spent the time carefully, looking for angles and taking the time to work on our compositions. I'm very proud of myself because I took quite a few frames which included the sky.

Skies can be immensely problematic for me, but that's another story. Here, my challenge is using contrast and clarity invisibly, which I haven't quite achieved here. At first glance, you probably didn't think much of the technique, but hopefully you enjoyed the image. But look at it more closely. See how the ranges at the top of the image are more punctuated than those below. I've used clarity across the whole image, but probably I would have been better to use it locally. For instance, I think I could have less clarity up the top, but I need more clarity down the bottom. This can be done selectively with layers.

And if I can get away without using clarity, I do. Contrast is sometimes a good option, but not always. So, what's the problem with clarity? Clarity works a little like sharpening, in that the dark side of an edge is made darker and the light side lighter. This can create 'haloes' and if you look back to the main image, you can see a hint of a large halo around the central mountain top. That's what I would like to remove when I get around to properly finishing this image.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying a completely different landscape down in Antarctica with Aurora Expeditions!

If you're interested in joining me and Tony Hewitt in the USA, keep an eye on these newsletters as we're working on our next trip for February or March next year. Optionally, email Kim (kim@betterphotography.com) and ask her to add you to the list and we'll let you know once the details are finalised. We're thinking about Yellowstone!

]]>
eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Grand Canyon USA https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/3/is-this-the-perfect-mountain-stack Tue, 10 Mar 2020 23:00:00 GMT
Are Pastels The Next Big Thing? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/3/are-pastels-the-next-big-thing Artist Point, Monument ValleyArtist Point, Monument ValleyPhase One XF with 150MP IQ4, 110mm Schneider lens

Many new cameras have Backside Illuminated (BSI) sensors. Certainly cameras using Sony sensors do - like Sony, Nikon and Phase One. In my mind, they are definitely different to the earlier CMOS sensors. Now, I'm writing this based on my experience with Phase One, but looking at friends' files with Sony and Nikon, there are similarities in the 'purity' of colour.

Purity might be a funny way to describe colour - surely the colour in our files depends on the subjects we are photographing and this is very true. However, it's also how those colours are rendered by the sensor and I'm finding my colours are 'purer'. There's less 'black' or 'dirt' mixed in. Whether this is natural or not doesn't really matter to me, it is simply another aspect I can play with.

As I process my files, I'm finding I like less contrast than I used to. I like lighter tones more than I used to. And I like the pastel palette more than I used to. Are these changes happening in me due to other external factors? Am I just getting bored with the old way I processed my work? Or are the new sensors giving me an opportunity to develop a new style?

On my recent photo tour of South West USA with Tony Hewitt, we visited Monument Valley once again. This location at Artist Point was completely different to the previous year when it was covered in snow! Yet despite the incredibly rich reds and oranges in the scene at sunrise, I found myself treading lightly with the edit. I have a little more work to do to take it to its final position, but I think you can see a softer, lighter touch to the colours and contrast.

Is this something worth exploring in your own work? Or is seeing this enough to keep you on your own path and steer away from Eastway-like influences?

If you're interested in joining me and Tony Hewitt in the USA, keep an eye on these newsletters as we're working on our next trip for February or March next year. Optionally, email Kim (kim@betterphotography.com) and ask her to add you to the list and we'll let you know once the details are finalised. We're thinking about Yellowstone!

Artist Point, Monument Valley
Phase One XF with 150MP IQ4, 110mm Schneider lens

Many new cameras have Backside Illuminated (BSI) sensors. Certainly cameras using Sony sensors do - like Sony, Nikon and Phase One. In my mind, they are definitely different to the earlier CMOS sensors. Now, I'm writing this based on my experience with Phase One, but looking at friends' files with Sony and Nikon, there are similarities in the 'purity' of colour.

Purity might be a funny way to describe colour - surely the colour in our files depends on the subjects we are photographing and this is very true. However, it's also how those colours are rendered by the sensor and I'm finding my colours are 'purer'. There's less 'black' or 'dirt' mixed in. Whether this is natural or not doesn't really matter to me, it is simply another aspect I can play with.

As I process my files, I'm finding I like less contrast than I used to. I like lighter tones more than I used to. And I like the pastel palette more than I used to. Are these changes happening in me due to other external factors? Am I just getting bored with the old way I processed my work? Or are the new sensors giving me an opportunity to develop a new style?

On my recent photo tour of South West USA with Tony Hewitt, we visited Monument Valley once again. This location at Artist Point was completely different to the previous year when it was covered in snow! Yet despite the incredibly rich reds and oranges in the scene at sunrise, I found myself treading lightly with the edit. I have a little more work to do to take it to its final position, but I think you can see a softer, lighter touch to the colours and contrast.

Is this something worth exploring in your own work? Or is seeing this enough to keep you on your own path and steer away from Eastway-like influences?

If you're interested in joining me and Tony Hewitt in the USA, keep an eye on these newsletters as we're working on our next trip for February or March next year. Optionally, email Kim (kim@betterphotography.com) and ask her to add you to the list and we'll let you know once the details are finalised. We're thinking about Yellowstone!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Artist Point Monument Valley USA https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/3/are-pastels-the-next-big-thing Sun, 08 Mar 2020 23:00:00 GMT
In Defence of Pure Black https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/3/in-defence-of-pure-black Capitol Reef, USACapitol Reef, USA

Capitol Reef
Phase One A-Series with 150MP IQ4, 23mm Alpagon lens

Camera manufacturers provide us with warnings when our exposures are too light or too dark. We can often set our LCD screens and even our editing software to blink at us if we have areas of pure white or pure black. 

This is good information to have because, generally speaking, we want to have some blacks and whites, but more important is a range of tones in between. However, this isn't to say we should never have areas of black or white.

A look at the old black and white photographs of the masters, like Ansel Adams and Irving Penn, will reveal wonderfully emotive photographs full of rich blacks and detailless shadows. It seems today that we're almost scared of using blacks anymore.

In the image above, I've processed the file to intentionally produce areas of pure black. It's these blacks that give the rock face its strength and impact. Compare it to a more conventionally processed file (below) where I have endeavoured to include detail throughout.

 

To my mind, this is not nearly as effective as the top photo. Blacks, it would appear, can be a good thing. If you are brave enough to use them!

If you're interested in joining me and Tony Hewitt in the USA, keep an eye on these newsletters as we're working on our next trip for February or March next year. Optionally, email Kim (kim@betterphotography.com) and ask her to add you to the list and we'll let you know once the details are finalised. We're thinking about Yellowstone!

 

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Capitol Reef USA https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/3/in-defence-of-pure-black Mon, 02 Mar 2020 23:00:00 GMT
Bu%%er Everyone Else! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/2/bu-er-everyone-else Fences near Middlehurst, New ZealandFences near Middlehurst, New ZealandPhase One XF with IQ4 150MP back, 80mm Schneider lens, f4 @ 1/2500 second, ISO 400

What I love about the art photography workshop I do with Tony Hewitt over in Middlehurst is that we teach people to please themselves. With my background in magazine publishing and photography competitions, a lot of my life is spent trying to second guess what other people will like. Maybe you're a bit the same with your photography, trying to create images that will not only please you, but please others as well.

But back to Middlehurst and the key message we try to get across: we have no control over what others think about our photography. None. Oh, sure, we can post a pretty sunset on Instagram and get thousands of likes, but what about all the people who didn't like it? What about the few who may even make a negative comment, suggesting you could be more imaginative next time!

In this wonderful life of social connectedness, we're discovering just how diverse our individual opinions really are. I guess politicians have always known how hard it is to keep everyone happy and it's no different when it comes to photography. However, unlike politicians who we naively hope are still trying to make us happy, photographers don't have to give a bu%%er about anyone else. Just take photos and do it for yourself!

It doesn't mean you don't post photos on Instagram and look for likes. It doesn't mean you don't enter competitions and lament the low scores because some judge (who is obviously a Philistine) gave you a low score! But it does mean you keep a little part of you to the side, a part that takes photos for yourself and to hell with everyone else.

Here's my photo. While many aerials work because of strong contrast and colour, I'm loving the delicate pastels and the simple composition. The black ants are cows, the white is a dusting of snow and the lines are paddock fences.

So, do I hope you like it?

To find out, sign up for our Middlehurst art photography workshop. We've put on a second week and we have places available. And the price is likely to increase next year, so now is the time!

For more information, visit the Better Photography website or click here: https://www.betterphotography.com/online-shop/workshop-seminars/workshops/middlehurst2020b-detail

Fences near Middlehurst, New Zealand
Phase One XF with IQ4 150MP back, 80mm Schneider lens, f4 @ 1/2500 second, ISO 400

What I love about the art photography workshop I do with Tony Hewitt over in Middlehurst is that we teach people to please themselves. With my background in magazine publishing and photography competitions, a lot of my life is spent trying to second guess what other people will like. Maybe you're a bit the same with your photography, trying to create images that will not only please you, but please others as well.

But back to Middlehurst and the key message we try to get across: we have no control over what others think about our photography. None. Oh, sure, we can post a pretty sunset on Instagram and get thousands of likes, but what about all the people who didn't like it? What about the few who may even make a negative comment, suggesting you could be more imaginative next time!

In this wonderful life of social connectedness, we're discovering just how diverse our individual opinions really are. I guess politicians have always known how hard it is to keep everyone happy and it's no different when it comes to photography. However, unlike politicians who we naively hope are still trying to make us happy, photographers don't have to give a bu%%er about anyone else. Just take photos and do it for yourself!

It doesn't mean you don't post photos on Instagram and look for likes. It doesn't mean you don't enter competitions and lament the low scores because some judge (who is obviously a Philistine) gave you a low score! But it does mean you keep a little part of you to the side, a part that takes photos for yourself and to hell with everyone else.

Here's my photo. While many aerials work because of strong contrast and colour, I'm loving the delicate pastels and the simple composition. The black ants are cows, the white is a dusting of snow and the lines are paddock fences.

So, do I hope you like it? 

To find out, sign up for our Middlehurst art photography workshop. We've put on a second week and we have places available. And the price is likely to increase next year, so now is the time! For more information, visit the Better Photography website or click here: https://www.betterphotography.com/online-shop/workshop-seminars/workshops/middlehurst2020b-detail

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Aerials Middlehurst New Zealand Sheep https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/2/bu-er-everyone-else Wed, 19 Feb 2020 06:11:33 GMT
It's Right Not To Be Square https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/2/its-right-not-to-be-square Camp Mansfield, Ny-London, SvalbardCamp Mansfield, Ny-London, SvalbardPhase One A-Series with IQ3 100MP, 23mm Alpagon, f8 @ 30 seconds, ISO 50

Now, before you start hammering me, there is nothing square about Camp Mansfield! Maybe there was fifty or a hundred years ago when it was first built, but the severe Arctic weather has taken its toll and there's nothing completely straight about this anymore. Nothing made of wood, at any rate!

A lot of people think of the Arctic as being all glaciers, fjords and polar bears, but there's so much more to explore. On our last voyage, we dropped into two small villages for a look around. One was inhabited, this one at Ny-London was not. It's the remains of a mining operation and a little further inland you'll find more evidence, but it won't be there for long. It seems every year, the Arctic winter erases a little bit more of the mischief we've inflicted on the land.

For me, the trick to photographing buildings like these is to keep them upright. I want the building to be straight. Of course, I am very influenced by architectural photography and while there's a time and a place for converging verticals, keeping the verticals vertical in photos like this give the subjects more presence. At least, that's how I see it.

To keep the verticals vertical, assuming they are vertical in the first place (or close to, as in this case), all you have to do is keep the camera back vertical as well. Perspective problems arise when you tilt the camera back to fit in the top of the building, so if you find yourself needing to do this, then step back or use a wider angle lens.

At Ny-London, we were also lucky enough to have very soft light. A band of clouds was racing across the sun behind us, producing a soft glow that was picked up by the wooden facades, but missed by the damp ground below. A quiet evening in the Arctic.

The 2020 photo tour to Svalbard is sold out, but you can still join Peter with Aurora Expeditions in 2021 - click here for details.

Camp Mansfield, Ny-London, Svalbard
Phase One A-Series with IQ3 100MP, 23mm Alpagon, f8 @ 30 seconds, ISO 50

Now, before you start hammering me, there is nothing square about Camp Mansfield! Maybe there was fifty or a hundred years ago when it was first built, but the severe Arctic weather has taken its toll and there's nothing completely straight about this anymore. Nothing made of wood, at any rate!

A lot of people think of the Arctic as being all glaciers, fjords and polar bears, but there's so much more to explore. On our last voyage, we dropped into two small villages for a look around. One was inhabited, this one at Ny-London was not. It's the remains of a mining operation and a little further inland you'll find more evidence, but it won't be there for long. It seems every year, the Arctic winter erases a little bit more of the mischief we've inflicted on the land.

For me, the trick to photographing buildings like these is to keep them upright. I want the building to be straight. Of course, I am very influenced by architectural photography and while there's a time and a place for converging verticals, keeping the verticals vertical in photos like this give the subjects more presence. At least, that's how I see it.

To keep the verticals vertical, assuming they are vertical in the first place (or close to, as in this case), all you have to do is keep the camera back vertical as well. Perspective problems arise when you tilt the camera back to fit in the top of the building, so if you find yourself needing to do this, then step back or use a wider angle lens.

At Ny-London, we were also lucky enough to have very soft light. A band of clouds was racing across the sun behind us, producing a soft glow that was picked up by the wooden facades, but missed by the damp ground below. A quiet evening in the Arctic.

The 2020 photo tour to Svalbard is sold out, but you can still join Peter with Aurora Expeditions in 2021 - click here for details.

]]>
eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Aurora Svalbard https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/2/its-right-not-to-be-square Mon, 17 Feb 2020 23:11:10 GMT
The Problem With Puffins! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/1/the-problem-with-puffins Puffin, Fugle Fjord, SvalbardPuffin, Fugle Fjord, SvalbardFujifilm X-H1, XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR, f8 @ 1/650 second, ISO 250

The more nature photography I do, the more I realise how much our subjects move. Even these puffins swimming quietly along on a glassy afternoon needed a reasonably fast shutter speed to freeze the action completely.

For many people, nature photography relies on technical perfection. Not always, but for photos like the samples here, you want your subject to be tack sharp, at least on the eyes and beak where it counts. So, how do you do it?

First up, ensure your lens is focusing properly. When you use a telephoto lens (this was a 100-400mm), it magnifies both your subject and any errors in focusing. So, if the autofocus system locks onto the bird in front, the bird behind might not be sharp. Worse, if the autofocus locks onto the shoulder feathers, the eye may not be sharp. Depth-of-field with telephoto lenses is very shallow, and the closer you are to your subject, the shallower the depth-of-field.

In this situation, I used a single spot autofocus point, which was a struggle because I was shooting from a floating zodiac (which is better than a zodiac that's not floating, of course). Slight movements of other passengers compound the movement of the birds and it can be challenging to keep the autofocus point on the eye of the bird. There were a lot of misses, but I knew this would be the case, so I took LOTS of frames and at least a couple were sharp!

Image stabilisation is also great because it helps keep your camera still, but it doesn't help if the subject itself is moving. At 100% magnification, any movement is a problem, so 1/500 second is probably as slow as you should use for any wildlife photography (conditions permitting), but if I had this opportunity again, I'd go for 1/1000 or even 1/2000 second. Most cameras will work very happily at higher ISO settings, allowing these faster shutter speeds.

You don't always see Puffins up in Svalbard, or so they told me the day before, but no one told the flock of twenty or so Puffins that were swimming not far from our ship!

Puffin, Fugle Fjord, Svalbard
Fujifilm X-H1, XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR, f8 @ 1/650 second, ISO 250

The more nature photography I do, the more I realise how much our subjects move. Even these puffins swimming quietly along on a glassy afternoon needed a reasonably fast shutter speed to freeze the action completely.

For many people, nature photography relies on technical perfection. Not always, but for photos like the samples here, you want your subject to be tack sharp, at least on the eyes and beak where it counts. So, how do you do it?

First up, ensure your lens is focusing properly. When you use a telephoto lens (this was a 100-400mm), it magnifies both your subject and any errors in focusing. So, if the autofocus system locks onto the bird in front, the bird behind might not be sharp. Worse, if the autofocus locks onto the shoulder feathers, the eye may not be sharp. Depth-of-field with telephoto lenses is very shallow, and the closer you are to your subject, the shallower the depth-of-field.

In this situation, I used a single spot autofocus point, which was a struggle because I was shooting from a floating zodiac (which is better than a zodiac that's not floating, of course). Slight movements of other passengers compound the movement of the birds and it can be challenging to keep the autofocus point on the eye of the bird. There were a lot of misses, but I knew this would be the case, so I took LOTS of frames and at least a couple were sharp!

Image stabilisation is also great because it helps keep your camera still, but it doesn't help if the subject itself is moving. At 100% magnification, any movement is a problem, so 1/500 second is probably as slow as you should use for any wildlife photography (conditions permitting), but if I had this opportunity again, I'd go for 1/1000 or even 1/2000 second. Most cameras will work very happily at higher ISO settings, allowing these faster shutter speeds.

You don't always see Puffins up in Svalbard, or so they told me the day before, but no one told the flock of twenty or so Puffins that were swimming not far from our ship! 

Interested in a trip to Svalbard? I have two options, one this year in August, one the year after in July! Check out the voyages I'm doing with Kevin Raber (click here) on M/S Quest (Rockhopper Workshops) in 2020 and with Aurora Expeditions here in 2021.

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Puffins Svalbard https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/1/the-problem-with-puffins Thu, 23 Jan 2020 04:33:08 GMT
Credit Where Credit Is Due For Photographers https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/1/credit-where-credit-is-due-for-photographers House, Arnarstapi, IcelandHouse, Arnarstapi, IcelandPhase One XF, IQ4 150MP, 55mm Schneider lens, f11 @ 1/100 second, ISO 64, exposure averaging 2 minutes.

Here’s my new year soapbox: photo credits! If a journalist is acknowledged for their words in a magazine or website, why is it that photographers are not?

Now, up front, there are some publications and websites which are extremely good about crediting photographers – thank you! On the other hand, publications you’d hope knew a little better are not.

In a recent Qantas inflight magazine, a journalist wrote a series of captions about some 'amazing' photographs. We knew she was writing the captions, but in most cases, we had no idea who took the photographs she was talking about.

Why not?

As both a writer and a photographer, I can't understand why there is such a bias against photographers. We know how cheap and easy it is for publications to grab photos from a stock library. We also know that sometimes the stock library may only require the publication to credit the library, not necessarily the photographer. Even so, given the paltry payments made for usage these days, the very least a publisher can do is give the photographer a credit!

Under Australian law, moral rights means (in simple terms) that anyone publishing a photograph must credit the photographer. Of course, there are situations where you don’t have to provide a credit, but I can’t think of a good excuse not to credit a photographer when the photograph is a key component of an article or blog.

So, let’s ignore the legalities. Let’s just look at this ethically. If a publication credits its writers and journalists, why not credit photographers as well? And if we see publishers forgetting to do it, let's call them out.

So, Qantas, how about a quiet word in your editor's ear? You'd make a bunch of photographers very happy!

House, Arnarstapi, Iceland. Inspired by a National Geographic photo from 30 years ago!
Phase One XF, IQ4 150MP, 55mm Schneider lens, f11 @ 1/100 second, ISO 64, exposure averaging 2 minutes.

Here’s my new year soapbox: photo credits! If a journalist is acknowledged for their words in a magazine or website, why is it that photographers are not?

Now, up front, there are some publications and websites which are extremely good about crediting photographers – thank you! On the other hand, publications you’d hope knew a little better are not.

In a recent Qantas inflight magazine, a journalist wrote a series of captions about some 'amazing' photographs. We knew she was writing the captions, but in most cases, we had no idea who took the photographs she was talking about.

Why not?

As both a writer and a photographer, I can't understand why there is such a bias against photographers. We know how cheap and easy it is for publications to grab photos from a stock library. We also know that sometimes the stock library may only require the publication to credit the library, not necessarily the photographer. Even so, given the paltry payments made for usage these days, the very least a publisher can do is give the photographer a credit!  

Under Australian law, moral rights means (in simple terms) that anyone publishing a photograph must credit the photographer. Of course, there are situations where you don’t have to provide a credit, but I can’t think of a good excuse not to credit a photographer when the photograph is a key component of an article or blog.

So, let’s ignore the legalities. Let’s just look at this ethically.  If a publication credits its writers and journalists, why not credit photographers as well? And if we see publishers forgetting to do it, let's call them out.

So, Qantas, how about a quiet word in your editor's ear? You'd make a bunch of photographers very happy!

And a Happy New Year to all Better Photography readers!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Iceland https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2020/1/credit-where-credit-is-due-for-photographers Mon, 13 Jan 2020 05:00:00 GMT
Finding the Simplest Landscapes Up Close https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/12/finding-the-simplest-landscapes-up-close Grass in Snow, Middlehurst, 2019Grass in Snow, Middlehurst, 2019Phase One XF 150MP, 240mm Schneider lens, f6.3 @ 1/1600 second, ISO 200

One of the challenges I'm currently setting myself is to find the wonder of the landscape in small places. We all love going to locations with majestic views, yet it's the small details on the journey to these places that I enjoy even more. I think it's relatively easy to photograph something that has been recorded thousands of times before - and even then, you might only have a copy of someone else's work. This doesn't mean you don't shoot your own version, of course, rather I think it means you also look for something new.

Tony Hewitt and I were dropped off on a hill above Middlehurst Station while we were recording the Snap Happy TV segments (which are currently running on Network 10 in Australia on Sundays around 12.30pm). We weren't quite sure how deep the snow would be, but were willing to give it a try as Willy (our pilot) took the chopper away for another errand. We just hoped he came back as it would have been a long walk back down the hill!

While there were fantastic views from where we landed, the fresh show had an attraction all of its own. Using a 240mm lens (which is like a 150mm lens on a full-frame DSLR), I isolated the grasses that managed to shed the snowfall, ensuring the background was interesting or neutral. This is much easier to do with a telephoto lens than a wide-angle. Then, in post-production I dialed down the contrast, ensured I had tone and detail throughout the snow, and then emphasised the grasses by increasing the colour saturation.

Now this isn't a photo that will win first prize in a landscape photo competition, but I feel it will make a great page in a photo book or in a slide show. It adds a dimension to a story that can be difficult to complete with a single image - so I don't try. The longer I take photographs, the more I'm tending towards photo essays and photo books as being the ultimate expression for photographers.

And if you're interested in listening to a little piece Tony and I recorded about the Middlehurst experience, check out YouTube here: https://youtu.be/AEzhEKcKMsk

Grass in Snow, Middlehurst, 2019
Phase One XF 150MP, 240mm Schneider lens, f6.3 @ 1/1600 second, ISO 200

One of the challenges I'm currently setting myself is to find the wonder of the landscape in small places. We all love going to locations with majestic views, yet it's the small details on the journey to these places that I enjoy even more. I think it's relatively easy to photograph something that has been recorded thousands of times before - and even then, you might only have a copy of someone else's work. This doesn't mean you don't shoot your own version, of course, rather I think it means you also look for something new.

Tony Hewitt and I were dropped off on a hill above Middlehurst Station while we were recording the Snap Happy TV segments (which are currently running on Network 10 in Australia on Sundays around 12.30pm). We weren't quite sure how deep the snow would be, but were willing to give it a try as Willy (our pilot) took the chopper away for another errand. We just hoped he came back as it would have been a long walk back down the hill!

While there were fantastic views from where we landed, the fresh show had an attraction all of its own. Using a 240mm lens (which is like a 150mm lens on a full-frame DSLR), I isolated the grasses that managed to shed the snowfall, ensuring the background was interesting or neutral. This is much easier to do with a telephoto lens than a wide-angle. Then, in post-production I dialed down the contrast, ensured I had tone and detail throughout the snow, and then emphasised the grasses by increasing the colour saturation.

Now this isn't a photo that will win first prize in a landscape photo competition, but I feel it will make a great page in a photo book or in a slide show. It adds a dimension to a story that can be difficult to complete with a single image - so I don't try. The longer I take photographs, the more I'm tending towards photo essays and photo books as being the ultimate expression for photographers.

And if you're interested in listening to a little piece Tony and I recorded about the Middlehurst experience, check out YouTube here: https://youtu.be/AEzhEKcKMsk

 

  •  

 

]]>
eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/12/finding-the-simplest-landscapes-up-close Mon, 16 Dec 2019 06:02:44 GMT
Wanted: Travellers to Georgia & Armenia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/11/wanted-travellers-to-georgia-armenia Ushguli towers, GeorgiaUshguli towers, GeorgiaGeorgia and Armenia are so full of history, it's practically dripping off your photos. And two of my favourite locations are Ushguli and Mestia in Georgia, for many reasons.

First, these towns are tucked away in the mountains, so there's a good chance of snow or - on our planned trip for 2020, golden autumn leaves! As you can see from the photographs, last time we had plenty of snow. We were there in early spring and a late snowfall transformed the landscape. Mehmet our guide mentioned how beautiful the area was in autumn with the changing colours - and so that's why this time we're going there in late October 2020, hoping to get that colour.

Second, the towns are home to these wonderful towers. There are lots of great stories about why they were built, how each neighbour would try to out do next door, and even of a few people jumping off the top or dropping things on marauders below! For me, they punctuate the landscape and there are a couple of angles I'm hoping to shoot in Ushguli especially. Last time, it was raining pretty heavily, so I couldn't explore as freely as I wanted to.

And third, I still remember the home made soup we had in an Ushguli farmhouse. Ushguli has only a handful of dwellings and is very remote, so our expectations for a great lunch were not too high. How wrong I was - it was sensational!

If you'd like to join me in Georgia and Armenia in October 2020, please book now! Details can be found on the Better Photography website - or click here.

Ushguli towers, Georgia. Love the vehicles below.
Phase One A-Series, 100MP, 23mm Rodenstock lens, f8 @ 1/180 second, ISO 50.

Georgia and Armenia are so full of history, it's practically dripping off your photos. And two of my favourite locations are Ushguli and Mestia in Georgia, for many reasons. 

First, these towns are tucked away in the mountains, so there's a good chance of snow or - on our planned trip for 2020, golden autumn leaves! As you can see from the photographs, last time we had plenty of snow. We were there in early spring and a late snowfall transformed the landscape. Mehmet our guide mentioned how beautiful the area was in autumn with the changing colours - and so that's why this time we're going there in late October 2020, hoping to get that colour.

Second, the towns are home to these wonderful towers. There are lots of great stories about why they were built, how each neighbour would try to out do next door, and even of a few people jumping off the top or dropping things on marauders below! For me, they punctuate the landscape and there are a couple of angles I'm hoping to shoot in Ushguli especially. Last time, it was raining pretty heavily, so I couldn't explore as freely as I wanted to.

And third, I still remember the home made soup we had in an Ushguli farmhouse. Ushguli has only a handful of dwellings and is very remote, so our expectations for a great lunch were not too high. How wrong I was - it was sensational!

If you'd like to join me in Georgia and Armenia in October 2020, please book now! Details can be found on the Better Photography website - or click here.

 

]]>
eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Armenia Georgia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/11/wanted-travellers-to-georgia-armenia Mon, 25 Nov 2019 00:23:38 GMT
Looking For Foregrounds https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/11/looking-for-foregrounds Evening Storm on the road to Copacabana, BoliviaEvening Storm on the road to Copacabana, BoliviaPhase One A-Series 150MP, 23mm Alpagon lens, f11 @ 1/400 second, ISO 50

I find it happens quite a lot - the inverse square rule for great skies! You're driving along and you watch the sky change, the light drop and the atmosphere build. The heavens look fantastic, but there's nothing in the foreground and, the better the sky, the worse the foreground!

On our trip through Bolivia recently, we were up on the Altiplano heading towards Lake Titicaca and the real Copacabana. Over the distant ranges were some wonderful storm clouds, the crystal clear light was mesmerising, but we struggled to find an interesting foreground. Looking at the map on my phone (I use Guru Maps), I could see our road was about to turn away from both the mountains and the clouds - and then we'd have nothing! So we stopped the bus and bundled out.

We had two options. The first was to shoot the sky and add it to a sky library, not worrying about the foreground. If you're wondering how to drop in new skies to existing landscapes, go and check out Luminar 4 as it does it for you automatically. And I did exactly this as a safety step. Might as well capture it!

The second option is to look more carefully and think about how you can simplify the foreground. The side of the road had lots of busy little fields, which created a really messy foreground, but by walking a couple of hundred metres out, I found a cleared field with a cairn of rocks in the middle. The field wasn't big, but by using a wide-angle lens and getting in close to the cairn, the foreground was easily simplified. And simple is best.

Whether you're capturing photos for competitions or just for pleasure, thinking through your options at the time you're 'on location' makes a lot of sense. By all means take a few safety shots you can play with later on in post-production, but if you can nail a good composition in camera, so much the better!

Evening Storm on the road to Copacabana, Bolivia
Phase One A-Series 150MP, 23mm Alpagon lens, f11 @ 1/400 second, ISO 50

I find it happens quite a lot - the inverse square rule for great skies! You're driving along and you watch the sky change, the light drop and the atmosphere build. The heavens look fantastic, but there's nothing in the foreground and, the better the sky, the worse the foreground!

On our trip through Bolivia recently, we were up on the Altiplano heading towards Lake Titicaca and the real Copacabana. Over the distant ranges were some wonderful storm clouds, the crystal clear light was mesmerising, but we struggled to find an interesting foreground. Looking at the map on my phone (I use Guru Maps), I could see our road was about to turn away from both the mountains and the clouds - and then we'd have nothing! So we stopped the bus and bundled out.

We had two options. The first was to shoot the sky and add it to a sky library, not worrying about the foreground. If you're wondering how to drop in new skies to existing landscapes, go and check out Luminar 4 as it does it for you automatically. And I did exactly this as a safety step. Might as well capture it!

The second option is to look more carefully and think about how you can simplify the foreground. The side of the road had lots of busy little fields, which created a really messy foreground, but by walking a couple of hundred metres out, I found a cleared field with a cairn of rocks in the middle. The field wasn't big, but by using a wide-angle lens and getting in close to the cairn, the foreground was easily simplified. And simple is best.

Whether you're capturing photos for competitions or just for pleasure, thinking through your options at the time you're 'on location' makes a lot of sense. By all means take a few safety shots you can play with later on in post-production, but if you can nail a good composition in camera, so much the better!

 

]]>
eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bolivia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/11/looking-for-foregrounds Mon, 11 Nov 2019 00:55:21 GMT
Did You See The Noise? Didn't Think So! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/11/did-you-see-the-noise-didnt-think-so Street Scene, Tiquina, BoliviaStreet Scene, Tiquina, BoliviaFujifilm X-T2, Fujifilm Fujinon XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR, 1/30 second @ f2.8, ISO 3200

I think it's about time we stopped worrying about noise in photographs. All the new mirrorless and DSLR cameras do a superb job and, while there are undoubtedly differences in how far different sensors can be pushed, for what most of us shoot most of the time, we have enough 'speed'.

This photo is taken on the street early in the night - meaning there's a hint of blue light in the sky which most photographers like, rather than a jet black sky. But down on terra firma, we're shooting with just two street lights and a little stray illumination from the surrounding retail outlets. And the exposure is 1/30 second at f2.8 - so fast enough to carefully hand-hold and shooting at the lens's maximum aperture.

I've also set my camera to Auto ISO with a limit at ISO 3200. When digital photography first began, ISO 3200 would have produced unworthy results, but today, the results are excellent. I'll bet you wouldn't have thought twice about image noise had I not mentioned it in the heading! Looking at my photos from Bolivia, I have a hundreds of images that are shot at ISO 3200 because of what I was shooting - low light, wildlife action and night scenes. It is such a liberating way to shoot.

So, the technique? I shoot in aperture-priority mode so I can control my depth-of-field. However, I also know that to get the fastest shutter speed possible, I simply open up my lens to the maximum aperture - f2.8 for this lens. Then, as changing light conditions dictate, I let the Auto ISO feature push the ISO up as high as is necessary to maintain correct exposure.

On the Fujifilm X-T3, there are three Auto ISO custom settings, which I have set at 'up to ISO 3200' for 1/30, 1/60 and 1/500 second. I'd like the 1/500 second to be 1/1000 or 1/2000 if the Fujifilm engineers are reading. Then, depending on the subject I'm shooting, I determine the minimum shutter speed.

For street photography, I'm happy to have a little bit of movement if it makes it real, so 1/30 second is fine. Most cameras have an Auto ISO function these days, so it might be worth a little read of your instruction manual!

Street Scene, Tiquina, Bolivia
Fujifilm X-T2, Fujifilm Fujinon XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR, 1/30 second @ f2.8, ISO 3200

I think it's about time we stopped worrying about noise in photographs. All the new mirrorless and DSLR cameras do a superb job and, while there are undoubtedly differences in how far different sensors can be pushed, for what most of us shoot most of the time, we have enough 'speed'.

This photo is taken on the street early in the night - meaning there's a hint of blue light in the sky which most photographers like, rather than a jet black sky. But down on terra firma, we're shooting with just two street lights and a little stray illumination from the surrounding retail outlets. And the exposure is 1/30 second at f2.8 - so fast enough to carefully hand-hold and shooting at the lens's maximum aperture. 

I've also set my camera to Auto ISO with a limit at ISO 3200. When digital photography first began, ISO 3200 would have produced unworthy results, but today, the results are excellent. I'll bet you wouldn't have thought twice about image noise had I not mentioned it in the heading! Looking at my photos from Bolivia, I have a hundreds of images that are shot at ISO 3200 because of what I was shooting - low light, wildlife action and night scenes. It is such a liberating way to shoot.

So, the technique? I shoot in aperture-priority mode so I can control my depth-of-field. However, I also know that to get the fastest shutter speed possible, I simply open up my lens to the maximum aperture - f2.8 for this lens. Then, as changing light conditions dictate, I let the Auto ISO feature push the ISO up as high as is necessary to maintain correct exposure.

On the Fujifilm X-T3, there are three Auto ISO custom settings, which I have set at 'up to ISO 3200' for 1/30, 1/60 and 1/500 second. I'd like the 1/500 second to be 1/1000 or 1/2000 if the Fujifilm engineers are reading. Then, depending on the subject I'm shooting, I determine the minimum shutter speed.

For street photography, I'm happy to have a little bit of movement if it makes it real, so 1/30 second is fine. Most cameras have an Auto ISO function these days, so it might be worth a little read of your instruction manual!

And another shot from my walk around Tiquina on the way to Copacabana.

Street Scene, Tiquina, BoliviaStreet Scene, Tiquina, BoliviaI think it's about time we stopped worrying about noise in photographs. All the new mirrorless and DSLR cameras do a superb job and, while there are undoubtedly differences in how far different sensors can be pushed, for what most of us shoot most of the time, we have enough 'speed'.

This photo is taken on the street early in the night - meaning there's a hint of blue light in the sky which most photographers like, rather than a jet black sky. But down on terra firma, we're shooting with just two street lights and a little stray illumination from the surrounding retail outlets. And the exposure is 1/30 second at f2.8 - so fast enough to carefully hand-hold and shooting at the lens's maximum aperture.

I've also set my camera to Auto ISO with a limit at ISO 3200. When digital photography first began, ISO 3200 would have produced unworthy results, but today, the results are excellent. I'll bet you wouldn't have thought twice about image noise had I not mentioned it in the heading! Looking at my photos from Bolivia, I have a hundreds of images that are shot at ISO 3200 because of what I was shooting - low light, wildlife action and night scenes. It is such a liberating way to shoot.

So, the technique? I shoot in aperture-priority mode so I can control my depth-of-field. However, I also know that to get the fastest shutter speed possible, I simply open up my lens to the maximum aperture - f2.8 for this lens. Then, as changing light conditions dictate, I let the Auto ISO feature push the ISO up as high as is necessary to maintain correct exposure.

On the Fujifilm X-T3, there are three Auto ISO custom settings, which I have set at 'up to ISO 3200' for 1/30, 1/60 and 1/500 second. I'd like the 1/500 second to be 1/1000 or 1/2000 if the Fujifilm engineers are reading. Then, depending on the subject I'm shooting, I determine the minimum shutter speed.

For street photography, I'm happy to have a little bit of movement if it makes it real, so 1/30 second is fine. Most cameras have an Auto ISO function these days, so it might be worth a little read of your instruction manual!

 

]]>
eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Boliva Tiquian https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/11/did-you-see-the-noise-didnt-think-so Mon, 04 Nov 2019 01:59:50 GMT
The Green Is Evil! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/10/the-green-is-evil Laguna Verde, BoliviaLaguna Verde, BoliviaPhase One A-Series 150MP, 23mm Alpagon lens, f11 @ 1/125 second, ISO 50
That green is real! And it's not very nice. Laguna Verde up on Bolivia's dramatic Altiplano is full of arsenic and hence, I'm told, its green colour. Laguna Blanca just next door is blue and the flamingos happily wade there, but not in Laguna Verde.

When we arrived, low cloud was skirting the Licancabur volcano on the Chilean border and the wind was howling, creating an acrid spume on the shore. It made a great foreground, although it left the legs of my tripod covered in a salty residue! The technique used to capture this image is a combination of focus stacking and a time exposure.

To ensure the foreground and background are tack sharp, I focused on four points in the foreground (the bottom half of the image), with an aperture of f11 so there's already a lot of depth-of-field keeping things sharp. I then focused on infinity and took a safety shot at the same exposure, but then switched into time exposure mode. On the Phase One IQ4, it's the exposure averaging feature, but you can achieve the same result with a neutral density filter. The exposure is the equivalent of 15 seconds for this one, although I experimented. As the clouds were moving so quickly, I didn't need such a long exposure to achieve a suitable blur.

It's interesting to note how with changes in technology, new ways of shooting are opening up, but at the end of the day, we still need a strong, simple compositions - at least, that's my view!

Laguna Verde, Bolivia
Phase One A-Series 150MP, 23mm Alpagon lens, f11 @ 1/125 second, ISO 50

That green is real! And it's not very nice. Laguna Verde up on Bolivia's dramatic Altiplano is full of arsenic and hence, I'm told, its green colour. Laguna Blanca just next door is blue and the flamingos happily wade there, but not in Laguna Verde.

When we arrived, low cloud was skirting the Licancabur volcano on the Chilean border and the wind was howling, creating an acrid spume on the shore. It made a great foreground, although it left the legs of my tripod covered in a salty residue! The technique used to capture this image is a combination of focus stacking and a time exposure.

To ensure the foreground and background are tack sharp, I focused on four points in the foreground (the bottom half of the image), with an aperture of f11 so there's already a lot of depth-of-field keeping things sharp. I then focused on infinity and took a safety shot at the same exposure, but then switched into time exposure mode. On the Phase One IQ4, it's the exposure averaging feature, but you can achieve the same result with a neutral density filter. The exposure is the equivalent of 15 seconds for this one, although I experimented. As the clouds were moving so quickly, I didn't need such a long exposure to achieve a suitable blur.

It's interesting to note how with changes in technology, new ways of shooting are opening up, but at the end of the day, we still need a strong, simple compositions - at least, that's my view!

 

]]>
eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bolivia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/10/the-green-is-evil Mon, 28 Oct 2019 09:14:00 GMT
Catching Up With Bolivia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/10/catching-up-with-bolivia Mountain Range, Laguna Colorada, BoliviaMountain Range, Laguna Colorada, BoliviaPhase One A-Series, IQ4 150MP back, 180mm Alpagon, f11 @ 1/250 exposure, ISO 50, exposure averaging.

I'm watching Ignacio and the six photographers who accompanied us to Bolivia last month uploading some amazing photographs, so I thought I'd better step up to the mark.

This image is taken using the new exposure averaging feature on the Phase One IQ4 digital backs. It can work like a neutral density filter, except it takes tens or hundreds of exposures, one after the other, and 'averages' the results into a single raw file. This means that white clouds crossing a blue sky over a period of 15 or 30 seconds might be exposed 500 times and the resulting 'average' creates a blur, just like an ND filter. The parts of the subject that don't move remain tack sharp. Olympus has a similar system for some of its cameras.

However, keeping the camera completely still for the 15 seconds (or five minutes etc) was challenging up on the Bolivian Altiplano. On some days, it was a challenge enough just to stand up, let alone put a camera on a tripod. This shot was taken in the early morning before the winds came up, whereas other shots I took later in the day using the same technique are a little blurred: you can see the camera shake in the file and nothing is as sharp as it should be. Of course, this doesn't matter for the blurred water or clouds, but it's certainly an issue for the mountains!

This is why I take a standard back-up shot as well. Whether I'm using an ND filter or the new exposure averaging feature, my first shot is at a faster shutter speed like 1/250 second, so I know I have an image that is tack sharp. If the long exposure is then slightly blurred due to camera shake, I can merge the two images together in Photoshop using layers and end up with the best of both worlds - a tack sharp mountain with nicely blurred clouds.
Now, who was I talking to the other day who hates the fairy-floss effect of blurred clouds? Well, it doesn't matter anyway - I like it!

Oh, and if you're interested in a little video I put together on our trip, here's the Youtube link: https://youtu.be/1F7rsOlbwkU - or Google search Youtube, Eastway, Bolivia. I've had a few comments from Bolivian viewers unimpressed by my choice of music, so I'm on the lookout for some pan pipes instead!

Mountain Range, Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
Phase One A-Series, IQ4 150MP back, 180mm Alpagon, f11 @ 1/250 exposure, ISO 50, exposure averaging.

I'm watching Ignacio and the six photographers who accompanied us to Bolivia last month uploading some amazing photographs, so I thought I'd better step up to the mark.

This image is taken using the new exposure averaging feature on the Phase One IQ4 digital backs. It can work like a neutral density filter, except it takes tens or hundreds of exposures, one after the other, and 'averages' the results into a single raw file. This means that white clouds crossing a blue sky over a period of 15 or 30 seconds might be exposed 500 times and the resulting 'average' creates a blur, just like an ND filter. The parts of the subject that don't move remain tack sharp. Olympus has a similar system for some of its cameras.

However, keeping the camera completely still for the 15 seconds (or five minutes etc) was challenging up on the Bolivian Altiplano. On some days, it was a challenge enough just to stand up, let alone put a camera on a tripod. This shot was taken in the early morning before the winds came up, whereas other shots I took later in the day using the same technique are a little blurred: you can see the camera shake in the file and nothing is as sharp as it should be. Of course, this doesn't matter for the blurred water or clouds, but it's certainly an issue for the mountains!

This is why I take a standard back-up shot as well. Whether I'm using an ND filter or the new exposure averaging feature, my first shot is at a faster shutter speed like 1/250 second, so I know I have an image that is tack sharp. If the long exposure is then slightly blurred due to camera shake, I can merge the two images together in Photoshop using layers and end up with the best of both worlds - a tack sharp mountain with nicely blurred clouds.

Now, who was I talking to the other day who hates the fairy-floss effect of blurred clouds? Well, it doesn't matter anyway - I like it!

Oh, and if you're interested in a little video I put together on our trip, here's the Youtube link: https://youtu.be/1F7rsOlbwkU - or Google search Youtube, Eastway, Bolivia. I've had a few comments from Bolivian viewers unimpressed by my choice of music, so I'm on the lookout for some pan pipes instead!

 

]]>
eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bolivia Clouds Mountains https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/10/catching-up-with-bolivia Tue, 15 Oct 2019 00:42:56 GMT
About The Winning Photo - Alkefjellet https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/9/about-the-winning-photo---alkefjellet Guillemots nesting, Alkefjellet, SvalbardGuillemots nesting, Alkefjellet, SvalbardAlkefjellet is a line of cliffs in the middle of Svalbard. You get there by ship and, as I understand it, it's pretty easy for the captain to take the vessel in nice and tight so you get a good view of the nesting Guillemots. I'm told there are over 200,000 of them in the cliffs, but I didn't count them personally.

Mind you, when you look closely at the print, there are three or four blurred birds flying across the frame. They are probably blurred for two reasons: they are a lot closer than the cliffs, so a lack of depth-of-field; and the shutter speed of 1/250 second isn't fast enough to freeze the action.

Some readers might suggest I wait a little while until the coast is clear. Good thought, but reference my earlier observation of 200,000 birds. There simply isn't a time when there aren't LOTS of birds in the air! And second, the ship is moving slowly along the cliffs, so if I waited too long, this angle would be gone.

Our ship went up and then back again, so I had two opportunities to shoot this particular slab of rock. It reminds me of a castle or battlement tower and in post-production, I helped this similarity along by darkening the surrounding cliffs.

I think most people look at the photo and say, okay, but it's when they get up close and see how many bird bums are pointing at them that the content of the image really hits home. In this way, the judging procedure at the AIPP's awards works really well because when a print is judged, it is turned around on a presentation board surrounded by grey cloth and evenly lit from above and below. Having seen the photo from a distance, the five judges get up from their chairs and walk up to inspect the print closely - and this is when the impact of the print and and all the birds takes hold.

The other option is to make a much bigger print! Note to self!

Guillemots nesting, Alkefjellet, Svalbard
Phase One XF, 110mm lens, f5.6 @ 1/250 second, ISO 100
 

Alkefjellet is a line of cliffs in the middle of Svalbard. You get there by ship and, as I understand it, it's pretty easy for the captain to take the vessel in nice and tight so you get a good view of the nesting Guillemots. I'm told there are over 200,000 of them in the cliffs, but I didn't count them personally.

Mind you, when you look closely at the print, there are three or four blurred birds flying across the frame. They are probably blurred for two reasons: they are a lot closer than the cliffs, so a lack of depth-of-field; and the shutter speed of 1/250 second isn't fast enough to freeze the action.

Some readers might suggest I wait a little while until the coast is clear. Good thought, but reference my earlier observation of 200,000 birds. There simply isn't a time when there aren't LOTS of birds in the air! And second, the ship is moving slowly along the cliffs, so if I waited too long, this angle would be gone.

Our ship went up and then back again, so I had two opportunities to shoot this particular slab of rock. It reminds me of a castle or battlement tower and in post-production, I helped this similarity along by darkening the surrounding cliffs.

I think most people look at the photo and say, okay, but it's when they get up close and see how many bird bums are pointing at them that the content of the image really hits home. In this way, the judging procedure at the AIPP's awards works really well because when a print is judged, it is turned around on a presentation board surrounded by grey cloth and evenly lit from above and below. Having seen the photo from a distance, the five judges get up from their chairs and walk up to inspect the print closely - and this is when the impact of the print and and all the birds takes hold.

The other option is to make a much bigger print! Note to self!

 

]]>
eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Alkefjellett guillemots Svalbard https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/9/about-the-winning-photo---alkefjellet Mon, 16 Sep 2019 23:46:30 GMT
About The Winning Photo - Walrus https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/9/about-the-winning-photo---walrus Walrus At Storoya, SvalbardWalrus At Storoya, SvalbardWalrus with pup, Storoya, Svalbard. Phase One XF 100MP, 240mm Schneider lens, hand-held.

Printed on an Epson SureColor P10070 and Canson Rag Photographique

Highest Scoring Print, 2019 AIPP NSW Epson Professional Photography Awards, sponsored by CR Kennedy.

Last night, Peter Eastway was awarded the 2019 AIPP NSW Epson Professional Photographer of the Year, sponsored by Epson. He also won the 2019 AIPP NSW Professional Nature Photographer of the Year, sponsored by Olympus, and had the overall Highest Scoring Print in the Awards, sponsored by CR Kennedy.

"I'm delighted", said the enthusiast Eastway! "It's been quite a few years since I've won a category, let alone the PPY. There are so many great photographers coming through that I no longer have any expectations about prizes, although I continue to strive for an elusive four gold awards."

The AIPP in partnership with Epson deliver the professional photography awards in all Australian states and territories, attracting over three thousand entries from professional photographers and students. It is followed by the AIPP's national Australian Professional Photography Awards which will be held in Sydney this August.
Photographers can enter up to four prints in a category and each print is presented separately to a panel of five judges who give scores. An aggregate of 80+ is a Silver while 90+ earns a Gold award. Only 2 to 3 percent earn Gold. The highest three portfolios of four prints are then re-assessed to determine the category winner and then the eleven category winners are assessed again to determine the overall Professional Photographer of the Year (PPY).

This year, Eastway earned a Gold with Distinction (a score of 96), two Golds and a Silver with Distinction (85). "Not quite there yet", Eastway smiled, "but I live in hope!"

"People ask what makes an award winning print - what makes the judges sit up and take notice? I wish I knew! It's a combination of an interesting subject, something that excites the judges and that has emotion. Then you need to add in the highest quality photographic technique, both in capture and post-production.

"In the nature category, there is a limit to what you can do to the file. The images must be single capture and you can't clone out things or introduce new elements. It's 'straight' photography, but you're still allowed to interpret the file in terms of exposure, contrast and colour. However, perhaps the most important part of the process is transferring the image to paper - making the print.

"I'm a proud Epson ambassador and I use a large format 44" Epson SureColor P10070. I'm also a Canson ambassador and my entries were printed on either Rag Photographique or Platine. I felt the thousands of penguins at St Andrews looked better on the slightly glossy Platine surface, while the walrus and pup worked beautifully on the matte surface of Rag Photographique.

"In my studio, I have over 50 'test' prints which were stepping stones to the final result. I make a print and pin it onto a wall opposite my desk and live with it. I try to analyse it like a judge and then I make adjustments - lightening areas here, darkening them there and so on. Many people wouldn't notice the differences, but under the bright lights of the judging room, those subtle differences can mean one or two extra points - and that could be the difference between 89 and 90!

"I've been entering the awards since 1984 and the process of working up my best images every year has been crucial to my development as a photographer. I know what it's like to get crap scores from the judges - it hurts! And when you get good scores, it's a great feeling, but you need to keep it in context - judges are just expressing an opinion and there are lots of other great photographers out there, vying for the same awards. I've been very fortunate over the years to win quite a few, and while there's an element of luck for the big prizes, it's the hard work we all put into our entries that improves our craft and raises the overall standard of professional photography in Australia."

"I'd also like to thank the AIPP Awards Team, headed by Sue Lewis, that makes the awards happen, all the volunteers behind the scenes, the state councils for hosting the events, the judges for giving up their time - and the entrants for creating the amazing energy. If you're in Sydney on 10-12 August, come along to Royal Randwick and watch the APPA's being judged. It's free and whether you come for an afternoon or all three days, the education and experience can be life-changing - in a good way!"



Walrus and cub, Storoya, Svalbard
Phase One XF 100MP, 240mm Schneider lens, f5.6 @ 1/800 second, ISO 100

I've met some wonderful guides on the voyages I've made to the polar regions. They all have a passion for their jobs and pinch themselves that it's a job! And a good guide will get you great photos.

On a voyage with Kevin Raber and Rockhopper Tours to Svalbard last year, we were doing a zodiac cruise off Storoya island, up in the north-east of Svalbard. Our guide was scanning the horizon and way in the distance, saw an iceberg with an unusually shaped top. Someone like me would think it was just the shape of the ice, but our guide was thinking it could be walrus.

And she was right! As we closed in, we cut the motor to an idle and drifted quietly up to the iceberg. There were a dozen or so walrus, including a few pups, resting. They didn't seem at all fussed by our presence as we passed by, until something spooked them and they vacated the iceberg. 

My photo is of the mother instructing her pup to take a dive.

I shot perhaps 50 images as we approached the iceberg and continued afterwards as well. A lone, single-tusked male remained on the iceberg and as we moved away, he made a great shot - which I must process some time. The point is that you never know in a situation like this which shot is going to be the best shot, so just take lots and lots. I was hoping one of the photos of the walrus diving into the water would work - and I think this is the best of them.

Interested in a trip to Svalbard? I have two options, one next year, one the year after! Check out the voyages I'm doing with Kevin Raber and with Aurora Expeditions here.

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) icebergs Svalbard walrus https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/9/about-the-winning-photo---walrus Mon, 09 Sep 2019 23:11:53 GMT
Iceland From The Air https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/9/iceland-from-the-air Landmannalaugar, IcelandLandmannalaugar, IcelandWhen you're in the air, do you shoot straight down, straight across, or at an angle? And does it matter whether you're in a plane or a helicopter? Or can we try a drone?

The short answer is that different angles do different things. Often, a straight-down angle (which to do properly requires the aircraft to tilt over) creates more of an abstract pattern, especially if you pick some interesting geometric shapes. And this is the trick - looking ahead and working out what things will look like as you fly over them. In a helicopter, it's much easier to stop and shoot, while in a plane it can take quite some time to loop back around for a second pass. On the other hand, planes are half the price to hire of a helicopter - sometimes less.

Shooting straight across from a plane can be interesting - it's just like climbing up a mountain and shooting from there, with the difference being you can get an aircraft into positions where there are no mountains. A similar approach can be taken with angled shots, but in both cases, the inclusion of the horizon is likely to turn the photograph into a 'scenic view', rather than an 'artistic impression'.

Of course, if you put a telephoto on, or fly in a little closer, you can still remove the horizon - as with this photograph taken in Iceland. By excluding the horizon, the viewer is left to concentrate on the shapes and lines. The photo can be viewed as reality, or as a semi-abstraction.

And drones? I've just purchased a little Mavic Pro 2 and it's a lot of fun, but it has a wide-angle lens and I'm struggling at present to find angles that don't look the same as lots of other drone photos. However, I haven't given up, especially when the cost of a drone is less than two hours in a helicopter!

There's probably still just time to book a trip to Iceland with Peter Eastway and Better Moments. There's also the option of shooting with a Phase One camera and, if the weather permits, shooting aerials as well! For more details, visit our website or click here.

Landmannalaugar, Iceland
Phase One XF 100MP, 80mm Schneider lens, f4.5 @ 1/1600 second, ISO 200.
 

When you're in the air, do you shoot straight down, straight across, or at an angle? And does it matter whether you're in a plane or a helicopter? Or can we try a drone?

The short answer is that different angles do different things. Often, a straight-down angle (which to do properly requires the aircraft to tilt over) creates more of an abstract pattern, especially if you pick some interesting geometric shapes. And this is the trick - looking ahead and working out what things will look like as you fly over them. In a helicopter, it's much easier to stop and shoot, while in a plane it can take quite some time to loop back around for a second pass. On the other hand, planes are half the price to hire of a helicopter - sometimes less.

Shooting straight across from a plane can be interesting - it's just like climbing up a mountain and shooting from there, with the difference being you can get an aircraft into positions where there are no mountains. A similar approach can be taken with angled shots, but in both cases, the inclusion of the horizon is likely to turn the photograph into a 'scenic view', rather than an 'artistic impression'. 

Of course, if you put a telephoto on, or fly in a little closer, you can still remove the horizon - as with this photograph taken in Iceland. By excluding the horizon, the viewer is left to concentrate on the shapes and lines. The photo can be viewed as reality, or as a semi-abstraction.

And drones? I've just purchased a little Mavic Pro 2 and it's a lot of fun, but it has a wide-angle lens and I'm struggling at present to find angles that don't look the same as lots of other drone photos. However, I haven't given up, especially when the cost of a drone is less than two hours in a helicopter!

There's probably still just time to book a trip to Iceland with Peter Eastway and Better Moments. There's also the option of shooting with a Phase One camera and, if the weather permits, shooting aerials as well! For more details, visit our website or click here.

 

]]>
eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Aerial Iceland https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/9/iceland-from-the-air Mon, 02 Sep 2019 00:16:19 GMT
Real Snippets of Life https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/8/real-snippets-of-life Tshangkha Temple, BhutanTshangkha Temple, BhutanPhase One XF 100MP, 35mm, f3.5 @ 1/125 second, ISO 3200

Shortly I disappear to Bolivia for a few weeks with Ignacio Palacios and a group of intrepid photographers. What will we photograph? Will it be the spectacular Andean landscape or the brightly dressed people? What are the stories we'll see and how will they unfold? And what is the best equipment for each discipline?

For this trip, I'm taking my Phase One A-Series with a 150MP back because I'm really keen to shoot the landscape, but we're going to many other destinations where the focus is local life, culture and wildlife. The A-Series is not the right camera, at least not for me, and so I'll tuck a Fujifilm X-T3 away as well. While two systems are not as easy to work with as one, on the other hand they provide a back-up for each other and the heavy backpack gives me something to complain about!
There's no right or wrong way to approach travel - it's what makes you happy. I get a great thrill out of shooting high resolution landscapes, but similarly, shooting on the street or wildlife with a mirrorless camera is a lot of fun too!

However, there are advantages if shooting with just the one system. You always have the right camera. There's one less decision to make. It's nice! The photo above was shot in Bhutan with the Phase One XF - and I shot everything on the XF that trip. However, for photos like the one above, the camera was a little slow and I don't feel I captured as many 'decisive moments' as I would have with a faster, smaller camera. While I loved the quality of the medium format files, it's the nuance of posture and expression that make travel shots 'special'.

This photo is taken in our Bhutanese guide's home village where we have been fortunate to get some great interaction with the local families. As I look through my photos, there are lots of faces I recognise, having photographed them many times over the past 6 or 7 years.

Bhutan is a quickly changing country, so if it's on your bucket list, I can only encourage you to join David Oliver and me this November/December on a trip that traverses the magical Bhutan from west to east. Full details can be found here on the website.

Tshangkha Temple, Bhutan
Phase One XF 100MP, 35mm, f3.5 @ 1/125 second, ISO 3200

Shortly I disappear to Bolivia for a few weeks with Ignacio Palacios and a group of intrepid photographers. What will we photograph? Will it be the spectacular Andean landscape or the brightly dressed people? What are the stories we'll see and how will they unfold? And what is the best equipment for each discipline?

For this trip, I'm taking my Phase One A-Series with a 150MP back because I'm really keen to shoot the landscape, but we're going to many other destinations where the focus is local life, culture and wildlife. The A-Series is not the right camera, at least not for me, and so I'll tuck a Fujifilm X-T3 away as well. While two systems are not as easy to work with as one, on the other hand they provide a back-up for each other and the heavy backpack gives me something to complain about!

There's no right or wrong way to approach travel - it's what makes you happy. I get a great thrill out of shooting high resolution landscapes, but similarly, shooting on the street or wildlife with a mirrorless camera is a lot of fun too!

However, there are advantages if shooting with just the one system. You always have the right camera. There's one less decision to make. It's nice! The photo above was shot in Bhutan with the Phase One XF - and I shot everything on the XF that trip. However, for photos like the one above, the camera was a little slow and I don't feel I captured as many 'decisive moments' as I would have with a faster, smaller camera. While I loved the quality of the medium format files, it's the nuance of posture and expression that make travel shots 'special'.

This photo is taken in our Bhutanese guide's home village where we have been fortunate to get some great interaction with the local families. As I look through my photos, there are lots of faces I recognise, having photographed them many times over the past 6 or 7 years.

Bhutan is a quickly changing country, so if it's on your bucket list, I can only encourage you to join David Oliver and me this November/December on a trip that traverses the magical Bhutan from west to east. Full details can be found here on the website.

 

]]>
eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bhutan temple https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/8/real-snippets-of-life Tue, 27 Aug 2019 01:37:25 GMT
Gesture Is All Important https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/8/gesture-is-all-important Khiva Musician - UzbekistanKhiva Musician - UzbekistanMusician, Khiva, Uzbekistan

Fujifilm X-T3, XF200mmF2 R LM OIS WR, f2.0 @ 1/350 second, ISO 160

As we all get better and better at the technical side of photography, it's the small details that make the difference. David Oliver, Tony Hewitt and I judge at the AIPP's Australian Professional Photography Awards each year and we often see entries that are technically proficient, but emotionally lacking. What do I mean?

Take this example of a musician in remote Khiva, Uzbekistan. Obviously attired to impress the tourist market, unfortunately recovering from a broken arm (you can see his cast), he had an incredibly expressive face. If I timed the exposure correctly.

With a little more experience these days, I find myself waiting for multiple opportunities. First, I need interesting subject matter. Next, I want good lighting. Add in an appropriate background and then I ensure there's nothing distracting around the edges of the frame. All this happens in a fraction of a second and, with practice, is easily controlled, but I have no direct control over my subject.

And this is where you find the difference - the gesture or the expression that takes a competent 'capture' up to a more desirable, expressive moment. Once I have the technical side nailed down, I'll then shoot as many frames as it takes to get that difference. And because I don't necessarily know when my subject will make the 'best' gesture or expression, I shoot lots of frames. It costs me nothing except time at the other end when editing my work and choosing the best frame.

So, when entering photos into a competition, don't just look for technical perfection, also look for a gesture, an expression or an emotion that lifts your image out of the ordinary, even if just a little!

Musician, Khiva, Uzbekistan
Fujifilm X-T3, XF200mmF2 R LM OIS WR, f2.0 @ 1/350 second, ISO 160

As we all get better and better at the technical side of photography, it's the small details that make the difference. David Oliver, Tony Hewitt and I judge at the AIPP's Australian Professional Photography Awards each year and we often see entries that are technically proficient, but emotionally lacking. What do I mean?

Take this example of a musician in remote Khiva, Uzbekistan. Obviously attired to impress the tourist market, unfortunately recovering from a broken arm (you can see his cast), he had an incredibly expressive face. If I timed the exposure correctly.

With a little more experience these days, I find myself waiting for multiple opportunities. First, I need interesting subject matter. Next, I want good lighting. Add in an appropriate background and then I ensure there's nothing distracting around the edges of the frame. All this happens in a fraction of a second and, with practice, is easily controlled, but I have no direct control over my subject.

And this is where you find the difference - the gesture or the expression that takes a competent 'capture' up to a more desirable, expressive moment. Once I have the technical side nailed down, I'll then shoot as many frames as it takes to get that difference. And because I don't necessarily know when my subject will make the 'best' gesture or expression, I shoot lots of frames. It costs me nothing except time at the other end when editing my work and choosing the best frame.

So, when entering photos into a competition, don't just look for technical perfection, also look for a gesture, an expression or an emotion that lifts your image out of the ordinary, even if just a little!

We have a short period of grace accepting LATE entries into the 2019 Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards, but this time entries fully close on 21 August 2019, so while the 'every fifth entry' free option may not be available, there's still time to enter - and who knows, you could be part of the $17,000 prize pool too! For more details, visit www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com now!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Uzbekistan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/8/gesture-is-all-important Mon, 19 Aug 2019 09:00:00 GMT
Loving What You Enter - Anyway! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/8/loving-what-you-enter---anyway One Walrus Not Sleeping, SvalbardOne Walrus Not Sleeping, SvalbardOne Walrus Not Sleeping, Karl XII Island, Svalbard

Phase One XF 100MP Trichromatic, 240mm Schneider, f5.0 @ 1/1600 second, ISO 400

I recently read a Facebook post by Karen Alsop about how she had made a print of one of her competition entries - before she knew the results. The photo in question (we published it in Better Photographymagazine BP#94 - The Elephant In The Room) happened to earn a Gold Award and helped her pick up the 2018 AIPP Australian Pet/Animal Photographer of the Year, but what resonated with both Karen and me is the fact she made the print first. She liked what she had created and that was enough.

It didn't stop her from entering the competition, of course, but it meant that win, lose or draw, she was happy with what she had created.

This is a great position to be in, mentally and emotionally. I know a lot of readers think about entering photo competitions, but never quite get around to it. Sometimes it is because they don't want to hear a judge criticize work that they are in love with. Yet I think this is the point. You'll only get to a point of confidence and self-satisfaction once you've taken a few knocks. If you're worried about the opinion of a few judges, you're not there yet.

Once you gain experience as a photographer, whether by entering awards or working professionally, there comes a time when you know who you are and what you like to create. I find myself in that position now and after entering photography awards for over 40 years, I can assure you that the judges still don't like all of my photos as much as I do! I did rather well in the recent AIPP NSW Epson Professional Photography Awards, but in addition to having the highest scoring print, I'm pretty sure I had the lowest scoring print as well! And I love that photo!

So, what do you enter into a competition? Do you only enter photos you love, or to some extent do you try to second guess the judges? When entering a competition, it's only four or maybe up to 12 entries. Most of us have far more 'good photos' than this, so I certainly try to pick photos that I think the judges will like. That's just like being a professional photographer, trying to create images that clients will love - so I have no trouble approaching competitions this way.

So, what about the walrus shot above? It's a photo that I love. And I've made a print! But I'm not entering it into the AIPP's Australian Professional Photography Awards this weekend because I don't think the judges will respond the same way I do. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'll never know!

One Walrus Not Sleeping, Karl XII Island, Svalbard
Phase One XF 100MP Trichromatic, 240mm Schneider, f5.0 @ 1/1600 second, ISO 400

I recently read a Facebook post by Karen Alsop about how she had made a print of one of her competition entries - before she knew the results. The photo in question (we published it in Better Photographymagazine BP#94 - The Elephant In The Room) happened to earn a Gold Award and helped her pick up the 2018 AIPP Australian Pet/Animal Photographer of the Year, but what resonated with both Karen and me is the fact she made the print first. She liked what she had created and that was enough.

It didn't stop her from entering the competition, of course, but it meant that win, lose or draw, she was happy with what she had created.

This is a great position to be in, mentally and emotionally. I know a lot of readers think about entering photo competitions, but never quite get around to it. Sometimes it is because they don't want to hear a judge criticize work that they are in love with. Yet I think this is the point. You'll only get to a point of confidence and self-satisfaction once you've taken a few knocks. If you're worried about the opinion of a few judges, you're not there yet. 

Once you gain experience as a photographer, whether by entering awards or working professionally, there comes a time when you know who you are and what you like to create. I find myself in that position now and after entering photography awards for over 40 years, I can assure you that the judges still don't like all of my photos as much as I do! I did rather well in the recent AIPP NSW Epson Professional Photography Awards, but in addition to having the highest scoring print, I'm pretty sure I had the lowest scoring print as well! And I love that photo!

So, what do you enter into a competition? Do you only enter photos you love, or to some extent do you try to second guess the judges? When entering a competition, it's only four or maybe up to 12 entries. Most of us have far more 'good photos' than this, so I certainly try to pick photos that I think the judges will like. That's just like being a professional photographer, trying to create images that clients will love - so I have no trouble approaching competitions this way.

So, what about the walrus shot above? It's a photo that I love. And I've made a print! But I'm not entering it into the AIPP's Australian Professional Photography Awards this weekend because I don't think the judges will respond the same way I do. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'll never know!

Two suggestions. If you live in Sydney, why not visit the AIPP's print judging at Randwick Racecourse this weekend (Sat to Mon) - it's free and the experience is amazing. Every print receives a comment so lots to learn. You'll find details at http://www.aippappa.com/.

And second, entries into the 2019 Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards close on 15 August 2019, so there's still time to enter - and who knows, you could be part of the $17,000 prize pool too! For more details, visit www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com now!

 

]]>
eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) AIPP Svalbard Walrus https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/8/loving-what-you-enter---anyway Thu, 08 Aug 2019 10:01:28 GMT
The Disadvantage of Medium Format https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/8/the-disadvantage-of-medium-format Gresford, Hunter ValleyGresford, Hunter ValleyPhase One A-Series, 150MP IQ4 back, 23mm Alpagon
f5.6 @ 30 seconds, ISO 6400

The more pixels you have, the more challenging it is to reduce noise. Of course, Nikon and Sony make a lie of this statement to some extent as their high-pixel count cameras produce remarkable results, even at ISO 6400 and 12,800. Some photographers even laud the results at higher speeds than these - and I'd agree.
Compared to the old grainy films we used to put up with, modern sensors are sensational.

The sensor inside Phase One's medium format is built by Sony and so it too has the advantage of high speed and low noise, except that the more pixels you have, the easier it is to see noise. Open up a 150MP file shot at ISO 6400 and you'll find lots of noise at 100% magnification, but reduce the image magnification to 33% or 25% and that noise disappears. Now it looks very similar to a full frame DSLR with 30- to 50-megapixels.

Last weekend I was up at David Oliver's farm for the night, sharing a bottle of red with Bruce Pottinger. It was a beautiful clear evening, so we took advantage of the situation and shot a couple of frames of the stars, just to see how far medium format has come in terms of low light. Bruce was using Fujifilm's medium format GFX (although Fujifilm now refers to this as 'large format'), I had the Phase One IQ4 150MP back.

The improvements are simply remarkable for both camera systems. There is noise, as explained above, but it's so manageable. Medium format has certainly come of age, but are they the solution for night photography?

Possibly not. If you're shooting by the light of the moon, not the moon and the stars themselves, then you may not care how long the shutter remains open. This means you can set lower ISO settings to ensure a noiseless result.

Not so if you're shooting the stars because exposures of longer than 10 seconds will blur the stars. They will move too much during the exposure.

I read somewhere that a shutter speed of 1/15 second or shorter is needed to ensure you have a sharp (not blurred) photo of the moon, but this would depend on the magnification of your lens and the resolution of your sensor. The longer the telephoto, the faster the shutter speed needed. The same principle applies for shooting stars and my memory is that at 10 seconds with a wide-angle lens and a 20-megapixel sensor, you can't see any blurring in the stars.

However, when you step up to a 50-megapixel sensor, you can enlarge the image that much more and suddenly a little blur is visible. The more pixels you have, the shorter the exposure needs to be to avoid blurring the stars. And the shorter the exposure, the higher the ISO setting - unless you can use a wider aperture.

And this is the disadvantage of medium format. My beautiful wide-angle lens has a maximum aperture of f4.5. Compare this to a special purpose f1.2 or f1.4 wide-angle lens for a full-frame or APS-C camera and medium format has a three to four stop (EV) exposure disadvantage. At ISO 6400, my 'fastest' exposure was 30 seconds at f4.5 and I could still see blur in the stars. Not much and you probably can't see it in the image size above, but it's there!

Phase One A-Series, 150MP IQ4 back, 23mm Alpagon
f5.6 @ 30 seconds, ISO 6400

The more pixels you have, the more challenging it is to reduce noise. Of course, Nikon and Sony make a lie of this statement to some extent as their high-pixel count cameras produce remarkable results, even at ISO 6400 and 12,800. Some photographers even laud the results at higher speeds than these - and I'd agree. Compared to the old grainy films we used to put up with, modern sensors are sensational.

The sensor inside Phase One's medium format is built by Sony and so it too has the advantage of high speed and low noise, except that the more pixels you have, the easier it is to see noise. Open up a 150MP file shot at ISO 6400 and you'll find lots of noise at 100% magnification, but reduce the image magnification to 33% or 25% and that noise disappears. Now it looks very similar to a full frame DSLR with 30- to 50-megapixels.

Last weekend I was up at David Oliver's farm for the night, sharing a bottle of red with Bruce Pottinger. It was a beautiful clear evening, so we took advantage of the situation and shot a couple of frames of the stars, just to see how far medium format has come in terms of low light. Bruce was using Fujifilm's medium format GFX (although Fujifilm now refers to this as 'large format'), I had the Phase One IQ4 150MP back.

The improvements are simply remarkable for both camera systems. There is noise, as explained above, but it's so manageable. Medium format has certainly come of age, but are they the solution for night photography?

Possibly not. If you're shooting by the light of the moon, not the moon and the stars themselves, then you may not care how long the shutter remains open. This means you can set lower ISO settings to ensure a noiseless result.

Not so if you're shooting the stars because exposures of longer than 10 seconds will blur the stars. They will move too much during the exposure.

I read somewhere that a shutter speed of 1/15 second or shorter is needed to ensure you have a sharp (not blurred) photo of the moon, but this would depend on the magnification of your lens and the resolution of your sensor. The longer the telephoto, the faster the shutter speed needed. The same principle applies for shooting stars and my memory is that at 10 seconds with a wide-angle lens and a 20-megapixel sensor, you can't see any blurring in the stars.

However, when you step up to a 50-megapixel sensor, you can enlarge the image that much more and suddenly a little blur is visible. The more pixels you have, the shorter the exposure needs to be to avoid blurring the stars. And the shorter the exposure, the higher the ISO setting - unless you can use a wider aperture.

And this is the disadvantage of medium format. My beautiful wide-angle lens has a maximum aperture of f4.5. Compare this to a special purpose f1.2 or f1.4 wide-angle lens for a full-frame or APS-C camera and medium format has a three to four stop (EV) exposure disadvantage. At ISO 6400, my 'fastest' exposure was 30 seconds at f4.5 and I could still see blur in the stars. Not much and you probably can't see it in the image size above, but it's there!

And don't forget, entries into the 2019 Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards close on 15 August 2019, so there's still time to enter - and who knows, you could be part of the $17,000 prize pool too! For more details, visit www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com now!

 

]]>
eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Gresford Hunter Valley https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/8/the-disadvantage-of-medium-format Mon, 05 Aug 2019 23:33:36 GMT
Work In Progress From Middlehurst https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/7/work-in-progress-from-middlehurst Tolkien Rock, Middlehurst, New ZealandTolkien Rock, Middlehurst, New ZealandTolkein Rock, Awatere River, Middlehurst, New Zealand

Phase One A-Series, 150MP IQ4, 23mm Alpagon lens, f5.6 @ 30 seconds, ISO 50

I'm still working my way through this image, but its genesis might surprise you! While working with our photographers on the recent Middlehurst Art Photography Experience, Tony Hewitt and I pull out our video cameras and phones to shoot a little behind-the-scenes for future promotional clips we never seem to finish! The sun had disappeared and it was getting quite dark when I looked down on the tiny screen of my Osmo Pocket. If you know the video camera, you'll also know how small that screen is.

However, looking at that screen, all I could see was the ribbon of blue water and the sky. The landscape was in deep shadow and looked really dramatic! Although I'd packed up my gear for the night, I couldn't help myself but take another couple of photos.

The correct exposure for the highlights at f5.6 was 2 seconds, but using the new exposure averaging feature in the Phase One IQ150 back (it's similar to the feature found on the latest Olympus cameras), I took around 30 seconds worth of exposures, blurring the water still more. And given the incredible dynamic range of the IQ4 back, there was still lots of information in the shadows!

But I'm not quite sure I'm finished. The colour palette is a little strong and although I have tamed the blues in the water several times, maybe they should be tamer still, or maybe I desaturate the wonderful yellows in the Middlehurst hills? I'll live with it for a little while and see how I feel!

If you'd like to see a large print of this image, come along to the AIPP's Australian Professional Photography Awards at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney (10-12 August - entry is free) and check out the LaCie stand. And while you're there, spend an hour or two watching and listening to the judging. It's an experience that could transform everything you think you know and understand about photography - and just maybe you'll understand why so many of us are addicted to the experience.

And don't forget to enter our own Better Photography Photo of the Year 2019 awards. Entries close 15 August and every entry receives a judge's comment designed to help improve your photography! It's also great fun! Click here: https://www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com/

Tolkein Rock, Awatere River, Middlehurst, New Zealand
Phase One A-Series, 150MP IQ4, 23mm Alpag
Toon lens, f5.6 @ 30 seconds, ISO 50
 seconds, ISO 50

I'm still working my way through this image, but its genesis might surprise you! While working with our photographers on the recent Middlehurst Art Photography Experience, Tony Hewitt and I pull out our video cameras and phones to shoot a little behind-the-scenes for future promotional clips we never seem to finish! The sun had disappeared and it was getting quite dark when I looked down on the tiny screen of my Osmo Pocket. If you know the video camera, you'll also know how small that screen is.

However, looking at that screen, all I could see was the ribbon of blue water and the sky. The landscape was in deep shadow and looked really dramatic! Although I'd packed up my gear for the night, I couldn't help myself but take another couple of photos.

The correct exposure for the highlights at f5.6 was 2 seconds, but using the new exposure averaging feature in the Phase One IQ150 back (it's similar to the feature found on the latest Olympus cameras), I took around 30 seconds worth of exposures, blurring the water still more. And given the incredible dynamic range of the IQ4 back, there was still lots of information in the shadows!

But I'm not quite sure I'm finished. The colour palette is a little strong and although I have tamed the blues in the water several times, maybe they should be tamer still, or maybe I desaturate the wonderful yellows in the Middlehurst hills? I'll live with it for a little while and see how I feel!

If you'd like to see a large print of this image, come along to the AIPP's Australian Professional Photography Awards at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney (10-12 August - entry is free) and check out the LaCie stand. And while you're there, spend an hour or two watching and listening to the judging. It's an experience that could transform everything you think you know and understand about photography - and just maybe you'll understand why so many of us are addicted to the experience.

And don't forget to enter our own Better Photography Photo of the Year 2019 awards. Entries close 15 August and every entry receives a judge's comment designed to help improve your photography! It's also great fun! Click here: https://www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com/

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/7/work-in-progress-from-middlehurst Tue, 30 Jul 2019 23:45:00 GMT
Ice & Melting Icebergs https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/6/ice-melting-icebergs Melting ice, Isispynten, SvalbardMelting ice, Isispynten, SvalbardWhat makes a strong composition? What makes an abstract? I've been sub-editing Len Metcalf's wonderful articles on abstracts and composition for Better Photography over the past few issues and he's given me (and our readers) lots to think about. If you're a subscriber, may I suggest you pull out the last few issues and have a read!

I'm suggesting this photo is an abstract. Yes, it's also a literal photograph with very little in the way of post-production (for me, at least). I've used some clarity in this version to bring out the texture in the ice and to separate the ice from the water, but at the end of the day, it's an abstract photograph that relies on the random positioning of ice. The only 'intentional' aspect to the composition is the placement of the large blue berg up the top which hopefully anchors the image.
I took 10 shots to get this one. The other 9 aren't nearly so strong. Why do I mention this?

A photographer who purchased my book, The New Tradition, pointed to a caption I'd written, where I confessed I'd taken around 50 shots to get the good one. For him it was a weight off his mind, because he thought that good photographers only needed to take one or maybe two shots to get it right. Maybe that's true for some photographers, but not in my case. And sometimes, when I'm there in the moment, I have no idea whether or not I have the best shot possible, so I keep taking lots of shots. It's not costing me anything except a little more time selecting the best frame from multiple ones later on.

These days, with so many photographers taking so many great shots, to produce images that stand out, we really need to get our compositional balance working and sometimes, especially with moving subjects like this, lots of photos is the best way to achieve success.

This is shot up in the north of Svalbard on a photo tour I did with Kevin Raber last year. Kevin and I are returning there next year in August if you'd like to join us - but berths sell quickly on our ship, so jump in soon!

For more information, check out my Svalbard video here or by visiting thewww.betterphotography.com website and looking for the workshops link.

Melting ice, Isispynten, Svalbard
Phase One XF 100MP with 55mm Schneider lens, f8 @ 1/800 second, ISO 200.
 

What makes a strong composition? What makes an abstract? I've been sub-editing Len Metcalf's wonderful articles on abstracts and composition for Better Photography over the past few issues and he's given me (and our readers) lots to think about. If you're a subscriber, may I suggest you pull out the last few issues and have a read!

I'm suggesting this photo is an abstract. Yes, it's also a literal photograph with very little in the way of post-production (for me, at least). I've used some clarity in this version to bring out the texture in the ice and to separate the ice from the water, but at the end of the day, it's an abstract photograph that relies on the random positioning of ice. The only 'intentional' aspect to the composition is the placement of the large blue berg up the top which hopefully anchors the image.

I took 10 shots to get this one. The other 9 aren't nearly so strong. Why do I mention this?

A photographer who purchased my book, The New Tradition, pointed to a caption I'd written, where I confessed I'd taken around 50 shots to get the good one. For him it was a weight off his mind, because he thought that good photographers only needed to take one or maybe two shots to get it right. Maybe that's true for some photographers, but not in my case. And sometimes, when I'm there in the moment, I have no idea whether or not I have the best shot possible, so I keep taking lots of shots. It's not costing me anything except a little more time selecting the best frame from multiple ones later on.

These days, with so many photographers taking so many great shots, to produce images that stand out, we really need to get our compositional balance working and sometimes, especially with moving subjects like this, lots of photos is the best way to achieve success.

This is shot up in the north of Svalbard on a photo tour I did with Kevin Raber last year. Kevin and I are returning there next year in August if you'd like to join us - but berths sell quickly on our ship, so jump in soon! For more information, check out my Svalbard video here or by visiting the www.betterphotography.com website and looking for the workshops link.

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) icebergs Svalbard https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/6/ice-melting-icebergs Thu, 27 Jun 2019 00:42:44 GMT
Luck Plays No Part In Brilliant Photographs? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/6/luck-plays-no-part-in-brilliant-photographs Nomadic horses, Assy Plateau, KazakhstanNomadic horses, Assy Plateau, KazakhstanPhase One A-Series 100MP, 180mm Rodenstock, f11 @ 1/125 second, ISO 50

I'm setting myself up, aren't I! I'm just back from the three Stans - Uzbekistan, Krygyzstan and Kazakhstan - and what an amazing photo tour it was. Three exotic countries, quite different from anywhere else I've travelled and definitely places to return. And my wife, who loves horses, was very happy.

It all happened on our final day in Kazakhstan. We were up on the Assy Plateau, an 'other world' of alpine meadows, flowers, streams and horses. We even found an old Soviet observatory, but I'll save that for another story. At the beginning of each summer, the nomadic herders take their horses up to the meadows as the snows melt and retreat. We hoped to find them in their yurts, but we were possibly a little early - but it didn't really matter. The landscape was just so amazing.

I set my camera up for the landscape you see here. One of the photographers asked me a question, so I turned around to give a hand, and then as I looked back, what should I see coming over the hill. A herd of horses. And not just one or two, but hundreds of horses. The photo above is one of several, this one showing a few of the stragglers cantering to catch up.

I explained to my group of photographers that this was all pre-planned and that we could organise the wildflowers, the stormy skies and the horses whenever we wanted to. Not! I even managed to capture this photo on medium format using my Phase One A-Series with the 180mm - it's probably the slowest camera set-up I have as focus is critical, but as luck would have it, I had just pre-focused on the grasses where the horses were cantering!

So, luck plays absolutely no part in brilliant photography, but being both ready and lucky certainly does!

Nomadic horses, Assy Plateau, Kazakhstan
Phase One A-Series 100MP, 180mm Rodenstock, f11 @ 1/125 second, ISO 50

I'm setting myself up, aren't I! I'm just back from the three Stans - Uzbekistan, Krygyzstan and Kazakhstan - and what an amazing photo tour it was. Three exotic countries, quite different from anywhere else I've travelled and definitely places to return. And my wife, who loves horses, was very happy. 

It all happened on our final day in Kazakhstan. We were up on the Assy Plateau, an 'other world' of alpine meadows, flowers, streams and horses. We even found an old Soviet observatory, but I'll save that for another story. At the beginning of each summer, the nomadic herders take their horses up to the meadows as the snows melt and retreat. We hoped to find them in their yurts, but we were possibly a little early - but it didn't really matter. The landscape was just so amazing.

I set my camera up for the landscape you see here. One of the photographers asked me a question, so I turned around to give a hand, and then as I looked back, what should I see coming over the hill. A herd of horses. And not just one or two, but hundreds of horses. The photo above is one of several, this one showing a few of the stragglers cantering to catch up.

I explained to my group of photographers that this was all pre-planned and that we could organise the wildflowers, the stormy skies and the horses whenever we wanted to. Not! I even managed to capture this photo on medium format using my Phase One A-Series with the 180mm - it's probably the slowest camera set-up I have as focus is critical, but as luck would have it, I had just pre-focused on the grasses where the horses were cantering!

So, luck plays absolutely no part in brilliant photography, but being both ready and lucky certainly does!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) horses Kazakhstan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/6/luck-plays-no-part-in-brilliant-photographs Mon, 17 Jun 2019 04:50:17 GMT
Photographing People - Smile And Ask https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/6/photographing-people---smile-and-ask Monk, Rangjung, BhutanMonk, Rangjung, BhutanIn the last couple of weeks, I have given a travel photography presentation with Oged Wagonstein from Israel (as part of the Head On Photography Festival), and interviewed Lesley Downie for the AIPP Journal (the June issue, so it's not out just yet). Both are wonderful portrait photographers and have no trouble interacting with people as they travel around the world. How do they do it?

A lot of photographers are shy when it comes to pointing their camera in a stranger's face - and sometimes that describes me as well. On other occasions, I'm very relaxed and will photograph anyone. So if you find yourself in a position where you don't feel comfortable, don't worry too much. Maybe it's not quite the right opportunity, maybe you're not in the right mood, or maybe you're reading the situation accurately and people don't want to be photographed.

However, if you always feel a little shy, then maybe the problem does lie with you. Everyone has their own way of approaching people, but perhaps you could start by putting your camera over your shoulder and just walking up to people to have a chat - or buy something from their store. What you probably need to do first is break the ice - to interact with your potential subject. As you build a relationship, lots of things become much easier, including taking a photo.

Language can be a barrier, but only if you want it to be as many of my photos have been taken with a smile and a point at my camera. But it does require you to break the ice. Practice makes perfect and rather than hoping to take photographs of everyone you walk up to, practice talking to people and interacting first. I think you'll find that on many occasions, you'll work it out and pulling the camera off your shoulder to take a photograph will feel very natural.

In Bhutan, I remember being in a temple where we'd had special permission to take photographs. At one point, I wanted to photograph the head lama, so I made eye contact with him and pointed at my camera. He shook his head to the side - which I interpreted as 'no'. However, I now know that a sideways nod in Bhutan is actually a 'yes' or 'okay'. So, yes, language can be a problem, even unspoken language, but not for long - and certainly not when you gain some experience in a foreign country.

Gradually I'm developing that experience in Bhutan. David Oliver and I are returning there this November/December, with a new itinerary that travels across Bhutan from west to east. We're really excited about this trip which we researched last year. The monk in the photo above was photographed in Rangjung, Eastern Bhutan. Who knows, we may meet him again this trip! Why not join us this year as an early Christmas present to yourself! Details can be found here.

Monk, Rangjung, Bhutan
Phase One XF 100MP, 35mm lens, 1/50 second @ f5, ISO 800

In the last couple of weeks, I have given a travel photography presentation with Oged Wagonstein from Israel (as part of the Head On Photography Festival), and interviewed Lesley Downie for the AIPP Journal (the June issue, so it's not out just yet). Both are wonderful portrait photographers and have no trouble interacting with people as they travel around the world. How do they do it?

A lot of photographers are shy when it comes to pointing their camera in a stranger's face - and sometimes that describes me as well. On other occasions, I'm very relaxed and will photograph anyone. So if you find yourself in a position where you don't feel comfortable, don't worry too much. Maybe it's not quite the right opportunity, maybe you're not in the right mood, or maybe you're reading the situation accurately and people don't want to be photographed.

However, if you always feel a little shy, then maybe the problem does lie with you. Everyone has their own way of approaching people, but perhaps you could start by putting your camera over your shoulder and just walking up to people to have a chat - or buy something from their store. What you probably need to do first is break the ice - to interact with your potential subject. As you build a relationship, lots of things become much easier, including taking a photo.

Language can be a barrier, but only if you want it to be as many of my photos have been taken with a smile and a point at my camera. But it does require you to break the ice. Practice makes perfect and rather than hoping to take photographs of everyone you walk up to, practice talking to people and interacting first. I think you'll find that on many occasions, you'll work it out and pulling the camera off your shoulder to take a photograph will feel very natural.

In Bhutan, I remember being in a temple where we'd had special permission to take photographs. At one point, I wanted to photograph the head lama, so I made eye contact with him and pointed at my camera. He shook his head to the side - which I interpreted as 'no'. However, I now know that a sideways nod in Bhutan is actually a 'yes' or 'okay'. So, yes, language can be a problem, even unspoken language, but not for long - and certainly not when you gain some experience in a foreign country.

Gradually I'm developing that experience in Bhutan. David Oliver and I are returning there this November/December, with a new itinerary that travels across Bhutan from west to east. We're really excited about this trip which we researched last year. The monk in the photo above was photographed in Rangjung, Eastern Bhutan. Who knows, we may meet him again this trip! Why not join us this year as an early Christmas present to yourself! Details can be found here.

  •  

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) bhutan monk rangjung https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/6/photographing-people---smile-and-ask Tue, 04 Jun 2019 00:45:00 GMT
Iceland From The Air https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/5/iceland-from-the-air Iceland From The AirIceland From The AirIceland From The Air

Pre-production Phase One XF/IQ100MP, 80mm Schneider lens

1/1000 second @ f3.5, ISO 200

Shooting aerials in Iceland is never guaranteed. The trip I'm doing to Iceland in Oct/Nov with Better Moments (no relation to Better Photography, but good blokes nonetheless) has provision for aerials, but it's weather dependent. A big part of what makes Iceland such a dramatic landscape to photograph is the weather and so you have to expect a few days when it's not pleasant to get out of the car. On the other hand, as the storms approach and leave, that's when the light is often at its most magical - and that's when you need to be out in the elements with your camera.

Back in 2015, when this photo was taken, Christian Fletcher and I were the first photographers outside of Phase One to use the new IQ3 100-megapixel back. Drew Altdoerffer flew over from Copenhagen and handed me a camera that appeared to be held together with black electrical tape. Little did everyone else on the trip realise what we were shooting with - and we couldn't say anything either, not until the camera was publicly announced.

It was hard to keep Christian away from the camera, but I managed to smuggle it aboard a late afternoon flight. Tony Hewitt had scored an earlier flight with epic light (not that he told me), I had the last flight of the day when the light closed in and was very flat - but to be honest, I couldn't have cared less! Just to be up in the air looking down on the awesome Icelandic landscape was spectacular enough.

I believe this is part of the Landmannalaugar region and the colours are very true to life: it was hard to believe there was this radioactive green volcano sitting in a sea of black volcanic earth. Quite remarkable and all I'm hoping for this next trip is a chance to shoot it again - with a bit more light! With such little life, I struggled to keep the shutter speed up at 1/1000, but the good thing about the 100MP CMOS sensor is that higher ISO settings are no problem, whereas with the older 80MP CCD sensor, pushing the ISO at all was challenging.

We've still got a few places in Iceland if you're interested - and you can also trial a Phase One camera outfit if you're interested. However, the workshop is available for all photographers and all cameras. Come along!

Click here for details:
https://www.betterphotography.com/component/virtuemart/workshops/iceland-with-phase-one-and-peter-eastway,-26-october-4-november-2019-detail?Itemid=148

Pre-production Phase One XF/IQ100MP, 80mm Schneider lens

1/1000 second @ f3.5, ISO 200

 

Shooting aerials in Iceland is never guaranteed. The trip I'm doing to Iceland in Oct/Nov with Better Moments (no relation to Better Photography, but good blokes nonetheless) has provision for aerials, but it's weather dependent. A big part of what makes Iceland such a dramatic landscape to photograph is the weather and so you have to expect a few days when it's not pleasant to get out of the car. On the other hand, as the storms approach and leave, that's when the light is often at its most magical - and that's when you need to be out in the elements with your camera.

 

Back in 2015, when this photo was taken, Christian Fletcher and I were the first photographers outside of Phase One to use the new IQ3 100-megapixel back. Drew Altdoerffer flew over from Copenhagen and handed me a camera that appeared to be held together with black electrical tape. Little did everyone else on the trip realise what we were shooting with - and we couldn't say anything either, not until the camera was publicly announced.

 

It was hard to keep Christian away from the camera, but I managed to smuggle it aboard a late afternoon flight. Tony Hewitt had scored an earlier flight with epic light (not that he told me), I had the last flight of the day when the light closed in and was very flat - but to be honest, I couldn't have cared less! Just to be up in the air looking down on the awesome Icelandic landscape was spectacular enough.

 

I believe this is part of the Landmannalaugar region and the colours are very true to life: it was hard to believe there was this radioactive green volcano sitting in a sea of black volcanic earth. Quite remarkable and all I'm hoping for this next trip is a chance to shoot it again - with a bit more light! With such little life, I struggled to keep the shutter speed up at 1/1000, but the good thing about the 100MP CMOS sensor is that higher ISO settings are no problem, whereas with the older 80MP CCD sensor, pushing the ISO at all was challenging.

 

We've still got a few places in Iceland if you're interested - and you can also trial a Phase One camera outfit if you're interested. However, the workshop is available for all photographers and all cameras. Come along!

 

Click here for details.

 

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Aerial Iceland Volcano https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/5/iceland-from-the-air Mon, 27 May 2019 02:59:33 GMT
Shapes & Textures https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/5/shapes-textures Near Bow LakeNear Bow LakeNear Bow Lake, Alberta, Canada

Snow-covered foothills, Icefields Parkway, Canada
Phase One XF 100MP, Schneider 240mm with 2x converter, 1/50 second @ f12, ISO 50.

This is one of my favourite photographs from a trip up the Icefields Parkway in Canada. Why? I'm not exactly sure, but I think it is a combination of me loving snow, of moody light, and of the beautiful textures created by the trees and the way they fold themselves over the foothills.

A lot of travel photography is taken from the side of the road. Even if you're heading off on a trek, you'll drive to the starting point and there are invariably opportunities along the way, especially if the light is changing. On a one to two week trip, I'd expect at least one, two or maybe three weather systems to push through, creating cloud and lighting opportunities - so you need to be ready.

On this occasion, as I've written before, we had early snow. When we started out in the morning in heavy snow, we didn't think we'd get to see anything much at all because visibility was poor, but later in the morning the clouds lifted a little and, using a telephoto lens, I was able to isolate the simple shapes of the tree-covered hills. The telephoto lens lets you simplify your composition and while it won't be very apparent in this small reproduction, there is some beautiful detail in there.

Detail in a photograph remains important to me. I'm happy to capture images that are soft and blurry, but that's a different head space. Part of what makes a photograph a photograph is the way the lens resolves detail. The closer you look, the more you see. So most of the time I'm travelling, I use a tripod. David Oliver laughs at me, saying he's taken his shots by the time I have the second leg of my tripod extended - and there's an argument there. On the other hand, usually the landscape isn't going to run away and spending a little time to set up the tripod can be well-used as you reflect on your subject. The resulting composition is generally more considered than a hand-held one - and I like that. It's not a better way of shooting, rather a different way - and each to their own.

If you'd like to join Tony Hewitt and me in Canada in October this year, we need to hear from you by the end of May. This part of Canada at this time of year is really popular, so if we're to book accommodation, we have to get cracking. For more details, check out the Better Photography website here.

 

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Canada https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/5/shapes-textures Mon, 20 May 2019 05:14:58 GMT
Capture To Print With 150MP https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/5/capture-to-print-with-150mp Camel Rocks, Bermagui, NSWCamel Rocks, Bermagui, NSWAustralia

The print of Camel Rock, South Coast, NSW
Phase One IQ4 150MP back, 32mm Rodenstock lens, Epson SC-P10070, Canson Rag Photographique

The week before last, I picked up Lau Nørgaard from Sydney Airport at 7.30 a.m. and bundled him into my car for a drive down south. Lau is Phase One's Chief Visionary Officer and the man behind the Phase One XF camera. I'd met him at the launch of the XF a few years back in Copenhagen and was very impressed when he told me that, after watching me use the camera, he'd made some adjustments to the firmware and updated the camera. I think it's pretty cool that we can change the way our cameras operate to work better.

So, what do you talk about on a five hour drive south with one of the world's leading camera designers? It didn't take us long to get into all sorts of topics, from the decisions that go into designing a lens to how far sensor design might go in the future. In fact, for three days I gave Lau a grilling and I'm sure he was delighted to see the back of me when I dropped him off in Sydney on Sunday night!

One of our projects down south was to take a few photographs, using the new Phase One IQ4 150-megapixel back and today, I completed the process by making a 1x1.5 metre print on my Epson SureColor P10070 and Canson Rag Photographique paper. The result is sensational, not just because of the image detail, but also the colour and the tonality. There's a clarity and a depth that I don't see in smaller format cameras, no matter what size print I'm making.

The photograph is of Camel Rock near Bermagui, but from this angle, the rocks don't look like a camel at all, but I think there's a better foreground. I've photographed this location many times before, but not with so much sand in the foreground. In fact, being the end of summer, all of the locations we visited were completely different to what I had seen at the end of winters past.

I took lots of notes over the weekend and will be writing up a story for the next issue of Better Photography - there will be lots more to report!

 


 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Australia Camel Rock NSW South Coast https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/5/capture-to-print-with-150mp Mon, 13 May 2019 23:30:00 GMT
Pink Mosque In Shiraz https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/5/pink-mosque-in-shiraz Iran

The Pink Mosque, Shiraz, Iran
Fujifilm X-T3 with XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 8mm, f5.6 @ 1/60 second, ISO 500

I'm just back from Iran and a photo tour with Nuran Zorlu and a group of intrepid photographers. What an amazing country to visit! While there, we managed to dance around some flooded areas and the weather kept on producing some great skies and photo opportunities.

Many people raise their eyebrows when I say I've been to Iran, but when you're there, on the ground, you feel very safe and very welcome. Every day at least a dozen people would say, "Welcome to Iran - I hope you enjoy my country". The Iranians are both proud and incredibly hospitable.

This trip, Nuran excelled himself, discovering not only some new landscapes to shoot, but some great restaurants. He 'appears' to be speaking Farsi with the locals, but based on the locals' responses, I'm not fully convinced he's communicating word-perfect just yet! Nevertheless, there are lots of smiles, laughs and at the end, great food arrived on our tables.

The photo above was taken on our first day of the photo tour in Shiraz, the birthplace of the red wine by the same name. It is inside the Pink Mosque and our guide Niloo posed for us. There is just a short time every morning when the light streams in through the stained glass windows, so timing is important. And you won't have the space to yourself, so patience is needed and a little luck for all the other tourists to step out of your picture!

And keeping with my new year resolution, all the steps were done in Capture One.

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Iran Mosque https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/5/pink-mosque-in-shiraz Mon, 06 May 2019 07:29:59 GMT
Capturing Icelandic Religiosity https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/4/capturing-icelandic-religiosity Hellnar ChurchHellnar ChurchCapturing Icelandic Religiosity

Church at Hellnar, West Coast, Iceland

Phase One A-Series (IQ180) with 23mm lens, 30 seconds @ f5.6, ISO 35

Writing these blogs is a matter of balancing an interesting photo, an interesting story for everyone, and a gentle prompt for the lucky few who might consider joining me on a photo tour, purchasing a subscription or perhaps buying my new book, The New Tradition. On this occasion, the subject is Iceland and this is one of the many photographs from 2015 that I had yet to process.

We stayed in a hotel at Hellnar for a couple of nights - the hotel is just down behind the church, out of sight - and so I had a couple of opportunities to photograph this wonderful little church. I'm not a religious person, but I do love a church in the landscape. My wife Kathie and I spent countless days in New South Wales photographing old Australian churches (well, I photographed and she sketched - being married to a graphic designer has its advantages as we're both happy to potter around). So even now, several decades later, I still find myself drawn to the sign of man being dwarfed by the landscape of nature.

In photographing a subject like this, my approach is to walk around, looking at how the light falls on the subject (under this cloud, there wasn't much direction at all) and, equally importantly, what is in the background. I think when I'm judging photography competitions, the most common mistake is photographers not thinking carefully enough about how their subject is placed in the scene: what's behind it and what's around it. I'm always looking at both the subject within the frame and everything else around it, asking myself how I can simplify the composition.

With a super wide-angle lens like my favourite 23mm (16mm in full-frame parlance), I find that I need to get in relatively close to the subject so I can exclude unnecessary surrounding elements. And getting down a little lower than head-height meant I could remove most of the buildings in the background (I did need to do a little cleaning up, removing a roof line on the right and a couple of photographers with the van on the left). All of the post-production was done in Capture One (as per my new year's resolution), except for the cleaning up work which was much quicker and easier to do in Photoshop.

So the takeaway? Spend a little time with your subject, investigating what it has to offer. With a subject like a church, you should probably walk around it at least once!
I'm not sure if we're visiting this particular church on the Better Moments photo tour this October 2019, but don't worry Iceland has lots and lots of little churches and chapels spotted all over its wonderful landscape! Come along and I'll show you - click here for details! https://www.betterphotography.com/component/virtuemart/workshops/iceland-with-phase-one-and-peter-eastway,-26-october-4-november-2019-detail?Itemid=148

Church at Hellnar, West Coast, Iceland
Phase One A-Series (IQ180) with 23mm lens, 30 seconds @ f5.6, ISO 35

Writing these blogs is a matter of balancing an interesting photo, an interesting story for everyone, and a gentle prompt for the lucky few who might consider joining me on a photo tour, purchasing a subscription or perhaps buying my new book, The New Tradition. On this occasion, the subject is Iceland and this is one of the many photographs from 2015 that I had yet to process.

We stayed in a hotel at Hellnar for a couple of nights - the hotel is just down behind the church, out of sight - and so I had a couple of opportunities to photograph this wonderful little church. I'm not a religious person, but I do love a church in the landscape. My wife Kathie and I spent countless days in New South Wales photographing old Australian churches (well, I photographed and she sketched - being married to a graphic designer has its advantages as we're both happy to potter around). So even now, several decades later, I still find myself drawn to the sign of man being dwarfed by the landscape of nature.

In photographing a subject like this, my approach is to walk around, looking at how the light falls on the subject (under this cloud, there wasn't much direction at all) and, equally importantly, what is in the background. I think when I'm judging photography competitions, the most common mistake is photographers not thinking carefully enough about how their subject is placed in the scene: what's behind it and what's around it. I'm always looking at both the subject within the frame and everything else around it, asking myself how I can simplify the composition. 

With a super wide-angle lens like my favourite 23mm (16mm in full-frame parlance), I find that I need to get in relatively close to the subject so I can exclude unnecessary surrounding elements. And getting down a little lower than head-height meant I could remove most of the buildings in the background (I did need to do a little cleaning up, removing a roof line on the right and a couple of photographers with the van on the left). All of the post-production was done in Capture One (as per my new year's resolution), except for the cleaning up work which was much quicker and easier to do in Photoshop.

So the takeaway? Spend a little time with your subject, investigating what it has to offer. With a subject like a church, you should probably walk around it at least once! 

I'm not sure if we're visiting this particular church on the Better Moments photo tour this October 2019, but don't worry Iceland has lots and lots of little churches and chapels spotted all over its wonderful landscape! Come along and I'll show you - click here for details!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Hellnar Iceland West Coast https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/4/capturing-icelandic-religiosity Mon, 15 Apr 2019 00:00:49 GMT
What Makes An Interesting Travel Photograph? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/4/what-makes-an-interesting-travel-photograph Pray Flags - MongerPray Flags - MongerPrayer flags on the road to Monger, Eastern Bhutan

Phase One A-Series 100MP, 23mm lens, 30 seconds @ f8, ISO 50, 10x ND filter

What makes an interesting travel photograph? The correct answer depends on who is viewing the photograph! I imagine that these prayer flags in Bhutan are relatively uninteresting to a Bhutanese or Nepalese local because prayer flags are everywhere in these countries. And interestingly, prayer flags are in a constant state of change, beginning life like the flags above, with bright, clean colours, but gradually fading, tearing and falling apart with the weather and sunshine. You could drive past this location today and just see a set of tall sticks, but tomorrow there could be a new set of flags in place.
So, what makes an interesting travel photograph depends on your viewer, but if we're bringing photographs home to show our friends and family, it's reasonable to assume that they will find interesting the same things we do. What do we photograph? A subject that is different. This could be as simple as different faces, different clothing, different houses, different landscapes. Our role as travel photographers is to experience where we are and to communicate what we find interesting. No point trying to second-guess what others will find interesting as that is an exercise fraught with disappointment! The only person you can be confident of making happy is yourself - and besides, people will want to know what you found interesting.
The next challenge is to photograph it in an interesting way. For me, this means finding and isolating these points of difference. I have thousands of street photographs and general landscapes from all around the world, and while they are obviously travel photographs, they are so messy and complicated that they are meaningless. There are soooo many general travel snaps out there! The photos that stand out to me have just one aspect of travel carefully framed and presented. So, work out what interests you, then work out how you can capture that interest and make it dominate your photograph.
In the example of the prayer flags above, I've used a few techniques. Firstly, I've come in close to my subject and excluded the surroundings (the road, other buildings and trees), so it's very clear what this is a photograph of. Second, I've chosen a low camera angle so I can isolate the prayer flags against the sky. If the prayer flags were backed by other trees and a busy landscape, they wouldn't stand out. The plain background is a key ingredient which allows the subject to dominate. And finally, I've used a 10X ND filter which gave me a 30 second exposure. This creates a sense of irreality with the clouds and flags moving during the exposure.
I hope you like it!
You can see a YouTube video taken on the Bhutan photo tour David Oliver and I did last year - here's the link: https://youtu.be/YrwX3dJnuz8
And David and I have places available for our November/December 2019 trip to Bhutan - which for the first time will include Eastern Bhutan where the photo above was taken. Why don't you come along?

 

Prayer flags on the road to Monger, Eastern Bhutan
Phase One A-Series 100MP, 23mm lens, 30 seconds @ f8, ISO 50, 10x ND filter

What makes an interesting travel photograph? The correct answer depends on who is viewing the photograph! I imagine that these prayer flags in Bhutan are relatively uninteresting to a Bhutanese or Nepalese local because prayer flags are everywhere in these countries. And interestingly, prayer flags are in a constant state of change, beginning life like the flags above, with bright, clean colours, but gradually fading, tearing and falling apart with the weather and sunshine. You could drive past this location today and just see a set of tall sticks, but tomorrow there could be a new set of flags in place.

So, what makes an interesting travel photograph depends on your viewer, but if we're bringing photographs home to show our friends and family, it's reasonable to assume that they will find interesting the same things we do. What do we photograph? A subject that is different. This could be as simple as different faces, different clothing, different houses, different landscapes. Our role as travel photographers is to experience where we are and to communicate what we find interesting. No point trying to second-guess what others will find interesting as that is an exercise fraught with disappointment! The only person you can be confident of making happy is yourself - and besides, people will want to know what you found interesting.

The next challenge is to photograph it in an interesting way. For me, this means finding and isolating these points of difference. I have thousands of street photographs and general landscapes from all around the world, and while they are obviously travel photographs, they are so messy and complicated that they are meaningless. There are soooo many general travel snaps out there! The photos that stand out to me have just one aspect of travel carefully framed and presented. So, work out what interests you, then work out how you can capture that interest and make it dominate your photograph.

In the example of the prayer flags above, I've used a few techniques. Firstly, I've come in close to my subject and excluded the surroundings (the road, other buildings and trees), so it's very clear what this is a photograph of. Second, I've chosen a low camera angle so I can isolate the prayer flags against the sky. If the prayer flags were backed by other trees and a busy landscape, they wouldn't stand out. The plain background is a key ingredient which allows the subject to dominate. And finally, I've used a 10X ND filter which gave me a 30 second exposure. This creates a sense of irreality with the clouds and flags moving during the exposure.

I hope you like it!

You can see a YouTube video taken on the Bhutan photo tour David Oliver and I did last year - here's the link: https://youtu.be/YrwX3dJnuz8

And David and I have places available for our November/December 2019 trip to Bhutan - which for the first time will include Eastern Bhutan where the photo above was taken. Why don't you come along?

https://www.betterphotography.com/component/virtuemart/workshops/magical-bhutan-from-west-to-east-with-peter-eastway-david-oliver-23-november-7-december-2019-detail?Itemid=148
 

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bhutan Monger Pray Flags https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/4/what-makes-an-interesting-travel-photograph Mon, 08 Apr 2019 00:15:00 GMT
Early Snow Or Autumn Colours? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/4/early-snow-or-autumn-colours Bow LakeBow LakeBow Lake under fresh snow, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada

Phase One XF 100MP with 240mm, f9 @ 1/30 second, ISO 50

Being a Sydney-sider, snow is a novelty for me. I've skied most of my life (two skis, not a board) and there's nothing I like better than to visit locations in winter when there's a chance of snow. And from a photography perspective, I think snow photos look their best when the snow is freshly fallen.

Many people think snow is snow, but it's not the case. Fallen snow changes over time. Generally it gets heavier and droops - it doesn't look so fluffy. The slightest of winds will shake the snow from the trees. And as the days pass, snow gets dirtier and dirtier with wind-borne dust, dirt and foliage. To get really classic snow shots, you need to be there while it's snowing, or just after the snow has fallen and the light is coming good.

So, how do you know when it's going to snow? Well, you don't, but there's a better chance in winter than in summer, unless you're going to the Arctic or Antarctic, of course! Tony Hewitt and I take our SW USA and Middlehurst NZ photo tours in winter because there's a chance it will snow, but of course, there are no guarantees. And sometimes it can snow when you don't expect it, such as when we did the Canada photo tour in September 2017. Of course, along the Icefields Parkway in Alberta, it can snow any time of the year. We were hoping for the autumn colours to really turn it on, but we were just a couple of weeks too early (or the colours were a couple of weeks late!), so early snow was a great alternative.

The photo above was taken at Bow Lake in the early morning. It was snowing quite heavily, but light and dry and not affecting the cameras too badly. Keep a spare battery in a warm pocket and change it over if you find your camera acting sluggishly - it's usually because the cold drains the batteries more quickly, but all the modern cameras I've used have no trouble operating in below zero temperatures, certainly not for a few hours here and there. Click here for details.

Following the photo tour, I put together a Momento Pro photo book with a selection of images, all lightly processed in Capture One. I've loaded a FlipBook version onto the website if you'd like to take a look - and maybe you'll also be encouraged to join Tony and me later this year in Canada as we do another photo tour down the Icefields Parkway - this time a little later and hoping for the autumn colours. Even better, autumn colours and snow!

https://www.betterphotography.com/blogs/almost-weekly-photo/187-early-snow-or-autumn-colours

Bow Lake under fresh snow, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada
Phase One XF 100MP with 240mm, f9 @ 1/30 second, ISO 50

Being a Sydney-sider, snow is a novelty for me. I've skied most of my life (two skis, not a board) and there's nothing I like better than to visit locations in winter when there's a chance of snow. And from a photography perspective, I think snow photos look their best when the snow is freshly fallen.

Many people think snow is snow, but it's not the case. Fallen snow changes over time. Generally it gets heavier and droops - it doesn't look so fluffy. The slightest of winds will shake the snow from the trees. And as the days pass, snow gets dirtier and dirtier with wind-borne dust, dirt and foliage. To get really classic snow shots, you need to be there while it's snowing, or just after the snow has fallen and the light is coming good.

So, how do you know when it's going to snow? Well, you don't, but there's a better chance in winter than in summer, unless you're going to the Arctic or Antarctic, of course! Tony Hewitt and I take our SW USA and Middlehurst NZ photo tours in winter because there's a chance it will snow, but of course, there are no guarantees. And sometimes it can snow when you don't expect it, such as when we did the Canada photo tour in September 2017. Of course, along the Icefields Parkway in Alberta, it can snow any time of the year. We were hoping for the autumn colours to really turn it on, but we were just a couple of weeks too early (or the colours were a couple of weeks late!), so early snow was a great alternative.

The photo above was taken at Bow Lake in the early morning. It was snowing quite heavily, but light and dry and not affecting the cameras too badly. Keep a spare battery in a warm pocket and change it over if you find your camera acting sluggishly - it's usually because the cold drains the batteries more quickly, but all the modern cameras I've used have no trouble operating in below zero temperatures, certainly not for a few hours here and there. Click here for details.

Following the photo tour, I put together a Momento Pro photo book with a selection of images, all lightly processed in Capture One. I've loaded a FlipBook version onto the website (scroll down or click Read More) if you'd like to take a look - and maybe you'll also be encouraged to join Tony and me later this year in Canada as we do another photo tour down the Icefields Parkway - this time a little later and hoping for the autumn colours. Even better, autumn colours and snow!

Click here to view the flip book.

 

 

 

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Alberta Bow Lake Canada Icefields Parkway https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/4/early-snow-or-autumn-colours Mon, 01 Apr 2019 00:00:00 GMT
Gotta Love Death Valley's Dunes https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/3/gotta-love-death-valleys-dunes Sand Dunes, Stovepipe Wells, Death ValleySand Dunes, Stovepipe Wells, Death ValleyPhase One A-Series 100MP, 23mm Alpagon, 1/30 second at f11, ISO 50.

When I think of the sand dunes at Death Valley, I think of Edward Weston's black and white print. It's only one of many, but I can remember thinking he had cropped it a little tightly, but I always wondered if it was cropped that way on his print, or just in the book where I first saw it.

I think I must have visited the dunes a dozen times, maybe more, and each time I get there, I think to myself that I really have photographed it a lot and surely I'm done. But it's never the case. You're always in a different location within the dunes (even though they don't move much from year to year), the light is from a slightly different angle - and then there's the weather.

The afternoon we arrived there was a fierce wind. We watched people getting sandblasted as they walked across the dunes and if you went out there, changing lenses would not have been a good idea! Fortunately, it had been raining earlier in the day, so there wasn't as much sand being picked up as there could have been. We all mentally prayed the wind dropped over night. And it did.

The following morning was different, not just because most of the footprints had been blown away, but because the dunes were still wet underneath, adding an interesting marbling effect. They were a lot easier to walk on too! Every time I visit the dunes at Stovepipe Wells, there's always something a little different.

This is a focus stack, using three images processed in Capture One, then output as 16-bit TIFFs and stacked together using Helicon Focus (Method C). I'm feeling rather proud of myself as I've processed over 50 shots from our USA photo tour which are currently being displayed daily on Instagram (check them out - follow petereastway). I hope you like them!

Sand Dunes, Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley
Phase One A-Series 100MP, 23mm Alpagon, 1/30 second at f11, ISO 50.

When I think of the sand dunes at Death Valley, I think of Edward Weston's black and white print. It's only one of many, but I can remember thinking he had cropped it a little tightly, but I always wondered if it was cropped that way on his print, or just in the book where I first saw it.

I think I must have visited the dunes a dozen times, maybe more, and each time I get there, I think to myself that I really have photographed it a lot and surely I'm done. But it's never the case. You're always in a different location within the dunes (even though they don't move much from year to year), the light is from a slightly different angle - and then there's the weather.

The afternoon we arrived there was a fierce wind. We watched people getting sandblasted as they walked across the dunes and if you went out there, changing lenses would not have been a good idea! Fortunately, it had been raining earlier in the day, so there wasn't as much sand being picked up as there could have been. We all mentally prayed the wind dropped over night. And it did.

The following morning was different, not just because most of the footprints had been blown away, but because the dunes were still wet underneath, adding an interesting marbling effect. They were a lot easier to walk on too! Every time I visit the dunes at Stovepipe Wells, there's always something a little different.

This is a focus stack, using three images processed in Capture One, then output as 16-bit TIFFs and stacked together using Helicon Focus (Method C). I'm feeling rather proud of myself as I've processed over 50 shots from our USA photo tour which are currently being displayed daily on Instagram (check them out - follow petereastway). I hope you like them!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Death Valley Sand Dunes USA https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2019/3/gotta-love-death-valleys-dunes Thu, 21 Mar 2019 23:00:00 GMT
HOMAGE TO TRUCHANAS AND DOMBROVSKIS https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2018/11/homage-to-truchanas-and-dombrovskis Wester Arthurs, TasmaniaWester Arthurs, TasmaniaHOMAGE TO TRUCHANAS AND DOMBROVSKIS

For photographers, an homage is an acknowledgement of those who have gone before us with a respectful deference. Without seeing their photographs and reading their stories, we wouldn't be where we are today, certainly not in a creative sense.
In the mid-1970s, my godmother gave me my first photography book: The World of Olegas Truchanas. By today's standards, the photographs are only average, but at the time, they were groundbreaking. Truchanas was also a big inspiration for Peter Dombrovskis, another Australian photographer who makes Tasmania his home. Their links are very close when you learn that it was Dombrovskis who recovered Truchanas drowned body from the Gordon River.
Dombrovskis was recently honoured with a book and an exhibition of his work at the Australian National Library in Canberra (which we reported on at the time). And perhaps Dombrovskis' second most famous photograph (after his photo of Island Bend) is of the three pandanus trees above Lake Oberon in the Western Arthurs.
Like Truchanas, Dombrovskis also died out in the wilderness, doing what he loved. He was reportedly under Mount Hayes, not too far from Lake Oberon.
A third Tasmanian photographer who has had a great influence on me is Richard Bennett. You can read all about Richard's life and photography online in a recent issue of Better Photography (grab a subscription and all the back issues are available to you).
Richard and I have been on several Tasmanian walks together, but we never quite made it to the Western Arthurs, although we talked about it a lot. Richard said it was a place I had to go and his photographs inspired me to make the trip.
However, when I sounded Richard out a couple of years ago, he didn't seem so keen and I wondered how many years I had left before I mightn't be so keen either! The Western Arthurs walk, after all, is claimed by many to be one of the most difficult in Australia.
Mindful that Truchanas and Dombrovskis met their ends out in the wilderness (Richard, I'm glad to report, remains very much alive on Bruny Island), I engaged the services of photographer Phillip Norman and trekking guide Callum Baker to help me make the journey. I carried in a Phase One A-Series 100MP with 23mm, 70mm and 180mm lenses, a light weight tripod and some Nisi filters. The boys carried in my tent, food and extra clothing, plus their own gear, for which they have my appreciation.
And so I managed to get to the Western Arthurs. You can see a short video I've made here on Youtube: https://youtu.be/l3FncH-YrJY
No matter how connected we all are on social media and the internet, photography remains a personal pursuit and I think it's good to have projects and goals in mind. I spent a lot of time considering Dombrovskis's famous photo from above Lake Oberon and how to create an image that respected his preeminence, while representing my aesthetic and a digital workflow. So instead of the three panadanus trees in the foreground, I included the stepping stones that lead down to Lake Oberon, acknowledging the fact that this isn't a new photograph, or a new trail, rather a homage to one of Australia's great wilderness photographers.
The photograph is a combination of three exposures on two separate days, with some spatial adjustments to enhance the size of the peak behind the lake. It was gratifying to note that some of the judges at the recent AIPP Australian Professional Photography Awards recognised the location, but didn't comment on these spatial adjustments, which in The New Tradition, I take as a compliment!

 

For photographers, an homage is an acknowledgement of those who have gone before us with a respectful deference. Without seeing their photographs and reading their stories, we wouldn't be where we are today, certainly not in a creative sense.

In the mid-1970s, my godmother gave me my first photography book: The World of Olegas Truchanas. By today's standards, the photographs are only average, but at the time, they were groundbreaking. Truchanas was also a big inspiration for Peter Dombrovskis, another Australian photographer who makes Tasmania his home. Their links are very close when you learn that it was Dombrovskis who recovered Truchanas drowned body from the Gordon River.

Dombrovskis was recently honoured with a book and an exhibition of his work at the Australian National Library in Canberra (which we reported on at the time). And perhaps Dombrovskis' second most famous photograph (after his photo of Island Bend) is of the three pandanus trees above Lake Oberon in the Western Arthurs. 

Like Truchanas, Dombrovskis also died out in the wilderness, doing what he loved. He was reportedly under Mount Hayes, not too far from Lake Oberon.

A third Tasmanian photographer who has had a great influence on me is Richard Bennett. You can read all about Richard's life and photography online in a recent issue of Better Photography (grab a subscription and all the back issues are available to you). Richard and I have been on several Tasmanian walks together, but we never quite made it to the Western Arthurs, although we talked about it a lot. Richard said it was a place I had to go and his photographs inspired me to make the trip.

However, when I sounded Richard out a couple of years ago, he didn't seem so keen and I wondered how many years I had left before I mightn't be so keen either! The Western Arthurs walk, after all, is claimed by many to be one of the most difficult in Australia.

Mindful that Truchanas and Dombrovskis met their ends out in the wilderness (Richard, I'm glad to report, remains very much alive on Bruny Island), I engaged the services of photographer Phillip Norman and trekking guide Callum Baker to help me make the journey. I carried in a Phase One A-Series 100MP with 23mm, 70mm and 180mm lenses, a light weight tripod and some Nisi filters. The boys carried in my tent, food and extra clothing, plus their own gear, for which they have my appreciation.

And so I managed to get to the Western Arthurs. You can see a short video I've made here on Youtube: https://youtu.be/l3FncH-YrJY

No matter how connected we all are on social media and the internet, photography remains a personal pursuit and I think it's good to have projects and goals in mind. I spent a lot of time considering Dombrovskis's famous photo from above Lake Oberon and how to create an image that respected his preeminence, while representing my aesthetic and a digital workflow. So instead of the three panadanus trees in the foreground, I included the stepping stones that lead down to Lake Oberon, acknowledging the fact that this isn't a new photograph, or a new trail, rather a homage to one of Australia's great wilderness photographers.

The photograph is a combination of three exposures on two separate days, with some spatial adjustments to enhance the size of the peak behind the lake. It was gratifying to note that some of the judges at the recent AIPP Australian Professional Photography Awards recognised the location, but didn't comment on these spatial adjustments, which in The New Tradition, I take as a compliment!

 

]]>
eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2018/11/homage-to-truchanas-and-dombrovskis Thu, 01 Nov 2018 05:16:22 GMT
Light Is Where You Find It https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2018/9/light-is-where-you-find-it Trashigang - BhutanTrashigang - BhutanLight Is Where You Find It

On the road to Trashigang, Eastern Bhutan

Phase One XF 100MP Trichromatic, 55mm Schneider lens, f2.8 @ 1/60 second, ISO 3200

While there are many things that define a great photograph, light is certainly one of the most important. Agreed, your photo should generally be correctly focused and exposed, camera angle and composition are essential, as is posing, gesture and nuance, but all of these are for naught if we don’t have appropriate light.

On a travel day in Eastern Bhutan, we stopped in a small town and walked the streets. There was lots to photograph, but the light was overhead and uninteresting. We walked past this shopkeeper and said hello, but on our first pass, we couldn’t engage with him. However, as we wandered back, our guide had introduced himself to both the shopkeeper and his wife and David Oliver had a smile on his face – so he was obviously happy with a couple of his shots.

The shopkeeper was front lit as we looked into his small store (you can see this in the proof sheet below), but I knew this same light photographed from the side would look a lot better. I asked permission to enter.

There wasn’t much room inside but the 55mm lens (approximately 35mm on a full frame DSLR) was just enough to squeeze everything in. And I loved the light which was now pouring in through the door frame and illuminating the storekeeper beautifully as he tended his small fire.

In the proof sheet, you’ll see a dozen frames of the subject. I took 16 shots in all, waiting for the gentleman to look out the door or to gesture in some way that made it more than just a photograph of a man sitting on the floor. In one frame, I have the cat looking towards me and I’ve often thought that I could easily drop it into the photo above. However, being a pure documentary photographer, that’s something I would never do! :>)

Visit the Better Photography website to view the Proof Sheet: https://www.betterphotography.com/blogs/almost-weekly-photo/113-light-is-where-you-find-it
On the road to Trashigang, Eastern Bhutan

Phase One XF 100MP Trichromatic, 55mm Schneider lens, f2.8 @ 1/60 second, ISO 3200

 

While there are many things that define a great photograph, light is certainly one of the most important. Agreed, your photo should generally be correctly focused and exposed, camera angle and composition are essential, as is posing, gesture and nuance, but all of these are for naught if we don’t have appropriate light.

On a travel day in Eastern Bhutan, we stopped in a small town and walked the streets. There was lots to photograph, but the light was overhead and uninteresting. We walked past this shopkeeper and said hello, but on our first pass, we couldn’t engage with him. However, as we wandered back, our guide had introduced himself to both the shopkeeper and his wife and David Oliver had a smile on his face – so he was obviously happy with a couple of his shots.

The shopkeeper was front lit as we looked into his small store (you can see this in the proof sheet below), but I knew this same light photographed from the side would look a lot better. I asked permission to enter.

There wasn’t much room inside but the 55mm lens (approximately 35mm on a full frame DSLR) was just enough to squeeze everything in. And I loved the light which was now pouring in through the door frame and illuminating the storekeeper beautifully as he tended his small fire.

In the proof sheet, you’ll see a dozen frames of the subject. I took 16 shots in all, waiting for the gentleman to look out the door or to gesture in some way that made it more than just a photograph of a man sitting on the floor. In one frame, I have the cat looking towards me and I’ve often thought that I could easily drop it into the photo above. However, being a pure documentary photographer, that’s something I would never do! :>)

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bhutan Trashigang https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2018/9/light-is-where-you-find-it Thu, 06 Sep 2018 02:34:10 GMT
Fogbows In Svalbard https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2018/8/fogbows-in-svalbard Longyearbyen, Svalbard
Phase One A-Series, 100MP with 23mm Alpagon, f11 @ 63 seconds, ISO 50, NiSi 15X ND filter

When I visited Svalbard with Kevin Raber and the Luminous-Landscape crowd last June, I wondered what the quality of the light would be. After all, we were to have 24-hours of sunshine and so I was concerned that the sun would sit up in the middle of the sky and throw uninteresting light.

I’m sure this is the case in some parts of the Arctic, depending on the time of year and your latitude, but for Svalbard in June, the sun was beautifully angled for most of the time I was awake! It was probably even better at night – well, between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am - but we simply pulled the curtains over our cabin window and hoped we weren’t missing out on too much!

As we sailed out of Longyearbyen, there was quite a bit of sea fog hanging around and as the sun dropped into position, we were entertained by this fogbow sitting off the ship’s stern. And it followed us for an hour or so – quite remarkable :>)

The first photos I took included distant snowy peaks in the middle of the fogbow, but they were a little small to be of any consequence. I was also unimpressed by the wake of our ship messing up my pristine foreground, but we weren’t about to turn around at any time soon. So, given the fogbow maintained its position off the stern of the ship, I wondered if I could add an ND filter and, using a long shutter speed, blur the foreground.

The result, with a little interpretation within Capture One, can be seen here. While the wake of the ship remains, it’s not so literal. And if you compare this interpretation to the straight raw files (shown on the ‘proof sheet’ below), I think you’ll agree that the fogbow has more compositional strength because it’s not competing with the sharply defined water surface below.

And no, no tripod was used, but I did rest the camera on the railing of the ship to keep it as still as possible for the 60 second exposure – much to the amusement of the other passengers!

View the full article on the Better Photography website:
https://www.betterphotography.com/blogs/almost-weekly-photo/112-fogbows-in-svalbard
Longyearbyen, Svalbard

Phase One A-Series, 100MP with 23mm Alpagon, f11 @ 63 seconds, ISO 50, NiSi 15X ND filter

 

When I visited Svalbard with Kevin Raber and the Luminous-Landscape crowd last June, I wondered what the quality of the light would be. After all, we were to have 24-hours of sunshine and so I was concerned that the sun would sit up in the middle of the sky and throw uninteresting light.

I’m sure this is the case in some parts of the Arctic, depending on the time of year and your latitude, but for Svalbard in June, the sun was beautifully angled for most of the time I was awake! It was probably even better at night – well, between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am - but we simply pulled the curtains over our cabin window and hoped we weren’t missing out on too much!

As we sailed out of Longyearbyen, there was quite a bit of sea fog hanging around and as the sun dropped into position, we were entertained by this fogbow sitting off the ship’s stern. And it followed us for an hour or so – quite remarkable :>)

The first photos I took included distant snowy peaks in the middle of the fogbow, but they were a little small to be of any consequence. I was also unimpressed by the wake of our ship messing up my pristine foreground, but we weren’t about to turn around at any time soon. So, given the fogbow maintained its position off the stern of the ship, I wondered if I could add an ND filter and, using a long shutter speed, blur the foreground.

The result, with a little interpretation within Capture One, can be seen here. While the wake of the ship remains, it’s not so literal. And if you compare this interpretation to the straight raw files (shown on the ‘proof sheet’ below), I think you’ll agree that the fogbow has more compositional strength because it’s not competing with the sharply defined water surface below.

And no, no tripod was used, but I did rest the camera on the railing of the ship to keep it as still as possible for the 60 second exposure – much to the amusement of the other passengers!

  •  

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Fogbow Norway Svalbard https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2018/8/fogbows-in-svalbard Mon, 27 Aug 2018 00:00:13 GMT
Umming And Ahhhing https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2018/8/umming-and-ahhhing Middlehurst SunriseMiddlehurst SunrisePhase One XF 100MP Trichromatic, 80mm Schneider lens, f4.5 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 200
One of the wonderful things about writing a blog is that there are lots of different opinions out there. It works both ways, of course. On occasion when I put up an image I’m really pleased with, I get muffled yawns from some viewers, but on this occasion, I’m not really quite sure if I like this image or not! However, someone will, even if it's my mother-in-law!

The image is taken just above (literally) Middlehurst Station in New Zealand on the recent art photography workshop conducted there with Tony Hewitt. We’re just putting together some images with our students for the book that we produce as part of the project, beautifully printed by Momento.

As I write this, I think the photo will be fine as I get to run around eight images in the book. The photograph won’t have to stand alone, but will be one of many different views and angles from five different photographers.

What I like about it is the split-field view – the scenes above and below the rising mist. I also like the colour differential – but I’m also uncomfortable with the same colour differential. It’s possibly a little strong, even if it is what attracts the eye in the first place.

However, as this is the fourth book I have produced on Middlehurst, it’s time to take a deep breath and try some different angles and ideas. The real test is whether or not I still like it next year when we return!

Visit the Better Photography website to view full article:
https://www.betterphotography.com/blogs/almost-weekly-photo/111-umming-and-ahhhing
Middlehurst Sunrise

Phase One XF 100MP Trichromatic, 80mm Schneider lens, f4.5 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 200

One of the wonderful things about writing a blog is that there are lots of different opinions out there. It works both ways, of course. On occasion when I put up an image I’m really pleased with, I get muffled yawns from some viewers, but on this occasion, I’m not really quite sure if I like this image or not! However, someone will, even if it's my mother-in-law!

The image is taken just above (literally) Middlehurst Station in New Zealand on the recent art photography workshop conducted there with Tony Hewitt. We’re just putting together some images with our students for the book that we produce as part of the project, beautifully printed by Momento.

As I write this, I think the photo will be fine as I get to run around eight images in the book. The photograph won’t have to stand alone, but will be one of many different views and angles from five different photographers.

What I like about it is the split-field view – the scenes above and below the rising mist. I also like the colour differential – but I’m also uncomfortable with the same colour differential. It’s possibly a little strong, even if it is what attracts the eye in the first place.

However, as this is the fourth book I have produced on Middlehurst, it’s time to take a deep breath and try some different angles and ideas. The real test is whether or not I still like it next year when we return!

You can see the 'proof sheet' of neighbouring images taken at the same time below.

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2018/8/umming-and-ahhhing Mon, 20 Aug 2018 00:00:00 GMT
In Praise of Foul Weather https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2018/7/in-praise-of-foul-weather GreenlandGreenlandNordbugten area, Scoresby Sund, Greenland.
Phase One 645DF, IQ180, 110mm Schneider, f8 @ 1/125 second, ISO 50.

Be careful what you wish for, they say, but one thing that is very likely on a photographic expedition lasting one or two weeks is that you'll get a strorm front or weather change moving through. Of course, there are some places in the world where the weather doesn't change very much (I can remember spending a month in Namibia years ago and we had blue skies for 27.5 days, and light cloud one afternoon) but generally speaking, you'll get a couple of weather changes and these are the times landscape photographers should live for. So, rather than wishing for fine weather, hope for the opposite.

This photograph was taken Greenland and I'm guessing it is local weather - meaning the cold air from the ice plateau not too far away created low cloud when mixed with the warmer air over the sea. We had fine weather either side of this particular event.

The photograph has been lightly processed in Capture One 11 using a series of seven adjustment layers. One feature I prefer in Capture One over Lightroom is that your adjustments (adjustment brushes in Lightroom) are set out in a list (a bit like the layers panel in Photoshop), making it much easier to name and access them, and importantly, turn them on and off. It's my new mantra for 2018 - process more photos lightly and worry about the fine detail if and when the image goes to press or to print.

In Capture One I used the Colour Editor in a couple of places - to accent the warm rocks, and to give a little colour to the previously murky waters. You can see the original file without adjustment layers on the website.

https://www.betterphotography.com/blogs/almost-weekly-photo/2-in-praise-of-foul-weather

Nordbugten area, Scoresby Sund, Greenland.
Phase One 645DF, IQ180, 110mm Schneider, f8 @ 1/125 second, ISO 50.

 

Be careful what you wish for, they say, but one thing that is very likely on a photographic expedition lasting one or two weeks is that you'll get a strorm front or weather change moving through. Of course, there are some places in the world where the weather doesn't change very much (I can remember spending a month in Namibia years ago and we had blue skies for 27.5 days, and light cloud one afternoon) but generally speaking, you'll get a couple of weather changes and these are the times landscape photographers should live for. So, rather than wishing for fine weather, hope for the opposite.

 

This photograph was taken Greenland and I'm guessing it is local weather - meaning the cold air from the ice plateau not too far away created low cloud when mixed with the warmer air over the sea. We had fine weather either side of this particular event. 

 

The photograph has been lightly processed in Capture One 11 using a series of seven adjustment layers. One feature I prefer in Capture One over Lightroom is that your adjustments (adjustment brushes in Lightroom) are set out in a list (a bit like the layers panel in Photoshop), making it much easier to name and access them, and importantly, turn them on and off. It's my new mantra for 2018 - process more photos lightly and worry about the fine detail if and when the image goes to press or to print.

 

In Capture One I used the Colour Editor in a couple of places - to accent the warm rocks, and to give a little colour to the previously murky waters. You can see the original file without adjustment layers on the website.

 

 

Processed raw file before adjustments.

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) greenland nordbugten scoresby sund https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2018/7/in-praise-of-foul-weather Wed, 25 Jul 2018 05:21:33 GMT
Because I Like It! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2018/7/because-i-like-it

Aerial With Cloud, Middlehurst, New Zealand.
Phase One XF 100MP, Schneider 80mm lens, 1/2500 second @ f2.8, ISO 200

What is our ultimate aim as photographers? I think it is to produce photographs that please us. There is no guarantee anything we do will please another human being, so that seems to be an exercise fraught with peril, even if it's something we all aspire to do. I mean, I'd prefer it if you liked this photograph.

But it isn't necessary. I like it. It's a favourite. It has been sitting on my work-print board for the last month or so as I figure out what I want to do. I love the simplicity of the composition, the tight cropping, the ethereal cloud in the middle. I like the narrow colour palette and the highlights on the wrinkled, crumpled mountain range that sits behind Middlehurst Station.

I believe our ultimate aim is to produce photographs that we like, that we're pleased with. This doesn't mean we don't share our images with other people, or enter competitions, or take criticism and re-consider what we're doing. All of this is part of the growing experience as a photographer.

But if after some time you reach a point where you're pleased with a lot of the photographs you produce, then I think you've made it.

Of course, this is no excuse for complacency. Just because you like it this week doesn't mean you'll still like it next week or the year after. As we grow and develop as photographers, so does our 'taste' and our 'discernment'. Liking the photographs you take today doesn't mean you have become the best you can, but it does indicate you're on the right path!

And what about this photo in black and white? Click through to the website to see if it works as well.

The same file in black and white.

Personally, I prefer the colour version and if I were to turn this into a black and white, I think I would need to spend a lot more time than I have reconsidering the overall tonality and contrast.

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Aerial Clouds Middlehurst Mountains New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2018/7/because-i-like-it Wed, 25 Jul 2018 05:01:40 GMT
Polar Bears Up Close! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2018/7/polar-bears-up-close Svalbard - Polar BearSvalbard - Polar BearIf you had to choose a position from which to photograph a polar bear, it would be down low (rather than from up high looking down, so you feel the power of the animal), and with an uncluttered background (so the polar bear stands out). So you can imagine my excitement when this polar bear decided to go for a stroll along the edge of Storoya, a tiny island in the Svalbard Archipeligo.

I've recently returned from two trips, the first in Svalbard. I travelled with Kevin Raber from Luminous Landscape and a group of keen photographers, some of who outgunned me with their high end telephotos - 500mm f4 and 400mm f2.8 optics were also trained on the above polar bear, but I did have the advantage of shooting it with two cameras.

This image is shot with the Phase One XF and the 100MP Trichromatic back, using a Schneider Kreuznach 240mm lens. It's not the ultimate wildlife camera outfit because the telephoto isn't long enough and the frame rate is too slow, but the shots that I did get are AMAZING. There is no comparing a Phase One file, especially on the new Trichromatic back and I'm loving the way I only need to caress the colour saturation in Capture One to get a colour palette that I'm in love with! Yes, I'm a convert. And yes, all hand-held from a zodiac (as you can see in the photo at the end of the article).

And the other camera? A much more sensible rig: the new Fujifilm X-H1 with its 100-400mm telephoto. Fast frame rate, 24-megapixels, image stabilisation, long telephoto and lots of bells and whistles. No, the results aren't as sharp as my Phase One files, but if you were comparing images on a website, a little bit of clarity and structure in Capture One creates incredibly crisp and impressive photos from the Fujifilm files. However, what really struck me as being quite amazing was the image stabilisation - I was able to shoot incredibly steady video at 400mm from a moving zodiac. It's not locked off like you'd expect from a tripod, but when the foreground is tracking along with the lumbering polar bear, it looks really cool!

To read the full article visit the Better Photography website: https://www.betterphotography.com/blogs/almost-weekly-photo/108-polar-bears-up-close

If you had to choose a position from which to photograph a polar bear, it would be down low (rather than from up high looking down, so you feel the power of the animal), and with an uncluttered background (so the polar bear stands out). So you can imagine my excitement when this polar bear decided to go for a stroll along the edge of Storoya, a tiny island in the Svalbard Archipeligo.

I've recently returned from two trips, the first in Svalbard. I travelled with Kevin Raber from Luminous Landscape and a group of keen photographers, some of who outgunned me with their high end telephotos - 500mm f4 and 400mm f2.8 optics were also trained on the above polar bear, but I did have the advantage of shooting it with two cameras.

This image is shot with the Phase One XF and the 100MP Trichromatic back, using a Schneider Kreuznach 240mm lens. It's not the ultimate wildlife camera outfit because the telephoto isn't long enough and the frame rate is too slow, but the shots that I did get are AMAZING. There is no comparing a Phase One file, especially on the new Trichromatic back and I'm loving the way I only need to caress the colour saturation in Capture One to get a colour palette that I'm in love with! Yes, I'm a convert. And yes, all hand-held from a zodiac (as you can see in the photo at the end of the article).

And the other camera? A much more sensible rig: the new Fujifilm X-H1 with its 100-400mm telephoto. Fast frame rate, 24-megapixels, image stabilisation, long telephoto and lots of bells and whistles. No, the results aren't as sharp as my Phase One files, but if you were comparing images on a website, a little bit of clarity and structure in Capture One creates incredibly crisp and impressive photos from the Fujifilm files. However, what really struck me as being quite amazing was the image stabilisation - I was able to shoot incredibly steady video at 400mm from a moving zodiac. It's not locked off like you'd expect from a tripod, but when the foreground is tracking along with the lumbering polar bear, it looks really cool!

To see my novice video efforts from Svalbard, shot with the Fujifilm X-H1 and a GoPro, search Youtube for 'Eastway' and 'Svalbard' or click this link: https://youtu.be/69rP-qnNHjg

And below, check out the photo of the zodiac with the polar bear in the background! It was a great photo opp!

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Norway Polar Bear Svalbard https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2018/7/polar-bears-up-close Wed, 25 Jul 2018 04:36:41 GMT
Composing In Camera https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/11/composing-in-camera Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death ValleyMesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death ValleyOne of the skills we can all learn is to compose in camera. For some photographers, this means composing the content of the photograph in a pleasing manner within the frame provided by the camera. And this is a great starting point.

But hopefully it’s not your end point. The idea behind composing in camera is, surely, to have in mind a final outcome. So, whether you are thinking of a square or a panorama, the idea begins when you look through the viewfinder. There is no law that states your creativity must be confined to the format of your digital sensor (or film).

Looking through the viewfinder at Mesquite earlier this year, I loved the ‘S’ shape of the dunes, but for the composition to work, I needed a little more space either side. If you click the ‘Read More’ you can see the first image, plus the two shots used to stitch a wider view.

With a zoom lens, I could have zoomed out a little wide and cropped top and bottom. With a fixed 240mm lens (like a 150mm on a full frame DSLR), I could change to a 110mm (my next widest lens), or swing the camera left and right.

The takeaway is that the best time to consider framing and frame shapes is when you are taking the photograph. You might also make cropping decisions later on in post-production, but sometimes by then it’s too late, so another suggestion I make on workshops is to shoot a scene like this with a wider lens as well – which will allow you to consider your final composition at a later time while working in Capture One, Lightroom or Photoshop.

READ MORE: COMPOSING IN CAMERA

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley

Phase One XF 100MP, 240mm Schneider, stitch, f11 @ 1/160 second, ISO 50

 

One of the skills we can all learn is to compose in camera. For some photographers, this means composing the content of the photograph in a pleasing manner within the frame provided by the camera. And this is a great starting point.

 

But hopefully it’s not your end point. The idea behind composing in camera is, surely, to have in mind a final outcome. So, whether you are thinking of a square or a panorama, the idea begins when you look through the viewfinder. There is no law that states your creativity must be confined to the format of your digital sensor (or film).

 

Looking through the viewfinder at Mesquite earlier this year, I loved the ‘S’ shape of the dunes, but for the composition to work, I needed a little more space either side. If you click the ‘Read More’ you can see the first image, plus the two shots used to stitch a wider view.

 

With a zoom lens, I could have zoomed out a little wide and cropped top and bottom. With a fixed 240mm lens (like a 150mm on a full frame DSLR), I could change to a 110mm (my next widest lens), or swing the camera left and right.

 

The takeaway is that the best time to consider framing and frame shapes is when you are taking the photograph. You might also make cropping decisions later on in post-production, but sometimes by then it’s too late, so another suggestion I make on workshops is to shoot a scene like this with a wider lens as well – which will allow you to consider your final composition at a later time while working in Capture One, Lightroom or Photoshop.

 

The view with the 240mm wasn't quite wide enough for the sense of space desired.

The angle to the right includes unwanted foliage, but this can be removed in Photoshop or Lightroom.

The angle to the left is problem free! Note, the final stitch has also been 'squished'.

 

 

And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months or so, I have places left on trips going to Bhutan, South West USA, Antarctica and the Svalbard. Full details on the Better Photography website!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) death valley mesquite flat sand dunes sand dunes https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/11/composing-in-camera Sun, 05 Nov 2017 23:26:36 GMT
Can You Plan The Weather? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/10/can-you-plan-the-weather Mount Runde, BanffMount Runde, BanffCan You Plan The Weather?
Banff, Canada.
Phase One XF 100MP, 240mm Schneider lens, f11 @ 30 seconds, ISO 50, 10X ND filter.


The obvious answer is no, but on a recent PODAS (Phase One Digital Art Series) workshop to Canada with Tony Hewitt, no planning was needed. After a few days of blue-bird sunshine, I was thinking the Rockies in Canada were chocolate-box sweet and the weather balmy and warm.

However as our group was saddling up for a horse ride, I changed my mind on two counts. First, I decided that two hours in the saddle wasn’t for me. Half an hour maybe, one hour if I had to, but two hours was going to do my bum in, so I let my daughter go and Tony Hewitt as well.

As they mounted their horses, the second change happened - with the weather. Dark clouds raced down the valley and the winds blew so strongly that the horses all stopped and put their rears into the wind! I figured if the horses don’t like it, it must be pretty grim.

Instead of riding a horse, I and most of the other people who were taking this journey to a dinner location, sat on the back of a cart dragged along by two magnificent beasts. We also got a little wet, but we were under cover and under blankets as the heavens opened up.

And I laughed! Boy, had I dodged a bullet!
READ MORE: CAN YOU PLAN THE WEATHER?

Banff, Canada. 
Phase One XF 100MP, 240mm Schneider lens, f11 @ 30 seconds, ISO 50, 10X ND filter.

 

The obvious answer is no, but on a recent PODAS (Phase One Digital Art Series) workshop to Canada with Tony Hewitt, no planning was needed. After a few days of blue-bird sunshine, I was thinking the Rockies in Canada were chocolate-box sweet and the weather balmy and warm.

 

However as our group was saddling up for a horse ride, I changed my mind on two counts. First, I decided that two hours in the saddle wasn’t for me. Half an hour maybe, one hour if I had to, but two hours was going to do my bum in, so I let my daughter go and Tony Hewitt as well.

 

As they mounted their horses, the second change happened - with the weather. Dark clouds raced down the valley and the winds blew so strongly that the horses all stopped and put their rears into the wind! I figured if the horses don’t like it, it must be pretty grim.

 

Instead of riding a horse, I and most of the other people who were taking this journey to a dinner location, sat on the back of a cart dragged along by two magnificent beasts. We also got a little wet, but we were under cover and under blankets as the heavens opened up.

 

And I laughed! Boy, had I dodged a bullet!

 

Of course, both Tony and my daughter had a wonderful and somewhat soggy time and they said the ride back was much better. In fact, the ride back was spectacular because the storm passed through to reveal snowfall on the peaks and patches of sunlight igniting low clouds.

 

When people travel, they often wish for good weather, but photographers generally want something a little more interesting and a passing storm will do that for you.

 

This 30 second exposure was taken just as the sun was setting, looking up at the towering peaks surrounding Banff. While the clouds already looked spectacular as they flowed over the cliffs, by blurring them their movement became that much more obvious.

 

It wasn’t a bad start to a week of amazing light and locations. My thanks to Phase One for inviting me along.

 

PHOTO FEEDBACK: I am looking for some more material for my Photo Feedback section. If you will give me permission to run your photo in this blog and potentially in an eBook in the future, without attribution (anonymously), please send me a JPG, 2000 px on the long edge. Feel free to send me an unedited JPG and your edit, with a few notes about what you’re trying to do. I’ll pick some examples that I feel I can improve or help, so if your photos are too good, I may not use them! Please send them toeastway@betterphotography.com with PHOTO FEEDBACK in the subject line.

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Banff Canada https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/10/can-you-plan-the-weather Thu, 26 Oct 2017 02:34:42 GMT
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/9/be-careful-what-you-wish-for

Near Paradise Bay, Antarctica.
55mm lens, Phase One XF 100MP, 1/1250 second @ f8, ISO 100

 

Naturally when I packed up my four prints for APPA this year (the AIPP's Australian Professional Photography Awards) I was hoping for four Golds. I didn't send Silvers down in my case, that's for sure, but that's how they came back - four Silvers With Distinction (which means 85 or higher). Now, some readers will be tuning out, thinking Eastway is a loser with only four Silvers. Others will think he's boasting and a bit of a w*&^er since that means all four images were in the top 20% - but does all this matter?

 

No!

 

Entering competitions is about pushing yourself and learning. The benefits are already made by the time you send your entries off because of what you have learned in the process - and you're always learning and re-learning.

In this case, it was all about the use of clarity and contrast.

 

The image above has next to no clarity. It is intentionally high key, trying to emphasise the 'whiteness' of the southern continent. One of my earlier edits (which you can see below on the website), has a bucket-load of clarity. It looks quite 'interesting' at a small size, but I can assure you that when it was printed out, it looked horrible! 

With a bit of luck, I'll get another crack at this location in December 2018 (Aurora Expeditions has extended its 15% discount offer until the end of September - see the links on this page), and I'll know what to do! However, check out the other version here.... 

 

An unsatisfactory result.

 

Apart from the fact it is a bit darker, the main difference is in the three-dimensional nature of the ice. The high contrast certainly has an effect and at this size, it's a bit overdone, but on a print, it simply screams 'awful'.

One of my suggestions when it comes to workflow is to leave the clarity slider and mid-tone contast operations until last. This certainly applies to producing prints (with rare exceptions). However, when working in Capture One or Lightroom and outputting files for the web or social media, I ignore this advice as the clarity (and dehaze) sliders certainly give small photos a lot of presence.

 

But presence on screen doesn't always translate to a good quality print on paper, so be careful what you wish for!

And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months or so, I have places left on trips going to Bhutan, South West USA, Antarctica and the Silk Road. Full details on the Better Photography website!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) antarctica paradise bay https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/9/be-careful-what-you-wish-for Sun, 03 Sep 2017 14:15:00 GMT
ASTROLABE ISLAND https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/7/astrolabe-island

Astrolabe Island, Antarctica.
Canon EOS 5DSR, EF11-24mm f/4L USM lens, 1/320 second @ f7.1, ISO 100

 

Astrolabe Island was just being released from the ice when we visited in December. There are lots of islands around the Antarctic Peninsula and the ones you visit are often determined by the weather as much as anything else. And while Deception Island is a favourite, my time at Astrolabe Island was quite fruitful.

 

The accompanying photos show how an ultra wide-angle lens can create a great sense of depth and perspective, especially when you have something of interest in the foreground. All these photos are taken from a zodiac, an inflatable dingy. I'm seated and leaning over the edge, so my camera is maybe 30 centimetres above the water for most of them. I'm filling the frame with the detail of the foreground.

 

At the same time, the ultra wide-angle lens turns towering peaks into relatively small, insignificant landmarks on the horizon. Photographers have a love-hate relationship with ultra wide-angles because in order to fit everything in (to create that amazing perspective), they have to shrink everything and so you are at risk of losing the grandeur of many locations.

 

To bring out the texture in the ice and water, I use contrast. Sometimes it's just a contrasty curve adjustment layer, but I also use clarity in Capture One (or Lightroom), and the high pass filter technique with a soft or hard light blend mode in Photoshop. However, I generally add this contrast in locally - meaning I brush it in over the foreground, but don't touch the background (or if I do, I use a different setting for the background as normally I don't want it to be as contrasty and strong as the foreground).

 

And for those fortunate enough to be thinking about it, I have a photo tour going to Antarctica in December 2018 (back for Christmas) with Aurora Expeditions. And there's a 15% discount offer on some berths if you book before 30 September this year, so if this is sounding like you, visit the website and have a look here.

 

And here are a few more photos from Astrolabe Island... 

 

More views of Astrolabe Island.

 

And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months or so, I have places left on trips going to Bhutan, South West USA and the Silk Road. Full details on the Better Photography website!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) antarctica astrolabe island https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/7/astrolabe-island Sun, 23 Jul 2017 14:00:00 GMT
PENGUIN PARTS https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/7/penguin-parts

Young King Penguin, Gold Harbour, South Georgia.
Canon EOS 5DSR, EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXT, 1/400 second @ f5.6, ISO 100

 

When you travel to Antarctica and South Georgia, one guarantee can be made: you will see penguins and lots of them!

 

In terms of photography, a rookery of penguins makes a great composition because of the incredible repetition of shapes. Standing, on nests, young near old - there are lots of variations and all you really need is a standard lens to capture it.

 

However, whether penguins or giraffes, there's a part of me that likes to photograph parts of animals. Sometimes they make interesting geometric shapes, sometimes it's just a tail or some wing feathers that make the photograph.

 

The lead image is the back of a young King Penguin. The tiny white feathers are possibly not from this penguin, but picked up from others. There have been occasions in Antarctica when it looked like it was snowing there were so many feathers in the air.

 

To take these photos, you need a long telephoto lens. A lot of these were taken with a 560mm or 600mm lens and both Sigma and Tamron make super zooms that reach out to 600mm for not too much money. Canon, Nikon and Fujifilm all have 100-400mm zooms which are reasonably priced when you compare them with the f2.8 and f4 super telephoto lenses. So, there are ways to get super telephoto performance without super high prices.

 

If I were going to Antarctica, I'd take the longest zoom I could, just for photos like these!

 

And funny I should mention that because I have a photo tour going to Antarctica in December 2018 (back for Christmas) with Aurora Expeditions. And there's a 15% discount offer on some berths if you book before 30 September this year, so if this is sounding like you, visit the website and have a look here.


And here are a few more penguin parts…

 

Some additional penguin parts.

 

And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months or so, I have places left on trips going to Bhutan, South West USA and the Silk Road. Full details on the Better Photography website!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) antarctica gold harbour king penguin south georgia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/7/penguin-parts Sun, 16 Jul 2017 14:00:00 GMT
THE PROBLEM WITH SHEEP https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/7/the-problem-with-sheep

The Cabin, Middlehurst Station, New Zealand
Phase One A-Series 100MP, 23mm Alpagon, 1/10 second @ f5.6, ISO 50

 

After our Middlehurst Photo Art workshop last year, we shot (err, photographed) sheep again this year, but I haven't processed the blurred shots as yet. However, what we did discover was this wonderful old shack.

 

We arrived just on dusk while doing a quick reccy of the east part of the station (it took three hours). Willy and Sue, the station owners, take turns to drive us around as neither Tony nor I are up to the task of navigating the changing river beds and narrow tracks. In fact, we stand up the back of the ute (our photography guests are warm inside) and marvel at how deftly the locals drive their vehicles. Lots of experience.

 

While the photographers were busy exploring the area around the shack, Willie grabbed his dog and practiced his own art. Now, I'm not quite sure what you call sheep herding with sheep dogs, but the way the dogs control the sheep and respond to Willy's instructions is amazing.

 

I noticed Willy herding a half a dozen sheep around and asked if he could place them in front of the shack. At the time, I couldn't get quite the wide-angle composition I wanted because of an overhanging tree (just out of frame), but looking at my frames now, I'm quite happy with the composition. Just maybe I should pick up the lone dog and move him a little further to the left?

 

Here's my Photoshop tip:

 

Even at this hour, the sky was significantly brighter than the foreground. To solve this little challenge, I processed the file out of Capture One and loaded it into Photoshop. I then used the ADPpanel+Pro to select the highlight tones in the sky (this is a luminosity masking plugin), and adjusted the resulting mask a little manually. This allowed me to darken down the sky along the horizon.

 

You'll find the ADPpanel+Pro at http://www.aarondowlingphotography.com/luminosity-action-panel/

This approach works really well, but when you have little bits of scrub and bushes along the horizon line, there are always little problem areas where the mask doesn't travel. They appear as white halo lines. My solution is to flatten the image (or copy up all the layers to a new layer) and use the healing brush, set to Darken blend mode. In this example, I sample the sky (which is lighter than the mountain) and then with a small brush size, paint over the white areas. Because the blend mode is set to darken, the brush doesn't touch the mountainside, only the white haloes.

 

Our Middlehurst workshop for 2018 appears to be fully booked, but if you would like to be waitlisted or put on the list for 2019, please touch base with Kim at kim@betterphotography.com. We are just finalizing the details for 2019 now and are thinking about July so there's a bit more snow - maybe!

 

Another view of The Cabin, Middlehurst Station, New Zealand
Phase One A-Series 100MP, 23mm Alpagon, 1/4 second @ f5.6, ISO 50

 

The River next to The Cabin, Middlehurst Station, New Zealand
Phase One A-Series 100MP, 23mm Alpagon, 1/15 second @ f5.6, ISO 50

 

And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months, I have places left on trips going to Canada, SW USA, Bhutan and Antarctica. Full details on the Better Photography website!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) middlehurst new zealand sheep https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/7/the-problem-with-sheep Sun, 09 Jul 2017 14:00:00 GMT
BIG YELLOW TAXI, IRAN https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/6/big-yellow-taxi-iran

Hamadan Taxi Driver, Iran.
Canon EOS 5DSR, 70-200mm lens @ 200mm, 1/400 second @ f2.8, ISO 100

 

New York is known for its yellow taxi cabs and no doubt they are prevalent in many other cities around the world, but I'd suggest few cities have as many yellow taxis as Hamadan in Iran. On our photo tour, Nuran Zorlu and I spent a few hours loitering in the Hamadan's busy centre with our band of adventurous photographers. The Imam Khomeini square boasts a rich but decaying circumference of elegant building facades, with a hurried, bustling congestion below. Crossing the road to the park in the centre of the square was not without its challenges!


Nuran had suggested that Imam Khomeini square was a great place to sit down and observe life, but we weren't sitting very long before we found ourselves the centre of attention, with plenty of opportunities to photograph the people.


What struck me was the number of taxis, either in transit as a laneless melee around the park, or waiting in long lines for fares. The challenge was to capture them as a part of daily life. For the street scenes, I found a wide-angle lens allowed me to get close to the taxis as they whizzed past, placing them in the foreground and retaining the building facades behind.

 

As I stood on the roadside, I noticed how every taxi had its own sub-plot inside, the life of the driver and maybe his passengers, so I switched to a 70-200mm zoom and lowered my camera height. This let me look across the road into the taxis and at the driver.


On occasion I was discovered by the drivers, but never castigated. Perhaps it was because I was obviously a foreigner and somewhat of a novelty in a country that has recently re-opened its borders for general tourism.

 

There's no doubt this taxi driver knew I was there!

 

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) iran taxi https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/6/big-yellow-taxi-iran Sun, 25 Jun 2017 14:00:00 GMT
BACK FROM PHOTOGENIC IRAN https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/6/back-from-photogenic-iran

One of the side residences at the Golestan Palace, Tehran.
Canon EOS 5DSR, 11-24mm @ 11mm, 1/40 second @ f5, ISO 3200

 

At a smart new vegetarian restaurant next to an art gallery in Tehran, we were seated opposite three well-dressed women. A beautiful strawberry flan, large enough to feed a dozen people, was delivered to their table - rich, red strawberries with what appeared to be a suitably thin, crispy base, just the way I like it.

 

One of the women observed me looking at their flan. She laughed and made a couple of comments to her friends. Had I been a little obvious?

 

I asked our waitress if we could order a strawberry flan for our table, only to discover that the flan was not on the menu. My language skills didn't allow her to elaborate, but I guessed the women had brought it with them for a special occasion.

 

After we finished our main meal some time later, the strawberry flan appeared at our table. Three small slices had been consumed, leaving a generous gift from the women.

 

This gesture was to epitomise the friendly disposition of the Iranian people we met throughout our trip. Persia of antiquity was known for its luxury and entertainment and perhaps it is this generosity of spirit that has been handed down over the generations. Wherever we travelled, we'd meet people who would say, "Welcome to my country".

 

We had a little conversation with the three women. It was a birthday for one of them and when I asked her if she was 21, she looked offended and said she was only 18! I wondered if we'd be this hospitable in Australia if the roles were reversed. I'd like to think I would be, at least now.

 

Nuran Zorlu and I are just back from a remarkable journey through Iran. From a photographic perspective, it was simply exceptional. We were joined by nine photographers who also appeared to enjoy what we found. There will be more about Iran in future newsletters as I work through my files. Nuran is looking to take a group back to Iran in March/April next year, and I'd be keen to join him again in 2019.

 

Yes, there are political tensions involved, but on the ground with the 'average' Iranians, when you're walking through a market or across a field, I haven't visited a more friendly country.

 

The photo above gives you a glimpse of the opulence presented by some of the historical architecture. Iran - or Persia - goes back three or four thousand years and while some buildings have been restored in recent years, you're continually picking your jaw up off the ground as you gape in amazement at the building interiors. The walls and ceiling of this ballroom (I'm assuming) were covered in finely shaped and decorated mirrors. A remarkable space.

 

A portfolio of my Iranian photos will be up on my personal website shortly - viewwww.petereastway.com.

 

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) iran palace tehran https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/6/back-from-photogenic-iran Sun, 18 Jun 2017 14:00:00 GMT
WHEN LANGUAGE DOESN'T MATTER https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/5/when-language-doesnt-matter

 

Matriarch. Areni Village, Armenia
Fujifilm X-Pro1, 16mm lens, 1/4400 second @ f1.4, ISO 200

 

I'm known as a landscape photography, but I'm also a closet people photographer. This doesn't mean I photograph them from a closet, which boggles the mind when I think what could mean. Rather I like to engage with people and, if I am brave enough, take their portrait.

 

And sometimes not speaking the language is a huge benefit. It's not like photography is a secret science anymore. And taking a photograph no longer means stealing someone's spirit or soul! So, walking up to someone, smiling, saying one or two words in their language and then pointing at your camera usually gets the question across.

 

In Georgia and Armenia last month, we stopped off in a few little villages just to take a walk around. In this village we also stopped to have lunch, so I figured the locals were used to tourists, if not photo tour tourists! Sometimes I walked around with the women on my tour because they seemed to be much better at striking up a conversation than me. On other occasions, I struck out on my own with mixed success.

 

But I enjoy the process. Very much!

 

This photograph of an ageing matriarch came about as a result of an introduction. A few of the other photographers had discovered her before lunch, so we made up an excuse to return to her home to see if the rest of us could take a photograph. I think it made her day. During the 60 seconds or so I crouched in front of her, she moved her stick here and there, but I like it best outstretched as you see it here. And I love the look she is giving her daughter behind me - "What the hell are these people doing here!"

 

We placed her on her verandah in shade and then sat back and conversed with sign language. Mehmet our guide and the matriarch's daughter managed to converse a little and she also seemed to enjoy the visit. I'm not sure they'd want a horde of photographers there every week, but I am certain it brightened up their day and will give them something to talk about with their neighbours.

 

Chances are they experienced something similar!

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) armenia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/5/when-language-doesnt-matter Sun, 28 May 2017 14:00:00 GMT
IS PHOTOGRAPHY IN RELIGIOUS PLACES OKAY? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/5/is-photography-in-religious-places-okay

 

Prayer in Sioni Cathedral, Tbilisi, Georgia.
Fujifilm X-Pro2, 16mm lens, 1/45 second @ f1.4, ISO 400

 

Should we take photographs inside churches, mosques and temples? And if we do, should we take photographs of people at prayer? I'm actually a little apprehensive about the different viewpoints people will have, but hopefully I can summarise my response as follows: It's okay if it is allowed and if you show respect.

 

This is Sioni Cathedral in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. I will post another photograph of the incredible paintings and artworks that decorate the walls and ceilings in another post - it is a magic place in which to take photographs. There is a sign outside saying no flash photography and I think that's a good thing because flash would indeed be intrusive on the parishioners. And of course, flash will generally kill the mood which I like to think I have captured in this image with available light.

 

On one of our visits, a member of the clergy came out and said since they were about to take holy communion, would we mind stepping outside for a while, but we would be welcome back again in half an hour. A similar approach was taken in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul when I was there a few years ago. I think this is very reasonable and I'm happy to comply.

 

Many of the more popular churches and cathedrals around the world don't allow any photography and in terms of crowd control and their priority for the parishioners, I can understand why. I think it's a pity, but as one priest explained, his church gets more complaints when they allow photography from their parishioners, than from photographers complaining they can't take photos.

 

So, if you get a chance to photograph in religious places, I suggest you be discrete. Don't interfere with other people and respect their privacy. Most of my photos do not show faces, although I'm not sure Cartier-Bresson would agree with me there. But unless I'm invited to photograph someone at prayer, there's something telling me to leave them in peace.

 

Perhaps I'm more sensitive than I thought!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) cathedral church georgia tbilisi https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/5/is-photography-in-religious-places-okay Sun, 21 May 2017 14:00:00 GMT
Even Monasteries Lie - A Little! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/5/even-monasteries-lie---a-little Tatev MonasteryTatev MonasteryTatev Monastery, Armenia.
Phase One A-Series, IQ3 100MP, 70mm Rodenstock lens, 1/125 second @ f8, ISO 50

I'm a week back from a wonderful trip to Georgia and Armenia, two very special places if you have photography on your mind. Organised by my Turkish friend and photography guide, Mehmet, I was joined by eight fellow photographers and friends in search of some amazing images and exciting destinations. We weren't disappointed. While both countries are steeped in history and religion, there is so much more to them and over coming months, I plan to show you more photos from this trip.

Today, let's start with Tatev Monastery, one of Armenia's most famous landmarks. In fact, it's so famous and popular, the world's longest cable car will transport you from the other side of the valley, rather than requiring you to take a tortuous 30 minute hairpin drive (which isn't good for larger bus tours). But where is the cable car in this picture?

As you'll see if you click through to the rest of the article, Tatev Monastery is a little different when you view it in situ, yet most of the photos perpetuate the 'myth' that I have agreed to by excluding 'all the other stuff' that surrounds it. So much for truth in photography, even for monasteries!

Visit the Better Photography website for full article.
http://www.betterphotography.com/peter-eastways-blogs-sp-19033/peter-eastways-blog/1221-even-monasteries-lie-a-little
Tatev Monastery, Armenia.

Phase One A-Series, IQ3 100MP, 70mm Rodenstock lens, 1/125 second @ f8, ISO 50

 

I'm a week back from a wonderful trip to Georgia and Armenia, two very special places if you have photography on your mind. Organised by my Turkish friend and photography guide, Mehmet, I was joined by eight fellow photographers and friends in search of some amazing images and exciting destinations. We weren't disappointed. While both countries are steeped in history and religion, there is so much more to them and over coming months, I plan to show you more photos from this trip.

Today, let's start with Tatev Monastery, one of Armenia's most famous landmarks. In fact, it's so famous and popular, the world's longest cable car will transport you from the other side of the valley, rather than requiring you to take a tortuous 30 minute hairpin drive (which isn't good for larger bus tours). But where is the cable car in this picture?

As you'll see if you click through to the rest of the article, Tatev Monastery is a little different when you view it in situ, yet most of the photos perpetuate the 'myth' that I have agreed to by excluding 'all the other stuff' that surrounds it. So much for truth in photography, even for monasteries!

 

The overview from the hill above the hill above the monastery!

 

From where the hero photo was taken, with a slightly wider view including the 'extras'.

Looking at the two location photographs, you can see what I mean. But let's not forget that Armenia has a history going back more than 4,000 years, so the fact this place looks as remote as it does, is testament to the inhospitable alpine environment.

I spent a little time in post-production on the hero shot, removing the background roads, covering up the corrugated iron roofing, and removing a few unnecessary power lines. However, the low cloud that helpfully rolled in did most of the hard work for me. Given we had driven through torrential rain and thunderstorms only an hour earlier, the abatement in the weather was much appreciated and the low cloud just perfect!

We spent an hour or so above the monastery, photographing it from several angles as the light changed. The wider view is worth working on, but I will have to steel myself for the post-production needed to clean it up. It's much easier to shoot the world as we find it, rather than as we would like to envisage it. Despite the modern encroachments, nothing can take away the age, the mood and the patina of a location like this, so I think it only fitting to portray it as we 'see' it with our minds.

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Armenia Tatev Monastery clouds mountain https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/5/even-monasteries-lie---a-little Mon, 15 May 2017 01:15:00 GMT
Ansel Adams Wasn't Straight https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/5/ansel-adams-wasnt-straight Carmel Coast, USACarmel Coast, USACarmel Coast, USA.
Phase One XF 100MP, 240mm lens, 1/1600 second @ f8, ISO 50


Earlier this year, Tony Hewitt and I took a group of photographers around South West America in the footsteps of America's great landscape photographers. Naturally enough, Ansel Adams was one of them.

In preparation for the trip, I read a biography about Ansel and was fascinated to learn how much he has been misunderstood by many photographers.

At the risk of overly simplifying the issues, in the early 20th Century, Ansel Adams and Edward Weston were pushing to have photography recognised for what it was, not for trying to emulate painting. At the time, the 'Pictorialist' movement was doing everything it could to make photographs look like paintings.

Adams and Weston pushed the idea of 'straight' photography, meaning they wanted their images to look like photographs, not paintings.

Throughout their careers, their views on what photography should and shouldn’t be gradually changed as they worked it all out. I think Ansel summed it up pretty well later in his life as follows:
“A photograph that is merely a superficial record of the subject fails as an aesthetic expression of that subject. The expression must be an emotional amplification, and this emotional amplification relates to point of view, organization, revelation of substance through textures, tonal relations, and the perfection of the technical expression of all these elements.”

I loved reading this. For years, photographers who didn't like Photoshop and the ability to edit and interpret their work have held up Ansel Adams as a legend who produced photographs 'straight out of camera'. Of course, anyone who has read Ansel's books knows that this is far from the truth, however it is also true to note that Ansel questioned himself about how far he could push a photograph before going too far.

For instance, using a Yellow filter in black and white film photography would darken a blue sky, giving a more 'natural' result. Using a red filter would turn a blue sky almost black, which was far from natural but looked pretty damn good, and I think Ansel agonised over this for many years. His famous Half Dome was the first time he went to the 'dark side' with a red filter and a black sky, but he repeated the black sky 'interpretation' with his Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico. These are probably his two most famous photographs, so what does that say?

My message: Photography can be as interpretive or as 'straight' as you want it to be, just let other photographers do what they want and don't worry about it! And photographers who do enjoy the dark side, keep this little piece of photo trivia up your sleeve. Even the great Ansel Adams expects our photographs to have some 'emotional amplification'.

Carmel Coast, USA.
Phase One XF 100MP, 240mm lens, 1/1600 second @ f8, ISO 50

 

 

Earlier this year, Tony Hewitt and I took a group of photographers around South West America in the footsteps of America's great landscape photographers. Naturally enough, Ansel Adams was one of them.

In preparation for the trip, I read a biography about Ansel and was fascinated to learn how much he has been misunderstood by many photographers.

At the risk of overly simplifying the issues, in the early 20th Century, Ansel Adams and Edward Weston were pushing to have photography recognised for what it was, not for trying to emulate painting. At the time, the 'Pictorialist' movement was doing everything it could to make photographs look like paintings.

Adams and Weston pushed the idea of 'straight' photography, meaning they wanted their images to look like photographs, not paintings.

Throughout their careers, their views on what photography should and shouldn’t be gradually changed as they worked it all out. I think Ansel summed it up pretty well later in his life as follows:

“A photograph that is merely a superficial record of the subject fails as an aesthetic expression of that subject. The expression must be an emotional amplification, and this emotional amplification relates to point of view, organization, revelation of substance through textures, tonal relations, and the perfection of the technical expression of all these elements.”

I loved reading this. For years, photographers who didn't like Photoshop and the ability to edit and interpret their work have held up Ansel Adams as a legend who produced photographs 'straight out of camera'. Of course, anyone who has read Ansel's books knows that this is far from the truth, however it is also true to note that Ansel questioned himself about how far he could push a photograph before going too far.

For instance, using a Yellow filter in black and white film photography would darken a blue sky, giving a more 'natural' result. Using a red filter would turn a blue sky almost black, which was far from natural but looked pretty damn good, and I think Ansel agonised over this for many years. His famous Half Dome was the first time he went to the 'dark side' with a red filter and a black sky, but he repeated the black sky 'interpretation' with his Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico. These are probably his two most famous photographs, so what does that say?

My message: Photography can be as interpretive or as 'straight' as you want it to be, just let other photographers do what they want and don't worry about it! And photographers who do enjoy the dark side, keep this little piece of photo trivia up your sleeve. Even the great Ansel Adams expects our photographs to have some 'emotional amplification'.  

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Carmel Coast USA beach waves https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/5/ansel-adams-wasnt-straight Wed, 03 May 2017 01:15:00 GMT
How To Feel Superior :>) https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/4/how-to-feel-superior  

Carmel Coast, USA.
Phase One XF 100MP, 240mm lens, 25 seconds @ f14, ISO 50, Nisi 10X ND Filter

Why is photography of the past relevant to our current generation?

You can read this question two ways, depending on your interpretation of 'current generation'. Is the current generation everyone who is alive today (an expanded definition), or does it mean the younger generation (an erroneous supposition in my opinion)?

No longer falling into the latter definition, I tend to think that the question (asked by a student) could be better worded as follows: Why is photography of the past relevant?

Historically, I don't know of any successful or famous artists who didn't have some understanding of the past, or at least trained with a successful artist of their times. The main reason to understand the past is so you can progress further - rather than re-inventing the wheel or copying what someone else has already done, learn the lessons of the past so you can go somewhere new with your creativity.

For instance, it's easy for me to dismiss Ansel Adams as an average photographer when I compare his work to that of later American photographers, but we have all learnt so much from Mr Adams that he deserves our respect. Without seeing his photographs, the way he cropped images, the way he interpreted them, we would not be nearly as advanced as we are today. If indeed we are!

On the other hand, as Susan Sontag says, all photography is derivative.

I sometimes read this as 'never being original' because someone, somewhere will already have taken something very similar if not identical to your work. So, by being ignorant of the past - and everyone else's work - at least you can be original within yourself. However, it doesn't change the big picture that other people will continue to judge you based on their knowledge and background of the past.

Perhaps the question was related to technology and access.  So ubiquitous has photography become that for most people it is a matter of craft, not art. This isn't to demean good craft in anyway, rather to distinguish between someone using an Instagram filter and a photographer interpreting a raw file. There isn't always a difference when you look at the results, of course, but I think it's the intent that is important.

So, why is photography of the past relevant to our current generation? Because most of the 'new' filter effects being offered by one-button image editing apps are based on the techniques and craft of the past - and it makes me feel superior to know this. But now I'm starting to sound like my parents!

What do you think?

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Carmel Coast USA https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/4/how-to-feel-superior Mon, 10 Apr 2017 01:30:00 GMT
Expression Is Everything https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/4/expression-is-everything


 
  •  
  • Young Monk deep in thought, Bhutan.
    Canon EOS 5DSR, 300mm lens, 1/640 second @ f2.8, ISO 100

     

    When it comes to portraiture, expression is everything. Think about the photographs taken of you, perhaps for a family portrait or a wedding. If you don't have a good expression, you won't like the portrait no matter how good it is technically. This doesn't mean technique isn't important. If you capture a wonderful expression and your subject is overexposed or out of focus, that's not much good either!

    If you click through to the website, you can see the four frames I took when photographing this monk. He wasn't there for long and his hand to his temple for just a few short moments. However, immediately I saw the gesture, I started pressing the button. And kept pressing it everytime he changed his expression. 

    Shooting on the street like this, you don't have time to think and compose, only react. And the only reaction we really have available is to take another photograph. Of course, I have a rough idea of the type of photograph I'm looking for. You don't attach a 300mm lens to your camera and expect to shoot from the hip. Rather, a telephoto is useful for capturing big close ups and, as in this case, isolating the subject.

    Note the blank wall behind, simplifying the composition, making sure the message is clear. I was lucky there - he could have been standing somewhere else. So what's the message?

     

    The four frames before post-production. Which one would you have chosen?

    I'm not sure there really is a single message we can take away from this photograph. Who knows what he was thinking: did I leave the iron on, I hope my teacher doesn't see me sneaking away from class, this cloak makes my head itch! However, I don't think photographs have to answer the questions they raise and very often, it's better if they don't.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bhutan Expression Monk https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/4/expression-is-everything Tue, 04 Apr 2017 01:30:00 GMT
    Which Frame Do You Pick? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/3/which-frame-do-you-pick Maori, New ZealandMaori, New ZealandMaori Chieftan. Lumix GH5 Launch, Queenstown, NZ.
    Lumix GH5, 18mm (37mm equivalent) lens, 1/1250 second @ f4, ISO 100

    Life as a photography magazine editor is pretty good when companies like Panasonic invite you to test their new Lumix GH5 camera for a few days in Queenstown. And they looked after us very well with a series of photo opportunities designed to show off the camera's many features. We were off the plane for no more than 10 minutes before we were onto a jet boat, screaming across the river shallows at a rapid rate of knots before being dropped off to the Hilton where we were staying.

    When we arrived at the Hilton wharf, we received a traditional Maori welcome. While entertaining, the background was pretty ordinary and not really conducive to a good photograph. However, to Panasonic's credit they had further plans for the chieftan and his wife the following day. After arriving atop a wind-blown mountain ridge by helicopter and being treated to a packed lunch and champagne (I told you life was pretty good), we had another opportunity to make some portraits of the maori chief with a far more interesting background.

    More about the Lumix GH5 later in the week. In the meantime, check out the four frames I quickly grabbed (along with the other 20 or so journalists standing next to me).

    Read More: http://www.betterphotography.com/peter-eastways-blogs-sp-19033/peter-eastways-blog/1201-which-frame-do-you-pick

    Maori Chieftan. Lumix GH5 Launch, Queenstown, NZ.
    Lumix GH5, 18mm (37mm equivalent) lens, 1/1250 second @ f4, ISO 100

    Life as a photography magazine editor is pretty good when companies like Panasonic invite you to test their new Lumix GH5 camera for a few days in Queenstown. And they looked after us very well with a series of photo opportunities designed to show off the camera's many features. We were off the plane for no more than 10 minutes before we were onto a jet boat, screaming across the river shallows at a rapid rate of knots before being dropped off to the Hilton where we were staying.

    When we arrived at the Hilton wharf, we received a traditional Maori welcome. While entertaining, the background was pretty ordinary and not really conducive to a good photograph. However, to Panasonic's credit they had further plans for the chieftan and his wife the following day. After arriving atop a wind-blown mountain ridge by helicopter and being treated to a packed lunch and champagne (I told you life was pretty good), we had another opportunity to make some portraits of the maori chief with a far more interesting background.

    More about the Lumix GH5 later in the week. In the meantime, check out the four frames I quickly grabbed (along with the other 20 or so journalists standing next to me). 

     

    Four photos - which would you use?

    Now, I know you can work out which of the three frames was used in the hero photo up above, but the question is why?

    The reasons for choosing Frame 3.

    This isn't the only angle I shot from, but these are the four frames I squeezed out of this particular pose. In the first frame, the chieftan's eyes are closed so, while pretty good down small, if ever I were to make a larger image, it wouldn't be satisfactory. Expression is everything - and to be honest, I probably haven't got the best expression in the other three either, but they are all pretty similar.

    However, the key to this particular pose for me was the hand-woven feathered cape he was wearing. I wanted this to be the feature of the photograph and, having decided that, picking the cape that doesn't have the deep shadows in the middle becomes the obvious choice. The third frame has more even illumination over the garment, which in turn lets me highlight the textures and colours in post-production.

    And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months, I have places left on trips going to Arnhemland, Iran, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico. Full details on the Better Photography website!

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Maori New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/3/which-frame-do-you-pick Sun, 26 Mar 2017 00:45:00 GMT
    Do Patterns Need A Break? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/3/do-patterns-need-a-break

     

    Vineyard east of Middlehurst, North Island, New Zealand.
    80mm lens on Phase One XF 100MP, 1/3200 second @ f3.2, ISO 200
    Join Tony Hewiit and Peter Eastway on Middlehurst this June for an art photography workshop - details on website.

     

    The human mind loves patterns and repetition. And when we talk about composition, pattern and repetition are key elements in this sometimes vague and mysterious art. However, there are a couple of things that I look for when composing pattern shots.

    The first thing I try to do with a pattern shot is to fill the frame. By filling the frame, the viewer is lead to believe the pattern goes on forever - it is limitless. If the above photo of vineyards included the surrounding edges of the vineyard, it would create a completely different image.

    The second thing I look for is variation. After filling the frame, there needs to be some point of interest for the eye to land on. In the image above, there's the secondary colour pattern of reds and blues, but this is quite subtle. More obvious is the roadway that cuts through the image. It is a centre of interest, a dynamic line, a break in proceedings.

    So, which do you prefer? There's no right or wrong, just a preference - but at least it can be a creative decision.

     

    Check out our Middlehurst video, created by Animoto.

     

    Check out the book we created on the last Middlehurst workshop.
    It's a 16MB download file you view in Adobe Reader or Acrobat (PDF eBook).

    READ MORE: DO PATTERNS NEED A BREAK?

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Aerials Middlehurst New Patterns Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/3/do-patterns-need-a-break Mon, 06 Mar 2017 00:16:02 GMT
    Why ISO 400? - After The Fires https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/3/why-iso-400---after-the-fires

    Scorched leaf detail, Arnhemland.
    Canon EOS 5DSR, 100mm macro lens, 1/160 second @ f4, ISO 400, tripod.
    Click the YouTube link below to see a mini-slide show.

    In many parts of Australia, fire is part of the seasonal ebb and flow. Flying into Arnhemland last year, we could see lots of spot fires all around. My understanding is some are lit by lightning stikes, others are intentionally lit for land management. Whatever the reasons, they add an accent to the landscape.

    What struck me most about the aftermath was the colour. Rich orange and red browns dominated small sections of the bush and so the challenge was to create an interesting composition. However, as you will see from the location shot (you'll see it on the website), it was a very busy area with strong overhead light. It was challenging!

    My solution was to get in close using a macro lens. I also looked for areas where the leaves were backlit by the sun, but the background was in the shadow of a hill or outcrop, thus making a dark background against which the leaf would stand out.

    For macro work, I like to work on a tripod so I can precisely control my focus. The closer you focus, the less the depth-of-field, the less of your image will be in tack sharp focus. However, I didn't want the entire leaf to be sharp, just a section of it.

    So with the camera nice and steady on a tripod, what's the problem? There was a very slight breeze. It really was hardly a hint of moving air, but it was enough to move the leaves ever so slightly. To maintain my aperture, I needed to choose a higher ISO setting (400 in this case) to keep my shutter speeds fast enough to arrest any movement.

    In post production...

     

    READ MORE: WHY ISO 400? - AFTER THE FIRES

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Arnhemland Leaf https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/3/why-iso-400---after-the-fires Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:30:00 GMT
    Natural Highways https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/2/natural-highways

    Tidal stream, Arnhemland.
    Canon EOS 5DSR with 35mm lens, 1/6400 second @ f3.2, ISO 800.
    A few places are still available for my July 2017 Arnhemland workshop.

     

    It's interesting what 'the judges' pick as being successful photographs. At the recent WPPI Awards held in Las Vegas, this print was lucky enough to earn a Gold Award, while three others from the same shoot and area earned Silvers or a Silver with Distinction. What makes this image better than the others?

    You can see the other images by clicking through to the website, but I am going to suggest that I really don't know! I can't know, because I'm the author. I have so much baggage attached to these images that it is hard to be objective - and I don't want to be objective.

    Unlike the other images, this photograph has very distinct lines breaking up the frame. Looking like a dirt road, they are tidal watercourses in Arnhemland photographed from a helicopter while on my photo workshop last year. The other images are more random in their design and not as compositionally obvious, and sometimes I think that the photographs that are elevated to Gold status are helped by being a little more straightforward.

     

    READ MORE: NATURAL HIGHWAYS

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Aerials Arnhemland https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/2/natural-highways Mon, 27 Feb 2017 00:30:00 GMT
    A Flock With A Difference https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/10/a-flock-with-a-difference A Flock With A Difference 

    Moving sheep, Middlehurst Station, South Island, New Zealand.
    Phase One XF 100MP, 55mm Schneider lens, 4 seconds @ f8, ISO 200, 3X ND

    Regular newsletter readers may recognise this location as I posted a colour version a couple of months ago, after Tony Hewitt and I had run our exclusive Art Photography Workshop at Middlehurst Station in New Zealand.

    I confess that at the time I wasn't overly concerned about the photograph - there's an image in there for sure, but I felt there was still room for improvement with a different camera angle. It's a good reason to go back again, of course (and we are next year if you're interested), but it also points to how much influence our current thinking has on how we view our work. Or maybe I should only speak for myself.

    When I took the photo, I had an image in mind, but I didn't quite get what I had in mind. It was something different. However, with the passing of time, I returned to these files with fresh eyes and thought, maybe it's not so bad after all.

    Certainly that panel of five wonderfully sophisticated and educated judges at APPA this year scored it well (yes, a Gold he modestly writes), so you can be lucky every now and then.

    So, what did the image look like before I started work on it? And does the finished edit look better with a little introduced colour? You'll have to click the Read More link to the website to find out!

     

    Processed raw file to mono before adjustments. 

    Final edit with a little more colour. 

    As you can see, most of the technique is in the capture. Using a neutral density filter, I was able to set shutter speeds of two to eight seconds during which time the sheep on the outside of the flock had moved, whereas those in the middle had not! I took lots and lots of shots!

    However, tonally the sheep blend into the background, so using layers and masks in Photoshop, I darkened down the surroundings and lightened the flock. The background mountain range has been subtly blurred.

    So, when I add in a little colour, does it work better? I wondered about this before entering it, but went for the pure black and white look. Was I wrong?

    And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months (maybe a Christmas present for yourself?), I have trips going to USA, New Zealand, Arnhemland, Georgia/Armenia, Iran, Greenland/Iceland and Mexico. Full details on the Better Photography website!

     

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst Mountains New Zealand Sheep https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/10/a-flock-with-a-difference Thu, 06 Oct 2016 00:03:40 GMT
    Another tree... https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/9/another-tree Another Tree...

    Tony's tree, Tones River, Middlehurst Station.
    Phase One XF, 80mm Schneider f2.8 lens, f11 @ 30 seconds/1/80 second, ISO 50

    Is this one or two shots? I love posing questions like this! Up front, it's two shots, but two shots of the same subject (camera locked off on a tripod), taken a few minutes apart.

    Why?

    A couple of days earlier, Tony Hewitt and I had been at this location with Barbara, Gary and Jim on our Middlehurst Art Photography workshop. Middlehurst is an amazing Tolkein landscape tucked away in New Zealand's South Island (and we're repeating the workshop next June if you're interested...).

    We started well before dawn and were enjoying our time, exploring the area. Tony disappeared 'somewhere', but as we were all heavily engrossed in our own little worlds, it didn't worry us.

    At some stage, I looked around from my camera to see the top of the tree above just catching the brilliant sunlight! Even better, from certain angles the background was in shadow. However, the worst part was seeing Tony in position with his camera, nailing a great shot as the light got better and better.

    This bugged the hell out of me. How did he know? Was he just lucky? Or smart? Or just smarter than me?

    Over the next couple of days, I dropped hints to everyone that we should go back to this location and all shoot the tree - I mean, I couldn't have Tony not sharing such a great location!

    However, my version of the tree is more of a grand landscape, but I took two photos to make it happen! Click through to the website to see the two images I used.

     

    Early shot before the sun reaches the tree. 

    Photo when the tree is fully illuminated by the sunshine. 

    My idea was to have just the very top of the tree illuminated by the sun, but my perfect planning didn't take into account the vagaries of the weather or the movement of the clouds.

    The first photo was taken because I liked the clouds, but they were moving away from the mountain. So, to ensure I had an interesting sky, I locked the camera off on the tripod and took a long exposure with a neutral density filter. 

    Then I waited.

    And as we all waited, more clouds arrived from behind, covering the sun and so the tree sat in shade. And stayed in shade so by the time the clouds moved to illuminate the tree, the sun was higher than I had hoped for. The whole of the tree and its surroundigs were fully lit!

    In some ways, I could have achieved the final result with a single exposure, but I do prefer the clouds from the earlier exposure and it wasn't a difficult 'composite': just two layers and a simple mask.

    However, it's not a bad result. It earned a Silver Award at this year's AIPP APPAs and, since I'm going back next year, there's another chance to get just the top of the tree being illuminated by that rising sun!

    And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months, I have trips going to USA, Georgia/Armenia, Iran, New Zealand, Greenland/Iceland and Mexico. Full details on the Better Photography website!

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand clouds tree https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/9/another-tree Thu, 29 Sep 2016 02:58:42 GMT
    Do You Really Want Clouds? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/6/do-you-really-want-clouds Do You Really Want Clouds?

    Boab Tree, Wireless Station ruins, near Wyndham, Kimberley.
    Phase One A-Series IQ3 100MP, Rodenstock Alpa HR Alpagon f5.6 23mm, 46 seconds @ f8, ISO 50

    Light is everything. I wandered past this boab (from the other side) a couple of times earlier in the afternoon, noticing the unusual twin-trunk structure. It was a tree with potential, but at that stage of the day, the sun was still high in the sky and the location appeared incredibly busy. There was too much going on. 

    I was on a PODAS - a Phase One Digital Artist Series workshop - with Christian Fletcher, Tony Hewitt, Bruce Pottinger and Drew Altdoerffer (from Phase One), and 16 keen photographers who were kitted out with the latest Phase One medium format equipment for the week.

    After sunset as I walked back along the track to the cars, I noticed Bruce Pottinger set up near this tree. And it was positively glowing! The challenge was to isolate it sufficiently within what was still a complex and busy landscape. One way is to stand back and use a telephoto lens, which probably would have been the polite thing to do given Bruce was shooting. Another option is to use a wide-angle lens and get in very close to your subject. I applied the latter logic on this occasion. Sorry, Bruce!

    The evening was absolutely perfect with a feathering of clouds to break up a large blue sky. In May, 'they' say you are almost guaranteed blue skies every day, but this year the weather was a little mixed up, not just in Kununurra, but around the world it seems. However, photographers usually shy away from clear blue skies because they lack interest, but did I really want clouds in this photograph?

    Processed raw file before adjustments. 

    Looking at the file out of Capture One raw processing software, I was struggling to maintain separation between the clouds and the boab branches (as you can see above). Too much of a good thing was not a good thing. Clouds are great, but broken cloud as a backdrop for a finely branched tree does not make a perfect backdrop.

    As remarkable as Capture One is, it doesn't allow channel masks, although it will create masks based on colour selections, and so it was into Photoshop for a final tweaking. As you can see in the opening image, I have lightened up the main branches so they stand out from the sky. I have also removed the magenta colour from the clouds so they don't compete with the warm colours on the boab.

    And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months, I have trips going to Bhutan, USA, Georgia/Armenia, Iran, Greenland/Iceland and Mexico. Full details on the Better Photography website!

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Boab Tree Clouds Kimberley Western Australia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/6/do-you-really-want-clouds Thu, 23 Jun 2016 00:05:17 GMT
    White Orpheus or Pink? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/6/white-orpheus-or-pink Orpheus RootsOrpheus Roots

    Mangrove Roots, Orpheus Island, 2009.
    Phase One 645AF, P45+ back, 28mm lens, 15 seconds @ f16, ISO 50.
    I was up to my knees in warm salt water, but I wasn't complaining. I also think that's why many people from the southern latitudes of Australia visit Orpheus Island in winter and if, following the chilly weather we've been having lately, you're in need of a warm respite, now would be a good time to book a trip to Orpheus Island in Far North Queensland.
    There are two options. One is a six star resort which is out of my price bracket (champagne tastes, beer budget), the other is the experience of your photography life at the James Cook University research station on the other end of the island. However, while the location is fantastic, the real attraction has to be three of Australia's best photographers and photographic educators ever. Dr Les Walking is joined by Dr Vicki Cooper and Dr Doug Spowart. I'm pretty sure Vicki and Doug are both doctors, maybe they're professors or something else as well, but I get lost after an ordinary degree!
    Les has been presenting his Orpheus Island printing workshop for eleven years along with John and Pam de Rooy. And after my presentation with Les in the Daintree last month, I said I'd mention his printing workshop in my newsletter - and hence the photograph above.
    For more details about the Orpheus Island Photography Workshop, visit http://www.leswalkling.com/courses/orpheus-2016/.
    Shooting the photograph, I was knee deep in salt water as the tide came in. It was taken only a stone's throw from the research station with a wide-angle lens and a long shutter speed of 15 seconds to blur the water.
    To lighten up the tree roots as though they were catching the light from the sunset, I used a channel mask which picked out the light that was already striking the top of the mangrove roots and then, using a curves adjustment layer, lightened them up. It was easier than using a brush and carefully picking out the roots because all the hard work had been done by the channel. This is one aspect of Photoshop that can't easily be replicated in Lightroom or Capture One, but admittedly it takes a little more practice to achieve as well.
    So, do you like the pink light catching the tops of the tree roots - or would you prefer them to look like steely-white moon light? Have a look here to see second photo and rest of blog. http://www.betterphotography.com/index.php/peter-eastways-blogs-sp-19033/peter-eastways-blog/1065-white-orpheus-or-pink
    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Australia Orpheus Island https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/6/white-orpheus-or-pink Fri, 17 Jun 2016 00:25:36 GMT
    Does Mount Sorrow Look Sorrowful? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/5/does-mount-sorrow-look-sorrowful Mt SorrowMt SorrowDoes Mount Sorrow Look Sorrowful? Mount Sorrow from the Daintree Research Observatory. 110mm lens on Phase One XF 100MP, 50 seconds @ f7.1, ISO 50.
    I'm just back from an engrossing week in the Daintree Rainforest, spent with Australian professor and doctor of photography, Les Walkling. And I mustn't forget Les's workshop partners, John and Pam de Rooy who host Les's famous Orpheus Island printing workshop, and assisting photographer Andrey Walkling.

    The week was spent with 12 photographers and our own chefs and support crew at the Daintree Research Observatory, just out of telephone signal range and built to host university researchers. There was an expansive seminar and work room for our deliberations, a hospitality area that was well frequented and comfortable dormitory style accommodation. And within a half an hour drive was a host of different photography locations, from crocodile cruises, mangrove walks, ocean beaches and the rainforest itself. There's even a crane for providing a unique bird's eye view of the rainforest canopy.

    However, this workshop was different. Instead of spending most of our time taking photographs, we talked about them. Instead of spending most of our time learning how to apply a curve in Photoshop, we learnt when and why to apply them. While technique was definitely an important component, the priority was to take participants to the next stage in their journey as photographers.

    It was the art of photography.

    And it lasted for seven, information packed days and while I was a co-presenter, I had one of the best educational experiences of my life. Les was in fine form, taking us from modernism to formalism and beyond, explaining how the contemporary art world sees photography and how the best exponents work. We received exclusive insights into both theory and technique, but in a practical way that allowed us to return with concepts and ideas that we can put into practice. I have a notebook full of ideas to work on and directions to take in the future.

    The photograph above features the enigmatic Mount Sorrow which was shrouded in low cloud for much of our workshop. We could sit and watch it while eating our meals and I am sure everyone photographed and took videos of it as the clouds curled around its upper reaches.

    This is a 50 second exposure during which time the tree-covered mountain was gently blurred by the swaying leaves. It uses a few technical aspects picked up at the workshop (some luminosity compensatory layers) and some ideas gleaned from the world of art.

    But I hope the most important thought that participants took away was that it's very difficult to make everyone in the world happy with your photography, so really the best approach is to make yourself happy first. Of course, this doesn't mean working in isolation or disregarding other disciplines and genres, rather acknowledging that photography as an art form is personal - and that means it's up to you!

    If you'd like to join Tony Hewitt and I on an exclusive five day photography art workshop next month (15-20 June) in New Zealand, there is just one place left - meaning a maximum of four students and two AIPP Grand Masters of Photography as leaders.Check out our Middlehurst brochure here. https://issuu.com/workingpro/docs/middlehurst

    Mount Sorrow from the Daintree Research Observatory.
    110mm lens on Phase One XF 100MP, 50 seconds @ f7.1, ISO 50.

    I'm just back from an engrossing week in the Daintree Rainforest, spent with Australian professor and doctor of photography, Les Walkling. And I mustn't forget Les's workshop partners, John and Pam de Rooy who host Les's famous Orpheus Island printing workshop, and assisting photographer Andrey Walkling.

    The week was spent with 12 photographers and our own chefs and support crew at the Daintree Research Observatory, just out of telephone signal range and built to host university researchers. There was an expansive seminar and work room for our deliberations, a hospitality area that was well frequented and comfortable dormitory style accommodation. And within a half an hour drive was a host of different photography locations, from crocodile cruises, mangrove walks, ocean beaches and the rainforest itself. There's even a crane for providing a unique bird's eye view of the rainforest canopy.

    However, this workshop was different. Instead of spending most of our time taking photographs, we talked about them. Instead of spending most of our time learning how to apply a curve in Photoshop, we learnt when and why to apply them. While technique was definitely an important component, the priority was to take participants to the next stage in their journey as photographers.

    It was the art of photography.

    And it lasted for seven, information packed days and while I was a co-presenter, I had one of the best educational experiences of my life. Les was in fine form, taking us from modernism to formalism and beyond, explaining how the contemporary art world sees photography and how the best exponents work. We received exclusive insights into both theory and technique, but in a practical way that allowed us to return with concepts and ideas that we can put into practice. I have a notebook full of ideas to work on and directions to take in the future.

    The photograph above features the enigmatic Mount Sorrow which was shrouded in low cloud for much of our workshop. We could sit and watch it while eating our meals and I am sure everyone photographed and took videos of it as the clouds curled around its upper reaches.

    This is a 50 second exposure during which time the tree-covered mountain was gently blurred by the swaying leaves. It uses a few technical aspects picked up at the workshop (some luminosity compensatory layers) and some ideas gleaned from the world of art.

    But I hope the most important thought that participants took away was that it's very difficult to make everyone in the world happy with your photography, so really the best approach is to make yourself happy first. Of course, this doesn't mean working in isolation or disregarding other disciplines and genres, rather acknowledging that photography as an art form is personal - and that means it's up to you!

    If you'd like to join Tony Hewitt and I on an exclusive five day photography art workshop next month (15-20 June) in New Zealand, there is just one place left - meaning a maximum of four students and two AIPP Grand Masters of Photography as leaders. Check out our Middlehurst brochure here.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Australia Clouds Daintree Mountain Mt Sorrow Queensland https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/5/does-mount-sorrow-look-sorrowful Fri, 20 May 2016 00:45:00 GMT
    Tree Details - How To Do It In Easy Light https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/4/tree-details---how-to-do-it-in-easy-light Yosemite TreesYosemite TreesWinter Trees #1, Yosemite Valley, USA.
    Phase One XF with IQ180 back, 240mm lens, 1/4 second @ f11, ISO 50

    Okay, I confess that this is a personal favourite. And when I made this as a print, I loved it even better. No, it's not an 'in your face' composition and it doesn't have an atomic colour palette either. Some unkind souls may even suggest it's not very 'me' given how subtle the colouration is, particularly the greens in the shadows. I think it will work nicely on my wall for a while...

    So, what are the tricks to capturing photographs with lots of fine detail like this? First up, you need the right conditions. At 1/4 second, any movement would have caused detail-killing blur. Of course, I could have waited for there to be more light (so I could use a faster shutter speed), but then the quality of the light could have changed. On this morning, there wasn't a breath of wind down the bottom of Yosemite Valley. There was snow on the ground which was reflecting light into the trees and the overall illumination was very soft. So, yes, the light is directional (the tops of the branches are lighter than the bottoms), but it's a soft light with lots of detail. Tripod mounted. Sharpest aperture for the lens.

    Second point: don't over expose your image. A camera meter will look at this scene and give you a great 'average' exposure, but even in low light situations like this, the highlights on the tree branches, especially the dead branches which are very light grey in tone, can be easily 'clipped'. The histogram might look like it's okay on the back of your camera, but take another shot two stops darker and you might find there are still a few bumps in the histogram up next to the white values. If you want to keep detail in your highlights, you need to manage your exposure correctly in camera.

    Third suggestion: spend a little time in post production adjusting your exposure, your contrast and your black point. I set the exposure so the highlights were light but not clipping (not paper white), then adjusted the contrast to bring out the texture in the tree trunks, then finally I used the black point (you can use the black slider in Lightroom/ACR or the black point on a curves dialog) to darken the shadows to give me some rich blacks. It's the blacks in the photo that makes the rest of the tones stand out.

    Perhaps I was channeling Ansel Adams a little bit and while I did convert this to a black and white, I found it hard to resist bringing back a hint of colour. Next week I'll show you how I shot tree details in difficult lighting conditions - you may be surprised at the technique!

    I'm presenting an advanced Photoshop workshop in Sydney on Sunday 5 June. Click here for details.

    Winter Trees #1, Yosemite Valley, USA.
    Phase One XF with IQ180 back, 240mm lens, 1/4 second @ f11, ISO 50

    Okay, I confess that this is a personal favourite. And when I made this as a print, I loved it even better. No, it's not an 'in your face' composition and it doesn't have an atomic colour palette either. Some unkind souls may even suggest it's not very 'me' given how subtle the colouration is, particularly the greens in the shadows. I think it will work nicely on my wall for a while...

    So, what are the tricks to capturing photographs with lots of fine detail like this? First up, you need the right conditions. At 1/4 second, any movement would have caused detail-killing blur. Of course, I could have waited for there to be more light (so I could use a faster shutter speed), but then the quality of the light could have changed. On this morning, there wasn't a breath of wind down the bottom of Yosemite Valley. There was snow on the ground which was reflecting light into the trees and the overall illumination was very soft. So, yes, the light is directional (the tops of the branches are lighter than the bottoms), but it's a soft light with lots of detail. Tripod mounted. Sharpest aperture for the lens. 

    Second point: don't over expose your image. A camera meter will look at this scene and give you a great 'average' exposure, but even in low light situations like this, the highlights on the tree branches, especially the dead branches which are very light grey in tone, can be easily 'clipped'. The histogram might look like it's okay on the back of your camera, but take another shot two stops darker and you might find there are still a few bumps in the histogram up next to the white values. If you want to keep detail in your highlights, you need to manage your exposure correctly in camera.

    Third suggestion: spend a little time in post production adjusting your exposure, your contrast and your black point. I set the exposure so the highlights were light but not clipping (not paper white), then adjusted the contrast to bring out the texture in the tree trunks, then finally I used the black point (you can use the black slider in Lightroom/ACR or the black point on a curves dialog) to darken the shadows to give me some rich blacks. It's the blacks in the photo that makes the rest of the tones stand out.

    Perhaps I was channeling Ansel Adams a little bit and while I did convert this to a black and white, I found it hard to resist bringing back a hint of colour. Next week I'll show you how I shot tree details in difficult lighting conditions - you may be surprised at the technique!

    I'm presenting an advanced Photoshop workshop in Sydney on Sunday 5 June. Click here for details.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Yosemite Trees https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/4/tree-details---how-to-do-it-in-easy-light Tue, 19 Apr 2016 01:15:00 GMT
    Twelve Apostles From The Air https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/4/twelve-apostles-from-the-air Twelve ApostlesTwelve ApostlesPort Campbell National Park from the air.

    Canon EOS 5DSR, 17-40mm lens, 1/6400 second @ f4, ISO 1250

    It's always a challenge giving advice to photographers about to shoot from a helicopter. On the Canon Collective Tour to Geelong last weekend, two dozen photographers took a spectacular drive along the Great Ocean Road to Port Campbell National Park and the 12 Apostles. We all had 25 minute flights booked over Australia's most spectacular stretch of coastline.

    The one thing you know when shooting from a helicopter is to keep your shutter speeds up high, but this depends on the helicopter, the location and the weather. The smaller the helicopter, the more it bounces around and so the faster the shutter speed required. The more unstable the weather, the more the helicopter bounces around and when you're flying over uneven ground, there can be updrafts that bounce you around as well.

    I have tack sharp photographs taken from a helicopter with shutter speeds as slow as 1/250 second, but I have many more that are blurred. Even at 1/2000 second you can have blurred shots if the chopper is moving around a lot.

    I suggested to the photographers that they needed a shutter speed of at least 1/2000 second to ensure they took sharp photographs, but there were a few compromises. First, as we were shooting in the late afternoon, to get a 1/2000 second shutter speed probably required a reasonably wide aperture - and wide apertures are not always optimum in terms of image quality (the edges can be a little soft, although the middle is normally pretty good).

    And even with a wide open aperture, the ISO may need to be pushed up a little to ensure correct exposure with the shutter speed and aperture combination. One approach is to set the shutter speed at, say, 1/2000 second on Tv (shutter priority) mode and turn on auto ISO. Once the camera reaches the widest aperture, it then starts to increase the ISO to ensure correct exposure.

    So how come this photo is taken at 1/6400 second? Well, old habits die hard and I usually shoot in aperture priority mode - but I keep an eye on my settings. I set the aperture and the ISO so that when I was pointing the camera at the ground, my shutter speed was around 1/2000 second. However, if there were breaking waves in frame with lots of white water, the camera would push the shutter speed up higher to maintain correct exposure.

    The caveat on this advice is that we had a fixed flight path and time. If you have more time, you can slow yourself right down and think your options through. On the other hand, there's something really exciting about spending 25 minutes on a flight and shooting like mad! It's an amazing flight and worth booking at 12 Apostles Helicopters.

    And thanks to the Canon Collective for inviting me along. You can find out more about the Canon Collective at
    https://www.canon.com.au/en-AU/Personal/imageSpectrum/Community/collective-home.

    To see the photograph as it was captured in camera, click through to the website below...
    http://www.betterphotography.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1039:twelve-apostles-from-the-air-better-photography-newsletter&catid=39:peblog&Itemid=77

    Port Campbell National Park from the air.
    Canon EOS 5DSR, 17-40mm lens, 1/6400 second @ f4, ISO 1250

    It's always a challenge giving advice to photographers about to shoot from a helicopter. On the Canon Collective Tour to Geelong last weekend,  two dozen photographers took a spectacular drive along the Great Ocean Road to Port Campbell National Park and the 12 Apostles. We all had 25 minute flights booked over Australia's most spectacular stretch of coastline.

    The one thing you know when shooting from a helicopter is to keep your shutter speeds up high, but this depends on the helicopter, the location and the weather. The smaller the helicopter, the more it bounces around and so the faster the shutter speed required. The more unstable the weather, the more the helicopter bounces around and when you're flying over uneven ground, there can be updrafts that bounce you around as well.

    I have tack sharp photographs taken from a helicopter with shutter speeds as slow as 1/250 second, but I have many more that are blurred. Even at 1/2000 second you can have blurred shots if the chopper is moving around a lot.

    I suggested to the photographers that they needed a shutter speed of at least 1/2000 second to ensure they took sharp photographs, but there were a few compromises. First, as we were shooting in the late afternoon, to get a 1/2000 second shutter speed probably required a reasonably wide aperture - and wide apertures are not always optimum in terms of image quality (the edges can be a little soft, although the middle is normally pretty good).

    And even with a wide open aperture, the ISO may need to be pushed up a little to ensure correct exposure with the shutter speed and aperture combination. One approach is to set the shutter speed at, say, 1/2000 second on Tv (shutter priority) mode and turn on auto ISO. Once the camera reaches the widest aperture, it then starts to increase the ISO to ensure correct exposure.

    So how come this photo is taken at 1/6400 second? Well, old habits die hard and I usually shoot in aperture priority mode - but I keep an eye on my settings. I set the aperture and the ISO so that when I was pointing the camera at the ground, my shutter speed was around 1/2000 second. However, if there were breaking waves in frame with lots of white water, the camera would push the shutter speed up higher to maintain correct exposure.

    The caveat on this advice is that we had a fixed flight path and time. If you have more time, you can slow yourself right down and think your options through. On the other hand, there's something really exciting about spending 25 minutes on a flight and shooting like mad! It's an amazing flight and worth booking at 12 Apostles Helicopters.

    And thanks to the Canon Collective for inviting me along. You can find out more about the Canon Collective at https://www.canon.com.au/en-AU/Personal/imageSpectrum/Community/collective-home.

    To see the photograph as it was captured in camera, click through to the website below...

    Processed raw file before adjustments. 

    Yes, you're right! I have squished the headlands together a bit, just to add a little extra drama. Note to self: I must take another flight on a sunny day - it must be simply spectacular!

    And if you're interested in a photography workshop later this year, I have trips going to Karijini, Kununurra, the Daintree, Arnhemland, New Zealand and Bhutan. Full details on the Better Photography website!

     

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Twelve Apostles https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/4/twelve-apostles-from-the-air Tue, 22 Mar 2016 00:00:00 GMT
    Real Life Sunbeams In Bhutan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/3/real-life-sunbeams-in-bhutan To TshangkhaTo TshangkhaReal Life Sunbeams In Bhutan Tashiling Lakhang from Tshangkha, Bhutan. 24-70mm lens @ 48mm, 1/400 second @ f9, ISO 360
    Opportunities like this don't last forever! It was late in the day and we had just spent a wonderful afternoon in our guide's local temple. It helps to have a local guide because they can arrange access to locations that are often invisible to the casual tourist and even better, they can get a photography tour permission to use cameras where normally you can't.

    Not always, of course, but I was really happy with what we'd been shooting and I was comfortable just having a look around while I was waiting for the others. I think it's important when you travel to put down your cameras from time to time and simply appreciate where you are. Perhaps I'm becoming philosophical in my old age!

    However, the camera didn't stay in the car too long as I watched this light show begin. I raced back to the car (around 100 metres), grabbed my camera bag and tripod and returned as quickly as I could to my vantage point. With scenes like this, I felt I wanted to zoom in to capture the light on the distant dzong and village, but doing so meant I lost the grandeur of the landscape. However, zooming out I picked up surrounding trees and bushes and I didn't have half an hour to scout around for a better location.

    In fact, I had only seconds, so using the 24-70mm zoom that was on my camera, I shot at 24mm, 50mm and 70mm and made the most of what I had. Then the light was gone. As it turns out, the 48mm focal length seems to work pretty well.

    I don't know about you, but part of the buzz of landscape photography is reacting to the light. People say you can take your time with the landscape, pull out a tripod and even have a cup of tea. Of course, David Oliver would be the first one to disagree with this and, despite what he says when being interviewed on television, is really happy not using a tripod at all.

    I'm not sure if I can go that far, but I agree with him you have to be quick when the light is changing!

    And just in case you didn't notice, David and I are looking for a few extra photographers to join us on our trip to Bhutan in November this year - for more details, click here: http://www.betterphotography.com/index.php/bpshop-sp-18927/workshops/bhutan-1-to-15-november-2016-detail

    And if you'd like to see the original file without any processing, click through to the website for the full article with the following link: http://www.betterphotography.com/index.php/peter-eastways-blogs-sp-19033/peter-eastways-blog/1033-real-life-sunbeams-in-bhutan

    Tashiling Lakhang from Tshangkha, Bhutan.
    24-70mm lens @ 48mm, 1/400 second @ f9, ISO 360

    Opportunities like this don't last forever! It was late in the day and we had just spent a wonderful afternoon in our guide's local temple. It helps to have a local guide because they can arrange access to locations that are often invisible to the casual tourist and even better, they can get a photography tour permission to use cameras where normally you can't.

    Not always, of course, but I was really happy with what we'd been shooting and I was comfortable just having a look around while I was waiting for the others. I think it's important when you travel to put down your cameras from time to time and simply appreciate where you are. Perhaps I'm becoming philosophical in my old age!

    However, the camera didn't stay in the car too long as I watched this light show begin. I raced back to the car (around 100 metres), grabbed my camera bag and tripod and returned as quickly as I could to my vantage point. With scenes like this, I felt I wanted to zoom in to capture the light on the distant dzong and village, but doing so meant I lost the grandeur of the landscape. However, zooming out I picked up surrounding trees and bushes and I didn't have half an hour to scout around for a better location. 

    In fact, I had only seconds, so using the 24-70mm zoom that was on my camera, I shot at 24mm, 50mm and 70mm and made the most of what I had. Then the light was gone. As it turns out, the 48mm focal length seems to work pretty well.

    I don't know about you, but part of the buzz of landscape photography is reacting to the light. People say you can take your time with the landscape, pull out a tripod and even have a cup of tea. Of course, David Oliver would be the first one to disagree with this and, despite what he says when being interviewed on television, is really happy not using a tripod at all.

    I'm not sure if I can go that far, but I agree with him you have to be quick when the light is changing!

    And just in case you didn't notice, David and I are looking for a few extra photographers to join us on our trip to Bhutan in November this year - for more details, click here.

    And if you'd like to see the original file without any processing, click through to the website for the full article. 

    READ MORE: REAL LIFE SUNBEAMS IN BHUTAN

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bhutan Sunbeams Tashiling Lakhang Tshangkha https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/3/real-life-sunbeams-in-bhutan Thu, 10 Mar 2016 22:51:00 GMT
    Prayer Flags At Chela La https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/3/prayer-flags-at-chela-la Chelela FlagsChelela FlagsPrayer Flags At Chela La Prayer flags at Chele La, Bhutan. 24mm lens, 1/200 second @ f16, ISO 100
    Chele La is a 4000 metre pass accessible by road in Bhutan. I've visited it twice now and I'm looking forward to a third trip later this year because there are so many opportunites!

    All around Bhutan you will see clusters of prayer flags, most commonly on small hills or outcrops, and definitely at mountain passes. When you arrive at the top of Chele La, you can't but be impressed by the numbers of prayer flags and how they stretch for a kilometre or more up the ridges either side of the pass. For photographers, it's a wonderful exercise in capturing patterns and shapes, but it can also be challenging to produce a composition that isn't as chaotic as the placement of the flags.

    Unlike many of my other images, this is a more 'common' viewpoint of a small 4WD track leading between two groupings of flags. I've cropped it horizontally so the flags with their vertical poles create a contrast, especially the slightly angled ones. The sky has been darkened and desaturated, but I've kept a blue colour cast - at this height, it was a little on the cool side.

    Hopefully it's an image that interests you. As our world becomes smaller with easy travel and internet communication, finding places like Bhutan are becoming increasingly difficult - and Bhutan is also changing. Fortunately, the government takes a common sense approach to tourism and, unlike neighboring Nepal, Bhutan seems to be richer culturally for it.

    David Oliver and I have confirmed we're taking a group there this November, so if you're interested in learning more and seeing a small brochure, click here.

    And if you'd like to see the original file without any processing, click through to the website for the full article.

    Read more, click the following link: http://www.betterphotography.com/index.php/peter-eastways-blogs-sp-19033/peter-eastways-blog/1032-prayer-flags-at-chela-la

    Prayer flags at Chele La, Bhutan.
    24mm lens, 1/200 second @ f16, ISO 100

    Chele La is a 4000 metre pass accessible by road in Bhutan. I've visited it twice now and I'm looking forward to a third trip later this year because there are so many opportunites!

    All around Bhutan you will see clusters of prayer flags, most commonly on small hills or outcrops, and definitely at mountain passes. When you arrive at the top of Chele La, you can't but be impressed by the numbers of prayer flags and how they stretch for a kilometre or more up the ridges either side of the pass. For photographers, it's a wonderful exercise in capturing patterns and shapes, but it can also be challenging to produce a composition that isn't as chaotic as the placement of the flags.

    Unlike many of my other images, this is a more 'common' viewpoint of a small 4WD track leading between two groupings of flags. I've cropped it horizontally so the flags with their vertical poles create a contrast, especially the slightly angled ones. The sky has been darkened and desaturated, but I've kept a blue colour cast - at this height, it was a little on the cool side.

    Hopefully it's an image that interests you. As our world becomes smaller with easy travel and internet communication, finding places like Bhutan are becoming increasingly difficult - and Bhutan is also changing. Fortunately, the government takes a common sense approach to tourism and, unlike neighboring Nepal, Bhutan seems to be richer culturally for it.

    David Oliver and I have confirmed we're taking a group there this November, so if you're interested in learning more and seeing a small brochure, click here.

    And if you'd like to see the original file without any processing, click through to the website for the full article. 

    READ MORE: PRAYER FLAGS AT CHELA LA

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bhutan Prayer Flags https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/3/prayer-flags-at-chela-la Thu, 25 Feb 2016 05:00:00 GMT
    Secret Spot: Kimberley https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/2/secret-spot-kimberley Ragged Range MessasRagged Range MessasSecret Spot, South of Kununurra.

    Phase One 645DF & IQ180 with 80mm Schneider Kreuznach lens. 1/1000 second @ f6.3, ISO 200

    This is as close as Australia gets to ruined castles sitting on the skyline. Well, it's as close as I've seen, but maybe you have some other candidates. The location is south of Kununurra in the Kimberley and I'm heading back there with Christian Fletcher and Tony Hewitt on a PODAS workshop this May (you can see details here). We will also be taking a helicopter flight over this area.

    For this shot, we asked the pilot to swing around these small buttes several times and from different heights. I still don't think I have the perfect angle and while I struggled with this image for a long time, the more I look at it, the more I'm starting to like it. There's a sense of mystery in the contra jour lighting.

    And that's the challenge, that we're looking into the light and although there isn't any flare (I don't believe) on the lens itself, there is lots of flare in the highly humid atmosphere. Rather than fighting it, I've tried to incorporate it into the image - I expect the viewer's eye strays into the upper parts of the photo, but it being lower in contrast, is gradually drawn back down to the main subject. That's the theory!

    If you'd like to see the original file without any processing, click through to the website for the full article. You may be surprised at what you see.

    http://www.betterphotography.com/index.php/peter-eastways-blogs-sp-19033/peter-eastways-blog/1028-secret-spot-kimberley

    Secret Spot, South of Kununurra. 
    Phase One 645DF & IQ180 with 80mm Schneider Kreuznach lens.
    1/1000 second @ f6.3, ISO 200

    This is as close as Australia gets to ruined castles sitting on the skyline. Well, it's as close as I've seen, but maybe you have some other candidates. The location is south of Kununurra in the Kimberley and I'm heading back there with Christian Fletcher and Tony Hewitt on a PODAS workshop this May (you can see details here). We will also be taking a helicopter flight over this area.

    For this shot, we asked the pilot to swing around these small buttes several times and from different heights. I still don't think I have the perfect angle and while I struggled with this image for a long time, the more I look at it, the more I'm starting to like it. There's a sense of mystery in the contra jour lighting.

    And that's the challenge, that we're looking into the light and although there isn't any flare (I don't believe) on the lens itself, there is lots of flare in the highly humid atmosphere. Rather than fighting it, I've tried to incorporate it into the image - I expect the viewer's eye strays into the upper parts of the photo, but it being lower in contrast, is gradually drawn back down to the main subject. That's the theory!

    If you'd like to see the original file without any processing, click through to the website for the full article. You may be surprised at what you see.

    Processed raw file before adjustments. 

    Yes, I shot it as a horizontal. This is one of the advantages of having lots of pixels to play with. Not only can you crop the image, you can also squish or stretch the pixels (within reason) to create a different composition. My preference would be to shoot it again from a higher and closer angle so it could be full frame - and that's something I'll be thinking of when we return this May! 

    And if you're interested in a photography workshop later this year, I have trips going to Karijini, Kununurra, the Daintree, Arnhemland, Whitsundays, New Zealand, Bhutan and, with a bit of luck, Patagonia and the Atacama Desert in Chile as well. Full details on the Better Photography website - but please book soon!

     

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Kimberley Kununurra mountains https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/2/secret-spot-kimberley Wed, 17 Feb 2016 23:58:30 GMT
    Strong Colours, Simple Composition https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/2/strong-colours-simple-composition Monk Reading - BhutanMonk Reading - BhutanStrong Colours, Simple Composition
    Young Monk Studying, Chimi Lhakhang, Bhutan.
    Nikon D800E with 200mm f2.0 lens, 1/200 second @ f2.0, ISO 5000

    Where does your eye go? I guess I can't answer this for everyone, but my eye is initially drawn to the strong crimsons of the young monk's robes. Since there is nothing particularly light in the photograph and the background is so dark, the mid-tones of the highly coloured robe glow in the image. The dominate. I have used a little extra contrast (using a curves adjustment layer) to enhance the three-dimensionality (a little like using the clarity slider in Lightroom, ACR or Capture One).

    To read more, click following link: http://www.betterphotography.com/index.php/peter-eastways-blogs-sp-19033/peter-eastways-blog/1025-strong-colours-simple-composition

     

    Young Monk Studying, Chimi Lhakhang, Bhutan. 
    Nikon D800E with 200mm f2.0 lens, 1/200 second @ f2.0, ISO 5000

    Where does your eye go? I guess I can't answer this for everyone, but my eye is initially drawn to the strong crimsons of the young monk's robes. Since there is nothing particularly light in the photograph and the background is so dark, the mid-tones of the highly coloured robe glow in the image. The dominate. I have used a little extra contrast (using a curves adjustment layer) to enhance the three-dimensionality (a little like using the clarity slider in Lightroom, ACR or Capture One).

    As the eye moves around the frame, the lightest part (which is where the eye is naturally drawn) is the monk's face and this is also where the story lies. This is the main centre of interest. If you follow the line of the monk's gaze, you reach the scriptures he is studying, a secondary centre of interest, and the two are joined by his hands. These three compositional elements - face, hands, book - are lighter in tone and less saturated in colour, standing apart from the robes and the background. They grab the viewer's attention both tonally, as well as telling a story. When you post-produce your images, you want to do it in a way that makes sense - so that your photography compliments your subject.

    Finally, as we look further around the image and into the shadows, we discover the reason for the young monk being to one side of the frame. To his left (camera right) an older monk looks on, providing help and instruction if and when it is required. Note, we don't need the whole of the older monk's head and body to tell the story. In fact, cropping in tightly with the 200mm lens concentrates our attention on the main story, like the monk is concentrating on his scriptures.

    Post-production for photography is partly a matter of skill and technique, but more importantly it is applying it appropriately so that it enhances the story or the emotion you're conveying. And your technique should be invisible - invisible Photoshop.

    If you're interested in a photography workshop later this year, I have trips going to Karijini, Kununurra, the Daintree, Arnhemland, Whitsundays, New Zealand, Bhutan and, with a bit of luck, Patagonia and the Atacama Desert in Chile as well. Full details on the Better Photography website - but please book soon!

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/2/strong-colours-simple-composition Wed, 10 Feb 2016 23:51:00 GMT
    Worth A Flat Tyre? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/2/worth-a-flat-tyre Lamm LakesLamm LakesWorth A Flat Tyre? Frostastdavatn, Landmannalaugar, Iceland. (With apologies for the Australianized spelling - it's as close as I can get for an email newsletter)
    Phase One 645DF & IQ180 with 110mm Schneider Kreuznach lens.
    30 seconds @ f5.6, ISO 35

    This photograph has a special memory for me.

    As is often the case in Iceland, it was blowing a small gale up on the ridge, just above where this photo was taken, but by walking down a few metres, I was able to set up my tripod in relatively calm conditions. The area is called Landmannalaugar (incorrectly spelt in my previous correspondence) and it is understandably a favourite area with landscape photographers. And the name of this lake is also incorrectly spelt in the caption above because when I use the special Icelandic characters, they display differently on Macs, PCs and goodness knows what else.

    But this isn't the memory.
    TO READ MORE: WORTH A FLAT TYRE?http://www.betterphotography.com/index.php/peter-eastways-blogs-sp-19033/peter-eastways-blog/1023-worth-a-flat-tyre

    Frostastdavatn, Landmannalaugar, Iceland. 
    (With apologies for the Australianized spelling - it's as close as I can get for an email newsletter)
    Phase One 645DF & IQ180 with 110mm Schneider Kreuznach lens.
    30 seconds @ f5.6, ISO 35

    This photograph has a special memory for me.

    As is often the case in Iceland, it was blowing a small gale up on the ridge, just above where this photo was taken, but by walking down a few metres, I was able to set up my tripod in relatively calm conditions. The area is called Landmannalaugar (incorrectly spelt in my previous correspondence) and it is understandably a favourite area with landscape photographers. And the name of this lake is also incorrectly spelt in the caption above because when I use the special Icelandic characters, they display differently on Macs, PCs and goodness knows what else.

    But this isn't the memory.

    As I was enjoying taking my time to resolve the composition, Tony Hewitt walked past and said that my van had a flat tyre. We were on our Icelandic workshop last year with Antony Spencer and Christian Fletcher, and the four of us (the leaders) were driving transit vans occupied by incredibly patient and resilient photographers. But as we were in photographic heaven, all was good in the world.

    Until this flat tyre. Upon inspection, I realised I would have to do a wheel change. The spare was pumped up, which isn't always a given in a rental vehicle (but we had checked this at the beginning of the trip), so I slowly rolled the van down the hill, along a dirt road and off to the side. All the photographers bundled into the other three vans and disappeared, leaving me with my disabled mechanical chariot. Well, you know what I was thinking: why did it have to be my van that had the flat tyre?

    I found the necessary tools and jacked up the vehicle without getting too muddy. I even managed to get the wheel nuts off, but that was as far as I could go. The wheel was jammed on tightly by corrosion and nothing I could do would budge it.

    To his credit, Christian returned to give me a hand. I think he was feeling guilty for taking the best van and giving me the worst. Given CF's extensive experience in outback Australia, I was sure he would have the solution, but when he tried to open up the 4WD hub (thinking that was what was holding the wheel on), my heart sank. 

    Fortunately, a gentleman in an oversized 10WD Hummer (or something like that) came past and offered to help. Also perplexed, he suggested putting a rope around the wheel spokes and using his car to lever the wheel off. I was a little unsure at first, but with no real alternative, we tied the rope to his tow bar and gave it a go.

    Success! And thanks again to that kind gentleman.

    So, that's my memory and no doubt every time I look at this photo, I will think of flat tyres!

    The photograph is taken with a moderate telephoto lens. It's easy to be overwhelmed by such a magical landscape, so I find limiting the angle of view a good way to deal with it. And I used a 10X neutral density filter which has smoothed the water surface. I think this helps the photo because there is already so much fine texture and detail in the land that a smooth water surface creates a welcome balance. The colours are pretty true to what you will find there - amazing greenery and some really rich reds in the earth below. Iceland is an incredible destination and well worth a visit.

    And if you're interested in a photography workshop later this year, I have trips going to Karijini, Kununurra, the Daintree, Arnhemland, Whitsundays, New Zealand, Bhutan and, with a bit of luck, Patagonia and the Atacama Desert in Chile as well. Full details on the Better Photography website - but please book soon!

     

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Iceland Lake Lamm Lakes Mountains https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/2/worth-a-flat-tyre Mon, 01 Feb 2016 00:27:19 GMT
    Do I Owe Tony An Apology? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/1/do-i-owe-tony-an-apology Lamm Green Patch - IcelandLamm Green Patch - IcelandGreen Stuff, Landmannalaugur, Iceland. Phase One IQ180 on Alpa TC with 23mm Rodenstock Digaron. 1/4 second @ f11

    For my photo this week, I'd like to ease my conscience. Last year when I was on our Iceland workshop with Tony Hewitt, Christian Fletcher and Antony Spencer, we had a great bunch of 20 photographers putting up with us. And I think it's fair to say that as a group we all did remarkably well, although I'm sure from time to time there were little 'wrinkles' in the cosmos.

    This photo was taken on one of those wrinkles.

    We were driving through some pretty remote landscape, not far from Landmannalaugur or we might have actually been in it. Google this place and you will be amazed at the weird landscapes. We had stopped not long before and the four of us had agreed we really needed to get moving if we were to get to the next location.

    However, shortly after this, Tony and Christian pulled their cars over to take some photos and I ticked them off about it. How, I asked, were we going to get to our hero location if they kept on stopping their cars to take amazing landscape shots? I couldn't blame them. Antony just followed their lead (he never had any wrinkles), but I left with a carefully phrased comment that expressed my displeasure.

    My group and I took off in our car, intent on getting to the hero location, but a couple of hundred metres later, they all called out stop, stop, stop! The landscape had become even more interesting and I found it hard to ignore their pleas!

    We pulled over, tumbled out, grabbed our cameras and a few minutes later, the other three cars came along.

    "Oh, so we're in a hurry, are we", someone asked me, pointedly. The looks on Tony and Christian's faces said it all.

    So, gents, I apologise. But the photographers in my car were quite correct - it was a good place to stop for a photograph. What we liked most were the little yellow flowers in the middle of the green mossy stuff. Antony could probably give us the botanical names, but for me, it just looked amazing!

    As it's not possible to have sufficient depth-of-field from the foreground to the background in a shot like this (unless you're using a tilt shift lens), I focus stacked the image to keep both foreground and background sharp. This is a relatively easy subject for focus stacking.

    Green Stuff, Landmannalaugur, Iceland. 
    Phase One IQ180 on Alpa TC with 23mm Rodenstock Digaron.
    1/4 second @ f11

    For my photo this week, I'd like to ease my conscience. Last year when I was on our Iceland workshop with Tony Hewitt, Christian Fletcher and Antony Spencer, we had a great bunch of 20 photographers putting up with us. And I think it's fair to say that as a group we all did remarkably well, although I'm sure from time to time there were little 'wrinkles' in the cosmos.

    This photo was taken on one of those wrinkles.

    We were driving through some pretty remote landscape, not far from Landmannalaugur or we might have actually been in it. Google this place and you will be amazed at the weird landscapes. We had stopped not long before and the four of us had agreed we really needed to get moving if we were to get to the next location.

    However, shortly after this, Tony and Christian pulled their cars over to take some photos and I ticked them off about it. How, I asked, were we going to get to our hero location if they kept on stopping their cars to take amazing landscape shots? I couldn't blame them. Antony just followed their lead (he never had any wrinkles), but I left with a carefully phrased comment that expressed my displeasure.

    My group and I took off in our car, intent on getting to the hero location, but a couple of hundred metres later, they all called out stop, stop, stop! The landscape had become even more interesting and I found it hard to ignore their pleas!

    We pulled over, tumbled out, grabbed our cameras and a few minutes later, the other three cars came along.

    "Oh, so we're in a hurry, are we", someone asked me, pointedly. The looks on Tony and Christian's faces said it all.

    So, gents, I apologise. But the photographers in my car were quite correct - it was a good place to stop for a photograph. What we liked most were the little yellow flowers in the middle of the green mossy stuff. Antony could probably give us the botanical names, but for me, it just looked amazing!

    As it's not possible to have sufficient depth-of-field from the foreground to the background in a shot like this (unless you're using a tilt shift lens), I focus stacked the image to keep both foreground and background sharp. This is a relatively easy subject for focus stacking.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2016/1/do-i-owe-tony-an-apology Fri, 08 Jan 2016 23:00:00 GMT
    Is This Photograph Worth A Silver Award? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/12/is-this-photograph-worth-a-silver-award Bhutan Getting ReadyBhutan Getting ReadyFestival time at Gangte Goemba, Bhutan f5.6 @ 1/100 second, ISO 2000, 14-24mm zoom @ 14mm.

    I'm not 100% sure about this photograph. There are aspects that I really love, but also one or two points that bother me - but they bother me more as a photography judge, not as someone viewing the photo, so should this really matter?

    The photograph is taken in Bhutan during a festival. Everything and everyone is frantic during festival time and so guests get great access to locations that are generally closed. This is a back room where the ceremonial dancers were getting ready before their performance and it was a hive of activity. As I understand it, the male dancers are all monks who live at the dzong (a combination monastery and fortress). And usually they are the younger monks (like the gentleman in yellow) and so the older ones, having served their time, move into administrative roles - you can see them walking around in their standard red robes. The women are from the surrounding villages and their clothing is absolutely immaculate.

    I love the colour and the soft light. A large, bright yellow curtain was hung over the outside doors, filtering the light and creating the moody atmosphere. The column in the middle can be read many different ways - men vs women, religious vs secular - but really it was just a way to give the image some structure. So what is it I don't like?

    The monk walking towards us, on the left of the column, has an oddly distant look on his face. He's also in between postures and just doesn't sit (stand) quite right. I took lots of photographs while I was there, but this was the closest I came to an image that was correctly balanced in terms of standing positions, so I had to put up with the awkwardness of the monk - if there is one. It could just be me. Other people don't have trouble with the monk - certainly the Canon AIPP APPA judges put up with it and gave the print a Silver Award.

    The second issue is the bright area on the left of the image, behind the bell. As this was entered into the travel category, I am not allowed to 'significantly alter' what was really there, and so all I could do was darken down the image. It looks a little cooked to me. However, this is a bright highlight from sunshine and the file has no detail in this area at all. If I use the image in a different context, I will copy and paste some wall texture from inside the room and hide the deficiency properly.

    David Oliver and I are leading a small group of photographers to Bhutan in November 2016. We have four places left. I've prepared a small brochure outlining the photo tour and you can read all about it here.

    Festival time at Gangte Goemba, Bhutan
    f5.6 @ 1/100 second, ISO 2000, 14-24mm zoom @ 14mm.

    I'm not 100% sure about this photograph. There are aspects that I really love, but also one or two points that bother me - but they bother me more as a photography judge, not as someone viewing the photo, so should this really matter?

    The photograph is taken in Bhutan during a festival. Everything and everyone is frantic during festival time and so guests get great access to locations that are generally closed. This is a back room where the ceremonial dancers were getting ready before their performance and it was a hive of activity. As I understand it, the male dancers are all monks who live at the dzong (a combination monastery and fortress). And usually they are the younger monks (like the gentleman in yellow) and so the older ones, having served their time, move into administrative roles - you can see them walking around in their standard red robes. The women are from the surrounding villages and their clothing is absolutely immaculate.

    I love the colour and the soft light. A large, bright yellow curtain was hung over the outside doors, filtering the light and creating the moody atmosphere. The column in the middle can be read many different ways - men vs women, religious vs secular - but really it was just a way to give the image some structure. So what is it I don't like?

    The monk walking towards us, on the left of the column, has an oddly distant look on his face. He's also in between postures and just doesn't sit (stand) quite right. I took lots of photographs while I was there, but this was the closest I came to an image that was correctly balanced in terms of standing positions, so I had to put up with the awkwardness of the monk - if there is one. It could just be me. Other people don't have trouble with the monk - certainly the Canon AIPP APPA judges put up with it and gave the print a Silver Award.

    The second issue is the bright area on the left of the image, behind the bell. As this was entered into the travel category, I am not allowed to 'significantly alter' what was really there, and so all I could do was darken down the image. It looks a little cooked to me. However, this is a bright highlight from sunshine and the file has no detail in this area at all. If I use the image in a different context, I will copy and paste some wall texture from inside the room and hide the deficiency properly.

    David Oliver and I are leading a small group of photographers to Bhutan in November 2016. We have four places left. I've prepared a small brochure outlining the photo tour and you can read all about it here.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bhutan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/12/is-this-photograph-worth-a-silver-award Sun, 13 Dec 2015 22:53:00 GMT
    Darkening Down For Impact https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/12/darkening-down-for-impact

    Las Torres - the towers of Torres del Paine in Patagonia. 
    Alpa TC, Phase One IQ180, 23mm Rodenstock Digaron, 30 seconds @ f5.6

    One of the easiest ways to add drama to a photograph is to darken it. Easy enough to say, easy enough to do, but there will be a few little bits and pieces you need to tweak. For instance, you don't necessarily want to darken down the entire photograph, just the overall image. There may be areas you need to keep light and bright, such as the three towers up above.

    Technically, it's important to do this darkening in post-production, not in the camera. You may have heard about the 'expose to the right' theory, which states that to maximise image quality, you should push your histogram (your exposure) as far to the right (more exposure) as you can, without clipping the file (over exposing the highlights). This exposure will give you the maximum amount of quality, but it might not look like what you had in mind. 

    Check out the original exposure below:

    Technically, everything is in the right place, but emotionally, it's not what I had in mind. The camera's auto white balance has removed the warmth of the light and there's too much detail in the shadows. And it looks flat and insipid. In a word, it is too light. 

    By darkening down the image, I think I've managed to incorporate a little more emotion.

    So, why didn't I just do this in camera, by underexposing the image? Underexposure means the resulting file has fewer levels or steps of tonality, especially in the shadows. If I were to lighten up these shadows, the image quality would fall apart because there aren't sufficient 'tonal steps' to produce good mid-tones or highlights. If you don't change the exposure, it might not be a big problem, but if you want to lighten up some shadow areas for effect, or add in some contrast, then the lack of tonal steps can create noise and posterisation in the image. I realise this is a non-technical explanation, but the take-away is that you're better off exposing in the camera using your histogram, and interpreting the image later on in Lightroom, Photoshop or Capture One.

    If you're interested in joining me in August 2016 on a trip to Patagonia and the Atacama Desert, you can read all about it here.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Las Torres Patagonia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/12/darkening-down-for-impact Tue, 08 Dec 2015 04:51:00 GMT
    Iceland In New Zealand? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/11/iceland-in-new-zealand

    Photographed on Middlehurst Station, New Zealand. 
    Phase One XF, IQ180 back, f11 @ 1/60 second, ISO 35

    When Tony Hewitt and I returned from the north end of the South Island of New Zealand earlier this year, we really felt we'd discovered a gem of a location. It's Middlehurst Station up in the NZ High Country and there are parts of it that really reminded us of Iceland.

    Okay, so it's not Iceland exactly in that it doesn't have giant waterfalls and huge glaciers, but the mountains have that Icelandic ruggedness about them, that feeling you've been dropped into a Tolkien landscape. It's exactly that 'feeling' I've tried to embed in the landscape image up above.

    At the end of Autumn, although the trees have lost their leaves, the branches retain strong colour and so what you see in the photo is quite close to reality, as long as you drop the exposure. Adding to the drama are the black rocks behind the trees which lift the colours even more. This is one of my favourite shots from our trip this year and while I know Tony isn't quite as enamoured with it, I think this will be a keeper for me.

    But does it work as well without the figure? Have a look below. 

    Over the years, I've added figures into a variety of landscapes, from Venice to Patagonia, Turkey to Papua New Guinea. I think it creates a question, gives viewers another reason to look at the photograph, to ponder its meaning. If any!

    Middlehurst Station is huge and access is restricted, but we have two workshops going there next year. You can check them out on the Better Photography website - Adventures in New Zealand and Middlehurst Art Photography Workshop

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/11/iceland-in-new-zealand Mon, 30 Nov 2015 04:44:00 GMT
    Simplify, Simplify, Simplify https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/11/simplify-simplify-simplify KeflavicKeflavicKeflavic in Iceland is near the international airport and sometimes it's easier to stay in one if its hotels, rather than driving another 45 minutes into Reykjavic, the capital. Christian Fletcher, Tony Hewitt and I arrived the day before our workshop to pick up the vans - Antony Spencer would arrive later that night.

    So, Tony and I found ourselves with an hour of free time and couldn't help but wander around the town. If you're Icelandic, there's probably not much to look at, just a small town like many others. But for me, I loved the different architecture, how neat and trimmed everything was, and the sense of space that's missing in larger towns and cities.

    What attracted me to this scene was the curve of the roads contrasting with the right-angles of the buildings, combined with a strong splash of fire-truck red right in the middle.

    Below is the original file before post-production in Photoshop, but after raw file processing in Capture One.

    You can see it was a dreary afternoon and the light was very flat. I used a 10X ND filter to give me a 30 second exposure, blurring the clouds. I ummed and ahhed about the camera placement for 10 minutes and this was, to my eye, the best compromise.

    To Read Full Blog and view original images - click the following:
    http://www.betterphotography.com/index.php/peter-eastways-blogs-sp-19033/peter-eastways-blog/1000-simplify-simplify-simplify

    Keflavic in Iceland is near the international airport and sometimes it's easier to stay in one if its hotels, rather than driving another 45 minutes into Reykjavic, the capital. Christian Fletcher, Tony Hewitt and I arrived the day before our workshop to pick up the vans - Antony Spencer would arrive later that night.

    So, Tony and I found ourselves with an hour of free time and couldn't help but wander around the town. If you're Icelandic, there's probably not much to look at, just a small town like many others. But for me, I loved the different architecture, how neat and trimmed everything was, and the sense of space that's missing in larger towns and cities.

    What attracted me to this scene was the curve of the roads contrasting with the right-angles of the buildings, combined with a strong splash of fire-truck red right in the middle.

    Below is the original file before post-production in Photoshop, but after raw file processing in Capture One.

    You can see it was a dreary afternoon and the light was very flat. I used a 10X ND filter to give me a 30 second exposure, blurring the clouds. I ummed and ahhed about the camera placement for 10 minutes and this was, to my eye, the best compromise.

    The main post-production steps were to lift the contrast and brightness values, so the image was more lively. I also darkened down the foreground and the sky so the eye naturally moved to the centre of the frame where my main subject sits.

    Even so, there were a few distractions in the background and in front of the building - you can see these below. When you refer back to the image at the top, you'll see that I have taken out some of the street lights and a couple of signs to simplify the image down. Some might prefer the complexity of the different lights and signs, but personally, I think the image has a more surreal feeling to it without them.

    And the more you can simplify an image, the more likely it is to attract a viewer's attention. 

    If you're interested in my approach to landscape photography in more detail, I have a MasterClass available on the website, along with some free sample lessons. Take a look here!

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Iceland Lake Lamm Lakes Mountains https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/11/simplify-simplify-simplify Wed, 11 Nov 2015 00:57:00 GMT
    Do You Fix Sloping Horizons? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/11/do-you-fix-sloping-horizons Geita River, IcelandGeita River, IcelandDo You Fix Sloping Horizons?

    The Geita River, Iceland. Alpa TC, Phase One IQ180, 23mm Digaron lens.

    We found this location literally by the side of the road. It's not very big - maybe three metres from one side of the cutting to the other, reducing to as little as one metre up the top where you could almost jump to the other side.

    The glacial water is running forcefully through an old lava field and it's a most remarkable landscape, but then again, you only have to drive for five minutes to find remarkable landscapes in Iceland! The challenge in this photograph was in making the horizon look level when the lava field itself is sloping downwards.

    READ MORE AND SEE THE NEXT PHOTO - click link below: http://www.betterphotography.com/index.php/peter-eastways-blogs-sp-19033/peter-eastways-blog/998-do-you-fix-sloping-horizons

    The Geita River, Iceland. Alpa TC, Phase One IQ180, 23mm Digaron lens.

    We found this location literally by the side of the road. It's not very big - maybe three metres from one side of the cutting to the other, reducing to as little as one metre up the top where you could almost jump to the other side.

    The glacial water is running forcefully through an old lava field and it's a most remarkable landscape, but then again, you only have to drive for five minutes to find remarkable landscapes in Iceland! The challenge in this photograph was in making the horizon look level when the lava field itself is sloping downwards. See the next photo:

    The Geita River, Iceland. Alpa TC, Phase One IQ180, 23mm Digaron lens.

    There's not much difference between the two photographs and maybe the difference isn't important to you at all! However, in the second photo (bottom) with the lighter background, I found the darker lava field indicated that the horizon was not level. When you look more closely, it definitely is level as shown by the landscape behind the lava field (the orange grasses leading up to the mountains in the background). 

    However, our viewers are not as analytical as we are. They (I believe) would just look at the photo and think, 'Interesting river, wonder why the horizon isn't level', and probably move on! They might not spend the time to resolve the technical issues. And fair enough because that's our job.

    In the top image, I have darkened down the background mountain range so the horizontal line between it and the orange grasses is stronger. It's a small, subtle change, one that I think is important.

    There is a big difference in tonality between the foreground (in shade) and the background (bright sunshine), so I took several images at different exposures and then merged them together in Photoshop using layers.

    To learn all about Photoshop and layers, including layers with Lightroom and Capture One, see our inexpensive eBooks: click here.

     

     

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) GeitaRiver Iceland https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/11/do-you-fix-sloping-horizons Mon, 02 Nov 2015 00:57:00 GMT
    Who Needs A Hair Cut? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/10/who-needs-a-hair-cut Icelandic Horse 1Icelandic Horse 1In need of a haircut. Icelandic Horse. Canon EOS 5DSR, 300mm, f2.8 @ 1/500 second, ISO 100.

    Icelandic horses are really only the size of a pony, but I'm told they are horses, despite their diminutive stature. Mind you, I know just as much about horses as I do about haircuts. My hairdresser doesn't charge me for a trim, but there is a hefty search fee instead.

    On my recent trip to Iceland, we saw many great horses by the side of the road, but the trick was in finding a location that was interesting. A normal looking field was not what we wanted, nor did we want them standing next to a fence. Rather we wanted a location which included the grandeur of the landscape behind - and there's plenty of that in Iceland. All we needed was patience.

    It didn't take too long once we set our minds to it. When our shoot began, the horses were relatively distant and so I pulled out my 300mm lens, but horses are inquisitive and it didn't take them too long to trot over and inspect a surrounding throng of photographers. My landscape lens became a close-up lens.

    What I found appealing with this specimen is his (or her) mane and the way it neatly curves around the head. Think of a human head and how a shawl or a cape can frame a face to give it more impact. So the head is in a frame within the photo frame, so to speak. It seems to work with horses as well!

    What I'd like is to be able to see the eye more clearly. It is in there on the full size file, but it's very hard to see. On the other hand, the fact that there is no eye is growing on me - is it really necessary?

    In need of a haircut. Icelandic Horse.
    Canon EOS 5DSR, 300mm, f2.8 @ 1/500 second, ISO 100.

    Icelandic horses are really only the size of a pony, but I'm told they are horses, despite their diminutive stature. Mind you, I know just as much about horses as I do about haircuts. My hairdresser doesn't charge me for a trim, but there is a hefty search fee instead.

    On my recent trip to Iceland, we saw many great horses by the side of the road, but the trick was in finding a location that was interesting. A normal looking field was not what we wanted, nor did we want them standing next to a fence. Rather we wanted a location which included the grandeur of the landscape behind - and there's plenty of that in Iceland. All we needed was patience.

    It didn't take too long once we set our minds to it. When our shoot began, the horses were relatively distant and so I pulled out my 300mm lens, but horses are inquisitive and it didn't take them too long to trot over and inspect a surrounding throng of photographers. My landscape lens became a close-up lens.

    What I found appealing with this specimen is his (or her) mane and the way it neatly curves around the head. Think of a human head and how a shawl or a cape can frame a face to give it more impact. So the head is in a frame within the photo frame, so to speak. It seems to work with horses as well!

    What I'd like is to be able to see the eye more clearly. It is in there on the full size file, but it's very hard to see. On the other hand, the fact that there is no eye is growing on me - is it really necessary?

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Horse Iceland https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/10/who-needs-a-hair-cut Wed, 28 Oct 2015 00:57:00 GMT
    Is This Really Fair, Mr Adobe? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/10/is-this-really-fair-mr-adobe Anna Bay DunesAnna Bay Dunes

    Lovingly post-produced using Photoshop. See the 'before' image down below.

    I love Photoshop and Lightroom. They are excellent programs and do wonders. I have even come to accept that software developers had to change to a subscription model or they would be out of business - and if they are out of business, where would that leave us when we needed their support or something new?

    So, for $9.99 a month (in Australia, in Australian dollars), I can get great access to great software (Photoshop and Lightroom). It's a very reasonable price, so what am I complaining about?

    Gripe 1. I wasn't being charged $9.99 a month. My credit card statement showed $10.28 a month. If you look at the Adobe website, it clearly says $9.99 in Australian currency. So why the difference?

    Look a little closer on the Australian website and it says there is no GST in the transaction. This indicates that I am purchasing the software offshore (Ireland I believe). So, not only is no GST being collected in Australia, my credit card provider is adding on 29 cents because it is an international transaction. It's a small thing, I know. I have called Adobe a couple of times and on one occasion they denied it, on another they said it was tax. On neither occasion was their chat service correct.

    I received an email on 11 October saying my subscription would expire on 12 October. As I have a second subscription to the Adobe suite (for Indesign, Dreamweaver etc), I no longer need this Photoshop subscription, so I decided to cancel it.

    Gripe 2: It was difficult to cancel. I couldn't just log into my Adobe account and tick a box. In fact, it was a challenge for me to work out exactly how to cancel at all! Easy to subscribe, hard to leave. I discovered that I have to use the telephone or a chat service - in all I spent 20 minutes closing my subscription.

    Gripe 3: All this happened on 12 October and then on 13 October, I have been charged a futher $10.28 for the subscription!

    So, gentle reader - no GST, extra bank fees, difficult to leave and overcharged - what do I do?

    I

    This is the file processed out of Capture One before moving into Photoshop. Most of the heavy lifting has already been done, but to fitness the mask for the water, I find Photoshop the easiest to master.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/10/is-this-really-fair-mr-adobe Mon, 19 Oct 2015 22:47:00 GMT
    Atacama Back Light, Chile https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/10/atacama-back-light-chile Atacama CactiiAtacama CactiiSpiky sentinels in the Atacama Desert, Chile. Phase One 645DF, IQ180 back, 240mm Schneider lens. One of my favourite types of light is backlighting. In the old days when Kodak first brought out its cameras, the instructions would recommend putting the sun over your shoulder when taking a photograph. This meant you had relatively boring front lighting, but it did stop a lot of problems. Backlighting creates silhouettes, but with post-production you can usually include a bit of detail in the shadows and if you're lucky, you might score some 'rim lighting' like that on the cactii above.

    Backlighting means you're shooting into the light - generally the sun for landscapes. The challenge is in keeping your image free of lens flare (although sometimes these days, photographers are asked to include flare because it is 'arty'!)

    However, assuming you're old, cranky and boring like me, or that you just don't want lens flare lowering the contrast of your image and reducing clarity, you need to shade the front of your lens from the sun.

    A lens shade is a good help, but when the angle of the light is this close to the lens axis, I find I need to put my camera on a tripod, set it on self-timer and walk around to the front where I shade the front of the lens with my hand or a cap. I can see from my shadow exactly when the lens is in shade.

    Make sure you check the photo immediately after just in case your hand or cap was included in the composition - that is generally even worse than lens flare!

    As mentioned previously, I'm leading an exclusive trip to the Atacama Desert and Patagonia in August next year. If you're interested, check out my brochure by the link below. I'd love to have you along!

    http://issuu.com/workingpro/docs/patagoniaatacama/1?e=0%2F15129056

    Spiky sentinels in the Atacama Desert, Chile.

    Phase One 645DF, IQ180 back, 240mm Schneider lens. One of my favourite types of light is backlighting. In the old days when Kodak first brought out its cameras, the instructions would recommend putting the sun over your shoulder when taking a photograph. This meant you had relatively boring front lighting, but it did stop a lot of problems.

    Backlighting creates silhouettes, but with post-production you can usually include a bit of detail in the shadows and if you're lucky, you might score some 'rim lighting' like that on the cactii above.

    Backlighting means you're shooting into the light - generally the sun for landscapes. The challenge is in keeping your image free of lens flare (although sometimes these days, photographers are asked to include flare because it is 'arty'!)

    However, assuming you're old, cranky and boring like me, or that you just don't want lens flare lowering the contrast of your image and reducing clarity, you need to shade the front of your lens from the sun.

    A lens shade is a good help, but when the angle of the light is this close to the lens axis, I find I need to put my camera on a tripod, set it on self-timer and walk around to the front where I shade the front of the lens with my hand or a cap. I can see from my shadow exactly when the lens is in shade.

    Make sure you check the photo immediately after just in case your hand or cap was included in the composition - that is generally even worse than lens flare!

    As mentioned previously, I'm leading an exclusive trip to the Atacama Desert and Patagonia in August next year. If you're interested, check out my brochure by the link below. I'd love to have you along!

    http://issuu.com/workingpro/docs/patagoniaatacama/1?e=0%2F15129056

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Atacama Cactii Chile https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/10/atacama-back-light-chile Mon, 19 Oct 2015 01:20:02 GMT
    Atacama Desert, Chile https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/10/atacama-desert-chile Atacama DesertAtacama DesertAbove San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. Phase One 645DF, IQ180 back, 55mm Schneider lens, and lots of sand.

    Qantas flyers may think they have seen this photograph before and they'd be correct. It featured in a photo essay on Chile late last year for the inflight magazine. It is also one of the images I've been using as I prepare for a presentation next weekend on designing and printing photo books (it's on at the Digital Show courtesy of Momento - details in the banner above).

    Where do ideas like this location come from? Answer: other travel photographers.
    Is it okay to copy other photographers' locations? I mean, I ranted about plagiarism a few weeks ago, what's the difference here?

    Plagiarism is when you copy the work of one photographer, inspiration is when you copy one hundred other photographers! Taking the idea of this location and then heading out to investigate it yourself is not plagiarism. In fact, when you're working professionally, I'd call it essential research.

    I was staying at the Explora Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama and somewhere in their brochures I saw a photo taken looking out over this vista, with the Licancabur volcano in the distance.

    It's also a popular vantage point for the horse riders (the hotel has its own stables), so when I mentioned the location to the guides at the hotel, getting me there wasn't a problem.

    The biggest challenge on this particular afternoon was sand. Those beautiful foreground dunes didn't appear overnight, they are the result of hundreds, if not thousands of years of erosion, with the light sand from the plateau up above and behind me gradually accumulating into these massive sand dunes. Keeping the sand out of my cameras was challenging on a particularly windy afternoon.

    Also challenging was the contrasty light. Perhaps a better time to shoot this location would be after sunset with just the skylight illuminating the landscape. I was kind of hoping this was going to happen, but cloud along the western horizon didn't permit the sky to light up as required. Still, I'm not complaining about the shot I have taken.

    And there's always next time. In fact, I'm leading an exclusive trip there in August next year. If you're interested, check out my brochure by clicking here.

    Above San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. Phase One 645DF, IQ180 back, 55mm Schneider lens, and lots of sand.

    Qantas flyers may think they have seen this photograph before and they'd be correct. It featured in a photo essay on Chile late last year for the inflight magazine. It is also one of the images I've been using as I prepare for a presentation next weekend on designing and printing photo books (it's on at the Digital Show courtesy of Momento - details in the banner above).

    Where do ideas like this location come from? Answer: other travel photographers.

    Is it okay to copy other photographers' locations? I mean, I ranted about plagiarism a few weeks ago, what's the difference here?

    Plagiarism is when you copy the work of one photographer, inspiration is when you copy one hundred other photographers! Taking the idea of this location and then heading out to investigate it yourself is not plagiarism. In fact, when you're working professionally, I'd call it essential research.

    I was staying at the Explora Hotel in San Pedro de Atacama and somewhere in their brochures I saw a photo taken looking out over this vista, with the Licancabur volcano in the distance.

    It's also a popular vantage point for the horse riders (the hotel has its own stables), so when I mentioned the location to the guides at the hotel, getting me there wasn't a problem.

    The biggest challenge on this particular afternoon was sand. Those beautiful foreground dunes didn't appear overnight, they are the result of hundreds, if not thousands of years of erosion, with the light sand from the plateau up above and behind me gradually accumulating into these massive sand dunes. Keeping the sand out of my cameras was challenging on a particularly windy afternoon.

    Also challenging was the contrasty light. Perhaps a better time to shoot this location would be after sunset with just the skylight illuminating the landscape. I was kind of hoping this was going to happen, but cloud along the western horizon didn't permit the sky to light up as required. Still, I'm not complaining about the shot I have taken.

    And there's always next time. In fact, I'm leading an exclusive trip there in August next year. If you're interested, check out my brochure by clicking here.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Atacama Desert Chile https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/10/atacama-desert-chile Sun, 11 Oct 2015 13:45:00 GMT
    Mountain Goat In Iceland https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/10/mountain-goat-in-iceland Vik StacksVik StacksVik, Iceland. 30 second exposure.

    Every photography trip and workshop is an adventure. I've just returned from Iceland where Christian Fletcher, Tony Hewitt, Antony Spencer and I were entrusted with the lives of 20 stalwart photographers.

    Yes, I'm giving these photographers a lot of credit because for nearly two weeks, they put up with Christian's poor jokes and Tony's equally poor apologies. Fortunately, Antony had so many amazing photos on his iPhone, of locations we were going to visit in the next day or two, that he was able to keep the peace - and interest!
    We all put a lot of trust in Antony who has visited Iceland over 30 times, but half way up the side of a hill, I was having second thoughts.

    One of the things you know about Iceland is that it has amazing weather. Of course, that amazing weather is sometimes horizontal rain, hail and snow, which in turn can affect the roadworthiness of access tracks to great photographs.

    Antony mentioned an amazing view over the sea stacks at Vik on the Icelandic south coast. We could see the stacks from the hotel, as well as the road leading up to them. It didn't look too hard and our vans were 4WD or AWD.

    I was last in a procession of four. Tony was in front of me, an expert 4WD driver (his dad was a 4WD instructor), but when he struggled to make it over some deep rutts on the last section of a particularly steep hill, I was a little worried. So, it appeared, was Tony, because he got out of the vehicle to check things out and it took him three goes to get through.

    Now, I'm a city slicker, but in the back of my car I had a couple of travellers with lots of 4WD experience. "Just gun it, Pete. Keep moving and you'll be fine."

    At the top of the hill, my legs were shaking, but my advisers were correct and we had arrived at the top without incident. And we had this amazing view of the Vik sea stacks below us!

    One of the reasons I turned this into a black and white was because, after recent rains, the water below had a range of different colourations from mud and run-off, and so the easiest solution was not to deal with colour at all!

    If you're interested in coming on an amazing photographic workshop where I promise not to drive a 4WD van, click here for some 2016 tours - Atacama and Patagonia, Bhutan (nearly sold out), Arnhemland, Karijini and New Zealand.

    Vik, Iceland. 30 second exposure.

    Every photography trip and workshop is an adventure. I've just returned from Iceland where Christian Fletcher, Tony Hewitt, Antony Spencer and I were entrusted with the lives of 20 stalwart photographers.

    Yes, I'm giving these photographers a lot of credit because for nearly two weeks, they put up with Christian's poor jokes and Tony's equally poor apologies. Fortunately, Antony had so many amazing photos on his iPhone, of locations we were going to visit in the next day or two, that he was able to keep the peace - and interest!

    We all put a lot of trust in Antony who has visited Iceland over 30 times, but half way up the side of a hill, I was having second thoughts.

    One of the things you know about Iceland is that it has amazing weather. Of course, that amazing weather is sometimes horizontal rain, hail and snow, which in turn can affect the roadworthiness of access tracks to great photographs.

    Antony mentioned an amazing view over the sea stacks at Vik on the Icelandic south coast. We could see the stacks from the hotel, as well as the road leading up to them. It didn't look too hard and our vans were 4WD or AWD.

    I was last in a procession of four. Tony was in front of me, an expert 4WD driver (his dad was a 4WD instructor), but when he struggled to make it over some deep rutts on the last section of a particularly steep hill, I was a little worried. So, it appeared, was Tony, because he got out of the vehicle to check things out and it took him three goes to get through.

    Now, I'm a city slicker, but in the back of my car I had a couple of travellers with lots of 4WD experience. "Just gun it, Pete. Keep moving and you'll be fine."

    At the top of the hill, my legs were shaking, but my advisers were correct and we had arrived at the top without incident. And we had this amazing view of the Vik sea stacks below us!

    One of the reasons I turned this into a black and white was because, after recent rains, the water below had a range of different colourations from mud and run-off, and so the easiest solution was not to deal with colour at all!

    If you're interested in coming on an amazing photographic workshop where I promise not to drive a 4WD van, clickhere for some 2016 tours - Atacama and Patagonia, Bhutan (nearly sold out), Arnhemland, Karijini and New Zealand.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Iceland Vik https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/10/mountain-goat-in-iceland Tue, 06 Oct 2015 13:27:00 GMT
    Plagiarism - What's The Difference? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/9/plagiarism---whats-the-difference Boy Monk Big WheelBoy Monk Big WheelJakar Dzong, Bhutan. The huge prayer wheel and the small monk were blurred with a long exposure. I'm sure I'm not the first photographer to have used a long exposure for this subject, but as long as I am not copying someone else's photograph, I have nothing to fear! David Oliver and I are leading a group to Bhutan next year - only a few places left, so get in touch if you're interested.

    In the AIPP's The Working Pro newsletter this month, I wrote a piece about plagiarism - the direct copying of someone else's work. In the old days of painting, it was usual for a student to directly copy the work of his master as a process of learning. For photographers today, that process is still highly recommended, except if you do copy someone else's photograph, don't enter it into a competition or post it on social media as though it were your own.

    The problem isn't in the copying, it is in misrepresenting the photograph as being your own work.

    So, what about subjects that have been photographed before? We've all seen photographs of the Sydney Opera House, so does that mean when we take our own photos of the Opera House we are plagiarists? Of course not - unless we take along someone else's photograph of the Opera House and seek to copy it directly.

    If plagiarism were based on subject matter, portrait photographers would be in trouble because we all take photos of people! It's not the subject matter as much as the way or the manner in which the photo is taken. If you apply your own individual style and approach, that should usually be enough to distinguish yourself.

    On social media recently, there have been a few examples of photographers exhibiting images that are incredibly similar to the work of other photographers. What these photographers might not always recognise is the amount of discussion about the similarity that happens elsewhere. It doesn't paint them in a good light. This isn't to say that just because a photograph is very similar to someone else's that it was copied. It could be coincidence and so we should also be careful not to accuse someone of plagiarism before we know all the facts.

    It's an interesting subject and one that has many interesting facets and turns!
    Jakar Dzong, Bhutan. The huge prayer wheel and the small monk were blurred with a long exposure. I'm sure I'm not the first photographer to have used a long exposure for this subject, but as long as I am not copying someone else's photograph, I have nothing to fear! David Oliver and I are leading a group to Bhutan next year - only a few places left, so get in touch if you're interested.

    In the AIPP's The Working Pro newsletter this month, I wrote a piece about plagiarism - the direct copying of someone else's work. In the old days of painting, it was usual for a student to directly copy the work of his master as a process of learning. For photographers today, that process is still highly recommended, except if you do copy someone else's photograph, don't enter it into a competition or post it on social media as though it were your own.

    The problem isn't in the copying, it is in misrepresenting the photograph as being your own work.

    So, what about subjects that have been photographed before? We've all seen photographs of the Sydney Opera House, so does that mean when we take our own photos of the Opera House we are plagiarists? Of course not - unless we take along someone else's photograph of the Opera House and seek to copy it directly.

    If plagiarism were based on subject matter, portrait photographers would be in trouble because we all take photos of people! It's not the subject matter as much as the way or the manner in which the photo is taken. If you apply your own individual style and approach, that should usually be enough to distinguish yourself.

    On social media recently, there have been a few examples of photographers exhibiting images that are incredibly similar to the work of other photographers. What these photographers might not always recognise is the amount of discussion about the similarity that happens elsewhere. It doesn't paint them in a good light. This isn't to say that just because a photograph is very similar to someone else's that it was copied. It could be coincidence and so we should also be careful not to accuse someone of plagiarism before we know all the facts.

    It's an interesting subject and one that has many interesting facets and turns!

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bhutan Jakar Dzong Monk https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/9/plagiarism---whats-the-difference Mon, 21 Sep 2015 04:35:13 GMT
    Spot Your Competition Entries https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/9/spot-your-competition-entries Torres CloudTorres CloudClouds over Torres del Paine from Explora Hotel, Patagonia. There's a workshop going there in August 2016!

    I was thinking of entering this image into the Canon AIPP APP Awards this year. It's taken on the Chilean side of Patagonia at Torres del Paine where some of the most remarkable cloud patterns happen. This shot is taken from in front of the Explora Hotel before breakfast. Even though I'm a photography judge, as a competition entrant I still have no idea what to enter when it comes to my own work. Well, that's not completely true. I know what won't work and while this image would (I hope) receive at least a Silver Award (one never really knows because we're usually too close to our own work), I don't think it makes it into the Gold category. It might sound a bit arrogant to say I'm looking for Gold awards, but I believe we should at least aim high. Win or lose, it's the process of getting my four entries ready for APPA each year that is so valuable.

    The process of selecting the images and then editing them for presentation to the judges is really where the benefit happens. I'm lucky because I've 50 or so images to choose from (I had a very productive 12 months), but a lot have been shown or used before. This year, I'm entering images that have never been seen before so they are fresh when the judges first see them. Sometimes judges don't seem to score as highly when they have seen an image before because the initial 'impact' isn't the same.

    Three little comments from this photo:

    1. Always spot your entries because one thing that all judges score harshly are sensor spots. Even if it just looks like a sensor spot, remove it! (And I had a lot of spots on this photo!!!)

    2. There's a little over a week to enter the Better Photography Photograph of the Year competition, with a first prize of $5000 cash and six great category prizes with products from Wacom, Momento, Datacolor and Canson. It's only open to enthusiasts. Give it a go now!

    3. And finally, if you're interested in coming with me next year to Patagonia and the Atacama Desert, I still have some places left. Take a look at the brochure I've produced (click here) and send me an email if you're interested!

    The Better Photography Magazine Photograph of the Year competition closes 15 September 2015. You can enter the competition and also see the top 50 winners from each of the 6 categories in our previous competitions on our dedicated competition website - competition.betterphotography.com.

    Clouds over Torres del Paine from Explora Hotel, Patagonia.
    There's a workshop going there in August 2016!

    I was thinking of entering this image into the Canon AIPP APP Awards this year. It's taken on the Chilean side of Patagonia at Torres del Paine where some of the most remarkable cloud patterns happen. This shot is taken from in front of the Explora Hotel before breakfast.

    Even though I'm a photography judge, as a competition entrant I still have no idea what to enter when it comes to my own work. Well, that's not completely true. I know what won't work and while this image would (I hope) receive at least a Silver Award (one never really knows because we're usually too close to our own work), I don't think it makes it into the Gold category. It might sound a bit arrogant to say I'm looking for Gold awards, but I believe we should at least aim high. Win or lose, it's the process of getting my four entries ready for APPA each year that is so valuable.

    The process of selecting the images and then editing them for presentation to the judges is really where the benefit happens. I'm lucky because I've 50 or so images to choose from (I had a very productive 12 months), but a lot have been shown or used before.

    This year, I'm entering images that have never been seen before so they are fresh when the judges first see them. Sometimes judges don't seem to score as highly when they have seen an image before because the initial 'impact' isn't the same.

    Three little comments from this photo:

    1. Always spot your entries because one thing that all judges score harshly are sensor spots. Even if it just looks like a sensor spot, remove it! (And I had a lot of spots on this photo!!!)

    2. There's a little over a week to enter the Better Photography Photograph of the Year competition, with a first prize of $5000 cash and six great category prizes with products from Wacom, Momento, Datacolor and Canson. It's only open to enthusiasts. Give it a go now!

    3. And finally, if you're interested in coming with me next year to Patagonia and the Atacama Desert, I still have some places left. Take a look at the brochure I've produced (click here) and send me an email if you're interested!

    The Better Photography Magazine Photograph of the Year competition closes 15 September 2015. You can enter the competition and also see the top 50 winners from each of the 6 categories in our previous competitions on our dedicated competition website - competition.betterphotography.com.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Clouds Patagonia Torres Del Paine https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/9/spot-your-competition-entries Fri, 11 Sep 2015 03:46:42 GMT
    On The Road To Ballarat https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/9/junee-new-south-wales Junee, New South WalesJunee, New South WalesSilo near Junee, New South Wales.

    Shot with Canon EOS 5DSR and 11-24mm, 30 seconds at f4, ISO 5000.

    There's nothing like a road trip to recharge your batteries. I was invited down to the Ballarat International Foto Biennale to assist on the Portfolio Review panel and give a presentation on landscape photography, so I drove the 1200 odd kilometres from Sydney. And back.

    As a city slicker, I love getting out into the country. It's different. And I love the old buildings. Yes, they are cliche, but that doesn't stop me photographing them and my current passion is for grain silos. I love how they punctuate the landscape and each has its own character. Perhaps the beginning of a series...

    So, how do you take night shots? To get great photos of the Milky Way, a moonless night is certainly the best, and away from cities and towns so there's as little light pollution as possible.

    When there's a full moon, there's so much light around it's difficult to see the stars, but a partial moon may still leave you with some opportunities.

    In this photograph, the silo is illuminated by a half moon, creating the heavy shadows and the great three-dimensionality. If there were no moon, the silo would be a silhouette (although it could be lit with a torch or a flash light, of course).

    I'm suggesting that moonlight itself can be just as important as the stars above. I think in coming years we will grow tired of silhouetted landscapes below, whereas the use of the moon as a light source opens up many more possibilities. Just as we choose between blue and cloudy skies for our daytime photographs, perhaps we will select different strengths and directions of moonlight for our night time forays.

    Don't forget! The Better Photography Magazine Photograph of the Year competition is now open. Entries close 15 September 2015. You can enter the competition and also see the top 50 winners from each of the 6 categories in our previous competitions on our dedicated competition website - competition.betterphotography.com.

    Silo near Junee, New South Wales.
    Shot with Canon EOS 5DSR and 11-24mm, 30 seconds at f4, ISO 5000.

     

    There's nothing like a road trip to recharge your batteries. I was invited down to the Ballarat International Foto Biennale to assist on the Portfolio Review panel and give a presentation on landscape photography, so I drove the 1200 odd kilometres from Sydney. And back.

     

    As a city slicker, I love getting out into the country. It's different. And I love the old buildings. Yes, they are cliche, but that doesn't stop me photographing them and my current passion is for grain silos. I love how they punctuate the landscape and each has its own character. Perhaps the beginning of a series...

     

    So, how do you take night shots? To get great photos of the Milky Way, a moonless night is certainly the best, and away from cities and towns so there's as little light pollution as possible.

     

    When there's a full moon, there's so much light around it's difficult to see the stars, but a partial moon may still leave you with some opportunities.


    In this photograph, the silo is illuminated by a half moon, creating the heavy shadows and the great three-dimensionality. If there were no moon, the silo would be a silhouette (although it could be lit with a torch or a flash light, of course).

     

    I'm suggesting that moonlight itself can be just as important as the stars above. I think in coming years we will grow tired of silhouetted landscapes below, whereas the use of the moon as a light source opens up many more possibilities. Just as we choose between blue and cloudy skies for our daytime photographs, perhaps we will select different strengths and directions of moonlight for our night time forays.

     

    Don't forget! The Better Photography Magazine Photograph of the Year competition is now open. Entries close 15 September 2015. You can enter the competition and also see the top 50 winners from each of the 6 categories in our previous competitions on our dedicated competition website - competition.betterphotography.com.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Junee New South Wales Silo https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/9/junee-new-south-wales Tue, 01 Sep 2015 04:44:30 GMT
    Perfecting The Penguin Portrait https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/9/perfecting-the-penguin-portrait

    Adelie Penguin, Paulet Island. Photographed with a Canon EOS-1D X and the 200-400mm 1.4x super zoom. When you get in close to your subject (relatively speaking), the background is thrown well out of focus and the 'blurring' or 'bokeh' is glorious!

    Lying flat on my stomach, I'm sure I didn't look like a penguin. Mind you, I hopefully didn't look like a beached whale either, although with the amount of warm clothing on, I was well padded from the rocky shore below me.

    I'm no wildlife expert, by which I mean I'm not a naturalist nor an animal behaviour specialist. However, when it comes to photographing wildlife, I like to think the principles of portraiture and landscape photography apply in equal measure - with one important addition: patience. The more wildlife photography I do, the more I realise that it is time in the field that gets you great shots. Yes, this one's not bad, but there are aspects that could be improved.

    For instance, the penguins on the right don't have heads - they might be better out of the way completely, or at least showing a bit more of a bump so animal rights zealots don't accuse me of cruelty. The penguin on the left is not cropped off the best either. Similarly, the penguin partly obscuring the chick isn't in the best position. Unfortunately, when the hero of the photo did its thing, this is how it was, but I'm sure if I had another hour or so, I could have nailed similar antics with a better arrangement of the supporting cast.

    Does this make sense? I mean, I love this photo and the moment it has captured, but I can see how it could be better still. And once you've photographed a few hundred penguins, you start to refine your vision. They are still incredibly photogenic, it's just a matter of having all the elements come together at the one time.

    Easy for me to say because I'm heading down to Antarctica and South Georgia in November and I will have many more opportunities to perfect my penguin portrait technique. Mind you, Aurora tells me there are still spots available on the Polar Pioneer if you'd like to come with me, plus they are offering to fly your partner to South America and back for free! I guess that means there will be two of you coming along!

    For more information, visit www.auroraexpeditions.com.au or click here. And mention the special 'partner flies free' offer (assuming you're taking your partner, of course!)

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Adelie Penguin Antarctica Paulet Island Penguin https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/9/perfecting-the-penguin-portrait Thu, 13 Aug 2015 05:30:00 GMT
    Don't Pick A Big Monk https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/9/dont-pick-a-big-monk Monk, Paro Dzong, BhutanMonk, Paro Dzong, BhutanLast weekend, Kathie and I met up with Robyn, Greg, Diedre, Robert, Kay, Libby and Geoff, a partial re-union of travellers from our Bhutan trip last year. And I have to say I was a little embarrassed. Before dinner, we all sat down for drinks in Robyn and Greg's home and looked at half a dozen amazing Momento photo books. (Yes, the Libby and Geoff are the same Libby and Geoff who own Momento - but even they were surprised how many Momento photo books were on display!)

    The subject matter of the books was Bhutan and the books were amazing! My guilt came from only having processed a dozen or so shots from what was an amazing trip. As I flipped through their books, I saw shots of Robert's that I hope I have, some great portraits by Kay (and I know I didn't get them), and there were some exceptional compositions from Greg with some really great post-production as well. Robyn did a great little video which brought back some wonderful memories, even if it was Greg who was starring.

    I'd like to compliment Libby and Geoff, but their photos have yet to make it into a Momento book (Geoff said something about Libby worrying how much time he was spending on personal projects already), and they all politely said they'd like to compliment me on my photos, BUT WHERE WERE THEY?
    So, in an effort to make some small amends, I'm starting off. After all, I will be returning to Bhutan with David Oliver in November 2016, so I better process a few so I can show David what to do!

    This photograph was taken quickly. He is a young monk and if he knew I was there, he didn't let on. Festivals in Bhutan are great because the insides of the dzongs become more accessible and you get to wander around these majestic old buildings and wonder at how they are put together. Huge wooden beams and the floor boards are often a half a metre wide, but of course, it's the colour of the costumes and the clothing that create the pageantry.

    My idea was to convey the texture of the clothing by getting in close to my subject, but to include his surroundings. The unusual angle looking down hopefully creates a little extra interest and the only thing I might do differently next time is to wait until there are a few more dancers in the quadrangle. The photograph was taken with a 24mm wide-angle and I was careful to focus on the head, not the background. Although wide-angle lenses have quite a lot of depth-of-field, by getting the camera quite close to my main subject and using the maximum aperture of f2.8, I was able to throw the background out-of-focus. I like this 'differential focus' effect because it concentrates our attention on the subject, but the background is recognisable enough. Well, it is for me!

    If you're interested in visiting Bhutan in November next year, email me and I will send you back the little brochure David and I have prepared - eastway@betterphotography.com. Put Bhutan in the header please!
    #invisiblephotoshop #bhutan #Illuminatingtoursbhutan

    Photographed from the courtyard balcony in the Paro Dzong, Paro, Bhutan. 
    Make sure the monk you photograph isn't too big or, if he is,that you can run fast!
    I'm just kidding of course - everyone over there is so friendly, especially at festival time.

    Last weekend, Kathie and I met up with Robyn, Greg, Diedre, Robert, Kay, Libby and Geoff, a partial re-union of travellers from our Bhutan trip last year. And I have to say I was a little embarrassed. Before dinner, we all sat down for drinks in Robyn and Greg's home and looked at half a dozen amazing Momento photo books. (Yes, the Libby and Geoff are the same Libby and Geoff who own Momento - but even they were surprised how many Momento photo books were on display!)

    The subject matter of the books was Bhutan and the books were amazing! My guilt came from only having processed a dozen or so shots from what was an amazing trip. As I flipped through their books, I saw shots of Robert's that I hope I have, some great portraits by Kay (and I know I didn't get them), and there were some exceptional compositions from Greg with some really great post-production as well. Robyn did a great little video which brought back some wonderful memories, even if it was Greg who was starring.

    I'd like to compliment Libby and Geoff, but their photos have yet to make it into a Momento book (Geoff said something about Libby worrying how much time he was spending on personal projects already), and they all politely said they'd like to compliment me on my photos, BUT WHERE WERE THEY?

    So, in an effort to make some small amends, I'm starting off. After all, I will be returning to Bhutan with David Oliver in November 2016, so I better process a few so I can show David what to do!

    This photograph was taken quickly. He is a young monk and if he knew I was there, he didn't let on. Festivals in Bhutan are great because the insides of the dzongs become more accessible and you get to wander around these majestic old buildings and wonder at how they are put together. Huge wooden beams and the floor boards are often a half a metre wide, but of course, it's the colour of the costumes and the clothing that create the pageantry.

    My idea was to convey the texture of the clothing by getting in close to my subject, but to include his surroundings. The unusual angle looking down hopefully creates a little extra interest and the only thing I might do differently next time is to wait until there are a few more dancers in the quadrangle. The photograph was taken with a 24mm wide-angle and I was careful to focus on the head, not the background. Although wide-angle lenses have quite a lot of depth-of-field, by getting the camera quite close to my main subject and using the maximum aperture of f2.8, I was able to throw the background out-of-focus. I like this 'differential focus' effect because it concentrates our attention on the subject, but the background is recognisable enough. Well, it is for me!

    If you're interested in visiting Bhutan in November next year, email me and I will send you back the little brochure David and I have prepared - eastway@betterphotography.com. Put Bhutan in the header please!

    #invisiblephotoshop #bhutan #Illuminatingtoursbhutan

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bhutan Monk Paro Dzong https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/9/dont-pick-a-big-monk Wed, 05 Aug 2015 05:15:00 GMT
    Zenith Beach With The Focus Group https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/9/zenith-beach-with-the-focus-group Zenith Beach, New South WalesZenith Beach, New South WalesI think the Focus Photographers (focusphotographers.org) have got it right and wrong. The bit they got right was the idea of spending some time with an expert photographer in order to advance their own photography.

    I remember a group of 10 Australian professional photographers (they imaginatively called themselves 'Group 10') pooled their resources to bring out Norman Parkinson from London (a legendary fashion and advertising photographer) to spend a week with them. Norman was flown first class and put up in five star comfort. There was no agenda, just a requirement to go shooting and talk about photography. The late John Whitfield-King, who was one of the group, said it was one of the most valuable learning experiences of his professional career, one that Group 10 repeated several times. So the idea has merit.

    Where the Focus Photographers let themselves down was inviting me! John Armytage organised a first class, four-day weekend up at Nelsons Bay (two hours north of Sydney) and along with Olga, Helen, Sean, Tony, Mike and Adam, put up with my sense of humour. We shot early morning, late evening, from a helicopter, from a whale-watching ferry and from the balcony of a very up-market holiday house with expansive views. We talked about photography, processed our files and shared meals. I had a great time. Thank you!

    I'm not fishing for more of these weekends, although I will return with the Focus group for sure. However, there are lots of amazing photographers out there who are more than willing to share their ideas with an enthusiastic audience, if the right program and compensation are there. The idea of forming a 'collective' can really accelerate your learning.

    The Focus Photographers have over 4,750 followers on Facebook and 1600 on Flickr where it started. They also meet in person most weekends, all around Australia. Obviously, not all the members attended our little weekend - it's a matter of finding a small group of people who get on with each other and have the same passion for standing out in a hail storm and getting pelted, all to take a photograph.

    My mistake was standing out there with them, although it did lead to the above photo with which I am quite pleased.

    The weather last weekend was sporadic. It varied between rain and heavy rain, but there were little interludes that tempted you out into the elements. We had already been caught out that afternoon and were rather damp, so this impending downpour didn't frighten us, but the hail was a surprise.

    At this point I'd like to do a little advert for the Ridgeline Torrent jacket which the Photographic Society of New Zealand kindly gifted me following my presentations at their national convention in Blenheim last year. It is simply fantastic! Made in New Zealand and made to survive torrential downpours. I was very dry underneath and my North Face waterproof overpants also did their job, but unfortunately the water-shedding effectiveness of my upper garments resulted in my boots filling up with water.
    #focusaustralia #phaseone #invisiblephotoshop

    Zenith Beach, Port Stephens, New South Wales. 
    Photographed with an Alpa TC, Phase One IQ180, 23mm Rodenstock Digaron.

    I think the Focus Photographers (focusphotographers.org) have got it right and wrong. The bit they got right was the idea of spending some time with an expert photographer in order to advance their own photography.

    I remember a group of 10 Australian professional photographers (they imaginatively called themselves 'Group 10') pooled their resources to bring out Norman Parkinson from London (a legendary fashion and advertising photographer) to spend a week with them. Norman was flown first class and put up in five star comfort. There was no agenda, just a requirement to go shooting and talk about photography. The late John Whitfield-King, who was one of the group, said it was one of the most valuable learning experiences of his professional career, one that Group 10 repeated several times. So the idea has merit.

    Where the Focus Photographers let themselves down was inviting me! John Armytage organised a first class, four-day weekend up at Nelsons Bay (two hours north of Sydney) and along with Olga, Helen, Sean, Tony, Mike and Adam, put up with my sense of humour. We shot early morning, late evening, from a helicopter, from a whale-watching ferry and from the balcony of a very up-market holiday house with expansive views. We talked about photography, processed our files and shared meals. I had a great time. Thank you!

    I'm not fishing for more of these weekends, although I will return with the Focus group for sure. However, there are lots of amazing photographers out there who are more than willing to share their ideas with an enthusiastic audience, if the right program and compensation are there. The idea of forming a 'collective' can really accelerate your learning.

    The Focus Photographers have over 4,750 followers on Facebook and 1600 on Flickr where it started. They also meet in person most weekends, all around Australia. Obviously, not all the members attended our little weekend - it's a matter of finding a small group of people who get on with each other and have the same passion for standing out in a hail storm and getting pelted, all to take a photograph.

    My mistake was standing out there with them, although it did lead to the above photo with which I am quite pleased.

    The weather last weekend was sporadic. It varied between rain and heavy rain, but there were little interludes that tempted you out into the elements. We had already been caught out that afternoon and were rather damp, so this impending downpour didn't frighten us, but the hail was a surprise.

    At this point I'd like to do a little advert for the Ridgeline Torrent jacket which the Photographic Society of New Zealand kindly gifted me following my presentations at their national convention in Blenheim last year. It is simply fantastic! Made in New Zealand and made to survive torrential downpours. I was very dry underneath and my North Face waterproof overpants also did their job, but unfortunately the water-shedding effectiveness of my upper garments resulted in my boots filling up with water.

    #focusaustralia #phaseone #invisiblephotoshop

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Port Macquarie Zenith Beach https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/9/zenith-beach-with-the-focus-group Tue, 21 Jul 2015 05:00:00 GMT
    Byron Bay Balloons With The Canon EOS 5DSR https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/9/byron-bay-balloons-with-the-canon-eos-5dsr Byron BallooningByron BallooningThe view from the balloon on the second morning - yes, I was lucky! I had two flights! Photographed with the new Canon EOS 5DSR and a 70-200mm Canon L series zoom. Check out Byron Bay Ballooning next time you're up there. I have finally been able to play more seriously with the new Canon EOS 5DSR, the latest 50-megapixel DSLR and, along with its cousin the 5DS, the only 50-megapixel DSLR! Canon hosted a Tales By Light weekend festival up in Byron Bay early this month and I was lucky enough to be invited along with Darren Jew and Krystle Wright. We got to meet some great people, print some photos, watch some movies and go on some amazing shoots.

    I think Krystle and I were the fortunate ones because we took two balloon rides over the idyllic Byron Bay hinterlands. Sorry, Darren!

    Shooting from a balloon is deceptive. It's usually so still you hardly feel you're moving. However, you certainly can be moving quite quickly and the trick is to keep your shutter speeds up to avoid subject blur. Standing in the balloon, you'd be forgiven for thinking 1/30 second was fast enough, and sometimes when the balloon is stationary it is, but to be safe, I'd be shooting at at least 1/125 second. And for the larger sensor cameras (36-megapixels and up), I'd push that to 1/250 or even 1/500 second. This is just a rule of thumb - the shutter speed you need will be dependent on how fast you're moving as well as how close you are to the ground.

    The compromise with fast shutter speeds is either wider apertures which might not be quite as sharp as mid-range apertures, or higher ISO speeds which can introduce noise. This is especially an issue in the dawn light before the sun comes up, but essentially you have a choice of sharp photos or 'grainy' ones. I like sharp ones!

    Personally, I don't mind a little texture in my photos and, when shooting with 50-megapixels, you find the noise greatly disappears when you're making smaller prints or posting them on the web. And let's not be too critical about all this. While there is more noise than the EOS-1 DX, for instance, what noise is there is a very minor concern for what is being offered.

    My first impressions of the EOS 5DSR are very positive and that it has a superb sensor. The limiting factor will be some of my older lenses. Canon is on a winner here and, yes, I have bought one!

    #talesbylight #canonaustralia #canoncollective

    The view from the balloon on the second morning - yes, I was lucky! I had two flights! 
    Photographed with the new Canon EOS 5DSR and a 70-200mm Canon L series zoom. 
    Check out Byron Bay Ballooning next time you're up there.

    I have finally been able to play more seriously with the new Canon EOS 5DSR, the latest 50-megapixel DSLR and, along with its cousin the 5DS, the only 50-megapixel DSLR! Canon hosted a Tales By Light weekend festival up in Byron Bay early this month and I was lucky enough to be invited along with Darren Jew and Krystle Wright. We got to meet some great people, print some photos, watch some movies and go on some amazing shoots.

    I think Krystle and I were the fortunate ones because we took two balloon rides over the idyllic Byron Bay hinterlands. Sorry, Darren!

    Shooting from a balloon is deceptive. It's usually so still you hardly feel you're moving. However, you certainly can be moving quite quickly and the trick is to keep your shutter speeds up to avoid subject blur. Standing in the balloon, you'd be forgiven for thinking 1/30 second was fast enough, and sometimes when the balloon is stationary it is, but to be safe, I'd be shooting at at least 1/125 second. And for the larger sensor cameras (36-megapixels and up), I'd push that to 1/250 or even 1/500 second. This is just a rule of thumb - the shutter speed you need will be dependent on how fast you're moving as well as how close you are to the ground.

    The compromise with fast shutter speeds is either wider apertures which might not be quite as sharp as mid-range apertures, or higher ISO speeds which can introduce noise. This is especially an issue in the dawn light before the sun comes up, but essentially you have a choice of sharp photos or 'grainy' ones. I like sharp ones!

    Personally, I don't mind a little texture in my photos and, when shooting with 50-megapixels, you find the noise greatly disappears when you're making smaller prints or posting them on the web. And let's not be too critical about all this. While there is more noise than the EOS-1 DX, for instance, what noise is there is a very minor concern for what is being offered.

    My first impressions of the EOS 5DSR are very positive and that it has a superb sensor. The limiting factor will be some of my older lenses. Canon is on a winner here and, yes, I have bought one!

    #talesbylight #canonaustralia #canoncollective

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Ballooning Byron Bay https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/9/byron-bay-balloons-with-the-canon-eos-5dsr Fri, 17 Jul 2015 05:00:00 GMT
    Someone Else's Favourite Photography? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/6/someone-elses-favourite-photography

    Adelie penguin at Brown Bluff, Antarctica. Canon EOS-1D X with EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X.

     

    Hopefully some readers have seen the Tales By Light episode on the National Geographic Channel last Sunday night. And hopefully they enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed making it. Well, really all I did was wander down to Antarctica on Aurora's Polar Pioneer with Abraham Joffe, his wife Jen and second camera Blake Castle. They did all the hard work and then Abraham's team from Untitled Filmworks handled all the amazing post-production.

    What I find fascinating is what other people select as their 'favourites'. This photo at Brown Bluff, for instance, was very popular with everyone during production and promotion. I produced around 50 finished images, most of which appeared in the program, but out of these 50 which I love, there are some that are more popular than others. Why?

    With the Adelie penguin above, I could be criticised for having the subject bang in the middle of the frame, yet the chaotic background of icebergs and the pose of the penguin seem to hold it together. In fact, it's the positioning and pose of the penguin that makes the shot, with the penguin appearing to eye-ball the viewer.

    This is pretty much a full-frame shot. I was using Canon's 200-400mm with its 1.4X built-in extender, which effectively gave me a 200-560mm zoom. This was taken at the maximum focal length and really, it's the perfect lens for wildlife as long as you don't mind the weight. I've also been playing with Canon's new 100-400mm zoom and, while not in the same league or price bracket, it is very impressive.

    In the Tales By Light episode, produced in partnership with Canon Australia, Abraham and I were effectively shooting side-by-side as a number of penguins approached us from out to sea, jumping from iceberg to iceberg as they neared the shore. The advantage Abraham has with moving footage is you can see the icebergs rocking from side to side as the penguins jump along. The advantage I have shooting stills is I can focus attention on the penguin by tonally adjusting the image (darkening the surrounding areas). I know why photography is captivating, and I can also understand the same appeal for cinematography.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Adelie Penguin Antarctica Penguin https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/6/someone-elses-favourite-photography Mon, 22 Jun 2015 04:44:00 GMT
    My Favourite Photograph? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/6/my-favourite-photograph

    Adelie penguins at Paulet Island. Canon EOS-1D X with EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X.

    It is difficult to say one photograph is a favourite. Unlike ice creams which come in a limited number of flavours, photographs are myriad in number and one's taste changes from time to time. However, this is currently my all-time favourite photograph taken from Antarctica earlier this year.

    I was on a Zodiac with Aurora Expedition's Howard Whelan and Canon Master Cinematographer Abraham Joffe, just touching the stony shore. We were shooting for the Tales By Light episode. Not too far away, this Adelie penguin was contemplating a swim, but keeping an eye on us. However, he (she) was the only penguin at all interested in what we were up to.

    The elements in the photo that I like most are the low camera angle, which means we're at the same level as the penguin and below the tops of the growler ice bergs in the background. I also love the blurred background. The blur turns a straight photograph into a work of art, purely because of the bokeh - the out-of-focus areas. They almost look like they have been hand-painted.

    In terms of technique, the telephoto lens does all the work, but you need to focus on something relatively close with areas behind and in front of your subject to be blurred. If you focus on a subject near infinity, then there's nothing behind the focus point to be out-of-focus and the result just looks like an ordinary shot.

    If you haven't caught Tales By Light yet, produced by Canon and National Geographic Channel, please tune in this Sunday evening. My mum says this will be the best episode of the six because her son is in it. We've currently seen four amazing episodes featuring Art Wolfe, Darren Jew and Krystle Wright. Following my episode on Antarctica, the following week Richard I'Anson will feature in an amazing piece on India and the Himalayas. Feedback (so far - I hope mine matches it) has been sensational!

    So, please tune in on Sunday at 8.30 on the National Geographic Channel.

    And if you'd like to visit many of the same Antarctic/South Georgia destinations this November/December, join me with Aurora Expeditions as part of a special photography group. For more information, visit www.auroraexpeditions.com.au or click here

    There's also a neat little online brochure which explains lots more - click here.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Adelie Penguins Antarctica Canon National Geographic Tales By Light https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/6/my-favourite-photograph Fri, 19 Jun 2015 04:49:17 GMT
    The Widest Angle Possible? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/the-widest-angle-possible Paro Staircase, BhutanParo Staircase, BhutanInside the Paro Dzong, Paro, Bhutan, 2014. 14mm wide-angle lens.

    For outsiders, Bhutan society appears to have a complicated heirarchy, not only within the monasteries, but in the secular world as well. What I like about this angle is that it is quite complex and takes a little time to understand. There are several different levels in the image that in some small way relate to different levels of society.

    Of course, this is purely the imagination of the photographer (me) and I can't expect anyone who hasn't visited Bhutan to really understand what the photograph says to me. Then again, that's not something I have control over in any photograph.

    The portrait was taken during a festival and, down stairs in the courtyard of the dzong, an elaborate series of costumed dances were being performed. While photogenic in their own right, I found the things happening around the periphery to be even more interesting. During the festivals, the locals are used to seeing a few tourists and aren't too worried about our cameras. In fact, these youths had been following me around for half an hour or so, hence their engagement with the camera.

    What struck me about this location is the way the light comes from both above and below, plus I loved the angles of the architecture, but to capture it required an ultra wide-angle lens. This was shot on a Nikkor 14-24mm and I'm thinking the new 11-24mm Canon will be every bit as useful.

    However, it's not as sharp as it could be. My exposure was 1/40 second at f2.8 and ISO 800. Things were happening quickly and my camera wasn't set correctly for this situation. I should have pushed the ISO higher to give me a faster shutter speed, which would have ensured my subject was tack sharp, but on the other hand, everything else about the image is what I like.

    So, while this might not make the cut for a competition entry, it will definitely feature in my book and audio visual on Bhutan 2014. Technical perfection is something we should strive for, but far more important is the mood, the gesture and the story. We should all give ourselves permission to keep shots like this with our personal favourites.

    Inside the Paro Dzong, Paro, Bhutan, 2014. 14mm wide-angle lens.

    For outsiders, Bhutan society appears to have a complicated heirarchy, not only within the monasteries, but in the secular world as well. What I like about this angle is that it is quite complex and takes a little time to understand. There are several different levels in the image that in some small way relate to different levels of society.

    Of course, this is purely the imagination of the photographer (me) and I can't expect anyone who hasn't visited Bhutan to really understand what the photograph says to me. Then again, that's not something I have control over in any photograph.

    The portrait was taken during a festival and, down stairs in the courtyard of the dzong, an elaborate series of costumed dances were being performed. While photogenic in their own right, I found the things happening around the periphery to be even more interesting. During the festivals, the locals are used to seeing a few tourists and aren't too worried about our cameras. In fact, these youths had been following me around for half an hour or so, hence their engagement with the camera.

    What struck me about this location is the way the light comes from both above and below, plus I loved the angles of the architecture, but to capture it required an ultra wide-angle lens. This was shot on a Nikkor 14-24mm and I'm thinking the new 11-24mm Canon will be every bit as useful.

    However, it's not as sharp as it could be. My exposure was 1/40 second at f2.8 and ISO 800. Things were happening quickly and my camera wasn't set correctly for this situation. I should have pushed the ISO higher to give me a faster shutter speed, which would have ensured my subject was tack sharp, but on the other hand, everything else about the image is what I like.

    So, while this might not make the cut for a competition entry, it will definitely feature in my book and audio visual on Bhutan 2014. Technical perfection is something we should strive for, but far more important is the mood, the gesture and the story. We should all give ourselves permission to keep shots like this with our personal favourites.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bhutan Paro https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/the-widest-angle-possible Tue, 26 May 2015 00:36:17 GMT
    Harvest Time In Bhutan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/harvest-time-in-bhutan Chelela - BhutanChelela - BhutanHarvest in Bhutan, 2014. 20mm wide-angle lens.
    Travel photography is all about telling a story and in this image, I've tried to show what working on a farm in Bhutan was like in 2014. Bhutan is changing so rapidly that even between the two times I have visited, I could see substantial differences. And yet it remains one of the most poetic and delightful countries to visit.
    Using a wide-angle lens, I've walked in close to the harvested crops laid out neatly on the ground. I've filled the foreground with the main subject. In the background I have positioned all the other information - the tall mountains, the buildings and the workers. The workers are colourfully dressed and while typical today, you can see that much of their clothing has been imported from India or China. It's little clues like this that place the photograph in a particular time. In a few years, I expect the clothing may be different again and perhaps the harvesting will be mechanised.

    Nothing in the image has been altered except the tonal range and I've warmed up the colour a little to match what I remember. The yellows and oranges in the fields are really dominant.
    One suggestion for my next visit is to take some Wellington boots or even just some old ones! The ground was distinctly muddy where I was standing! A city-slicker like me has a lot to learn.
    Harvest in Bhutan, 2014. 20mm wide-angle lens.

    Travel photography is all about telling a story and in this image, I've tried to show what working on a farm in Bhutan was like in 2014. Bhutan is changing so rapidly that even between the two times I have visited, I could see substantial differences. And yet it remains one of the most poetic and delightful countries to visit.

    Using a wide-angle lens, I've walked in close to the harvested crops laid out neatly on the ground. I've filled the foreground with the main subject. In the background I have positioned all the other information - the tall mountains, the buildings and the workers. The workers are colourfully dressed and while typical today, you can see that much of their clothing has been imported from India or China. It's little clues like this that place the photograph in a particular time. In a few years, I expect the clothing may be different again and perhaps the harvesting will be mechanised.

    Nothing in the image has been altered except the tonal range and I've warmed up the colour a little to match what I remember. The yellows and oranges in the fields are really dominant.

    One suggestion for my next visit is to take some Wellington boots or even just some old ones! The ground was distinctly muddy where I was standing! A city-slicker like me has a lot to learn.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bhutan Chelela fields mountains https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/harvest-time-in-bhutan Mon, 18 May 2015 04:18:00 GMT
    Macaroni Penguin, Cooper Bay, South Georgia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/macaroni-penguin-cooper-bay-south-georgia Macaroni penguin, Cooper Bay, South Georgia. I think his name was Christian, but there are around 2 million of them, so I might be confusing him with his brother. Canon EOS-1D X and 200-400mm 1.4x lens.

    Why do photographs made with the same size sensor look so different? For instance, your smart phone or compact camera might have a 20-megapixel sensor, but the photos it produces don't look nearly as good as those taken with a 20-megapixel DSLR sensor.

    Yet when you are printing, the literature talks about needing so many pixels per inch or centimetre to make a 'good print'. However, what's really being discussed here is 'aliasing' or the jaggies!

    This is a non-scientific explanation.

    For digital photography, we want lots of pixels so when we make a print or display an image, we don't see jagged or 'stepped' diagonal lines (the errors are called 'aliasing').Think of a chessboard with its squares and imagine what would happen if you tried to use these squares to draw a diagonal line. You'd see all the steps. Now imagine that same board with one million squares. When you draw a diagonal line, the steps are still there, but they are so small you can't see them. Following this logic, a 20-megapixel image from any camera will hide the 'jaggies' pretty well.

    However, there's more to making a quality image than just eliminating the jaggies. You need high quality pixels as well and the answer lies in the physical size of the sensor, not just the number of pixel sites on the sensor.

    Larger sensors can hold larger pixel sites, and larger pixel sites generally mean better image quality. A 20-megapixel, full-frame DSLR sensor physically measures 36x24mm and each sensor or pixel site might be, say, 6 microns in size. In comparison, a 20-megapixel sensor on a compact camera or a smartphone is much, much smaller and each pixel site might measure, say 2 microns.

    This is one of the reasons there is a quality difference. A 2 micron site can't hold as many photons of light as a 6 micron site, so there is less information to work with when it comes to mathematically turning the photons into pixel information. Also, with such small sites, it's easier for the light to 'overflow' from one site to another, contaminating image quality. So, while a compact camera or a smart phone might have as many pixels as a DSLR, the quality of those pixels is not as good (with today's technology). They can look great on a small LCD screen, but as the reproduction size increases, the lack of quality becomes more apparent.

    There are a lot of other factors that go into the final image quality as well, one of the main ones being lens quality, but I'll save that discussion for another day.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Cooper Bay Macaroni Penguin South Georgia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/macaroni-penguin-cooper-bay-south-georgia Mon, 11 May 2015 22:30:00 GMT
    Is This Really Antarctica? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/is-this-really-antarctica

    No, this isn't Antarctica, but it's close! Canon EOS-1D X and 17mm TSE lens.

    It looks like the European Alps, perhaps tucked away somewhere in the Italian Dolomites or maybe in Austria, although the design of the church is a little ambiguous.

    No, this isn't Antarctica, it's South Georgia. A lot of voyages to Antarctica include South Georgia and, for my money, it is the most amazing place on Earth. Mind you, I can say that for quite a few locations, but to date, my short experiences in South Georgia place it right up at the top of the list.

    This is also the last photo I provided for Abraham Joffe and Canon's Tales By Light television series which gets underway on the National Geographic channel later this month (starts 24 May). My episode won't be shown until June, but I highly recommend all six.

    The photographers themselves are all amazing - Art Wolfe, Richard I'Anson, Krystle Wright and Darren Jew - so to hang out with these guys at the press functions coming up next week and listen to their stories is going to be a great honour. And from the snippets I have seen of their episodes, the television series is going to set some pretty high standards for documentaries of this type in the future.

    The photograph is of the 100-year-old church in Grytviken, South Geogia. It's the end of February and the end of summer, so most of the snow has disappeared. On my previous visit which was in November, the grassy fields were covered in snow, so the contrast for me was quite marked. But I love the fact that this European-looking scene is taken at the opposite end of the world!

    The orange structure to the right of the church is a safety hut, I believe, but if this were a Harry Potter movie, I'm sure it would lead to a dungeon and corridors down below. It's little aspects like this that make the incongruous even more enchanting.

    Aurora Expeditions has invited me and Abraham on a voyage this November/December to South Georgia and Antarctica. Naturally, you're invited! I've produced a little e-brochure I've created which has all the details - click the following link to have a look!

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/is-this-really-antarctica Mon, 04 May 2015 01:45:00 GMT
    Hand Of Man https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/hand-of-man Hand Of ManHand Of ManWharariki, South Island, New Zealand. Taken on the Photographic Counsel with Tony Hewitt last year. Places are available for the 2015 workshop/tour in June 2015.

    Ken Duncan, Andris Apse and Kevin Raber are judging a new photography competition, called The Real Australia Landscape Awards. In fact, Ken is behind it, claiming that photography today is separated into two very different streams, photo realism and photo illustration. He is very careful to say he loves both types of photography, but he is concerned that photo realism scores a poor second in photography competitions and hence it needs to be represented separately.

    I'm not sure that I agree about the latter claim. In many competitions, 'photo realism' is still winning lots of awards. I look at our own 2014 International Landscape Photographer of the Year awards and, to the best of my knowledge the majority of the winning images are 'realism'. By this, I mean they are not composites, but they have been tweaked in Photoshop or Lightroom by adjusting the tonality and colour. I think they would pass the rules for Ken's competition, but whether or not they would be judged as being 'realism' is harder to say.

    Ken and I are good friends and we have had an entertaining email exchange about this. I think his competition is a great idea because, even though statistically it's not correct, there is a perception that heavily manipulated images win against more realistic entries. If a part of the landscape photography world wants a competition just for photo realism, fantastic!

    But where are we going to draw the line? This is where Ken didn't really make a stand. The line would be determined by the judges - so it's a subjective position for his competition. I can't argue with this stance because I think it is impossible to define the line objectively. How much contrast or saturation is too much? It depends on so many variables. In the end, it depends on the judges.

    Now, I'm thinking the image above would not be allowed because I did too much post-production. Some inconsiderate photographers had walked right across the sand, leaving big foot prints in my Wharariki seascape. How do I know they were photographers? Because I was one of them! The 'photo illustration' is up above, the 'photo realism' is view by going to the following link (http://www.betterphotography.com/index.php/peter-eastways-blogs-sp-19033/peter-eastways-blog/938-hand-of-man). What I should have done is waited five minutes for a wave to come through and that would have sorted it all out!

    If you're interested in joining Tony Hewitt and me on our next trip to New Zealand this June, we have some places left and we are definitely going. Think of it as nearly a week of high-powered photographic instruction, from our capture secrets all the way through to one-on-one post-production instruction in the New Zealand High Country. It is going to be epic!
    But don't take my word for it! There's a great little e-brochure I've created which has all the details - click here to have a look!

    Wharariki, South Island, New Zealand. Taken on the Photographic Counsel with Tony Hewitt last year.
    Places are available for the 2015 workshop/tour in June 2015.

    Ken Duncan, Andris Apse and Kevin Raber are judging a new photography competition, called The Real Australia Landscape Awards. In fact, Ken is behind it, claiming that photography today is separated into two very different streams, photo realism and photo illustration. He is very careful to say he loves both types of photography, but he is concerned that photo realism scores a poor second in photography competitions and hence it needs to be represented separately.

    I'm not sure that I agree about the latter claim. In many competitions, 'photo realism' is still winning lots of awards. I look at our own 2014 International Landscape Photographer of the Year awards and, to the best of my knowledge the majority of the winning images are 'realism'. By this, I mean they are not composites, but they have been tweaked in Photoshop or Lightroom by adjusting the tonality and colour. I think they would pass the rules for Ken's competition, but whether or not they would be judged as being 'realism' is harder to say.

    Ken and I are good friends and we have had an entertaining email exchange about this. I think his competition is a great idea because, even though statistically it's not correct, there is a perception that heavily manipulated images win against more realistic entries. If a part of the landscape photography world wants a competition just for photo realism, fantastic!

    But where are we going to draw the line? This is where Ken didn't really make a stand. The line would be determined by the judges - so it's a subjective position for his competition. I can't argue with this stance because I think it is impossible to define the line objectively. How much contrast or saturation is too much? It depends on so many variables. In the end, it depends on the judges.

    Now, I'm thinking the image above would not be allowed because I did too much post-production. Some inconsiderate photographers had walked right across the sand, leaving big foot prints in my Wharariki seascape. How do I know they were photographers? Because I was one of them! The 'photo illustration' is up above, the 'photo realism' is down below. What I should have done is waited five minutes for a wave to come through and that would have sorted it all out!

    If you're interested in joining Tony Hewitt and me on our next trip to New Zealand this June, we have some places left and we are definitely going. Think of it as nearly a week of high-powered photographic instruction, from our capture secrets all the way through to one-on-one post-production instruction in the New Zealand High Country. It is going to be epic!

    But don't take my word for it! There's a great little e-brochure I've created which has all the details - click here to have a look!

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/hand-of-man Tue, 28 Apr 2015 14:15:00 GMT
    A Different View? Hamersley Gorge, Karijini National Park https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/a-different-view-hamersley-gorge-karijini-national-park Hamersley 2Hamersley 2Hamersley Gorge. Is this a different view? Probably not!

    My little comment about originality in photography received a lot of supportive comments a few weeks back. However, sometimes when you visit a location, it can be difficult to be original. And even when you try something new, chances are someone else has done it before you.

    Such as this 'different' view of Spa Pool at Hamersley Gorge. The front of this amazing rock formation has become very popular in recent years, so when Tony Hewitt and I visited there last week with ten intrepid photographers, I looked for an angle that was 'different'. Well, different for me, but I am sure there are many photographers viewing this newsletter who have taken a similar angle.

    Don't get me wrong. If you visit Hamersley Gorge, I think you should photograph the pool from the front. It's like visiting Uluru or the Sydney Opera House. It's a rite of passage for all of us to photograph these icons and to add them to our portfolio.

    However, I have been lucky enough to visit Hamersley a couple of times before, so on this occasion, I had the luxury of looking for something that was new for me - and hopefully my treatment of the image will make it distinctively mine.

    It has been photographed with a 23mm Rodenstock Digaron lens on an Alpa TC with a Phase One IQ180 medium format back. The raw file was processed in Capture One and the final post-production in Photoshop. The bright colour on the water in the background is natural, just in case you were wondering, as is the colour of the rocks on the right. Most unlike me, isn't it!

    If you're interested in joining Tony Hewitt and me on our next trip to New Zealand this June, we have some places left and we are definitely going. Think of it as nearly a week of high-powered photographic instruction, from our capture secrets all the way through to one-on-one post-production instruction in the New Zealand High Country. And unlike Hamersley Gorge, I can guarantee that some of our locations will have been seen by very few photographers before!

    But don't take my word for it! There's a great little e-brochure I've created which has all the details - click following link to have a look! http://issuu.com/workingpro/docs/adventuresinnz-2015/1

    Hamersley Gorge. Is this a different view? Probably not!

    My little comment about originality in photography received a lot of supportive comments a few weeks back. However, sometimes when you visit a location, it can be difficult to be original. And even when you try something new, chances are someone else has done it before you.

    Such as this 'different' view of Spa Pool at Hamersley Gorge. The front of this amazing rock formation has become very popular in recent years, so when Tony Hewitt and I visited there last week with ten intrepid photographers, I looked for an angle that was 'different'. Well, different for me, but I am sure there are many photographers viewing this newsletter who have taken a similar angle.

    Don't get me wrong. If you visit Hamersley Gorge, I think you should photograph the pool from the front. It's like visiting Uluru or the Sydney Opera House. It's a rite of passage for all of us to photograph these icons and to add them to our portfolio.

    However, I have been lucky enough to visit Hamersley a couple of times before, so on this occasion, I had the luxury of looking for something that was new for me - and hopefully my treatment of the image will make it distinctively mine.

    It has been photographed with a 23mm Rodenstock Digaron lens on an Alpa TC with a Phase One IQ180 medium format back. The raw file was processed in Capture One and the final post-production in Photoshop. The bright colour on the water in the background is natural, just in case you were wondering, as is the colour of the rocks on the right. Most unlike me, isn't it!

    If you're interested in joining Tony Hewitt and me on our next trip to New Zealand this June, we have some places left and we are definitely going. Think of it as nearly a week of high-powered photographic instruction, from our capture secrets all the way through to one-on-one post-production instruction in the New Zealand High Country. And unlike Hamersley Gorge, I can guarantee that some of our locations will have been seen by very few photographers before!

    But don't take my word for it! There's a great little e-brochure I've created which has all the details - click here to have a look!

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/a-different-view-hamersley-gorge-karijini-national-park Mon, 27 Apr 2015 14:00:00 GMT
    Antarctica, South Georgia & The Falklands https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/antarctica-south-georgia-the-falklands

    Weddell Sea, Antarctica. You can see this scene in the six part Tales By Light television series on the National
    Geographic Channel in Australia, beginning Sunday 24 May 2015.

    Would you like to voyage to Antarctica with AIPP Grand Master Peter Eastway, and cinematographer and Canon Master Abraham Joffe?

    After completing the Canon/National Geographic Tales By Light television series, in which Abraham filmed Peter working in Antarctica and South Georgia, Aurora Expeditions has invited Peter and Abraham on a return voyage this coming November/December and you're invited!

    The voyage takes in the Falklands and South Georgia, as well as Elephant Island and Antarctica. And it's early in the season, so there will be heaps of wonderful ice and snow to get amongst, and no shortage of penguins, seals and birdlife. On board, Peter and Abraham will provide expert tuition and assistance, for both capture and post-production skills - it's the ideal trip of a lifetime with the bonus you'll improve your photography as well!

    If you're interested, all you have to do is visit the Aurora Expeditions website and book in. Let them know you want to join in with the photography group and Aurora can help you with all your travel details. For more information, visit www.auroraexpeditions.com.au or click here. It's the Scotia Sea voyage.

    To touch base directly with Peter, email him on eastway@betterphotography.com.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Antarctica Weddell Sea https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/antarctica-south-georgia-the-falklands Sun, 19 Apr 2015 14:15:00 GMT
    Stromness House https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/4/stromness-house Stromness, South Georgia. Shot with a Canon EOS-1D X and an EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens,
    1/8000 second at f3.2, ISO 800, handheld from a moving zodiac.

    I dropped into my lab in Melbourne (The Edge Photo Imaging in Collingwood) to pick up some prints on Kodak's metallic Endura paper. There are a couple of inkjet papers that produce a shiny, psuedo-metallic look, but none that match the conventional photography process for metallic prints - in my humble opinion.

    The images were of my Antarctica trip which I'm currently working on. I'm in the middle of finalising the stills for the National Geographic television series, produced in partnership with Canon, and based on the comments by one of the people down at the lab, I'm thinking I might have to work a little harder!

    My friend at the lab didn't think the photographs were mine because they didn't have enough post-production! They didn't have my signature colour or vignetting or whatever it is I'm supposed to do.

    It was surprising to be told this as I was wondering if there was too much post-production on some of the images (such as the one above). Included in the selection of photographs were exposures that required very little adjustment, but others had quite a bit of work done to them, so perhaps I should be flattered that they all seemed to have so little! I like the idea of 'invisible Photoshop' (or invisible Lightroom, Capture One etcetera).

    At the Camberwell Camera Club presentation in Melbourne last Monday night, I spoke to a room of 250-300 people kind enough to listen and watch my slide shows. I spoke about the need for everyone to do at least some post-production to their images, if not for effect, then to ensure the correct exposure, contrast and colour that matches their memory of the scene or situation they have photographed.

    I also suggested that what was too much for one photographer might not be enough for another. The question really isn't about post-production, rather the amount of post-production and where do you stop.

    Now I admit that my images from Antarctica to date have been processed with slightly less 'imagination' than other projects, but that's partly because of the job. However, given the association my segment is going to have with photographer Frank Hurley, I'm thinking maybe I need to do a little more! (Hurley is renowned for dropping in a sky or tweaking his photographs for good effect - 100 years ago!)

    The photograph reproduced here is of the whaling ruins at Stromness on South Georgia, which is part of the Antarctic voyage I took with cinematographer and Canon Master Abraham Joffe on Aurora's Polar Pioneer. The edited one is above, the pre-edit below.

    I have been invited by Aurora, along with Abraham, to take a group of photographers down to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands late November / early December 2015. Naturally, it will include lots of photographic tuition and post-production advice as well, so an ideal opportunity to see some of the most amazing locations on the planet, and improve your photography skills as well..

    If you're interested to find out more, shoot me an email at eastway@betterphotography.com, or you can try this link to Aurora's website: http://www.auroraexpeditions.com.au/expeditions/expedition/scotia-sea-springtime

    And also a gentle reminder that I have an introductory, hands-on Photoshop workshop in Dee Why, Sydney. There are still a few places left, so if you want to master layers and take control of Photoshop, this is the course to take. It includes sample files and lots of notes, and we'll be going through images step-by-step to ensure you understand it all!Click here for details or visit the Workshop section on the Better Photography website.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/4/stromness-house Fri, 17 Apr 2015 02:03:51 GMT
    Not Enough Post-Production? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/not-enough-post-production

    Stromness, South Georgia. Shot with a Canon EOS-1D X and an EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens,
    1/8000 second at f3.2, ISO 800, handheld from a moving zodiac.

    I dropped into my lab in Melbourne (The Edge Photo Imaging in Collingwood) to pick up some prints on Kodak's metallic Endura paper. There are a couple of inkjet papers that produce a shiny, psuedo-metallic look, but none that match the conventional photography process for metallic prints - in my humble opinion.

    The images were of my Antarctica trip which I'm currently working on. I'm in the middle of finalising the stills for the National Geographic television series, produced in partnership with Canon, and based on the comments by one of the people down at the lab, I'm thinking I might have to work a little harder!

    My friend at the lab didn't think the photographs were mine because they didn't have enough post-production! They didn't have my signature colour or vignetting or whatever it is I'm supposed to do.

    It was surprising to be told this as I was wondering if there was too much post-production on some of the images (such as the one above). Included in the selection of photographs were exposures that required very little adjustment, but others had quite a bit of work done to them, so perhaps I should be flattered that they all seemed to have so little! I like the idea of 'invisible Photoshop' (or invisible Lightroom, Capture One etcetera).

    At the Camberwell Camera Club presentation in Melbourne last Monday night, I spoke to a room of 250-300 people kind enough to listen and watch my slide shows. I spoke about the need for everyone to do at least some post-production to their images, if not for effect, then to ensure the correct exposure, contrast and colour that matches their memory of the scene or situation they have photographed.

    I also suggested that what was too much for one photographer might not be enough for another. The question really isn't about post-production, rather the amount of post-production and where do you stop.

    Now I admit that my images from Antarctica to date have been processed with slightly less 'imagination' than other projects, but that's partly because of the job. However, given the association my segment is going to have with photographer Frank Hurley, I'm thinking maybe I need to do a little more! (Hurley is renowned for dropping in a sky or tweaking his photographs for good effect - 100 years ago!)

    The photograph reproduced here is of the whaling ruins at Stromness on South Georgia, which is part of the Antarctic voyage I took with cinematographer and Canon Master Abraham Joffe on Aurora's Polar Pioneer. The edited one is above, the pre-edit below.

    I have been invited by Aurora, along with Abraham, to take a group of photographers down to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands late November / early December 2015. Naturally, it will include lots of photographic tuition and post-production advice as well, so an ideal opportunity to see some of the most amazing locations on the planet, and improve your photography skills as well..

    If you're interested to find out more, shoot me an email at eastway@betterphotography.com, or you can try this link to Aurora's website: http://www.auroraexpeditions.com.au/expeditions/expedition/scotia-sea-springtime

    And also a gentle reminder that I have an introductory, hands-on Photoshop workshop in Dee Why, Sydney. There are still a few places left, so if you want to master layers and take control of Photoshop, this is the course to take. It includes sample files and lots of notes, and we'll be going through images step-by-step to ensure you understand it all!Click here for details or visit the Workshop section on the Better Photography website.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) South Georgia Stromness https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/not-enough-post-production Wed, 15 Apr 2015 14:00:00 GMT
    The Comparison Print - For Free! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/4/the-comparison-print---for-free Admiralty IslandsAdmiralty IslandsAdmiralty Islands, Lord Howe Island. Part of the EAST exhibition by ND5 currently on at Maud Creative gallery in Newstead, Brisbane.

    Do you know what a great print really looks like? What should your blacks look like? How sharp and clear should it appear? Is it okay to push the colours, or are pastels a better fit?

    Creating a print is what photography is all about. A lot of people start with digital cameras and their iPads or computer monitors, but once they see their images as a beautiful print, their aims and aspirations change. Immediately and for the better. Prints are wonderful! (And I admit I am biased.)

    At the ND5 workshop in Brisbane (which will be repeated in Melbourne on the Sunday after Easter), I listened to Les Walkling talk about exhibitions and how he attains optimum print quality. Les also described how he learnt what a great print looked like and I'd like to paraphrase his explanation.
    One of the greatest modernist photographers is Edward Weston. When you see an original Weston print, there is a presence and a luminosity about it that is transcendental. While working in America, Les would sneak into the public galleries early in the morning and, when no one was looking, hold up one of his prints next to one of Weston's. This would soon show him whether or not his print was on the right track. He says he did this for several weeks until he finally produced a single print he was happy with.

    Les also talks about holding up his hand in front of a print. If your hand looks more alive than the print, you have failed. It's only when your hand looks like a lump of lifeless meat in comparison to your print that you know you have succeeded.

    Now, I'm sure I have got these stories slightly wrong, but the message I took away was that we need to look at original prints to really understand what a great photograph looks like. The internet and photography books are great, but they are not as educational as the real thing.

    So, how do you get to see a great print? Here are two suggestions. First, visit a gallery. Wow! That was easy! Check out the programs online at your major and regional galleries first as they have a range of photography shows throughout the year. Not all shows are by 'photographers', so be picky about who you use as a role model.

    Second, come along to the next ND5 workshop in Melbourne and you will receive an A3 original print by one of the ND5 photographers. While some people may choose to frame and hang it, its intended purpose is for you to inspect and study. It will be an original print on Canson paper using Epson pigment inks, signed and embossed, but more importantly, you can get an idea of the fundamental building blocks of what makes a great print great.

    The value of one of these prints is several hundred dollars, but we're including it in the $195 attendance fee. The seminar is on Sunday 12 April at the Monash Gallery of Art in Melbourne. For full details, click the following link or visit the Better Photography website and look in the shop under Workshops. http://www.betterphotography.com/…/bpshop-sp-18927/workshops

    (And attendees at our Brisbane workshop should expect a surprise in the mail in a couple of weeks - we didn't forget you!)
    Admiralty Islands, Lord Howe Island. Part of the EAST exhibition by ND5 currently
    on at Maud Creative gallery in Newstead, Brisbane.

    Do you know what a great print really looks like? What should your blacks look like? How sharp and clear should it appear? Is it okay to push the colours, or are pastels a better fit?

    Creating a print is what photography is all about. A lot of people start with digital cameras and their iPads or computer monitors, but once they see their images as a beautiful print, their aims and aspirations change. Immediately and for the better. Prints are wonderful! (And I admit I am biased.)

    At the ND5 workshop in Brisbane (which will be repeated in Melbourne on the Sunday after Easter), I listened to Les Walkling talk about exhibitions and how he attains optimum print quality. Les also described how he learnt what a great print looked like and I'd like to paraphrase his explanation.

    One of the greatest modernist photographers is Edward Weston. When you see an original Weston print, there is a presence and a luminosity about it that is transcendental. While working in America, Les would sneak into the public galleries early in the morning and, when no one was looking, hold up one of his prints next to one of Weston's. This would soon show him whether or not his print was on the right track. He says he did this for several weeks until he finally produced a single print he was happy with.

    Les also talks about holding up his hand in front of a print. If your hand looks more alive than the print, you have failed. It's only when your hand looks like a lump of lifeless meat in comparison to your print that you know you have succeeded.

    Now, I'm sure I have got these stories slightly wrong, but the message I took away was that we need to look at original prints to really understand what a great photograph looks like. The internet and photography books are great, but they are not as educational as the real thing.

    So, how do you get to see a great print? Here are two suggestions. First, visit a gallery. Wow! That was easy! Check out the programs online at your major and regional galleries first as they have a range of photography shows throughout the year. Not all shows are by 'photographers', so be picky about who you use as a role model.

    Second, come along to the next ND5 workshop in Melbourne and you will receive an A3 original print by one of the ND5 photographers. While some people may choose to frame and hang it, its intended purpose is for you to inspect and study. It will be an original print on Canson paper using Epson pigment inks, signed and embossed, but more importantly, you can get an idea of the fundamental building blocks of what makes a great print great.

    The value of one of these prints is several hundred dollars, but we're including it in the $195 attendance fee. The seminar is on Sunday 12 April at the Monash Gallery of Art in Melbourne. For full details, click here or visit the Better Photography website and look in the shop under Workshops.

    (And attendees at our Brisbane workshop should expect a surprise in the mail in a couple of weeks - we didn't forget you!)

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/4/the-comparison-print---for-free Mon, 06 Apr 2015 09:00:00 GMT
    Tales By Light Preview https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/tales-by-light-preview

    The taking of this photograph will be featured in Episode 6 of Tales by Light.

    The following is a press release from Canon I have great delight in sharing!

    Canon Australia and National Geographic Channel have announced their partnership to deliver Australian viewers a new television series that gives rare insight into the eyes of some of Australia's, and the world's best photographic storytellers.

    Titled Tales by Light, the series will air in six episodes premiering from 8.30pm AEST Sunday 24 May on National Geographic Channel.

    Tales By Light is the first television series produced by Canon Australia and is a natural progression for the photographic brand, explains Canon's Director of Consumer Imaging and Executive Producer for the Series, Jason McLean: "We see our role in imaging as enabling people to tell their stories, and what better than inspiring a large and passionate audience through the eyes of some of the best storytellers in the world. The partnership with National Geographic Channel is a perfect fit for us given their dedication to telling powerful stories through captivating imagery."

    Produced by emerging cinematographer and Canon Master, Abraham Joffe, Tales by Light showcases Art Wolfe, Richard I'Anson, Krystle Wright, Darren Jew and Peter Eastway pushing the limits of their craft in some of the world's most extreme and fascinating environments. Each a master of their respective field, the photographers give rare insight into their endless journeys as visual storytellers - their challenges, motivations, and moments of joy in capturing an elusive moment by light. Shot in 4K resolution, the series is a stunning visual spectacle to immerse and inspire viewers through new ways of viewing the world around them.

    To see a teaser produced by Abraham, click here.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Antarctica By Light Tales https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/tales-by-light-preview Wed, 25 Mar 2015 04:00:00 GMT
    Is Shooting In The Mist Easy? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/is-shooting-in-the-mist-easy Blenheim MistBlenheim MistBlenheim, New Zealand. Is shooting in the mist easy?

    Photographs in the mist can look really great, but why? And if there is lots of mist around, is it easy to shoot great photographs?

    I'm not sure if it is ever easy to come up with great photographs, but I agree that for people who live in non-misty environments, seeing a photograph of mist is a positive. For many readers, mist will be a rarity and so photographing it becomes more enjoyable. For others (perhaps the early risers), mist might be a regular occurrence and so photographs of it may not be so appealing.

    I'm not generally an early riser, so I really enjoy shooting in the mist. What I like about misty photographs is the sense of mystery that is created in the background. Not only does it simplify the composition, it partially hides things from view and this intruigues me. I think most of us are much the same?

    There are lots of different ways to shoot in the mist. With a telephoto lens, you can look for silhouettes (of trees and buildings perhaps), searching for interesting shapes and compositions. With a wider lens, I tend to position myself near something of interest. Generally, it can be quite clearly seen, but the background quickly fills in with the thickness of the mist.

    This is how I have approached the river scene in Blenheim, New Zealand. For me, the image is two simple lines - the horizon and the diagonal edge of the river. I've also kept the colour simple with a limited palette of blues and greys.

    It's not a competition winner because it's too quiet, but it appeals to me and I hope after reading a few of these newsletters you'll agree that not every photograph has to be a competition winner. The first person to impress with our photography is ourself. Not everyone will like your favourite shots, but you'll be pleasantly surprised how many people do. Sometimes it's just having the courage to post it on Facebook or Flickr and seeing what people think.

    I don't expect to get massive sales of this photograph, but it's one that brings back good memories of the workshop in New Zealand last year. It was great being up early, wandering through the mists, searching for photographs. Tony Hewitt and I have another workshop in New Zealand this June, so if you're thinking about joining us, please book soon so we can get an idea of numbers. We're expecting it to be full of amazing photographs, plus you get to listen to Tony and I giving each other a hard time!

    There's a great little e-brochure I've created which has all the details - click following link to have a look!http://issuu.com/workingpro/docs/adventuresinnz-2015/1

    Blenheim, New Zealand. Is shooting in the mist easy?

    Photographs in the mist can look really great, but why? And if there is lots of mist around, is it easy to shoot great photographs?

    I'm not sure if it is ever easy to come up with great photographs, but I agree that for people who live in non-misty environments, seeing a photograph of mist is a positive. For many readers, mist will be a rarity and so photographing it becomes more enjoyable. For others (perhaps the early risers), mist might be a regular occurrence and so photographs of it may not be so appealing.

    I'm not generally an early riser, so I really enjoy shooting in the mist. What I like about misty photographs is the sense of mystery that is created in the background. Not only does it simplify the composition, it partially hides things from view and this intruigues me. I think most of us are much the same?

    There are lots of different ways to shoot in the mist. With a telephoto lens, you can look for silhouettes (of trees and buildings perhaps), searching for interesting shapes and compositions. With a wider lens, I tend to position myself near something of interest. Generally, it can be quite clearly seen, but the background quickly fills in with the thickness of the mist.

    This is how I have approached the river scene in Blenheim, New Zealand. For me, the image is two simple lines - the horizon and the diagonal edge of the river. I've also kept the colour simple with a limited palette of blues and greys.

    It's not a competition winner because it's too quiet, but it appeals to me and I hope after reading a few of these newsletters you'll agree that not every photograph has to be a competition winner. The first person to impress with our photography is ourself. Not everyone will like your favourite shots, but you'll be pleasantly surprised how many people do. Sometimes it's just having the courage to post it on Facebook or Flickr and seeing what people think.

    I don't expect to get massive sales of this photograph, but it's one that brings back good memories of the workshop in New Zealand last year. It was great being up early, wandering through the mists, searching for photographs. Tony Hewitt and I have another workshop in New Zealand this June, so if you're thinking about joining us, please book soon so we can get an idea of numbers. We're expecting it to be full of amazing photographs, plus you get to listen to Tony and I giving each other a hard time!

    There's a great little e-brochure I've created which has all the details - click here to have a look!

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Blenheim Mist New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/is-shooting-in-the-mist-easy Tue, 24 Mar 2015 04:00:00 GMT
    Blue Mountains, Sydney https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/blue-mountains-sydney Grose ValleyGrose ValleyThe photo above will be best viewed as a large print. Why? Because there is a wealth of edge detail in the myriad trees and branches in the valley below. Take a look at what I mean: visit www.betterphotography.com for detail of this image.


    Now I'm not exactly sure how this will look on your computer screen, but hopefuly it will look reasonably crisp and sharp. Certainly the original file does to my eye and I will make a print on Canson BFK Rives paper tomorrow.

    The photo was taken on the Canson Kayell Blue Mountains weekend just passed when Tony Hewitt, Alexia Sinclair and I entertained a dozen photographers and Kayell staff for a couple of days. It was pretty full on with early starts and unnecessarily late finishes, but great food and company. Thanks to Rob Gatto and his staff for making it all happen and Glen Tewierik at Canson for his company's great support.

    The on-the-ground logistics were organised by David Glazebrook who lives at the base of the Blue Mountains and was ideally suited for the job with his inside knowledge of some great locations. This one I had never visited before, although it looks over Govetts Creek and the Grose River like many other lookouts.

    In the back of my mind is a database of images and styles that I like. One that sits there is a finely detailed patina of trees and branches, with a dark background and edges etched nearly paper white. I'm still trying to capture the perfect example, so when I found myself looking out over this scene, I knew what I wanted to achieve immediately.

    The photo was taken before sunrise, so the light in the valley is soft and even. In Capture One, I output the file with low contrast, but then in Photoshop I started working more carefully, building up the contrast. This was achieved in two ways, but with many layers. The first approach was to clip the shadows so they were solid black in places. You can see this in the detail above and I did this using curve adjustment layers. The second approach was to use the equivalent of the clarity slider in Lightroom and Capture One to etch the edges of the leaves and branches. I used the High Pass filter with a radius of 1 on a copy layer of the image, blended with linear light.

    I've seen photographs of this location covered with a blanket of heavy fog, and while initially I was a little disappointed with the tiny patches of mist hugging the Grose River, I now think it was just right for what I was after. Mind you, I wouldn't mind a little more next time I visit!

    Early morning looking over the Blue Mountains National Park.
    Phase One 645DF with IQ180 digital back, 110mm Schneider lens.

    The photo above will be best viewed as a large print. Why? Because there is a wealth of edge detail in the myriad trees and branches in the valley below. Take a look at what I mean:

    Detail of the image above.

    Now I'm not exactly sure how this will look on your computer screen, but hopefuly it will look reasonably crisp and sharp. Certainly the original file does to my eye and I will make a print on Canson BFK Rives paper tomorrow.

    The photo was taken on the Canson Kayell Blue Mountains weekend just passed when Tony Hewitt, Alexia Sinclair and I entertained a dozen photographers and Kayell staff for a couple of days. It was pretty full on with early starts and unnecessarily late finishes, but great food and company. Thanks to Rob Gatto and his staff for making it all happen and Glen Tewierik at Canson for his company's great support.

    The on-the-ground logistics were organised by David Glazebrook who lives at the base of the Blue Mountains and was ideally suited for the job with his inside knowledge of some great locations. This one I had never visited before, although it looks over Govetts Creek and the Grose River like many other lookouts.

    In the back of my mind is a database of images and styles that I like. One that sits there is a finely detailed patina of trees and branches, with a dark background and edges etched nearly paper white. I'm still trying to capture the perfect example, so when I found myself looking out over this scene, I knew what I wanted to achieve immediately.

    The photo was taken before sunrise, so the light in the valley is soft and even. In Capture One, I output the file with low contrast, but then in Photoshop I started working more carefully, building up the contrast. This was achieved in two ways, but with many layers. The first approach was to clip the shadows so they were solid black in places. You can see this in the detail above and I did this using curve adjustment layers. The second approach was to use the equivalent of the clarity slider in Lightroom and Capture One to etch the edges of the leaves and branches. I used the High Pass filter with a radius of 1 on a copy layer of the image, blended with linear light.

    I've seen photographs of this location covered with a blanket of heavy fog, and while initially I was a little disappointed with the tiny patches of mist hugging the Grose River, I now think it was just right for what I was after. Mind you, I wouldn't mind a little more next time I visit!

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Blue Mountains https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/blue-mountains-sydney Tue, 17 Mar 2015 04:00:00 GMT
    ND5 Secret: Wyndham, Kimblerley! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/nd5-secret-wyndham-kimblerley Wyndham LoopsWyndham LoopsThe ND5 group - Christian Fletcher, Michael Fletcher, Tony Hewitt, Les Walkling and I - agreed not to share our recent images from the Kimberley and Lord Howe Island until the exhibition, so I am thinking I will be in trouble with Christian. Mind you, he's in Iceland at the moment, so hopefully he doesn't have internet...

    In any event, this photo isn't going into the exhibition. It didn't make the final cut (and I can hear Christian saying that's just as well - but I don't listen to him too much or too often), and so I figure I can post it. Besides, I have to let everyone know about the exhibition opening in Brisbane at the end of this month and the one day workshop.

    The workshop is being repeated in Melbourne in mid-April, but the exhibition is not. However, we have another exhibition at the Monash Gallery of Art which features our earlier work and an amazing video installation by Michael. For more information about the workshops and accompanying exhibitions, visit www.betterphotography.com and go to our shop, or click the link at the end of this blog.

    This photo looks easy enough to take and in many ways it was. The challenge was finding just the right angle where the surroundings looked as though this river system went on forever. I had fifty or so shots out of which just three or four were to my liking - and the one I like the most is in the exhibition.

    The photos were taken from a helicopter using a Phase One 645DF with an 80mm Schneider lens and an IQ180 back. The colour of the mudflats in the middle of the day was less than exciting, so I thought of black and white and then moved to a 'lith film' effect. The river itself has been lightened up using a mask and a curves adjustment layer, and then adjusted so that it stands out just enough, but hopefully not too much. http://www.betterphotography.com/…/bpshop-sp-18927/workshops

    Wyndham's lazy tidal system makes great patterns from the air.

    The ND5 group - Christian Fletcher, Michael Fletcher, Tony Hewitt, Les Walkling and I - agreed not to share our recent images from the Kimberley and Lord Howe Island until the exhibition, so I am thinking I will be in trouble with Christian. Mind you, he's in Iceland at the moment, so hopefully he doesn't have internet...

    In any event, this photo isn't going into the exhibition. It didn't make the final cut (and I can hear Christian saying that's just as well - but I don't listen to him too much or too often), and so I figure I can post it. Besides, I have to let everyone know about the exhibition opening in Brisbane at the end of this month and the one day workshop.

    The workshop is being repeated in Melbourne in mid-April, but the exhibition is not. However, we have another exhibition at the Monash Gallery of Art which features our earlier work and an amazing video installation by Michael. For more information about the workshops and accompanying exhibitions, click here.

    The photo above looks easy enough to take and in many ways it was. The challenge was finding just the right angle where the surroundings looked as though this river system went on forever. I had fifty or so shots out of which just three or four were to my liking - and the one I like the most is in the exhbition.

    The photos were taken from a helicopter using a Phase One 645DF with an 80mm Schneider lens and an IQ180 back. The colour of the mudflats in the middle of the day was less than exciting, so I thought of black and white and then moved to a 'lith film' effect. The river itself has been lightened up using a mask and a curves adjustment layer, and then adjusted so that it stands out just enough, but hopefully not too much

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/nd5-secret-wyndham-kimblerley Tue, 10 Mar 2015 04:00:00 GMT
    Janie Seddon All At Sea https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/janie-seddon-all-at-sea Janie Seddon All At SeaJanie Seddon All At SeaI'll have to find out who Janie was. Well, Janie Seddon actually, as this is the name of the wreck at Motueka on the northern tip of New Zealand's south island. Probably easier for me to ask Will Parsons from Driftwood Eco-Tours who will be taking us on another photographic workshop with Tony Hewitt this June on a return visit.

    The stepping stones assist you to walk out to the wreck at low tide without getting your boots muddy. When I took this photo, the tide was coming in and I got my boots wet anyway - I was too busy concentrating on the scene in my viewfinder to worry about a little water down below!

    As you can see from the preliminary file (visit www,betterphotography.com to view), I have used Photoshop layers to enhance what was already there. The warm yellows of the sun were shaded by a low headland to the left, so where I was standing was coloured blue and grey from the clouds above. I enhanced this separation of colour values in post-production.

    First, I added a blue Color Fill adjustment layer, blended on softlight, but masked out the area in the middle of the image where the wreck is sitting. The mask was just a big brush stroke with a soft black brush. This created a cool colour balance in the foreground and the clouds above.

    Next, I added a gold Color Fill adjustment layer, also blended on softlight, but this time I masked the top and bottom of the photograph so the warmth was restricted to the wreck and the area immediately around it.

    This brings the subject forward in the photograph. Warm colours advance while cool colours recede, or so the theory goes.

    If you're interested in joining Tony Hewitt and me on a workshop to the north of New Zealand in June this year, including this location, there are still places available. For more information, visit the Better Photography website and look for the workshops in the online shop, or click the link below. http://www.betterphotography.com/index.php/bpshop-sp-18927/workshops/adventures-in-new-zealand-7-13-june-2015-deposit-detail

    SS Janie Seddon wreck. Taken on our NZ workshop last year.

    I'll have to find out who Janie was. Well, Janie Seddon actually, as this is the name of the wreck at Motueka on the northern tip of New Zealand's south island. Probably easier for me to ask Will Parsons from Driftwood Eco-Tours who will be taking us on another photographic workshop with Tony Hewitt this June on a return visit.

    The stepping stones assist you to walk out to the wreck at low tide without getting your boots muddy. When I took this photo, the tide was coming in and I got my boots wet anyway - I was too busy concentrating on the scene in my viewfinder to worry about a little water down below!

    As you can see from the preliminary file below, I have used Photoshop layers to enhance what was already there. The warm yellows of the sun were shaded by a low headland to the left, so where I was standing was coloured blue and grey from the clouds above. I enhanced this separation of colour values in post-production.

    First, I added a blue Color Fill adjustment layer, blended on softlight, but masked out the area in the middle of the image where the wreck is sitting. The mask was just a big brush stroke with a soft black brush. This created a cool colour balance in the foreground and the clouds above.

    Next, I added a gold Color Fill adjustment layer, also blended on softlight, but this time I masked the top and bottom of the photograph so the warmth was restricted to the wreck and the area immediately around it.

    This brings the subject forward in the photograph. Warm colours advance while cool colours recede, or so the theory goes.

    If you're interested in joining Tony Hewitt and me on a workshop to the north of New Zealand in June this year, including this location, there are still places available. For more information, visit the Better Photography website and look for the workshops in the online shop, or click here.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Janie New Seddon Ship Wreck Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/janie-seddon-all-at-sea Thu, 05 Mar 2015 04:00:00 GMT
    Returning From Antarctica https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/returning-from-antarctica

    Icebergs (small variety), Seymour Island, Antarctica.
    Canon EOS-1D X, 24mm lens, f11 @ 1/200 second, ISO 100.

    These cute little icebergs (each is about the size of a table) were found stranded on a remote beach at low tide on Seymour Island, tucked away in the Weddell Sea.

    I've just returned from a voyage with Aurora's Polar Pioneer down to Antarctica, across to South Georgia, up to the Falklands and then back to Punto Williams in southern Chile. I travelled with Abraham and Jen Joffe and Blake Castle, who were shooting video while I was shooting stills. We all agreed it was a great way to earn a living and pinched ourselves several times that we were really down in the deep, deep south, experiencing some of the world's most delightful and exotic locations. All about our job will be revealed in the next few weeks.

    On my previous trip to Antarctica, I spent seven days in overcast or heavy snowfall with just a two hour window of half-sunlight to play with. On this trip, we had a perfect blue-bird evening with a full moon rising just as the sun set on the other side. The following morning was just as clear, but by the afternoon, the weather had closed in and, as you can see from the unedited image below, the light was a little lacklustre. However, it snowed that night, giving us the four seasons in one day.

    So while the light wasn't perfect on Seymour Island, overall there was nothing to complain about and I just had to make the most of what was there. I spent an afternoon walking along this beach, shooting a series of photographs that featured these amazing shapes. It reminded me a little of the beach in Iceland where the icebergs get washed up - it would have been great to see what Seymour Island was like at high tide!

    The photographs were taken with a 24mm wide-angle lens with two exposures, one normally and a second with a ND filter so I could blur the water. I then joined the two images together. I find that the camera only has to move half a pixel during the 30 or 60 second exposure to introduce some unwanted blur. By using the normal exposure (at 1/200 second) as the base, everything is crisp and sharp. I then add in the long exposure as as second layer and brush in (through a mask) the blurred water. It gives me the best of both worlds and while it might not make too much difference in a small reproduction like this, it can be very important for a larger print or paper reproduction.

    The raw files were processed in Capture One and the post-production completed in Photoshop. I also moved the foreground iceberg up a little bit to make a tighter composition (just in case you noticed a difference!). More from Antarctica soon!

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/returning-from-antarctica Fri, 27 Feb 2015 04:00:00 GMT
    Hanging Cow Creek https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/hanging-cow-creek Hanging Cow CreekHanging Cow CreekI asked our New Zealand tour guide Will Parsons for the name of this little alpine river.

    "Hanging Cow Creek", was his immediate reply. Will has lived in this area all his life and, as an ex-farmer, he seems to know everyone and every place. I'm sure he told me whose land this was as well!

    We had all bundled out of the minibus when I spied this turn in the river several hundred feet below us. Although the sun was reasonably high in the sky, you can often find interesting light in the mountains because the sun is side lighting the landform somewhere.

    Out on the plains when the sun is positioned directly above, the light is flat and generally pretty boring. This is why photographers prefer to shoot in the early morning or late afternoon because the light is at a more acute angle to the landscape, creating form and shadow and revealing much more detail.

    However, once you get into the mountains, this rule no longer applies because the landscape is no longer flat. Look around and you'll see some mountain sides in bright sunlight, others in deep shadow, and the ones in between often have some wonderful side lighting.

    This photograph wasn't taken at midday, but as you can see in the background, it was still quite high in the sky. Some clouds created an interesting chiaroscuro back there, but what really caught my eye was the cliff face at the apex of the bend in the river. It was bathed in bright sunshine, while the surrounding cliffs were in shadow. It was a perfect vignette.

    I used a 10x neutral density filter and a sturdy tripod, meaning my exposure was 30 seconds at f11 and ISO 35. This blurs the river and gives it a slightly milky appearance.
    The file was processed in Capture One, including some adjustment layers to control the tonality. I darkened the foreground which was also in bright sunshine - and not wanted. The image was then slipped into Photoshop for some final adjustments and the result is above. It still has a little work to do - and maybe a larger tree or a building out on the edge of the cliff.

    Perhaps I could hang a cow? (Just a plastic one, of course. After all, I am a vegetarian!)

    If you're interested in joining Tony Hewitt and me on a workshop to the north of New Zealand in June this year, including this location, there are still places available. For more information, visit the Better Photography website and look for the workshops in the online shop, or click following link: http://www.betterphotography.com/index.php/bpshop-sp-18927/workshops/adventures-in-new-zealand-7-13-june-2015-deposit-detail

    Hanging Cow Creek, New Zealand High Country. Taken on our NZ workshop last year.

     

    I asked our New Zealand tour guide Will Parsons for the name of this little alpine river.

    "Hanging Cow Creek", was his immediate reply. Will has lived in this area all his life and, as an ex-farmer, he seems to know everyone and every place. I'm sure he told me whose land this was as well!

    We had all bundled out of the minibus when I spied this turn in the river several hundred feet below us. Although the sun was reasonably high in the sky, you can often find interesting light in the mountains because the sun is side lighting the landform somewhere.

    Out on the plains when the sun is positioned directly above, the light is flat and generally pretty boring. This is why photographers prefer to shoot in the early morning or late afternoon because the light is at a more acute angle to the landscape, creating form and shadow and revealing much more detail.

    However, once you get into the mountains, this rule no longer applies because the landscape is no longer flat. Look around and you'll see some mountain sides in bright sunlight, others in deep shadow, and the ones in between often have some wonderful side lighting.

    This photograph wasn't taken at midday, but as you can see in the background, it was still quite high in the sky. Some clouds created an interesting chiaroscuro back there, but what really caught my eye was the cliff face at the apex of the bend in the river. It was bathed in bright sunshine, while the surrounding cliffs were in shadow. It was a perfect vignette.

    I used a 10x neutral density filter and a sturdy tripod, meaning my exposure was 30 seconds at f11 and ISO 35. This blurs the river and gives it a slightly milky appearance.

    The file was processed in Capture One, including some adjustment layers to control the tonality. I darkened the foreground which was also in bright sunshine - and not wanted. The image was then slipped into Photoshop for some final adjustments and the result is above. It still has a little work to do - and maybe a larger tree or a building out on the edge of the cliff.

    Perhaps I could hang a cow? (Just a plastic one, of course. After all, I am a vegetarian!)

    If you're interested in joining Tony Hewitt and me on a workshop to the north of New Zealand in June this year, including this location, there are still places available. For more information, visit the Better Photography website and look for the workshops in the online shop, or click here.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/hanging-cow-creek Mon, 23 Feb 2015 03:45:00 GMT
    Is This The Life? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/is-this-the-life Hill Inlet CatamaranHill Inlet CatamaranHill Inlet Catamaran, Whitsunday Island - shot on the 'Away - The Art of Photography' workshop last year.

    I've been fortunate to do quite a bit of aerial photography. Not as much as some of my professional friends, one of whom was telling me he was spending all day, every day in a plane doing survey work. I guess too much of anything becomes monotonous, but I wonder if the pilots at Hamilton Island ever get sick of flying out over Whitsunday Island and the nearby Great Barrier Reef?

    Aerial photography is greatly affected by the weather. Sometimes you can fly to where the light looks interesting, on other occasions you have to make the most of what is there. Last year we had picture-postcard perfect weather for our helicopter shoot. Part of me was ecstatic, but another part disappointed because some cloud and inclement weather around the islands can look really interesting and moody.

    However, I wasn't complaining and I dare say the people who hired the catamaran in the photograph here were pretty happy as well. They are sitting at the mouth of Hill Inlet up the north end of Whitsunday Island and Whitehaven Beach. The water really is this colour (and I know some readers might doubt the veracity of a statement like this from someone like me - but no colour pixels were transformed in the production of this photograph).

    The challenge when shooting from the air like this is nailing the exposure. It's important to retain detail in the white sands, but fortunately, there is so much light being reflected up that most cameras automatically reduce the exposure, so chances are your shots on automatic will be okay. Of course, if you have time, take a test shot quickly, check your histogram, then move on.

    In recent years, restrictions for flying over Hill Inlet have become tighter and tighter. Essentially we can fly around, but not over the top. Nevertheless, a telephoto lens will get you in close enough to create some great pattern shots. These photos were taken with a 70-200mm zoom. Normally I recommend a 28-70mm zoom or similar when shooting from a helicopter, or take two cameras with different lenses which is what I did on this occasion.

    So, which shot looks better? The tighter crop here, or the more expansive view? Visit www.betterphotography.com to see the second view and more.

    And will we see you on Hamilton Island this June for a helicopter shoot and four days of fun?

    Hill Inlet Catamaran, Whitsunday Island - shot on the 'Away - The Art of Photography' workshop last year.

    I've been fortunate to do quite a bit of aerial photography. Not as much as some of my professional friends, one of whom was telling me he was spending all day, every day in a plane doing survey work. I guess too much of anything becomes monotonous, but I wonder if the pilots at Hamilton Island ever get sick of flying out over Whitsunday Island and the nearby Great Barrier Reef?

    Aerial photography is greatly affected by the weather. Sometimes you can fly to where the light looks interesting, on other occasions you have to make the most of what is there. Last year we had picture-postcard perfect weather for our helicopter shoot. Part of me was ecstatic, but another part disappointed because some cloud and inclement weather around the islands can look really interesting and moody.

    However, I wasn't complaining and I dare say the people who hired the catamaran in the photograph above were pretty happy as well. They are sitting at the mouth of Hill Inlet up the north end of Whitsunday Island and Whitehaven Beach. The water really is this colour (and I know some readers might doubt the veracity of a statement like this from someone like me - but no colour pixels were transformed in the production of this photograph).

    The challenge when shooting from the air like this is nailing the exposure. It's important to retain detail in the white sands, but fortunately, there is so much light being reflected up that most cameras automatically reduce the exposure, so chances are your shots on automatic will be okay. Of course, if you have time, take a test shot quickly, check your histogram, then move on.

    In recent years, restrictions for flying over Hill Inlet have become tighter and tighter. Essentially we can fly around, but not over the top. Nevertheless, a telephoto lens will get you in close enough to create some great pattern shots. These photos were taken with a 70-200mm zoom. Normally I recommend a 28-70mm zoom or similar when shooting from a helicopter, or take two cameras with different lenses which is what I did on this occasion.

    So, which shot looks better? The tighter crop above, or the more expansive view below?

    And will we see you on Hamilton Island this June for a helicopter shoot and four days of fun?

    A wider view taken a few seconds earlier. Which works better for you? Personally, I prefer the tighter angle as it is more abstract, but a travel agent may prefer this one.

    Using contrast in post-production lets you reveal the shapes of the sand below the water - simply amazing.

    Another aerial over Hill Inlet. I like the square format.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Hamilton Hill Inlet Island https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/is-this-the-life Mon, 09 Feb 2015 03:45:00 GMT
    Fill Flash https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/fill-flash  

    Catseye Beach, Hamilton Island - shot on the 'Away - The Art of Photography' workshop last year.

    David Oliver and I are good friends, so please don't tell him I said this: There's so much more fun with portraiture when you shoot with flash!

    Okay, okay, so I'm not one hundred percent believing this statement. And like most things photographic, there's a time and a place for everything. And to be fair, David spent 10 years in a studio shooting with flash, so he is entitled to have his opinion. But look at the photograph above. If I had used available light for this, I'd be struggling!

    No matter how good you are at post-production, reproducing this look and feel is either impossible or it would take you way too long. It's the type of photograph which is best created in camera with flash.

    The technique is relatively simple these days and you can do it with an on-camera flash or a studio flash unit. The advantage of the studio flash unit (or an on-camera flash used off-camera) is that the angle of the light can suit your subject, rather than blasting out from the camera. On-camera flash looks so flat and boring for two reasons - it is a small, harsh light source which struggles to look good, and the angle of the flash is frontal, so there is little or no modelling produced. The trick, as all professionals will tell you, is to take the flash off the camera and introduce an angle to the light, thus giving your subject some three-dimensional modelling.

    We were using a Profoto B1 unit provided by Bruce Pottinger. However, we only had a standard dish reflector, so my mental note is to ask Bruce to bring along a softbox or a beauty dish to soften the light more.

    In terms of exposure, first you want to work out the ambient exposure (for the background). Switch to manual exposure mode. Importantly, your shutter speed needs to be at flash sync or slower (unless you have access to High Speed Sync), so in daylight this often means 1/250 second (or maybe 1/200 or 1/160) at f16 or f22, and ISO 50 or 100. Once the background is looking dark and moody, then you power up the flash and set it to provide the correct exposure for your subject. Often the automatic setting on the flash will do a great job, but setting it manually gives you more control.

    Adjust the power output to suit.

    While David takes half the group for the boring available light segment on our Hamilton Island workshop, Bruce and I enjoy the action with studio flash and a jumping model. Don't worry, the groups swap over before dark!

    What's that in Paul Cincotta's hand? A flash meter! Yes, they still exist and they are still useful! Paul is Hamilton Island's resident wedding photographer and he turns up every year to lend us a hand.

    A tired jumper. I love the fact you can just see the model's face through the fabric.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Hamilton Island https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/fill-flash Wed, 28 Jan 2015 03:45:00 GMT
    Karijini Reflections https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/karijini-reflections Hamersley ReflectionHamersley ReflectionReflection, Hamersley Gorge, Pilbara

    I try not to compliment Christian Fletcher too often. However, when I first went to Karijini, I 'noticed' a book in the Resort's reception that Christian none too subtly slipped under my nose. It was his book, of course, and it's a great book. All shot on film, which means there was a greater degree of difficulty required, and it's still for sale, not because it's a slow seller, rather I think he just printed thousands of them. I haven't looked in his garage lately to see if there are more there...

    What I remember from this book are the photographs of reflections taken in the amazing Karijini gorges. While there are many other great locations and subjects in the book (there's heaps of variety up in Karijini), I wondered how he got such vibrant reds and oranges, often contrasted against rich blues and greens. The colour palette was simply exquisite.

    I'm not talking about mirror reflections, although there are plenty of these as well, rather splashes and accents of colour within the frame. When we walked down into Weano and Dales gorges that first trip, I still didn't quite see how he had achieved his results, but with a little practice, suddenly I could see reflections everywhere. The rich reds of the Pilbara reflect in water at all times of the day, but you get that great colour contrast by shooting the gorge in shadow when the water is reflecting the sunlit escarpments.

    The image above was taken in Hamersley Gorge. Hamersley is a bit of a drive from where we stay at the Karijini Eco Resort, but with weather and road conditions allowing, it's a location we'll visit again this year. I think we'll try to get there even earlier in the afternoon so everyone has time to find lots of reflections.

    And I realise I'm not fooling anyone by running a photograph of Karijini given Tony Hewitt and I are taking a group of photographers there this April. We still have plenty of places available, but if you are thinking of it, drop me an email so we can put your name on the list. It helps us plan things, including how many helpers we may need, how many eco-tents and so on. And if you need to fly in from Newman, then booking flights sooner rather than later is a good idea as well.

    You can read all about the workshop in a great little publication we've produced - visit the www.betterphotography.com website and go to the Workshops section in the online shop.
    To view the raw image processed out of Capture One software with very little adjustment visit www.betterphotography.com. The colour is all there in the original file. The image above has a small number of layer adjusments which could have been happily made in either Capture One or Photoshop.

    I try not to compliment Christian Fletcher too often. However, when I first went to Karijini, I 'noticed' a book in the Resort's reception that Christian none too subtly slipped under my nose. It was his book, of course, and it's a great book. All shot on film, which means there was a greater degree of difficulty required, and it's still for sale, not because it's a slow seller, rather I think he just printed thousands of them. I haven't looked in his garage lately to see if there are more there...

    What I remember from this book are the photographs of reflections taken in the amazing Karijini gorges. While there are many other great locations and subjects in the book (there's heaps of variety up in Karijini), I wondered how he got such vibrant reds and oranges, often contrasted against rich blues and greens. The colour palette was simply exquisite.

    I'm not talking about mirror reflections, although there are plenty of these as well, rather splashes and accents of colour within the frame. When we walked down into Weano and Dales gorges that first trip, I still didn't quite see how he had achieved his results, but with a little practice, suddenly I could see reflections everywhere. The rich reds of the Pilbara reflect in water at all times of the day, but you get that great colour contrast by shooting the gorge in shadow when the water is reflecting the sunlit escarpments.

    The image above was taken in Hamersley Gorge. Hamersley is a bit of a drive from where we stay at the Karijini Eco Resort, but with weather and road conditions allowing, it's a location we'll visit again this year. I think we'll try to get there even earlier in the afternoon so everyone has time to find lots of reflections.

    And I realise I'm not fooling anyone by running a photograph of Karijini given Tony Hewitt and I are taking a group of photographers there this April. We still have plenty of places available, but if you are thinking of it, drop me an email so we can put your name on the list. It helps us plan things, including how many helpers we may need, how many eco-tents and so on. And if you need to fly in from Newman, then booking flights sooner rather than later is a good idea as well.

    You can read all about the workshop in a great little publication we've produced - visit the www.betterphotography.com website and go to the Workshops section in the online shop.

    The photograph below is the raw image processed out of Capture One software with very little adjustment. The colour is all there in the original file. The image above has a small number of layer adjusments which could have been happily made in either Capture One or Photoshop.

     

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/5/karijini-reflections Thu, 15 Jan 2015 03:45:00 GMT
    The Best View In The World? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/1/the-best-view-in-the-world Torres NightTorres NightTorres del Paine from the Explora Hotel grounds, Patagonia

    I hope I don't bore you with my memories of the Explora Hotels where I stayed while on a job in Chile last year. If you're flying with Qantas this month, you will see a number of my shots in the in-flight magazine, but not this one. I hope I don't get into trouble with the editor because the version I sent her was a little less refined than this final version. Just a matter of having time to process everything...

    However, Bruce Pottinger from L&P Digital Photographic will be happy because he lent me the Phase One IQ250 back to take it. L&P distributes the Phase One medium format system in Australia. I had in mind a number of night shots, but weather and location limited me to one night - this particular night.

    And it wasn't a bad night. After a sumptuous meal, I walked back up to my room to grab my camera. The view from my room was almost identical to this and some writers have said, the views from the Explora Hotel rooms are equal to the best in the world.

    I walked around 200 metres from the hotel, up a little hill and over the other side. This shielded me from most of the artificial light from my residence. In the original file, there is still some red coloration in the middle ground which was from the hotel lights, but in the final rendition above, I have disguised this.

    It wasn't a completely clear night, but the clouds that remained for the 2 minute exposure swirled exquisitely around the mountain tops. ISO 3200, f5.6, using my 23mm Rodenstock wide-angle lens.

    If you're interested in seeing how the image was transformed from the raw file conversion to the final edit using Photoshop, I've posted a short video on YouTube. Visit www.betterphotography.com for the link to the video.

    Torres del Paine from the Explora Hotel grounds, Patagonia

    I hope I don't bore you with my memories of the Explora Hotels where I stayed while on a job in Chile last year. If you're flying with Qantas this month, you will see a number of my shots in the in-flight magazine, but not this one. I hope I don't get into trouble with the editor because the version I sent her was a little less refined than this final version. Just a matter of having time to process everything...

    However, Bruce Pottinger from L&P Digital Photographic will be happy because he lent me the Phase One IQ250 back to take it. L&P distributes the Phase One medium format system in Australia. I had in mind a number of night shots, but weather and location limited me to one night - this particular night.

    And it wasn't a bad night. After a sumptuous meal, I walked back up to my room to grab my camera. The view from my room was almost identical to this and some writers have said, the views from the Explora Hotel rooms are equal to the best in the world.

    I walked around 200 metres from the hotel, up a little hill and over the other side. This shielded me from most of the artificial light from my residence. In the original file, there is still some red coloration in the middle ground which was from the hotel lights, but in the final rendition above, I have disguised this.

    It wasn't a completely clear night, but the clouds that remained for the 2 minute exposure swirled exquisitely around the mountain tops. ISO 3200, f5.6, using my 23mm Rodenstock wide-angle lens.

    If you're interested in seeing how the image was transformed from the raw file conversion to the final edit using Photoshop, I've posted a short video on YouTube. You can open it up quickly by clicking here.

    I am looking at putting together a tour to the Atacama Desert and Patagonia in 2016 with the Explora Hotel chain. This will be high class living with amazing photography opportunities. If you're interested in letting me know, please send me an email. If I don't get any emails, I won't take it any further, but if there's interest from half a dozen or so photographers, I can guarantee you a trip you'll never forget! (eastway@betterphotography.com).

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2015/1/the-best-view-in-the-world Wed, 14 Jan 2015 02:02:37 GMT
    Weano Gorge Pool https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2014/12/weano-gorge-pool

    Weano Gorge Pool, Karijini, Western Australia

    Weano Gorge Pool

    I'm still thinking about this one. Not sure if I like the warm rocks in the middle or if it is too strong. Thinking, thinking, thinking...

    For such an amazing place, it can be really challenging to capture an image that properly shows what an incredible location Karijini is. Weano and Hancock Gorges are down below Oxers Lookout, the quintessential overview that everyone who visits has to shoot. We usually shoot it once or twice because the walks into both gorges begin here, and we usually do both gorges.

    I'm not sure which gorge is better either, but I digress. Weano is an easy walk in, but then it tends to get a little wet! You definitely have to wade the first pool up to your waist, and then you have a choice of walking around the edge of the pool or just taking the plunge and swimming through. I take a dry bag to put my camera backpack in and take the plunge these days - the water is refreshing and it takes no time at all to dry at the other end.

    Past this pool is a short walk and then a series of narrow slots that are easy to walk or climb through, opening up into a small pool (seen above) before into a much larger pool, imaginatively called Hand Rail Pool because there's a hand rail to help you get into there. If you're taking a tripod, make sure you take a backpack that lets you tie your tripod on, leaving both hands free for the handrail and the ladder down to the pool. With two hands, it's very easy and very safe.

    So back to the little pool above. The photograph is taken with an ultra wide-angle lens, equivalent to a 14mm or thereabouts on a full-frame DSLR. By sitting back against the wall and bringing the tripod in towards me, I could fit the full circle of the pool into the frame. It's a simple composition. It possibly needs a little something more, like a penguin swimming through or something like that.

    Or perhaps a splash of light. This is one of the challenges shooting in the gorges. If you go during the middle of the day, direct sunshine can create incredible contrast between the highlights and shadows, making it difficult to get an adequate exposure. By shooting in the early morning or late afternoon, we don't have the problem, but the light is flatter and you have to create your own energy. Perhaps a sunbeam of light will do it, but that would mean copying one of Christian Fletcher's Freaky Fotoshop Fudges, and I couldn't do that!

    What I did notice when exploring the image in Capture One was how the image responded to different white balance settings. The raw file was processed twice, the second time with a much warmer white balance setting is and this explains the different colouration.

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    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2014/12/weano-gorge-pool Mon, 22 Dec 2014 11:02:41 GMT
    Pentecost Island, Whitsundays, Queensland https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2014/7/patagonia

    One of the good things about winter is you don't have to get up so early for sunrise! Usually when doing our walk up to Passage Peak on the Hamilton Island 'Away - The Art of Photography' workshop, we're up around 4.30 a.m. so we have time to walk the 2.7 kilometres up to the top. We usually allow an hour as different people have different walking speeds. This year the workshop was held mid July and so the sun was rising a little later. We didn't leave until 5.15. Luxury!

    The Hamilton Island workshop happens annually and is sponsored by Nikon and Hamilton Island itself. This was its 12th year and it offers amazing value for money, including four presenters (I was joined by David Oliver, Clare Oliver and Bruce Pottinger), a helicopter shoot, a boat trip out to the amazing Whitehaven Beach and the best morning and afternoon teas!

    Sunrise was at 6:40 a.m. and we arrived on top of the Peak shortly after 6.00 a.m.. There was already a hint of colour in the sky and I could see a low cloud clinging to the top of Pentecost Island. Unfortunately, there was a thick bank of cloud on top of the horizon where the sun was rising, so we weren't going to get the first rays of light as hoped for. However, shortly after 7.00 a.m., the sun cleared the cloud bank and kissed the top of Pentecost Island and the cloud on top.

    If you're interested in learning more about landscape photography, I'm holding an Advanced Landscape workshop in Dee Why at the end of August, or if you can't wait until then, David Oliver and I also have a Landscape Photography weekend up at his farm - including a helicopter shoot. Click here for details.

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    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2014/7/patagonia Sat, 26 Jul 2014 00:10:46 GMT