I’m a very technical photographer. I tend to research a lot before venturing into the field and sometimes you can focus on these things too much, rather than just getting out there and taking photos. This weekend was a little like that. I had a photograph in mind that I wanted to capture. Wyaralong Dam in the Scenic Rim can be stunning if you get the right sky.
Friday afternoon and there were high clouds north, but they needed to come south a few hundred kilometres in order to be where I wanted them. 10pm, I’m watching the sky, I ended up being so fixated on it I was still awake at 3am, the time I would have to leave if I wanted to get a photo, but the clouds never came so I finally slept, thinking about the photograph I haven’t captured yet.
Saturday night I took a different tack, I ignored the clouds, I got my gear ready to go, set my alarm for 3am and slept. Waking up and walking out the door, the clouds looked like they had potential, but regardless, I was going to go. Worse case this would be a good practice session to work towards mastering panoramas.
Arriving at the dam it was still dark but light would approach soon. I spent a good 30 minutes working out a composition, checking my settings, checking the tripod was level, and taking a few test series of shots. The light came through it’s various stages, from nice blue hour, to the pinks and reds of sunrise. However I had a problem. A bank of low cloud had moved across and was breaking up the great high clouds that had the colour. The end result was a bust, but I learnt a lot and was happy with that.
On the drive home, the sun had broken over the distant hills finally, some fast moving fog was rolling between the hills. Coming up over the rise of one hill I hit the brakes and quickly pulled over. The scene looked fantastic to me, the beautiful orange of golden hour was glowing across the sky and ground. Thankfully my gear was pretty much ready to go, put camera on tripod, level, focus and shoot.
A photo like this takes a long time to edit on post for me. Why? Because it’s 2 rows of 8 photographs, that is 16 full size photographs merged to one gigantic image. This will print MASSIVE and I think will look fantastic on anyone’s wall that loves a view like this. I’ve learnt that shooting two rows allows me to get more of either the sky or ground in the photograph (com-positional choice / ground for this one) and that really gives this photograph a great sense of depth. At full resolution you can see the cows feeding in the morning light way down the hill, the detail is amazing.
So my lessons this week are don’t sweat it so much, just make sure you get out there and shoot. This was a completely random location and it was about being there when the light was good, and finding a scene to suit.
Let me know what you think about this photograph in the comments below, I always love feedback good or bad. Until next time, stay safe and thank you very much for reading.
I’ve added this to my Landscape Portfolio that will gradually all become panoramas as I move towards the format, which I just love.
Well a very Happy New Year to you all. For me the start of any new year is a great time not only for a well deserved break, but a great time to reflect on the previous 12 months and have a bit of a mental review of how I saw my photography progress. The main aim of this is to work out my direction for 2019 and I’ve set myself a nice challenge as a result. I’m very happy with how my Astro photography has progressed. My weather photography is in a lull due to simply there being no storms so I’m concentrating on my landscape photography.
I’ve set myself a challenge to only shoot panoramic landscapes in the 3:1 format for 2019. Oh I’ll still get the odd normal 4:3 framed photo, but purely for Instagram. Any dedicated landscape photograph I capture in 2019 is going to be a panorama. Why? Well several reasons. I love to follow other photographers works and over the years I’ve come to admire two photographers in particular. Ken Duncan and Mark Grey, both incredibly successful Australian landscape photographers. Ken has been at it for Decades, Mark is relatively new to the scene, both having extraordinary success. It’s more than that however, it’s the resulting photographs they get. There is something about an amazingly well captured panorama that draws you in. The photograph when seen large envelopes your entire field of view, you are put into the scene with the photographer at the moment of capture.
This is what I want to explore and it actually means relearning a whole lot about photography. Composition is different by necessity as the frame is now very different and balance, viewpoint, elements all come into play in different ways.
So my journey into this field has begun and I find it very exciting. To kick off the new year with a bang I met up with my great friend Craig and we headed west to areas near Toowoomba in search of Sunflowers as word is out, they are blooming.
PLEASE NOTE : I won’t disclose the exact location of this farm at the farmers request. However, if you are looking for Sunflowers the area of Clifton on the Darling Downs between Warwick and Toowoomba has them in flower right now.
Thankfully Craig has scouted this location only the day before, also gaining us permission from the farmer to access the land fully, simply awesome work mate. 3:30am saw us standing in the back of the ute, Tripods at the ready, watching the light slowly appear. This first panorama was captured around 15 minutes before sunrise, the high cloud getting hit with the awesome colours of the approaching sunrise, that light also reflecting down onto the sunflowers. My composition here was to be very simple. Lines leading you through the fields.
Next it was time to really head into the fields. Another section of this farm has a great windmill surrounded by Sunflowers, well how could we resist photographing that? This field was full of bees making their merry way from flower to flower, and we did take the time out here to really just soak up the atmosphere, work our compositions and try different things.
Capturing panoramas is a bit of a challenge. The hardest part I find is framing. As you are stitching together multiple photographs to take one large one, you can’t see the final result in the field. Specialist panorama cameras exist but are far beyond my budget so this is my option in order to get the best quality and result. So far I’ve worked out that by setting the height of my view and ensuring I capture 5-6 photographs across I can usually get pretty close to the result I’m after with minimal loss of pixels in post production on the computer.
This final panorama was the only time the sun actually fell directly on the flowers. We had stopped to have a chat with the property owner when the sun broke through, but only on the ground, the sky was not being directly affected, awesome light! Excusing myself for a minute, I quickly setup and captured this image of the farmers old parents house, now not lived in but still maintained, which is surrounded by the wonderful sunflowers, not a bad view in my books. I think this is my favourite from the morning and I know my wife agrees with me.
I’ve found I’m quickly falling in love with the panorama format for both the challenge and the results. The quality end result I’m getting allows me to print a 60inch wide x 20inch high photograph at full 300dpi resolution (no loss of quality at all). I love to see my photographs purchased and hanging on peoples walls. Panoramas seem to lend themselves perfectly to being displayed, they work well in many different styles of rooms in peoples homes and in businesses. That’s my end game as a photographer, while I love taking photographs, and sharing them with the world, to create images that people love enough to hang in their own home to me is the ultimate.
So I’ll keep working at it, continuing to find new subjects in amazing conditions and share them with all of you. If I can get a nice portfolio of maybe 20 photographs by the end of 2019 I’ll be in heaven, and maybe a few of you will have such a connection with my work that you’ll want to own a copy for yourselves.
Finally, a quick single photo I took “doing it for the gram”. This will be up on my Instagram Feed.
Thank you everyone for following along with my photography for 2018, I really look forward to what 2019 is going to bring. I think the photographs will be released a bit slower, but the quality should be another level higher as I continue to learn and challenge myself.
On this morning I loaded up my Mamiya 1000s 645 medium format camera with a roll of Fuji Acros 100 Black and White film. Now sadly discontinued, this is a beautiful fine grain film that I find perfect for landscapes.
I’ve posted a full video of the morning on my facebook page, please be sure to watch, comment, like and share.
Below are the photos from the video in detail for you to view. I developed the film myself at home using R09 Adinol which is a modern version of Rodinal. Using a semi stand development time of 18 minutes and 30 seconds. I then scanned the photos into my computer using an Epson V550, did some clean up of dust and final tweaking in photoshop and done.
This first photograph, I love the sidelight coming across the scene. It’s a simple rural view that could be anywhere.
With this next one, I love the contrast between the tree and the sky. I’m going to have to invest in some orange and red filters I think, they would really make the blue in the sky pop out as well.
I just love this photo of the sprayers. I had a vision when I saw this scene and it came out exactly as I hoped. Minimal depth of field, gives such a cool feeling to a simply but great scene.
I cropped this next one to a panorama, the whole view just looked amazing to me, light breaking through in patches, cloud hugging the top of the range. Being medium format film, I can still print this huge with a good scan, some things Digital can’t fully compete with yet, for the same cost at least.
I love love love this one, printing it now, wall hanger. Just waiting for the light to come across, checking my exposure every time it did change, the anticipation, and then nailing the shot, but you don’t know it until the film is developed, dried and scanned…wow, what a rush. Really nothing more to say about my thoughts on this one 🙂
Another one for the wall, again, it came out exactly how I hoped. Mind you, I thought I’d lose detail in the trees. Nope! The film captured the full dynamic range of the scene, blew my mind.
I always love a walk through Purga reserve, it’s such an interesting place and doesn’t take long to get through but you can spend hours here checking it all out.
And the last shot of the morning, again, it came out exactly as I hoped, really minimal focus area, light making the fallen tree pop. Happy.
I’m so happy with the results from this morning. These photographs look amazing, I’ll be printing out a couple of these for my wall at home, if you’d like to purchase a copy for yourself, simply contact me and we’ll make it happen.
Well another roll of Kodak Ektar 100 Film in 120 Medium format done and dusted. I was very much looking forward to seeing how the shots on this roll came out. I actually had quite a variety of shoots on this one, a few photos I bracketed, or forgot to lock the mirror up and retook and one I completely stuffed it up by setting the shutter speed wrong..and still managed a recoverable shot, blew my mind! With my Mamiya 645 Medium format camera I get 15 shots per roll and with this one I got 6 photos I absolutely love and a few others that came out nice as well. I think it’s my best hit rate to date on film.
Starting with an overnight stay up at Redcliffe Peninsula north of Brisbane for my wedding anniversary back in October, I took the opportunity for an early start to capture sunrise over the water. I was really looking for just simple compositions here, nothing fancy at all. My thoughts at the time was if I got a good one, I’ll have it printed and matted and send it to my Parents as a gift, they have very much an ocean theme through their house.
This first shot was captured well before sunrise, when the first colour of dawn was hitting the sky. I used a 2 stop Graduated ND filter to keep the brightness of the sky close to the water. Those colours were just amazing, but I could have exposed a little bit longer to get more detail into the rocks.
Next I waited around until the sun actually rose. There was some great cloud around the horizon and it was filtering the sun, throwing out colour. Again I used the 2 stop hard grad ND filter, exposed for the water and just let the Ektar 100 film do it’s thing. It has an amazing ability to get so much detail into the highlights even if they are many many stops brighter. I really liked how this one came out, and those colours, wow! Pretty sure I’ll be sending this one to Mum & Dad for Christmas. I’ve added this photograph to my Landscapes Portfolio, it’s simple, but I really like it.
Next it was time to head back to the country. This time I was experimenting with time of day, a different lens here and there. This next photograph was over some corn almost ready to harvest near Kalbar in the Scenic Rim. I used the Mamiya 80mm lens at F4 (think I will try F2.8 next time) to focus only on the closest corn and let everything behind fade into blur. It kinda worked but not 100% the result I was aiming for, I think my biggest issue was I was too low, need to get higher and show the depth in there to give that blur a more noticeable effect. Still, the early morning side light was wonderful and I like how peaceful this photograph feels.
This next one was the same morning but during dawn and I think is my favourite photo from this roll. I was really hoping for clouds, but now the film is developed and I see those colours, wow! Eye popping stuff. Kodak Ektar 100 is a very saturated film, and I’m finding the dawn light, before the sun gets up, has slightly lower contrast, but simply amazing colour results. Definitely need to shoot more at this time of day with this film. Again I used a 2 stop ND grad to control the brightness of the sky, this was around a 90 second exposure at f/16. I’ve added this to my Landscapes Portfolio. This location is Kents Lagoon north of Kalbar in the scenic rim of South East Queensland Australia. I’m standing on quite an old, single lane wooden bridge to get this photo, praying the locals all decided to sleep in so I wouldn’t have to run off the bridge with my gear, and then set it all up again! 🙂 Except for one fella plowing his field, I was car free for an hour thankfully.
Finally I decided to try this film at night. The results were good, at least my metering was right and I didn’t stuff up the photos lol! That’s the hardest part, you have no idea of you got it right, so you check, double check, check again, think about taking the shot, wait for a car to move that just pulled up, start again in case the light changed. Honestly, I loved every minute of it, it’s so much fun, and you really REALLY slow down and think about every press of that shutter button. All of that happened with this first one, but finally everything was clear and the shot taken. This is a pub not far from home, right next to the highway at Haigslea. Very happy with how much latitude I captured between the dark shadows and the bright highlights. I think I need to revisit this one, maybe with some Portra 160 film which has a much more soft pastel pallet, and do it at sunset for some colour and go wider with the view.
Finally I dropped into Marburg just up the road the same night. The post office there is very quaint and I quite liked the look of it at night. I had to shoot a fairly tight crop to avoid the parked vehicles from the pub goers. Again, I used the 80mm, around f/11 to keep some depth of field. Ended up being around a 80 second exposure. I just love the bail of hay out the front, really lets you know this ain’t no city post office!
I’m going to get my hands on some Cinestill 800T film soon, that stuff looks just amazing for night city and architecture photographs, it blooms around light sources with a super interesting colour pallet.
I’ve got plenty of film in the fridge now to shoot. This roll was really about trying different things and gaining confidence with the equipment and the results. I’m extremely happy with how it all went, and I can quite confidently now go out and shoot on film and not be too concerned with the results as long as I remember to do all the steps. It’s a very manual process, and I absolutely love it. Looking forward to doing some more black and white film soon too.
Let me know in the comments below which is your favourite shot!
Thank you so much for reading and getting to this point, I really really appreciate it. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date, and visit again soon. I sell all of my photographs as Fine Art Prints, Canvas prints and Prints on either Acrylic or Metal, if you’d like one for yourself, simply contact me and I’ll send you pricing details.
Well pretty much out of no-where some cells started forming off the range west of home heading for the coast. They moved extremely fast and chasing was almost impossible. I gave up on even trying to get a photograph, instead strategically setting up the gopro to capture one of the cells as it moved over me at a rapid rate of knots.
This timelapse is 20 minutes in total of recording time, compressed to just 20 seconds. The speed is very obvious.
That’s really it for this week, I’ve been shooting a lot more film, aim to have another roll developed sometime this week. With more storms due mid week there could finally be an opportunity to get some more photographs so keep an eye on this blog and my facebook page for updates.
Finally got around to getting a roll developed and I’m 3/4 of the way through shooting another roll. I’m starting to get the hang of shooting film. For my film of choice for landscapes, Kodak Ektar 100, I’ve found you really have to nail the exposure for your subject (usually the land) and then filter the sky to keep it to say within a stop in brightness. Film will handle a much brighter sky, but you then have to try and pull it all back in post production on the computer.
Getting it right in camera using filters etc really pays off with film and saves you a bunch of time on the computer at a later date, when you’ve forgotten what you even shot lol! I’m using a Mamiya 645 1000s medium format camera, my go to landscape lens for the wider scene is the Mamiya 45mm. Film is Kodak Ektar 100. I have a local lab develop for me (just normal develop) and then I scan the negatives at home using an Epson V550. From there it’s really just getting the colours right and some sharpening in Photoshop, as well as removing any dust and scratches, probably the worst part of film.
This first photograph has to be my favourite film photo to date. I also shot this on digital, and I’ve even done Astro photography here, but the way this has come out, the colour, the soft glowing light, yeah, really happy with this one.
I was pretty much treating this roll of film as a test case, I was bracketing most photos to see which exposure would work best (take good notes!) and photographing landscapes in various lighting conditions. On one recent storm chase I had some time so I broke out the film camera once again and captured this photograph. Those Ektar Reds are really popping in this one and the light that broke through the clouds really made this photograph work for me.
Finally, after another chase, I decided to see what I could do with a reverse sunset, that is looking east as the sun was setting west. This one didn’t quite work out for me, the main issue being if I kept colour on the landscape, none of it was up in the clouds yet, and if I waited for it to be in the clouds, it wasn’t on the landscape anymore. So this was more of a test/compromise shot, however I do know in this kind of light it would be much better to find an amazing subject I can get very close too and really highlight those colours on the landscape, wow golden hour smacks you in the face with this film!
So the plan is now to keep shooting more film and really start working on the composition and subjects. My confidence has increased a lot thanks to some major trial and error, time and of course, money, film costs every click.
Thank you very much for ready my blog this week. If you’d also like to check out a very short cool video I made yesterday with some slow motion lightning captures click below :
I sell all of my photographs as Fine Art Prints, Canvas prints and Prints on either Acrylic or Metal, if you’d like one for yourself, simply contact me and I’ll send you pricing details.
This weekend I felt like shooting something a little different. As we don’t have daylight savings here in Queensland, sunrise can be a hard thing to capture as it usually requires getting up at 3:30am to be on location in time to shoot. So I settled for a more gentlemanly hour of 7am and made my way into Ipswich near home to capture some Black & White long exposures.
The clouds weren’t ideal so I didn’t quite get the effect I was looking for, but the light was lovely and soft and it was nice morning to be out and about. I’ve put together a video of the morning for all of you to enjoy on youtube. Be sure to like, subscribe and hit the notification bell to my channel if you’d like to keep up to date with my future videos.
Below you’ll find the three photos I ended up with.
Soon after the last photo the rain started to fall so it was time to pack up and head home. I’ve finally got my vlogging setup pretty much sorted, just some future audio upgrades to come so I should be vlogging a lot more often now. Thanks for reading and watching, until next time.
I sell all of my photographs as Fine Art Prints, Canvas prints and Prints on either Acrylic or Metal, if you’d like one for yourself, simply contact me and I’ll send you pricing details.
It was a long chase this afternoon. Storms were coming in from the west above the range but it was hard to predict what direction they were going to go once they came off the range. I headed out to a friends place at Gatton to get a better look and it soon became obvious I was too close.
Jumping back in the car I backtracked almost all the way back home and ended up at Ripley. There was lots of scud dropping down and the storm started rotating quite quickly. Hiking up a hill to get a look over the Ripley Valley I came across this amazing sight. There was colour in the cloud from who knows where, greens were popping in the core. Bolts were dropping down as well and the rain was coming on fast.
I took 3 series of 10 shot bursts and managed to nail this one shot with a bolt, very happy and thankful. Then the heavens opened and I had to walk back to the car getting absolutely drenched, I was not game to use an umbrella due to how lightning active the weather was and I carried my tripod as low as possible to avoid becoming a statistic. Thankfully my camera is fully weather sealed, just wish I was too!
That was it for this chase, the rain absolutely bucketed down causing flash flooding throughout the area and built into once massive line that headed over most of Brisbane and the bay.
I sell all of my photographs as Fine Art Prints, Canvas prints and Prints on either Acrylic or Metal, if you’d like one for yourself, simply contact me and I’ll send you pricing details. All photographs are limited edition to a run of 30, once sold out I’ll never be selling or printing another one.
Storm season is really kicking in here in Queensland Australia. The last week has brought wide spread storms to the region, some becoming very nasty super cells with tornados of all things. It’s the first time in my memory I’ve seen the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issue a tornado warning, with several dropping a few hours north of Brisbane and causing widespread damage.
Thursday saw a good chance for something around home, as I work full time I took all my gear with me on the off chance I’d have an opportunity to get something. Driving home I started to see cloud to ground lightning bolts (CGs) dropping to the west, but pretty close. I headed for the Brisbane River near Goodna as there is a great spot there with good views. Arriving I quickly worked out I needed a better view west so I moved a few k’s up the road to another higher spot.
As I pulled up I started to see the most amazing colour come across the scene. The sun was setting and throwing out amazing shades of red and pinks, with the actual storm cell being illuminated. I’m pretty sure I set a new record in getting setup and shooting. Camera on tripod, turn it on, into manual mode, aperture to f/6.3, ISO to 100, and shutter speed to live composite. I was getting a well exposed photo with 1.6 second updates. Start shooting. I normally run live composite for 20-60 seconds depending on cloud speed as they can start to look weird if they move too much. Second frame there was a massive flash in front of me, and this amazing bolt appeared on my screen.
We’ll jump for joy and high fiving myself, I quickly went live on my facebook page to show the scene and what was happening. As luck would have it, the colour soon faded and no more bolts dropped, I got “the” shot and my best bolt this year by far.
This ended up going a little viral on Facebook and ended up on Sky News Weather Channel, ABC News and Sunrise on Channel 7 the next morning, it’s great when others appreciate your work.
I’ve also sold a few prints on canvas of this shot now, if you’d like one for yourself, simply contact me and I’ll send you pricing details.
With weather finally closing in on the South East of Queensland Australia I had a chance to get out and see what storm activity I could capture. It was very messy from the start. Some systems were pushing in off the range to the west, but others were forming ahead of it.
I started by heading south of Ipswich towards the Kalbar area. There was a nice rain core showing on radar that looked promising. The issue I had was a microburst of rain appeared over the exact area I needed to be in so I could shoot the cell. Not good. Going off the main roads I made my way along a few backroads. As always, if I see something I shoot it, regardless of if it’s good or not. I could see the cool structure in the sky but I needed a foreground. Some locals were taking cover under a tree (dubious in my opinion, but I’m not a cow) and this was to be my first photograph of the day.
Now the rain was coming fast and I was out of options. I noticed another cell on the radar was pushing off the range and had a chance of meeting up with this one further north. So time to run back the way I had come. I stopped at a spot I know that has great views to the west to try and get a better sense of what was happening. You can see just how arid and dry the ground is, any rain to fall is certainly more than welcome! In this shot I’m looking west towards Mt Walker and the system I had just moved north of is coming in from the left. It’s not clear now, but the main action is actually taking place on the other side of Mt Walker!
After watching for a little while near Purga, right on the edge of Ipswich, I noticed a very defined wall cloud was forming further west of my location. Time to run! In the car and a drive through the backroads later I came across an active core that was looking great! Lightning bolts were dropping out of the main part of the system, bucketloads of rain was falling for a decent sized core. A bit tricky to shoot as it was also raining right on top of me, thankfully the wind was at my back keeping the water off the front of my lens. I couldn’t use filters to get a longer exposure because of the rain so I resorted to the tried and true technique of Spray and Pray. By counting between bolts I worked out an interval of around 15 seconds was good. So when I saw a bolt, I started counting, and when I got to 13, I would hold the shutter down and take a burst of photographs until my buffer filled up. I missed a few, but I also got a few. This photograph is my favourite from the lot. All 3 bolts captured in the single photograph.
By this time the system was getting too close. Everything to the north of me is up in the hills. I thought the view might be okay, but was also concerned about being high when there is lightning around. I decided to go have a look, satisfied with what I had captured so far. By the time I got to my view point, the lightning had stopped, the system had spread a lot further and wider and turned into just really good rain. I’m never going to complain about that and I managed to capture the last of the structure as it approached the hills north of Rosewood.
And that was it, time to call it a day, head home and start looking at my photographs on the PC.
It was a good but challenging chase, quite messy so tricky to work out the best location to shoot from. That’s mother nature for you, rarely predictable, always beautiful 🙂 To the locals out there reading this, I hope you got a drop, as we all certainly need it.
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this weeks post. I do sell my photographs if you are interested in making a purchase. I can create whatever you need from Fine Art Prints, Framed Prints, Canvases, Prints on Acrylic, whatever you need I’m happy to help to get you the artwork you want on your wall. Just contact me and we’ll work it out.