Tag: mark ii

An absolute banging stunning sunrise dawn at Currumbin on the Gold Coast Queensland Australia by Landscape, Storm and Weather photographer Murray Fox

Currumbin Sunrise

Days watching the radar showed that a patch of high cloud coming in from the west could just make the coast in time for sunrise. It’s been a long time since I headed to the sea for photography and I felt that this would  be the best time to make the 1 hour + journey. I decided to head to Currumbin on the Gold Coast, more specifically, the point at the northern end of the beach where there are some great rock formations.

It was an early start, leaving home at 3:20am I arrived in the Currumbin carpark at 4:30am, a very good run. It was an hour before sunrise so I started to prep my gear as well as admire some of the sculptures on exhibition around the beach. A few are lit up a night, looking very cool on the sand. By 4:40am blue hour was starting and there was enough light to walk the beach out to the point.

Some big tips here. Sand is still @##@ cold at that time of day, and don’t leave your shoes back in the car, the rocks really hurt underfoot. For my first shot I tried to get a good frame of the biggest rock formation however the tide wasn’t letting me play ball. Ideally I needed to be further north, but then I’d be up to my neck in water so I settled for this composition where I’m only up to my knees and had to run away from the bigger waves. This was still very early dawn light so exposure time was long, and focusing was a bit hit and miss. I couldn’t use a filter to control the sky as the rock was too high so I very very carefully exposed to just get highlight warning on the middle far left (brightest part of scene) and then lifted the rest of the detail in post production. It came out pretty good in the end.

Stunning dawn sunrise of Currumbin Rock on the Gold Coast in Queensland Australia is this beautiful seascape / landscape by Landscape, Storm and Weather photographer Murray Fox
Olympus OMD Em5.2, 12-40mm Pro, ISO 200, 12mm, f/4, 15 seconds

The place was starting to get crowded and I wasn’t happy with any other compositions I could get with the rock so I moved around to the other side where there are some great rocky channels leading out to the sea. This time I did break out the filters and put on a 2 stop hard grad filter to bring the sky exposure down close to the foreground. Time to really get wet as I framed my shot and let the sets of waves roll in. My basic aim here was to let the water come all the way in, then take a burst of photos as the water receeded out. With a shutter speed between 1/3 and 2 seconds this gives the water detail but motion as well. This was my favourite out of the lot. You get wonderful lines in the movement of the water, you see the next set of waves coming, you can see Coolongatta in the distance framed between the rocks, and there is amazing colour everywhere, just great! I’ve added this photograph to my Landscapes portfolio I just love it that much.

An absolute banging stunning sunrise dawn at Currumbin on the Gold Coast Queensland Australia by Landscape, Storm and Weather photographer Murray Fox
ISO 200, F/8, 1/3 second

Once I was satisfied I had something here and the sun was about to break the horizon, I moved a little further east and setup above another channel running out, with a higher perspective you get a bit more of the view. The colour was still just amazing, and again, I was letting the water move as I took the photo with as long a shutter speed as I cloud, stopping the aperture down even further to help with that. I also put my ISO into low (100) which does reduce dynamic range, but helped get the shutter speed longer, so I was prepared for the trade off, and it worked.

A stunning sunrise at Currumbin on the Gold Coast Australia Queensland of the beautiful seascape view over the water looking towards Cooloongatta by Landscape, Storm and Weather Photographer Murray Fox.
ISO 100 (low), F/11, 1/5 second

So 3 great photos from a stunning sunrise morning. I’ll certainly have to head to the coast more often, forgot how much I missed the water after growing up and living on the beach in Sydney for the first 25 years of my life.

No real video this week. My youtube is something I’m still experimenting with. I think I’ll only post up in there when I have time to put together a good compilation rather than just a random weekly vlog. I’ll post up in my blog here when I do.

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 matte paper prints, Ready to hang 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.

Until next time!

Murray

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How to Fake an Ultra Wide Angle Photograph

Astro didn’t work out for me this week, so I decided to practice a technique I’ve only used a couple of times. By stitching a series of photographs taken with a normal field of view lens, it’s possible to get an ultra wide angle photograph.

I’m now going to be vlogging all of my photo trips and putting them on youtube. I’ve uploaded my first vlog which goes into more detail about how I captured this photograph :

And here is the end result photograph :

3x3 Grid Stitched Panorama
A beautiful sunset near Ipswich, Queensland, Australia. This blog and Vlog show how you can fake an ultra wide angle photograph using a normal lens.

Here is a list of the gear I use. These are affiliate links, by following them and making a purchase you help support my photography at no extra cost to yourself.

* Camera : Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mk II Body Only – Silver
* Canon FD to M43rd Adapter : K&F Concept Lens Mount Adapter for Canon FD Lens to Micro 4/3 Cameras
* My Goto Landscape Lens : Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 12-40mm f2.8 PRO Black Len
* My Favourite Tripod : ZOMEi Z818C Carbon Fiber Camera Tripod With Quick Release Plate and Ball Head (Blue)
* Best Budget Filters Ever : Zomei 10 in 1 Square Z-PRO Series Filter Kit
* Best Budget Portrait Lens Made! : Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 45mm F1.8 (Black) Lens
* The Perfect Walkaround Lens : Panasonic 20mm F/1.7 Pancake Lens
* A great CPL for your 12-40mm : Manfrotto MFESSCPL-62 62 mm Essential Circular Polarizer Filter
* The Best Aftermarket Battery Kit : DSTE 2X BLN-1 Battery + DC133 Travel and Car Charger Adapter

Be sure to visit at least weekly to keep up to date with my latest blog posts and can I suggest subscribing to my email list to receive occasional Tips, Ideas, News of Prints and Offers.



You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter where I’ll post links to each new blog post as it happens, also follow me on Instagram where I post up my photographs, and My Story will have lots of behind the scenes photos and videos.

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An amazing milky way core over the train tracks near Rosewood, Ipswich, Queensland, Australia

Midnight Express

With only a month or so left this astro season to get the Milkyway core, timing is becoming everything. This year the moon is really playing havoc. Ideally I want a thin sliver of moon, behind me when I’m looking at the Milkyway. Not this year, it will only be full moons and they will be right in the middle of the core, massive pain in the @ss.

So my only real option is to shoot when there is no moon. This weekend is the last chance for the next few weeks so I sat down on Friday night and figured out what I wanted to photograph. There are a couple of photos I really want to get, but they are just concepts in my head, I haven’t found the location that’s right to pull those off.

I settled on looking for roads or anything else that went in the direction of the core when it was around 30 degrees up in the West. There were a few promising dirt roads, but then I saw the train line running west from Rosewood, with a crossing, and knew I had to give this a try.

A quick trip from home, slowed down somewhat by the dozens of Kangaroos lining the edge of the road. They were all happily feeding but boy it makes you jumpy and your eyes get very sore as you keep them locked wide open looking for one who decides to try and race you. All good tho, I arrived on location without incident. Getting out of the car it was dark, it would take a bit of time for my eyes to adjust, but the one thing I could see was the core and it was incredibly bright! Crystal clear conditions, temps around 10 degrees C, no fog or mist. There was just a slight breeze coming in from the west and although that put a real chill in the air, it was keeping conditions amazingly clean.

I picked this spot for several reasons. One, its a crossing with notification, it also has a good kilometre or two of track in both directions, very easy to spot anything oncoming. I also had checked the timetables at home, not many things running at 12:30am out this way thankfully. So yes, there is an element of danger to this, I only spent time on the crossing to change settings and activate a shot, then I would move off the crossing and keep an eye down the lines.

Other than some ninja cows in a nearby paddock deciding to scare the bejezus out of me, there was nothing around. As there was no moon, I would have to blend exposures to get both the tracks illuminated and the Milkyway captured.

For the foreground I put the camera in to Bulb mode, ISO 640, F2.8, and locked the shutter open. I used a torch to paint along the tracks for around 20 seconds, then let it run for a full 4 minutes capturing ambient light. This worked well and I could tick off the foreground shot. For the stars, I refocused carefully on a bright star making sure not to move the camera at all. I then changed my ISO to 3200, set shutterspeed to 15 seconds, still at F2.8 and got my star shots. It was an easy blend using a simple mask in photo shop to merge the two together. From there I went through my normal editing workflow to get this final result :

An amazing milky way core over the train tracks near Rosewood, Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
Olympus OMD Em5 Mark II, 2 Shots Blended, 12mm

As you can see, I’ve kept the ground except for the tracks quite dark, but still with some detail. This is night after all. I also like how the light painting of the tracks came out, it’s almost like I’m at the front of a train, or walking the line.

I’ve added this photograph to my Astro Nightscape Portfolio, please check out my other works. You can purchase my photographs as prints, canvases, or metallic prints, simply contact me to request a quote.

Here is a list of the gear I use. These are affiliate links, by following them and making a purchase you help support my photography at no extra cost to yourself.

* Camera : Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mk II Body Only – Silver
* Canon FD to M43rd Adapter : K&F Concept Lens Mount Adapter for Canon FD Lens to Micro 4/3 Cameras
* My Goto Landscape Lens : Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 12-40mm f2.8 PRO Black Len
* My Favourite Tripod : ZOMEi Z818C Carbon Fiber Camera Tripod With Quick Release Plate and Ball Head (Blue)
* Best Budget Filters Ever : Zomei 10 in 1 Square Z-PRO Series Filter Kit
* Best Budget Portrait Lens Made! : Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 45mm F1.8 (Black) Lens
* The Perfect Walkaround Lens : Panasonic 20mm F/1.7 Pancake Lens
* A great CPL for your 12-40mm : Manfrotto MFESSCPL-62 62 mm Essential Circular Polarizer Filter
* The Best Aftermarket Battery Kit : DSTE 2X BLN-1 Battery + DC133 Travel and Car Charger Adapter

Be sure to visit at least weekly to keep up to date with my latest blog posts and can I suggest subscribing to my email list to receive occasional Tips, Ideas, News of Prints and Offers.



You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter where I’ll post links to each new blog post as it happens, also follow me on Instagram where I post up my photographs, and My Story will have lots of behind the scenes photos and videos.

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Overgrown – Forgotten Things

Astro season is well and truly progressing. Most photographs now are going to be with the milkyway core lower to the west and horizontal across the sky. It’s still very early in the morning to get these photos, peak time being between 1am and 3am Queensland time.

Most locals know of this shack out Mt Walker way, and I’ve been photographing it for years. A big mention here, please respect the owners property and do not enter. There have been issues in the past with people trespassing. There used to be a large tree behind the shack, it’s gone now, changing the scene somewhat but I’ve found it works well for the shot I envisaged. I just love the overgrowth on this old shack, which was originally a Butchers shop many years ago.

Part of my planning for this photo was I wanted to get the core larger than it would normally appear using a wide angle lens. So I used my Panasonic 20mm F/1.7 prime lens for this shoot. It has an equivalent of a 40mm field of view on a full frame camera, quite zoomed in from my normal photos.

The trick here is I couldn’t get all of the scene in one photograph. So putting the camera in vertical orientation, I took a series of shots across the landscape and created a panorama. Final crop brought it back to my standard 4:3 view ratio. By zooming in, the core appears much larger in respect to the foreground. You also end up with a larger photograph to work with from the final stitched result which is always nice.

The other aspect I had to contend with was the moon was up, and it was bright being a 1/2 moon. I was worried it would put too much light into the sky and I wouldn’t be able to capture the core. The benefit is it lights up the landscape beautifully, no lightpainting required this night. The photographs were taken at ISO 3200, 10 seconds, f/1.7. Such a high ISO but with so much light around, noise was really kept to a minimum.

I’ve added this photograph to my Astro Nightscapes gallery and this will become part of my Forgotton things collection in the future.

A beautiful night sky at Mt Walker near Ipswich Queensland Australia with the beautiful core of the Milkyway soaring over this old overgrown shack that used to be a butchers shop. Captured by Landscape, Storm and Weather photographer Murray Fox
Olympus OMD Em5.2, Panasonic 20mm, ISO 3200, F/1.7, 10 seconds, Stitched Pano

Here is a list of the gear I use. These are affiliate links, by following them and making a purchase you help support my photography at no extra cost to yourself.

* Camera : Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mk II Body Only – Silver
* Canon FD to M43rd Adapter : K&F Concept Lens Mount Adapter for Canon FD Lens to Micro 4/3 Cameras
* My Goto Landscape Lens : Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 12-40mm f2.8 PRO Black Len
* My Favourite Tripod : ZOMEi Z818C Carbon Fiber Camera Tripod With Quick Release Plate and Ball Head (Blue)
* Best Budget Filters Ever : Zomei 10 in 1 Square Z-PRO Series Filter Kit
* Best Budget Portrait Lens Made! : Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 45mm F1.8 (Black) Lens
* The Perfect Walkaround Lens : Panasonic 20mm F/1.7 Pancake Lens
* A great CPL for your 12-40mm : Manfrotto MFESSCPL-62 62 mm Essential Circular Polarizer Filter
* The Best Aftermarket Battery Kit : DSTE 2X BLN-1 Battery + DC133 Travel and Car Charger Adapter

All of my photographs are available for purchase as Fine Art Prints in A2 and A3 size, as well as ready to hang Canvas Prints. Just contact me for pricing.

Be sure to visit at least weekly to keep up to date with my latest blog posts and can I suggest subscribing to my email list to receive occasional Tips, Ideas, News of Prints and Offers.



You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter where I’ll post links to each new blog post as it happens, also follow me on Instagram where I post up my photographs, and My Story will have lots of behind the scenes photos and videos.

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A stunning photograph of an old forgotten farm truck, slowly rusting away in the paddock under the brilliant core of the milkway in the night sky by Landscape, Storm and Weather photographer Murray Fox captured near Ipswich Queensland Australia

Forgotten Things – Title of this series I’m working on

I started out this winters astro photography season with a simple goal. Get some great photos and improve my skills. Little did I know I was going to strike so much gold out in those cold nights. Coming across various locations with beautiful old buildings and machinery, remnants of rural life, and being able to capture them under the core of the Milkyway is the stawberry on top of the icecream for me.

So much so that I’ve decided I will will make this a series and have I’m calling it “Forgotten Things”. I expect this to take a couple of years as astro season is pretty much half way through now. I found last night shooting to the east is no longer a real option, all shots from now will have to be to the west, which puts the core in a much more horizontal view.

I’ve been itching to get out all week to get this shot but the elements were conspiring against me. Calm conditions led to the various rural fire brigades back burning the build up of fuel on the ground in preparation for summer. There was far too much haze, especially to the west to get the core where I wanted it. It ended up being a bit of a race against time. Once the haze cleared, the clouds closed in for a day, and the moon was getting brighter and brighter, and higher in the sky each night.

Finally, I made the run for it last night. Leaving home there were still some clouds in the sky to the west but had just moved off when I went to shoot, thank goodness. My plan was to arrive on location right around 1:45am, which was moonset. I ended up being about 15 minutes early which is just fine, it allowed me to work on my composition a bit. I tried various setups, directions, orientations, I ended up going with landscape orientation for this. As I had to shoot side on to the truck, the width worked well, so now it was just a matter of waiting another 20 minutes for the core to get to the right spot. Easier said than done as the temperature dropped below freezing.

Finally things were good to go. For the stars I used an ISO of 5000, F/2.8 for my aperture and 15 seconds long exposure at 12mm on my Olympus lens. This is great dark sky country, and only 45 minutes from home, really letting me crank that ISO to get as much detail in the core as possible.

For the foreground shot, I swapped my camera over into Live Composite mode, dropped the ISO to 400 for a lot less noise, increased the aperture to F/4 for a little more depth of field and sharpness. Then activating live composite via my mobile phone and the Olympus App, I was able to walk around the truck, painting it with my torch, watching the updates on my phone. I just love Olympus technology so much. For those who don’t know, Live Composite is an in camera feature that takes a base exposure, then at an interval you set, updates that exposure with new light only, it’s the gold standard in technology for light painting, nothing does it better.

Back on the computer it was really a matter of opening both photos as layers in photoshop, and using a simple mask, blending one into the other. Once combined I then polished and processed to my taste, and here is the final result :

A stunning photograph of an old forgotten farm truck, slowly rusting away in the paddock under the brilliant core of the milkway in the night sky by Landscape, Storm and Weather photographer Murray Fox captured near Ipswich Queensland Australia
Olympus OMD Em5 Mark II, 12-40mm Pro Lens, 2 images blended

I’ve added this photograph to my Astro Nightscapes Portfolio. Once I have around 10-15 photographs in this Forgotton Things Collection, I’ll create a separate page for those. Detail wise, I think this is my best astro photo to date. I’m totally confident in my skills and techniques now. Its really all down to waiting for the next dark moon, and finding the next forgotten thing to capture. What do you think about this new series I’m working on? Comment below, I’d love to read your views.

Here is a list of the gear I use. These are affiliate links, by following them and making a purchase you help support my photography at no extra cost to yourself.

* Camera : Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mk II Body Only – Silver
* Canon FD to M43rd Adapter : K&F Concept Lens Mount Adapter for Canon FD Lens to Micro 4/3 Cameras
* My Goto Landscape Lens : Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 12-40mm f2.8 PRO Black Len
* My Favourite Tripod : ZOMEi Z818C Carbon Fiber Camera Tripod With Quick Release Plate and Ball Head (Blue)
* Best Budget Filters Ever : Zomei 10 in 1 Square Z-PRO Series Filter Kit
* Best Budget Portrait Lens Made! : Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 45mm F1.8 (Black) Lens
* The Perfect Walkaround Lens : Panasonic 20mm F/1.7 Pancake Lens
* A great CPL for your 12-40mm : Manfrotto MFESSCPL-62 62 mm Essential Circular Polarizer Filter
* The Best Aftermarket Battery Kit : DSTE 2X BLN-1 Battery + DC133 Travel and Car Charger Adapter

All of my photographs are available for purchase as Fine Art Prints in A2 and A3 size, as well as ready to hang Canvas Prints. Just contact me for pricing.

Be sure to visit at least weekly to keep up to date with my latest blog posts and can I suggest subscribing to my email list to receive occasional Tips, Ideas, News of Prints and Offers.



You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter where I’ll post links to each new blog post as it happens, also follow me on Instagram where I post up my photographs, and My Story will have lots of behind the scenes photos and videos.

Share and Like!
Absolutely amazing colours of dawn over Mt Walker south of Ipswich and Rosewood in South East Queensland Australia by Landscape, Weather and Storm photographer Murray Fox

Chasing Earths Shadow – Mt Walker Dawn

Winter is finally here in Queensland and it’s off to a great start. Temperatures around home have plummeted at night, reaching sub zero and everyone is breaking out the blankets and stoking the fires.

It also means that there is a complete lack of cloud, which, for a landscape photographer, can be rather annoying. However, there are always other options. Anyone seeing any of the sunsets lately would have seen the wonderful deep orange glow across the horizon to the west as the sun dips down. If you turn around, you’ll see wonderful pinks and purples of the reverse sunset that gradually fade as the blue lifts up from the east and night approaches.

This I call earths shadow, and the best part is, it happens at sunrise as well! During the 10-15 minutes before sunrise, the sky to the west will have amazing colour. In fact, you’ll have 360 colour with the shades changing depending on which direction you face.

I headed out this morning hoping the temps had gotten low enough to create some frost around, but the humidity was too high and I would have had to travel several hours further to get the good frosts. That humidity however, created some wonderful fog around the low lying areas. Knowing just he spot that might work for both earths shadow, and fog, I made my way towards Mt Walker.

I’ve photographed an astro photo here previously and with everything looking brown and gold (and in much need of rain!) those purples, pinks and blues turned out to be an amazing contrast to the scene. This was taken around 5 minutes before the sun actually rose, looking south west. To the west of me was much more pink and orange and I’ll be heading out again tomorrow to see if I can get those colours with another great scene.

Captured with my Olympus OMD Em5 Mark II, the Olympus 12-40mm Pro lens. I zoomed into 40mm (80mm equivalent on a full frame camera) to compress the scene, bringing Mt Walker closer to the water. I then used a Lee 2 stop hard grad filter to control the brightness in the sky and ensure I captured the colour. Finally I added a polarising filter to cut glare and really make those colours pop.

Absolutely amazing colours of dawn over Mt Walker south of Ipswich and Rosewood in South East Queensland Australia by Landscape, Weather and Storm photographer Murray Fox
ISO 200, f/5.6, 0.5 sec, 2 stop ND Grad, Polariser

I’ve added this photograph to my Landscape Gallery, be sure to check out my other images. I hope to have some film developed and scanned in the next week or so, can’t wait to see the results.

Here is a list of the gear I use. These are affiliate links, by following them and making a purchase you help support my photography at no extra cost to yourself.

* Camera : Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mk II Body Only – Silver
* Canon FD to M43rd Adapter : K&F Concept Lens Mount Adapter for Canon FD Lens to Micro 4/3 Cameras
* My Goto Landscape Lens : Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 12-40mm f2.8 PRO Black Len
* My Favourite Tripod : ZOMEi Z818C Carbon Fiber Camera Tripod With Quick Release Plate and Ball Head (Blue)
* Best Budget Filters Ever : Zomei 10 in 1 Square Z-PRO Series Filter Kit
* Best Budget Portrait Lens Made! : Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 45mm F1.8 (Black) Lens
* The Perfect Walkaround Lens : Panasonic 20mm F/1.7 Pancake Lens
* A great CPL for your 12-40mm : Manfrotto MFESSCPL-62 62 mm Essential Circular Polarizer Filter
* The Best Aftermarket Battery Kit : DSTE 2X BLN-1 Battery + DC133 Travel and Car Charger Adapter

All of my photographs are available for purchase as Fine Art Prints in A2 and A3 size, as well as ready to hang Canvas Prints. Just contact me for pricing.

Be sure to visit at least weekly to keep up to date with my latest blog posts and can I suggest subscribing to my email list to receive occasional Tips, Ideas, News of Prints and Offers.



You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter where I’ll post links to each new blog post as it happens, also follow me on Instagram where I post up my photographs, and My Story will have lots of behind the scenes photos and videos.

Share and Like!
An amazing view of the core of the milky way rising over a windmill in the rural countryside near Ipswich Queensland Australia as captured by Award winning Landscape storm and weather photographer Murray Fox

Windmill Core

The moon has gone again this weekend and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky for 300ks. The temperature was forecast to be the lowest so far this year (around 5 degrees C in town, more like 2 degrees in the countryside). It looked like a perfect night for some more astro photography. With a slight breeze, everything stayed perfectly dry, no condensation whatsoever.

I caught up with my friend and after packing a few supplies (Picnic chocolate bars and Ice Coffee…yes Ice lol!) we headed out to a location I knew, but had not visited recently. I had word that a new windmill had been erected here and it looked like it was going to be in good alignment with the rising core of the Milkyway. With Mt Walker to the east of it, I thought I could get a really nice backdrop.

Arriving on sight we spent 10 minutes walking around looking at the angles. We noticed that we had a couple of problems to deal with. The first one as the core was not north enough to really put Mt Walker into the framing I wanted with the angle of lens I was using. The big one was the head of the windmill was facing almost due south, making it extremely hard to get a good view of it, and the core.

You can see from this first photograph the layout of the scene and one of my first attempts at seeing what result I could get. Mt Walker is to the left and there just wasn’t a workable angle.

A great view of Mt Walker at night with the core of the milky way rising over a windmill in this pure Australian Night time landscape photograph captured near Ipswich Queensland Australia by Award winning landscape weather storm photographer Murray Fox
Olympus OMD Em5 Mark II, 12-40mm Pro, F/2.8, 15 seconds, ISO 5000

Never one to give up, and we had a good hour window of shooting before the core was too high in the scene. I kept moving around working angles. Around 80 photos later (and they are all long exposures) I found I really liked this composition. Going vertical to really show the height of the Windmill, the core almost comes blasting out of it. And to top it off there were meteorites regularly dropping across they sky.

The peak of those is next weekend, it was great to see some real fireballs this night. I switched to a 20mm f.17 prime lens for this shot allowing a shorter shutter time (less noise) and a wider aperture (more light). This more zoomed in lens also enlarges the size of the core compared to the foreground, really bringing it into view. This also really captured the colours in the stars. The windmill and ground were illuminated with a torch my friend held to the side of the scene, painting over it with very quick movements. The slight breeze was enough to cause the windmill to turn, and I like the blurring effect during the long exposure, gives a nice sense of movement. The flat top of Mt Walker in the background is just enough in frame here to add some interest and give a sense of location.

An amazing view of the core of the milky way rising over a windmill in the rural countryside near Ipswich Queensland Australia as captured by Award winning Landscape storm and weather photographer Murray Fox
ISO 3200, 8 seconds, 20mm, F/1.7

This photograph has been added to my Astro Nightscapes gallery, really flowing well with my recent captures.

Here is a list of the gear I use. These are affiliate links, by following them and making a purchase you help support my photography at no extra cost to yourself.

* Camera : Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mk II Body Only – Silver
* Canon FD to M43rd Adapter : K&F Concept Lens Mount Adapter for Canon FD Lens to Micro 4/3 Cameras
* My Goto Landscape Lens : Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 12-40mm f2.8 PRO Black Len
* My Favourite Tripod : ZOMEi Z818C Carbon Fiber Camera Tripod With Quick Release Plate and Ball Head (Blue)
* Best Budget Filters Ever : Zomei 10 in 1 Square Z-PRO Series Filter Kit
* Best Budget Portrait Lens Made! : Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 45mm F1.8 (Black) Lens
* The Perfect Walkaround Lens : Panasonic 20mm F/1.7 Pancake Lens
* A great CPL for your 12-40mm : Manfrotto MFESSCPL-62 62 mm Essential Circular Polarizer Filter
* The Best Aftermarket Battery Kit : DSTE 2X BLN-1 Battery + DC133 Travel and Car Charger Adapter

All of my photographs are available for purchase as Fine Art Prints in A2 and A3 size, as well as ready to hang Canvas Prints. Just contact me for pricing.

Be sure to visit at least weekly to keep up to date with my latest blog posts and can I suggest subscribing to my email list to receive occasional Tips, Ideas, News of Prints and Offers.



You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter where I’ll post links to each new blog post as it happens, also follow me on Instagram where I post up my photographs, and My Story will have lots of behind the scenes photos and videos.

Share and Like!
Lubitel 166 Universal Murray Fox film photography landscape fomapan ektar 200 100 australia queensland

Ramblings – Exploring Film

Over the last year or so I’ve been playing around with film, in black and white which is the cheapest option I’ve found as I can develop at home quite easily.

It’s surprisingly a bit of a learning process. Digital cameras these days make life so much easier. My Olympus has live view in the view finder, will show me under and over exposed areas in real time, with a histogram overlay so getting exposure wrong is pretty much impossible. I’ve shot in RAW format for years which means every photo has to be post processed to bring back the contrast and colour and tweak it to show what I want to represent. I spend more time in front of the computer than behind the camera for sure, and I enjoy that process.

With film I’ve found I have to really slow down. Are my settings correct? Is my exposure right? I’ve had to re-learn measure exposure all over again. Every click of the shutter costs real money so you are double and triple checking every step, and also really considering the photograph, is it worth taking? It’s quite enjoyable and I find the results very rewarding.

I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at photographs I really enjoy, landscapes that inspire me, works that draw me in, and something I’ve discovered is the majority of those photos have been captured on film, and on large film to be precise. My recent trip to visit my family on the Central Coast of NSW saw me drop in to Ken Duncan’s Gallery (again!) and really spend some time viewing and looking at his works. They are printed big, on beautiful hahnemuhle paper, and framed wonderfully. These are the types of photographs I love. And it’s really interesting, you can spot the digital photographs he has taken with his awesome digital medium format cameras a mile away, they are sharp as a tack, amazing detail, but I kept leaning towards the photographs captured on film. They have a bit more glow, are usually a longer exposure, some of the details aren’t quite as sharp, you can see where the exposure had to be nailed to get it right at point of capture. And the colours..film has colours I don’t think digital can reproduce, they are just stunning.

I have two film cameras at the moment. A lovely Olympus Trip 35 point and shoot style 35mm camera that I generally load with black and white and use for street style photography or family snaps. It’s almost set and forget, just pick a focus zone and don’t worry about exposure, it nails it every time, yes, every single time, it’s an amazing piece of kit.

Olympus Trip 35 Film camera Murray Fox Australia Queensland photography
All that stuff around the lens measures the exposure, and powers the camera, no batteries here!

My next camera is a new purchase, a Russian made Lubitel 166 Universal. This is a twin lens reflex (TLR) medium format 120 film camera. It’s extremely simple and extremely manual in use, creates either a 6×6 or 6×4.5cm negative per photo (there is a mask you can change but you are looked into that option for each roll. You look down through the top to work out your composition, and use a little magnifying glass inside to get the focus correct.

 

Lubitel 166 Universal Murray Fox film photography landscape fomapan ektar 200 100 australia queensland
The cheapest medium format camera anywhere in the world, and gives great results when used right!

I’m working my way through a roll of black and white Fomapan 200 creative at the moment with this camera and absolutely loving the process. Working on a tripod (as I always do) getting the composition just right (the view is back to front so it makes you work for it!), measuring the exposure of the scene (I use a simple phone app), putting your settings in, cocking the shutter and then taking the photo. In 2 hours on the weekend I took two shots, total! And I loved it! The whole process of slowing down, really looking at the light of a scene, double checking exposure, framing, settings, and finally committing to the shot is really amazing to me.

My first roll is almost finished and this weekend I’m taking another little step in my film journey and shooting some Ektar 100 colour negative film. This is the modern landscape film of choice. Velvia 50 is what Ken Duncan uses a lot but it’s a lot harder and more expensive to use. The Ektar is very forgiving if you don’t quite get the exposure correctly and gives amazing colour and contrast. I’m really excited to see what results I can get from this film.

Medium format film, scanned in properly, will give a photograph file far larger than anything you can get from any DSLR digital camera, I’m talking hundreds of megapixels of data with a massive range of tones. I can scan a 35mm negative in at around 60mp, I can scan a 6×6 negative in at around 6 times that! The trick I use is I actually use my Olympus OMD Em5 MarkII digital camera, with a macro lens to take a photo of the negative, in hi res mode! Works startling well if you prep everything right.

All of this has me thinking about the next step in my photography. I really want to capture more landscapes with film, and I really want to have the full ability of selective choice in composition. I want big negatives that can give incredibly huge prints, I want the colours and tones that film gives with that beautiful fine grain. And I want bigger than 120 medium format! So now I’m saving, I’m working on getting a 4×5 field View Camera, a modern day version of what Ansel Adams used to use (although he was shooting bigger again with 8×10 I believe). A camera where it’s one shot per film, you need a dark cloth over you and the back of the camera just to compose, but you have the amazing ability to change the lens height, angle, swing for amazing depth of field, or custom focus bands. And a negative that is 4inch x 5inch in size, scanned size? @#%#@ huge!!

So I’m not quitting digital, I love my Olympus and it’ll be with me this weekend. But I’ll have the Lubitel and Olympus Trip with me as well, and they’ll be taking photos in a different way, it will be very interesting to see the results. I think film has a future in my work, some of the results that can be achieved with film are astonishing, and the process of slowing down, the time involved means more investment personally with every photograph taken. I look forward to a hybrid future of digital and analog.

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An amazing landscape panorama photograph of the hut in Glen Rock state forrest, east Haldon, Lockyear Valley, Queensland, Australia as the sunsets, painting orange colour and light across the peak.

Went Exploring, found Gold!

This would have to be one of the best afternoons I’ve had in photography for quite a while. I didn’t really have any fixed plan. I knew of a spot with a cool looking hut that I thought might be okay, if the weather played ball. Unfortunately it looked like there was going to be lots of cloud towards the horizon at sunset, so I wasn’t feeling hopeful and notched this down to just an exploration day.

There are a few lines of mountains that run north/south as you approach the Great Dividing Range. Some of these have valleys between them with access. It was one such valley I headed for. On the way in, the peaks started appearing. This one caught my eye so I quickly pulled a u-turn and captured this shot. It’s nothing amazing, but the diffused light on the hill was really illuminating the brighter parts, contrasting against the darker sky.

A peak rises next to East Haldon valley, south of Gatton in the Lockyear Valley of Queensland Australia as the light plays across the face in the beautiful landscape photograph.
Olympus OMD Em5 Mark II, Panasonic 20mm @ f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/640 sec

Heading right up the the end of the Valley I found the hut I was looking for. It’s actually an information centre for the area (not manned) and there is a nice campground across the way, I definitely will be back here in winter astro season, the landscapes around here are fantastic. For this next photograph I thought I’d try a fun technique. I don’t have what is called an Ultra wide angle lens. The widest mine go is 12mm on Micro Four Thirds which is equivalent to 24mm on a full frame camera. Pretty wide, but it’s certainly not ultra wide. Ultra wide lenses make objects very close to them appear very big, and objects further away very small. This is used to great effect by a lot of landscape photographers. To achieve a similar effect, I used a Panasonic 20mm prime lens (equivalent to 40mm) and took a 3×3 grid of photographs starting point almost straight down to well up into the sky, with good overlap side to side and up and down. Make sure you have your camera in full manual exposure mode so nothing changes. I set the exposure with the camera aimed at the brightest part of the scene, and leave it fixed there.

Focusing is also important with this technique. I was very close to the front fence, and that peak is off in the distance. I also was using a very normal lens. It’s physically impossible to get everything sharp in one shot for the framing I had. So I simply used autofocus, set the focus point to centre, stopped down a bit. Each shot focused at the prime position and not only does stitching the photos together create one big, ultra wide angle looking photograph, it also has the effect of focus stacking the images as well for front to back sharpness.

Now, yes, this is a lot of work you may say, and what if something moves, then it won’t work. It took all of 30 seconds to capture the images, and it took 5 minutes in Photoshop to join them. The wind was blowing quite strongly and I can’t see any stitching errors. I also ended up with the equivalent of a 60+mp photograph which is awesome 🙂 I think I’ll be using this technique a lot more often until I can get my hands on an UWA lens.

The information centre hut at east haldon in the glen rock state forrest. Awesome hut with the mountain peak behind in this beautiful landscape photograph
9 photographs in a 3×3 grid stitched. ISO 200, f/8.0, 1/100 sec

Next was time to wait a bit. I was here to try and capture this hut at sunset with the peak behind. Unfortunately the trees were not letting me get the angle I was initially thinking of. I spent a good 40 minutes walking around with my phone, taking shots from various locations and I kept coming back to a wider view of the shack and the peak. So I settled on trying to create a 3:1 panorama photo. This will need around 6 shots with the camera in vertical position. I kept the Panasonic 20mm lens on, it has almost no distortion, and is so sharp. This lens is just awesome for panoramas on my Olympus, just keep an eye out for chromatic aberration in really high contrast areas.

So I setup the tripod, made sure it was 100% level, took a few test runs and then just waited…and waited…and waited….I was beginning to worry nothing really would happen. The sun had already gone behind the mountains behind me, clouds were streaming across, and the wind was picking up again. Right through golden hour I got nothing, the light was just flat. And then literally the moment of sunset, something west of me must have cleared and this amazing light hit the peak behind the shack, also bouncing off the clouds and lighting up the whole scene. I captured my 6 shots as quickly as I could while making sure everything was in sharp focus (let your tripod settle a few seconds after each camera movement). I got two runs at it and then incredibly the light was gone! I worked out looking at my photos it lasted a total of 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Wow…it really proved to me preparation is king.

An amazing landscape panorama photograph of the hut in Glen Rock state forrest, east Haldon, Lockyear Valley, Queensland, Australia as the sunsets, painting orange colour and light across the peak.
6 Vertical Photo Panorama, ISO 200, f/8.0, 1/30 sec

I hung around for another 10 or so minutes but it was becoming obvious that there wouldn’t be a second run of light. I packed up my gear and started to make the couple of hour drive back home. As I went past a local pecan farm, I spotted a water tower in amongst the tall trees. It was getting very dark, but I make it a habit, if something catches my eye, go back and look and take a photo, whether you like it or not. I changed to my Olympus 12-40mm pro lens, quickly setup the tripod and went for the vertical composition. I really just liked the height of everything and the contrast of the water tank to the pecan trees. A bit of fun in editing with the colours and this has to be one of my most favourite Instagram type of photographs I’ve captured. This will be going up on my photo wall for sure.

A great looking raised water tower stands between the rows of Pecan Trees near Gatton in the Lockyear valley, Queensland, Australia, Landscape Photography
ISO 200, f/8.0, 6 seconds

After capturing this photograph, I remembered a collection of structures further up the road I had passed on the way in. I was thinking if there was still enough light I might be able to capture an interesting photograph with them. Coming to the location I had to shoot fast, and work out a composition. This is what I finally settled upon after trying wider and closer. I like the balance between the 3 structures, the low low light gave a bit of an ethereal feeling to the scene, and the clouds still moving quite fast overhead blurred out quite nicely.

One thing I simply love about mirrorless cameras is having an EVF viewfinder. I managed to focus on the middle barn, in near darkness (exposures were out to 30 seconds) manually and could see 100% I had the focus nailed. The live view couldn’t even keep up, but boy, does that EVF with it’s auto gain and focus peaking really make it so easy in low light, absolutely love it. I cropped this to a 2:1 ratio to give a nice balance to the scene.

3 structures in the twilight at Haldon south of Gatton in the Lockyear Vally, Queensland, Australia making for a wonderfully peaceful landscape photograph.
ISO 200, f/9.0, 30 seconds

It pays to get out and visit new areas. It also doesn’t hurt when mother nature decides to play ball and throw some great light around. I’m going to be exploring more of the back valleys and roads, to find more of those little gem locations that mostly only locals know about.

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An amazing lighting bolt strikes the ground on the leading edge of a huge storm system at Redbank Plains near Ipswich Queensland Australia before it moved on to Brisbane causing widespread damage and blackouts.

Massive storm Redbank Plains to Brisbane 11/02/18

All I can say is wow! I’d been watching the forecasts and predictions all week, Sunday was looking promising for some late afternoon storm action. The day was very hot but also had very low humidity, none of the usual forecast websites were warning anything tho so I wasn’t getting my hopes up.

Come the afternoon, bits and pieces of weather were coming down off the range to the south west, with most of the action over the border ranges in NSW. I still wasn’t expecting anything. By around 5pm things looked to be getting a little more organised so I headed to a local spot and met up with Bobby from Mr S Photography (search for him on facebook, great photographer). It was right about this time the storm very suddenly gained structure, and made what appeared to be a right turn and came directly at us.

The sun was setting to the west, throwing some amazing light across the landscape. The wall front was so big, I had to use 7 photos at 12mm (equivalent to 24mm on a full frame camera) just to capture the entire front. Settings on manual, ISO 100, F11 to help get a longer shutter speed and shutter at 1/2 a second. I fired off my shots and stitching the photos together on the computer came up with this amazing panorama.

An amazing panorama of a huge storm wall cloud approaching Redbank Plains near Ipswich Queensland Australia on the 11th of February 2018 11/02/18 before it moved on to Brisbane.
Olympus OMD Em5 Mark II, Olympus 12-40mm pro lens. 7 vertical shots stitched

The storm at this point picked up some quite fast rotation and really started moving. It was no longer possible to capture the entire front so instead I focused on the leading edge to the east as that had the best structure. This time I turned on the live composite function in my Olympus OMD Em5 Mark II. This great piece of technology allows the camera to take a normal exposure at my settings, but it then keeps the shutter open and only adds new light to the base exposure. By running this in 10-20 second bursts, I could keep detail in the moving cloud, but easily capture this huge lightning bolt as it struck the ground.

One of my best storm photographs to date, this ended up on several media websites as well as making page 5 of the Courier Mail.

An amazing lighting bolt strikes the ground on the leading edge of a huge storm system at Redbank Plains near Ipswich Queensland Australia before it moved on to Brisbane causing widespread damage and blackouts.
OMD Em5 Mark II, ISO 100, F8, 1/2 sec, Live Composite, run time 8 seconds.

Very quickly after this we had no choice but to leave. We tried to get a head of it by heading towards the river, however even travelling at 100kph on the highway, this storm now outpaced us and it was a quick wet drive back home, and sit and wait for over an hour for the system to pass.

Make sure you subscribe to receive occasional Tips, Ideas, News of Prints and Offers, and find out when my next photo in a project is released!



 

Be sure to visit regularly, follow me on Facebook or Twitter where I’ll post links to each new blog post as it happens, also follow me on Instagram where I post up my photographs, and My Story will have lots of behind the scenes photos and videos.

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