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On my recent trip to the Mallee I organised to run a Landscape Photography and Night Photography in Nyah West, and it incorporated photographing the milky way, or more Astrophotography.  I had six participants and I think most of them, if not all of them really enjoyed the workshop.  I know I did.  It was a great experience taking a landscape photography workshop some where out in the real landscape.  Usually when I do them it is somewhere local where I can only little things, and we have to pretend it is a real landscape.

The environment we choose to do the landscape workshop was amazing. All through the top north western part of the Victoria are salt lakes or salt pans.They rarely have water in them, but can often give you a harsh environment to photography, so it is perfect for landscape photography.

These two photos were taken by one of the participants, Gail.  You can see what it was like there.  I initially thought the sunset would be disappointing, but now looking back at the photos, I think it was good.

I was also sent photos by Jo.

Jo also did some modelling for us and allowed us to shoot her with the Milky Way over the top.  She modeled and I pressed her shutter button for her so she didn’t miss out on getting photos herself. It was a lot of fun doing that, and something I would like to do in further workshops.

I am heading back up the Mallee in November and have two workshops planned, one in Swan Hill and one in Hopetoun.  Both are going to be basic photography ones, with the idea of showing people how to use their cameras and how to get their cameras off auto so they will be more confident using them.  I was actually thinking of calling the workshops that, Getting your Camera off Auto.

Getting Your Camera Off Auto

A 5 to 6 hour workshop, the first three hours will be intensive, so you will learn lots of the basic necessities for how your camera works.  You will also learn more about Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO and how they work together to get the best images.

After that section we will head out into the field where you can practice some of the techniques I’ve shown you with me still around and available to answer any questions you might have.

Saturday 8th of November – Swan Hill

Sunday 9th of November – Hopetoun, from 1pm

Cost is $90 per person.

To book, contact me, or for the Hopetoun Workshop, you can book through Gateway BEET, 03 5083 3001

 

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Photography has been something that I have enjoyed for a very long time, though there are different types, and Landscape Photography has been something that I never used to like, but in the last couple of years I’ve been trying to work it out a lot more.  I can remember times walking around places and not seeing what I wanted to photography.  Now I have started to work out what it is about landscape photography that I enjoy.

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I enjoy it a lot more now, and I think the reason I enjoy it, is because I understand what it is about the landscape that I want to do a lot more.  I have found my story.

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It seems to be an important aspect to Landscape Photography, and something that I am only starting to get.  If you find landscape photography hard it could just be because you haven’t found your story yet.

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Going up the Mallee in North West Victoria has been really good for me, it has really helped me to work out what my story is.  I now can’t wait to go up more and more to continue exploring what my story is.  For me there always has to be an element of man, in some way.  It is what draws me to architecture and old abandoned buildings.  I think the landscape has to have the same thing, some aspect of that.

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The salt lakes and salt pans have an element of that, as the salt problem is getting worse and worse.  Part of the reason for that is the removal of all the trees for farming, so crops could be planted.  I don’t know the whole story, but it is a start.

There is another part that I like to. After seeing areas totally burned out by bush fires earlier this year, it is good to go back and continue taking photos and seeing how the area regenerates after.  Slowly it is all coming back.

So when you are out doing your landscape photography, it is important to think about what your story is and why you are taking photos.

 

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Today is Monochrome Madness over on my main blog and there are submissions from all over the world.  It is a post that many enjoy, including me.  I like the challenge and how it makes me do a lot more monochrome images than I wouldn’t otherwise do.  I often don’t do a post here on my images, but I thought it might be interesting to do a before and after of the image that I did for it today. I thought it would be good to show both the colour image and the black and white photography version.

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This is the image as I took it.  I have done very little to it.  I like the scene, the way the wood stretched out like a spider or something.  The other thing that I really liked was how the weathered the wood was.  If this image was near the ocean, you would think it was driftwood, but it is about 300km from the coast.

As I saw the image on the computer I could see that it was really void of colour, so I thought there was a good chance it would look good in monochrome.

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I think I was right.  I really wanted to emphasize the grain in the wood and I did a lot of work to try and bring that out a lot more.  It was important to me to draw that out as it was what drew me to photograph it in the first place. I also played around with the sky, trying to decide whether to make it more stormy or do more high key processing and almost eliminate it.  In the end I decided I liked the look of the stormy look, it gives it a more ominous look, well I think it does.

I am happy with how it has come out, it was a good one to do.  I will have to look for more images from the Mallee to make into black and white.  Here is a gallery so you can see them side by side a bit better.

Please consider helping me, if you have enjoyed this post or learned something new, then please consider supporting me and helping me to continue helping you by making a small donation.

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Taking photos at night is something that lots of us enjoy, and recently I went on an excursion into the city with the Social Snappers. We were looking at taking photos of the lights and how you can get effects from them. I thought I would give you some photography tips on how to achieve this.

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In the old days of film you would get a filter that would give you a star effect with the lights, however, it is much easier these days, to get that effect.

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To get the star effect, like the above image all you have to do on a DSLR is tp change your aperture to f/16 or higher, I mean number values, like f/22.  You will get that star effect if you do that. I have done other posts on doing night photography, so if you are not sure how to do night photography then you should go and check out the following post, Is Night Photography Hard.

I am also considering doing a series of posts on Photography Tips, and things that might help you with your photography. Each week I am going to try and give you little tips that might help you to take your photos.  There are lots of things that can help you to get better photos.

Please consider helping me, if you have enjoyed this post or learned something new, then please consider supporting me and helping me to continue helping you by making a small donation.

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Star Trails in Woomelang

Last night I went out to get a star trail of the night sky over Woomelang.  The weather has been a bit crazy the last couple of days, but I had hoped that with the skies starting to clear that I might be able to get a good series of images that I could stack together to do a star trail.  While we could see the stars, we could also see that there were lots of clouds about, so I only tried for an hour.  When I saw the photos many of the stars were hidden by the clouds, so imagine my surprise when I did the stacking and saw this.

 

It seems the clouds didn’t matter. I wish I had stayed longer now.

This was only the second time I have attempted to do these.  They take so long and you really need to be somewhere where you can get a good foreground. I think I am going to have to start doing some camping, so I can take lots of and lots of these.  I can just set the camera up and take photos for a few hours, while I sleep in a tent.  That would be good.

The other issue is that you really don’t know what you are getting until you put them on the computer and see.  It is all trial and error and you spend a lot of time doing them, and then if you don’t get something right, then it is too late, you have wasted a couple of hours.

I don’t really know what I am doing, and still playing around, but I do know I want to try this some more. Woomelang and places around here are perfect for doing this, so I am going to have to keep trying when I come up.

Please consider helping me, if you have enjoyed this post or learned something new, then please consider supporting me and helping me to continue helping you by making a small donation.

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Last year, I went to a photography event, you know, one of the big shows at the Exhibition Centre here in Melbourne, with a friend, and Canon were selling the Canon IXUS 510 compact cameras for $100.  It was really too cheap to pass up.  We were told that they were worth over $300 and we were given a three year warranty with it.  It isn’t a bad camera, and I have had lots of fun with it, but one thing I have enjoyed using it for is the macro setting on it.

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You can get so close.  I can’t get that close with my DSLR, well not until I get a macro lens for it, so until then the phone and this camera will have to do me. I couldn’t stop taking photos with it.  It is such a small camera and so light, so it was so easy.  I would have taken photos for a long time, but then the battery died on me, so that put a stop to it.

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Another thing I had fun with was the fisheye setting.  It was hysterical seeing what I could do with it and how distorted I could make things.  I will have to play with this setting a lot more I think.

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Sometimes it is good to just take photos when it is easy.  I love my DSLR, but sometimes, taking photos has to be other things as well.  I like taking photos with all sorts of cameras. I still think, no matter what camera you use there are challenges involved. Compact cameras and cameras in phones are all about composition, and phone cameras can be hard to use because you have to have a steady hand, well I find they can be awkward.

I have a gallery of photos for you now.  Remember if you would would like to join us sometime for Social Snappers the excursions for Term 4 are now up, I have Sundays and Thursdays available.

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Photography Tips on Waterfalls

On the weekend I was asked by Amy from THE WORLD IS A BOOK… if I could write a post on how I photography tips on waterfalls. It isn’t something I have really thought about, but I guess they can be hard to do.  There are different factors to consider.

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One of the best ways of getting the “marshmallow” effect, that is what I call it, or the blurred water, is to use long exposures.  You need at least a 2 second exposure, or shutter speed. It can be a hard thing to do, and neutral density filters are often the best way to achieve them if the conditions during the day won’t let you get a shutter speed that slow.

The above image was taken in the Grampians, McKenzie Falls, though taken with film, so I had no idea what I had until I got the film back.  I could get the slow shutter speed because the falls are in a gully, so it was easier to get a slower shutter speed.  If you don’t have neutral density filters, then you should consider the time of day that you are going, avoid times when the sun will be on the waterfall.

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In the above image you can see the sun was shining down on the waterfall, and I wouldn’t be able to get that blurred effect unless I had a neutral density filter.  I also don’t like the sun directly on the waterfall, now that I know what the waterfall is like during the day, I know I should avoid that time of the day, and next time will choose early morning or late afternoon.

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One of the other problems is hot spots on the water, by that I mean where the water just turns white, solid white and often you can’t get any detail in it. I can only tell you how I do these, and the trick for me is to underexpose the image slighty, by a 1/3 or 2/3 of a stop.  I do shoot raw now, so I know that I can details back from the shadows.  I can brighten up the shadows and tone down the highlights.  I often use spot metering too and will have the spot on the waterfall so I am metering for the water.

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Having a Neutral Density filter can help a lot.  I have a 9 stop one, so it cuts out lots of light, so when I can’t get slow shutter speeds normally, then the neutral density filter will allow you have to get a longer shutter speed.

A neutral density filter is a filter that is grey and depending on how dark the grey is, will block out more light, and it shouldn’t affect the colour of the image at all, so be careful of cheap ones, because they will make your images have magenta tinges. If you work in black and white it wouldn’t be a problem, so I saw go for the cheap ones.

Some of the ways to get the slowest shutter speed possible is to make sure you are on the lowest ISO possible, for most cameras that is ISO100, and then close down the aperture as much as  possible, so using f/22 or something like that.  That can often help. You also need to use a tripod, you won’t be able to do photos like these unless you have one.

I think they most of the tips I can think of.  I hope Amy find this helpful and some others as well.  I have some more photos to show you and will put them in a gallery for you.

Please consider helping me, if you have enjoyed this post or learned something new, then please consider supporting me and helping me to continue helping you by making a small donation.

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Yesterday, I went to Kinglake National Park with a friend. It was an interesting trip, and while I had my DSLR to use, she was using her iphone.  I have to say it didn’t diminish the trip in the slightest.  In fact, when I saw how close she could get to some things, I took out my phone and started taking some photos.  I have a Samsung Galaxy S3.

I often go out with just my phone to challenge myself and see what I can get.  It isn’t the same sort of photography, it is different and the challenges are different. I like the apps that come with the phone too, like Snapseed. There are other things to play with.  My phone will never replace my DSLR, but I like the challenge of using the phone.

I am just going to put some of my Instagram photos into a gallery for you now.  They aren’t all great, and there is always limitations, but it is good to try.

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Last weekend when I was in the city I took a photo of the Manchester Unity Building. It wasn’t an especially good photo, though, one I have taken many times before really.  I like doing some images over and over, seeing how much I have changed, or how much my editing has changed.  I like to see what I can do now, or how I would do it differently.

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The light was a little weird, but I thought there was plenty to play with here.  It is a very distinctive building here in Melbourne, but there is one thing that makes it a hard, and that is the tram lines that run in front of it.  It is one thing about Melbourne that can make photography really hard, those tram lines. They run up and down nearly every street in the city.  I could just leave them there, then again, if I want to get better at photographing buildings in Melbourne, to do good images, then I need to get good at removing them.

It is a time consuming thing, and I have to admit that once I started doing it, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to keep going, but in the end, I reallsed, I had to. The other thing I wanted to remove was the air conditioners sticking out, and close the windows.  There are other things I could have changed, but it still has to look real.

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I made the image monochrome and put in a new sky.  I didn’t like the plain sky that was there, so I decided to put it a new one.  I like it when clouds move like that.  It seems obvious that I changed the lighting and the image now looks like it was taken a bit later.

I might have to try doing a long exposure during the day one day.  I will have to work out when the light would be best.

Please consider helping me, if you have enjoyed this post or learned something new, then please consider supporting me and helping me to continue helping you by making a small donation.

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Yesterday was another Social Snappers Photography Excursion, and this time we went to Banyule Flats.  It was a gorgeous afternoon and the sun was beautiful.  We walked around places I haven’t walked through for a few years, and we tried to work out places to take photos. The weather really was perfect.

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The swamp put on a great show and throughout the flats you could see the early signs of spring.  There were people out on bikes everywhere and people walking. I think you could almost say that spring fever hit Melbourne, not something I’ve ever experienced before, but definitely have this year, we all want nicer weather, well nearly all of us.

There is only one more Social Snappers event this term, a trip to the city on the 21st of September, a Sunday, though this one starts later, at 6 pm.  We will be taking photos along the river, though a different end to where I normally do, and then into the city.  Should be a good evening, night photography is always good fun. Unlike other trips, this one really is for those that have a DSLR, Bridge camera or Mirrorless.  You need to be able to control everything, and you will also need a tripod.

I have already done some dates for one day next term, with where we will be going,

  • Oct 5th – Heide and Banksia Park
  • Oct 19th  – Collins Street, one end to the other
  • Nov 2nd – Fitzroy gardens
  • Nov 16 – Docklands
  • Dec 7 – City Christmas Lights.

All are on Sundays, and in the afternoon, except for the last one which will be in the evening. I am also going to be offering a Thursday as well.

The cost will be $40 a session, if you book all 5 sessions you will get a 25% discount, and it will cost $160.

Remember, they are for all levels of photography.  There is no show and tell, there is just fun had being with other people taking photos.  You would have no idea what settings my camera are on, but if you need help, then no problem, If you want to take photos with your phone, again, no problem. I don’t want people to think they have to have a certain level of skill to be able to do these excursions, just come and have fun taking photos.

I have a gallery with a few of my favourite photos from yesterdays excursion.