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As I usually do with long exposures images I started by making the image of the Eureka Tower monochrome, then I wondered what it would be like with a touch of colour. The gold windows at the top of the tower make it such a distinctive building and every time you see them you know which building you are looking at.

As I said, it was a long exposure. Taken with the Formatt Hitech Firecrest 16 Nd Filter. It was a six minute exposure that I did last weekend.

1st State

Here is the monochrome version.

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I don’t think there is necessarily anything wrong with this image, but it does tend to look like a lot of other images done the same way.

2nd State

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In the end I decided that while I didn’t mind the majority of the image being monochrome, I did want the top bit to show the gold and the little strip of red. I like the touch of colour and think it makes the image more interesting.

Being Featured

On another note, but along the same lines, I wanted to let you know that I am now a featured artist on the Formatt Hitech website. It has been such an honour to be featured and I feel in very good company when I see the work of others there. You can check out my page here, Leanne Cole.

I do love their filters and I never have a problem promoting them. I keep hearing from others how much they love them too. I find I am using them more and more as well, and now I’m starting to get asked to teach people as well, that’s nice.

Long exposure photography seems to be becoming something I am doing a lot. I know it is important for my art work and you will be seeing a lot more of it in the future.

yarra-river-balloons-melbourne-sunrise

It is Monochrome Madness over on my other blog and I thought I would do another image where I process it in monochrome and then switch it back to colour.  Here is the black and white version, or monochrome really.

I was in the city the other day and we were trying to get the sunrise from Princes Bridge in Melbourne. It was a strange one, so after a while we decided to head over to the other side of the bridge and watch the city waking up along the river. As we were there taking photos a couple of balloons came along, then there were three, and then we realized another two were coming, so five all up. It certainly added to the scene.

yarra-river-balloons-melbourne-sunrise-monochrome

It was dawn, but facing the other way. Even thought there wasn’t much of a sunrise that morning, there was some colour in the sky, a pinkish sort of colour. I thought the whole image might be nice with a pink tone, give it the look of early morning. It couldn’t be too strong, but I don’t mind how it came out.

Then I wondered what would happen if I put the colour back into the image, my reverse processing. I haven’t done it for a while.

yarra-river-balloons-melbourne-sunrise

I haven’t taken out any of the colour in this, but I did have to tone down the pink tone a bit more. I like the look of it. It is different from the monochrome one, which is nice.  There is something very graphic about it, I can’t explain it, and I don’t know if it is the buildings or what, but there is.

I don’t know which one I prefer. I like them both for different reasons.

If you want to see more great monochrome images head over to my other blog and the post, MM 2-45: Monochrome Madness.  There are some wonderful images there.

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Sometimes you can get two images, or process one two ways and then not decide which is better. Or, as often happens with me, I like one, but everyone else seems to like the other one. I wasn’t sure what to do about this one. It seems on Google+ people like one, but on Facebook they like the other one. So I thought it would be nice to put them both up here and see what you think.

The image is a long exposure I did of the city. I used the Formatt Hitech Firecrest 16 Neutral Density Filter and it was a four minute exposure.

Image 1

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I put a brown kind of tone over it and then decided that I didn’t really like it. I thought it made it look dirty.

Image 2

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I removed the brown tone and made the centre a little brighter.

I like the second one more as I like the steel look. It is colder and perhaps has a hotter look.

So the choices are there, which one do you like the most.

It has been a very crazy week and most of it has been taken up with trying to get this magazine out and get people to buy it, support it.

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The main problem has been the products page and it not displaying the images correctly. I am sure many have gone to the page and been confused about what to do. I’ve put a note to help, but I know that many people, me included, don’t always read instructions.

We have decided that the best way to do this is to try using a different ecommerce plugin. There is now a shop page at the top, you can click here for it.

shop page

It seems to work okay, except you have to give it a lot of information. I don’t have access to this information, but I will try and find out how to stop it.  Though I suspect you only have to do it once. I’m not sure, we are still trying to work it out. It would be great if people could try it out and see how they go.

This is still all new and I’m so glad that many of you have supported us and continued to buy the magazine.

So now taking some advice from Melissa and her article on Marketing in the latest issue:

BUY  YOUR COPY NOW

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flindersstreetstation-afternoon-sun-shadows-melbourne

Sometimes you really are in the right place at the right time. It doesn’t happen to me very often, but last night, well, I was so happy to see the light that was shining onto and reflecting onto Flinders Street Station. It was soft, almost diffused light.

We had been down to Docklands to take photos, but the late afternoon sun was hot and too bright. We decided after awhile that we should head down to Federation Square and maybe do some sunset and early evening shots down there.

We jumped on a tram down Flinders Street from Spencer Street. I love it that trams are now free in the CBD. Still, it was incredibly busy and not a lot of them. We were jammed on one with lots of other people.

When we got off at Flinders Street Station I could see the late afternoon sun coming from the direction we had just come from. It was shining on the side of the station, but the front, which should have been in shade, also had light on it. It was being reflected off something else and gave the front a beautiful soft diffused light. It was stunning.

There were no trams coming so I could stand on the tracks and take photos before the lights changed. I was also very happy that I had my 14-24mm lens on.

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Once the image was opened in Adobe Photoshop CC I had to do a bit of work to get rid of the distortions that the lens creates, but I think this works. The front part was full of people, so I tried to darken that area, so while they are still there, they don’t stand out. I also did a little more work to make the front of the station station stand out more, but not a lot.

For me this was incredible. I had never seen the light on the station like this before. I love the effect of it.

seafarers-bridge-monochrome-long-exposure

In Melbourne there are many bridges that allow you to cross the river. Some are for cars, and many for pedestrians and bicycles. One bridge that is one of my favourites to photograph is the Seafarers Bridge where it goes over the Yarra.

One Viewseafarers-bridge-yarra-river-melbourneThe things that go over are like ribs of a ship or a sail. It is like our mini opera house. There are so many angles to experiment with. This image is also a long exposure. I’ve really only done long exposures here once, but it is definitely a place I want to do more.

Another View

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This is from the other side. I’ve began to realize that I need to explore the angles a lot more.

One of the downsides with this bridge is how popular it is and there are always people on it, or so it seems at times. This is where the advantage of doing a long exposure comes in. If you can get a long enough time then you can get photos so that the people don’t show up. It is something that really interests me with long exposures.

I’ve been using the Formatt Hitech Filters, and the one I especially love is the Firecrest 16. I’ve now got several of their filters, and the full ND filters are the ones I like the most. I have the 6 , the 10 and the 16 stop, I just need to get the 13 and I will have the full set. I really like their filters.

The next thing to get is the filter holder and maybe the 10 stop to start with for my Nikon 14-24mm. I would love to be able to do some long exposure photography with that lens. That is next on the list.

I just keep wanting to go into the city and take photos these days. I find it so satisfying. The more I do it the more I can understand what sort of scenes I want to shoot. I have a purpose in mind and I can see that it is becoming a reality, if that is the right way of putting it.

light-trails-flinders-street

After my last post a couple of people said they would like to see a tutorial on how to do light trails, or rather how to add to them. So I did this photo today.

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The image was done with about 12 images. I thought it would be a good image to do a tutorial on.

I didn’t write the tutorial, but have done a video one instead. I hope you don’t mind, but finding time to write one right now is impossible. I also think it is easier to see it.

It is short and only goes for five minutes, but hopefully it helps you to work out how I did it.  The tutorial is with Adobe Photoshop CC.

night-brooklyn-bridge-ciity-newyork

Trying to put up fresh photos every day, or rather at least one is a challenge. I’m lucky I have lots of photos that I can go back and use, but still, sometimes when looking for one you see something in another that you hadn’t noticed before. Then again sometimes there is a series of images that you hadn’t considered making one of, like this one of the New York night lights.

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This image is done with four images to give more light trails from the boats going past. It is a process I have done before. It is also something that I had thought of doing a tutorial on. So if you are interested in learning how to do this, let me know and I will prepare one.

lane-entrance-melbourne-city-colour

In the last couple of weeks I seem to be spending more and more of my time in the city taking photos. I really want to try some new things, and I know the images I’m taking are a little different to my usual work. Though, I have to admit, I’m not totally sure what I want to do yet. I know I seem confused and perhaps I am.  Then I was reminded that I promised to blog here more and I haven’t been. It is getting crazy, I have the next issue of Dynamic Range Magazine due out in about two weeks, my book on Banyule Flats has to be finished in the next month or so, and I have a whole new body of work I’m itching to start. See, crazy.  Let me show you what I have been doing.

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I’ve been going back to the city and isolated places and seeing what I can do with them.

I enjoy making them look isolated, mysterious and perhaps dark. I’m still playing around with the processing and seeing what I can do with them. I think it helps when I know what I am trying to do, what feeling I want to express.

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This is under the rail bridge that runs between Flinders Street Station and Southern Cross Station. It is an area that is often inhabited by homeless people, except when it rains. Then there is too much water. It is a beautiful underpass, if that is the right phrase. I liked how isolated it looked, almost lonely.

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Sometimes it is also interesting to just take some photos that have an almost abstract quality to them. I like the columns here. They are black and shiny, but everything reflects in them, so they almost blend into the surrounds. It is the second time I have been there to take photos, and I suspect not the last.

With all three images they are in places that I know I will go back to. It is nice to have places to photograph over and over and see what you can do. Get them in different lights and different seasons.

With the last photo I have also done it in black and white for Monochrome madness on my other blog.

royal-exhibition-building-night-architecture

There is no doubting that I have come to Instagram much later than many others, but I am doing my best to catch up. I decided a while ago that I would post a photo everyday and see how I went. Luckily I’ve been doing photography for years, so I have years of photos to go back to. It is nice that many photos done previously can now get another outing.

While I was looking for a photo for today I went back to some I had taken at night of the Royal Exhibition Building here in Melbourne.

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I processed this one at the time when I took it. I was thinking of putting it up, but when I looked I didn’t like how blown out the dome at the top was. I went back to the original photos to see if there was another one I could use as well.

The problem I found was that the originals that had the dome in nice light meant the rest was too dark. Then I thought, what if I did a HDR image, this is the perfect example of when it is useful. Images with lots of contrast between light and dark really do benefit from being transformed into a HDR image.

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This (above) was the HDR with 5 images processed in Photomatix. It give the lighting a much more balanced look. Of course, if you know me, you know I couldn’t leave it at that.

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I know before I start an image like this that I want to do it in Adobe Photoshop. I will want to work in layers and I want to do things to it that aren’t possible in Lightroom. I always do my “arty” images in PS.

I did some more work on it, mainly on the lower buildings to try and draw them out a little more. While they are fairly dark in the image and the dome is the star of the image, that didn’t mean the bottom part couldn’t stand out a little more. I also cropped it a little tighter.

It is endless what you can do on these kinds of images. When you decide that you are going to make it a manipulated image then it is up to you where you stop. In the end the only person that has to like it is you. I don’t think there is anything wrong with manipulation, but be upfront about it. Don’t claim the image is natural when you know you have done heaps of work to it.

I am reasonably happy with the final result. I might look at it tomorrow and wonder what I was thinking. I know there are definitely things I enjoy doing to images and since my trip to New York it has been wonderful to rediscover them.

I am so glad I found architecture again.