Peter Eastway: Blog https://www.petereastway.com/blog en-us (C) Peter Eastway eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Wed, 25 Jul 2018 05:18:00 GMT Wed, 25 Jul 2018 05:18:00 GMT https://www.petereastway.com/img/s/v-5/u1046656109-o702789578-50.jpg Peter Eastway: Blog https://www.petereastway.com/blog 86 120 In Praise of Foul Weather https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2018/7/in-praise-of-foul-weather GreenlandGreenlandNordbugten area, Scoresby Sund, Greenland.
Phase One 645DF, IQ180, 110mm Schneider, f8 @ 1/125 second, ISO 50.

Be careful what you wish for, they say, but one thing that is very likely on a photographic expedition lasting one or two weeks is that you'll get a strorm front or weather change moving through. Of course, there are some places in the world where the weather doesn't change very much (I can remember spending a month in Namibia years ago and we had blue skies for 27.5 days, and light cloud one afternoon) but generally speaking, you'll get a couple of weather changes and these are the times landscape photographers should live for. So, rather than wishing for fine weather, hope for the opposite.

This photograph was taken Greenland and I'm guessing it is local weather - meaning the cold air from the ice plateau not too far away created low cloud when mixed with the warmer air over the sea. We had fine weather either side of this particular event.

The photograph has been lightly processed in Capture One 11 using a series of seven adjustment layers. One feature I prefer in Capture One over Lightroom is that your adjustments (adjustment brushes in Lightroom) are set out in a list (a bit like the layers panel in Photoshop), making it much easier to name and access them, and importantly, turn them on and off. It's my new mantra for 2018 - process more photos lightly and worry about the fine detail if and when the image goes to press or to print.

In Capture One I used the Colour Editor in a couple of places - to accent the warm rocks, and to give a little colour to the previously murky waters. You can see the original file without adjustment layers on the website.

https://www.betterphotography.com/blogs/almost-weekly-photo/2-in-praise-of-foul-weather

Nordbugten area, Scoresby Sund, Greenland.
Phase One 645DF, IQ180, 110mm Schneider, f8 @ 1/125 second, ISO 50.

 

Be careful what you wish for, they say, but one thing that is very likely on a photographic expedition lasting one or two weeks is that you'll get a strorm front or weather change moving through. Of course, there are some places in the world where the weather doesn't change very much (I can remember spending a month in Namibia years ago and we had blue skies for 27.5 days, and light cloud one afternoon) but generally speaking, you'll get a couple of weather changes and these are the times landscape photographers should live for. So, rather than wishing for fine weather, hope for the opposite.

 

This photograph was taken Greenland and I'm guessing it is local weather - meaning the cold air from the ice plateau not too far away created low cloud when mixed with the warmer air over the sea. We had fine weather either side of this particular event. 

 

The photograph has been lightly processed in Capture One 11 using a series of seven adjustment layers. One feature I prefer in Capture One over Lightroom is that your adjustments (adjustment brushes in Lightroom) are set out in a list (a bit like the layers panel in Photoshop), making it much easier to name and access them, and importantly, turn them on and off. It's my new mantra for 2018 - process more photos lightly and worry about the fine detail if and when the image goes to press or to print.

 

In Capture One I used the Colour Editor in a couple of places - to accent the warm rocks, and to give a little colour to the previously murky waters. You can see the original file without adjustment layers on the website.

 

 

Processed raw file before adjustments.

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) greenland nordbugten scoresby sund https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2018/7/in-praise-of-foul-weather Wed, 25 Jul 2018 05:21:33 GMT
Because I Like It! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2018/7/because-i-like-it Middlehurst, New ZealandMiddlehurst, New ZealandBecause 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.

https://www.betterphotography.com/blogs/almost-weekly-photo/67-because-i-like-it

Aerial With Cloud, Middlehurst, New Zealand.
Phase One XF 100MP, Schneider 80mm lens, 1/2500 second @ f2.8, ISO 200

What is our ultimate aim as photographers? I think it is to produce photographs that please us. There is no guarantee anything we do will please another human being, so that seems to be an exercise fraught with peril, even if it's something we all aspire to do. I mean, I'd prefer it if you liked this photograph.

But it isn't necessary. I like it. It's a favourite. It has been sitting on my work-print board for the last month or so as I figure out what I want to do. I love the simplicity of the composition, the tight cropping, the ethereal cloud in the middle. I like the narrow colour palette and the highlights on the wrinkled, crumpled mountain range that sits behind Middlehurst Station.

I believe our ultimate aim is to produce photographs that we like, that we're pleased with. This doesn't mean we don't share our images with other people, or enter competitions, or take criticism and re-consider what we're doing. All of this is part of the growing experience as a photographer.

But if after some time you reach a point where you're pleased with a lot of the photographs you produce, then I think you've made it.

Of course, this is no excuse for complacency. Just because you like it this week doesn't mean you'll still like it next week or the year after. As we grow and develop as photographers, so does our 'taste' and our 'discernment'. Liking the photographs you take today doesn't mean you have become the best you can, but it does indicate you're on the right path!

And what about this photo in black and white? Click through to the website to see if it works as well.

The same file in black and white.

Personally, I prefer the colour version and if I were to turn this into a black and white, I think I would need to spend a lot more time than I have reconsidering the overall tonality and contrast.

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Aerial Clouds Middlehurst Mountains New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2018/7/because-i-like-it Wed, 25 Jul 2018 05:01:40 GMT
Polar Bears Up Close! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2018/7/polar-bears-up-close Svalbard - Polar BearSvalbard - Polar BearIf you had to choose a position from which to photograph a polar bear, it would be down low (rather than from up high looking down, so you feel the power of the animal), and with an uncluttered background (so the polar bear stands out). So you can imagine my excitement when this polar bear decided to go for a stroll along the edge of Storoya, a tiny island in the Svalbard Archipeligo.

I've recently returned from two trips, the first in Svalbard. I travelled with Kevin Raber from Luminous Landscape and a group of keen photographers, some of who outgunned me with their high end telephotos - 500mm f4 and 400mm f2.8 optics were also trained on the above polar bear, but I did have the advantage of shooting it with two cameras.

This image is shot with the Phase One XF and the 100MP Trichromatic back, using a Schneider Kreuznach 240mm lens. It's not the ultimate wildlife camera outfit because the telephoto isn't long enough and the frame rate is too slow, but the shots that I did get are AMAZING. There is no comparing a Phase One file, especially on the new Trichromatic back and I'm loving the way I only need to caress the colour saturation in Capture One to get a colour palette that I'm in love with! Yes, I'm a convert. And yes, all hand-held from a zodiac (as you can see in the photo at the end of the article).

And the other camera? A much more sensible rig: the new Fujifilm X-H1 with its 100-400mm telephoto. Fast frame rate, 24-megapixels, image stabilisation, long telephoto and lots of bells and whistles. No, the results aren't as sharp as my Phase One files, but if you were comparing images on a website, a little bit of clarity and structure in Capture One creates incredibly crisp and impressive photos from the Fujifilm files. However, what really struck me as being quite amazing was the image stabilisation - I was able to shoot incredibly steady video at 400mm from a moving zodiac. It's not locked off like you'd expect from a tripod, but when the foreground is tracking along with the lumbering polar bear, it looks really cool!

To read the full article visit the Better Photography website: https://www.betterphotography.com/blogs/almost-weekly-photo/108-polar-bears-up-close

If you had to choose a position from which to photograph a polar bear, it would be down low (rather than from up high looking down, so you feel the power of the animal), and with an uncluttered background (so the polar bear stands out). So you can imagine my excitement when this polar bear decided to go for a stroll along the edge of Storoya, a tiny island in the Svalbard Archipeligo.

I've recently returned from two trips, the first in Svalbard. I travelled with Kevin Raber from Luminous Landscape and a group of keen photographers, some of who outgunned me with their high end telephotos - 500mm f4 and 400mm f2.8 optics were also trained on the above polar bear, but I did have the advantage of shooting it with two cameras.

This image is shot with the Phase One XF and the 100MP Trichromatic back, using a Schneider Kreuznach 240mm lens. It's not the ultimate wildlife camera outfit because the telephoto isn't long enough and the frame rate is too slow, but the shots that I did get are AMAZING. There is no comparing a Phase One file, especially on the new Trichromatic back and I'm loving the way I only need to caress the colour saturation in Capture One to get a colour palette that I'm in love with! Yes, I'm a convert. And yes, all hand-held from a zodiac (as you can see in the photo at the end of the article).

And the other camera? A much more sensible rig: the new Fujifilm X-H1 with its 100-400mm telephoto. Fast frame rate, 24-megapixels, image stabilisation, long telephoto and lots of bells and whistles. No, the results aren't as sharp as my Phase One files, but if you were comparing images on a website, a little bit of clarity and structure in Capture One creates incredibly crisp and impressive photos from the Fujifilm files. However, what really struck me as being quite amazing was the image stabilisation - I was able to shoot incredibly steady video at 400mm from a moving zodiac. It's not locked off like you'd expect from a tripod, but when the foreground is tracking along with the lumbering polar bear, it looks really cool!

To see my novice video efforts from Svalbard, shot with the Fujifilm X-H1 and a GoPro, search Youtube for 'Eastway' and 'Svalbard' or click this link: https://youtu.be/69rP-qnNHjg

And below, check out the photo of the zodiac with the polar bear in the background! It was a great photo opp!

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Norway Polar Bear Svalbard https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2018/7/polar-bears-up-close Wed, 25 Jul 2018 04:36:41 GMT
Composing In Camera https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/11/composing-in-camera Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death ValleyMesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death ValleyOne of the skills we can all learn is to compose in camera. For some photographers, this means composing the content of the photograph in a pleasing manner within the frame provided by the camera. And this is a great starting point.

But hopefully it’s not your end point. The idea behind composing in camera is, surely, to have in mind a final outcome. So, whether you are thinking of a square or a panorama, the idea begins when you look through the viewfinder. There is no law that states your creativity must be confined to the format of your digital sensor (or film).

Looking through the viewfinder at Mesquite earlier this year, I loved the ‘S’ shape of the dunes, but for the composition to work, I needed a little more space either side. If you click the ‘Read More’ you can see the first image, plus the two shots used to stitch a wider view.

With a zoom lens, I could have zoomed out a little wide and cropped top and bottom. With a fixed 240mm lens (like a 150mm on a full frame DSLR), I could change to a 110mm (my next widest lens), or swing the camera left and right.

The takeaway is that the best time to consider framing and frame shapes is when you are taking the photograph. You might also make cropping decisions later on in post-production, but sometimes by then it’s too late, so another suggestion I make on workshops is to shoot a scene like this with a wider lens as well – which will allow you to consider your final composition at a later time while working in Capture One, Lightroom or Photoshop.

READ MORE: COMPOSING IN CAMERA

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley

Phase One XF 100MP, 240mm Schneider, stitch, f11 @ 1/160 second, ISO 50

 

One of the skills we can all learn is to compose in camera. For some photographers, this means composing the content of the photograph in a pleasing manner within the frame provided by the camera. And this is a great starting point.

 

But hopefully it’s not your end point. The idea behind composing in camera is, surely, to have in mind a final outcome. So, whether you are thinking of a square or a panorama, the idea begins when you look through the viewfinder. There is no law that states your creativity must be confined to the format of your digital sensor (or film).

 

Looking through the viewfinder at Mesquite earlier this year, I loved the ‘S’ shape of the dunes, but for the composition to work, I needed a little more space either side. If you click the ‘Read More’ you can see the first image, plus the two shots used to stitch a wider view.

 

With a zoom lens, I could have zoomed out a little wide and cropped top and bottom. With a fixed 240mm lens (like a 150mm on a full frame DSLR), I could change to a 110mm (my next widest lens), or swing the camera left and right.

 

The takeaway is that the best time to consider framing and frame shapes is when you are taking the photograph. You might also make cropping decisions later on in post-production, but sometimes by then it’s too late, so another suggestion I make on workshops is to shoot a scene like this with a wider lens as well – which will allow you to consider your final composition at a later time while working in Capture One, Lightroom or Photoshop.

 

The view with the 240mm wasn't quite wide enough for the sense of space desired.

The angle to the right includes unwanted foliage, but this can be removed in Photoshop or Lightroom.

The angle to the left is problem free! Note, the final stitch has also been 'squished'.

 

 

And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months or so, I have places left on trips going to Bhutan, South West USA, Antarctica and the Svalbard. Full details on the Better Photography website!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) death valley mesquite flat sand dunes sand dunes https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/11/composing-in-camera Sun, 05 Nov 2017 23:26:36 GMT
Can You Plan The Weather? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/10/can-you-plan-the-weather Mount Runde, BanffMount Runde, BanffCan You Plan The Weather?
Banff, Canada.
Phase One XF 100MP, 240mm Schneider lens, f11 @ 30 seconds, ISO 50, 10X ND filter.


The obvious answer is no, but on a recent PODAS (Phase One Digital Art Series) workshop to Canada with Tony Hewitt, no planning was needed. After a few days of blue-bird sunshine, I was thinking the Rockies in Canada were chocolate-box sweet and the weather balmy and warm.

However as our group was saddling up for a horse ride, I changed my mind on two counts. First, I decided that two hours in the saddle wasn’t for me. Half an hour maybe, one hour if I had to, but two hours was going to do my bum in, so I let my daughter go and Tony Hewitt as well.

As they mounted their horses, the second change happened - with the weather. Dark clouds raced down the valley and the winds blew so strongly that the horses all stopped and put their rears into the wind! I figured if the horses don’t like it, it must be pretty grim.

Instead of riding a horse, I and most of the other people who were taking this journey to a dinner location, sat on the back of a cart dragged along by two magnificent beasts. We also got a little wet, but we were under cover and under blankets as the heavens opened up.

And I laughed! Boy, had I dodged a bullet!
READ MORE: CAN YOU PLAN THE WEATHER?

Banff, Canada. 
Phase One XF 100MP, 240mm Schneider lens, f11 @ 30 seconds, ISO 50, 10X ND filter.

 

The obvious answer is no, but on a recent PODAS (Phase One Digital Art Series) workshop to Canada with Tony Hewitt, no planning was needed. After a few days of blue-bird sunshine, I was thinking the Rockies in Canada were chocolate-box sweet and the weather balmy and warm.

 

However as our group was saddling up for a horse ride, I changed my mind on two counts. First, I decided that two hours in the saddle wasn’t for me. Half an hour maybe, one hour if I had to, but two hours was going to do my bum in, so I let my daughter go and Tony Hewitt as well.

 

As they mounted their horses, the second change happened - with the weather. Dark clouds raced down the valley and the winds blew so strongly that the horses all stopped and put their rears into the wind! I figured if the horses don’t like it, it must be pretty grim.

 

Instead of riding a horse, I and most of the other people who were taking this journey to a dinner location, sat on the back of a cart dragged along by two magnificent beasts. We also got a little wet, but we were under cover and under blankets as the heavens opened up.

 

And I laughed! Boy, had I dodged a bullet!

 

Of course, both Tony and my daughter had a wonderful and somewhat soggy time and they said the ride back was much better. In fact, the ride back was spectacular because the storm passed through to reveal snowfall on the peaks and patches of sunlight igniting low clouds.

 

When people travel, they often wish for good weather, but photographers generally want something a little more interesting and a passing storm will do that for you.

 

This 30 second exposure was taken just as the sun was setting, looking up at the towering peaks surrounding Banff. While the clouds already looked spectacular as they flowed over the cliffs, by blurring them their movement became that much more obvious.

 

It wasn’t a bad start to a week of amazing light and locations. My thanks to Phase One for inviting me along.

 

PHOTO FEEDBACK: I am looking for some more material for my Photo Feedback section. If you will give me permission to run your photo in this blog and potentially in an eBook in the future, without attribution (anonymously), please send me a JPG, 2000 px on the long edge. Feel free to send me an unedited JPG and your edit, with a few notes about what you’re trying to do. I’ll pick some examples that I feel I can improve or help, so if your photos are too good, I may not use them! Please send them toeastway@betterphotography.com with PHOTO FEEDBACK in the subject line.

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Banff Canada https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/10/can-you-plan-the-weather Thu, 26 Oct 2017 02:34:42 GMT
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/9/be-careful-what-you-wish-for

Near Paradise Bay, Antarctica.
55mm lens, Phase One XF 100MP, 1/1250 second @ f8, ISO 100

 

Naturally when I packed up my four prints for APPA this year (the AIPP's Australian Professional Photography Awards) I was hoping for four Golds. I didn't send Silvers down in my case, that's for sure, but that's how they came back - four Silvers With Distinction (which means 85 or higher). Now, some readers will be tuning out, thinking Eastway is a loser with only four Silvers. Others will think he's boasting and a bit of a w*&^er since that means all four images were in the top 20% - but does all this matter?

 

No!

 

Entering competitions is about pushing yourself and learning. The benefits are already made by the time you send your entries off because of what you have learned in the process - and you're always learning and re-learning.

In this case, it was all about the use of clarity and contrast.

 

The image above has next to no clarity. It is intentionally high key, trying to emphasise the 'whiteness' of the southern continent. One of my earlier edits (which you can see below on the website), has a bucket-load of clarity. It looks quite 'interesting' at a small size, but I can assure you that when it was printed out, it looked horrible! 

With a bit of luck, I'll get another crack at this location in December 2018 (Aurora Expeditions has extended its 15% discount offer until the end of September - see the links on this page), and I'll know what to do! However, check out the other version here.... 

 

An unsatisfactory result.

 

Apart from the fact it is a bit darker, the main difference is in the three-dimensional nature of the ice. The high contrast certainly has an effect and at this size, it's a bit overdone, but on a print, it simply screams 'awful'.

One of my suggestions when it comes to workflow is to leave the clarity slider and mid-tone contast operations until last. This certainly applies to producing prints (with rare exceptions). However, when working in Capture One or Lightroom and outputting files for the web or social media, I ignore this advice as the clarity (and dehaze) sliders certainly give small photos a lot of presence.

 

But presence on screen doesn't always translate to a good quality print on paper, so be careful what you wish for!

And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months or so, I have places left on trips going to Bhutan, South West USA, Antarctica and the Silk Road. Full details on the Better Photography website!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) antarctica paradise bay https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/9/be-careful-what-you-wish-for Sun, 03 Sep 2017 14:15:00 GMT
ASTROLABE ISLAND https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/7/astrolabe-island

Astrolabe Island, Antarctica.
Canon EOS 5DSR, EF11-24mm f/4L USM lens, 1/320 second @ f7.1, ISO 100

 

Astrolabe Island was just being released from the ice when we visited in December. There are lots of islands around the Antarctic Peninsula and the ones you visit are often determined by the weather as much as anything else. And while Deception Island is a favourite, my time at Astrolabe Island was quite fruitful.

 

The accompanying photos show how an ultra wide-angle lens can create a great sense of depth and perspective, especially when you have something of interest in the foreground. All these photos are taken from a zodiac, an inflatable dingy. I'm seated and leaning over the edge, so my camera is maybe 30 centimetres above the water for most of them. I'm filling the frame with the detail of the foreground.

 

At the same time, the ultra wide-angle lens turns towering peaks into relatively small, insignificant landmarks on the horizon. Photographers have a love-hate relationship with ultra wide-angles because in order to fit everything in (to create that amazing perspective), they have to shrink everything and so you are at risk of losing the grandeur of many locations.

 

To bring out the texture in the ice and water, I use contrast. Sometimes it's just a contrasty curve adjustment layer, but I also use clarity in Capture One (or Lightroom), and the high pass filter technique with a soft or hard light blend mode in Photoshop. However, I generally add this contrast in locally - meaning I brush it in over the foreground, but don't touch the background (or if I do, I use a different setting for the background as normally I don't want it to be as contrasty and strong as the foreground).

 

And for those fortunate enough to be thinking about it, I have a photo tour going to Antarctica in December 2018 (back for Christmas) with Aurora Expeditions. And there's a 15% discount offer on some berths if you book before 30 September this year, so if this is sounding like you, visit the website and have a look here.

 

And here are a few more photos from Astrolabe Island... 

 

More views of Astrolabe Island.

 

And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months or so, I have places left on trips going to Bhutan, South West USA and the Silk Road. Full details on the Better Photography website!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) antarctica astrolabe island https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/7/astrolabe-island Sun, 23 Jul 2017 14:00:00 GMT
PENGUIN PARTS https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/7/penguin-parts

Young King Penguin, Gold Harbour, South Georgia.
Canon EOS 5DSR, EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXT, 1/400 second @ f5.6, ISO 100

 

When you travel to Antarctica and South Georgia, one guarantee can be made: you will see penguins and lots of them!

 

In terms of photography, a rookery of penguins makes a great composition because of the incredible repetition of shapes. Standing, on nests, young near old - there are lots of variations and all you really need is a standard lens to capture it.

 

However, whether penguins or giraffes, there's a part of me that likes to photograph parts of animals. Sometimes they make interesting geometric shapes, sometimes it's just a tail or some wing feathers that make the photograph.

 

The lead image is the back of a young King Penguin. The tiny white feathers are possibly not from this penguin, but picked up from others. There have been occasions in Antarctica when it looked like it was snowing there were so many feathers in the air.

 

To take these photos, you need a long telephoto lens. A lot of these were taken with a 560mm or 600mm lens and both Sigma and Tamron make super zooms that reach out to 600mm for not too much money. Canon, Nikon and Fujifilm all have 100-400mm zooms which are reasonably priced when you compare them with the f2.8 and f4 super telephoto lenses. So, there are ways to get super telephoto performance without super high prices.

 

If I were going to Antarctica, I'd take the longest zoom I could, just for photos like these!

 

And funny I should mention that because I have a photo tour going to Antarctica in December 2018 (back for Christmas) with Aurora Expeditions. And there's a 15% discount offer on some berths if you book before 30 September this year, so if this is sounding like you, visit the website and have a look here.


And here are a few more penguin parts…

 

Some additional penguin parts.

 

And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months or so, I have places left on trips going to Bhutan, South West USA and the Silk Road. Full details on the Better Photography website!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) antarctica gold harbour king penguin south georgia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/7/penguin-parts Sun, 16 Jul 2017 14:00:00 GMT
THE PROBLEM WITH SHEEP https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/7/the-problem-with-sheep

The Cabin, Middlehurst Station, New Zealand
Phase One A-Series 100MP, 23mm Alpagon, 1/10 second @ f5.6, ISO 50

 

After our Middlehurst Photo Art workshop last year, we shot (err, photographed) sheep again this year, but I haven't processed the blurred shots as yet. However, what we did discover was this wonderful old shack.

 

We arrived just on dusk while doing a quick reccy of the east part of the station (it took three hours). Willy and Sue, the station owners, take turns to drive us around as neither Tony nor I are up to the task of navigating the changing river beds and narrow tracks. In fact, we stand up the back of the ute (our photography guests are warm inside) and marvel at how deftly the locals drive their vehicles. Lots of experience.

 

While the photographers were busy exploring the area around the shack, Willie grabbed his dog and practiced his own art. Now, I'm not quite sure what you call sheep herding with sheep dogs, but the way the dogs control the sheep and respond to Willy's instructions is amazing.

 

I noticed Willy herding a half a dozen sheep around and asked if he could place them in front of the shack. At the time, I couldn't get quite the wide-angle composition I wanted because of an overhanging tree (just out of frame), but looking at my frames now, I'm quite happy with the composition. Just maybe I should pick up the lone dog and move him a little further to the left?

 

Here's my Photoshop tip:

 

Even at this hour, the sky was significantly brighter than the foreground. To solve this little challenge, I processed the file out of Capture One and loaded it into Photoshop. I then used the ADPpanel+Pro to select the highlight tones in the sky (this is a luminosity masking plugin), and adjusted the resulting mask a little manually. This allowed me to darken down the sky along the horizon.

 

You'll find the ADPpanel+Pro at http://www.aarondowlingphotography.com/luminosity-action-panel/

This approach works really well, but when you have little bits of scrub and bushes along the horizon line, there are always little problem areas where the mask doesn't travel. They appear as white halo lines. My solution is to flatten the image (or copy up all the layers to a new layer) and use the healing brush, set to Darken blend mode. In this example, I sample the sky (which is lighter than the mountain) and then with a small brush size, paint over the white areas. Because the blend mode is set to darken, the brush doesn't touch the mountainside, only the white haloes.

 

Our Middlehurst workshop for 2018 appears to be fully booked, but if you would like to be waitlisted or put on the list for 2019, please touch base with Kim at kim@betterphotography.com. We are just finalizing the details for 2019 now and are thinking about July so there's a bit more snow - maybe!

 

Another view of The Cabin, Middlehurst Station, New Zealand
Phase One A-Series 100MP, 23mm Alpagon, 1/4 second @ f5.6, ISO 50

 

The River next to The Cabin, Middlehurst Station, New Zealand
Phase One A-Series 100MP, 23mm Alpagon, 1/15 second @ f5.6, ISO 50

 

And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months, I have places left on trips going to Canada, SW USA, Bhutan and Antarctica. Full details on the Better Photography website!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) middlehurst new zealand sheep https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/7/the-problem-with-sheep Sun, 09 Jul 2017 14:00:00 GMT
BIG YELLOW TAXI, IRAN https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/6/big-yellow-taxi-iran

Hamadan Taxi Driver, Iran.
Canon EOS 5DSR, 70-200mm lens @ 200mm, 1/400 second @ f2.8, ISO 100

 

New York is known for its yellow taxi cabs and no doubt they are prevalent in many other cities around the world, but I'd suggest few cities have as many yellow taxis as Hamadan in Iran. On our photo tour, Nuran Zorlu and I spent a few hours loitering in the Hamadan's busy centre with our band of adventurous photographers. The Imam Khomeini square boasts a rich but decaying circumference of elegant building facades, with a hurried, bustling congestion below. Crossing the road to the park in the centre of the square was not without its challenges!


Nuran had suggested that Imam Khomeini square was a great place to sit down and observe life, but we weren't sitting very long before we found ourselves the centre of attention, with plenty of opportunities to photograph the people.


What struck me was the number of taxis, either in transit as a laneless melee around the park, or waiting in long lines for fares. The challenge was to capture them as a part of daily life. For the street scenes, I found a wide-angle lens allowed me to get close to the taxis as they whizzed past, placing them in the foreground and retaining the building facades behind.

 

As I stood on the roadside, I noticed how every taxi had its own sub-plot inside, the life of the driver and maybe his passengers, so I switched to a 70-200mm zoom and lowered my camera height. This let me look across the road into the taxis and at the driver.


On occasion I was discovered by the drivers, but never castigated. Perhaps it was because I was obviously a foreigner and somewhat of a novelty in a country that has recently re-opened its borders for general tourism.

 

There's no doubt this taxi driver knew I was there!

 

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) iran taxi https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/6/big-yellow-taxi-iran Sun, 25 Jun 2017 14:00:00 GMT
BACK FROM PHOTOGENIC IRAN https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/6/back-from-photogenic-iran

One of the side residences at the Golestan Palace, Tehran.
Canon EOS 5DSR, 11-24mm @ 11mm, 1/40 second @ f5, ISO 3200

 

At a smart new vegetarian restaurant next to an art gallery in Tehran, we were seated opposite three well-dressed women. A beautiful strawberry flan, large enough to feed a dozen people, was delivered to their table - rich, red strawberries with what appeared to be a suitably thin, crispy base, just the way I like it.

 

One of the women observed me looking at their flan. She laughed and made a couple of comments to her friends. Had I been a little obvious?

 

I asked our waitress if we could order a strawberry flan for our table, only to discover that the flan was not on the menu. My language skills didn't allow her to elaborate, but I guessed the women had brought it with them for a special occasion.

 

After we finished our main meal some time later, the strawberry flan appeared at our table. Three small slices had been consumed, leaving a generous gift from the women.

 

This gesture was to epitomise the friendly disposition of the Iranian people we met throughout our trip. Persia of antiquity was known for its luxury and entertainment and perhaps it is this generosity of spirit that has been handed down over the generations. Wherever we travelled, we'd meet people who would say, "Welcome to my country".

 

We had a little conversation with the three women. It was a birthday for one of them and when I asked her if she was 21, she looked offended and said she was only 18! I wondered if we'd be this hospitable in Australia if the roles were reversed. I'd like to think I would be, at least now.

 

Nuran Zorlu and I are just back from a remarkable journey through Iran. From a photographic perspective, it was simply exceptional. We were joined by nine photographers who also appeared to enjoy what we found. There will be more about Iran in future newsletters as I work through my files. Nuran is looking to take a group back to Iran in March/April next year, and I'd be keen to join him again in 2019.

 

Yes, there are political tensions involved, but on the ground with the 'average' Iranians, when you're walking through a market or across a field, I haven't visited a more friendly country.

 

The photo above gives you a glimpse of the opulence presented by some of the historical architecture. Iran - or Persia - goes back three or four thousand years and while some buildings have been restored in recent years, you're continually picking your jaw up off the ground as you gape in amazement at the building interiors. The walls and ceiling of this ballroom (I'm assuming) were covered in finely shaped and decorated mirrors. A remarkable space.

 

A portfolio of my Iranian photos will be up on my personal website shortly - viewwww.petereastway.com.

 

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) iran palace tehran https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/6/back-from-photogenic-iran Sun, 18 Jun 2017 14:00:00 GMT
WHEN LANGUAGE DOESN'T MATTER https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/5/when-language-doesnt-matter

 

Matriarch. Areni Village, Armenia
Fujifilm X-Pro1, 16mm lens, 1/4400 second @ f1.4, ISO 200

 

I'm known as a landscape photography, but I'm also a closet people photographer. This doesn't mean I photograph them from a closet, which boggles the mind when I think what could mean. Rather I like to engage with people and, if I am brave enough, take their portrait.

 

And sometimes not speaking the language is a huge benefit. It's not like photography is a secret science anymore. And taking a photograph no longer means stealing someone's spirit or soul! So, walking up to someone, smiling, saying one or two words in their language and then pointing at your camera usually gets the question across.

 

In Georgia and Armenia last month, we stopped off in a few little villages just to take a walk around. In this village we also stopped to have lunch, so I figured the locals were used to tourists, if not photo tour tourists! Sometimes I walked around with the women on my tour because they seemed to be much better at striking up a conversation than me. On other occasions, I struck out on my own with mixed success.

 

But I enjoy the process. Very much!

 

This photograph of an ageing matriarch came about as a result of an introduction. A few of the other photographers had discovered her before lunch, so we made up an excuse to return to her home to see if the rest of us could take a photograph. I think it made her day. During the 60 seconds or so I crouched in front of her, she moved her stick here and there, but I like it best outstretched as you see it here. And I love the look she is giving her daughter behind me - "What the hell are these people doing here!"

 

We placed her on her verandah in shade and then sat back and conversed with sign language. Mehmet our guide and the matriarch's daughter managed to converse a little and she also seemed to enjoy the visit. I'm not sure they'd want a horde of photographers there every week, but I am certain it brightened up their day and will give them something to talk about with their neighbours.

 

Chances are they experienced something similar!

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) armenia https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/5/when-language-doesnt-matter Sun, 28 May 2017 14:00:00 GMT
IS PHOTOGRAPHY IN RELIGIOUS PLACES OKAY? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/5/is-photography-in-religious-places-okay

 

Prayer in Sioni Cathedral, Tbilisi, Georgia.
Fujifilm X-Pro2, 16mm lens, 1/45 second @ f1.4, ISO 400

 

Should we take photographs inside churches, mosques and temples? And if we do, should we take photographs of people at prayer? I'm actually a little apprehensive about the different viewpoints people will have, but hopefully I can summarise my response as follows: It's okay if it is allowed and if you show respect.

 

This is Sioni Cathedral in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. I will post another photograph of the incredible paintings and artworks that decorate the walls and ceilings in another post - it is a magic place in which to take photographs. There is a sign outside saying no flash photography and I think that's a good thing because flash would indeed be intrusive on the parishioners. And of course, flash will generally kill the mood which I like to think I have captured in this image with available light.

 

On one of our visits, a member of the clergy came out and said since they were about to take holy communion, would we mind stepping outside for a while, but we would be welcome back again in half an hour. A similar approach was taken in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul when I was there a few years ago. I think this is very reasonable and I'm happy to comply.

 

Many of the more popular churches and cathedrals around the world don't allow any photography and in terms of crowd control and their priority for the parishioners, I can understand why. I think it's a pity, but as one priest explained, his church gets more complaints when they allow photography from their parishioners, than from photographers complaining they can't take photos.

 

So, if you get a chance to photograph in religious places, I suggest you be discrete. Don't interfere with other people and respect their privacy. Most of my photos do not show faces, although I'm not sure Cartier-Bresson would agree with me there. But unless I'm invited to photograph someone at prayer, there's something telling me to leave them in peace.

 

Perhaps I'm more sensitive than I thought!

 

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) cathedral church georgia tbilisi https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/5/is-photography-in-religious-places-okay Sun, 21 May 2017 14:00:00 GMT
Even Monasteries Lie - A Little! https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/5/even-monasteries-lie---a-little Tatev MonasteryTatev MonasteryTatev Monastery, Armenia.
Phase One A-Series, IQ3 100MP, 70mm Rodenstock lens, 1/125 second @ f8, ISO 50

I'm a week back from a wonderful trip to Georgia and Armenia, two very special places if you have photography on your mind. Organised by my Turkish friend and photography guide, Mehmet, I was joined by eight fellow photographers and friends in search of some amazing images and exciting destinations. We weren't disappointed. While both countries are steeped in history and religion, there is so much more to them and over coming months, I plan to show you more photos from this trip.

Today, let's start with Tatev Monastery, one of Armenia's most famous landmarks. In fact, it's so famous and popular, the world's longest cable car will transport you from the other side of the valley, rather than requiring you to take a tortuous 30 minute hairpin drive (which isn't good for larger bus tours). But where is the cable car in this picture?

As you'll see if you click through to the rest of the article, Tatev Monastery is a little different when you view it in situ, yet most of the photos perpetuate the 'myth' that I have agreed to by excluding 'all the other stuff' that surrounds it. So much for truth in photography, even for monasteries!

Visit the Better Photography website for full article.
http://www.betterphotography.com/peter-eastways-blogs-sp-19033/peter-eastways-blog/1221-even-monasteries-lie-a-little
Tatev Monastery, Armenia.

Phase One A-Series, IQ3 100MP, 70mm Rodenstock lens, 1/125 second @ f8, ISO 50

 

I'm a week back from a wonderful trip to Georgia and Armenia, two very special places if you have photography on your mind. Organised by my Turkish friend and photography guide, Mehmet, I was joined by eight fellow photographers and friends in search of some amazing images and exciting destinations. We weren't disappointed. While both countries are steeped in history and religion, there is so much more to them and over coming months, I plan to show you more photos from this trip.

Today, let's start with Tatev Monastery, one of Armenia's most famous landmarks. In fact, it's so famous and popular, the world's longest cable car will transport you from the other side of the valley, rather than requiring you to take a tortuous 30 minute hairpin drive (which isn't good for larger bus tours). But where is the cable car in this picture?

As you'll see if you click through to the rest of the article, Tatev Monastery is a little different when you view it in situ, yet most of the photos perpetuate the 'myth' that I have agreed to by excluding 'all the other stuff' that surrounds it. So much for truth in photography, even for monasteries!

 

The overview from the hill above the hill above the monastery!

 

From where the hero photo was taken, with a slightly wider view including the 'extras'.

Looking at the two location photographs, you can see what I mean. But let's not forget that Armenia has a history going back more than 4,000 years, so the fact this place looks as remote as it does, is testament to the inhospitable alpine environment.

I spent a little time in post-production on the hero shot, removing the background roads, covering up the corrugated iron roofing, and removing a few unnecessary power lines. However, the low cloud that helpfully rolled in did most of the hard work for me. Given we had driven through torrential rain and thunderstorms only an hour earlier, the abatement in the weather was much appreciated and the low cloud just perfect!

We spent an hour or so above the monastery, photographing it from several angles as the light changed. The wider view is worth working on, but I will have to steel myself for the post-production needed to clean it up. It's much easier to shoot the world as we find it, rather than as we would like to envisage it. Despite the modern encroachments, nothing can take away the age, the mood and the patina of a location like this, so I think it only fitting to portray it as we 'see' it with our minds.

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Armenia Tatev Monastery clouds mountain https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/5/even-monasteries-lie---a-little Mon, 15 May 2017 01:15:00 GMT
Ansel Adams Wasn't Straight https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/5/ansel-adams-wasnt-straight Carmel Coast, USACarmel Coast, USACarmel Coast, USA.
Phase One XF 100MP, 240mm lens, 1/1600 second @ f8, ISO 50


Earlier this year, Tony Hewitt and I took a group of photographers around South West America in the footsteps of America's great landscape photographers. Naturally enough, Ansel Adams was one of them.

In preparation for the trip, I read a biography about Ansel and was fascinated to learn how much he has been misunderstood by many photographers.

At the risk of overly simplifying the issues, in the early 20th Century, Ansel Adams and Edward Weston were pushing to have photography recognised for what it was, not for trying to emulate painting. At the time, the 'Pictorialist' movement was doing everything it could to make photographs look like paintings.

Adams and Weston pushed the idea of 'straight' photography, meaning they wanted their images to look like photographs, not paintings.

Throughout their careers, their views on what photography should and shouldn’t be gradually changed as they worked it all out. I think Ansel summed it up pretty well later in his life as follows:
“A photograph that is merely a superficial record of the subject fails as an aesthetic expression of that subject. The expression must be an emotional amplification, and this emotional amplification relates to point of view, organization, revelation of substance through textures, tonal relations, and the perfection of the technical expression of all these elements.”

I loved reading this. For years, photographers who didn't like Photoshop and the ability to edit and interpret their work have held up Ansel Adams as a legend who produced photographs 'straight out of camera'. Of course, anyone who has read Ansel's books knows that this is far from the truth, however it is also true to note that Ansel questioned himself about how far he could push a photograph before going too far.

For instance, using a Yellow filter in black and white film photography would darken a blue sky, giving a more 'natural' result. Using a red filter would turn a blue sky almost black, which was far from natural but looked pretty damn good, and I think Ansel agonised over this for many years. His famous Half Dome was the first time he went to the 'dark side' with a red filter and a black sky, but he repeated the black sky 'interpretation' with his Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico. These are probably his two most famous photographs, so what does that say?

My message: Photography can be as interpretive or as 'straight' as you want it to be, just let other photographers do what they want and don't worry about it! And photographers who do enjoy the dark side, keep this little piece of photo trivia up your sleeve. Even the great Ansel Adams expects our photographs to have some 'emotional amplification'.

Carmel Coast, USA.
Phase One XF 100MP, 240mm lens, 1/1600 second @ f8, ISO 50

 

 

Earlier this year, Tony Hewitt and I took a group of photographers around South West America in the footsteps of America's great landscape photographers. Naturally enough, Ansel Adams was one of them.

In preparation for the trip, I read a biography about Ansel and was fascinated to learn how much he has been misunderstood by many photographers.

At the risk of overly simplifying the issues, in the early 20th Century, Ansel Adams and Edward Weston were pushing to have photography recognised for what it was, not for trying to emulate painting. At the time, the 'Pictorialist' movement was doing everything it could to make photographs look like paintings.

Adams and Weston pushed the idea of 'straight' photography, meaning they wanted their images to look like photographs, not paintings.

Throughout their careers, their views on what photography should and shouldn’t be gradually changed as they worked it all out. I think Ansel summed it up pretty well later in his life as follows:

“A photograph that is merely a superficial record of the subject fails as an aesthetic expression of that subject. The expression must be an emotional amplification, and this emotional amplification relates to point of view, organization, revelation of substance through textures, tonal relations, and the perfection of the technical expression of all these elements.”

I loved reading this. For years, photographers who didn't like Photoshop and the ability to edit and interpret their work have held up Ansel Adams as a legend who produced photographs 'straight out of camera'. Of course, anyone who has read Ansel's books knows that this is far from the truth, however it is also true to note that Ansel questioned himself about how far he could push a photograph before going too far.

For instance, using a Yellow filter in black and white film photography would darken a blue sky, giving a more 'natural' result. Using a red filter would turn a blue sky almost black, which was far from natural but looked pretty damn good, and I think Ansel agonised over this for many years. His famous Half Dome was the first time he went to the 'dark side' with a red filter and a black sky, but he repeated the black sky 'interpretation' with his Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico. These are probably his two most famous photographs, so what does that say?

My message: Photography can be as interpretive or as 'straight' as you want it to be, just let other photographers do what they want and don't worry about it! And photographers who do enjoy the dark side, keep this little piece of photo trivia up your sleeve. Even the great Ansel Adams expects our photographs to have some 'emotional amplification'.  

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Carmel Coast USA beach waves https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/5/ansel-adams-wasnt-straight Wed, 03 May 2017 01:15:00 GMT
How To Feel Superior :>) https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/4/how-to-feel-superior  

Carmel Coast, USA.
Phase One XF 100MP, 240mm lens, 25 seconds @ f14, ISO 50, Nisi 10X ND Filter

Why is photography of the past relevant to our current generation?

You can read this question two ways, depending on your interpretation of 'current generation'. Is the current generation everyone who is alive today (an expanded definition), or does it mean the younger generation (an erroneous supposition in my opinion)?

No longer falling into the latter definition, I tend to think that the question (asked by a student) could be better worded as follows: Why is photography of the past relevant?

Historically, I don't know of any successful or famous artists who didn't have some understanding of the past, or at least trained with a successful artist of their times. The main reason to understand the past is so you can progress further - rather than re-inventing the wheel or copying what someone else has already done, learn the lessons of the past so you can go somewhere new with your creativity.

For instance, it's easy for me to dismiss Ansel Adams as an average photographer when I compare his work to that of later American photographers, but we have all learnt so much from Mr Adams that he deserves our respect. Without seeing his photographs, the way he cropped images, the way he interpreted them, we would not be nearly as advanced as we are today. If indeed we are!

On the other hand, as Susan Sontag says, all photography is derivative.

I sometimes read this as 'never being original' because someone, somewhere will already have taken something very similar if not identical to your work. So, by being ignorant of the past - and everyone else's work - at least you can be original within yourself. However, it doesn't change the big picture that other people will continue to judge you based on their knowledge and background of the past.

Perhaps the question was related to technology and access.  So ubiquitous has photography become that for most people it is a matter of craft, not art. This isn't to demean good craft in anyway, rather to distinguish between someone using an Instagram filter and a photographer interpreting a raw file. There isn't always a difference when you look at the results, of course, but I think it's the intent that is important.

So, why is photography of the past relevant to our current generation? Because most of the 'new' filter effects being offered by one-button image editing apps are based on the techniques and craft of the past - and it makes me feel superior to know this. But now I'm starting to sound like my parents!

What do you think?

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eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Carmel Coast USA https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/4/how-to-feel-superior Mon, 10 Apr 2017 01:30:00 GMT
Expression Is Everything https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/4/expression-is-everything


 
  •  
  • Young Monk deep in thought, Bhutan.
    Canon EOS 5DSR, 300mm lens, 1/640 second @ f2.8, ISO 100

     

    When it comes to portraiture, expression is everything. Think about the photographs taken of you, perhaps for a family portrait or a wedding. If you don't have a good expression, you won't like the portrait no matter how good it is technically. This doesn't mean technique isn't important. If you capture a wonderful expression and your subject is overexposed or out of focus, that's not much good either!

    If you click through to the website, you can see the four frames I took when photographing this monk. He wasn't there for long and his hand to his temple for just a few short moments. However, immediately I saw the gesture, I started pressing the button. And kept pressing it everytime he changed his expression. 

    Shooting on the street like this, you don't have time to think and compose, only react. And the only reaction we really have available is to take another photograph. Of course, I have a rough idea of the type of photograph I'm looking for. You don't attach a 300mm lens to your camera and expect to shoot from the hip. Rather, a telephoto is useful for capturing big close ups and, as in this case, isolating the subject.

    Note the blank wall behind, simplifying the composition, making sure the message is clear. I was lucky there - he could have been standing somewhere else. So what's the message?

     

    The four frames before post-production. Which one would you have chosen?

    I'm not sure there really is a single message we can take away from this photograph. Who knows what he was thinking: did I leave the iron on, I hope my teacher doesn't see me sneaking away from class, this cloak makes my head itch! However, I don't think photographs have to answer the questions they raise and very often, it's better if they don't.

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Bhutan Expression Monk https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/4/expression-is-everything Tue, 04 Apr 2017 01:30:00 GMT
    Which Frame Do You Pick? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/3/which-frame-do-you-pick Maori, New ZealandMaori, New ZealandMaori Chieftan. Lumix GH5 Launch, Queenstown, NZ.
    Lumix GH5, 18mm (37mm equivalent) lens, 1/1250 second @ f4, ISO 100

    Life as a photography magazine editor is pretty good when companies like Panasonic invite you to test their new Lumix GH5 camera for a few days in Queenstown. And they looked after us very well with a series of photo opportunities designed to show off the camera's many features. We were off the plane for no more than 10 minutes before we were onto a jet boat, screaming across the river shallows at a rapid rate of knots before being dropped off to the Hilton where we were staying.

    When we arrived at the Hilton wharf, we received a traditional Maori welcome. While entertaining, the background was pretty ordinary and not really conducive to a good photograph. However, to Panasonic's credit they had further plans for the chieftan and his wife the following day. After arriving atop a wind-blown mountain ridge by helicopter and being treated to a packed lunch and champagne (I told you life was pretty good), we had another opportunity to make some portraits of the maori chief with a far more interesting background.

    More about the Lumix GH5 later in the week. In the meantime, check out the four frames I quickly grabbed (along with the other 20 or so journalists standing next to me).

    Read More: http://www.betterphotography.com/peter-eastways-blogs-sp-19033/peter-eastways-blog/1201-which-frame-do-you-pick

    Maori Chieftan. Lumix GH5 Launch, Queenstown, NZ.
    Lumix GH5, 18mm (37mm equivalent) lens, 1/1250 second @ f4, ISO 100

    Life as a photography magazine editor is pretty good when companies like Panasonic invite you to test their new Lumix GH5 camera for a few days in Queenstown. And they looked after us very well with a series of photo opportunities designed to show off the camera's many features. We were off the plane for no more than 10 minutes before we were onto a jet boat, screaming across the river shallows at a rapid rate of knots before being dropped off to the Hilton where we were staying.

    When we arrived at the Hilton wharf, we received a traditional Maori welcome. While entertaining, the background was pretty ordinary and not really conducive to a good photograph. However, to Panasonic's credit they had further plans for the chieftan and his wife the following day. After arriving atop a wind-blown mountain ridge by helicopter and being treated to a packed lunch and champagne (I told you life was pretty good), we had another opportunity to make some portraits of the maori chief with a far more interesting background.

    More about the Lumix GH5 later in the week. In the meantime, check out the four frames I quickly grabbed (along with the other 20 or so journalists standing next to me). 

     

    Four photos - which would you use?

    Now, I know you can work out which of the three frames was used in the hero photo up above, but the question is why?

    The reasons for choosing Frame 3.

    This isn't the only angle I shot from, but these are the four frames I squeezed out of this particular pose. In the first frame, the chieftan's eyes are closed so, while pretty good down small, if ever I were to make a larger image, it wouldn't be satisfactory. Expression is everything - and to be honest, I probably haven't got the best expression in the other three either, but they are all pretty similar.

    However, the key to this particular pose for me was the hand-woven feathered cape he was wearing. I wanted this to be the feature of the photograph and, having decided that, picking the cape that doesn't have the deep shadows in the middle becomes the obvious choice. The third frame has more even illumination over the garment, which in turn lets me highlight the textures and colours in post-production.

    And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months, I have places left on trips going to Arnhemland, Iran, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico. Full details on the Better Photography website!

    ]]>
    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Maori New Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/3/which-frame-do-you-pick Sun, 26 Mar 2017 00:45:00 GMT
    Do Patterns Need A Break? https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/3/do-patterns-need-a-break Vineyard NZVineyard NZDo 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, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxunKjKpiVo&feature=youtu.be.
    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). http://www.betterphotography.com/images/stories/Blog2017/Middlehurst144.pdf

    READ MORE: http://www.betterphotography.com/peter-eastways-blogs-sp-19033/peter-eastways-blog/1192-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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    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Aerials Middlehurst New Patterns Zealand https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/3/do-patterns-need-a-break Mon, 06 Mar 2017 00:16:02 GMT
    Why ISO 400? - After The Fires https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/3/why-iso-400---after-the-fires Arnhemland LeafArnhemland LeafDavidsons, Arnhemland, Northern Territory, Australia

    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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    eastway@betterphotography.com (Peter Eastway) Arnhemland Leaf https://www.petereastway.com/blog/2017/3/why-iso-400---after-the-fires Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:30:00 GMT