Peter Eastway: Blog https://www.petereastway.com/blog en-us (C) Peter Eastway [email protected] (Peter Eastway) Mon, 27 May 2024 10:31:00 GMT Mon, 27 May 2024 10:31:00 GMT https://www.petereastway.com/img/s/v-12/u1046656109-o702789578-50.jpg Peter Eastway: Blog https://www.petereastway.com/blog 86 120 Is A Story Necessary For A Good Photo? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2024/5/is-a-story-necessary-for-a-good-photo Carrarang Colours and Patterns, Shark BayCarrarang Colours and Patterns, Shark Bay

Carrarang Colours and Patterns, Shark Bay
Phase One XF IQ150, 110mm Schneider lens, f4 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 80

As I write this, Shark Bay is outside our accommodation. Under a bright blue sky, it looks unbelievably boring from down here at sea level, but once you get up into the air, the transformation is simply remarkable! And despite having been here a dozen times before (Tony Hewitt must have been here 50 times), there's always something new to discover.

In one of our workshop sessions this week, Tony discussed the need for story-telling in a photograph. Often you'll hear a judge or commentator complimenting a photograph for its story-telling and some people extrapolate this to mean all photographs should tell a story. But as Tony suggested, sometimes a photograph isn't telling a story. Or if it does have a story (because we can attach a story to anything), that story is simply, 'Doesn't this subject look interesting'!

Photography is a language and you can use it to do different things. Story-telling is one of them. So is being decorative. We take a photograph of something simply because it looks good or interesting or unusual or surprising. As photographers we don't have to think deeply about what our subject means or says, it's quite okay to be recreational and just respond to what we see. Up above Shark Bay, I'm not thinking about the stories my photographs are going to tell. Sure, I could create a series of images that are designed to tell something deep and meaningful, but the honest truth is, I'm just enjoying the experience.

Perhaps the story is what a lucky fellow I am to be leading aerial photography workshops up at Shark Bay with Tony. It's not a bad way to earn a crust!

So the takeaway is that I think it's quite acceptable to take a purely pictorial approach to photography where the message is nothing more than 'look at what I found'. For example, the attached photo has personal appeal because the colours are so different to the vibrant blues, greens and yellows which we usually associate with Shark Bay aerials - the deep, rich, tertiary reds, greens and browns really sing to me, while the little corner of light in the bottom left creates a point of difference and some relief from the darker tones above.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Aerial Shark Bay Western Australia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2024/5/is-a-story-necessary-for-a-good-photo Mon, 27 May 2024 10:31:03 GMT
Simplification and Accents https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2024/5/simplification-and-accents Driftwood, Mullimburra Point Beach, NSWDriftwood, Mullimburra Point Beach, NSW

Driftwood, Mullimburra Point Beach, NSW
Fujifilm X-H2, Fujinon XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR, f11 @ 2 seconds, ISO 64

Whether judging competitions or helping photographers with their images at workshops, I'm often struck by how much better a photograph could be if only it were simplified. 

When looking up Wikipedia to check the spelling of German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's name, I discovered that the phrase 'less is more' could be traced back well before Mr Rohe - back to Ancient Greece in fact! However, when I studied art, 'less is more' seemed to be 'more or less' fundamental to the modernism with which it is commonly associated. In terms of architecture, it said forget all the swirls and ornamentation of the Baroque era and use what is purely functional to create a cleaner aesthetic.

Okay, so I'm sure I have bastardised this concept and in any event, simplification isn't necessarily quite the same as 'less is more', but it is amazing how often people understand what I'm getting at when they hear it.

On our workshop last week, we were dodging rain squalls at Mullimburra Point. I confess to loving the experience of being out in the rain, but it takes a workshop environment to get me to do it. On the beach were a number of trees embedded in the sand and a couple of smaller branches sitting on top. After the other photographers had taken their shots (we were all being super careful about unwanted footprints in the sand), I gradually moved in on this branch. To begin, I included the horizon and the headlands in the frame, but the image was too busy. What did I want you to look at? The beach? The sky? The headlands? None of the above - it was the driftwood that looked like a character written onto the soft sand.

Gradually I moved my tripod closer and closer until I was more or less on top of the tree branch, but while the branch and sand were 'simple', it wasn't enough. So, yes, simplification is important, but that doesn't mean the photo has to be boring as well!

Every now and then, a wave would wash up the beach, getting close to the branch. The white water and its shape in the corner of the image created an 'accent', a point of difference. Of course, as soon as I wanted a wave in the frame, the ocean went quiet and I was probably waiting for around 20 minutes before an appropriate wave. But at least it wasn't raining!

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Driftwood Mullimburra Point Beach https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2024/5/simplification-and-accents Mon, 20 May 2024 01:56:20 GMT
Not Camel Rock Again? Why Not! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2024/5/not-camel-rock-again-why-not Camel Rock, NSW South CoastCamel Rock, NSW South CoastNSW South Coast

Camel Rock, NSW South Coast
Fujifilm X-H2, 8-16mm, 2 seconds @ f16, ISO 64

I'm not complaining for one minute! After a month travelling through India and Bhutan, within a couple of days I was down the NSW South Coast with Len Metcalf running a 5 day photography workshop in Narooma. And what I love about this particular workshop is the location (lots of photo opps to choose from), the great food (can't beat the local cafe for breakfast and there are several excellent restaurants), the conference room in the Amooran Motel (great views, perfect for teaching and sharing), working with Len (hard to find two photographers who are more different in their approaches, yet in sync with their passion for teaching) - and most of all, a great group of students prepared to put up with my jokes and follow us out into some sketchy weather conditions to take some great photos.

For Len and me, the locations are always a re-visit, but as I've written in my blogs many times before, I really do enjoy revisiting locations, learning more about them, experiencing them more fully. With 10 visits to Antarctica, 8 to Bhutan and so on, I sometimes wonder if I should be going to new locations. On the other hand, India last month was a first and Uganda next month will also be new for me. So I'm hoping I have the balance more or less right because as much as I enjoy discovering new locations, I really enjoy revisiting locations as well.

Which brings me to Camel Rock. I must have shot this 20 times before! Normally I shoot this in the morning, waiting for the autumn sun to pick up the left side of the rocks. On this trip, we were balancing weather conditions and also a great restaurant in Bermagui, so we visited the Rock in the late afternoon. I think we might do this more often as the late afternoon light was wonderful - along with that cloud you see behind. A little while later, that cloud turned into a drenching squall as we all made a run for our cars!

In post-production, I've attempted to keep the contrast quite soft as I liked the way a couple of our students had interpretted their images. (Yes, it's true, photo workshop leaders get as much out of a session as the students do.) I've also warmed up the colour balance on the rocks a touch, using the new subject selection tool (found in both Lightroom and Capture One). Subject selection really is a great time saver, but I do find I need to be careful not to over-do the adjustments as the result can look 'stuck in place'. One approach I use is to make a subject selection, do 50% of the adjustment, then make a second subject selection for the other 50%, but this time I soften down the edges of the mask with a feathered brush so the subject sits more naturally into its background. Hopefully this makes sense and might be a useful approach for your own editing.

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Camel Rock NSW South Coast https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2024/5/not-camel-rock-again-why-not Mon, 13 May 2024 00:46:25 GMT
More Places at Shark Bay https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2024/2/more-places-at-shark-bay Faure Island, Far Shore, Shark BayFaure Island, Far Shore, Shark Bay

Faure Island, Far Shore, Shark Bay
Phase One XF, 80mm lens, f5 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 50

While our Shark Bay - Inscription exhibition (by ND5) is now over 10 years old, Shark Bay itself remains an incredibly popular destination. I was reading a surfing magazine recently (The Surfers Journal, based in the USA), and one of the featured photographers included two Shark Bay aerials in his portfolio, 'frothing' over how amazing the location was! Not that there's much surf in Shark Bay, of course!

There are certainly some popular photography spots around Shark Bay that create amazing hero photographs, but to be honest, every time I fly over Shark Bay, I find something new or different. It has so much to do with the tides, the cloud cover and the angle of the light which is constantly changing relative to the camera as the plane circles around its subject.

The image above is a case in point. While I have photographed these little curves of sand, impeding the wave action and creating specular highlights, I hadn't also included the reflection of the sun itself. And while there's no way I can completely control the specular highlights, I have actually come to embrace the white highlights as being a part of the composition. Maybe I'd be shot down in a photo competition, but on the other hand, the only person I know how to make happy is me!

Two things. First, Tony Hewitt and I are considering opening up a second week at Shark Bay for our aerial workshop - something like 21-25 June, but as accommodation is tight at this time of the year, we might have to move the dates by a day or two. If you're interested, send me or Kim an email and we'll put you on the interested list. Our initial research for accommodation and aircraft hire are positive, so fingers crossed. Kim's email is [email protected].

The second thing is, what's it like flying around above Shark Bay? I'm glad you asked! I made a little video using my Fujifilm and DJI cameras last year and posted it onto YouTube. So far it's received a massive 234 hits, so maybe I can hit 250 by posting this newsletter and providing the link below!! I hope you enjoy it! Click the image to link to the movie on YouTube:

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Aerial Faure Island Shark Bay https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2024/2/more-places-at-shark-bay Mon, 26 Feb 2024 02:45:04 GMT
Taking Up Bird Photography! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2024/2/taking-up-bird-photography Giant-petrel, Danco Harbour, AntarcticaGiant-petrel, Danco Harbour, AntarcticaAntarctica

Giant-petrel, Danco Harbour, Antarctica
Fujifilm X-H2, Fujinon XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR, 1/2000 second @ f8, ISO 640

I've just returned from 5 weeks down south with Aurora Expeditions and on the last voyage, which included the Falklands and South Sandwich Islands, I re-discovered an interest in bird photography. Okay, so I've always enjoyed photographing wildlife, but perhaps I'm better known for landscapes, so it's tongue-in-cheek when I state a new-found attraction to wildlife - and birds!

There are lots of birds to photograph, but the challenge is to capture an image that is a little different to the 'standard' animal portrait, whatever that may be. It's a bit like visiting Sydney's Opera House and trying to find a new angle. It's probably impossible to find a truly original angle that no-one has discovered before, but it's certainly possible to shoot something that you haven't seen before.

So, when it comes to birds, I'm looking for two things. First, I take the safety shot. I make sure I have a good, competent photograph of my subject, so that if it is needed for a presentation or a photo book, for example, I have it. There is probably no need for me to work like this - call it habit. 

The second shot is looking for something a little different. When we landed at Danco Harbour, I could see these Giant-petrels nestling into a snow bank up above. Their position slightly above head-height allowed me to shoot a 'ground level' angle while standing, where the camera is on the same level as the subject. This is a standard approach for portrait photography as well, setting yourself at your subject's level, rather than looking down from a standing position as we usually do. And working in Antarctica this year was challenging as it was not permitted to sit, kneel or lie on the ground while ashore to avoid the inadvertent spread of Avian flu.

What I liked was the snowy background, so it's minimalist. All I needed was a point of difference and when the sleeping giant-petrel opened his or her eye to check me out, that was the shot. And shooting with a cropped-sensor camera, the 600mm focal length is the equivalent of a 900mm on a full-frame sensor, so plenty of magnification from a safe distance.

 

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Antarctica Danco Harbour Giant-petrel https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2024/2/taking-up-bird-photography Sun, 18 Feb 2024 22:46:15 GMT
Should You Pay To Take Photographs Of People When Travelling? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2024/2/should-you-pay-to-take-photographs-of-people-when-travelling At Prayer, Khiva, UzbekistanAt Prayer, Khiva, UzbekistanWomen at prayer. This mosque doubles as a tourist attraction, but is well-frequented by locals.

At Prayer, Khiva, Uzbekistan, in a tourist area jointly used for prayer.
Fujifilm X-T4 (IR), Fujinon XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR, f2.8 @ 1/3 second, ISO 1600.

There have been many wonderful debates about the ethics of paying people in foreign lands to take their portrait. Some photographers think it is quite okay, others think making a payment develops an expectation in the locals from photographers who follow. Somehow, I think people in our modern age, wherever they live in the world, are savvy enough to know there's a value in being photographed.

Some subjects will give you that value freely and without any expectations. Others will ask to be paid for their involvement. And still others simply don't want to be photographed – so they are easy to deal with!

When we look at the history of photography and the travel genre, the idea was to capture authenticity. Somehow, they argued, the act of paying a local to be in your photograph interfered with this authenticity, despite the fact many National Geographic photographers have been paying people to be in their photos for decades!

I'm not in agreement with the authenticity argument, or it being unethical. If someone saw me in the street and asked to take my photograph, I probably wouldn't charge to pose for a few seconds. On the other hand, if they wanted to spend half an hour with me, then it would be reasonable for them to offer to pay. Why is it any different for the people we photograph? And if we are travelling in a country that's not particularly wealthy and a subject asks for a couple of dollars, why wouldn't we pay? In fact, if this is the situation, surely as guests in their land we should keep some change ready to make a payment if required?

However, it's true that if you pay for a portrait, then your subject will be posing for you and you won't get a candid shot. There's no doubt you will end up with a different type of photograph, but is that a bad thing? In terms of authenticity, the question isn't one of commerce (whether you pay or not), it's whether the photograph is posed or unposed. That will make a difference to the type of portrait you make, but it needn't affect the authenticity of the photographs you're capturing.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Khiva Uzbekistan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2024/2/should-you-pay-to-take-photographs-of-people-when-travelling Mon, 05 Feb 2024 04:24:10 GMT
Shooting Travel And Wildlife? What's The Best Lens? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2024/1/shooting-travel-and-wildlife-whats-the-best-lens Humpback Whale, Fournier Bay, AntarcticaHumpback Whale, Fournier Bay, Antarctica

Humpback Whale, Fournier Bay, Antarctica. A little less bokeh than with a super telephoto
Fujifilm X-H2, Fujinon XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR, f8 @ 1/2000, ISO 640

One of the pleasures of using a super-telephoto lens with a wide f2.0, f2.8 or f4 aperture is the super shallow depth-of-field and the bokeh (blurry bits) on the background. While the differential focus effect might not be very obvious when your subject is a fair distance away, the closer your subject, the stronger the distinction becomes.

If you're on an African wildlife safari, shooting from a vehicle, a lot of your subjects will be a long way off and so whether you're using a super-telephoto or one of the new long zooms (like a 100-500mm or 150-600mm), it will make very little difference to the end result. This assumes both lenses produce sufficiently sharp results and that there's enough light or you can push your ISO up to maintain a sufficiently fast shutter speed. It's only when an animal comes in nice and close to the vehicle that the differential focus effect becomes more evident.

Now, for a wildlife photographer, there's possibly no decision to be made: take the super telephoto lens. In fact, take two super-telephotos like a 300mm f2.8 and a 600mm f4! But for the general photographer combining both travel and wildlife, I'd suggest one of the new zooms is a better bet because it's lighter and it gives you a range of focal lengths.

While an African 4WD might be kitted out with tripod heads on the side of the vehicle, hand holding a super telephoto on the deck of a ship quickly tires you out. Younger readers with gym memberships can ignore this advice. For the rest of us, if we're shooting all day, every day for a couple of weeks, then a lighter camera outfit will make the travelling that much more enjoyable!

And the good news is that when your wildlife subjects come in close, the zoom lenses will still create a beautiful bokeh effect and you can zoom in a little longer to enhance it if you want to!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Antarctica Fournier Bay Humpback Whale https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2024/1/shooting-travel-and-wildlife-whats-the-best-lens Sun, 21 Jan 2024 23:18:25 GMT
How Will AI Impact Travel Photography? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2024/1/how-will-ai-impact-travel-photography Young Monk, BumthangYoung Monk, Bumthang

Young Monk, Bumthang. 
Fujifilm X-H2, Fujinon XF200mmF2 R LM OIS WR, f2.0 @ 1/220 second, ISO 125. Composite. No AI.

It's so easy to edit your photographs with AI, what will happen to the genre of travel photography? Will we be able to believe anything we see anymore? Actually, it's not AI that is the culprit. Advertising agencies and photographers have been creating fully believable but fake photographs for well over half a century, but there's no doubt AI means more people can do it now – and can do it easily.

Whether we're talking about travel photography (penguins in the Sahara Desert), wildlife photography (a five legged elephant) or landscapes (a more interesting sky dropped in), AI and creative compositing rely on the integrity of the photographer. We shouldn't feel duped for believing an image that isn't real. We should be offended when we're told an image is real when it isn't. Weren't we all taught not to tell lies when we were children?

On the one hand, people are naive if they believe every image they see. On the other hand, people are now questioning some real photographs because they are difficult to believe. Most of the time we can tell whether a photo is fake or not, but this is going to change and most of us won't know whether a photo is real or not.

How does this impact travel photography? Well, maybe it won't make a huge difference. Already I see lots of travel photographs with blue skies and bright sunshine, but when I get to the destination it's overcast and storming! Mind you, there was only one Eiffel Tower in Paris, so a photo with five or six of them scattered around the town might not be believable!

How should photographers deal with it? Currently, I think it depends on how we use it. If we use AI to generate or significantly change a travel scene, then we need to tell people that's what we've done. On the other hand, if we use AI to remove some rubbish or fix up a cloud, has that significantly changed the authenticity of our subject?

This is a great subject for dinner and a glass of wine. In fact, I can think of no one better to talk this through than David Oliver – so why not join us on our trip to Bhutan this year and be a part of the conversation!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Bhutan Bumthang Monk https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2024/1/how-will-ai-impact-travel-photography Sun, 14 Jan 2024 23:34:08 GMT
Using People for Perspective and Context In Travel https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2024/1/using-people-for-perspective-and-context-in-travel Early morning in Bukhara, UzbekistanEarly morning in Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Early morning in Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Fujifilm X-H2, Fujinon XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR, f2.8 @ 1/40 second, ISO 3200

How big is the Taj Mahal? How tall are the Rocky Mountains? How small is a Lesser Hamelins Red Breasted hummingbird (and does it even exist)? Whether we're travelling or not, subjects photographed in isolation can be ambiguous for viewers to read and left unsure of a subject's size – and sometimes photographs with this ambiguity are exactly what we want.

On the other hand, placing a subject of a known size within the frame gives our viewers a clearer indication of size. The subject puts everything into perspective – sort of! For instance, a person standing in front of the Taj Mahal shows you how large the structure is, but how big is the person? A short person will make the Taj look taller, a tall person could take a touch of the Taj's majesty away.

Can placing a person in a photograph distort the subject's size? Think of using a wide-angle lens where a person is on one side and a mountain range in the background – the mountains will look very small in comparison to the giant human. Now step back and switch to a telephoto lens: the mountains might be a little out of focus, but they appear much larger and taller. So just because we have a figure within our scene doesn't necessarily mean we're telling the truth about a subject's size, just that we're comparing it with something else.

So while a figure might not tell the full truth, it does add to the story you're telling, And it can also be a great composition tool providing a centre of interest.

And you don't have to limit yourself to people – animals, cars, even empty drink cans can be used to give your subject a sense of scale.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Bukhara Uzbekistan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2024/1/using-people-for-perspective-and-context-in-travel Mon, 08 Jan 2024 04:15:00 GMT
But What About The Background? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/12/but-what-about-the-background Chinstrap penguin, Fournier Harbour, AntarcticaChinstrap penguin, Fournier Harbour, Antarctica

Chinstrap penguin, Fournier Harbour, Antarctica
Fujifilm X-H2, Fujinon XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR, f7.1 @ 1/1250 second, ISO 320

Professional photographers often say they'll shoot anything except wildlife and children, the rule coming from days in the studio when getting a dog to sit up and smile was probably easier than asking a toddler! Yet even on location, it seems everything is a bit of a challenge when it comes to wildlife and children.

Now, personally, I'm very happy with my photo of a Chinstrap penguin. I like the eye contact as the bird was definitely following us as we floated quietly past in our zodiac. I like the soft light. It was overcast and actually a bit murky, but if you lighten up the shadows and add in a touch of colour, I find this type of light can work quite well, especially to reveal all the fine detail in a subject.

I like the simplicity of the photograph, how there's just the penguin sitting on an iceberg and nothing much else. I like the central composition, but some will say the bird should have been to the left or the right. Bad luck. And I love the way the telephoto lens has thrown the background out of focus, so the subject is clearly delineated. In fact, the only problem was the position of the background iceberg, the wonderful blue blur with the edge coming right down the middle of the frame.

Now, I have other shots where the iceberg background is in a better position, but I don't like the angle or the pose of the penguin quite as much - and herein is the challenge for shooting wildlife. Not only do you have to nail the subject (figuratively speaking, of course), the background has to work as well.

So, it's back to the drawing board and I guess I'll just have to try harder on my next voyage south!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Antarctica Chinstrap Penguin Fournier Harbour https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/12/but-what-about-the-background Fri, 22 Dec 2023 04:32:02 GMT
Choosing Your Exposure For Impact https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/12/choosing-your-exposure-for-impact Inner Kaikoura Range, MiddlehurstInner Kaikoura Range, Middlehurst

Inner Kaikoura Range, Middlehurst, NZ
Fujifilm X-H2, XF150-600mm f5.6-8 R LM OIS WR, f9 @ 1/80 second, ISO 125.

Automatic cameras are great, but what would they do with a photo like this? The original exposure was 'good' because it retained tone throughout. It held a touch of tone in the highlights and there were some grey tones in the shadows, but in the end, it was a bit of nothing.

As long as you keep an eye on your histogram, chances are all the information you need is in the raw file. In fact, when I'm shooting, I like to think I'm just collecting pixels. It might have been Les Walkling who first talked about this concept with me, I've been thinking this way for so long I can no longer attribute the idea. But once you've captured the pixels, you take the file into Lightroom or Capture One where you make some decisions. Now, I could have used masking to carefully select the three areas - the sky, the snow and the mountain - and ensured all areas contained some detail, but was this what I wanted to show?

What I love about fresh snow is the perfectly smooth surface, the way it blankets the land form below, filling in the gaps and accentuating some bumps. An average exposure was going to kill this image, so I simply darkened it down. Is the foreground too dark? What do you mean by too dark? It is black! I like it black - I don't need tone in every area of every photograph and by having a fully black mountain, I am forcing the viewer to marvel at that fresh snow.

And while we know snow is white, in this photo it's lots of shades of very light grey - and to my eye it makes me happy! There is plenty of detail and the eye is given time to linger. I hope!

Also making me very happy are the two books on Middlehurst we received from Momento Pro last week. Participants in our Middlehurst workshops contribute half a dozen images they took around the property from which we design a beautiful art book. The pages are thick 'album style' and the resulting publication is lavish and impressive!

Of course, while we'd love you to come to Middlehurst, you can also make your own book with Momento Pro. In fact, I have some aerials that need printing given all the air time I've had this year - a Christmas project!

If you'd like access to our Better Photography discount page for Momento Pro, try this link for Australia - momentopro.com.au/eastway - and in New Zealand -  momentopro.co.nz/eastway.  These pages have all the information you need!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/12/choosing-your-exposure-for-impact Mon, 11 Dec 2023 03:42:44 GMT
Clowns In Bhutan? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/12/clowns-in-bhutan Atsara posing for the camera, BhutanAtsara posing for the camera, Bhutan

Atsara posing for the camera, Bhutan
Fujifilm X-H2, Fujinon XF 56mm f1.2 R, f1.2 @ 1/1800 second, ISO 125

David Oliver says the only clown in Bhutan is me, but I'm used to his poor and ill-founded attempts at humour. However, in some ways he's correct, because the costumed monks you see wandering around the festivals with masks on their heads and large wooden phalluses in their hands are called atsaras, even though they look like clowns!

Buddhism is fascinating in that it can be engaged with at many different levels. The festivals in Bhutan are generally put on for the local people who, in earlier years, would have had limited education. How do the monks instruct them? The dances are one approach, telling stories that they might not be able to read. The atsaras are another approach to teaching, breaking down the deeply spiritual world into a more accessible and profane flavour.  No one is beyond the reach of the atsaras, even the head monks! Wandering around the festival, the atsaras are often making collections for the temple and tapping people on their heads with bright red phalluses. No donation, more taps on the head!

Of course, this is just what we observe when we're there (and yes, I do make donations to the temple). Behind what westerners see as unusual behaviour is a deeply considered approach to communicating the various Buddhist messages.

As with festivals around the world, when everyone is having fun, their guards are down. Photographers these days are very common and nearly everyone in Bhutan has a mobile phone, so taking pictures is commonplace. And while there aren't a lot of western tourists, the monks know that one with a camera is worth cultivating for a generous donation.

At one particular festival just outside Bumthang, access to the changing courtyard behind the festival quadrangle is allowed. At many festivals in the dzongs (fortified monasteries), the monks are getting changed inside where photographers are not welcome, but this courtyard is large enough to entertain a few extra visitors and so it was just a matter of sitting in the corner and wandering out when things looked interesting. I spent three or four hours there and found it far more interesting than the actual dances and presentations themselves.

While it's hard to tell when they are in costume, all the dancers and atsaras are young men and they're having fun. For this photo, a group of them were having a chat as I walked up. My subject happily looked directly at me and you can see his mate give me the victory sign (I am hoping) in the background. A little post-production has added in suitable extra atmosphere - but the costumes and masks are the real deal.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Atsara Bhutan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/12/clowns-in-bhutan Mon, 04 Dec 2023 02:45:28 GMT
How Do I Sell Bhutan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/11/how-do-i-sell-bhutan Dancing monk, Phongmey, Eastern BhutanDancing monk, Phongmey, Eastern Bhutan

Dancing monk, Phongmey, Eastern Bhutan
Fujifilm X-H2, Fujinon XF 56mm f1.2 R, f2.2 @ 1/4400 second, ISO 125

Over the weekend I saw the blockbuster film Napoleon. I love period pieces. I marvel at the costumes and the way they transform the atmosphere, the mood and the appeal of a scene. We possibly don't give the costume department sufficient credit for the success of a film.

Similarly, I'm not sure if I really appreciate just how magic it is when we travel around Bhutan. Okay, so David Oliver and I have a trip going there in April next year if you're interested, but there must be a reason we keep going back to take more photographs. And part of the reason is the variety of costume worn by most of the Bhutanese, most of the time. Bhutan really is like walking onto a movie set.

On every trip to Bhutan, we make sure it coincides with a religious festival where a dzong (a fortified Buddhist monastery) and its local community spend sometimes several days following a precise routine of dances and pantomimes. The monks wear elaborate costumes and masks so that it's hard to take a photograph that doesn't have appeal. Commonplace for the locals, exotic for us.

This festival was held outside. A huge yellow curtain was hung over the side of the temple building and the monks performed on a stone quadrangle, with a throng of villagers and school children sitting on the hill to one side and spectacular Himalayan mountain views on the other. 

For me, it's the silhouette of the monk's head that draws the eye and the continuity of the printed pattern on the huge curtain that makes it such an otherworldly composition. I also like the colour contrast (the monks come in all different hues, so it was just a matter of waiting for one that worked best with the background) and I've washed in a few clouds as an overlay to add to the ethereal atmosphere. I'm sure that will annoy the hell out of David the purist!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Bhutan Dancing monk Eastern Bhutan Phongmey https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/11/how-do-i-sell-bhutan Mon, 27 Nov 2023 03:31:00 GMT
Gesture In The Landscape https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/11/gesture-in-the-landscape Detail, Derby Tidal Flats, Western AustraliaDetail, Derby Tidal Flats, Western Australia

Detail, Derby Tidal Flats, Western Australia
Phase One XF 150MP, 110mm Schneider Kreuznach, f4 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 200

The secret is out! The next ‘big thing’ in aerial photography is to be found at Broome and Derby. Okay, so Tony Hewitt has been photographing this area for years, but unfortunately for him, I’m a bit of a blabber-mouth! And it’s hard to contain my excitement about the images I’ve been processing over the past couple of weeks (and posting on Instagram too).

In picking a shot for this newsletter, I had a surfeit of choice. I selected this one because I thought it might translate best into the ridiculously inadequate screens that the majority of people will use to view it – their phones. If it’s an Android, it will be dull and flat. An iPhone way too colourful and contrasty. (I’m looking forward to the hate mail about these comments!) Better results will be on a quality monitor like an Eizo, but I’m only posting a 1000 pixel image, so while the colour and contrast will be great, lost are the nuances of detail and texture I have carefully recorded.

Most aerial images in this genre need to be reproduced as an A3 or A2 print to see their potential. A one metre print (every now and then, I stick one up in the window of my shop for people to view through the tinted glass) looks fantastic and suddenly you can see the tiny ripples of water, the regular pillows of sand and little pieces of seaweed and driftwood.

So I have chosen something simple where an abrupt buttress of sand fights an incoming tide, its shape standing out strongly against the soft, undulating floor of the shallow bay.

I think I can safely say all the photographers who have come on aerial photography workshops with Tony and me have been convinced about the need to print, whether as prints or in a photo book. However, I concede that I get an immense amount of satisfaction simply by editing the photos. During this process, I get to view and enjoy the fine details, to watch as what is invariably a flat, low contrast raw file develops into a rounded, more considered presentation. In many ways, that enjoyment is enough, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to enjoying the occasional pat on the back (or a like) when I post images on social media as well.

I just wish I could better share the full experience online – and perhaps in the years to come, we will!

If you’re interested in aerial photography, Tony Hewitt and I have two workshops next year, one to Shark Bay and a second to Broome/Derby where this photo was taken. Details on the Better Photography website.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Aerial Derby Tidal Flats Western Australia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/11/gesture-in-the-landscape Sun, 12 Nov 2023 23:44:33 GMT
Early Morning Walks For Travel Photographers https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/10/early-morning-walks-for-travel-photographers Above Broome, Western AustraliaAbove Broome, Western Australia

Above Broome, Western Australia, Aerial photo workshop with Tony Hewitt. And we didn't get up particularly early for this shot!
Phase One XF 150MP, 110mm Schneider Kreuznach, 1/2000 second @ f5, ISO 50

For many of us, the purpose of travel photography is to capture and communicate information about a destination. Invariably we find ourselves in a hotel room for the night, often with the early morning free before our travel plans begin. This is the perfect time to take a walk,

Now for most readers, walking around a big city like Sydney, London or New York might be very much like walking around at home, but there will be differences – red buses, yellow cabs, harbour ferries. People are focused on getting to work and today there are so many tourists and travellers, wandering around with our cameras is hardly going to be noticed. We can enjoy being flies on the wall, or we can interact directly with people if we wish. The circumstances usually dictate our approach.

When we travel to exotic locations, or to smaller towns and rural areas, there can be more activity for our cameras. City slickers like me will find these areas very interesting because they are so different to home. Again the locals are usually intent on their chores, making our photography quite easy. Often people are amused that we are interested in their 'boring' morning duties – of course, some don't want to be photographed at all, in which case we should respect their privacy. There's always another subject to photograph around the corner or the next day.

Pre-dawn light can give an otherwise ugly location an interesting beauty – and I just love this time of day for almost any subject. And once the sun rises, there are lots of opportunities to look for areas of light supported by long shadows.

And invariably you can be back to the hotel in time for a well-earned breakfast!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Aerial Broome Western Australia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/10/early-morning-walks-for-travel-photographers Sun, 22 Oct 2023 22:49:10 GMT
Photographing People You Meet While Travelling https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/10/photographing-people-you-meet-while-travelling Musician, Khiva, UzbekistanMusician, Khiva, Uzbekistan

Musician, Khiva, Uzbekistan. Photographing people who are performing for you solves the basic problem of permission when travelling.
Fujifilm X-H2, 8-16mm, f3.6 @ 1/25 second, ISO 3200

Perhaps the best aspect of travel with a camera is photographing the people you see and meet. Different faces, different clothing, different customs – there is a wealth of material for us to capture.

When it comes to photographing people, there are many traditions we can follow. We all know about Henri Cartier-Bresson and how he photographed as a silent observer. Richard Avedon used a more formal approach, inviting his subjects to pose on an improvised set. There's no right or wrong, as long as we are respectful.

My suggestion is to consider how you would feel if you were at home, going for a run or to pick up a coffee, and you saw a tourist sneaking a few photos of you with their phone (or camera). Or you caught someone across the road with a telephoto lens photographing you as you put out the rubbish. Even if the tourist walked up and started talking to you, how would you feel if they then asked if they could take your photograph? Yet this is exactly what most travel photographers do on a regular basis and all I can do is thank the world's population for being so (generally) very accommodating!

So, what should we do? I think the answer is to play it by ear. There will be occasions when life is busy and you can take candid photographs without being noticed. We all have our special techniques for pretending not to be taking a photograph, or shooting from the hip as we walk by. Then there will be other situations where our presence is quite obvious and our subjects not so tolerant – are we better off putting our cameras away and just enjoying the experience.

We can also smile and ask permission to take a photograph. The answer can depend on how you build up to your request. How would you react if someone walked up to you in the street and asked to take your photograph? Compare this with someone asking you for directions, having a conversation and then asking you? And the fact you can't speak their language can often be a benefit as facial expressions and gestures can communicate all that is needed.

We don't have to photograph every person we meet. We don't have to photograph every great character we see, just because we think they would make a great photograph. There will always be other great portraits around the corner.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Khiva Musician Uzbekistan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/10/photographing-people-you-meet-while-travelling Mon, 16 Oct 2023 00:43:21 GMT
Shooting At Night At Key Travel Locations https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/10/shooting-at-night-at-key-travel-locations Khiva, UzbekistanKhiva, UzbekistanPhotographed just as light was discernible on the eastern horizon.

Khiva, Uzbekistan. Photographed just as light was discernible on the eastern horizon.
Fujifilm X-H2, 8-16mm lens, f2.8 @ 1/15 second, ISO 3200, no tripod.

With so many people travelling and taking photos with their phones, it can be a struggle to create something that is different about the locations you visit. And while phones are now incredibly good at taking photographs in very low light, shooting at night remains one way to be noticed, simply because most travel photos are still taken in the day (and the preference is with bright blue skies).

The main challenge for shooting at night is avoiding large expanses of black – either the sky or shadow areas. Many photographs have wonderful information along the horizon line (e.g. a city skyline), but above and below are often without purpose. One suggestion is to crop out unwanted black areas. Note, I'm not suggesting you remove all the blacks as we definitely want our viewers to know the photo is taken at night.

With this in mind, look for the light sources in the foreground. If shooting a skyline full of colour, put a courtyard or an old car or something in the foreground, just as you would when shooting in daylight.

Another solution is to cheat, just a little. Rather than shooting in the dead of night, shoot either an hour or so after sunset and an hour or so before sunrise. To the eye, the sky can look black, but to our cameras it can be recorded as a wonderfully deep blue.

If you have a lot of sky, clouds can assist. And if your travel destination is experiencing inclement weather, shooting at night is a great solution because invariably the night lights are reflected on wet roads and puddles.

Do you need a tripod? Modern phones allow you to hand-hold relatively long exposures with image stabilisation and high ISO settings. Modern cameras do the same and so you can probably shoot without a tripod. However, if you are wanting to make a print or feature the photo in a book, then a lower ISO setting will give you a superior technical result, or perhaps you'd be happy with the wonderful noise reduction algorithms now available in Lightroom and Topaz. The choice is yours!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Khiva Uzbekistan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/10/shooting-at-night-at-key-travel-locations Wed, 11 Oct 2023 00:08:07 GMT
Shooting In The Rain For Travel Photographers https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/10/shooting-in-the-rain-for-travel-photographers Shepherd, Issyk Kul, KyrgyzstanShepherd, Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan

Shepherd, Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan
Fujifilm X-H2, Fujinon XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR, f5.6 @ 1/125 second, ISO 160

When travelling, we usually desire good weather, but why? Travel brochures are full of sunny days, blue sky and a few white, puffy clouds, so perhaps our expectations begin here, but after a while, this weather in all our photos becomes either repetitive or boring. Rainy days provide different opportunities. If our intention is to return from a trip with photos that make people notice, then perhaps a rainy day portrait or a landscape under stormy clouds is the way to go?

The thing I keep reminding myself is that rainy days don't necessarily rain all the time. There are intervals when the rain stops and the environment looks clean and shiny. And the periods before and after rain often have great light, but since you don't know when this is going to happen (well, not exactly, but an app like Windy gives remarkably good weather forecasts), it's best to walk out with your camera whether it's raining or not.

When travelling, I always pack both a rain jacket and rain overpants. And while modern cameras are moisture resistant, I usually remember to include a rain cover of some description for my camera (even if it's the shower cap from the last hotel room).

In terms of processing my files, I find two approaches are helpful. First, I go for less overall contrast, opening up the shadows. In heavy rain you're not going to have much contrast anyway. Second, I will push the colour saturation slider a little harder, being sure to have an appropriate white balance setting to begin with. It's true a rainy day photo might not have the crowd-pleasing impact of a late afternoon sunset, but as part of your travel narrative, they can realliy give your portfolio a lift.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Issyk Kul Kyrgyzstan Shepherd https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/10/shooting-in-the-rain-for-travel-photographers Mon, 02 Oct 2023 00:15:00 GMT
File Naming for Travel Photography https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/9/file-naming-for-travel-photography Kaindy Lake, KazakhstanKaindy Lake, Kazakhstan

Kaindy Lake, Kazakhstan
Fujifilm X-H2, XF56mmF1.2 R WR, f11 @ 1/12 second, ISO 125

Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of digital photography is the way our photographs are named – a faceless, emotionless, camera-generated filename which increments numerically, so that one filename looks much the same as another.

Most photographers rename important photographs to something more recognisable and meaningful. Many photographers rename all their files as part of the import process – as the files are transferred from your memory card to your computer, the photos are given a new file name.

For travel photography, what name do you use? You can be in one location for a few days, or at several locations in a single day. As you ingest your photos, you can ingest all the images together with one filename, ingest your photos location by location, or subject by subject with different filenames, or rename groups of photographs afterwards. There's no right or wrong way, but for me, I like things to be simple.

My approach is based on my overall filing system. I don't use Lightroom to create an overall catalogue of all my images – I'm too lazy to apply keywords etc. Rather I rely on my memory – and perhaps that will be a problem in the future!

Each year, I have a folder. Inside that folder are three folders – Jobs, Work and Projects. The Jobs folder holds all my raw files – and only the raw files. Inside the Jobs folder, I have a sub-folder for every 'job'. So, if I photograph the family gathering at Easter, that's a job. If I visit Kazakhstan, that's another job. The Kazakhstan folder will be named 230919-Kazakhstan.

Inside these job folders, there might be no need for sub-folders (the family at Easter), but for travel locations, I create one or two folders for each day. For instance, when in Kazakhstan, we visited the Assy Plateau, so I created a folder 230924-AssyPlateau. Then, when transferring the images into that folder, I renamed them Assy-0001, Assy-0002 etc. The numbers increment. The file name is more meaningful – for me.

In fact, for a travel job, I increment the file number for the entire trip, so the files I imported were actually Assy-1755, Assy-1756 – because I had already imported 1754 photos from earlier days on the same trip.

If this makes sense, use it! If not, look around for other options that make sense to you - so you don't end up with folders and folders or meaningless filenames.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Kaindy Lake Kazakhstan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/9/file-naming-for-travel-photography Mon, 25 Sep 2023 01:15:00 GMT
Back-Up Safety Processes For Travel Photographers https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/9/back-up-safety-processes-for-travel-photographers Sheep at MiddlehurstSheep at Middlehurst

Sheep at Middlehurst. Yes, I obviously have a problem with sheep - in this case, I have processed the image with additional sharpening to bring out the texture and detail in the fleeces. Still doesn't translate quite as required for web viewing. Fujifilm X-H2, 150-600mm, 1/500 second @ f8, ISO 1600.

In many ways, backing up our images and safe shooting practices should be much the same whether we're travelling or shooting a project at home. The question becomes, what can you afford to lose? And given how rarely we lose our images, do we restrict other opportunities so we are without risk? Everyone will have their own views on this.

Let's begin with the camera and your storage cards. If you have a two card camera, you can set it to capture a copy of every photograph to both cards, so if one card fails, the image is safely stored on the other card. However, an advantage of a two card camera is expanding how many photos you can capture. The counter argument to this is that you simply buy two memory cards with greater capacity and have the best of both worlds.

Personally, I only shoot to one card at a time and the second card is sitting there for when I forget to  load a fresh card. That for me is a more likely problem than storage failure. (Unless I'm shooting a wedding - then I back up as I go! I'm not usually shooting weddings when i travel!)

However, if you have a large capacity card and it fails, you risk losing a lot of images. But when I'm travelling, I don't want a box of memory cards I can potentially lose. My approach is to download the shoots every evening onto my laptop and a separate back-up drive. I don't delete them from the memory card (assuming I have sufficient cards for the trip). So, at the end of each day, I have three copies of my photos.

Eventually, my memory card fills up, so I change cards. I usually have sufficient cards so I won't need to delete photos at any time, the exception being when shooting aerials and wildlife. So, if I do have to re-use a memory card, I will use a second back-up drive so I still have three copies of every file.

I'm sure this process could be strengthened further, but to date (touch wood) it has served me very well. And when I look back to the days when we shot Kodachrome film and posted it back to Melbourne for processing, and then Kodak posted it to your home, how much safer am I already!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand Sheep https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/9/back-up-safety-processes-for-travel-photographers Mon, 18 Sep 2023 01:15:00 GMT
Processing & Football https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/8/processing-football Shark Bay, 2023Shark Bay, 2023

Shark Bay, 2023
Phase One XF 150MP, 110mm lens, 1/2000 second @ f4, ISO 100

How much time do you spend editing photographs? I'm going to guess not enough! But how much is enough?

Over the last fortnight, I've been working through the Shark Bay photographs taken earlier this year on our workshop (which, by the way, is being repeated next year if you're interested). While I haven't photographed Shark Bay as many times as my partner in crime, Tony Hewitt, I've probably clocked up 30, maybe 40 hours in the air above one of the most amazing aerial locations in the world.

So, what has this to do with editing? Although from year to year the Shark Bay aerials have a degree of similarity to them, the time of day, the tides, the wind and the clouds all conspire to ensure that every flight you discover something new. However, there's another ingredient to consider: me - or you! The other ingredient is the photographer and how he or she approaches the photograph in post-production - and hence the need to spend time editing your photographs.

While I love reviewing my work on location (usually in the evening with a glass of red wine not too far away), I often find that a subsequent review of the shoot a few months later reveals forgotten or unnoticed gems. The image with this newsletter is one I consider to be a bit of a gem and I'm very happy with it!

So, now the honesty bit: when and how do I find the time to edit a shoot? Like many men my age, I enjoy sitting in front of the box and watching sport, whether it's cricket, cycling, surfing or football. However, there's a lot of downtime in these sports and I find it very hard to sit still with nothing else to do, so I grab my laptop and open up either Lightroom or Capture One and review my work.

Two points of clarity. If you're a woman who loves sport, you're not excluded, but my wife has very little interest in sport and prefers to read a book or potter in the garden. However, we both happily read and edit when watching Netflix as well (as long as it's not a foreign language movie which requires you to read the subtitles)! There are time management opportunities for all of us.

The second point is that the work I do on my laptop remains 'preliminary'. As much as I love Capture One and Lightroom, the result on the laptop is just a step in the process. The way I've taught myself to edit brings me back to Photoshop and the Auto Curves dialog. Invariably I export my images as 16-bit TIFFs and do the final colour and contrast tweak on my EIZO monitor, not the spectacularly colourful and contrasty MacBook Pro! 

Hopefully Manly isn't going to lose this afternoon after being so far ahead, but who knows!

 

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Aerial Shark Bay Western Australia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/8/processing-football Mon, 28 Aug 2023 00:16:57 GMT
Useful Filters For Travel Photography https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/8/useful-filters-for-travel-photography Ragged Ranges, KununurraRagged Ranges, Kununurra

Ragged Ranges, Kununurra
Phase One XF 150MP, 110mm Schneider lens, f2.8 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 50                       

My approach to travel photography is to keep things simple. Not using filters means I can react quickly (not fumble around looking for a filter) and I can also adjust my images in post-production, so I don’t find myself needing much in the way of filters for travel photography.

Having said that, a UV or Skylight filter can be helpful as a protective filter. Both the UV and Skylight filters make next to no difference to your exposures and were more a solution for film photographers wanting to avoid too much blue in their exposures. Many photographers would leave them on their lenses permanently and they have become a de facto filter which the camera store will sell you when purchasing a new lens. So, while I would suggest they won’t improve your exposures, the protective attributes are certainly worthwhile as it’s much cheaper to replace a scratched filter than a scratched front lens element.

One filter that can do things that post-production can’t is the polarising filter. I usually take one with me on trips as it can be very useful for emphasising or reducing reflections. If you’re shooting water, a polariser can let you look below the water surface, or through a store window without reflections. I rarely use a polariser for darkening blue skies, especially not with wide-angle lenses, as the darkening effect is not uniform and you end up with uneven transition effects.

Neutral density filters, on the other hand, are useful. If you use a wide aperture lens, an ND filter can reduce the light so you can still shoot wide open in bright sunshine (normally you have to close your lens down a few stops to ensure correct exposure). And stronger ND filters can be used along with a tripod to blur the sea and clouds – so there’s always a spot for a couple of ND filters in my travel kit.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Kununurra Western Australia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/8/useful-filters-for-travel-photography Mon, 21 Aug 2023 01:24:55 GMT
Do You Need Flash For Travel Photography? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/8/do-you-need-flash-for-travel-photography Village, Tshangkha, BhutanVillage, Tshangkha, BhutanBhutan

Village, Tshangkha, Bhutan. Photographed with studio flash on location.
Phase One XF 150MP, 55mm Schneider lens, f8 @ 1/100 second, ISO 50.

You don’t need flash for travel photography! Okay, so now I’ve offended some readers, but I stand by my comment: you don’t NEED flash for travel photography, but you may choose to use it.

Modern cameras have such great ISO sensitivity that there are few places you can’t shoot without flash. There’s always enough light to capture something. Sure, at ISO 6400 you might have a little noise to deal with, but this can be satisfactorily addressed in post-production or, like me, you may actually think the noise adds to the image’s appeal.

The advantage of not using flash in a travel situation is that you don’t change the ambience with a sterile 6000K burst of blue light! If your aim is to photograph a travel environment as it is, then an on-camera flash is not going to maintain the ambience. Sure, used on low power, off camera and maybe with a colour gel, flash could fill in the shadows and retain the overall lighting, but generally speaking, the shadow slider in Lightroom etc can do much the same. Rarely do you need flash.

On the other hand, I’ve been known to travel with flash and love shooting portraits with it. Creating a formal photography session with one or two flash units and using the locals as subjects is great fun and creates images with a difference. You can also use flash in daylight, underexposing the background and emphasising your subject, but whether this is the best way to truly capture a travel location is up for debate.

What I like most about not shooting flash when travelling is that it’s one less piece of equipment to carry and recharge! And for my approach to travel photography, I can get by without it.

Join Peter Eastway & David Oliver for their next trip to Amazing Bhutan and Ladakh in 2024, click here for details.

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Bhutan Portrait Tshangkha https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/8/do-you-need-flash-for-travel-photography Sun, 13 Aug 2023 23:50:26 GMT
What Are The Best Camera Settings For Travel Photography? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/8/what-are-the-best-camera-settings-for-travel-photography Inland Kaikoura in Clouds 2Inland Kaikoura in Clouds 2

Middlehurst In The Mists, 2023
Fujifilm X-H2 XF 55-200mm, f9 @ 1/40 second, ISO 125

The best camera settings for travel photography are the ones that get the best shot, so let's make this question easier by defining 'travel photography' as being ready for any eventuality while on the street or on the road.

Theoretically, a fully automatic exposure setting is the one to use because the camera takes care of everything. However, consider the aperture and shutter speed. If your subject requires more or less depth-of-field, you may choose to use aperture priority so you can control the depth-of-field. Similarly, shutter priority would be useful to ensure you have a fast enough shutter speed, but usually you can control this with the Auto ISO setting as well. So, thinking it through, aperture priority with an Auto ISO setting using a minimum shutter speed might give you the best of all worlds – and is certainly how I shoot most of my travel.

Photographers also ask about the metering mode and I find the matrix or multiple area modes are superior for travel, compared to centre-weighted average or spot metering, especially when you're keeping an eye on the histogram. Things happen quickly with travel, so I have my exposure compensation set to -0.67EV (minus two thirds) as I would prefer to deal with dark shadows than burnt-out highlights. This works well for me most of the time.

For focusing, I'd set continuous autofocus for moving subjects (or a moving photographer), with a wide-area or subject-based focus setting, depending on my subject. Face-recognition is great, as long as the AF is recognising the right face in a crowded situation. However, maybe I'm better working with a wide-angle lens and an aperture with more depth-of-field to get the shot?

And while I probably have my camera set to single frame advance, when shooting from the hip I'm happy to hose down my subject at 10 or 20 frames per second, to compensate for the volatile situation and the fact I'm framing blind. I think a lot of photographers take too few exposures and expect to get a winner. My observations of great studio photographers is that they took a lot of photos in a controlled situation to get one right, so I wonder why some of us think we can just take one or two shots in a completely uncontrolled situation and have high expectations! Take lots of photos!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/8/what-are-the-best-camera-settings-for-travel-photography Mon, 07 Aug 2023 00:30:00 GMT
What Is The Best Camera Bag For Travel Photography? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/7/what-is-the-best-camera-bag-for-travel-photography Backlit tree, Tones Paddock, MiddlehurstBacklit tree, Tones Paddock, Middlehurst

Backlit tree, Tones Paddock, Middlehurst
Fujifilm X-H2, XF 55-200mm lens, f7.1 @ 1/75 second, ISO 125
Minor Generative AI on left and right edges to extend the frame - is this what will happen in the future?

Is there such a thing as a perfect camera bag for travel photography? The type of photography you're doing while travelling could have a big impact – the bags needed for Antarctica are quite different to those when taking a tour around Bhutan. So, let's discuss a general purpose bag for general purpose travel photography.

My preference is for a backpack design, mainly because it keeps the weight evenly distributed across my body. I have too many old friends who after a lifetime of professional photography with a camera bag slung over one shoulder are suffering the consequences! Of course, I'll probably suffer different consequences (when I get old), but I find a backpack is the most comfortable design – and comfort when travelling is very important, especially if you're out and about all day for several weeks on end.

A downside of the backpack design can mean you have to take the backpack off and put it down to change lenses or swap cameras. In a crowded market environment, this might not be easy, while a camera bag slung over the shoulder would make lens changing much simpler. On the other hand, using a one or two camera strap (like those from Black Rapid) can solve your camera access issues, while some backpack designs can be swung around your waist to give access without having to take them off your body (e.g. MindShift BackLight series from Think Tank).

One thing you shouldn't do is take the largest bag you can find and put in as much gear as you have. A lighter camera bag will keep you shooting longer and let's face it, you will hardly use half the gear in a crowded camera bag anyway (although you're sure to miss the lenses you leave out at some stage). And when packing your camera bag, leave enough room so you can put away your gear no matter which lenses are attached to the camera body. If you have to change lenses to pack your gear away, your camera bag is too small – certainly for travel.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/7/what-is-the-best-camera-bag-for-travel-photography Mon, 31 Jul 2023 00:22:26 GMT
Should You Shoot Both Stills And Video While Travelling? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/7/should-you-shoot-both-stills-and-video-while-travelling Looking down the river at MiddlehurstLooking down the river at Middlehurst

Looking down the river at Middlehurst
Phase One XF 150MP, 80mm Schneider Krueznach, f2.8 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 50

Many if not most mirrorless cameras have a separate button next to the shutter release to record video. It makes it incredibly easy to shoot both stills and video in quick succession. And sometimes video records an event or location more appropriately than a still image, so why not?

However, shooting both stills and video creates a compromise. When I photographed a whale swimming around our ship in Antarctica, I shot both stills and video. The silvery body just below the surface of the water looked fantastic as a still, while the swish of the tail breaking the water as the whale dived was best recorded with video. However, there were times when I was shooting video that I wished I was able to capture a still, and vice versa. Sure, you can take a video frame and turn it into a still, but the quality is probably not going to match a still. Do you need all that quality? Possibly not, because if your stills are destined for a travel album, a video still is probably quite good enough.

As I develop a little more experience with video, I have more respect and admiration for cinematographers and video producers and their particular craft. I know the shutter speeds I use are not the best, my focus ebbs and flows and possibly my image isn't as stable as it could be, but on the other hand, the video footage I record adds to the stories I am able to tell. For me, the video is an adjunct to my still photographs. Stills still rule, but video can lend a hand. And if you practise shooting both, you don't need to make a decision while on location about what you'll do with the material, but if you don't shoot any video, then there's no decision to make anyway.

Give it a go!

And I have a couple of videos shot at Middlehurst - they just need a little refining and I'll post them up onto YouTube!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst Mountains New Zealand River https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/7/should-you-shoot-both-stills-and-video-while-travelling Thu, 27 Jul 2023 23:40:07 GMT
What Is The Best Camera Design For Travel Photography? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/7/what-is-the-best-camera-design-for-travel-photography Middlehurst in the fog - a view with a difference, July 2023Middlehurst in the fog - a view with a difference, July 2023

Middlehurst in the fog - a view with a difference, July 2023.
Phase One XF 150MP, 80mm Schneider Krueznach, f2.8 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 100

Over the years, the one thing I've learned about camera designs and features is not to assume I know it all. While a particular design or feature might be of little interest to me, for another photographer it could be the very reason a camera is purchased.

And travel photography covers such a wide range of different disciplines, it's difficult to know what a camera might need to do, except to say it should do it all. On this basis, you'd have to say that a mirrorless or DSLR camera is the best fit for travel, being versatile enough to shoot just about every subject, plus accepting an extensive range of lenses and accessories.

When it comes to full-frame sensors, the smaller APS-C size or the Micro Four Thirds, does the size matter? While you might prefer a larger sensor (and technically a larger sensor should perform better than a smaller one), in practice I see very little difference. Not that I am directly comparing one with the other, rather the travel images I have seen taken with all these sensors can be fantastic. More important is the light and the exposure, so rather than worry what size the sensor is, perhaps the real question is how large and heavy is your camera choice and accompanying lenses? Younger and fitter photographers can cart around any of the modern camera outfits without a care in the world, while others gaining a few years may prefer a smaller and lighter outfit so they can enjoy the day and not complain about a sore back in the evening.

There is also a small range of all-in-one or compact cameras. The really small ones are ideal for travel when you have severe weight and luggage restrictions, while those with a long zoom lens can be very convenient – although at the risk of betraying my earlier comment, perhaps more suited to a traveller who casually takes photographs, rather than a photographer who is travelling!

*** Would you like to visit Uzbekistan or Kazakhstan with me? Check out the details on the Better Photography website and email Kim this week as we still have time to get you on board for our Sept/Oct departures!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Aerial Fog Middlehurst New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/7/what-is-the-best-camera-design-for-travel-photography Mon, 17 Jul 2023 00:22:35 GMT
Not Quite Black And White https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/7/not-quite-black-and-white Middlehurst AerialMiddlehurst Aerial

Middlehurst Aerial
Phase One XF 150MP, 80mm Schneider Krueznach, f4 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 200

I am reminded of the landscape photographer's motto: no matter what the weather's like, go!

As you read this, Tony Hewitt and I are finishing up our second week at Middlehurst Station for 2023. Our six photographers have been treated to sunshine, fog, frost and rain and a simply amazing collection of landscapes. One of our earlier guests complained that Tony and I undersell how amazing Middlehurst is and that she would have come much earlier if only she knew! Selfishly, Tony and I hope we sell out our 2024 event because we're super keen to come again too!

On Sunday morning (yesterday if you're reading this on Monday), I confess we didn't 'go'. After a couple of amazing days of excellent weather for photography, we hit a couple of rain days and were happy to take a rest. Rain is also great for photography so we weren't complaining, but it means you don't have to be out on location for first light. Assuming there's no burst of sunshine breaking through, you can probably get better photos an hour or so after sunrise if the weather is socked in. However, I confess that we didn't 'go'.

On Sunday afternoon, even though the rain had eased, the weather was still very heavy. Nevertheless, we headed off to a lookout in search of moody clouds amongst the ranges. We hung around for a couple of hours, with no expectations. The clouds on the mountains opposite seemed to be clinging more tightly if anything, but suddenly they relaxed. Suddenly we could see the mountains behind the opposite mountains, peeping through and as the sun set, the clouds parted and we had a wonderful light show. No matter what the weather's like, go!

The photo above has absolutely nothing to do with Sunday afternoon. It was taken a couple of days earlier and shot from a helicopter, with high cloud creating a perfect soft box lighting effect for the landscape below. And the timing for the snow melt was just about perfect for the zebra stripes. With aerials, I like to keep my shutter speed at 1/2000 second or higher. Yes, you can get sharp photos with slower shutter speeds, but I find the number of failures (blurred shots) is much higher, so why risk it if you can use a wider aperture and a higher ISO speed?

If you're interested in Middlehurst for August 2024, drop my assistant Kim a line ([email protected]) and she will put you on the 'interested' list. Full details will be available shortly. And if you're not interested in Middlehurst, get yourself over to New Zealand anyway. It's a fantastic country to photograph.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/7/not-quite-black-and-white Mon, 10 Jul 2023 01:03:00 GMT
Remarkable Middlehurst Again https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/7/remarkable-middlehurst-again A new location near MiddlehurstA new location near Middlehurst

A new location near Middlehurst, July 2023
Fujifilm X-H2, 8-16mm zoom, 1/40 second @ f10, ISO 400

As you read this, Tony Hewitt and I are in between our two Middlehurst Art Photography experiences for 2023. As you'd expect at this time of the year in New Zealand, the weather has been variable with rain, sun and snow - perfect for our photography. However, it hasn't been as cold as it could be, but that is likely to change tonight as I write this! 

Middlehurst is a working sheep and cattle station in the far north of the South Island. The first few times we visited, we lodged in rustic shearers' quarters, but today we're housed in a modern complex with heated floors and an on-site chef. It appears you no longer have to suffer to create great art!

But is our 'art' good enough to express the Middlehurst experience? One of the photographers this week suggested that we actually undersell the magic, indicating she thought Middlehurst was far better than she expected!

I know Tony and I love returning here and perhaps we feel a little guilty, hoping that sufficient photographers will sign up each year so we get to experience Middlehurst once again. But I guess how we convey that experience still challenges us, no matter how great we think our photographs are.

So, we will try to better sell the Middlehurst experience going forwards! In the meantime, we're taking advantage of the couple of days in between, enjoying Middlehurst and its surroundings. The photo above is a little location found not too far away that we have probably driven past a dozen times or more over the years, but on this occasion, we noticed the little pond and the surrounding trees. 

It was a nice little discovery! And we're looking forward to starting our second Middlehurst experience next week!

 

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/7/remarkable-middlehurst-again Sun, 02 Jul 2023 23:23:42 GMT
What Does ‘In Camera’ Mean Now? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/6/what-does-in-camera-mean-now Angel Wings, Shark Bay, Western AustraliaAngel Wings, Shark Bay, Western Australia

Angel Wings, Shark Bay, WA
Phase One XF 150MP, 110mm Schneider, f4 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 200

In the June 2023 issue of Better Photography, we present a couple of articles about AI (or perhaps we should call it IA – intelligent artificialness). Photographers around the world are looking at this new ‘technology’ with some trepidation and while it will certainly have an impact, it won’t prevent us from continuing to photograph as we have been previously, if we want to. No one is forcing us to engage with AI. It’s a choice.

In fact, the current situation reminds me of the introduction of digital photography and the ability to composite multiple images together. There were those who opposed the technique, calling it ‘graphic design’ and ‘not photography’. Some photographers still oppose composite images and if they do, they can exercise their choice to use ‘in camera’ captures for their own work. Photography is a language and there are many acceptable ways to approach it.

However, it appears that the term ‘in camera’ is suddenly in dispute. In fact, this is perhaps the most worrying aspect of AI – that this pimply-faced upstart can commandeer a term us experienced luddites and dinosaurs have been using for years. For me, ‘in camera’ means a single capture photograph, as opposed to a composite photograph that comprises two or more images. ‘In camera’ can also mean a single capture with no or minimal post-production. However, in the world of AI, ‘in camera’ appears to indicate a photograph that was taken with a camera, as opposed to being created by an AI bot. Alarmingly, from ‘their’ perspective, ‘in camera’ can mean both single capture and composite images that have been taken with a camera.

Are we going to stand for this ill-considered approbation of our valuable heritage? Do we not have enough to argue about with the terminology already, without having to admit yet another member to the debating club? Or will AI serve to join the 'in camera' forces of good and evil, single capture and composite alike, as we make a stand to protect ‘real’ photography?

Time will tell. The photograph above is an in camera, single capture photograph of Shark Bay, taken a few weeks ago on a workshop with Tony Hewitt and a band of wonderful photographers.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Aerial Shark Bay Western Australia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/6/what-does-in-camera-mean-now Thu, 22 Jun 2023 23:34:00 GMT
I Should Try Harder https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/6/i-should-try-harder Shark Bay, Western AustraliaShark Bay, Western Australia

Shark Bay, Western Australia
Phase One XF 150MP, 110mm Schneider, 1/2000 second @ f4, ISO 100

I am trying to be contemporary - meaning I'm writing this from Shark Bay. The sun is about to set, Tony Hewitt has run down to the water's edge at Monkey Mia to photograph the sky and I'm typing furiously. Maybe I'll take the iphone down to shoot a sunset after all. Please don't tell anyone I was thinking about it...

Our 8 photographers have arrived this afternoon and we're about to have evening drinks and introductions. The weather is warm with not a breath of wind, so we'll sit outside and enjoy the ambience - and talk about photography. And over the next three days we'll explore Shark Bay aerials both with our cameras and then with our imagination in post-production. Photography, I believe, is always a two-step process.

The photo above was taken this morning and the weather forecast for tomorrow (which is when you'll probably be reading this) is the same.

What a great place to spend some time taking photographs!

I really should try a little harder...

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Shark Bay Western Australia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/6/i-should-try-harder Mon, 05 Jun 2023 09:13:00 GMT
File Management Practices For Travel https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/5/file-management-practices-for-travel Wetlands in Southern NSWWetlands in Southern NSW

More wetlands in southern NSW
Phase One XF 150MP, 80mm Schneider Krueznach, f3.2 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 125

Most of us take a computer with us when we travel. Not always, of course. Walking and camping treks might mean we don’t have the opportunity to wrangle our files while on location, but if we’re working out of a vehicle, vessel or hotel room, a laptop is usually somewhere nearby. How do you store your files?

Everyone is different, but I find I’m capturing imagery with a range of devices – my Phase One medium format, my Fujifilm system for wildlife, my DJI Pocket for location video and my DJI Mavic Pro 2 for drones. And there are the photos and videos taken on my iPhone – where do you save them all?

My solution is to create a folder on my laptop for the trip or travel location. If I’m in Antarctica and South Georgia for two voyages, then that will be a separate folder for each. If I’m down the south coast of NSW for a weekend, that’s another folder. And I name the folder something like: 230115-Antarctica or 230428-Bermagui.

Into this folder I place everything to do with the trip. In Lightroom, I make a new catalogue and store it in this folder. In Capture One, I store the session and all the raw files. And I manually transfer all the other files in as well.

Inside this folder, I currently have a sub-folder called ‘Capture’ and into this are a series of sub-folders which contain my raw files. I have a folder for each day, or sometimes two or three folders a day if I have visited multiple locations. The only rule is that all the raw files end up in a folder that sits inside the Capture folder, which In turn is inside the trip folder (I hope that makes sense).

Capture One actually creates this folder structure for you when you create a new session and one of the other folders it includes is Output. When doing preliminary edits on the trip, I use this folder to hold all my working files.

I’m sure there are many variations on this theme, but what I like is having that one folder with everything else inside. Then when I return home, it is a simple matter to copy the whole folder across to my studio computer and archive system, knowing I have everything in hand.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Aerial Southern NSW Wetlands https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/5/file-management-practices-for-travel Mon, 29 May 2023 00:29:24 GMT
Do You Need A Tripod For Travel Photography? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/5/do-you-need-a-tripod-for-travel-photography Lone tree, ArkaroolaLone tree, Arkaroola

Lone tree, Arkaroola. Although I had a tripod with me, this was hand-held!
Fujifilm X-H2, 150-600mm Fujinon lens, f6.4 @ 1/500 second, ISO 1250

As a landscape photographer, there’s a strong argument for using a tripod, but when it comes to travel, the case is not clear cut. Sure, travel photographers shoot landscapes and probably to get the best possible landscape exposure, a tripod would be useful. However, if carrying a tripod restricts your movement for capturing other aspects of your trip – such as portraits, interiors, documentary – then maybe your tripod is best left at home.

In a travel context, you can often leave a tripod behind in the hotel or vehicle, so taking one with you on the trip is easy enough. I have a small, lightweight tripod which isn’t as stable or as functional as I’d like for landscape photography, but it’s much easier to work with when travelling. Maybe the answer is a compromise tripod for your travel work, too.

The other option is to say no tripod. If tripods serve two main purposes, to keep the camera stable and to slow yourself down so you can frame carefully considered compositions, perhaps these purposes are incompatible with travel photography. Certainly you don’t want to be slowing yourself down when shooting in the street and if you’re worried about camera shake, use different camera settings. If you’re unwilling to change your aperture, you can usually increase your ISO setting without any significant compromise. When you think about it, if you set a fast enough shutter speed, there’s no need for a tripod at all.

So, what about shooting landscapes and wildlife with telephoto lenses? When it comes to landscape, just ramp up the ISO setting so you’re shooting at 1/1000 second or more and, along with image stabilisation, you should have perfectly sharp images. For wildlife, tripods and gimbals are generally used for the large super-telephotos because they're too heavy to hand-hold for long periods – perhaps you need to compromise with a monopod or take a lighter telephoto zoom instead?

When it comes to equipment, travel photographers often find themselves making the most of what they have brought with them, comfortable in the knowledge that if they had brought everything, they wouldn’t be able to carry it!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Arkaroola Tripod https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/5/do-you-need-a-tripod-for-travel-photography Sun, 21 May 2023 23:53:29 GMT
Best Camera Settings For Travel Photography? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/5/best-camera-settings-for-travel-photography Salt Lake, VictoriaSalt Lake, Victoria

Salt Lake, Victoria
Phase One XF, 80mm Schneider Kreuznach lens, f8 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 160

I see a lot of different approaches to camera skills on the many photo tours I do, so if you’re comfortable with your approach, there’s no need to change. If it’s not broken, you don’t need to fix it.

Having said that, current cameras offer us many options that make capturing a great exposure that much easier. Personally, I generally use aperture priority exposure control because I want to control depth-of-field as much as possible. This means the camera sets the shutter speed and, by selecting Auto ISO, the sensitivity as well. In the Auto ISO controls, you can usually set a minimum shutter speed and, depending on what I am shooting, this will vary from 1/30 second to 1/500 second. For a lot of street and documentary work, I find a little subject or camera movement adds to the emotional content of the image, so I’m not looking for absolute sharpness. However, if I am (for instance, for wildlife or sport), then I can set a faster shutter speed.

Most cameras have image stabilisation and I keep this turned on. It won’t freeze the action of a moving subject, but it will keep your camera still and reduce camera shake. Auto ISO and image stabilisation have really transformed how we shoot indoor and low light travel situations.

For autofocus, I’m usually set to continuous as my subjects are generally moving (or I am) and face-recognition can be really useful. I’m not afraid to set a high frame rate as well if I think it will help capture the absolute best nuance of expression or gesture. Sure, it means I have more photos to edit at the end of the shoot, but that’s a positive for me if it gets me the result.

Finally, no matter how you have your camera set, chances are something will happen and you want a different set up – quickly! Most cameras have custom function settings. For instance, on my Fujifilm X-H2, have C1 set for animals, C2 for birds, C3 for general travel and humans, C4 for landscape. If something arises, I can quickly reset the camera with the turn of the command dial. Chances are your camera can be set up in a similar fashion.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Salt Lake Victoria https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/5/best-camera-settings-for-travel-photography Mon, 15 May 2023 06:28:31 GMT
Shooting Aerials At Key Travel Locations https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/5/shooting-aerials-at-key-travel-locations The Pinnacles, ArkaroolaThe Pinnacles, Arkaroola

The Pinnacles, Arkaroola. Drones get you into positions not otherwise possible.
DJI Mavic Pro 2, f8 @ 1/200 second, ISO 100

Many professional travel photographers aim for at least one aerial shoot at each destination, assuming it is in the budget. And if it isn’t in the budget (if there is a budget), then a drone can assist (assuming the location permits drones – not all countries or locations do).

If the aim of your travel project is to return with a portfolio of images that depict a variety of perspectives, then getting up into the air is a no brainer. It will make an impact on your audience, whether it’s a travel brochure or a travel diary. It’s also a great way to see and understand the location you’re shooting, bringing together the relative landmarks and putting them into context. The aerial perspective remains interesting and attractive, despite the fact we’re all getting used to aerial photographs and video clips. Until we grow wings, this is likely to remain the case.

So, how do you get up into the air? The answer is simple if you have a drone and droning is permitted. Just getting up and above important landmarks will give you images with a different perspective.

Without a drone, you could look for a skyscraper or a tall mountain to give you an overview, but this advice isn’t particularly helpful in many locations. The remaining option is to hire a plane, helicopter or balloon. And while photographers love shooting with doors off, if you use a floppy lens hood, it’s possible to shoot through many aircraft windows and get excellent results. This will possibly keep the price of your flight down and certainly make your pilot happier (I’ve yet to meet a pilot who loves removing and attaching doors).

If possible, pick a good time of day to shoot. Often this is early morning and late afternoon, but to be honest, even midday photos from the air can look excellent – the weather is probably more a consideration than the time of day.

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Arkaroola Australia South Australia The Pinnacles https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/5/shooting-aerials-at-key-travel-locations Wed, 10 May 2023 00:00:00 GMT
Camera Straps - Keeping Your Camera Ready For Travel https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/5/camera-straps---keeping-your-camera-ready-for-travel Grease ice surrounds the Astrolabe Islands, AntarcticaGrease ice surrounds the Astrolabe Islands, Antarctica

Grease ice surrounds the Astrolabe Islands, Antarctica
Canon EOS 5DSR, f7.1 @ 1/160 second, ISO 100

There’s not much point keeping your camera tucked safely away in your camera bag or backpack as a travel photographer (unless you’re in transit or visiting a place where you’re certainly not going to be taking photographs – one can’t be too absolute in these days of social media commentary)! If something interesting happens, there’s a good chance you’ll miss it while you’re fumbling around with a zipper and turning the power on.

Assuming as a travel photographer our desire is to capture the best moments that reflect a location’s culture and customs, we need to respond quickly while walking the streets, wandering through a market or visiting a landmark. First thoughts are to have our camera around our neck or over our shoulder. In practice, we’re often anticipating action before it happens, so the camera could already be in our hands with the power turned on. The point is, a comfortable camera strap is a good investment.

There are other options, too. A wrist strap for a small and light camera might be even quicker and easier to use, allowing you to keep the camera in your hand all the time. (And a comfortable camera grip assists here as well). If you have two cameras, a double camera strap or camera harness system can evenly distribute the weight and keep both cameras ready. And there are belt and camera bag quick-release systems that let you keep your camera out of your camera bag and attached to your person, ready for action.

The point to consider when shooting travel, is that the photos that matter are usually very fleeting and if you’re not ready, you’ll miss the key point of the moment. Keep your camera ready at all times and a comfortable camera strap is a good place to start.

 

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Antarctica Astrolabe Islands https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/5/camera-straps---keeping-your-camera-ready-for-travel Mon, 08 May 2023 00:04:04 GMT
Be Aware of Social Issues When Travelling and Photographing People https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/4/be-aware-of-social-issues-when-travelling-and-photographing-people Cold Water Stream, Middlehurst Station, NZCold Water Stream, Middlehurst Station, NZ

Cold Water Stream, Middlehurst Station, NZ
Phase One XF 150MP, 110mm Schneider Krueznach, f5.6 @ 1/500 second, ISO 50

When travelling, it can be tempting to photograph street life and the people who live there. There’s probably no trouble photographing someone shopping in a market, but what about a homeless person or a beggar? Photographs of homeless people have historically been very popular, so much so they are almost cliché today. Invariably the attraction for the photographer is the well-worn clothing or the character lines in the face. Even so, I would find it difficult to photograph someone on the street where I live without first asking permission. I’d feel like I was taking advantage of them if I stole a sneaky shot – but that is a purely personal viewpoint.

Of course, it’s not just about asking permission – there are also issues of trust and exploitation to consider. Are you genuinely starting a conversation because you’re interested, or do you just want to take a photo? And if so, does it really matter, given most social interactions are invariably shallow (have a nice day)?

So why is it different when we’re overseas in a less wealthy country? As tourists (or travellers), we’re looking at the creased clothes and lined faces as photographic subjects, but often we’re oblivious (or choose to be) to the social issues these scenes represent. Does this mean we shouldn’t photograph people in the street?

My experience is that some people are happy to be photographed, others are not. That’s your first clue. And when I have engaged with a positive subject, they have no expectations of a lifelong relationship, but seem genuinely happy to receive the attention and have a conversation.

The ‘thought police’ will criticise me for exploiting my subjects – a nosey Westerner who is (comparatively) wealthy pretending to engage with a poor local struggling to exist from day to day. I can’t argue that fact, but I think that is the case whether or not I take the photograph.

Years ago I was invited to photograph in a small community. I was given strict instructions by the ‘minders’ of what I could and couldn’t do, but once I was there, what I discovered was that these people were no different to me and if I just used the manners my parents taught me, which includes respecting others, the interaction became fairly straightforward.

 I find this a good approach for photographing people everywhere. And no matter who you photograph, there will always be someone on social media saying you shouldn’t!

 

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/4/be-aware-of-social-issues-when-travelling-and-photographing-people Wed, 26 Apr 2023 00:15:00 GMT
Rain Covers and Shower Caps for Travel Photographers https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/4/rain-covers-and-shower-caps-for-travel-photographers Early morning, Inland Kaikoura Ranges, Middlehurst, NZEarly morning, Inland Kaikoura Ranges, Middlehurst, NZ

Early morning, Inland Kaikoura Ranges, Middlehurst, NZ
Phase One XF 150MP, 240mm Schneider Kreuznach, f11 @ 1/20 second, ISO 50

Whenever I take a rain cover for my camera, it doesn’t rain. But if I travel to a desert region, where it hasn’t rained for 50 years and I leave my rain cover behind, it pours!

Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little. And maybe we don’t need a rain cover to save our cameras from a sprinkle of rain. Most modern cameras have a plethora of dust and moisture seals, as do the lenses, so a little rain is probably more of an inconvenience than a problem. The main thing to remember is to wipe the water droplets off the front lens element (although if you’re using a lens hood, you’re probably pretty safe).

For more persistent rain, or if you’re on a trek or a walk with no chance to dry out a damp camera between shoots, then prevention is indeed better than attempting a cure. A rain cover is a great accessory for travel photography – which invariably includes landscape and wildlife work from time to time. And it should be light and compact, so not an issue in terms of additional weight.

A look on photo retailer websites will reveal a range of different rain cover designs and sizes. Some of the more elaborate units will certainly do a great job, but as a travel photographer we’re probably looking for a small, simple affair. A tube of plastic material with a tie or two will do the job, assuming it is large enough. And you don’t even have to buy a camera cover when a plastic bag (assuming you can still find them) is probably good enough.

Friend Mike Langford put me onto the best free accessory in the universe: the shower cap found in most hotel bathrooms. While both Mike and I might struggle to explain to hotel management why we need a shower cap at all, there’s no doubting one makes a great camera cover and I always keep one or two in my camera bag.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Kaikoura Ranges Middlehurst New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/4/rain-covers-and-shower-caps-for-travel-photographers Fri, 21 Apr 2023 05:18:52 GMT
Does the ISO Setting Matter for Travel Photography? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/4/does-the-iso-setting-matter-for-travel-photography Trees, Middlehurst Station, NZTrees, Middlehurst Station, NZ

Trees, Middlehurst Station, NZ
Phase One XF 150MP, 110mm Schneider Kreuznach, f2.8 @ 1/1250 second, ISO 100

Camera technology has advanced so much over the last two decades that all cameras can shoot at ISO 100 (or their native setting) up to at least ISO 800 without there being any discernible difference. And in many cases, you can shoot at ISO 102,000 and still get great shots. Should you?

At the risk of over-simplying the issue, ISO doesn’t matter. The only thing you need to worry about is capturing the moment and keeping the subject suitably sharp.

Some travel photographers are after a perfect landscape, so ISO is important. Their optimum result will be captured at ISO 100 (or their native setting), but if they are travelling light without a tripod and the light is low, there may be no option but to choose a higher ISO setting. In my opinion, it’s better to capture a sharp landscape at ISO 1600 than a blurred one at ISO 100.

The same theory applies to any subject you’re photographing where sharp subjects are required, but when it comes to travel, a little movement in your subject might be quite acceptable. You may find yourself turning auto ISO off so you can force a slightly slower shutter speed. But just as a little movement in a travel photograph can add, rather than detract, so can a little ISO noise add to the patina of a travel location.

I photographed Bhutan 10 years ago at ISO 6400. When you looked at the files at 100%, there was lots of noise to behold, but I can’t remember a single person telling me the noise was unacceptable. Strong subject matter and modern cameras has essentially made the ISO question obsolete. Use auto ISO and concentrate on the aperture and shutter speed settings as these will have a more substantial impact on your travel shots.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand trees https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/4/does-the-iso-setting-matter-for-travel-photography Wed, 19 Apr 2023 05:30:00 GMT
The Best Portrait Lenses for Travel Photography https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/4/the-best-portrait-lenses-for-travel-photography Musician, Khiva, UzbekistanMusician, Khiva, UzbekistanOur musician had his right hand in plaster, but the rest of him was very expressive! Khiva. Uzbekistan.

Musician, Khiva, Uzbekistan Fujifilm X-T3, Fujinon XF56mm f1.2 R, f1.2 @ 1/1100 second, ISO 160

Like so many things in photography, there’s no single answer for every eventuality. With travel portraiture, a single lens simply isn’t going to cut it. For instance, if you’re shooting environmental portraits on the street, then a 24mm or 35mm lens might be needed to allow you to get in close to your subject. On the other hand, if you’re shooting from a distance, a 70-200mm will let you frame closely, while travel portraits with the permission of your subjects can be shot with a 50mm or 85mm, depending on how much background you want.

When shooting portraits with standard zoom lenses, even at f2.8, the depth-of-field isn’t that shallow, so my preference is to use a prime lens, like a 50mm f1.4 or an 85mm f1.8. Used wide open (at their maximum aperture), the bokeh is beautiful. Note, you don’t need the professional 50mm f1.2 or 85mm f1.4 lenses: while the quality is simply breathtaking, they are also considerably bigger and heavier and perhaps the difference isn’t quite sufficient to justify. Packing the right set of lenses is always a matter of compromise.

Other portrait primes to consider are the 35mm f1.4 and a 105mm f1.4, although the latter will be a big lens and perhaps a little too heavy.

If you know you’re doing a lot of portraiture, don’t forget a telephoto with a wide aperture, such as a 200mm f2.0 or a 300mm f2.8. Although the aperture isn’t as wide as a 50mm f1.2, for example, the longer focal length makes up for it and when you’re working in close to your subject, not only can you fill the frame, the background is thrown beautifully out of focus. However, these are big, heavy lenses so you have to be sure of what you want to shoot – and carry around.

If portraiture is your thing, a kit of three or four prime lenses with portraiture in mind isn’t a silly option. You’re not going to be completely limited when it comes to shooting other subjects, such as landscapes, while if portraiture is your thing, you’re using exactly the lenses you need to.

Join Peter Eastway on his next trip to Uzbekistan in October 2023, click link for full details:

https://www.betterphotography.com/workshop-seminars/workshops/silk-road-photo-tour-2-3-to-12-october-2021-us-5995-detail
 

 

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Khiva Musician Uzbekistan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/4/the-best-portrait-lenses-for-travel-photography Mon, 17 Apr 2023 00:00:00 GMT
The Three Best Lenses for Travel Photography https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/4/the-three-best-lenses-for-travel-photography City wall, Khiva, UzbekistanCity wall, Khiva, Uzbekistan

City wall, Khiva, Uzbekistan
Phase One A series, 100MP IQ3, 180mm Rodenstock, 1/30 second @ f11, ISO 50

These days, it’s not too hard to purchase a camera system that is relatively lightweight and compact, so taking three lenses with you on a trip is easy enough. But which three lenses? The ‘safety’ set would be something like a 16-35mm wide-angle zoom, a 24-105mm standard zoom and a 70-200mm or 100-400mm telephoto zoom. This covers all eventualities – or put another way, you’re covered for anything that crops up.

So, is that the answer? Is that the perfect outfit? Certainly, there are other lenses you could consider, such as an ultra wide-angle zoom (like an 11-24mm) and a super long telephoto (e.g. a 100-500mm). These lenses were considered if you could only take two lenses with you and you were looking for something different, but these lenses could also add bulk and weight to your kit. As you add lenses into your arsenal, you also need to consider the weight and what you’ll feel like towards the end of a busy day on the move. Generally, the trick for travel photography is to travel lightly.

Another approach is to consider the type of photography you’re going to take on your travels. If you’re on a trip to Africa to photograph wildlife, a better set of lenses might be a 16-35mm, a 70-200mm and a 100-150mm. On a trip to Bhutan where you’re photographing people, often in dim interiors, a 50mm f1.4 or an 85mm f1.8 might be more useful than the 24-105mm. Sure, you don’t have the versatility of a zoom lens and you don’t necessarily need a wide aperture for low light (given the high ISO settings we can use), but think about the beautiful bokeh you can achieve in your portraits.

My approach is to work as though I had only two lenses plus one extra. This means an ultra wide-angle zoom and as long a telephoto zoom as I can afford or carry. Then I choose the extra lens based on the special projects I might want to shoot along the way – and often this is a wide aperture 35mm, 50mm or 85mm.

Join Peter Eastway on his next trip to Uzbekistan in October 2023, click link for full details:

https://www.betterphotography.com/workshop-seminars/workshops/silk-road-photo-tour-2-3-to-12-october-2021-us-5995-detail

 

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Khiva Uzbekistan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/4/the-three-best-lenses-for-travel-photography Fri, 14 Apr 2023 00:03:36 GMT
Do you need a Laptop or iPad for Travel Photography? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/4/do-you-need-a-laptop-or-ipad-for-travel-photography Doorway, Registan Square, Samarkand, UzbekistanDoorway, Registan Square, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Doorway, Registan Square, Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Fujifilm X-T3, Fujinon XF8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR, f7.1 @ 1/125 second, ISO 160

A laptop, iPad or even a smart phone is a great tool for travel photography. Invariably when travelling, there are down times in the hotel or at the airport that can be fruitfully spent reviewing and quickly editing your photographs. And let’s face it, your camera can probably transfer your photos directly to your device – automatically using a wi-fi connection.

Now there are caveats, of course. Sometimes we need to travel lightly and even packing two lenses is pushing things, so taking a laptop is out of the question. Or you might be trekking in the wilds for a couple of weeks without power – will a solar charging station do the trick? So, there are travel itineraries that will preclude us from taking a laptop or even an iPad.

However, for many trips, we spend the evenings in a hotel room with a desk, a power point and probably internet. It makes sense to download your photos and make a back-up. I use cards with large capacities, so I end up with three copies – one on the card which often lasts several days, one on the laptop and a second on a back-up drive. If I leave my cameras and computer in the hotel room at night (this depends on where I am), I take the back-up drive with me, just in case!

But it’s not safety that drives me to look at my photos in the evening. First and foremost, I’m curious! Did I get the shots I had been hoping to? Is my equipment working as expected – better to find a problem now than when the trip is over? And if I’ve missed a shot, is there an opportunity to reshoot on the following day?

Whether using a laptop or an iPad (or similar), programs like Lightroom, Capture One and ACDSee allow you to quickly rate the best images. I don’t bother selecting and deleting bad shots, rather I give a star to the photos that have potential. If there are a lot of good shots, maybe I have to start applying two stars on a second round.

And then if there’s time, I might quickly process one or two of the most interesting shots. Often when we’re out on location, we have lots of great ideas that can be forgotten if we don’t write them down or do a quick edit directly onto the file.

So, assuming I didn’t drink too much red wine, by the time my head hits the pillow, I have a good idea of what I have shot successfully – and hopefully not too many mistakes to correct the following day!

Join Peter Eastway on his next trip to Uzbekistan in October 2023, click link for full details:

https://www.betterphotography.com/workshop-seminars/workshops/silk-road-photo-tour-2-3-to-12-october-2021-us-5995-detail

 

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Registan Square Samarkand Uzbekistan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/4/do-you-need-a-laptop-or-ipad-for-travel-photography Wed, 12 Apr 2023 00:00:00 GMT
When Size Does Matter https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/4/when-size-does-matter Sheep, Middlehurst StationSheep, Middlehurst StationSheep. Looks great as a large print!

Sheep, Middlehurst Station
Phase One XF, 110mm lens, f2.8 @ 1/1000 second, ISO 200

Looking at this photograph on our website, in your email reader, on Facebook or Instagram, it is a small reproduction. The file is 1000 pixels square. What do you see? At first, it's an aerial landscape, brown in hue, some interesting light revealing the lay of the land. Plus there is a bunch of white spots on it. A closer look and (hopefully) you'll see some sheep and, down the bottom left, some patches of snow, which could almost be sheep.

The reproduction is adequate (or should I write, I'm hoping the reproduction is adequate), so I have successfully communicated my vision - at this size.

But size matters. I could never use this file, or the larger file I made it from, for printing. In the full size file, you can see the sheep's various positions - walking, standing, sitting, lying. There's a tonne of glorious detail. However, you can also see the faulty post-production where the 'quick and cheerful' processing to produce the file here reveals a host of limitations - colour haloes, poor masking (done quickly with luminosity masking), over sharpening with the clarity slider.

I'm not a dinosaur or a luddite (okay, so I don't think I am), but while the latest editing software does amazing things, it's all being dumbed down to the lowest common denominator - the internet. It appears this is the only game in town - does this matter?

Probably not, as long as we're aware of it. Being mindful of the way the internet (especially Facebook) degrades the masterpieces produced by my computer, I'm just running with the crowd and enjoying the technology. The latest set of masking tools in Lightroom is simply wonderful, but they are far from perfect. They will rarely allow you to make a large print without further masking refinement. What works for 1000 pixels is no guarantee for 5000 or 10,000 pixels.

So, size does matter. My current approach is to enjoy the benefits of quickly masking my images at low resolution and exploring where they could go, but before I put that image into a competition, a book or onto a print, I will start afresh and process the file - appropriately for the size.

There is so much more to photography than a quick internet post. If you're progressing well with your photography, why not join Tony Hewitt and me over in Middlehurst this year where we'll share everything about our approach to high end photography. We will show you how to produce files for print and we'll even produce a photo book containing your photos! Full details on the website - click here.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Aerial Middlehurst New Zealand Sheep https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/4/when-size-does-matter Fri, 07 Apr 2023 00:45:00 GMT
If You Could Only Have Two Lenses For Travel? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/4/if-you-could-only-have-two-lenses-for-travel Adolescent King Penguin, South GeorgiaAdolescent King Penguin, South Georgia

Adolescent King Penguin, South Georgia Fujifilm X-H2, XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR, f9 @ 1/500 second, ISO 500

Okay, so this question could go on forever, but there are times when travelling that it’s not practical to carry a large camera bag full of gear. For instance, on a zodiac you’re better off having two cameras and being able to shoot without changing lenses (in case of splashes or inclement weather). Or when you’re doing a long trek for a few hours, days or weeks, one camera with a spare lens might be all the space you have or weight you want to carry. What do you take?

For me, I’m looking to capture photographs that are a little different to the standard travel snap. ‘Standard’ used to mean something shot with a 35-70mm lens, but these days it would include a 28mm wide-angle on a smart phone. So, if I use focal lengths that are different to the masses, that might give me a head start in capturing something that stands out and I can always crop an image or stitch a few frames together in a pinch.

So, I’m going super wide and super long. For super wide, I use a Fujifilm 8-16mm wide-angle zoom (APS-C size sensor), or I used to use a Canon 11-24mm (full-frame sensor). At their widest settings, I find these lenses are great for interiors and massive sky shots, while at their longest setting, they aren’t too wide for general purpose shooting.

At the other end, my new best friend is a Fujifilm 150-600mm zoom. It’s lighter and smaller than my 200mm f2.0, and while not quite as sharp, I can make up for any shortcomings with a little extra sharpening. Using an APS sensor, this lens is the equivalent to a 225-900mm telephoto and I have to say, shooting at 600mm (900mm) is wonderful for both landscape and wildlife.

Downsides? Yes, I confess that 150mm is a little too long for some subjects and so a 70-200mm (full frame) might be a more sensible choice if wildlife isn’t a part of your itinerary. On the other hand, forcing yourself to use longer focal lengths can definitely mean you come home with some different shots and, given you have only two lenses, it doesn’t matter which two, you will always be missing out on something!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Antarctica King Penguin South Georgia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/4/if-you-could-only-have-two-lenses-for-travel Mon, 03 Apr 2023 00:36:58 GMT
Put A Line Across Your Aerials https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/3/put-a-line-across-your-aerials Down near Useless Loop, Shark Bay, WADown near Useless Loop, Shark Bay, WA

Down near Useless Loop, Shark Bay, WA
Phase One XF 150MP, 80mm Schneider lens, 1/640 second @ f4.5, ISO 100

There's no doubt getting up in the air to take photographs is exciting. And the first few times, you're simply blown away by the experience, so it doesn't really matter too much what your photos are like, they will elicit great memories when you view them.

However, with a little experience, as you look back over your images - especially those which are essentially abstract patterns - you might wonder why they're not quite as good as Tony Hewitt's? What is the difference?

Generally the answer is a matter of design. Yes, Tony has wonderful control over his exposure, colour and the texture he brings out, but at the heart of the image is its shape, pattern and composition. Exposure, colour and texture are great, but the difference is invariably a strong shape or pattern that sits inside a complete, considered composition or framing. How does he do it?

Dunno!

However, there are two observations I'd like to make. First, when you're up in the air, don't look for clear areas or large areas, rather limit your scope to a narrower angle and include some geographical lines in the frame - roads, coasts, cliff edges, dams etc. Man-made subjects can work really well when sitting inside an otherwise natural setting. And using a telephoto lens or taking your aircraft down a little lower may allow you to better frame the subject (depending on the subject's size, of course - you might be better at a higher altitude to get the framing required).

The second point to note is that you can tweak the shape and framing of the image in Photoshop, Lightroom or Capture One etc. Stretch it, crop it, rotate it. Once you do this a few times, you'll realise you don't have to get the framing perfect while you're up in the air. Close enough is often good enough if you're prepared to do a little more in post-production.

And if you happen to be interested in shooting Shark Bay with Tony and me later this year, we have one spot left! Why not come along?

Link link below for full details:

https://www.betterphotography.com/component/virtuemart/workshops/shark-bay-photo-experience-30-may-to-3-june-2023-detail
 

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Aerial Shark Bay Useless Loop Western Australia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/3/put-a-line-across-your-aerials Sun, 26 Mar 2023 23:42:00 GMT
Should Stills Photographers Shoot Video for Travel? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/3/should-stills-photographers-shoot-video-for-travel Breaking wave, Nazare, PortugalBreaking wave, Nazare, Portugal

Breaking wave, Nazare, Portugal. Would a video give this image another dimension? Fujifilm X-H2, 150-600mm lens, f9 @ 1/500 second, ISO 320

Stills and video are very different disciplines. I don’t think it is possible to do both of them easily, but if you’re very comfortable as a stills photographer, I think there’s room to investigate video as a way of sharing your stills photos further or better.

As stills photographers, what we probably don’t want to do is create a documentary masterpiece of our travels. To match the production values of what we find on YouTube (the good ones) can require a lot of effort and I fear that focusing on a video in this way could take us away from our primary goals of capturing stills. It could also take us away from enjoying the travelling – travel photography can include cultural and location experiences as well. Don’t miss out on these by focusing on too much video.

Having said that, being open to capturing certain times and moments with video makes a lot of sense. Some experiences when filmed have a dimension that is not available as a single capture, so if you can capture these moments on video – a calving glacier, a ceremonial dance, an albatross coming into land – what can you do with this material?

One answer is to create a slide show (e.g. for YouTube) and combine your stills with video footage – and maybe a great sound track or even a voice-over. It doesn't have to replace your prints or your photo albums, but it’s another way to share your travel images and your experiences. And one that I think can be a lot of fun.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Nazare Portugal Surf Wave https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/3/should-stills-photographers-shoot-video-for-travel Sun, 19 Mar 2023 23:06:34 GMT
Gnomon Island - Work In Progress https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/3/gnomon-island---work-in-progress Gnomon Island, Elephant IslandGnomon Island, Elephant Island

Gnomon Island, Elephant Island Phase One XT, IQ4 150MP Achromatic, 32mm Rodenstock, f9 @ 1/250 second, ISO 200

I'm struggling with this edit. The bare bones are in place, I think, but the detail needs to be more carefully refined. It's taken at Point Wild on Elephant Island, the location where Shackleton left his men for several months following their 'escape' from the ice in the Weddell Sea, over 100 years ago. It is remote. It is difficult to visit and often the swells make it impossible to get this close, but there's no escaping the rock on the end of the point - Gnomon Island.

One of the challenges of travel photography is taking advantage of the light and weather conditions you find. There's no way you want to camp ashore here for a few weeks, waiting for the perfect opportunity (well, there's no way I want to in case there are some more adventurous souls reading this). Low clouds were sporadically allowing bursts of sunshine through, but from this position, the rock was back lit. I organised for the zodiac to go around to the other side of the rock, where the light was much more interesting, but the shape was completely lost. It was just a lump of rock in the water, rather than the pyramid seen here. So, you take what you can get!

The biggest struggle in editing the image was to ensure the rock itself looked hard and weathered, without allowing the clouds and water to become overly contrasty. The image has been process solely in Capture One, but with the limit of 16 adjustment layers, I'll either need to process the file and continue on with a TIF, or process and take it into Photoshop where there are no such limits. Stay tuned - I can already see a few things I'd like to do - sky top right is too heavy, islands on right of horizon too murky. 

But this is the process of photography. Not every image is easily resolved. Some take a little more time.

And if you're keen on polar photography, but don't want to wait until January 2024 to come down to Antarctica with me, why not join me on the Jewels of the Arctic voyage in the middle of the year? Lots of interesting rocks and islets up north!

Click here for details of Peter's voyage to the Arctic:

https://www.betterphotography.com/workshop-seminars/workshops/wild-antarctica-with-peter-eastway,-3-15-march-2020-44-45-48-50-detail
 

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Antarctica Gnomon Island https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/3/gnomon-island---work-in-progress Tue, 14 Mar 2023 02:45:53 GMT
Registan Square in Samarkand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/3/registan-square-in-samarkand Registan Square, Samarkand, UzbekistanRegistan Square, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Registan Square, Samarkand, Uzbekistan Phase One IQ3 100MP A-Series, 180mm Rodenstock, f11 @ 1/4 second, ISO 50

The architecture of the Silk Road is incredibly detailed and ornate. Registan Square would be immediately recognisable to most readers if a wider view were presented. In fact, the view is so famous, the local council has built a large, stepped platform from where bus loads of tourists can take in the vista.

Fortunately, the crowded tourist buses generally turn up during the middle of the day, in between breakfast and dinner! We made a couple of visits, one after heavy rain which was great for reflections and deserted of tourists, and another later in the evening, also without other tourists.

While you can shoot at night all night, most photographers aim to shoot a little while after sunset or before sunrise when the sky is practically black to the eye, but renders a rich blue. Not that it matters for this photo which has been intentionally cropped very tightly without any sky. A little post-production was needed to remove some bright flood lights, but the structure really is the essence of the buildings surrounding the three sides of the square.

These days, you can almost shoot at night or late in the evening without a tripod. Simply push up your ISO and hold your breath. Image stabilisation also helps, but if you look at the exposure for this shot (1/4 second at f11 and ISO 50), there was plenty of light to shoot with. Yes, a tripod was used, but it certainly wasn't necessary. David Oliver would have been proud of me - if only I hadn't used one!

Join Peter Eastway on a trip to Uzbekistan in October 2023 - click link for details: https://www.betterphotography.com/workshop-seminars/workshops/silk-road-photo-tour-2-3-to-12-october-2021-us-5995-detail

 

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Uzbekistan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/3/registan-square-in-samarkand Thu, 09 Mar 2023 22:20:22 GMT
Don’t Forget! Make an Equipment List https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/3/don-t-forget-make-an-equipment-list Nomadic herder in his caravan, outside Bishkek, KyrgyzstanNomadic herder in his caravan, outside Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Nomadic herder in his caravan, outside Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (The Silk Road/The Three Stans) Fujifilm X-T3, XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR, f8 @ 1/50 second, ISO 6400

As travel photographers, we’re reminded not to take too much with us because a heavy camera bag will literally weigh us down and a tired photographer with a sore shoulder or back is less likely to be out in the world taking photographs. However, if you’re going to leave something behind, let’s make sure you do it intentionally by creating a list of essential equipment.

I keep my travel list on my phone in a notepad app. It’s nothing fancy, just a list of what I need to take. In fact, the list has more than what I will take on any one trip, but by listing everything I have, I can consider whether I really need it or just want it.

The list is broken into categories – medium format, mirrorless, drone, video, computer, clothing, accessories. In the mirrorless category, I will include two camera bodies and all my lenses, but when I’m packing, I might just take one body and a selection of lenses. Importantly, this list includes spare storage cards, extra batteries, battery charger, filter holders, filters, tripod, tripod head, tripod feet – everything I might need and that I can’t afford to forget!

Before a trip, I put together what I think I’m going to need and then I pull out my list and double check. It’s amazing how often I forget sensor cleaning equipment or extra cables for my backup drives. And each trip, I find myself adjusting the list to take into account new gear – or equipment I simply no longer need to carry around.

Join Peter on his next adventure to The Silk Road, click link for details:

https://www.betterphotography.com/workshop-seminars/workshops
 

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Bishkek Kyrgyzstan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/3/don-t-forget-make-an-equipment-list Mon, 06 Mar 2023 01:00:27 GMT
Lightroom's New Look For Photography? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/2/lightrooms-new-look-for-photography Buildings, MoroccoBuildings, Morocco

Buildings, Morocco
Fujifilm X-H2, 10-24mm lens, f11 @ 1/300 second, ISO 125

Years ago, in the days of film, I would use flash and exposure to highlight my subject. For a human subject it was relatively easy, assuming you were only a metre or so distance. Set the flash to correctly expose your subject and set the ambient exposure to underexpose everything else. It wasn't always possible in bright sunlight, unless you used an ND filter and a powerful flash. And it wasn't possible with larger subjects that were further away because the flash wasn't powerful enough - at least not during full daylight.

I liked the result, the way the subject stood out against the background. I also remember a number of professional friends using the technique brilliantly for annual reports and advertising campaigns. It wasn't everyone's cup of tea, but it was certainly effective.

Now take a look at Lightroom and the way it can quickly mask either the subject or the background. Lighten the subject, darken the background - it produces the same result. The technique is simple, as long as you accept Lightroom's masking limitations. In the photograph here, the subject is very simple and so Lightroom has done a very good job of creating a mask, but in some other subjects with slightly more complex outlines, Lightroom can struggle. No trouble if you're just outputting a 1000 pixel file as the 'errors' are practically invisible, but create a full size file for printing and you'll find you have some extra retouching ahead of you.

But now everyone has this technique at their fingertips, assuming 'everyone' has access to Lightroom or Photoshop. Will this mean we see a resurgence in this style? Sure, I've played with contrast and colour as well, but the basic technique involves lighting up the subject and leaving the background in the dark.

I remember an exhibition several decades ago where the curator focused on how technology had changed the look of photography over the years - when photography moved from black and white to colour, to automatic exposure, to more sensitive emulsions and so on. As technology made something easier (or possible), photographers adopted it and a new way of photographing followed.

Has Adobe started (or restarted) something?

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Africa Morocco https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/2/lightrooms-new-look-for-photography Mon, 27 Feb 2023 10:45:00 GMT
Isolating Your Subject From Above https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/2/isolating-your-subject-from-above Dinghy, Azemmour, MoroccoDinghy, Azemmour, Morocco

Dinghy, Azemmour, Morocco. Fujifilm X-H2, 150-600mm Fujinon lens

Over the years, a lot of friends and magazine contributors have travelled to Morocco and the photographs I remember the most are of the Atlas Mountains and the small boats scattered along the Atlantic coast. As I write this, I'm in the Atlas Mountains, having just spent a mere day on the coast.

And there are lots of boats along the coast! Wooden boats are immediately appealing to most people. Add in a stylistic difference and they gain even more momentum - well, they do for me. Now, it's a matter of isolating the shape and one of the easiest ways to do this is to find a vantage point up high so you can surround your subject with water. This dingy was photographed from the ancient walls of Azemmour, a small coastal town on the way south from Casablanca to Essaouira.

While I love long exposures and blurred water, this is an exercise in frustration as the dinghy will inevitably move around its mooring due to currents or winds. As it turns out, the faster shutter speeds (around 1/125 second) froze the dappled pattern of light upon the water remarkably well. It's a simple composition and not particularly original.

I have quickly processed a series of four dinghies and this is one of them. Processing it in Lightroom made it very easy to select the subject and background separately, giving me exposure, colour and contrast control over them independently. I hope you like it!

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Africa Morocco https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/2/isolating-your-subject-from-above Fri, 24 Feb 2023 10:30:00 GMT
Cabin Baggage – Do You Feel Lucky? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/2/cabin-baggage-do-you-feel-lucky Poi Kalan religious complex, Bukhara, UzbekistanPoi Kalan religious complex, Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Poi Kalan religious complex, Bukhara, Uzbekistan (The Silk Road/ The Three Stans)
Fujifilm X-T3, XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR, f8 @ 1/680 second, ISO 160

Photographers like to carry their expensive and vulnerable cameras and lenses with them, which means cabin luggage on an airflight. We’d rather not consign anything that could break into our checked luggage because – well, you’ve seen how bags can be thrown around as baggage handlers struggle to keep up with a motorised conveyor belt. Sometimes bags land on the trolley with a bump.

Unfortunately, there are weight limits on cabin baggage, depending on the airline and your class of travel. For many of us, it’s a 7 kg limit, or perhaps 10 kg. In smaller planes, the weight isn’t as much an issue as the size because the overhead compartments are very small. Before you fly, find out what the limitations are so you can pack accordingly.

Can you get your cabin bag under 7 kg? Or maybe it’s 10 kg? Some photographers take much more than this and hope the check-in staff don’t weigh them, but if they do, what’s going to happen? And if your checked luggage has already gone, what will happen to your heavy cabin bag? In my experience, the camera bag is taken away and carefully (I’m told) put elsewhere on the plane. I haven’t had any issues, but I have been very concerned at the time.

These days, I try to keep within the limits. I take a backpack which is smaller than it needs to be so as not to promote interest. For extra gear, I use bubble wrap and clothing and put it in a second backpack which goes into my checked luggage. So far, everything has survived, but it’s a risk.

Another option is a hard case with lots of foam padding, checked as a second bag (and potentially extra costs). The equipment will be safe, but when I’ve put these bags through, the check-in staff have cautioned me about having valuables inside – so that tells me something!

The only safe solution if you never want to risk your gear is to travel within the guidelines – unless you feel lucky!

Join Peter on his next adventures to Uzbekistan and the other Stans! Click here for full details.

 

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Uzbekistan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/2/cabin-baggage-do-you-feel-lucky Sun, 19 Feb 2023 23:33:20 GMT
Are These the Best Apps for Travel Photographers? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/2/are-these-the-best-apps-for-travel-photographers Horserider, outside Basshi, KazakhstanHorserider, outside Basshi, Kazakhstan

Horserider, outside Basshi, Kazakhstan (The Silk Road/ The Three Stans) Fujifilm X-T3, XF8-16mm f2.8 R LM WR, f2.8 @ 1/4700 second, ISO 160

As soon as you write about a useful app, someone invents a new one that is even better! So rather than listing ‘must have’ apps, let’s talk about what we need to know as travel photographers. And perhaps the most obvious requirement is a map.

Google and Apple provide great maps, but what if you’re travelling to a location that doesn’t have phone signal? Most phones will work with GPS even if there’s no phone, so an app that has the maps built-in (downloaded onto your device) can happily place you in the right position. The app I’m currently using is WorkOutDoors which links in to my Apple Watch as well. I can download maps for locations like Antarctica and they are stored on both phone and watch.

Whether you’re shooting landscape or looking for an early morning location in town, knowing what time the sun rises (and sets) and the direction can be a great help. Assuming you have internet coverage, The Photographers Ephemeris is a great app. It’s maps are also excellent and it will let you plan shoots based on location and sun times. But what about the weather?

At present, Windy appears to be the app of choice for outdoor professionals globally, providing a great visual interface for not only wind, but waves, clouds and even satellite views. Plus it has a choice of prediction models to choose from. Very cool.

And do you want to edit your photos while on the road? I confess to preferring to edit my work on my laptop, but SnapSeed is a wonderful image editing app. And yes, I do take photos with my smart phone, but I rarely get around to editing them. Maybe I should give that a go on my next long haul flight!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Horse Rider Kazakhstan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/2/are-these-the-best-apps-for-travel-photographers Sun, 12 Feb 2023 23:36:43 GMT
Is GPS Essential for Travel Photographers? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/2/is-gps-essential-for-travel-photographers Goat herder, outside Basshi, KazakhstanGoat herder, outside Basshi, Kazakhstan

Goat herder, outside Basshi, Kazakhstan (The Silk Road/ The Three Stans)
Fujifilm X-T3, 
Fujifilm Fujinon XF200mmF2 R LM OIS WR, f2.0 @ 1/3500 second, ISO 160

Many cameras either have GPS built-in or you can purchase a GPS adapter, allowing the camera to record your precise position at the moment a photo was taken. While this mightn’t show the location of the subject being photographed, it’s certainly within viewing distance and the coordinates will allow you to determine where you were and what the subject is. GPS can be really useful for travel, landscape and wildlife photographers.

For some trips where you’re at a single destination, it’s not going to be too hard to remember where you are, but on other trips, you might travel several thousand kilometres and locations can blur one into another. This isn’t a problem until you want to tell someone where a photo was taken or perhaps you want to write a caption in your photo book.

If you want GPS coordinates, you can certainly use your camera if it has it, or with a GPS accessory. The main criticism I’ve heard is these units can be thirsty on power, but this could be solved with a spare set of batteries. A second option is to take a photo with your phone at each location as invariably these photos will include location data.

However, I generally forget to take photos with my phone, so a third option is to track my progress for the duration of each trip, either day by day or when travelling a particular segment. You can use your phone or watch to do this and, as long as your camera’s date and time are synchronised, it will be fairly easy to determine where you were. Even better, using an app on your phone (like WorkOutDoors or Guru Maps Pro) will let you view your journey on a map or export a map file so you can use it with other mapping applications.

GPS isn’t essential for a photographer with a notepad and pencil (or who writes down locations on his or her phone), but it’s a fun way to record where you’ve been. It certainly makes caption writing a lot more accurate!

Join Peter Eastway on his next adventure to Kazakhstan and the other Stans in September/October 2023, click link below for full details:

https://www.betterphotography.com/workshop-seminars/workshops/silk-road-photo-tour-1-20-september-to-3-october-2021-us-7995-detail
 

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) goat herder Kazakhstan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/2/is-gps-essential-for-travel-photographers Mon, 06 Feb 2023 00:46:21 GMT
Don't Be Born As A Goat! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/2/dont-be-born-as-a-goat The sport of Buzkashi, KyrgyzstanThe sport of Buzkashi, KyrgyzstanBuzkashi - literally 'goat pulling' in Persian, is 'sort of' like polo except they use the goat as a 'ball'. Exceptional horse riders.

The sport of Buzkashi, Kyrgyzstan Fujifilm X-T3, Fujinon XF200mmF2 R LM OIS WR, f2.8 @ 1/4000, ISO 80.

While the choice of a ball might not be our cup of tea, there is no denying the speed and agility of both horses and riders as they play buzkashi. I'm told the name means 'goat pulling' in Persian and I guess it is 'sort of' like polo, except they use the goat as a 'ball'.

In Kyrgyzstan, we took a drive around Issyk Kul, a high alpine lake sitting underneath towering, snow-capped mountains. Like other parts of The Silk Road adventure, you feel like you're stepping back 50 and 500 years. Issyk Kul has some seriously ancient buildings, but its location and use by the locals as a holiday destination is what gives it a 50-year old patina. No doubt the small towns and resorts around the foreshores looked fantastic when they were first built, but over time and neglect have left them with a wonderful patina for photography.

The locals are like locals everywhere, taking in the tourists with a shrug of their shoulders and happily performing when there is a payment involved. We were under no doubt the game and performance were for the cameras, so nothing authentic, except the athleticism, of course!

When I first arrived, I was a little disappointed the riders were all wearing their sports outfits. I was hoping for them to be in furs and skins, I guess. A completely unrealistic expectation, of course. However, reviewing the images now, I actually love the strong reds and blues. There's something about the gaudy colours that makes the scene almost surreal - and I think this is a good example of trying not to have too many expectations about a subject, rather sit back and see what you find.

Join Peter Eastway on his next adventure to Kygyzstan in September/October 2023, click link for full details:

https://www.betterphotography.com/workshop-seminars/workshops/silk-road-photo-tour-1-20-september-to-3-october-2021-us-7995-detail
 

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Buzkashi Kygyzstan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/2/dont-be-born-as-a-goat Fri, 03 Feb 2023 00:45:00 GMT
Can You Hear The Snow Fall? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/2/can-you-hear-the-snow-fall Rio Fitz Roy, PatagoniaRio Fitz Roy, PatagoniaAs you can see, the weather was overcast. Our group had retired back to the camp a couple of kilometres away for lunch, but I stayed out for a while longer, mesmerised by the 'babbling brook'. There was no wind, no sign of life (human or animal), just the sound of the river as it gurgled across the rocks and stones below. And then it started to snow. Not just a little, but huge flakes silently drifting down. The snow only lasted for a few minutes, but they were some of the most peaceful minutes I can remember.

Rio Fitz Roy, Patagonia, South America
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II, 24mm TS-E lens 2 minute @ f5.6, ISO 100, tripod, 10x ND filter

Sometimes you visit locations and the light is not optimal. In a perfect world, you’d camp out and wait for the light to appear, but life isn’t as simple as this. Often when travelling, you have only one short opportunity to photograph an area and so you have to take what you can get!

Such was the case with Rio Fitz Roy which sits at the bottom of Cerro Torre. This location can be reached in a day from El Chaltern below, but we camped out for a couple of nights so we’d be in place for the morning and evening light.

As an aside, the weather was like this for most of the day. I spent six hours at this and another location nearby, patiently waiting for the cloud to lift. In the end, I had to walk back to camp for dinner empty-handed, but no sooner had I walked into the mess tent than the sun came out! This location was too far away to return before the sun disappeared behind the mountains, so I made do with what I could see from near the camp. But back to Rio Fitz Roy and the lack of light.

While the original exposure was very flat, just being in this location on my own was very special. This is a photograph with lots of baggage, lots of memories, so even though the light is not great, it was an important image for me. I used a 10x neutral density filter to produce a long, two-minute exposure which blurred the water in the river and, as there was no wind, the surrounding trees remained sharp and blur free.

Wind is often a challenge for long exposures because trees and grasses blur while the shutter is open. The solution is to take two different exposures, one long exposure with the ND filter to blur the water and the clouds, and a second without the ND at a movement-freezing speed like 1/250 or 1/60 second. The two exposures are then merged together using masks in Photoshop.

I took a number of exposures of this scene at different shutter speeds, including two minutes. It was during the two-minute exposure I can remember watching the largest snowflakes I have ever seen drifting down from the heavens above. Apart from the water rushing over the rocks below, there wasn’t a sound to be heard – it was a bit like being in a sound studio with deadened walls. The snow flurry only lasted a few minutes, but the experience is etched in my memory every time I look at this photograph.

As photographers, we have no control over what others think of our work. While from time to time people will enjoy our work and compliment our photographs, the only person we can really please consistently is ourself. I think there comes a time in every photographer’s career when you become comfortable with your technique and so the resulting expressions are complete. I like to think after 40 years I have reached a point where I’m happy with my technique and my expression. Is this arrogance? Or experience?

And one more thing! My wife really wants to clear out the last boxes of The New Tradition we have carefully stored under the stairs at home, so reluctantly I have reduced the price. Previously it was $150 to $180 including postage. It's now just $80 for the book, plus we've worked out postage and packaging ($15 for Australia, $35 for NZ, $80 the rest of the world). So, if you haven't yet purchased a copy of The New Tradition, now is the time. Click here for details.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Patagonia Rio Fitz Roy https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/2/can-you-hear-the-snow-fall Tue, 31 Jan 2023 23:21:07 GMT
Do You Take Photos Just For Yourself https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/1/do-you-take-photos-just-for-yourself Skyscape, AntarcticaSkyscape, Antarctica

Skyscape, Antarctica
Fujifilm X-T5, XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR, f8 @ 1/500 second, ISO 125

When I travel, I take a lot of photographs. Normally I don't press the shutter unless I think there is something good about the subject. Of course, as David Oliver will complain, I take hundreds of photos of wildlife not with the expectation they will all be great, but with the hope one of them will be!

The skyscape presented here is a photo I really liked through the viewfinder. The simplicity of the detailless white snow contrasted against the dark grey clouds was graphically strong, and then there was the glimpse of pure blue sky through a gap in the cloud cover. I took perhaps six shots as the shape and size of the blue sky changed from where we were positioned (I was on Aurora Expedition's Greg Mortimer and as we were steaming along, the shapes of things in the landscape were changing quickly).

Yet in my initial run through of picking out photographs to process or share from my voyage, this didn't get the nod. There were other photographs that my subconscious told me other people would like more. Yet when I give presentations on my approach to photography, I tell those silly enough to listen that the only person we can be sure of making happy with our photography is ourselves, so don't worry about everyone else. 

So, this week, I'm sorry, but with your permission and kindness I'm not worrying about you. I like this photograph. It's simple. It can have lots of meanings if you want it to. But at the end of the day, I like it. Enough said!

I'm not expecting lots of hearts and likes when this gets posted on social media. Nor am I expecting lots of emails of congratulations from this newsletter or the website. It's just a competent photo (I suggest) and in a world inundated with great photographs, it won't compete with the true crowd pleasers. But does that matter?

My challenge to you is to post something that you really like and to hell with everyone else! In the nicest possible way, of course. We still want our friends and followers to return next time when we post something that is perhaps more generic in its appeal.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Antarctica Skyscape https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/1/do-you-take-photos-just-for-yourself Mon, 30 Jan 2023 02:52:48 GMT
Is Everything Right In Paradise? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/1/is-everything-right-in-paradise Paradise Harbour, AntarcticaParadise Harbour, Antarctica

Paradise Harbour, Antarctica
Phase One XT 150MP Achromatic back, 32mm lens, f11 @ 1/250 second, ISO 400, IR filter

This is Paradise Harbour (or Paradise Bay, depending on the map you're looking at). Most voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula come here as it really is very beautiful, depending on the weather. Mind you, even when the cloud is low and the mountains hidden behind, the glacier front and brash ice in the harbour itself make wonderful, moody compositions.

On this trip, we were out in a zodiac hoping to see humpback whales. Ben, my zodiac driver, was called on the radio to go back to the ship to help, so I transferred from his zodiac to another so I could continue shooting. A few minutes later, my radio crackled and it was Ben, raving about what a great whale experience they'd just had, with a humpback diving under the zodiac not once, but three times! I didn't believe him, of course, but then I saw the videos taken by the other passengers. Oh well....

I still love Paradise Harbour. It's dramatic as you can see and what I like about this black and white rendition is the crunchy contrast which matches the brash ice in the foreground. However, I keep adding contrast and then taking it away. When I remove the contrast, I feel the overall tonality is smoother and more in keeping with the location, but when I add the contrast back in, I just love what it does to the ice textures. The example above has a number of adjustment layers with masks adjusting the contrast in different areas, but still, I'm not quite sure if everything is yet good in Paradise! Time will tell - I need to live with the image a little longer.

Shooting on the Achromatic back meant black and white only. In colour, I love the rich blues and aquas, while in black and white, I get to concentrate on shape and form. I don't think one is better than the other just now, but they are certainly different ways of dealing with what's already an amazing subject.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Antarctica Paradise Harbour https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/1/is-everything-right-in-paradise Mon, 23 Jan 2023 04:48:44 GMT
Picking The Right Lens For Wildlife https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/1/picking-the-right-lens-for-wildlife Weddell Seal, Paradise Harbour, AntarcticaWeddell Seal, Paradise Harbour, Antarctica

Weddell Seal, Paradise Harbour, Antarctica
Fujifilm X-H2, 150-600mm, f8 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 800

What would you use? A 200mm f2.0 or a 150-600mm (300mm or a 225-900mm in full-frame format)?

The advantage of the prime lens is a maximum aperture of f2.0 (or f2.8) which throws the background beautifully out-of-focus. Add to this the optics' stellar, super sharp image quality. However, you're stuck with a 200mm (or 280mm with a 1.4x extender), so if your subject is distant, you might not fill the frame.

Compare this with a 150-600mm which gives you a choice of focal lengths, but it doesn't produce the same bokeh (out-of-focus blur) and doesn't have quite the same image sharpness. Don't mis-read this: the latest 150-600mm and similar zooms (whether Fujifilm, Canon, Nikon, Sigma etc) are incredibly sharp, but there is a difference. The primes are sharper still (and at the price, so they should be). Is this difference important?

The photo above was shot on a 150-600mm zoom at 600mm (900mm equivalent), so if I had been using the 200mm, I'd have to crop a lot to get this framing. And after using the 150-600mm for a month down in Antarctica, I have to say I have really enjoyed the zoom and how close I have been able to get to my subject. One specification worth considering is the minimum focusing distance because very often you've only a few metres distance - just a little more than five metres in this situation.

So, in terms of framing, the 150-600mm is a winner. I'm probably never going to get quite the same depth-of-field quality, but what about the sharpness? This is an area where technology has changed the rules. Using Topaz Sharpener AI, I can take what is a very acceptable image and turn it into a super sharp, super clear, perfectly focused photograph. The software really does a great job, so if you haven't played with it, it comes highly recommended.

So, for wildlife, I think I'm beginning to favour the 150-600mm and, if necessary, adding a little critical sharpness with Topaz!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Antarctica Paradise Harbour Weddell Seal https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/1/picking-the-right-lens-for-wildlife Sun, 15 Jan 2023 23:19:57 GMT
Mike the Minke Whale https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/1/mike-the-minke-whale Mike the Minke, Orne Harbour, AntarcticaMike the Minke, Orne Harbour, Antarctica

Mike the Minke, Orne Harbour, Antarctica
Fujifilm X-H2, XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR, f8 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 1250

Anne had been writing up the Penguin Post (a daily newsletter for our ship, Aurora Expedition's Greg Mortimer). We were standing on the outside deck, along with all the other passengers, watching in awe as a Minke whale circle around. We named the whale, Mike. And yes, our whale experts confirmed he was a he and not a she, not that I could necessarily tell. And Mike had been with us for several hours.

"I've just been writing how reclusive and shy Minke whales are", Anne confided. "I think I'd better re-write that!"

When you're out in nature, faced by nature, I find it difficult to separate the camera from the experience. Some people like to put the camera down and just savour the moment, but I find I've conditioned myself to feel like I'm missing out when I do that. I'm trying to maximise every opportunity for the camera - and this was a special opportunity. When you see the expedition crew running around with huge smiles on their faces, you know you're experiencing something that doesn't happen every day. 

At the risk of irking David Oliver once again, I confess I shot lots of photos. Hundreds, in fact. And yes, I certainly have more photos than I need - but there was no way I was going to stop and check if I had a good shot while Mike was dipping under an iceberg or breaking the surface with a blow. I kept shooting. As I write this, I can still feel the energy and the adrenalin.

However, it was probably three or four days later before I found this photo. I'd been seeing the photos other photographers had taken and I was keeping my fingers crossed that some where in raw fiels, I'd find an image that was worthy of further exploration. This one I particularly like. The little wave in the bottom left corner is from Mike as he turned abruptly under the water. In earlier frames, he swims along the side of the ship, his eye checking us all out and then, with a wonderful flourish, he dips a fin and disappears into the depths. This photo is the last frame before he dives for deeper, darker waters.

But he would be back. Several times. Many times. We had lots of opportunities and the weather conditions for photographing whales was simply perfect - glassy water, full sunlight. Many of us jumped into zodiacs to get a different perspective. While we're not allowed to approach Mike, Mike had no trouble approaching us, lifting his head just next to the zodiac before diving underneath. I always kept my fingers crossed he'd keep swimming and not lift his head abruptly, spilling me into icy cold water! However, while the experience was fantastic, the better images were from up higher on the ship where you could see all of Mike.

I'm sure I will post a few more Mike photos. It was a fun morning in Orne Harbour.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Antarctica Minke Whale https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/1/mike-the-minke-whale Sun, 15 Jan 2023 23:18:28 GMT
Overcome Shyness & Photograph Your Travel Guides https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/1/overcome-shyness-photograph-your-travel-guides Namgay, our guide. Trashigang, BhutanNamgay, our guide. Trashigang, Bhutan

Namgay, our guide. Trashigang, Bhutan Phase One XT 150MP Achromatic back, 32mm Rodenstock, f8 @ 1/200 second, ISO 200, IR filter.

Are you intimidated a little when it comes to photographing people on your travels? Sometimes it's easier to photography strangers in a foreign land than it is at home, but even so, many photographers are a little timid when it comes to pointing their camera at the locals. First of all, they don't want to offend anyone. Second, they don't want the person to react badly! And third, they are possibly just a little shy! If some of this sits with you, you're not alone. So, how do you get around it?

               When travelling, you're always interacting with some of the locals, even if it's a travel guide on a bus tour. It's the travel guide's job to make you happy, so if taking his or her photo will make you happy, ask!

               Travel guides are also excellent for introductions. If you tell your travel guide you'd like to take some portraits during the trip, a good guide will make this happen. I tell our guides to explain to the locals that he or she is traveling with some crazy people who simply photograph everything and would they mind being subjects! A little humour goes a long way. A thank you is very important. And if you get a rejection, no trouble - move on. There are lots of potential subjects.

               In addition to a travel guide, there are other locals you'll come in contact with, such as the taxi driver and the shopkeeper. Once you've paid these people some money (or you're likely to), contact has been made. So, point to your camera and smile and see what happens! All they can do is say no.

In the photo above...

... guides in Bhutan always wear traditional dress, so including them in a photograph is very easy to do. And they are very helpful when it comes to introducing you to the locals for a portrait or two. Not all countries feel this way. Bolivia, for example, can be challenging in some areas, so you do need to pick and choose.
 

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Bhutan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2023/1/overcome-shyness-photograph-your-travel-guides Mon, 09 Jan 2023 02:40:58 GMT
Will you shoot personal, documentary or fine art for your travel project? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/12/will-you-shoot-personal-documentary-or-fine-art-for-your-travel-project Receding Glacier, Hamiltonbukta, SvalbardReceding Glacier, Hamiltonbukta, Svalbard

Receding Glacier, Hamiltonbukta, Svalbard
Phase One XF 150MP, Schneider Kreuznach LS 240mm f/4.5, f4.5 @ 1/1250 second, ISO 200.

The glacier was  photographed from a zodiac as we 'cruised' around the remarkable Hamilton Bay. While the light wasn't great, it's something you have to get used to and deal with in the polar regions. Think of these overcast conditions as being like a large soft box, spilling an even, diffused light over the landscape. I shot a series from different angles as we cruised along, selecting the one that seemed the most 'balanced', then used exposure, contrast and colour to give the image more life.

We all travel for different reasons. Many of us travel for multiple reasons. A trip might be a great opportunity to take a break with the family and generate a portfolio of images for camera club competitions or a portfolio on your website. You don't have to travel with a single purpose, but thinking about what you want to do with your photographs before you travel will help ensure you come home with sufficient photos to complete the project.

For instance, if you wish to create a series of 12 artistic landscapes, you have a definite goal. No point thinking about this after you return with only 6 suitable candidates. And even if your primary aim is an artistic portfolio, this doesn't mean you can't be capturing contemporary photos of your trip - the airport, the restaurants, the hotels - that can be turned into a scrapbook travel album.

While it's good to have specific aims in mind, it's equally important to be open to new opportunities that arise, so shoot lots. Lots and lots! You don't have to use all the photos you take, but you can't use photos you didn't take.

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Glacier Svalbard https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/12/will-you-shoot-personal-documentary-or-fine-art-for-your-travel-project Thu, 15 Dec 2022 02:57:23 GMT
Will you make a video presentation of your travels? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/12/will-you-make-a-video-presentation-of-your-travels Walrus, Torellneset, SvalbardWalrus, Torellneset, Svalbard

Walrus, Torellneset, Svalbard
Fujifilm X-T4, Fujinon XF200mmF2 R LM OIS WR, f2 @ 1/4000 second, ISO 200.

As social media increasingly favours video presentations, it doesn't mean we have to give up on stills and 'move with the times'. There are many ways of creating a video presentation or slide show of still images with zooms and pans that can produce a cinematic feeling.

On the other hand, most of our cameras can capture both stills and video, so why not be open to the opportunities that are better captured with video?

For instance, the rise and fall of seals on sea ice under an ocean swell; the cascading action of a massive waterfall hurling itself over a precipice, or the mesmerising movements of a tribal dance recorded with the hypnotic beat of a drum. While these can be photographed as well, sound and motion can add another dimension.

I'm not suggesting you switch from stills to videos, rather think about how the two could merge in a presentation. And even if you decide not to use the video you capture immediately upon your return, you never know when it can be useful. Sometimes the sound track attached to the video makes a great background or accent for a slide show. You just never know.

In the photo above, I shot both stills and video. What the still photo doesn't show is the playful way the walrus bob up and down, take a look and then swim away. However, being shot in overcast light, it will be challenging to get the video to have the same colour and tonal values - and hence I feel the merging of stills and video is worth pursuing.

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Svalbard Walrus https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/12/will-you-make-a-video-presentation-of-your-travels Tue, 13 Dec 2022 03:00:00 GMT
Plan a project for your travel photos https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/11/plan-a-project-for-your-travel-photos Palanderbukta, SvalbardPalanderbukta, Svalbard

Palanderbukta, Svalbard.
Phase One XF 150MP, Schneider Kreuznach LS 240mm f/4.5, f4.5 @ 1/1250 second, ISO 100.

Palander Bay was a surprise. With three circumnavigations around the archipelago this year, I visited many places for the first time. Mind you, I returned to some locations three times and they were completely different - so maybe it doesn't matter about going somewhere new. Whatever! As we walked up the hill towards the snow, the angle across the ice to the glacier and cliffs behind kept getting better and better. And the colour contrast between the sandy foreground and the vibrant blues of the compressed ice work beautifully - or so I think!

I'm planning to post a few photos from recent travels. I'm also planning to be more active with my photo book projects. Planning and projects are good. They make you do things by giving you an end point - and perhaps a deadline. I'm sure Better Photography magazine wouldn't happen every quarter without a deadline!

The same approach can be taken to travel photography. Let me explain...

One of the main reasons people buy a new camera is to photograph a trip or a holiday - to take travel photos. But after the trip, what will you do with your photos? How will you share them with family, friends and social media?

Most of us will post a few photos on the internet here and there, but if you've taken time and effort to capture great shots and edited them carefully, turn them into a project.

Projects can be as simple as posting a single photo per day, or a set of 5 or 10 photos per day. And although you can post them 'live' as the trip unfolds, you could also post them after you've returned as a series for people to follow - social media posts don't have to be live.

Depending on the type of travel you're photographing, you could also produce a photo book or a slide show video - the Big Five Wildlife of Africa, Skiing in the Dolomites, Inside the Dzongs of Bhutan. By creating a project with a theme, your photographs will better work together.

There's no need to limit yourself to one project and it's a great idea to start the projects before you leave, so you can work towards an outcome while you're travelling.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Svalbard https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/11/plan-a-project-for-your-travel-photos Mon, 14 Nov 2022 03:00:00 GMT
Crowd-Pleasers and Social Media https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/11/crowd-pleasers-and-social-media Fogbow, Well North of SvalbardFogbow, Well North of Svalbard

Fogbow, Well North of Svalbard
Phase One XT 150MP, Rodenstock HR Digaron-W 32mm, f11 @ 1/250 second, ISO 50

I might be making an assumption that this photo is going to be a ‘crowd-pleaser’, something that lots of people ‘like’ or ‘love’, depending on the platform’s flavour. (Of course, a few people will read this paragraph and not like or love it, merely because I have suggested it’s a crowd-pleaser.)

But does it matter?

I like pleasing crowds. I get a kick out of a photo that gets lots of attention. I figure most photographers are the same – it’s human nature! However, the rational side of my personality tells me this is irrational thinking. I have no control over what others think about my work.

Last week, a regular reader and communicator gently suggested that the reflection of clouds in my photograph couldn’t be lighter than the subject itself – because that’s what happens in nature. This popular criticism of photographs using post-production may be factual, even though my grand-father told me it is better to be socially pleasant than statistically correct! But my reviewer has made a big assumption of his own.

Why do people think that my photographs (or the photographs of many other readers) are trying to be realistic?

I’d rather think my work is based on nature, with a Hollywood filter run over the top. I’m not trying to fool anyone that my work is authentic. I operate on the belief that people are well-educated about post-production. Look at the Google smart phone being advertised on television currently with its ‘content-aware’ fill feature. Should we expect any photograph we see today to be real?

Which brings me to the fogbow above. No, it didn’t look like this. In reality, we were in a thick sea-fog and there was just a hint of the fogbow’s structure to be seen, but through the magic and mysteries of post-production (think contrast and clarity), photography can describe something that was really there, just difficult to see with the human eye.

Does this make it authentic? Don’t ask me! I’m just a photographer.

Do I like the photo? Yes, but it’s not my favourite. And I’m sure I will spend the rest of my life trying to figure out why some photos I consider ‘seconds’ are rated higher by the general population than ‘my absolute favourites’. No need to answer me, just send money to cover my psychiatry appointments!

  •  

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Arctic Fogbow Ice Svalbard https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/11/crowd-pleasers-and-social-media Sun, 06 Nov 2022 21:35:31 GMT
Processing An Edit For A Photo Book https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/10/processing-an-edit-for-a-photo-book In the Ice (nearly), SvalbardIn the Ice (nearly), Svalbard

In the Ice (nearly), Svalbard, 2022.
Phase One XF 150MP, 55mm Schneider, f5.6 @ 1/2500 second, ISO 100

With nearly 30,000 photos from a trip to Svalbard in June/July this year, how am I editing my images? And when I write 'editing', I mean selecting the best ones to process (i.e. to take the raw file and turn it into an edited photograph).

I don't think there is a single method that works best for everyone or in every situation. Take this photo here. It's part of a chapter on the wonderful atmospherics one finds in the polar regions. When I chose it for the photo book I'm producing, I was enamoured with the soft light and mirror-smooth water. It was only when I started investigating the image more closely that I remembered what drew me to it in the first place - the remarkable reflections of the clouds.

The idea for my Svalbard book was 10 chapters of 8 pages. The 8 pages will include one double-page photograph as an introduction (the photo above will introduce the chapter on atmospherics), plus four to six single page photos and/or maybe another double-pager. So a total of 6 to 7 photos to process, times 10 chapters equals 65-70 photos. 

Then I extended the book to two volumes, so I have around 130 photos to process and I'm about one third of the way through. Not sure if they will be finished before I leave for Antarctica next month and a new adventure begins. This is the challenge - finding the time to do justice to the adventures I have. Each one is deserving of a book - if only I could work more efficiently!

Herein lies my current thought process. As I travel, I download and review the photos at the end of each day, whether I'm on the road or in my cabin. I have a good idea of which photos I like the best, so I mark them in some way - I lightly process them or give them a star rating. Then at the end of the trip, often on the flight back home, I will 'edit' or select the best photos for a book. For Svalbard, I did a quick design in InDesign and dropped the unprocessed photos into the layout.

Now that I'm back home, I open up the InDesign document, choose the next photo in the layout, find the raw file, process it and then drop the processed file back into the layout. I try not to spend too much time on each image. My aim is to do 6 or 7 an evening, and that usually requires an hour or two.

And the selection of photos in the book will change. As I process some of the images, I'm finding they are not quite as strong as I initially thought, so there will be some refining of the final selection. But at least I'm making a start.

And I'm very happy with my reflection! Maybe a touch stronger colour along the horizon and a slight darkening of the top left...

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Svalbard https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/10/processing-an-edit-for-a-photo-book Sun, 30 Oct 2022 23:22:46 GMT
The Nuance of the Polar Bear's Walk https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/10/the-nuance-of-the-polar-bears-walk Wandering Polar bear, Torellneset, SvalbardWandering Polar bear, Torellneset, Svalbard

Wandering Polar bear, Torellneset, Svalbard
Fujifilm X-T4, Fujinon XF200mm F2 R LM OIS WR, f2.5 @ 1/3000 second, ISO 160.

When it comes to photographing wildlife, I think most of us are much the same. As soon as we find our target, we shoot. Doesn't matter what's behind it, what it's doing, or how it's framed, we take a photo. Then, with a safety shot (no matter how inferior) under our belt, we start to shoot a few more, looking for a better angle, a better pose or a superior background. I took hundreds of shots of this bear!

On this occasion, the polar bear was walking along a straight stretch of sandy coast, littered with icebergs and ice drifts. Polar bears are not slow. We estimated this one was ambling along at around 6 kph, which explains how easy it could be for you to find yourself face-to-face with one after a few hours on shore. He (or she) mightn't be nearby when you land, but that doesn't mean he (or she) couldn't arrive very soon! And that's why we have guides and lookouts for all Arctic landings!

Keeping our distance in the zodiac as required by the tourism regulations in Svalbard meant I was a little limited in my angle. Using a 200mm lens (equivalent to a 300mm on a full-frame sensor), the polar bear was quite small in the frame, but I liked that because it meant the surrounding landscape held equal importance. I had a 1.4x converter with me, but I found the angle was a little tight. I had plenty of time to experiment as we tracked this bear for maybe 20 minutes or more. And while he appeared to notice us from time to time, it was pretty clear he was intent on something else and we weren't worth worrying about.

So out of the hundreds I shot, why this one? I like it! I like the snow drift behind - a bit like a backdrop in a studio. I also like the foreground where the waves have washed the snow away, revealing a rocky shoreline. And I like the positioning of the polar bear's legs. Although I could have simply kept my finger pressed on the shutter button and fired away, I found it easier to watch the polar bear and press the shutter as he extended his front leg. After a kilometre or so of practice, I think I was quite good at it in the end!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Polar Bear Svalbard https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/10/the-nuance-of-the-polar-bears-walk Sun, 23 Oct 2022 23:18:32 GMT
Shooting Behind The Scenes In Bhutan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/10/shooting-behind-the-scenes-in-bhutan Young monk, Bumtang festival, BhutanYoung monk, Bumtang festival, Bhutan

Young monk, Bumtang festival, Bhutan
Fujifilm X-H2, XF56mmF1.2 R, f1.2 @ 1/1700 second, ISO 125

I guess it's much the same at home in Australia. If you go to a festival or fair in the city, there's lots of security and restrictions on where you can go and, sometimes, what you can photograph. Out in rural areas, the situation can be more intimate and relaxed, with better access for photography. This certainly applies to Bhutan and its many religious festivals, so this year we chose two smaller scale events where the number of tourists was relatively low and access 'behind-the-scenes' really good.

This photo was taken behind the scenes in a small quadrangle surrounded by rooms and temples at a festival in Bumtang. In fact, I've photographed in this location three or four times before and always enjoy the access to the monks as they prepare for their next performance - putting on their costumes, tying on their masks and just enjoying the proceedings. Generally, it's a cacophony of colour and, as it's outside, you have to watch the light, trying to avoid direct sunlight.

I spent several hours over the course of the day observing. The longer I was there, the more the monks became used to me - and eventually ignored me with my camera. Spending time is very useful when it comes to people photography. Later in the afternoon, the entrance to one of the adjoining rooms was in shade, with beautiful soft light falling on the monks as they emerged. Often I wasn't quick enough to capture a monk running out, or if I were, the gesture or pose might not be optimum. But on this occasion, a young monk paused to see what was happening in the opposite corner and this gave me my chance.

What attracted me in this composition is the contrast of colour. The dirty whites, browns and blacks of the building facade promote the bright colours of the monk's costume and the curtain above him. I like the pose, holding some objects which are better not described in a family newsletter (if you've visited a Bhutanese festival before, you'll know what I'm talking about) and looking out, his eyes intensely focused out of frame.

The image was processed in Lightroom using a series of simply brush masks to adjust the tonal mapping - how light or dark different areas of the image are presented.

My trip to Bhutan this year with David Oliver exceeded expectations and while we had a few travelling challenges (a flight was cancelled due to mountain weather!), overall the access and the images we came home with were first rate. I'm really looking forward processing them!

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Bhutan Festival Monk https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/10/shooting-behind-the-scenes-in-bhutan Sun, 16 Oct 2022 23:20:53 GMT
Better Credits For Photographers https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/9/better-credits-for-photographers Painted Hills - ArkaroolaPainted Hills - ArkaroolaFirst light at Anna Creek Station's Painted Hills. A large print of this looks simply remarkable on Canson Baryta Photographique Matte II.

Painted Hills, taken during my trip to Arkaroola earlier this year.
Phase One XF 150MP, 80mm Schneider lens, 1/500 second @ f3.5, ISO 320.

Why is it so hard to know who took a photo in a magazine or on a website, yet the author of the story (or words) that the photographs accompany is always attributed?

In Australia, moral rights requires a publisher to credit the photographer and it's not something they can generally weasel out of. However, there are lots of grey areas, such as advertising pages which the magazine publisher doesn't produce or when a photograph is purchased from a stock library, because sometimes the stock library doesn't tell you who the photographer is!

However, often when a publisher does attribute a photographer, why is the photo credit tiny and tucked away where it can hardly be seen (e.g. in the gutter of a magazine), while the author of the words is up big, bold and at the beginning of the story?

I'm calling out the publisher of Qantas's inflight magazine, Medium Rare Content Agency and the managing director, Nick Smith.

"Dear Mr Smith. Within your Travel Insider magazine are articles where both the writer and the photographer are clearly credited at the beginning of the story - thank you for that. However, on other occasions, when the name of the photographer is clearly known, why do you allow your designers to put a tiny 6 point credit in the gutter of the magazine, almost hidden where no one will see it? I believe this practice denigrates the value of photography which, in all other respects, appears to be highly prized in your publication. Surely your editors and designers could do better when it comes to attributing the value photography adds to your publication?"

Nick and his content agency are not the only publishers who follow this approach and I think it's time we called them all out. So, Nick, what do you reckon? Will your publications give photographers the (more obvious) credit they deserve?

Here endeth the rant!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Arkaroola https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/9/better-credits-for-photographers Fri, 30 Sep 2022 00:57:03 GMT
How Can You Judge A Photograph? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/9/how-can-you-judge-a-photograph Down from the bridge, Middlehurst StationDown from the bridge, Middlehurst StationPhase One XF 150MP, 240mm Schneider, f8 @ 1/80 second, ISO 50

Down from the bridge, Middlehurst Station
Phase One XF 150MP, 240mm Schneider, f8 @ 1/80 second, ISO 50

The Australian Photographic Prize (held the weekend before last) was being spearheaded by Robyn Campbell and Karen Alsop, following the demise of the AIPP and the Australian Professional Photography Awards (APPA). While some aspects of the new awards are based on APPA, others have been modernised and adapted, such as the role of the panel chair.

Under the old APPA system, there were five judges. A panel chair administered the judging process, but was not allowed to influence the judges. Sometimes, this was a pity because often the panel chair was also a very experienced judge.

Overseas, there are a number of awards which give the panel chair a voice, but not a vote. The panel chair is selected from the most experienced judges and then, during any discussion, is allowed to point out aspects of an entry that might otherwise have been missed by the judging panel.

For example, judges could score an entry very highly based on what they believe is an original idea. The panel chair may know that the work is actually quite derivative (meaning the entrant has been highly influenced by the work of another photographer or artist, who the judges appear to be unaware of), and so a very high score might not be appropriate.

Under the old APPA system, the panel chair couldn't say anything. Under the new APP system, the chair will be expected to share his or her knowledge about the other photographer or artist. At the end of the discussion process, the five judges are asked to re-score the entry.

It's not up to the panel chair to lower or raise the score, only to provide additional insight. The score is still up to the judges, but now they have the advantage of extra knowledge and experience.

It's a good system, especially if you have knowledgeable panel chairs, but no one knows everything about photography. For instance, there are so many photographers and artists accessible online that it's simply not possible to know if an idea is new or original. However, if it is new to a judge, then you must expect them to reward it. By having five judges, we extend the knowledge base - and by adding in the panel chair, we extend it further.

While no system can really 'judge' a photograph, if you enjoy the competition process as I do, then I think this is a great innovation for an awards system like this.

And congratulations to APP - it was a great weekend!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/9/how-can-you-judge-a-photograph Mon, 19 Sep 2022 00:06:40 GMT
Should We Fly With Qantas? Should We Fly At All? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/9/should-we-fly-with-qantas-should-we-fly-at-all Sheep, Middlehurst StationSheep, Middlehurst StationSheep, Middlehurst Station (no blur!)
Phase One XF 150MP with 240mm Schneider lens, f8 @ 1/160 second, ISO 50

Sheep, Middlehurst Station (no blur!)
Phase One XF 150MP with 240mm Schneider lens, f8 @ 1/160 second, ISO 50

On my flight from Sydney to Melbourne last Wednesday (to help judge the Australian Photographic Prize), I was struck by how dirty my seat was. And the window I looked out was covered in smears and grime. And as I looked a little closer, the sills were full of dust. In short, it didn't look like my area of the plane had been given a good clean for a long time.

A couple of nights before my flight, Four Corners (an Australian current affairs television program) had given Qantas a severe roasting, accusing the leadership of losing its way and bringing the airline into disrepute. How long would customer loyalty last when it was cutting corners to save money, but not delivering even basic services like flights leaving on time and baggage arriving?

Certainly Qantas has acknowledged the issues it's had with baggage handling and has even offered small gifts of apologies (good on them for stepping up), but Four Corners highlighted many other behind the scenes issues I hadn't thought about before, such as safety and why outsourcing is having unexpected consequences. Mind you, many other airlines are grappling with these and similar issues (as I learnt when SAS pilots went on strike a few months ago).

I certainly liked the old Qantas when the staff were happy and friendly. On two of my last three flights, Qantas staff did not appear to be their usual happy selves - why? We can point to stresses and challenges over the past two COVID bearing years, but if news reports are to be believed, it runs deeper than this. There are management problems, it appears. Or was it my imagination?

Now, this rant isn't anti-Qantas, rather a plea that it is fixed. I want to be proud of an Australian airline, even though it is privately (not-government) owned.

And there must be hard decisions being made. All employees want more money, but then when they buy an airline ticket, they want to pay as little as possible. How does Qantas compete with overseas airlines while paying Australian wages? Then again, Qantas flights are often more expensive than other airlines - surely this covers it?

So, as the world opens back up to photographers, who do we book our flights with? Do we book at all and just stay at home - well, that's not an option!

I don't have the answers and I know precious little about what happens behind the scenes. All I could see was that my Qantas seat was dirty. My return flight seemed better, I'm glad to report. I'd like to remain loyal - let's hope it is fixed.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/9/should-we-fly-with-qantas-should-we-fly-at-all Mon, 12 Sep 2022 00:15:00 GMT
The Arctic Report: The Hand of Man https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/8/the-arctic-report-the-hand-of-man Mining boat wreck, Skansbukta, SvalbardMining boat wreck, Skansbukta, Svalbard

Mining boat wreck, Skansbukta, Svalbard
Phase One XT 150MP, Rodenstock HR Digaron-W 32mm, f8 @ 1/125 second, ISO 160

One of the aspects I love about shooting at the poles (north and south) are the old shacks, boat wrecks and building ruins scattered around. I know, I know - we should aim to keep these places wild and pristine and to a certain extent, Mother Nature is doing this for us, no matter what we do.

In Svalbard there's a lot of emphasis placed on the conservation of the archipelago's more recent history. While there is little evidence (and some argument) about the first people to 'discover' Spitzbergen (as Svalbard was generally known), most human activity has happened in the last 200 years or so, from the fire pits of old whaling stations to a remote German meteorological station that was bombed during WWII.

And it is these subjects and their awkward juxtapositions in such a wild and barren landscape that I love to photograph. I saw this ship wreck around four years ago on a day trip to Pyramiden, just outside Longyearbyen. As it was a commercial ferry ride, there was no opportunity to stop, but I made a mental note of returning there.

However, when we first landed at Skansbukta a few weeks ago, I'd forgotten all about my ferry ride. However, I could certainly see this old wreck down the end of the beach.

With any expedition landing, there are always other passengers around, so while the best approach is to photograph your subject without bright red and blue jackets walking through the frame, the reality is a little different. Fortunately, Photoshop, Lightroom and Capture One (etcetera) are all very good at removing unwanted characters.

For this image, I lay down on my stomach to accentuate the precarious balance of the ship on its keel. It's probably not nearly as 'precarious' as it looks with the front of the boat well embedded in the pebbly beach.

In post-production I have certainly lightened up the underside of the boat, but it was partly natural as a break in the clouds behind the camera was creating a beautiful soft-light effect - it was almost like being in a huge outdoor studio!

Having spent 30 days around Svalbard this year (that's a separate story of airline strikes and challenges), I realise I have still only touched the surface of this amazing archipelago. If you're interested in joining me in August 2023, I am hosting a voyage that includes Svalbard and Greenland called Jewels of the Arctic?

And also a call-out for Bhutan! David Oliver and I are definitely going back (29 September to 12 October 2022) and we have just two guests with us, so this is a great opportunity to join a small group! Full details for all photo tours can be found on the website.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Svalbard https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/8/the-arctic-report-the-hand-of-man Mon, 01 Aug 2022 02:02:29 GMT
The Arctic Report: Mesmerising Cloud Formations https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/7/the-arctic-report-mesmerising-cloud-formations Low Cloud, Burgerbukta, SvalbardLow Cloud, Burgerbukta, Svalbard

Low Cloud, Burgerbukta, Svalbard
Phase One XF 150MP, 110mm Schneider-Kreuznach, f7.1 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 50

Photographers often ask me what time of year is best for photography in the Arctic and I think after my last trip there, the answer has to be any time of year. Why? Because the weather plays such an important role in the light you experience.

My voyages around Svalbard this year were in July when the sun never sets. It gets lower in the sky in the early hours of the morning, so there is more angle to the light, but it never gets low to the horizon. You never see sunrise or sunset colours at this time of the year, so if you want sunrises and sets, you should travel earlier or later in the year.

Of course, if you travel earlier, you might be restricted by the sea ice, meaning some locations are not accessible. If you travel later, the sea ice may have receded so far north you don't see it at all. But no year is ever the same and so your best laid plans can come to naught simply because the weather is different.

So, while I had no sunrise or sunsets on my voyages, the light shows were still remarkable. There were certainly some blue-bird days with not a cloud in the sky and they became a little boring - we get sick of taking travel brochure snaps! However, if you don't like the weather, you can be sure it will change the next day (or the next hour) and it is during these changes that the landscape lights up with spots of sunlight sneaking through patchy clouds or bands of mist hugging the edges of tall mountains.

There's always something happening and if I don't have my camera with me, I'm running back to my cabin to quickly take a shot as the ship sails to our next destination.

This photograph was taken from the deck of Aurora Expedition's Greg Mortimer. Although we usually have two outings each day, either on land or as a zodiac 'cruise', there are plenty more photo opportunities as the ship moves on. How could you resist a subject like this?

Shooting from the deck, I am not using a tripod, so I keep an eye on my shutter speeds to ensure there is no camera shake or movement. With modern cameras, there's no issue pushing your ISO up higher to give you a fast shutter speed and a sufficiently small aperture for depth-of-field.

Having spent 30 days around Svalbard this year (that's a separate story of airline strikes and challenges), I realise I have still only touched the surface of this amazing archipelago. If you're interested in joining me August 2023, I am hosting a voyage that includes Svalbard and Greenland called Jewels of the Arctic?

And also a call-out for Bhutan! David Oliver and I are definitely going back (29 September to 12 October 2022) and we have just two guests with us, so this is a great opportunity to join a small group! Full details for all photo tours can be found on the website.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Svalbard https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/7/the-arctic-report-mesmerising-cloud-formations Sat, 30 Jul 2022 00:13:39 GMT
The Arctic Report: White Bears, Blue Ice https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/7/the-arctic-report-white-bears-blue-ice White Bear, Blue IceWhite Bear, Blue IceKvitoya (White Island), off the northeast coast of Svalbard.

White Bear, Blue Ice
Fujifilm X-T4, 200mm f2.0 lens with 1.4 teleconverter, f2 @ 1/5800 second, ISO 160.

Kvitoya (White Island), off the northeast coast of Svalbard, is covered by a relatively low ice cap. Now, I'm no glaciologist, but I understand the blue ice is the result of pressure and often we don't get to see this ice because it is covered with fresh snow - hence the name of the island.

We were sitting in our zodiac doing circuits past the shore where there were three polar bears in the white snow. Behind I could see the blue ice and I thought to myself, wouldn't it be wonderful if the bears wandered up there.

Mind you, the weather wasn't optimum. The sea was quite choppy, moving the zodiac around and making it difficult to focus on the subject or, for that matter, keeping the subject within the frame. The longer your telephoto lens, the more difficult this was, so there's an argument for a slightly shorter telephoto for framing and then cropping the image later on.

In addition, there was low cloud and fog and the wind was blowing offshore, depositing a fine mist of water over the lens's front element. I was constantly cleaning the lens with a soft cloth I keep in my camera bag for such occasions. A rain-cover on the camera also helped, but there was nothing I could do to stop the rain accumulating on the front of the lens if I wanted to photograph the bears!

The polar bears were several hundred metres away (distances are really hard to gauge up here, for me at least), so we were shooting through a lot of atmosphere and in fact, the images looked almost 'noisy' - not because of the sensor, but because the lens was recording the water droplets in the air.

The original capture is a little drab compared to what you see here. And the omnidirectional light makes the bear look like he (or she) is almost pasted in - which is a fair criticism given my reputation, but I assure you that aspect of the image is authentic. The bear was there! I have lightened up the overall exposure and added in some clarity and colour saturation to bring the ice to life in post-production.

Having spent 30 days around Svalbard this year (that's a separate story of airline strikes and challenges), I realise I have only touched the surface of this amazing archipelago. If you're interested in joining me 5-19 August 2023, I am hosting a voyage that includes Svalbard and Greenland called Jewels of the Arctic.

And also a call-out for Bhutan! David Oliver and I are definitely going back (29 September to 12 October 2022) and we have just two guests with us, so this is a great opportunity to join a small group! Full details for all photo tours can be found on the website.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Polar Bear Svalbard https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/7/the-arctic-report-white-bears-blue-ice Fri, 22 Jul 2022 07:45:00 GMT
When Can You Break The Rules? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/6/when-can-you-break-the-rules Jökulsárlón Lagoon, IcelandJökulsárlón Lagoon, IcelandIceland

Jökulsárlón Lagoon, Iceland
Phase One XF, 55mm Schneider lens, f11 @ 1 second, ISO 35

This composition is flawed. It is unbalanced. The interest is all up in the top right hand corner, leaving too much negative space of uninteresting water underneath the trite reflection. There is too much weight on the left, tilting the image over and tonally, the image should be lighter so we can see what's going on.

On the other hand, this is a bold composition. The large area of negative space is intentionally sparse in detail, leading the viewer's eye to the top of the composition with the beautifully shaped headland, the cap of orange grasses and the tiny icebergs floating intentionally in the headland's reflection. The colour is similarly minimalistic, the tonal range dark and moody. And the edge of the shore leads the eye deftly around the frame to the centre of interest. 

Which approach is correct and does it matter? When you've been a magazine editor for as long as I have, you can start to believe your own rhetoric! However, I think most readers would agree that no matter what the rules state, if a photography makes you happy, if it 'works', then it's a good photo.

As far as you are concerned, of course. I doubt if this photo would do well in a photo competition. Perhaps moving those shards of ice into the foreground on the left would break up the large negative space, making the top-heavy framing more understandable. Then again, there are undoubtedly some viewers who feel much as I do and enjoy the image for what it is.

What I like about 'breaking the rules' of composition is that you first have to consider them. And in the process of considering the rules, you're intentionally making decisions about what you like about your subject and how you want it to be presented.

So, when can you break the rules? Whenever you want to, but don't expect the judges in a photo competition to agree with you. If they do, then that's just a bonus.

And if you're interested in coming to this wonderful location and taking a superior photograph, I am doing a photo tour to Iceland this September with Better Moments photography and Christian Norgaard. Details are on our website (click here), but bookings are made directly with Better Moments.

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Iceland https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/6/when-can-you-break-the-rules Thu, 23 Jun 2022 09:21:27 GMT
Stopping Before The Best View https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/6/stopping-before-the-best-view Inland Kaikoura Range 2Inland Kaikoura Range 2

Above Hells Gate, Middlehurst.
Phase One XF 150MP, 55mm Schneider lens, f11 for 60 seconds, ISO 50.

How often have you been travelling to a destination, intent on seeing the view? You could be in Australia, Iceland or New Zealand - it doesn't matter. What does matter is you've been told about or you've seen a great location and you want to photograph it.

I have a question. Should you stop before the best view? This is sort of what happened for this photo taken at Middlehurst. In the distance on the left, you can see a small road that takes us to a corner of the mountain and some great panoramic views. I love going there each year - it's usually on the first night, weather permitting. And it's hard not to take an impressive landscape or two.

However, on this occasion as we were travelling back from our destination, we turned around to see the sky lighting up. Now, I'm not a big fan of sunset photographs in competitions, but when it comes to taking a few for myself, that's a different matter! And what I like about this image is the huge expanse of mountainside in the foreground, the red slips on the steeper sections. It's not a classic composition, cramming the 'action' of the big mountains and the sunset light show up into the top third of the frame, but this 'balance' creates a different type of interest. Some people might like to know what's behind the foreground mountain, whereas I like the fact that it hides it. It creates a sense of unknown - if what I can see already looks amazing, how much more could I see if I were around the corner?

Sometimes delivering everything in a photograph isn't as effective as allowing our viewers to use their imagination - and hence the question, should we stop before the best view?

As a corollary, we're always told to look behind us and I think this is possibly the single best piece of advice I have ever received. Okay, so you need a lot of other advice too, but how many photos would we have missed had we not been aware of what was happening behind and around us as well? And this concept isn't just about camera angle and place. It's about timing too - the sun had set behind clouds for the evening, or so we thought, but while we were on our way home, our cameras were still very much at the ready - and just as well.

If you're interested in experiencing the Middlehurst Experience in August this year, Tony Hewitt and I have just one place left You can check out the details on our website here.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/6/stopping-before-the-best-view Thu, 23 Jun 2022 09:11:25 GMT
Does This Crop Make It Better? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/6/does-this-crop-make-it-better Farmlands Near Esperance, WAFarmlands Near Esperance, WAPhase One IQ150, 80mm Schneider, f4 @ 1/3200 second ISO 160

Farmlands Near Esperance, WA
Phase One IQ150, 80mm Schneider, f4 @ 1/3200 second ISO 160

I've just finished the Esperance/Albany photo tour with Tony Hewitt, accompanied by half a dozen enthusiastic photographers. We had a wonderful mixture of light, flights and bad humour (the latter attributed to this writer).

If you've travelled with Tony on a workshop, you'll know that he regularly asks, "What have you learnt today"? Usually I make a smart comment when it's my turn to answer, but as I was processing some of the aerials I'd taken, I realised I had learnt to crop. Okay, so I had re-learnt the lesson, one I also teach regularly, but the 'new' direction came from watching my 'students' who were cropping in very tightly to produce their final compositions. Why wasn't I being more aggressive as well? I certainly had plenty of pixels to spare - as do most of us these days with our 20+ megapixel sensors.

The image above is one example. North of Esperance are hundreds of small ponds, some dry, some full, some coloured. Of course, these ponds are found in many places all around Australia, but I had noticed a congestion of them on a commercial flight some 10 years ago, looking out my window. Keeping notes of future locations is an occupational habit. I'm still working out if I prefer the ponds in the 'wilderness', or surrounded by farmland. Both have their appeal.

And the original framing below:

The full frame image before the tighter crop.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Aerial Esperance Western Australia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/6/does-this-crop-make-it-better Sun, 05 Jun 2022 23:50:59 GMT
What Makes A Well Framed Subject? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/5/what-makes-a-well-framed-subject Tolkein Rock, Middlehurst, New ZealandTolkein Rock, Middlehurst, New ZealandI call this Tolkein Rock for no particular reason except the entire landscape around Middlehurst is an extension of Middle-Earth. Where the Tone River merges with the Awatere.

Tolkein Rock, Middlehurst, New Zealand
Phase One A series, IQ4 150MP, 23mm Rodenstock, f11 @ 30 seconds, ISO 50

We have one spot available at Middlehurst this year - 3-9 August. If you're interested, email [email protected] ASAP or see more details on our website

On two recent workshops, the same discussion arose with several photographers: what are they photographing? It sounds like a dumb, arty question you'd ask at the same time you contemplate your navel, but it's actually very practical. If you define what you want to show in your photograph before you use your camera, you're more likely to end up with a stronger composition or framing. 

Another obvious suggestion, one that is often forgotten, is to place what you are photographing somewhere in the middle area of the frame, rather than pushed out towards one of the edges. You can place it bang in the middle or use the rule of thirds, just don't put right on an edge of the frame (at least not initially - all rules can be broken, of course).

In the photo above of Tolkein Rock at Middlehurst, what is the subject? If it is Tolkein Rock, then I'd suggest the subject is too small, even though it is well positioned (in the middle somewhere) and its shape is in a clear area (in front of the sky). However, if the subject is 'Tolkein Rock within the Middlehurst landscape', then I am much more comfortable with my framing.

So, can we just change what we say our subject is to suit how we have framed it? Aren't I just playing with words to suit my argument? To some extent, yes, but think about your own reaction to this photo: did you look only at Tolkein Rock, or at a landscape with a pointy rock in the middle? If the latter, then I have been at least partially successful.

When we arrive at a location or choose a subject to photograph (e.g. a portrait or an animal), the first question we should be asking is what do we want to show in the photograph? As obvious as that sounds, not all of us ask the question automatically. Think about someone who has never seen your subject before and work out how you can share the location or subject with them as completely as possible.

Sticking to a single subject will help you create stronger compositions, but of course, we don't only photograph single subjects. However, it's when you introduce a second subject and try to include both within the frame that things become more complex.

I guess the question to ask yourself is, are you happy with the way you frame your subject? Look at some of your older work so you can be more objective and see if the way you are framing your subject makes the subject obvious, or if there are other elements in the frame that complicate things. Analysing your work and giving yourself suggestions for improvement will flow into your work in the future.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Middlehurst New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/5/what-makes-a-well-framed-subject Mon, 23 May 2022 01:39:07 GMT
Shark Bay Confession https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/5/shark-bay-confession Francois Peron National Park, Shark BayFrancois Peron National Park, Shark BayShark Bay Western Australia

Francois Peron National Park, Shark Bay
Phase One XF, IQ180MP, 80mm Schneider lens, f5.0 @ 1/400 second, ISO 200

We have one spot available for an aerial photography workshop at Shark Bay, 7-11 June. If you're interested, email Kim ASAP at [email protected].

Shark Bay has become an incredibly popular location to shoot in recent years. Tony Hewitt and I, along with the other ND5 members Michael Fletcher, Christian Fletcher and Les Walkling, feel an affinity to the place after our 2016 Shark Bay - Inscription exhibition, held back in 2013. Images from this shoot won Tony the Australian Professional Photographer of the Year Award and the resulting book won us the AIPP Photo Book of the Year.

Although shot in 2013, we named the exhibition 2016 because of the 400 year celebration of Dirk Hartog's discovery of Shark Bay that was coming up. And I think we were ahead of our time in more ways than one, given the current popularity of the location. While undoubtedly Richard Woldendorp, Western Australia's grandfather of landscape and aerial photography visited Shark Bay many times before us, it was our exhibition and our interpretation of the landscape in bold colours and large format that started a trend.

Shark Bay is a gold mine for aerial photography. I'm sure there's lots to shoot with a drone, but most of the popular images I've seen are taken from much higher, which usually means a plane for Shark Bay.

The year after our exhibition, I remember judging photos in New Zealand that I thought were Tony's aerials (I actually didn't judge them, I stepped back from the panel to avoid any conflict of interest), only to find out they weren't Tony's at all. Since then, I have seen hundreds of photos that can be correctly called 'derivative' of the images and style we used. The photo above is one very popular example.

In fact, looking at this photo, you might think the original belongs to Tony as a very similar image was a part of his winning PPY portfolio. This is one of the minor challenges of working collectively - sometimes we can't all process and exhibit the same image, even though we all photographed this lake the same day (I can't remember if I was in the plane with Tony). However, there's another reason I didn't use this photo originally.

If you look at the exposure, you'll see I shot at 1/400 second which is way too slow for aerials. Sure, sometimes it's fast enough, but I generally shoot at 1/2000 second to avoid motion blur. The confession is my original photo was not tack sharp. It wouldn't have enlarged to the one or two metre square prints satisfactorily. End of story. Tony was smarter than me - he used a faster shutter speed!

So, why is it okay to use it now? Two reasons. First, I've always loved the photo and feel I have equal ownership of it. I would never enter it into a competition because it is so well known, but personally, I wanted to explore and develop it. I have no trouble sharing it on a blog, especially with this explanation. And this introduces the second reason, Topaz's Sharpener IQ which allowed me to eliminate the subtle motion blur so completely, the final print is effectively flawless! Technology to the rescue - but I still recommend using a faster shutter speed when you can!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Shark Bay https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/5/shark-bay-confession Mon, 16 May 2022 00:55:24 GMT
Have You Seen The Other Side of the Horse's Head? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/5/have-you-seen-the-other-side-of-the-horses-head Horse Head, Narooma NSWHorse Head, Narooma NSWHorse Head Rock, NSW South Coast
Cambo Actus DB2, 150MP IQ4 Phase One, 35mm Rodenstock, 1/2 second @ f11, ISO 50

Horse Head Rock, NSW South Coast
Cambo Actus DB2, 150MP IQ4 Phase One, 35mm Rodenstock, 1/2 second @ f11, ISO 50

I owe Phil an apology. He was keen to photograph Horse Head during our Narooma workshop last week, but access can be tricky. There's the walk around from Camel Rock, but that's best done at low tide and with very little swell, otherwise it can become a bit of a swim! The other option is to drop down the cliffs from the north, but it's steep and slippery, especially after rain.

As Phil has a few years on me, I suggested that while there was no doubt he would get down to the bottom one way or another, getting back up might be a little more challenging. But I was quite wrong. If anything, he had less trouble than I did scrambling down the slippery clay access track. And as I write this a few days later, I can still feel my thigh muscles from the walk back up!

But, I digress. The purpose of this blog is to suggest that while it can be exciting to visit 'famous' landmarks and place your tripod in the appropriate spot, there are often lots of other images to find if you spend a little time to find out. Several years ago when I accessed Horse Head via the walk from the south, I found the small beach behind Horse Head and thought it delightful. I took quite a few shots, but never felt I quite captured its potential.

So last week, I left the photographers shooting the front of Horse Head and scrambled around the rocks to the other side of Horse Head and this is what I found.

I'm not suggesting this view has as much impact as the front of Horse Head. Rather, I find this a quieter, more contemplative image. The shape of the rock really is remarkable and how did it end up sitting on the edge of the beach like this? I particularly like the way the wave action builds up the sand on the little beach. There's no doubt the front of the rock is more interesting, but I have to say, I like this angle better!

I like shooting with neutral density filters and using long exposures - from 30 to 240 seconds. However, while this can produce wonderful cloud blurs, waves breaking on a beach are rendered as a silky white blur. The wave action is lost, so I have now adjusted my technique, using a NiSi variable neutral density filter. This allows me to easily explore different shutter speeds and, depending on the angle, the lens and the wave itself, anywhere from 1/15 to 1 second can work nicely. I might then do a second exposure for the sky, using a longer exposure to get more obvious cloud movement.

Len Metcalf and I were joined by six photographers on our Narooma workshop last week and we had a great time and took some memorable photos. Travelling is back and hopefully photo tours are as well! If you're ready to go somewhere exciting, don't forget Tony Hewitt and I have one spot left for Middlehurst and another for Shark Bay - we can guarantee you'll love it!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Horse Head Narooma https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/5/have-you-seen-the-other-side-of-the-horses-head Mon, 09 May 2022 00:58:46 GMT
How's The Resolution Going? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/3/hows-the-resolution-going Mona Vale Pool, Northern Beaches NSWMona Vale Pool, Northern Beaches NSW

Mona Vale Pool, NSW
Cambo Actus DB2, Phase One IQ4 150MP, 450mm Fujinon-C f12.5 lens - f12.5, 30 seconds, ISO 50

A few weeks ago, I posted a photo taken in my 'back yard' and divulged my New Year's resolution - to create an exhibition of the Northern Beaches where I live. Well, it's March and I'm still going. I have five images up on my pin-board at the office/studio, one of which you can see above, and another which was posted on a blog back in January.

But I know what's going to happen. Or should I say, I hope what I know is going to happen does happen, because that means I'll be travelling again! Yes, as soon as I start travelling, the spare time I'm using now will dry up. And I have other excuses, too! Last week when I ducked out for a sunrise shoot in between rain squalls, I hit a pot hole (well, the car did) which split the side-wall of my tire. It was just a slow leak, but now I'm waiting for a replacement (although the wife will kindly lend me her wheels as long as I'm more careful).

So, lots of excuses, but I figure by going public, it will be harder to stop and hopefully, by the end of this year, I will have a portfolio done and dusted.

Enough about me, what about this photo? It's a 'cover', meaning I shot it many years ago with my Canon gear. I never had a lens long enough to shoot it on medium format, but all that has changed with some recent purchases. I have been on eBay, searching for large format telephoto lenses that are also light to carry around. The little Fujinon-C is tiny, but it does require an extension rail and a long bellows to focus - scroll down to the bottom of the article to see the camera in situ.

The timing is just on sunrise, so the warm light catches the side of the pool. Yes, it could have been done in post-production, but I like working with what is there. (I said I like working with what is there, but I didn't say I wouldn't put something in that wasn't there if I thought it needed it!)

Of course, the post-production techniques I'm using include selective blur and texture screens, so why would I want a medium format capture? The answer is because the area surrounding the pool is tack sharp, the point of contrast with the soft waves breaking all around.

In some ways, this is a cheating a little, but I remember last time I shot this location I made a mental note about needing more swell - and hence more swirling water around the pool. I think this version has everything I want!

The Cambo Actus DB2 with the tiny 450mm Fujinon-C lens in position. It's a fraction the size and weight of the 600mm Nikkor it replaces - and in terms of carting things around, that's a good thing!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Mona Vale pool https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/3/hows-the-resolution-going Tue, 15 Mar 2022 23:00:00 GMT
Svalbard This June or July for Anyone? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/3/svalbard-this-june-or-july-for-anyone 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.

In amongst the ice, Svalbard
Phase One XF 150MP, 55mm lens, f8 @ 1/800 second, IS 200.

We finally think we're getting over COVID so travelling will open up again and bloody Putin starts a war, throwing our travel plans into disarray once more. There's no doubt that travel has become challenging, but as far as I know (as of 16 March), the voyages with Aurora Expeditions to Svalbard this June and July are still going ahead. Naturally, if there are issues travelling to and from Norway, things will adapt, but my personal thoughts are that Svalbard is a long way from trouble and I'm looking forward to travelling there.

Of course, there's a part of my conscience that thinks about the people of the Ukraine and my heart goes out to them. Perhaps it is selfish to consider a photography voyage at this time - no doubt we all have these thoughts and, if we live in a safe country, count our blessings. 

However, if you're thinking you need to get back out into the world, I can guarantee that a voyage around the Svalbard archipelago will be unforgettable. It's a true polar experience and there will be lots of snow and ice. Exactly how much depends on the weather and, even before taking into account global warming, there would be some years when it was a struggle to sail around Svalbard because the pack ice was so thick, while in other years you might have to voyage a day or so north to reach the ice.

Pack ice is popular with photographers hoping to photograph polar bears. That being said, we found several bears on the small islands around Svalbard as well. It's nature, so there are no guarantees about what you'll find. I remember on my first voyage to Svalbard being disappointed that my only photos of walrus were about as unexciting as my only photo of a polar bear from four kilometres away! On the next voyage, I took the winning photo you see below, plus lots of polar bears.

But wildlife aside, for me the landscape is simply compelling. There are opportunities to shoot it from the ship, from zodiacs and from walking around on land - beaches, glaciers, grasslands, Svalbard in summer has it all!

If you're interest in knowing more, send me an email or check out the presentation on the website -  click here. There are still berths available, but now is the time to make it happen.

And to see a Youtube video on a voyage I did to Svalbard with Kevin Raber, follow this link https://youtu.be/69rP-qnNHjg

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Svalbard https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/3/svalbard-this-june-or-july-for-anyone Mon, 14 Mar 2022 04:46:07 GMT
Bhutan - Ritual - Book 3 https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/3/bhutan---ritual---book-3 Trashigang Dzong DancersTrashigang Dzong DancersBhutan

Monks Dancing, Trashigang, Bhutan. From the book Ritual | Bhutan by Peter Eastway

If you've read the blogs from the last fortnight, you'll know there are three books in the Bhutan trilogy - Myth, Life and Ritual. Why three? Why not be a bit stronger on the selection process and make a single book.

Like most things in photography, there isn't a single approach. I have already done a single book on Bhutan after my first visit with Robert van Koesveld over 10 years ago. Since then, I have six more trips under my belt and I felt I had so much material, it wasn't right to leave some of it out. And even with three volumes, there are images I wish I could have included.

If this were a purely commercial exercise, different decisions would be made. But as a personal project, it's all about doing what you want, not what your subconscious suggests others might want to do. I'm always having conversations with myself - is this right, or is that better. I enjoy the discussions because, in the end, I'm always right! So, having invested a great deal of time and energy in developing a body of work, I wanted to consolidate it into what is probably the only format that does the work justice. 

An exhibition would be great, but how do you print, frame and hang over 150 prints and where do you show them? Video is expedient, but even if you've been enjoying the videos I've shot of me turning the pages, you really don't get to experience the image. It's a funny world we live in, when we have the best quality equipment producing images that are downgraded for presentation!

And society places no value on an electronic image (non-fungible tokens aside). Videos and social media posts (like this) are just fodder for everyday consumption. Don't get me wrong - I love it. It means I get to share something which, rationally, is better than nothing.

But my reality, my experience is very different. Sure, you should buy all three of my books, but that's not going to happen! However, you are in a position to print your own photographs, either as prints or in a book - and I can't recommend it strongly enough.

Vive la print! Something like that...

If you'd like to see a third short video of me turning the pages of the Ritual - Bhutan book, click on the Read More link and visit the Better Photography website for a detailed view.

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Bhutan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/3/bhutan---ritual---book-3 Sun, 06 Mar 2022 23:46:00 GMT
Bhutan - Life - Book 2 https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/2/bhutan---life---book-2 Tshankha Village Life 6Tshankha Village Life 6Bhutan

One of my favourite places, Tshangkha, Bhutan. From the book Myth | Bhutan by Peter Eastway

Last week, I talked about my trilogy of large-format books of Bhutan - Myth, Life and Ritual. Each page is individually printed on an Epson printer using archival pigment ink and cotton-rag paper. And they are expensive to produce and expensive to buy!

So, are all books printed like this? No! Most of the books you purchase online or from a bookstore are mass-printed using the offset printing process. My book, The New Tradition, is printed like this and, as owners will acknowledge, the print quality is superb. I am also very happy with the reproduction in The New Tradition, but you have to remember, I have had to convert my RGB files into CMYK before printing. As good as they are, they don't match the original prints from my Epson. They don't offer the nuance of colour and fine detail.

The same principle applies to the Indigo (and similar) presses that on-demand printers like Momento use. With either a four or six colour inkset, as good as they are, they can't match the 9 colour inkset used by Epson to produce an exhibition quality print. They don't have the subtlety of detail that an inkjet printer provides.

While Momento primarily prints on its high-volume Indigo press, it also offers a service where they will hand-bind Epson prints. This is what they did for me. They use a double-sided paper, which is essentially the same as the papers we print on, except the paper is coated and finished on both sides. And that's why every page in my book is like an exhibition print.

But there's a cost. In addition to the more expensive inks and paper, there's the labour and skills of printing the pages, ensuring they are aligned front to back. And then there's the binding... So, yes, they are expensive to produce, but the way I figure it, I have spent a small fortune on cameras and travelling, it would be incomplete of me to accept anything less than the best current technology and craft can produce. That's what Ansel Adams would be doing if he were working today, I have no doubt.

If you'd like to see a short video of me turning the pages of the Life - Bhutan book, click on the Read More link and visit the Better Photography website for a detailed view - including the final reproduction of the image presented at the beginning of this blog.

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Bhutan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/2/bhutan---life---book-2 Sun, 27 Feb 2022 23:45:00 GMT
Bhutan - Myth - Book 1 https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/2/bhutan---myth---book-1 Phobjikha Valley Scene 2Phobjikha Valley Scene 2Bhutan

Phobjikha Valley, Bhutan. From the book Myth | Bhutan by Peter Eastway

I am a very happy photographer just now! Geoff from Momento Pro rang me up a few days ago to say my three-volume book-set on Bhutan was finally finished. Covid mucked up his production schedules something serious last year and I was happy to wait. It's predominantly a personal project and while I'd love to sell a few copies (limited editions of 45), I realise at $3995 it's not for everyone.

Some readers will have their interest piqued at the price - how good must this book be to charge such a high price? Other's will think Eastway is into pyramid sales or something odd and to stay well away! Let me explain the reality.

These large format books are actually exhibition prints of my work bound together. The pages measure 390x390 mm, or 390x780 mm when the photographs are presented across a 'double page spread'. Those are big prints. And because you are viewing the photographs up close, the impact is incredibly powerful. I love the printed page!

But it gets better. Each page has been individually hand-printed using an Epson printer with archival pigment inks and cotton rag paper. They are not mass-produced on an offset press or an Indigo printer which, no matter how good they are, simply can't match an exhibition quality print from a modern Epson printer. And Geoff, apart from being a stickler for detail, uses Les Walkling's printer profiles so each page has exactly the reproduction values I want. If there are any problems with the photographs, I have to own them as the reproduction is second to none.

A couple of days ago, I showed one of the books to a friend who has decades of experience in photography, publishing and exhibitions. He rang me back a few hours later to say he was still thinking about the book I'd shown him because he was blown away by the quality and the impact. That's a great compliment for the standard of work produced by Momento Pro. And, I like to think, my ability to produce a good photograph or two.

If you'd like to see a short video of me turning the pages of the Myth - Bhutan book, click on the Read More link and visit the Better Photography website for a detailed view - including the final reproduction of the image presented at the beginning of this blog.

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Bhutan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/2/bhutan---myth---book-1 Sun, 20 Feb 2022 23:45:00 GMT
Pilbara Storm https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/2/pilbara-storm Pilbara StormPilbara Storm

Low resolution GIF file which shows a series of layer adjustments. See below to open up a spectacular full resolution file on our website.

Landscape photography is straightforward on the one hand and highly complex on another. Our cameras can easily capture the landscape in front of us, but it is the 'ideas' we have that make the final photograph.

On this occasion, I was in the Pilbara, Western Australia on one of the early ND5 excursions with Tony Hewitt, Christian Fletcher, Michael Fletcher and Les Walkling. We were on our way to Marble Bar, known as the hottest town in Australia. That day, or maybe it was the day after, we found a large orange road marker (plastic witch's hat) which had melted like wax into an igneous blob! The locals told us to say it was 48C because, if it got over 50C, there was usually a television report. So, 48C was a safe bet!

Either way, it was hot and in the mid afternoon, I was quite comfortably cocooned in our 4WD with the air conditioning unit running full blast.
As we drove towards the Marble Bar turn-off, we watched a wet season thunderstorm grow and develop. The road seemed to be skirting around the edge of the weather cell and in the distance we could see some willy-willies forming – small tornados of red dust climbing into the black sky above. It was a photographic feast we could not resist.

We found a side road that led to a slightly raised vantage point above the Pilbara plain. Thunder rolled ominously as we walked around the flanks of a small hill in the stifling heat, but heat was the furthest thing from our minds as we watched Nature unfurl a remarkable display of fury.
Lightning ripped through the cloud mass, starting spot fires on the grassy plain, and the willy-willies merged into a minor dust storm, picking up red earth in its path. It felt like we were on the edge of a huge amphitheatre. They say that travelling in the North West during the wet season isn’t necessarily a good idea because of the heat and the wet, but after this experience, that little gem of advice has been relegated to the dust bin.

As amazing as that experience was, I didn't feel the straight captures adequately recorded our experience. After stitching together seven or eight frames, I went to work in Photoshop, using layers to interpret the image - and this is what I mean about 'ideas'. You can find all the techniques to do what I have done in many places - they are not complicated. The trick is using those techniques to implement your ideas - and this is where instruction like my Landscape Photography MasterClass can help. For this image, not only do I show the techniques, rather how the techniques work together to create the final image.

If you're already a subscriber, the Landscape Photography MasterClass has been recently updated with over 20 new movies. If you haven't yet subscribed, why not take advantage of the special offer below and get 40% off - plus you can pay for it over 10 months and there's always a money-back guarantee if it's not for you. Click here for details and a showcase of the contents.

And the full resolution file of the photo above? Visit the www.betterphotography.com and then click on the image to open up a full resolution version to enjoy! It is sooo much better than the little image above!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Pilbara Western Australia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2022/2/pilbara-storm Sun, 06 Feb 2022 23:47:14 GMT
Remembering Travels Past https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/12/remembering-travels-past Cleric on the move, Yazd, IranCleric on the move, Yazd, Iran

Cleric on the move, Yazd, Iran
Fujifilm X-T3, Fujinon XF8-16mmF2.8 R LM WR, f4.5 @ 1/1900 second, ISO 160

Watching television over the weekend, I tuned in on a documentary following some bloke in a business shirt travelling through Iran to Russia. When I first tuned in, I thought I recognised one of the locations - and indeed I did. I've had two great trips to Iran with Nuran Zorlu and I still remember the wonderful warmth and hospitality of the Iranian people we met. I really hope the current political issues get sorted out quickly and we can travel there again.

So, looking for a photo to discuss this week, I reviewed my edits of Iran. I have 189 images in my 'Iran Edits' folder, courtesy of my down time during lockdown. Some photos are simple edits of paper and wall surfaces with a view to using them as textures, but most of the files are processed out of Capture One or Lightroom with a few adjustment layers or adjustment brushes. They are 'preliminary edits'. The next step is to design them into a book and once I've worked out which photos I'm going to use, then I'll do the final edits.

The image above of a cleric walking through a mosque courtyard in Yazd caught my eye. I have processed two versions. Once I found the location and set up the photo, I spent maybe 15 minutes waiting for different people to walk by. When they did, I pressed the shutter multiple times to best capture their walking stance. I like this one better compositionally  because the cleric is walking into the space, whereas in the other version, he is past the centre line. Why process both? The sweep of his cape looks better in the second shot, so if I'm feeling keen, I could move the cleric back a bit - but that involves quite a bit of work.

Processing the image involved perspective correction and although you may look at the edges of the arch and think they are not quite square, chances are that's correct because this building is probably a thousand years old and it might not be vertical in reality! I'm not excusing my excellent technique, I'm just explaining that there are other vertical lines in the photo that also needed consideration and what you see is my best compromise!

In terms of tonal control, the preliminary edit in my folder was too light. While it had lots of great detail in the shadows, the colour and tone appeared washed out and so a curves adjustment layer was added in. The resulting darkening also blocked up the shadows, but as it's mainly brickwork, I don't need all the detail and I'm happy with the hint remaining. 

Finally, there were a couple of tourists on the other side of the quadrangle, so I arranged for their removal, politely of course! That is one of the great things about the digital workflow and travel photography. I no longer worry about problems in the background because I know most of the time they can be solved in post-production. Photography, as always, is a process of capture followed by post-production.

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Iran https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/12/remembering-travels-past Sun, 12 Dec 2021 23:45:00 GMT
Compositional Strength With Scale https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/11/compositional-strength-with-scale Remote Village, BhutanRemote Village, Bhutan

Remote village, Bhutan.
Phase One XF 150MP, Schneider Kreuznach LS 240mm. f4.5 @ 1/400 second, ISO 160

Composition is a difficult subject to master. To be honest, it's not like mathematics or geography where an exact point can be known, rather it's like literature and religion where there are many different opinions. However, as with literature and religion, there are some fundamentals that most people agree with and the same can be said for composition.

While the photo above might appear to use the 'rule of thirds', that wasn't what I was thinking.

Before you decide on your framing or cropping, you need to determine what it is you want to say. What caught my eye wasn't just the wonderful little village in the distance, rather its sense of isolation within a huge mountainous wilderness. The tiny village is dwarfed by the forests and the little trails to and from the village are spidery lines crossing a texture-rich tapestry.

The purpose of this photo was to show the scale of the village within the landscape. Scale is a useful compositional tool because humans generally love to view contrasts of scale. Two people the same size might not be as interesting as a dwarf and a giant.

Once my purpose was decided, then I looked around at how best to communicate this. If I placed the village higher up in the frame or to the left, other areas in the scene would be revealed that made the village look less isolated, less perched in the middle of no-where. Sometimes when I'm on location, I have an idea, but not the time to consider it fully. So I will often frame an image more widely, with the intention of cropping it later on in post-production. And this image was cropped to a 2:1 ratio to fit into a book I was producing.

Only once I knew what I wanted to say with the photo did I determine the 'correct' cropping  - and yes, it is roughly on the rule of thirds. Perhaps that helps the composition, but the village wasn't placed there to follow a compositional rule - it was placed there to help communicate the idea - the sense of scale.

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Bhutan https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/11/compositional-strength-with-scale Mon, 29 Nov 2021 22:55:12 GMT
What Does The AIPP Closing Mean? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/11/what-does-the-aipp-closing-mean On the road to Ushguli, GeorgiaOn the road to Ushguli, Georgia

On the road to Ushguli, Georgia. Which has nothing to do with the AIPP, but since I'm not travelling at the moment, I'm enjoying my time processing photos from past trips. I also have a photo tour planned for Georgia and Armenia towards the end of 2022, COVID conditions allowing. These towers are wonderful to photograph and are dotted all around the hills. More to come in the not too distant future!

Last week, the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) appointed an administrator, abandoned the Australian Professional Photography Awards (APPA), froze its Facebook page and closed its doors. The end of an era. What happened?

The following thoughts are mine alone. I have been very closely involved with the AIPP for 40 years, spending time as national treasurer, chairman of the Australian Professional Photography Awards and editor of The Working Pro/AIPP Journal. I was the Australian Professional Photographer of the Year twice, I’ve won the Ilford Trophy for the highest scoring print and I think a couple of years ago, I earned the lowest scoring print as well - with a 68!

For me, there were two primary reasons for membership, both selfish.

The first was for the friends I made. Visiting APPA or a conference once or twice a year was a great opportunity to catch up, share ideas and grow as a photographer. I have met many lifelong friends through the AIPP because of our shared passion for photography. The second was entering the annual awards. Note, I said entering, not attending, not winning, although they too were enjoyable. However, it was the process of putting together my best four photographs every year, thinking about what the judges might say, improving the images to satisfy any criticism. It was this process over 40 years that has guided and established me as a photographer.

And they were professional awards. This isn’t meant to make them sound better than amateur awards – because these days they are not. Rather, professional awards make an assumption that you are producing work for sale or for the satisfaction of a client. It’s a different mindset, but one that is incredibly important. Or used to be.

When I joined the AIPP, it was all about education. We learnt how to take better photographs and how to earn a living. Then the internet and digital photography arrived (around the same time) and professional photography changed forever. The secret stuff we used to do in the darkroom was now available to everyone – including our clients – in Lightroom! The profession and its environment fundamentally changed.

While financially I lament this, artistically I embrace it wholeheartedly – as do many AIPP members. We’re photographers first, business people second and the digital realm has expanded our creative horizons exponentially. I don’t think there has been a better time in history to be involved in photography.

Future image making may rely more on ideas and technology, perhaps the ability to recognise what you like rather than create it. It’s neither better nor worse, just different. And with YouTube and social media, there is perhaps less of a need for a large organisation like the AIPP. And that in a nutshell is why the AIPP has closed.

While there are many of us passionate about the AIPP, we weren’t passionate enough to go back on the Board to help make it work (there were no new nominations for the Board last year). We weren’t passionate enough to enter more prints into APPA this year. And try as hard as they did, our Board couldn’t find the right mix of buttons and switches to keep the AIPP going. They are not to blame. At least they stood up and did as much as they could – my thanks to all the directors and volunteers that made the AIPP what it was.

No doubt you’ll be reading a lot of comments about the AIPP on social media. The ones I like speak of the good times, the friends made, the positives. Reading between the lines, the negative posts generally say more about the person making the comment than the AIPP. Sure, there are some former members who have every right to be disaffected by the AIPP, based on the unethical behaviour of a very few past office bearers. I know this too, from personal experience. However, most criticisms seem rather self-indulgent. I mean, no one forces you to stay a member of an organisation you don’t like. Why not just walk away, rather than poison it for everyone else? 

So, will I miss the AIPP. Certainly. Will I start up a new organisation? No – I think that’s a job for a younger generation, but I’d certainly enjoy being a member. If nothing else, I think COVID has shown how highly valued social contact is.

Will it be a professional-only organisation? Maybe, maybe not. Many people think being professional is ‘better’ than being an amateur, or that a professional standard is higher, but that’s no longer the case. It’s the purpose behind the photography that is different, one being commercial, the other being wonderfully personal. Many of us practice both.

Not all professionals will agree with my sentiments. Mind you, nor will all enthusiasts! But that’s okay because it’s just an opinion and, since we all have this wonderful passion for photography, hopefully we can still be friends!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) AIPP Armenia Georgia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/11/what-does-the-aipp-closing-mean Mon, 15 Nov 2021 06:15:26 GMT
St Andrews @ South Georgia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/11/st-andrews-south-georgia King Penguins, South GeorgiaKing Penguins, South Georgia

King Penguins, South Georgia
 

As many readers will remember, around seven years ago I featured in one of a series of television documentaries about professional photographers working in different locations all around the world. Called Tales by Light (and still available on Netflix), my episode was based in Antarctica and South Georgia.

In the production, I said, "If I could only go to one more place, one more time, it would be back to South Georgia".

And since then I have been lucky enough to return several times. Whether you shoot nature, landscape or art, South Georgia is a photographer's utopia. What I loved about this location at St Andrews was the overlook from where I could create a composition that gives the impression that the King Penguin colony goes on forever - as in fact it does!

The reason for mentioning this and running the photo again is that South Georgia Heritage Trust and Friends of South Georgia Island are taking part in Giving Tuesday on November 30th. This day of global giving inspires people to support the causes that mean the most to them.

"Our work on South Georgia is dedicated to protecting this hugely important ecosystem, the species that call it home, and its rich cultural heritage. Right now, we are raising funds for a critical survey of the former whaling station at Stromness. This study will inform major environmental and heritage conservation work that we will be undertaking over the next five years.

"We work in partnership to support other science and technology initiatives to make informed decisions about conservation. We are working to protect globally endangered Albatross species in conjunction with RSPB and British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Just this month, BAS research we support is also clearly showing a strong recovery and return of Humpback whales to the waters of South Georgia and Antarctica. The return of some whale species to almost pre-whaling levels marks a profound shift in the human story of South Georgia Island.

"It’s been almost two years since visitors have come to the Island. As we welcome visitors returning to South Georgia, hopefully next year, we also hope you can help us on Giving Tuesday. If you have visited South Georgia previously, could you consider sharing with us your most memorable photo of the Island and tell us why that is?

"Please Email: [email protected] with your photo and a wee description. We'll also be happy to answer questions sent to that address. Submissions may be shared on SGHT, FOSGI, and third party social media and websites, in the run-up to Giving Tuesday, on the day, and beyond, to show why our work, your support and South Georgia is so special…and hopefully it will encourage others to give too.

"And on Giving Tuesday, or any other day, if you can consider making a donation to support our work, we would be very grateful indeed."

Donate - South Georgia Heritage Trust (sght.org)
Donate - Friends of South Georgia Island (fosgi.org)

 

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) King Penguins South Georgia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/11/st-andrews-south-georgia Mon, 08 Nov 2021 00:30:33 GMT
What Is It? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/11/what-is-it Clean Skin Creek, Northern AustraliaClean Skin Creek, Northern Australia

Clean Skin Creek, Northern Australia
Phase One XF 100Mp, Schneider 110mm lens, f2.8 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 200

I'm not sure about you, but I'm in a state of indecision! In Sydney, we're coming out of lock down and when you read this (1 November), many restrictions for both NSW and Victoria will be removed, allowing us to travel once again. We can also travel overseas and we're letting Kiwis come to Australia without quarantine, but it may be some time before that is reciprocated. So there's talk of travel and, as a travel and landscape photographer who loves taking photo tours around the world, I have smiles from ear to ear!

So why the indecision? Because as I write this, it's not completely clear what is going to happen or when. Sure, the borders will open, but will people want to travel? How long before confidence returns? When will Western Australia open up? Or will we see yet another mutation and a new COVID variant arrive?

I'm figuring you're probably feeling much the same, trying to work out what's what in the world, so I thought I'd add to your tasks by presenting this photo.

What is it?

This is an aerial of a tidal sand flat on the northern coast. To me, it could be a huge droplet of oil, spreading global warming across the globe.

The location is right on the WA/NT border and it was taken on a post-workshop flight with Tony Hewitt, Christian Fletcher and Drew Altdoerffer from Phase One. On Google Maps it looked really interesting, but you can never tell because the large tides can completely change the aerial patterns, and it's not always possible to guess when that Google Map photo was taken. What we found was quite different to what I was expecting.

And naturally, the original photo didn't look like this, much flatter, less colour, but the shapes were there with the tidal pulse moving inexorably inland. I struggled for a couple of years with this photo, loving the inside patterns, but disliking the lightly toned surroundings. It was only having the time to sit down and review my work over this COVID period that I finally came up with a solution that made me happy: darken the surroundings.

It seems so simple now. And I think it works much better.

So, while we're looking forward to our post-COVID freedom, perhaps part of my indecision comes from the positives of being forced to stay at home? No one likes being forced to do anything, but on the other hand, if the glass is half full instead of half empty, then who is to complain?

Keep an eye out for my photo workshops next year - we'll run a few promo pieces at the end of the emails for your viewing pleasure!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Aerial Australia Clean Skin Creek https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/11/what-is-it Mon, 01 Nov 2021 03:40:09 GMT
The Value of Reference Points https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/10/the-value-of-reference-points Long Reef WharfLong Reef Wharf2m00s, Automated Frame Average

Long Reef, NSW.
Phase One XT 150MP with 32mm Rodagon lens, 1 minute @ f11, ISO 50

Reference points are ideas. And ideas are fundamental to photography. Over the years (decades) of interviewing photographers for Better Photography magazine, I'd ask two questions. The first was how much time they spent in promotion and advertising (it was more than 50% for successful photographers) and the second was, where do your ideas come from?

There's no single answer, of course. Gay Campbell called her ideas 'cosmic Fedexes' - ideas or dreams which she would carefully write down in a journal, waiting for another time. My iPhone has a bunch of apps on it with lots of different ideas. Or references points.

Reference Point 1: Christian Fletcher published a book 10 years ago and if memory serves me correctly (let's hope it was Christian's photo and not Tony Hewitt's), it was on the cover. But it matters not: the photo was of an old wharf or wharf posts in the middle of a beach with waves washing around it. The light was beautiful, composition strong. I filed it away in my memory banks.

Reference Point 2: Most afternoons, Kathie and I walk around Long Reef headland with the dogs. There's a point where the walk comes down to the beach and a ramp extends down to the sand. However, usually there's so much sand, the waves never reach the wharf, except with a high tide and a large swell. But every time I walked past the ramp, I'd think of that reference point.

Last week, after nearly 10 years of walking around the headland, the stars aligned and while there wasn't quite as much water around the ramp as I wanted (and even then, I had to wait for the set waves), I managed to shoot a few photos. Did they look like Christian's photo? Hell no! No point copying something that has already been beautifully done. Besides, it's a completely different location and no one looking at this photo would think of Christian's shot, but the reference point was there for me.

I have a little more thinking to do with this image - and three or four other frames. I'm not sure if the colour grading is completely resolved and I find myself still fiddling with the saturation and balance. I'll print a test and pin it up on the wall in my office, so when Christian Fletcher calls up to tell me how good life is in Western Australia, I can tune out to his monotone and concentrate on my photo!

When I go on photo tours, photographers often ask how it is that I usually know what to photograph, while they feel they are struggling to work it out? One of the answers is having a database of reference points that can act as a catalyst for your photography.

And building up that database takes time, so start now!

 

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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Long Reef Wharf https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2021/10/the-value-of-reference-points Sun, 24 Oct 2021 23:37:48 GMT
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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[email protected] (Peter Eastway) Italy 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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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 ([email protected]) 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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[email protected] (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 ([email protected]) 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 ([email protected]) 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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[email protected] (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 ([email protected]) 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 ([email protected]) 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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[email protected] (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 ([email protected]) 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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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.

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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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

 

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[email protected] (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.

 

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[email protected] (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!

 

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[email protected] (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!

 

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[email protected] (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!

 

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[email protected] (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!

 

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[email protected] (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!

 

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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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.

 

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[email protected] (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.

 

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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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!

 

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[email protected] (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!

 

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[email protected] (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/

 

]]>
[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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!

 

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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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 to[email protected] with PHOTO FEEDBACK in the subject line.

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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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 [email protected]. 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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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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[email protected] (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.

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    [email protected] (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!

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    [email protected] (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?

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    [email protected] (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

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    [email protected] (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

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    [email protected] (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!

     

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    [email protected] (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!

    ]]>
    [email protected] (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!

    ]]>
    [email protected] (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
    ]]>
    [email protected] (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.

    ]]>
    [email protected] (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.

    ]]>
    [email protected] (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!

     

    ]]>
    [email protected] (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

    ]]>
    [email protected] (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

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    [email protected] (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!

     

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    [email protected] (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!

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    [email protected] (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!

     

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    [email protected] (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 sur