To Photoshop or not to Photoshop - that is the question. When a bunch of photgraphy buddies got together last night for a model shoot on a rooftop in Brisbane's CBD, we got to chatting about whether it's ok to Photoshop images or if we publish work straight out of the camera.
Like any form of art, photography is subjective, and I reckon it's whatever goes. A skilled photographer will try to get it right in the camera, a mantra that's been drilled into me at all of the workshops I've ever attended. And yet, I really love some of the effects that you can create in Photoshop.
I recently purchased a set of presets for CS5 from Totally Rad. Presets are automated actions you run over an image to create a specific effect - you can also create your own actions, but for Photoshop numbnuts like me, I love the fact that I can click a few buttons and completely transform an image. It's also helping me to understand what's possible in Photoshop and how I can tweak my own images.
The left hand image above is straight out of camera. For the one on the right, I ran Totally Rad's "Pool Party" preset over it to get a slight boost in contrast, and the vintage-y, soft cross-processed feel. I prefer the "processed" version.
So I'm throwing it out there - tell me what you think about Photoshoppin'. Is it acceptable? As a photographer, do you put your images through Photoshop, Lightroom or other editing programs or do you only publish work straight out of the camera? Does using Photoshop make you a lazy photographer, knowing you can "fix stuff up" after the fact, or do you consider the processing process to be an integral part of the creative process??
I took these shots yesterday at about midday under the hot sun on Red Beach, Bribie Island. In the first one, I've bumped down the clarity to give the water a blurred effect, and in the seond image, I've bumped up the contrast and sharpness.
One of the awesome things about living in Queensland is that we have access to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. What's not to love about being out in the sun on a gorgeous spring day!
This was the stunning scenery that awaited us on our drive into Milford Sound.
Hope the skies are blue for your weekend!
I got home fairly late tonight, and the moon was doing the most amazing thing with the clouds. Couldn't resist dragging my camera out to the river, and shooting this shot of the moon and clouds over Bulimba. Makes me go ahhhh....
This was one of my most bizarre travel experiences...imagine bobbing around in geothermally heated water (boiling in some parts), while your head is freezing in the outside temperature of about -5C. So was my morning at the Blue Lagoon Spa in Reyjavik, Iceland.
According to the Blue Lagoon's website ,"The water’s temperature is 37-39°C / 98-102°F. The lagoon holds six million litres of geothermal seawater, which is renewed every 40 hours. Regular sampling shows that “common” bacteria do not thrive in this ecosystem, thus additional cleansers such as chlorine are not needed.
The Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater is a part of an ecocycle where nature and science work in harmony. The seawater originates 2000 meter/6562 ft beneath the ground where it is heated by earth’s natural forces. At this depth the temperature is 240°C/464°F and the pressure is 36 times the pressure on the earth’s surface. The geothermal seawater comes into contact with cooling magmatic intrusions and captures the earth’s minerals, resulting in this unique natural source known for its healing power and actives."
Impressive eh? A nice warm bath that's good for you too. Hope you have a fabulous, relaxing weekend :)
So, I went to Session #2 of the Colour I Course at the Brisbane College of Photography and Art tonight.
This week we talked about quality of light and then got onto metering. As with some of the topics last week, I'd heard discussions about metering before, but it was helpful to hear about the pros and cons of the various metering options, like evaluative, centre-weighted, partial and spot metering. Until now, I've pretty much not moved the dial off evaluative - kinda like the Auto of the metering world.
My mission after tonight's workshop is to get a bit more specific about what I meter off in each shot.
According to the Canon website, evaluative metering "is directly linked to, and concentrated on, the active Autofocus (AF) point. Light values measured at the active AF point are compared with light values measured from the metering segments surrounding the active point, and the camera's metering system attempts to provide an accurate exposure based on that comparison." Basically, as the tutor pointed out, the camera tries to average out the whole scene - which may or may not be appropriate. If you have obvious highlights and lowlights, this probably isn't gonna be a good mode to use.
Centre-weighted Average: This metering mode averages the exposure for the entire picture area, but with greater emphasis on the centre metering zones.
Partial: This metering mode is similar to Spot Metering, but covers a slightly larger area, reading only the cross-shaped central five metering zones (approximately 10% of the total picture area).
Spot: This metering mode gets exposure information only from the single exposure zone in the center of the frame (approximately 3% of the total picture area).
The tutor reckoned that even seasoned pros struggle with metering, and that using spot metering mode can be tricky and far less forgiving than something like partial metering mode. He said he liked to use this mode for shooting portraits, like those at weddings. I'm thinking I'll have the perfect opportunity to test out this theory this weekend.
This led into a discussion about bracketing (as you can by the scrawl above, I thought this was pretty important). Autobracketing is where you set the camera to take several successive shots (usually three) with slightly different settings. Later, the best-looking image can be picked from the batch.
The most common type of autobracketing is exposure autobracketing, where the camera is set to capture the same image several times with different exposure settings, both over-exposed and under-exposed (lighter and darker) compared to the current setting on the camera. It's kinda like hedging your bets as to whether you're doing it right. I'm a hedger. I like it!
We also had a bit of revision about composition; guidelines like the Rule of Thirds, the centre of interest, merges, framing and leading lines. There's something about hearing this information, seeing images that illustrate the points, chattin' about it, then actually going out and looking for these elements in shots, that's starting to make it all sink in (at leats theorectically).
Like learning any new skill, there's different phases of learning:
1) Unconscious incompetence
2) Conscious incompetence
3) Conscious competence
4) Unconscious competence
I reckon I'm at about the conscious incompetence phase with my photography, but I also reckon that if I continue to have as much fun learning about it as I currently am, I will never tire of it.
Now...can I just fast forward to unconscious competence? :)
It's pretty good value, considering that for $29.95 for 6 months or $49.95 for 12 months, you get access to a Members Only section containing a bunch of 5-minute video tutorials from various professional photogs, including Shelton Muller of Creative Photo Workshops fame; articles and a forum, where members can discuss pretty much anything they like about photography.
Like most photography forums, the feedback is mostly friendly and helpful. I also like that the expert photogs who feature in the tutorials jump into the forum, fairly frequently, and provide their feedback on images loaded up to the site. One even checked out my Flickr feed and commented on pics there. What a fab way to connect with other people who love this stuff as much as I do!
The video tutorials are great, bite sized snippets of photography wisdom on topics such as exposure, lighting, composition, landscape, people and flash. Being only five minutes in duration, they're short enough to listen to a couple every few days - and again before you're heading out in a situation when you know you're going to need to know say, how to pose people or use flash etc.
The Five Minute Photographer is also great for those days when it's too wet to go out shooting. When you can't go out shooting, the next best thing is to watch videos about what you COULD be doing when it fines up.
Head on over and check out this great resource: http://www.fiveminutephotographer.com/.
|Bob Barker, The Daily Telegraph / Courtesy of the Nikon-Walkley Press Photo Awards|
Australian Centre for Photography (257 Oxford Street, Paddington)
Melbourne Exhibition: 20th October-December 2010
The Age (655 Collins St, Docklands)
Brisbane Exhibition: 31 January-28 February 2011
Brisbane Powerhouse (119 Lamington St, New Farm)
Newcastle Exhibition: March-April 2011
Newcastle Regional Library (Laman Street, Newcastle)
Adelaide Exhibition: November-December 2011
Adelaide Festival (Festival Theatre Foyer)
It's the first wedding I've shot, so am both excited and crappin' myself. Sooo many things to remember, but I'm sure it'll be a hoot and a great learning experience.
I took this pic as Rod shot Stuart's reflection in the wedding rings.
Looking forward to the big day next Saturday!!
I took this shot from about 1,000ft in one of the 30 or so hot air balloons floating around on this perfectly crisp morning.
Hope your weekend starts on just as high a note!
A pretty uninspired 365 shot for today - a quick snap of the TV. More importantly, I was testing out my new battery grip.
Looking forward to giving this fab new toy a whirl at a long shoot in a coupla weeks. Battery power for 6 hours plus - gotta love that. It also makes me want to go try v-e-r-y- long exposure shots, like star trails.
Note to self: need to get out of the house more!
Taken with Canon EOS 5D Mark II, f/7.1, 1/30, ISO-100, EF24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens. Off camera flash fired wirelessly. Processed in CS5.
|Copyright Brisbane College of Photography & Art|
I've done a few photography workshops in the last 18 months, and while they were awesome, I found that there was a lot of information to take in on these intensive all day courses. Perhaps I'm a slow learner, but I think I definitely absorb technical information (such as theory about aperture, exposure, guide numbers and f-stops) slowly. S-l-o-w-l-y I say. Not even the new glasses and supposed increase in IQ are helping my information absorption and retention rates these days. I need time to think about what I'm learning, play with the camera settings, experiment, and generally take A LOT of pictures while I put a particular technique into practice.
So, in the interests of improving the consistency of my photography, and specifically my understanding of the magical element in any photo, light, I signed up for the 8-week Colour Level 1 course at the Brisbane College of Photography & Art in Fortitude Valley.
I did an 8-week photoshop workshop last semester with them, and liked the 2-hour a night, 1-night a week format. It gave this slow learner time to experiment, ask questions and practice - which I reckon is ultimately what it all comes down to.
This course covers everything from exposure and metering, to on and off camera flash work, and all sorts of other little tips along the way. It started tonight!
Our lecturer, Steve Lispet is an architectural photographer and Canon shooter - so he must know what he's talking about. (And, what's more, what is it about Steve's and photography???) :).
He gave us a refresher of the relationship between aperture and shutter speed, which I'd heard before. BUT, it was great to go over it again, having taken some 30,000 images since the last time I did a workshop that talked about the same stuff, and with a far better practical understanding of what it all meant.
The fact that Steve shoots with a 5D II is brilliant, because he's now going to be my personal help manual for the next 8 weeks. Gotta love that as you're working your way round a new camera!
I also learnt a few little tips about getting the correct exposure for shooting weddings - making the whites whiter and the blacks blacker, which is handy, cos I've been invited to tag along to shoot one the weekend after next. That's a tad scaryciting (scaryciting = as scary as it is exciting), but that's a whole other blog post.
We were given an assignment too. It's all about seeing the different quality and colour of light around sunset at various intervals. Methinks Southbank or the Kangaroo Point cliffs will get a bit of a visit some time this weekend. Stay tuned!
Adele Enerson takes amazing photos of scenes she creates around her sleeping daughter. According to her blog, "I used to introduce myself as a copywriter & concept designer in advertising, but that's not that relevant anymore. Right now I am a mother and a housewife, and loving it!".
"I use only few minutes per picture, including creating idea, implementation and editing, 'cause I don't want to disturb her sleeping and most of my time is for my family. My camera is small and inexpensive Canon IXUS 750."
Adele's blog has thousands of followers, receives just as many comments, and her Facebook page has over 42,300 fans. Awesome results for what started out as a maternity project!
I just love these images. What creativity, and what a precious little girl. Enjoy :)
|Copyright Adele Enerson. http://milasdaydreams.blogspot.com/|
|Copyright Adele Enerson. http://milasdaydreams.blogspot.com/|
SO. It's STILL raining here in "sunny Brisvegas". I thought I'd continue with the water theme for today's 365 challenge and shoot an endless stream of running water. Voila - the kitchen tap!
I dragged out this picture I took six months ago of a young sea bird that perched on my neighbour's balcony throughout a particurly heavy rain dump. I remember wondering then if the rain would ever stop.
From this bedraggled Brisbanite, stay dry and have a great week!
More awesome Alan Sailer work - this one, a strawberry dipped in liquid nitrogen for a few minutes, and then shot with a pellet.
Alan Sailer does the most amazing high speed photography work. I read about him in this Daily Mail article last year, and stumbled across his Flickr Photostream today.
According to the article, Alan shoots at everyday objects using an air rifle, a camera and a home-made flash. Photography that requires a microsecond flash to stop action has to be moving near the speed of sound and such events are usually high-risk. To buy a fast flash is expensive, often costing many thousands of pounds, but Sailer was able to build one for about £200.
This image of a "farm fresh salmonella filled egg" was pounded with a green paintball. As you do! :) What an awesome result!
I truly admire photographers who push themselves and their art to the limit.
|Copyright Nick Veasey|
|Copyright Nick Veasey|
This following video is a fascinating and funny account of Nick's work, exposing the invisible. His creativity seems to know no bounds. I hope you'll find his work as unique and inspiring as I do.
365 Challenge #213 - Getting used to the new accessories..., originally uploaded by Melanie Surplice.
My parents, who are travelling at the moment, wanted me to send a pic of me wearing my new specs. I'm still getting used to lenses of this variety...L-series, of course!
So, as I get used to my visible signs of aging, I hope you're enjoying your weekend :)
He has the most amazing blue eyes and the longest eyelashes. What a honey, and a pleasure to take pics of :)
I took this shot at Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia, one of the most stunningly scenic places I've ever visited. The water really was that colour - in fact the pictures don't do it justice. I shot it with my trusty little Canon Ixus point & shoot. If only I'd had the 5D II.
Where would you rather be this Friday afternoon??
At the time, I was working for myself from home, so I set myself an added challenge of shooting images only within my 1-bedroom apartment.
It forced me to look at everyday items like homewares and appliances, clothes, furniture and all manner of "my stuff" in a different way. The challenge became how to make this stuff interesting, while also getting more familiar with my camera and the warm lighting in my apartment.
Surprisingly, I got into the photo-a-day habit fairly easily. Some days, I took shots early in the morning and played with sunrises out of my window, while other days, I took my photo of an evening, working with low light. I posted it all on Facebook and felt encouraged by the feedback from friends and my photography buddies. I found it interesting to see who commented on which photos; which photos generated conversations and interest, and which did not. It really served to remind me that photography is entirely subjective.
About Day 100, I started to feel somewhat limited and expanded the scope of the project outside the apartment. I don't have an iPhone, so was shooting everything pretty much on my Canon EOS 400D. This also coincided with me taking on a full time job and travelling a bit for work - on those days, I took the camera with me.
In the next hundred days I began to upgrade my camera gear, and started to get my head around new lens, filters and a flash. The project really got me using all of the gear and seeing what it - and I - were capable of.
I've learnt a lot about myself and my interests in photography from this project:
- I really do love photography and want it to be a big part of my life. It provides snapshops and memories of moments I might otherwise overlook.
- It fosters creativity by forcing me to look at everyday items from different perspectives.
- It provides a really detailed snapshot of my life. I'm photographing the things that are important to me at any given time.
- I think it's making me a better photographer (although you can be the judge!) by forcing me to get to know my camera and its settings.
They reckon it takes 21 days to form a habit. My 365 Challenge has definitely made photography a habit for me - well, more like an obsession. I now feel like I'm missing something if I don't take my photo every day.
So, I'm off to take today's pic!
I took this pic last month during a frantic few days at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre for a tradeshow. What's not to love about this place!
Where's your favourite city?
Taken from the cliffs at Kangaroo Point not long after sunset, I reckon this is one of the iconic views of Brisbane.
I love exploring the world, and capturing images of the weird and wonderful; the good, the bad and the ugly.
I'm not a technical shooter. I learn by experimenting, reading, doing workshops, talking with other photographers, but mainly, by taking pictures. Hundreds of em. Any chance I get! Thank God for digital cameras!
In the mid-90's, I was slowly bankrupting myself, as I had roll after roll of film developed from my Pentax SLR. I fancied myself as a bit of a still-life photographer, and took bwzillions of photos of pasta shells on ceramic plates, and my then boyfriend's Ford Escort through all manner of Cokin filters. I took to digital photography like a duck to water, starting with a Canon Ixus. What an awesome little Point & Shoot it was! It travelled the world with me and never missed a beat.
In 2008, I progressed to my first DLSR, the Canon EOS 400D. I fell in love with it the second I took the first photos of some lillies in my tiny little London apartment on a freezing winter's morning. I couldn't believe the images coming out of the camera - in fact one of the pictures I took that morning now hangs as a canvas print in my apartment.
In May 2009, I did my first digital photography workshop with Blue Dog Photography and discovered life after Automatic. That workshop was pivotal. From there, I hooked up with a thriving community of photographers in Brisbane and the Gold Coast. I started to venture out with them on model shoots, despite having no clue what I was doing. I started to talk and think more about photography. Earlier this year, I did more workshops with the awesome crew at Creative Photo Workshops, started entering photos in competitions, and then started a 365 challenge, where I took a photo every day. I'm now up to about Day #205.
Somewhere between Days #1 and #50, my interest in photography turned a bit obsessive, and I bought my first Canon L-series lens. Once again, I was blown away with the quality of images this technology makes possible. Facebooking daily with other photographers seemed to fuel the obsession - and excitement of it all. My non-photographer friends just don't seem to get my excitement over a new piece of glass as my photography buddies do!
Several thousand photos later, and a random visit to Photo Continental combined with a temporary lapse of reason, I became the very proud owner of a Canon EOS 5D Mark II. I love this camera! Couldn't wipe the grin off my face as I took it out shooting at Roma Street Parklands the day after I bought it. 3 weeks ago, I took it on an 8-day roadtrip round the Great Ocean Road, where we saw some of the most amazing, dramatic scenery Australia has to offer - and I got a real feel for what this awesome camera is capable of. I can't wait to get out and use it more.
The photo below (Credit to Steve Fels) is of one very cold, wind-beaten, salt-sprayed, sand-blasted amateur photographer and her much coveted 5D II on the wild south coast of Victoria - having an awesome time doing what I love.
This blog is about how my photographic journey continues :)