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Introductions: Andy Porter

There are lots of different types of photographers out there, and sometimes you find ones that you just want to be like when you grow up.  I’ve shown many photographers whose work I feel that way about and today’s introduction is another.  Andy Porter from North Western Images is definitely one photographer I want to be like when I grow up. I love his landscapes, and I really hope you love them too.


When I look at Andy’s work I think big, big landscapes.  They show a big wide world, and it got me wondering if he has a wide lens.  Of course, I can see that he does, and as I look at his images I realise he is taking the sort of images I would like to do.  I love the effect of the wide angle and how it makes the world seem even bigger.

I asked Andy where in the world he was?

Skagit County is where I live. Nestled between the North Cascades National Park and the Pacific Ocean in the most northwestern part of the US I have finally found home!

Though, it is worth reading his about page, he really has been everywhere, well it seems as those he has.


This last year photographing the milky way has been something that I have been trying to do.  I have stopped over the summer because I don’t want to stay up that late, but will get back to it once daylight savings finished. I enjoy looking at other people who do the milky way because it can give me ideas, and it is great to see how other people do it as well.  I look at this work and can’t wait to get back to do it again.

I asked Andy how long he had been taking photos for and how long.

I have been taking pictures for…decades. I started when I was 17. With two of my friends from Pennsylvania, we hitchhiked out to Oregon to hike the Pacific Crest Trail through Oregon. I borrowed a friends Nikkormat camera for the adventure and my passion was born. Since then I have traveled to all 50 states and more than 40 countries. My life as a professional photographer began 7 years ago, and I love every minute of it!

For me photography has always been connected to backcountry travel. When you head out into the wilderness the desire to capture some part of the beauty, ruggedness, drama, and exhilaration burns brightly.



There is a rawness in his images, not that I mean his images are raw, but more the enivironment, it looks rugged and also very beautiful.  Again, those big landscapes.  I have been trying to train myself to look more at the details, but really this is the type of thing I love too, big, big open skies with the world underneath it.

I asked Andy about what inspires him!

I have many inspirations. One of the biggest is conservation and protection of what little true wilderness we have left. Anything I can do to help this effort is important to me. I plan to do more. Another is the sheer joy from being outdoors. Hiking, camping, backpacking, trekking, all of these get my juices flowing! And then there is the technical aspect of trying (often futilely!) to capture with the camera the splendor of what I see.


Angles that we take photos are often overlooked.  I think many photographers, mainly new ones go for the obvious angle, but I like to see how Andy hasn’t done that, he does look for different angles and it gives what he photographs almost a unique point of view. It is something I am always trying for as well, I often think how else can I photograph this.


There is the element of surprise when you look at his work, you never quite know what you will see next, like a goat on a rock!

I asked Andy if there was anything special about the way he worked and he simply said no, but I think we can see that there is a technique here and he does try for something a little different, well I think he does.


I think like many photographers whose work I particularly like, there is a serenity, a quietness in his work.  It is almost as though if you went there you could imagine the sounds you would hear, they would be the sounds of nature, it would be quiet.

I asked Andy about his gear.

I have a Canon 6D camera. It came with a 24-105mm lens. Recently I bought a Rokinon 14mm lens that I use for nighttime imaging and landscapes. Besides that I have a cheap (light!) tripod, a polarizer and a cable release.

I hope you have enjoyed this introduction to Andy Porter from the blog North Western Images and I hope you will go and say hello to him on his blog.  I would also like to thank Andy for giving me permission to showcase his photography here on my blog.  I have a gallery now of images that I loved.

Weekend Wanderings: Exploring the Bay Between Seaford and Edithvale

Recently I’ve been asked to do a job for someone, they want some photos of the beach front along the edge of Port Phillip Bay.  The bay is the entrance to Melbourne, and many people live around it.  It is salt water, but you don’t get the waves like you get out on the unprotected beaches.  The area I have been asked to do is between Seaford and Mordiallic, an area I am not familiar with it all, well not the beach side.  So the other day I did my first scouting trip down there to see what I could find.


There are a few different piers along there. Some are older and made of wood, which are so much nicer.  We found one that was all concrete, and it just didn’t have an character. I still took photos of it and there are images in the gallery of it.

It was the perfect summer day and we noticed lots and lots of people heading to the beach.  We were there in the morning.  I am going to have to go back a few times, but think now I will wait until school goes back in a weeks time. Look at how gorgeous the water was, beautiful colour.


There are lots of grassy areas along this stretch, and I like how the grass comes out through the sand.  Great contrast with the sand, the grass and blue sky.  Summer is definitely here.


It was quite windy so I thought I would try a long exposure with the beach boxes in the foreground, but really, the wind was going in the wrong direction, and I don’t like this that much.  I think the normal exposure looks better.  This is something I have to start working out with the long exposures, the direction of the wind.


There was also some surprising things along the water edge as well.  There flowers were everywhere in one spot.


Different walkways for getting to the beach, we liked this one.  Very rustic and grassy.

It was a lovely walk along the beach, we didn’t cover the whole area, but I have time.  It was good to go down and check the area out, and see what is down there.  I haven’t done much to these images, just basic editing, but I know when I do the images for the job there will an expectation that I will give them my signature style.

It is a long weekend here, did I tell you that already, and as this publishes I will be travelling again, and will be away for most of the day. So please leave your comments and I will respond to them when I get back.  Enjoy your day.

Weekend Wanderings – Macro View at the Aquarium

As you would have gathered I’ve been going out and taking lots of photos.  It is unusual for me to go out this much, but I do seem to be going out and getting something every second day, and it looks like this next week will be the same.  It is good, gives me lots of photos to work on, and lots of photos for Weekend Wanderings, and so today I thought we would look at the photos I took this last Wednesday when I went to visit the Aquarium.

It has been a couple of years since I was at the aquarium, but it has changed quite a bit.  Everyone now has to go in reverse order, well you don’t have to, but that seems to be what people do.  I found it a bit confusing, but hey, I’m getting old.  They have changed some of the exhibits, which is also nice, though the jelly fish room seems to be gone, and there are almost no jellyfish. I was really disappointed with that, I really wanted to try and photograph them. I also thought I would take my macro and 50mm with me, but the 50 wouldn’t focus close enough, so I stuck the macro on and got some interesting shots, I think.


It was interesting using the macro, for those that don’t know I have a Nikon 105mm Micro, or macro lens.  I haven’t had it very long, but I am enjoying seeing what I can do with it.  I wasn’t sure what I would get at the aquarium, it is a very difficult place to shoot, but I managed to get some shots.


There is a crocodile there now, and he/she is big.  There is a little bubble thing you can go up and see it, and when I went into it the croc was climbing over it so all I could see were teeth.  I have another photo which gives you some idea of the size, it will be in the gallery.


I loved the stingrays and enjoyed taking photos of those as they went past.  I was especially proud of this image, I thought I did good, and the macro did too.  Not all my shots were very good, in fact there are only a few that I was really proud of, but it was fun trying.


I gotta say, I think this one is a cracka, can you tell I’ve been watching the cricket.  I thought this was a great shot and I was so pleased with myself.  The turtle looks like it is so in focus.  It wasn’t an easy thing to do there.  The only thing I don’t like is the light bit behind its head, I’m sure I could get rid of that if I really wanted to, but will leave it there now.


I debated with myself as to whether or not I would show this one, but the colours are so pretty.  I know it is a blurred cuttlefish, but it looked interesting.  I hope you don’t mind that I showed it to you!


The penguins, the big draw card to the aquarium I think. They stand around behind the glass and just look at us looking at them.  They have snow, and they do interact with one another, but my friend said, “they look so bored”.  I don’t know if they are, but I do know, or seem to remember something about how they only stay there for a short time, and they are rotated with other penguins.  There was a big swimming tank down one end and I loved the way the penguins would stop near the top and stare at us, it was great, and also good for getting photos.

I know many people don’t agree with Zoos or Aquariums, but I have to say, I think they do much better work now than they used to.  They do help with the survival of many species, but I think one thing that we all forget is that we go and see them, we fall in love with the species, we make a connection with them, then we want to ensure their survival.  If you feel something towards them you get that, so I think many animals, birds etc, are taking one for the team, and they bring their plight to the attention of the world.  I also think zoos are doing a much better job these days with making sure that the animals are treated humanly, and give them environments as close to their natural habitat as possible, well I am sure the Melbourne ones do.

Anyway enough of that, I will step off my pedestal now. I have so many photos for you now, I hope you don’t get too bored looking at them, but I’m sure you know how it is, so many images didn’t work, that I really wanted to show the ones that did.  I have a semi busy weekend planned, it is Australia Day here on Monday, so a long weekend, lots of people will be out and about, so hopefully a nice weekend weather wise.  I hope you have a good one planned.



Up for Discussion: Mistakes the Experienced Still Make

Towards the end of last year, I did, or should I say, we did, a post on Common Newbie Mistakes, and while that was a post on mistakes that many made when we were just starting out in photography, it seemed apparent that many of us still make mistakes, often different from those, but I thought it might be good to take a look at the ones that the more experienced photographer makes.  It is amazing how silly you feel when these things happen, but then when you realise you aren’t the only one it can make  you feel normal.

sclorne-HDR3This post will work the same way, I will start the conversation off, the post will stay open. I will list a few things, and you will see what I do, and if you can think of additions to the list, then tell me in a comment, after I publish the post, I will leave the post in edit format on my computer and as you think of things to add I will add them and continually update the post.  I won’t be home this morning, but will be all afternoon, so I can catch up then.

Mistakes the Experienced Still Make

Bracketing Shots

I don’t know how many times I have gone to take photos of something and not realised that my camera is still set for bracketed shots.  These days, I’ve done it so many times, that I realise fairly quickly, but once, I photographed a whole cycling event, four days of racing with my camera set on 5 bracketed shots.  Even when I saw the images at the end of the day I didn’t realise why I was getting shots that were really dark and shots that were so overexposed.  I finally realised on the last day.  I felt like such an idiot and it is amazing I still do it, but like I said, I work it out much sooner now.


From time to time I still forget to check what my ISO setting is on, then I will realise that I have take a heap of shots with it way too high and got a lot of noise unnecessarily.  I am always so annoyed with myself for that one.

sclorne-HDR2Not Checking Memory Cards Before Deleting Photos

I have been known not to put my images onto my computer straight away and then thinking a few days later that I had, and then I format the card, and lose everything on it, once I did that for a job I had done, so I had to reshoot, so embarrassing.  These days I make sure I load the photos first as soon as I get home.

Using ND Filters

I know when I use my ND400 that I have to close the shutter on the back of the camera, or I get terrible light spillage, then my photos are ruined.  Do you know how many times I go out and forget to do it.  I get some horrible part magenta shots.  Sometimes I will close it, then go to refocus or change the composition, and then start taking a photo and realise I forgot to shut it again.

On the other side though one thing I still constantly do is when using the shutter remote, I forget to shut off auto-focus so after I compose, then focus, then put on the ND-filters, I click the remote button then hear my camera focusing and think, “great, now I have to start over”. It’s even more of a nuisance when there’s a lot of noise so I don’t hear it auto-focus then after a 2+ minute exposure I look at the photo and wonder why it’s not in focus then have to redo the shot. I’m almost thinking of creating and laminating a checklist of things to do for a long exposure shot to make sure I’ve got everything setup correctly. I’ve created myself a bit of a cheat sheet for calculating exposure times based on the base exposure and the number of stops the ND filter is. I also have full stop increments for shutter speeds and f-stops so I know if I want a specific amount of time I know exactly what I would need to change. Before I had this I was constantly shooting for a certain amount of time then check then increase or decrease the amount of time based on the exposure and histogram. Sometimes it’d take me 5+ shots to get the exposure correct resulting in a 3 minute exposed shot taking 30+ minutes to get. J.T. AVERY PHOTOGRAPHY

Being Lazy

This is something I am trying to get better at, but I am terrible at doing things like changing lenses.  I know a different lens would work better, but then I think, nah, and I don’t change the lens.  I am really terrible for this.

Composition Mistakes

There are mistakes like cutting of things in the top or bottom and not noticing before it’s to late. Kerlundphoto

Camera Settings

As a newbie, I sometimes forget that I’ve changed settings and continue to shoot and get horrible results or miss my object because I have to recalibrate everything. But what annoys me quite a bit is that when shooting moving targets, like birds, I don’t get prepared for their next move although I know by now what it’s likely to be. TINY LESSONS BLOG

sclorne-3264From Nato, More often than I like to admit, I have changed my manual settings for a particular shot. Then got side-tracked and see something else and start shooting. After a handful of shots, or more, I finally look at the images on the screen and wonder, “Why do these pictures look so wrong?” Then, it dawns on me….”Oh yeah, I forgot to change my settings.” Ooops.

Here are some of Stacey’s personal ones.

  • – deciding not to go out and then missing the best sunset in the history of the world – happened last week LOL
  • – not using my tripod when I really should – either due to time or just can’t be bothered (usually I have carried it with me so I don’t know why I don’t)
  • – being impatient and not waiting for the right conditions to happen
  • – not being dressed properly for the weather ie too hot or cold and that leads to the point above because not comfortable to sit or walk around
  • – forgetting to put on and take sunscreen!
  • – cleaning my kit – I should do it after every outing but I usually do it every few months

White Balance

Forgetting to check what you have your White Balance set on. WordsVisual


Failing to check that all necessary gear is in the bag when I head out. photographybykent

Rushing out of the house with my cameras and not bothering to bring a can of bug spray. Mosquitoes would often eat me alive when out in the woods taking macro photos. There were a lot of healthy, happy mosquitoes out there… thanks to me! It’s kind of ironic really… I was hunting insects (to photograph)… and they were hunting me! Here (in Illinois) there are also deer flies that can bite you and ticks that can give you Lyme disease. THOMAS PEACE

Here are some additions from John Fiest Photography

  • Leaving the camera on full auto. As a more experienced photographer, I will shoot either in aperture priority or full manual. That lets me decide on what I am trying to capture.
  • Focus without recomposing. I’ve seen a lot of shots where the rule of thirds is ignored because the camera is on center point focus. Recomposing while holding the shutter button half way can be a real pain. I know some folks will use a lock on the camera. Of course you then have to remember to turn the lock off. I’ve switched to back button focusing which makes it really easy to focus and then get the composition.
  • Capturing unnecessary peripheral distractions. Ironically just before your posting arrived, I published the latest in my blog. This is one of the things I talked about. The newbie will have trees or poles growing out of people’s heads. More experienced photographers won’t make that mistake, but will just look at their primary subject and end up with an extra arm here, a tree branch sticking in there, etc.
  • Understanding lighting. This will be part of my next posting…taking shots that are backlit and wondering why everything is in silhouette, shooting in bright sun and scratching their heads when images are washed out or very harsh and contrasty. In the same area, using flash wrong. This can be letting the camera’s flash pop up and decide how to fire or putting on an external flash pointing it straight forward and firing at full power.


Ever since the super sized memory chips became available, I shoot so many pictures — often each so much like all the others,that even side by side, they look the same. I’m afraid to even look at them. WAY too many to sort through and I end up deleting most of them anyway. A waste of time and effort. I would be far better served taking pictures of something else. Anything else. My own feet would have been more productive!! SERENDIPITY

Here is another list, this time from The Lightweight Photographer

  • – Being too lazy to put on an ND grad when shooting landscapes even though I know the shot wont work without it
  • – Not exploring the scene properly before I decide on my composition
  • – Leaving a scene to soon because I think there is something better at the next location
  • – I used to let the camera decide the focus point rather than manually select it but thankfully I have overcome this one.

 Lens Caps

I keep losing them, I stick them in my pocket then it falls out.

My most common mistake is that at least 60% of the time I forget to take the lens cap off until I try to take a photo and can’t see anything! EXPRESSIVE PONDERINGS

Memory Card

My biggest and most repeated mistake (I’m not an expert by any stretch) is to forget to reinsert my memory card after I’ve taken it out to download a photo session. On more than one occassion, I’ve set off early in the morning to photograph wildlife only to find I have no card and no back up! *sigh* Big Hair Metamorphosis


I think poor composition is the biggest error. I forget to check all through the frame before I press the shutter. All downhill from here


My most annoying mistake is forgetting to switch back to Auto Focus after using manual focus. APERTURE64


Another common mistake is not to check the battery level and end up at the most inappropriate moment with a flat battery. newsferret

Image Size

Going on a trip to a nice swamp to shoot some three shot HDR’s, getting home to find the camera set on small sized jpg images. feralc4t

Renting Gear

Trying to save money when i rent a camera body and not give myself enough time to familiarize myself with the camera or to check to see that it in 100% working order – so I get the camera the day (or night) before a shoot – then all heck breaks loose when I’m at my location. infraredrobert


You get the idea, so I would love to hear what mistakes you keep making.  I’m sure they are ones I do as well but I have forgotten right now.

Please share with us the mistakes you still make, or things you forget to do.  Just tell me in a comment and I will add it to the post.

I am feeling beachy and moody today, so I want to put up some photos from Airey’s Inlet, taken a couple of years ago.  I think if I were doing these images today I would do them differently.



Quiet Thursdays: Catching Up

This Thursday is all about catching up for me and getting things sorted out. I have posters to do for upcoming workshops, and I am putting the final touches on my newsletter, so that will go out later today.  If you want to get the newsletter and haven’t let me yet, I have put a sign up widget in the margin, here on the left.  If you click on that it will take you to a page where you can sign up for it.

I thought today I would show an image that I took with my phone, it is one I took on my birthday, then I played around with it and made it monochrome.  You lose the lovely soft colours of the sky, but I think the monochrome is still very soft.


This is the dome at the top of the Royal Exhibition Building.  I really am going to have to start going in there to take some photos, it seems like this would be a good time of night to do it as well. Soon.

I hope you are having a relaxing day, I feel like I’ve been everywhere, and there is so much to do here, well, back to work I go.

MM46: Monochrome Madness 46

This week has gone by in a blur, I can’t believe it is has been so a mad rush to get the images into the post so I could publish it.  I hope I didn’t get anything wrong in my rush.  I won’t talk long today, I’m tired, and I’ve been out taking lots more photos.  On with Monochrome Madness 46.


I showed you this image last Sunday, but it was in colour.  The colour version came after the black and white one.  I quite like how dramatic it is, it is one of my favourite images at the moment, though that could change any time soon.


Here is Laura Macky’s image and once again if you want to find out more about it then got to here post, Surfer Girl – Monochrome Madness

Don’t forget all the instructions on how to enter your own images are at the bottom of the post.  If you have entered an image then please remember to check your image in the gallery, scroll down and see if anyone has left you any comments.

Now, if you wish to participate and submit an image here is how you do it:-

  • You must email me the image you want to include and if you have a blog or website, or somewhere else, please include the link. My email address is
  • The image size should be low res, so the largest side should be 1000 pixels or less.
  • Please insert either your name or your blogs name in the file name.
  • Remember I am on Australian time, so with GMT I am +11 hours at the moment, I publish my post on Wednesday morning.
  • If you need more help with sending images, and get confused about time zones, etc, well, there is a great website called The World Clock, if you go to that and look at Melbourne time, if it’s before 6pm on Tuesday evening, then you can still send me images.  If it’s after that time, you can send me an image, but it will be set aside for the following week.
  • Remember to include a link to your blog or website.
  • Please remember to resize your images, it is fairly simply, you just need to go into any editing software and usually under Image you will find, resize, scale, or image size, something like that and you can resize your image there. Change the dimensions to pixels and make the longest side 1000 pixels or smaller, hit return, and for most types of software that should change the other side automatically as well. Just remember to save it with a different name so you know it is the smaller version.  If you have any problems, please contact me, I don’t mind helping out.

Please note you don’t have to be a WordPress blogger to be in this challenge, you can have a link to a Facebook page, a Flickr page, anywhere really, or no link.  We just want to encourage people to do monochrome images, just for the madness of it. Just to let you know also, that as soon as the challenge is published, all emails and images you have sent me are deleted from my computer.  I respect your copyright and would never keep any of the images.

Tuesday’s Bits and Bobs: Things are Starting to Happen

It is Tuesday again, and while this is January and not a lot is really happening, I am getting things prepared and some things are changing.  It is a very busy week, so today will be quick.


I have just about done the newsletter, and now that I have all the email addresses entered I can get on with just the newsletter.  It is going to be a brief one the first time I think, but hopefully they will get better as I do more.  I have blairgowrie-pearse-beach-rocks-waves-595added a widget to the side panel and if you click on that you can add your name and email to receive the newsletter.

Social Snappers

I have put up more information for all the Social Snappers excursions this coming term, so you are interested take a look at the site, for the Thursday outings and the Sunday outings. I really hope some of you would love to join me.

 New York

blairgowrie-pearse-beach-rocks-waves-598I have organised my passport, now just waiting for it to arrive, however, there may be some changes to the trip, I can’t say anything yet, but when I know I will let you know.


The new year is here and it is time I started getting serious about the book.  I have to make a time with the council to talk to them about my plans for the book and see if it’s going in the direction that they would be happy with.  So I will start working on that soon.


I have been going out and taking photos every chance I can and it has meant that I haven’t had a lot of time to get on with other things. Tonight I am in Blairgowriblairgowrie-pearse-beach-rocks-waves-597e marvelling over a new beach I found today.  It is amazing, and I think I will need to come back.  I took a few photos, but the tide was sort of rushing at me, so I didn’t hang around for too long, but the photos in this post are from that beach.  A couple of long exposures and some waves shots.

I hope you are busy where you are.



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