Category: Fine Art

shop-front-reflections-leannecole-melbourne

It isn’t a secret that I want to challenge myself more with my photography and I’ve been trying to think of ways to do it. I do have a lot of ideas and I know that I want to start compositing and combining images. I am still not sure how exactly, but I do want to start experimenting. I don’t want to accept the world as it is. So when I was out the other day taking photos I saw this shop front.
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Any artist you ask will tell you some thing different. Some say you learn to be one, some say you become one, others will say you are born one. In all honesty I have no idea how they come about, and all I really know is my own story. So today I thought I might share that with you.
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southwharf-melbourne-yarrariver-longexposure

This seemed like a good place to begin and discuss what an artist statement is and how I can write one for my own work.

You often hear people talking about them and just dismissing them, but I think if you are an artist then you need to know what it is you are making work for. First we should look at what they are.
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lighttrails-eastern-freeway-melbourne-sunset

A couple of weeks ago I showed an image and did a little talk on it, and I want to continue doing that when I can, so today I have another image for you. It was taken about two weeks ago. A friend and I thought we would try a new spot for us to do some light trails over the Eastern Freeway going into the city. We weren’t sure if we would see the sunset there, but it seemed like a good spot regardless.
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stkilda-pier-longexposure-kiosk-melbourne

Today I just have an image for you. It was taken last week and is of St Kilda Pier. I was down there with a friend at sunrise and we were going to make the trip out on the rocks to do some long exposures, but it had been raining and we weren’t sure how safe it would be to walk out on the rocks. I was going to go, and I had my camera around my neck, but thought I should put it in my bag, just in case I slipped. I decided to take a couple of quick shots first, then I saw the photos on the back of the camera and thought, I have to do a long exposure here.
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woomelang-silos-train-tracks-longexposure

Since this is a new beginning for this blog and you are all here I would like to do some new things. One thing that I would like to go back to doing is looking at an image and seeing how I processed it. More a discussion on it rather than a tutorial, but perhaps over time I might start doing some of those as well. So this is the first of my posts on the Evolution of an Image, and we start with one I call Going Through.

Going Through

The image for this discussion was taken up at my mothers last week. I had lots of plans of getting lots and lots of long exposures, but the weather was unseasonably warm, or hot if you like. It also meant bright light and not many clouds. I did manage to get out a couple of times, and I pretty much got what I wanted, but I think it might be the start of it really. I am looking forward to getting back and trying more.

This is the basic image that I managed to get. I love these silos, they say the Mallee to me, however they are no longer used, like so many things there.

basic-image-1959

I haven’t done anything to this image, and this is how it was shot. It was a four minute exposure with the Firecrest 16 ND Filter from Formatt Hitech. It was starting to get too bright so I had to make some adjustments. I am starting to think I might need to get the Firecrest 3 as well, do some stacking, especially with our harsh light.

Once I got it home I opened it up in Adobe Camera Raw to make some preliminary adjustments. I always do these images in Adobe Photoshop as I know I will want to do things that I can’t do in Lightroom. I also converted it into a black and white image.

straight-from-ACR

You can see the clouds moving and the black and white conversion allows for more concentrated effort on the textures and patterns. Sometimes we can get too distracted by the colours.

Lots of things were done to the image. The sky was darkened because I like dark skies. I like that effect. I also put some noise into the sky to help with any distortions that can happen as you darken it.

I started working on the silos themselves next. I wanted people’s eyes to settle on the ones at the end. The oldest silos, and the ones that you see everywhere in the Mallee. They are no longer used, so they are the subject for me. The silos on the left were too bright so I had to work on them to take the focus off them. I like dodging and burning so did quite a bit of that all over the image.

woomelang-silos-train-tracks-longexposure-monochrome

There is a lot more contrast in the final image. The silos stand out more, but the ones at the end get a little lost. I knew that I would want this image in colour.

I converted it back to colour and my orange silos were back. Sometimes when I convert them back you can end up with some over saturated colours that just ruin the image and you can’t fix it, but other times you can. This was one that I could. I chose to get rid of a lot of the colour from the sky, it wasn’t the subject. I worked on the silos at the end more. I think in the final image they stand out more. Though as a final bit of processing I also put some purple into the shadows.

woomelang-silos-train-tracks-longexposure

I know some people are going to prefer the monochrome version, but for me it is the colour one. I think it is a much stronger image. For me your eyes go to the end silos.

This image is also for sale and I will be putting up a page for pricing soon with a blog post on it.

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.

eureka-building-melbourne-longexposure-monochrome

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

eureka-building-melbourne-longexposure

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.

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.

flindersstreetstation-afternoon-sun-shadows-melbourne

 

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.