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Posts tagged ‘light’

Weekend Wanderings: Autumn Mornings in Banyule Flats

Yesterday morning I took another trip back to Banyule Flats.  I have to return the Tamron 150-600mm next week to Maxwell International Australia and I want to get lots of use out of it before it has to go back.

It was a gorgeous morning, the perfect autumn morning. I started at the swamp taking some photos of the birds with the Tamron lens.


There was a white faced heron feeding there, that was a treat for me.  I’ve been enjoying watching the herons. There were also lots of ducks, lots of Pacific Black Ducks, I think they were.  banyule-flats-autumn-birds-macro-1050

I loved this, I think these are Eurasian coots walking on the water, quite funny.


I really like it when the moon is out during the day. It is quite surreal this view of the moon, it almost looks like it is blending into the background.


Once I was done with the birds I put the macro lens on and went for a walk around.  As I said the light was just stunning, it was a perfect autumn day.

banyule-flats-autumn-birds-macro-1101The walking path, the bike path, the way we all go when we go to the park.  Great park to visit, especially on a day like yesterday.  I was cold at the beginning but by the time I got back to the car I was feeling very warm.

I’m going to leave you with a gallery now.  I did take a lot of photos of the autumn leaves and other macro type images, but I will leave those for Sunday I think.  I’m off to Healesville today, back to the sanctuary/zoo and then lunch at a winery. Of course I am planning on taking my camera and a couple of lenses. I hope you have a great Saturday planned, and hopefully some opportunities for some photos.

Introductions: Paul Barson

There are photographers all over the internet, we see them all the time, and many of them are not on WordPress, and today I would like to introduce you to one that introduced himself to me on Facebook and then I saw his work. I was blown away and I am sure you will be too.  I think the reason I showed the flowers that I processed yesterday was so you would like mine first, then fall in love with Paul’s.  I got so much inspiration from his work and as soon as I saw it I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  Shall I just get on with it and show you some of his work?


I see so much photography, but it isn’t very often that work stops me in my tracks, gets my mind going and then there is a need to find out how it was done.  I have to work out how I can use that for myself and how can I adapt it to my work. It is just stunning. Macro wonders really.

My first question, as always was to ask Paul where in the world he was.

I live in Michigan USA,  although I am a born and bred Brit and moved here just over 10 years ago.


There is a softness about his work.  Something about the delicacy of the small things that we don’t give enough attention too.  His colours are muted and help with that soft feel.   I like the dark backgrounds as well.

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

I remember as a young boy spending hours looking through the hundreds of photos that my Dad took while he was in the armed services and playing with the camera he used to take them. The whole concept that you could capture a moment of time, any where in the world, onto a piece of paper and then see it like you were there, in that place and at the time fascinated me. As a young boy, my parents bought me a Hanimex 110 compact camera which I thought was the coolest thing ever! I started taking snaps of everything and anything and eagerly awaited for each roll of film to come back from the developers. From seeing my first shot that I took as a print I was hooked. I continued to take snapshots throughout my life. As terrible as they were on a technical level, I loved them and that was enough for me to keep taking them.

My love for macro and florals began when I got a Canon A720IS compact digital camera. I found myself starting to really look at things and not just see them. I love how macro can make you look at the world around you in a different way, seeing things that others may pass by, finding beauty in what others may think is ordinary. I have a few shots from A720 that I still love. Around 2013 I decided I wanted to get more serious about my photography and got my first dSLR, a Canon T3i. I spent some time dabbling in different genres, trying to find what it was that I really loved and wanted to do. I then decided to get the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro and go back to what I found I really enjoyed with the A720. I spent the next year or so learning and experimenting with camera, lighting, Lightroom and trying to find ‘my thing’. I wanted to try and be a little different.

The reason I like taking the shots that I do is that there is so much structure, detail, emotion and beauty in a flower if you take the time to really look at it. I enjoy trying to bring that out and give a flower a personality, an emotion, a mood, creating something a little more that just a great shot of a flower.


The first time I looked at Paul’s work I only saw flowers, but as I was searching for images for this post I discovered a couple of shots that were a little different. This one looks like it is still a macro, but look at the eyes of the cat, such intensity.  The lighting and composition are so strong with these.  I would love to do this with Tiddles, my cat, but being a chocolate Burmese, I don’t think it would have the same effect.  The big pupils, to me this says this cat is about to pounce.

I got so much inspiration from looking at Paul’s work, so I asked him where he got his inspiration from.

There are many great photographers and artists that I admire. I take inspiration from a lot of people and a lot of works in many different ways. Sometimes the inspiration can be to get out and shoot when I am in a slump, or break the rules more. Inspiration can come in many forms.

As far as my work is concerned, I would say I have 3 main influences. It was seeing some of the darker, soft, almost dream like florals of Rachel Bellinsky that inspired me to try something different with my florals. Gregory Crewdson inspired me on a number of levels. His meticulous attention to detail, planning, lighting, execution and the sheer amount of time and work that went into a single shot amazed me. Joseph Wright of Derby, an 18th century painter from my home town back in England, is my main inspiration as far as lighting. I first saw some of his original paintings in the local museum as a boy and they captivated me. He is well know for his use of the Chiaroscuro effect and his paintings have so much detail and depth that they come to life in front of you.

I believe it’s important to find yourself as an artist. Take inspiration from those you admire and then do your own thing, be yourself.


I have to admit I only found one or two landscapes, which was surprising.  When I look at Paul’s work there is a body of it, not something that you find when you look at mine.  He is very dedicated to his macro work.  I like too many different types of photography, so my work seems all over place in comparison.

I asked Paul if there was anything special about the way he worked.

I wouldn’t say that there is necessarily anything special about my work other than it’s what I love to do. I find, shoot, hand edit and put a lot of time into each piece and enjoy every minute of it. I try to bring out an emotion or mood, give the flower a life or character of it’s own, My hope and goal for each piece is that it conveys an emotion or mood along with the visual side. I also try to title each piece with a title that sums up that mood or feeling for me. I am totally selfish in my work. I produce pieces that I like and please me. I am incredibly fortunate and extremely grateful that there are other people who also like it. It’s been described as hypnotic, poetic, mesmerizing, dreamy, mysterious and unique. However, I am more than happy to let each person draw their own conclusions.


I’m sure you can see where I got my inspiration from when I did the those photos that I posted yesterday.  Interesting to read somewhere, so Paul, I don’t know where I read it, that the images are all done in Lightroom, which is fantastic for many of you, I believe.  It is like the flowers are coming out from the shadows.

I asked Paul what gear he used, he has pretty much already told us, but here it is again.

My kit list is very modest and small.
I still use my trusty old Canon T3i. It gives me all I need and has never let me down once, I love it.
This is paired with the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens, which is permanently attached to the T3i.
I also carry a Manfrotto Pixi (which is quite capable of supporting the T3i with the 100mm attached), a travel size spray bottle of water (for instant dew drops and mist) and, after being attacked and bitten by a dog on a shoot, pepper spray!

I hope you will all join me in thanking Paul for giving me permission to feature him and his work here on my blog.  As I said in the beginning Paul doesn’t have a WordPress blog, but there are still many places you can go and visit him. His website – Paul Barson Photography, his Facebook page, Paul Barson Photography and his 500px page, Paul Barson. I am going to leave you with a gallery of many more of his amazing images, I know you will enjoy them.

Weekend Wanderings: Yackandandah Part 2

Here is the second part of my trip to Yackandandah.  The man from the Spiritus Art Gallery and gave me some directions and ideas of where to go.  I knew I had to get a move on, as I would have to head back to Wodonga soon, and also the sun was starting to get to high for any decent photos, so they aren’t great, but they do give you an idea of what was there.


This was part of the road into town, beautiful scenery really, the whole drive, from Wodongo to there.


After leaving the main street I went to find petrol for the car, and saw a lovely park that I went for stop in. It had a small creek or something at the bottom and they had built steps that you could walk down and then go and walk around.  It was really nice in the morning light.


At the back of the petrol station I saw this building, another art place, only this one is fall of studios.  My friends who told me about Yackandandah had suggested that I find it, they thought I would be interested.  I was, and I thought it was great.  I got talking to Helen Lemke, a ceramic artist. She was waiting for students to come to her class and we had a small chat and she told me about the place.  It is built on where the old station was, or near it. Not sure exactly, but it has to do with the old train station.  Definitely worth checking out if you go there, say hi to Helen for me.


The man I spoke to in the Spiritus Art Gallery also suggested that I should go and check out the Gorge.  He said it wasn’t far out of town, and I wouldn’t have to walk far to find it. which was true I didn’t. Though I did almost drive straight past it.  I also had trouble finding what road it was on, there were no signs in the town to direct you to.  Maybe they don’t want people going there.


This is the gorge. Not big, but from what I can read women made it, I don’t know. It was done during the gold rush to get water for the men mining the gold.  It is incredible to think how these things were built back then, when you consider they didn’t have the tools that we have today.

By the time I got to the gorge, I knew the beautiful early morning light was gone and that the photos wouldn’t be that good, but I had to go and take some photos, for scouting purposes if nothing else.  I would like to go back, but if I do I would go much earlier in the morning, when the sun was hitting it in a soft way.  Though, if I’m truthful, I think I would go back in winter, no chance of snakes, and the light is better then too, so much softer.

Someone mentioned looking it up on Google maps and I realized I hadn’t included a map so here is a map so you can see where the town is.

I have more photos for you now. I hope you are having a great weekend, I have Social Snappers this afternoon, we are going to the Healesville Sanctuary, so I guess there will be more animal photos soon.


Introductions: Jesse Martineau

Late last year I introduced you to a photographer that I found on Google+ and today I have another one for you.  Google+, I’ve found, has some amazing photographers, and I find myself going there more and more to find photographers to introduce to you.  Today I would like to introduce you to Jesse Martineau. As I said I first came across Jesse’s work on Google+ and I am so happy to have found his photography.  I think his work is incredible and I think you will think so as well.

The White sands of the Earth-1

Those of you who have followed me for a while know how much I love winter shots, and the ones that Jesse does of winter in Canada are fascinating, well to me they are.  Scenes of calmness, yet, there is evidence of more, it is quite amazing.

My first questions, as always, where in the world are you?

I am located in Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada, just 10 mins west of Edmonton.

The White Sand Lands-7

One of the things that has really struck me in his images is the use of light, it is very striking and I think it is something I would like to learn. Maybe if I ask Jesse he will tell me what he does.

The next question was how long he had been taking photos for, and why?

I have been taking photos for a long time, anytime there was a video or film camera, I was behind it! What started me in the direction of photography was actually due to my fathers subscription to National Geographic. The middle eastern girl with green eyes was the first photo that “spoke to me” I couldn’t stop staring at how striking it was! The second was the monk that had set himself on fire outside of the Cambodian embassy in the ’60’s, tragic image, but one I can never forget. I have always wanted to cause people to feel like I did, when I saw those 2 photos.

Ledgy Night Clouds-1

They don’t seem right, daylight with a night sky.  I’m fairly certainly I know how this is done, and it is something I’m looking forward to trying this winter.  I am keen to see how I go doing similar things.  You will have to wait and see what I get.

I asked Jesse what inspires him.

Nature inspires me, largely the light that is present during the night. The stars, and Aurora Borealis are what people usually remember me for, but all landscapes I love. I find more and more inspiration as I broaden my fields, Architecture, and even portrait photography, have given me more reasons to get out and shoot!

Building buildyness -1

Here is one of his more recent images, well the ones on his Google+ page, and I thought it was fantastic. He doesn’t have a lot of architecture, but looking at what he just said it would seem it is something he wants to do more of this kind of photography.  If he is only beginning then it is a fantastic start.

I asked Jesse if there was anything special about the way he worked.

I love light, I mean we couldn’t photograph if there was an absence of light, to take it a step further I love HDR work, not the over processed things we have seen in the past, but the ability to see all the shades and hues of the frame I am shooting. I also am in love with long exposures, seeing movement in a still frame just feels so alive, even if it is not how we typically “see” something.

Faltumn is almost over-5

I think this is a great example of what he was talking about, the light and the long exposure, with a some movement.  This is something I am learning more about now myself.  I love long exposures and pushing how and when I can do them.

My final question was about gear?

Currently I am shooting with the Nikon D600, full frame camera and I really love it. I have a few lenses 24-85mm Nikkor, 50-300 Nikkor, a 50mm Nikkor, and a 14mm f2.8 Rokinon. I have a Lowepro Transit 350 Backpack, Yongnuo tx III Flash, manfrotto tripod.

Jesse’s work is amazing and I would invite you to take a look at his website, JMDesign, but don’t forget his Google+ page, Jesse Martineau. He does a lot of work on his Google+ page, something I should start doing.  I would like to thank Jesse for giving me permission to feature his work here and to show it to you. I have a gallery for you now of the images that I really liked, loved.  There are plenty more great images on his sites.


Quiet Thursdays: Out Bush

Yesterday I had to come to Wodonga, not for photography but for my daughter.  She is at University and because of some recent events had to miss some classes and was told that she would need to come to the Wodonga campus to catch up.  Luckily we only had to stay one night.  The internet here, where we are staying is shocking, and I’m having trouble doing anything I want to, so I am keeping this quick.  Hopefully it will publish.

I thought today I would show you the the reverse colour of my Monochrome Madness image yesterday.  It is something I nearly always try and I enjoy seeing what I come up with. Sometimes it doesn’t look that strange or different and other times I get really amazing results, then again sometimes the results are so weird I know I can’t use them.   This one wasn’t bad, kind of in the first category.

I’m just going to leave you with the image, hope the internet will work enough for me to publish, and hope you all have a calm restful day.


Up for Discussion: Observing the World Around You

For this Up for Discussion post I thought I would do something that I have been thinking about for a long time.  It may not seem that it is important or even relevant to photography, but I hope you will hang around long enough, and read enough to realise it does.

This is a lithography, so a drawing on a special stone that is then printed, not much room for mistakes.

This is a lithography, so a drawing on a special stone that is then printed, not much room for mistakes.

We often hear people talking about “faking the real in photography”, it isn’t a concept that is new and really, when you think about it artists have been doing that for centuries.  Learning to observe the world around them is very important.  It is something that some do well and some don’t.


I know many of you know that I can draw, well used to be able to.  I’ve shown you images of my drawing before. One thing I’ve never really talked about is my Fine Art Degree, which wasn’t in photography,  but rather in printmaking and drawing.  It happened at a time when I was not happy with photography, or rather I was frustrated, I couldn’t get the images I wanted. I thought I would need to make them myself, so draw them.

A drawing from my sketch book.

A drawing from my sketch book.

It was an interesting process, it meant lots of observing of things as I drew them. I spent a lot of time drawing.


You can’t underestimate how important it is. Of course it isn’t important if you just want to take photos and not do anything with them, then again, if you hone those observation skills then you are likely to see more and get better photos.

If you are interested in photo editing/manipulation then it is really important.

Watching how the light falls on an object, or how it falls when it is hit by another light source. Then there are the shadows, how

Studying how fabric folds, then how the light and shadows show.

Studying how fabric folds, then how the light and shadows show.

do they fall, are shadows solid?  I saw a guy online doing some compositing, and as I watched him move a person into a lane and then add a shadow I realised that he just added a solid colour, shadows are rarely solid colours.  They often have light areas and dark areas, depending on what is around them.

The same guy also made the edge of the shadow very feathered, and soft, but then again it really depends on the light source and where that light is coming from, how direct it is.  If you went and stood outside in the sun, especially in summer, you would see your shadow would have a hard edge.  However, if you went into somewhere where the light wasn’t as strong you would see a softer edged shadow.  It really does all depend on the light.  Which is why in studios the light is often controlled with soft boxes and reflectors to make it like a secondary light source, sort of.

A drawing I did of my daughter, using window light.

A drawing I did of my daughter, using window light.

When you learn to draw you learn to watch and see how things are.


Another important aspect is perspective.  It is something you learn in drawing and painting, probably most art forms.  I didn’t do a lot of drawing where you needed to worry about perspective, but it was always something you had to consider.

I have seen the work of other photographers and one of the things you notice is how they don’t understand perspective when they are doing composites and then the work doesn’t look real.

Faking the Real

It is an important thing.  You hear writers talking about how if you don’t make your characters real then people won’t believe them, so isn’t it the same with images, if they don’t look real then people can’t relate to them.  You have to make sure that everything in your image makes sense and is believable.  It is where learning to

A shaving brush, just studying how it looks and looking at the light.

A shaving brush, just studying how it looks and looking at the light.

look and observe the world around you really helps.

If you want to get into more photo editing or manipulation, then one of the best things you can do is learn to look at what is around you.  Don’t just take photos, look at what you are taking.  You don’t have to learn how to draw, but you can always learn how to look, observe.  Watch how light hits objects, where the light comes from. How does the light affect the shadows, are the shadows solid, or do they have lots of different strengths.

I think it is an invaluable tool and one we don’t take enough notice of.  Through drawing I really began to understand light and how important it was.  I also started to understand how I could use that in my photography and become a better photographer, at least I hope it has helped.

I have been going through all my drawings, I’ve found a lot that were just exercises, where I was just trying to see how I could draw them.  There are others that are more, a couple of etchings and some lithographs.  I will try and label them so you can tell what each is.

Influencing Me – Albert Bierstadt

A while back someone said I should take a look at Albert Bierstadt from the Hudson River School of Artists.  I am so sorry, but I can’t remember who told me about him, but I am glad they did, what an incredible painter.  I have to admit I don’t know a lot about the Hudson River School, but I am always willing to look and see what I can find out.  However, upon looking up Albert Bierstadt I was more than pleasantly surprised to see a painter doing big landscapes.


One of the things that really caught my attention is the way he showed light.  Unlike many painters of today, he wouldn’t have used photographs to give him an idea of the landscape as he was painting it.  I know photography was around, but nothing like what we have now.  I have been out to take photos and a scene like the one above would be rare, so I think if he saw it, he must have painted it from his memory, which I think is truly extraordinary and wonderful.  It is a great scene, I would love to capture something like that through the lens of my camera.


The level of detail in his work is amazing.  I know painters paint the sea and waterfalls, but I was so taken with what he has done.  I love the water paintings.  I love how you can almost see every little drop of water.


There are some paintings that he had done that I think are a wonderful record of history, and I am sure it is pretty much how it was back then.  I found this on Wikipedia about him:

A German-American painter best known for his large, detailed landscapes of the American West. In obtaining the subject matter for these works, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Though not the first artist to record these sites, Bierstadt was the foremost painter of these scenes for the remainder of the 19th century.

That explains why there are paintings like the one above.


I imagine this is what Autumn in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere are really like.  The colours must be so amazing.  I hope one day to travel to these areas and see this for myself.  We don’t get autumn like many other parts of the world.  Most of the trees in Australia are evergreens, so they don’t change their colours.  I love the colours in this painting, it is so vibrant, and calming in a way.


Another big landscape painting.  It is such a shame that paintings like this are not valued so much anymore.  The detail and the incredible talent that an artist must have to do work like this is amazing, but when you look at the world of art these days, you won’t find many artists doing paintings like this anymore.

I find it fascinating to look at artists who were painting the type of thing that I want to photograph.  I love big landscapes, and looking to see what I can bring to images of them.


He looks like a nice man, though you can’t really tell from a photo, but he was a great artist and I can tell that from his work. Wikipedia has information on  Albert Bierstadt if you would like more information.  There is also a list of the massive number of paintings that he did in his lifetime here. I do have a gallery for you now of his work, some paintings that I just loved.


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