Monthly Archives: July 2013

Out and about with the Canon 16-35mm zoom

Normally when going out on the streets I use the 24-105.  However on Sunday I decided to take the 16-35mm instead.  I was intending to try and use the 16mm end for street shots.  However as I was with my partner and some friends I did not have that much time to do street shots.


Moreover I found that using the 16mm end meant being very confrontational with the camera and its rather large lens almost touching the subject.  Not something that I was so keen on that day.  I did do two shots of cyclists using the 16mm  end,  this is one of them:



I love the effect at the wide end but one has to be very careful to avoid personal injury when getting in close.  In this case I was standing right on the road edge and leaning out a bit.  Safe enough and close enough to get that great 16mm look.

Two other shots were taken with the 35mm end .


The first is just a shot of a car park looking through a side window and is more about abstraction than anything else.  I have deliberately darkened the outside wall to emphasise the yellow lines versus the sloping surfaces inside.



The second was of more cyclists.  What I like about this image is not only the two cyclists but the two pedestrians in step further back in the image.  Does something for me,  hope you like it.



St Michael’s Church Melbourne

Melbourne has the most delightful church in Collins Street.  For any tourist venturing into the church during it open hours will be delighted by the theatre like arrangement of the main area.  It is unique in all of the churches I have visited over many years and therefore should be on ones list of sights to see when visiting Melbourne.

Now for a few photographs just to whet your appetite to visit.

20130728_7305 20130728_7306 20130728_7301 20130728_7309

My Favourite spider

The little spiders that we in Australia call Jumping Spiders, because the do jump, have the most amazing eyes and are just a little bit curious.  often when being photographed the will jump onto the lens,  not sure why the just do.


However it is their eyes that attracts me.  Such big round saucers sitting on their heads like headlamps.



photographing blacks and exposure to the right

On the weekend I was asked to help another photographer understand about photographing blacks as they were going on a trip to photograph gorilla’s.   The photographer had been out with a friend recently and that person had said that to photograph blacks one needs to underexpose to bring out the black.  Why, well we know that the camera light meters are all set to expose for 18% grey and as most of us don’t carry around a 18% grey card. Just using the light meter will not result in blacks.


Now whilst this is correct I wondered if in practise it is what one should actually do.  After all under exposing results in much less information being collected by the camera.  Something like 90% of the information collected sits in the image information that the histogram portrays on the right hand side.

How would one compensate for the grey when one wanted blacks?

So it was time to take a few shots of a piece of black cloth.  Now I used a flash because I wanted to avoid the noise artefacts that come from using a high ISO I would have had to use to get a reasonable image.

So the raw image looks like this.  Plenty of grey with just a touch of black where the shadows fell.  Certainly not what one would like to represent a black object.



So I loaded the image into Photoshop and proceeded to play with the levels adjustment and by just adjusting the grey slider to the right I get this.



Plenty of black and I may have gone a bit to far with the slider, however that is just a simple tweak to get the look that one wants.

So how does that compare with an underexposed shot.  To get the underexposed shot with a flash I set the flash in manual mode at about 1/8th power and left the rest as it was.  This is the result. By the  way it took four shots to get this, had to play with flash levels and speed settings initially.  Eventually found that if I left the speed at 1/200th (the setting for the first set) and adjusted the flash output down I could get greys into blacks .  If one was actually photographing a gorilla in the wild the opportunity may well have been lost.




It is black and generally much of the detail is there, (I looked a the pixel level), however to do this was in many ways more difficult than just letting the camera have its way and adjusting in photoshop after.  In addition if one had to use higher ISO because a flash is not available or could not be used then noise is going to be a very big problem.  Why,  well as previously discussed the more underexposed an image is the more the signal to noise ratio is pushed in the wrong direction resulting in those horrible and difficult to remove noise spots.


So to sum up,  if photographing black objects I would still expose to the right to gather as much information and hence detail as possible and reduce noise.  One can then correct for blacks in ones favourite application for processing.   Just remember when in exposing to the right to not overexpose and produce clipping in the areas you can’t crop.

One month from the winter solstice

Had a cold the last few days and have not felt like blogging, feeling better today so it is time to write a quick blog on a pinhole camera that has been out since the winter solstice.

Today I recovered the camera from its mounting place and scanned the paper. However some moisture had seeped in, possibly through the lid so the paper was a bit wet and the image shows that.   Despite the moisture of great interest to me is the solar tacks made from the winter solstice for one month and two days.  The two days are because I just did not feel like going out in the cold and getting the camera down,  Lazy I know but that is what having a cold does to me.


Firstly a quick explanation as to why the sun tacks have a curve,  it is because the paper is curved inside a can so that paper curvature distorts the image.

Not much else is visible, fine detail does not exist however one can see the silhouette of the neighbours house and trees.  Still I like the image and hope you do to.


More of the Suburban Botanicals

A few days ago I saw a nicely twisted set of leaves from an Australian Eucalyptus.   Now not being a person that has bothered to learn the names of many plants, mainly because it does not interest me, I cannot tell you what type of Eucalyptus it is from.  However I do like the way the dead leaves form a nice twisting shape.


At one stage I thought that I would focus stack the exposures so that all parts of the leaves were in focus.  However that after several tries did not work so well.  There were several focus artefacts introduced that made the combined photo look a bit weird.  So I pursued another aspect of the shape,  its curves and shadows.


This is the result, hope you like it and if you would like a copy hanging on your wall then drop me a line and we can discuss the price for an A3 print.  All prints are done by a professional printer on Canson Rag Photographique with archival inks.20130713_7104

Lights are on

Early morning in Melbourne and like most cities it is pretty quiet,  lights are on but there are not many people about.  This provide for a different aspect on street photography.  One can explore the city as an empty space, bereft of people, well almost empty.

There are signs of life hidden in amongst the infrastructure that we take for granted, the buildings, roads and railway stations.  But no where near as much activity as abounds  when the workers and shoppers go about their daily tasks.

Exploration of the city is perhaps more risky, after all I am carrying a nice camera and bag.  So I do stick to the lit areas and where the trouble makers avoid due to the higher police presence. To go to the darker places would mean needing company so as to reduce the risk.  Not many others really want to get up early on a Saturday and walk around a cold city.

In this set of captures I have explored the railway station, carparks and  empty restaurants. I hope you enjoy my views on the quiet city.  If a particular image strikes your fancy then drop me a line and we can discuss the purchase of said piece.

Flinders street Railway station looking out, a very photographed view, so nice that the young woman dressed in matching colours.


Princess Bridge looking to the CBD as the sun rises, not that you can see it because of the clouds.


Just a closed cafe.


One of the many carparks to be found under the major buildings.


Flinders Railway Station from Swanston Street.