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Posts tagged ‘experimenting’

Introductions – John Holding

The last few weeks I seem to have mentioned or featured John Holding on my blog quite a few times, probably has something to do with the fact that I know him and we go out to take photos together. It occurred to me that I hadn’t done an Introductions post on him, and thought maybe it was time I gave him a proper introduction.  So today I would like to introduce to you John Holding.

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I’ve known John for a bit more than a year now, and though both of us have WordPress blogs, it isn’t really how we met.  I seem to recall we met through Red Bubble. I was trying to sell some photos there, and he introduced himself and helped me work out how to do things.  I am not on Red Bubble any more, but John and I stayed in contact and then I found his blog.  The above image is one of the first I remember seeing there.  It is a church in Melbourne and his photos have made me want to go and visit it ever since, still haven’t got there, but I will one day.

I asked John my usual questions, the first was why do you take photos?

Its always an interesting question as to why someone does something especially when the interest ventures into the creative world.  There are a number of reasons why I take photographs.  There is the intellectual aspect where mastering, and I am no where near that yet, an area is challenging. Not only the technical aspects of the camera/gear but also understanding and seeing light in a different way to normal.  It took roughly two years to start to see light much how a camera sees it. To notice the nuances of how light falls on an object or scene.  Of course there is much more than just those simple aspects.  There is still much to learn,  I think I read somewhere that it takes about 10,000 hours to master an activity.  Still about 8,000 hours to go.  Oh I don’t give much truck to the supposed rules of photography you know the rule of thirds etc.

I also asked how long he had been taking photos for.

I first had a camera when I was a teenager, however like many the financial imperative of life meant little to none over many years whilst raising a family.  Finally in 2010 I bought my first serious digital, a Sony but then the bug really bit me and it was a two year journey to get to the equipment I now have.

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When you look through John’s blog you never quite know what you will find.  I think after reading why he takes photos it makes more sense to me why he does this. He is experimenting and trying different things, which I think we all know is a great way to learn.  He is also very generous with his knowledge, and I think part of the reason my milky way shots have got a lot better is because he has been helping me.  We have been out to get photos of the stars a few times now.

Inspiration, I know John has others that help him find that.

There is no one thing that inspires me about photography.  I look at many works and artists and each genre has its own beauty, many sublimely so.  As I look at the many works it is the sheer ability to capture such beauty whether it is in the portrait, landscape of fine art.  If I had to bring it down to one thing I guess it would be light and the sublime subtleties that it produces.

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Something I like about his work is how you are never quite sure what you will get, an ordinary street shot changed because he noticed the woman looking up. I know that John also likes to wander the city and images of people, and this is a great example.  I’ve never done that with him,

I do think we all work in our own unique ways, and so I asked John if there was anything special about the way he worked.

Nothing special about the way I work.  Though I do have a series of botanical prints in which I work in a particular way to achieve the high key photographs.  Much of the work goes into finding a subject whether it is a leaf of flower that will work in the high key genre,  many don’t.  Sometimes when I have the right subject it can be all finished in ten minutes, which is pretty quick.  I think it goes that quickly because I spend a lot of time visualising what I want from a photograph.  For instance there is an Astro photograph that I want to try,  I have the vision in my head and the location I just have to get there and do it.  Then when there will be about 10 minutes of work. Though in this case I might actually have to spend a bit more time getting it to work as it will be quite a challenge  technically.

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One thing I think John does well is the coast.  He seems to know the area around Sorrento and Blairgowrie really well, and I have discovered new areas because of him.  I enjoy seeing how he approaches the ocean and how he records it.

Funny thing about photographers, we always want to know what hear we each have.

I currently use the following equipment,  Canon 5D Mark 2, with a number of lenses, two macro, one wide angle 16-35 a beautiful lens for landscapes, a general purpose 24-105, a zoom 100-400 which I don’t use a great deal and a fisheye which I mostly use for Astro work as it grabs so much of the sky.  Mind you it also quite good for some landscapes for the same reason.   I also have a very cheap 50mm which is astoundingly sharp for $120 and a laser cut pinhole which I use very occasionally.

I hope you will go and see John’s blog, John Holding, and introduce yourselves to him.  I would also like to take this opportunity to thank John for giving me permission to feature his work here. I have made a selection of the works that I enjoy seeing, I didn’t pick his astro work, mainly because we have seen a bit of it lately and I wanted to show you other work he does.  Please enjoy.

The Evolving Continues

A couple of weeks ago I talked about how I wanted to start doing some new work, compositing images.  I have slowly started planning some work and experimenting with that.  Then last week I showed you a wedding photo that I had done a composite with, changing the background.  So this week I finally got around to going to Montsalvat in Eltham to take some photos that I could use for compositing.

I have to be careful with these photos, I had to pay $22 an hour to be allowed to take photos and I am only allowed to use them here. So I took some photos and will try experimenting with them, but I am still deciding if I would ever use Montsalvat again.

LeanneCole-thea-montsalvat_1666The background was taken at Montsalvat in the big room above the Great hall.  These windows are so gorgeous and the light coming through was lovely.  I have some plans for the images, but I need to photograph my model first.  I really wanted to try compositing one, so I got one of the images I took of Thea in my class last Saturday and tried to composite her into the image.

I am not sure the image really works.  It was a difficult one to do.  Thea was sitting on some steps outside and the light was quite bright.  I had to work a lot to tone that down.  I did take a quick image of one of the girls sitting on the lounge and used that for reference with the light.  I like the idea of it, but if I was going to do one for real, I think I would dress her differently and plan the shoot with the background image in mind. I am reasonably happy with how the actual compositing went and I did learn a lot doing it.

LeanneCole-briony-1710I asked my daughter to kneel down and pretend she was praying.  I like the composition, couldn’t resist doing this image.  I took other images of this without her so if I want to try and get someone in it that is more appropriate I can.

I thought I would show some of the images that I got to try compositing with.  I am not sure if I will use some or all or none, but this is what I got while I was there yesterday.  I will include the above images as well.

Experimenting on a Bride and a Groom

A couple of weeks ago I showed you some of the photos I took at a wedding I photographed in October, here is a link back if you would like to look again, or see for the first time, With this Ring.  I was pretty certain after I did the photos that I would want to do more things to the images, and experiment more with them.

One of the concerns the couple had, was that while they liked my work, they didn’t want the wedding images to be too dark.  I knew that was going to be a challenge, so I have been playing and trying some new things I have seen and worked out.  So today I thought I would show you those images.

LeanneCole-sashbee-20131013-0045-2I worked on this one a lot.  I hope it looks a lot better than the original one.  I didn’t show the original the first time, so you will have to take my word for it, and I know the couple loved it.

I also used the images with them to make my first composite.  Before the wedding, I met them, we wandered around where they wanted their images, and had planned everything, so we thought.  Then a week before the wedding, we found out the Melbourne Marathon would be on the same day, and all those places we were going to photograph would be a “no go” zone for us.  We had to think quickly.  We decided on the other end of the city, but there was no opportunity to get in there to check it out and see what was possible.

On the day, what we thought we could do, we couldn’t, there were things in the way, and so winging it became the order of the day.  I can’t stress how important it is to check out places before hand.  Make sure you go over them, look at all angles.  Google search the day and make sure there are no events on that day that you need to be aware of.  What happens if it is raining, is there a wet weather plan.  So many things to consider.

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We took some photos around a lovely old fountain in Spring Street with the Treasury Building in the background, you can see in the above image.  Though I was happy with the Treasury building, the other buildings in the background were ugly.  Very 1960’s, with their square shape and no lovely design features.  I realised after that if we had gone to the other side of the fountain, we could have got the Windsor Hotel in the background, a very old, very classy hotel.

So I went into the city a couple of weeks ago on a day that was similar to the wedding, so overcast, and took some shots of the hotel.  I didn’t have anyone with me to focus on, so I used the tourists to focus on, set my camera on manual focus and took the shots I wanted.  This helped with the depth of field.

LeanneCole-windsor-0447This is one of the ones I got.  I know it is out of focus, it is meant to be.  Helps with that idea that they were all taken at the same time.  Then I took one of the photos of the two of them in front of the other building and put them in this one.

LeanneCole-sashbee-0447-2It is my first real attempt at compositing, but I am happy with it.  There are mistakes I made and there are things I probably need to fix up, but I think it is all stuff I can work on.  Makes me think this is possible.  Maybe I can do a lot more of this.  I hope it looks like the image was really taken in this spot.

LeanneCole-sashbee-20131013-0891-1I am not so sure about this one, but I wanted to show you because there were a whole heap of yellow taxis parked out the front and I had to do some work to get rid of them, and all the people at the entrance of the hotel.  Again, not perfect, but it does excite me and I love fixing these kinds of problems.

I have some more photos, I will put those above and the others in a gallery for you to look at.

Trying to Get What’s Up Top Out in the Open

This is a problem that all artists have, and one that quite a few people here have asked me from time to time.  Do I have a clear idea of what image I want to get?  Well, I try not to, if that makes sense.  I have learned that the image in my head is never what the end up product will be.  It can be so disheartening.

I have found that is it best to have an idea, but not a clear picture, then when I get something close I am happy, well relatively.  Then sometimes I am blown away and it is such a wonderful surprise.  However, to get to that shot there is always lots that don’t work, or the ones that are experiments and they haven’t quite worked how you wanted them too.

LeanneCole-emily-20130930-6720I have had this image in my head, not of anything in particular, but it is more about colour.  The images are dark, with lots of blue and green and the highlights are probably more golden.  I like this idea and the colouring, but I have to work out how to make them happen.  So I have been trying lots of different things with some images I took recently.

LeanneCole-emily-20130930-6981I don’t know if they work, but I like where they are going and there are definitely things in them that I like and want to keep trying.  It might be better to take shots that are meant for this sort of thing though, rather than using shots that were meant to be used for something else.

LeanneCole-emily-20130930-7250I have been trying things that I learned from Sue, and Lara Jade, and a few others.  I have been trying Sue’s burning and dodging, but it is a lot harder than it looks, so easy to go too far.  I need to practice a lot more.  I don’t know that these are successful, but it is nice and I like the general look.  I think I need far more experimenting though and have some other things I want to try.

So off to do some more experimenting.

Trying the Old New on Old Images

Confusing title, I know, but I didn’t know what else to call it. Since I have been trying to antique images, I wanted to apply some of the techniques to my portraits, but I didn’t want to just straight out antique them.  I wanted to be able to use the technique, but also have them still have some colour.  So I went through some photos I took a couple of months ago and found one to experiment on.

LeanneCole-emelia-5037I was enjoying this image, until I did something I didn’t like, but I couldn’t just delete it, so decided to see if I could live with it.  I was trying to imagine 15th and 16th century paintings and the look of them for these.  I don’t think I quite achieved what I was hoping for, but I do like some parts of it.

LeanneCole-emelia-5040So instead of redoing the whole image, I decided to get another image and copy all the layers onto it.  It worked to a certain extent but I had to delete some of the layers.

I like that the images are not straight black and white, or very colourful images.  I like that you can tell her hair is red, for instance, but it isn’t in your face.  I like to think that you focus on her face and the look and then look where she is looking.

There are aspects I really like, but I wonder if this technique would work better if I had a clear idea of what I was going to do when I was taking the images.  I think I am getting to the stage where I need to start considering these sorts of things.

The Lilies of Ages

Would you be surprised if I told you I had been doing more experimenting?

Well it is true, I have been.  After doing the ones from the beach and the coastal areas it got me thinking, and I wondered what else I could apply it to.  I wondered whether or not it would work for lilies.  So I picked a few from the garden and took some photos.  I chose to use a white background, well almost white, so the colours in the image wouldn’t be too dark for the processing.

LeanneCole-lilies-20130901-8376I think this one worked the best.  I did 7 of them, and with each one I treated them differently.  I don’t record what I have done, but I save all the layers so I can go back and see what I did to them.  It is an interesting process, seeing how somethings can come together so beautifully, like the one above and with others, no matter what you do, nothing seems to work.

LeanneCole-lilies-20130901-8379Like this one.  I like aspects of it, but I don’t think it works as well as the first one.  Actually I know it doesn’t.

I did a few of them, so I am going to put them all into a gallery and you can see what I mean.

I don’t know if I am going to keep doing images like this, but there are definitely aspects of the processing that I like, that I might try along with some other things.  I don’t know yet.  Interesting times ahead, I hope.  How is your experimenting going?

Weekend Wanderings – Dusk Around the Docklands

This last week I went into the city to try and get some sunset photos around the end of the Docklands or near the end of Southbank, not sure really what it is.  The Webbed Bridge is there and I had a feeling that the sun would set behind it and that is what I wanted to photograph.  Joining me was John Holding and my friend who often comes with me.  It was the first time I had met John, and it was great having someone else along.

LeanneCole_scdocklands-3hpm5641I had the right place and it was perfect for the sunset, well at this time of the year, but there were no clouds, so it really didn’t make a good sunset.  I might have to go back and try it again.

LeanneCole-scdocklands-5656The colours and the structure of the bridge made for some interesting images.  I will definitely like to do this one again.

LeanneCole-scdocklands-3hpm5713Lights come on on the bridge, I really wanted to get some of these, though, next time, I think I will stay here a little longer to get more of the lights as it goes dark.

LeanneCole-scdocklands-3hpm5774We walked back towards the city along the river and took more photos of the city lit up.  I liked the way this bridge was reflected in the river.

LeanneCole-scdocklands-5847We went to a spot to get the gas being lit up out the front of the Casino.  It went off at 6pm, and went for about 10 minutes doing a show, so we waited and waited for it to happen again, which it did at 7, but it only lasted for about a minute.  If you weren’t ready for it you would have missed it.  There was no messing around.

We had to wait for about half an hour for this, and while we were waiting I played with the camera on the tripod.

LeanneCole-scdocklands-5835I was really enjoying these effects.  I set the camera up on manual, set it for a 15 second exposure, then I put the camera on one spot, counted to 5 then started turning the camera on the tripod from side to side slowly.  It was interesting to do, and while not fantastic images, they were fun.  I would try them again, but next time I would use a different lens.

I hope you all have a very happy weekend and take lots of photos.  I have another portrait session tomorrow afternoon and I am looking forward to that.  I won’t be doing a post tomorrow.

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