Monthly Archives: April 2014

Should I throw out the images I don’t like?

Often when we bring our camera home and download the images taken and go through them we find many we don’t like.  The question then arises is what does one do with them.  Should they be deleted or kept.


Well for me I keep most and only delete the images that are badly blurred or suffer from major over or under exposure as to make them unusable.  The rest I usually keep.

Why?  Well there are times when going back over images one can find a use or with a little bit of tweaking turn it from a poor image to an average to good image.  Moreover as one gets more experience in post processing images can be made to lift and even shine.


For instance two years ago we were in Paris (what a city!!!) and like all other tourist I took a snap of the Eiffel tower which looked like this.



Today after a bit of processing ( I spotted the image whilst doing another task and thought it had potential) and it wasn’t much processing.  Just some adjustment and brush work in ACR and then BW conversion in Photoshop and no image blending (the advantage of shooting RAW images the blown out areas still contain a great amount of detail), it turned into this. Not perfect and in many ways an average photo but still better than the original.


Moral of the story keep most images you never know when it might appeal to you.



I have been following Leanne Cole photography’s blog (see it here for sometime and recently Leanne has embarked upon a journey into Astro Photography.  For those that are following Leanne and her adventures and would like to try it out then follow these simple steps:


1 Get a tripod.

2 A dark night (no moon) and away from city glow (might mean 100km’s into country)

3 Find out when the heart of the Milky Way is overhead, and it does change frequently .  Also one can still do Astro without the heart but it does lack the real punch.

4 Hopefully have a wide angle lens or if you have a shoot and point make it as wide as possible. Frame your view so that the heart of the Milky Way is in view and if there is an interesting landscape feature include that as well if possible.

5 Set the camera’s ISO to the highest but no higher than 6400.

6 Set the camera bulb mode to no more than 30 seconds.  More than 30 seconds starts to trail the stars and it doesn’t look so good..

7 Manually focus to the best of the cameras ability. It helps if one can view the stars on a small screen or laptop to check for focus.  This may take a few seconds to get right but it is worth it.  Note if you are using a DSLR with manual focus don’t rack the lens all the way to infinity,  set it to the infinity mark as most lens over rack for auto focus reasons. Look at the lens to see what I mean.

8 Set the camera so that its timer for shutter release is on.

9 Take your first shot and review.  If all went well then it will look as good as this after some minor correction in photoshop.


_MG_1671The red streak in the last shot is an aircraft.


Once you are bitten by this bug one can get devices that all for longer exposures which  enables one to drop the ISO back a bit to get rid of noise.  I have a device called an Astrotrac.  However and this goes for all astrophotography once you start using things like the Astrotrac for more than 30 seconds you need to correctly align the device to two points.  First is the pole star easy in the northern Hempisphere but more difficult here in then south.  Secondly one has to align the azimuth to the degree latitude.  The simpler way I have found for doing this is to use the iPhone app called Spyglass which when calibrated (takes a few minutes and is too difficult to explain here but it means finding a reference to calibrate to such as the moon or sun before sunset).  Once set I can take exposure of 5 minutes with no star trails like this image.  Now this is straight out of the camera, note the heart of the milky way has not yet moved above the horizon.  Also the foreground shows the astrotrac movement over the two minutes.  To get around that one can take a foreground shot for blending later on.



Lastly a shot taken at four am on my way home from Lake Tyrrell on the same night using a fish eye F/4 lens.  In this the heart of the Milky Way is now well above the horizon.  This is  30 seconds at ISO 6400  exposure no tracking.  This straight from camera after some minor adjustments in Lightroom.  To enhance further would mean applying noise reduction stacking more shots which I don’t have.  In essence I just stopped at a roadside stop set up the camera took two shots and left.




Enjoying street photography

There is something about doing street that is captivating.  Not only can one enjoy the casual acquaintance if one chooses to talk to some of those that have made the grade for being photographed but one can also enjoy the fresh air, seeing new places and the fact that in doing street there is always something new to be found.


At times when starting off, and I find this on every occasion, it takes a bit of effort to lift the camera and shoot.  After all it can be confronting, however after the first few it becomes addictive and enjoyable, for the reasons above.  Today I joined a group of fellow street enthusiasts and roamed around a few popular areas of Melbourne.  All in all a very enjoyable day.  Out of the 100 shots I found three that I really liked.


Hope you like them as well._MG_4747 _MG_4763 _MG_4779

Playing with light

As a photographer it is important to know that there is a physics principle that we most likely learnt in school many years ago (or more recently depending on age) that governs the effective light from a flash or other source.  That principle is the amount of light fall off as the distance from the source increases.  Now we know that it is an inverse square rule which means if we double the distance we get one quarter the amount of light.


Controlling the amount of light is where it gets interesting.  We can add more light, increase the ISO, open the lens i.e. a smaller f stop number, or decrease the speed.  Now sometimes using one or all of those techniques is ok.  Another way is to provide a focussed light on the subject.


How I hear you ask, well you can do what I did this morning and build yourself a fresnel magnifier for your flash for about $5 AU.  How, two bits of cardboard and a fresnel lens.  A fresnel lens what is that, well in short it is a flat magnifying glass and one can often find them in bookshops or $2 shops readily.

Attach the lens to the flash at about 25cm’s using two bits of cardboard and the have fun playing around.  There will be a little bit of juggling to get the flash to focus in the right spot but once there one can get this effect.  Normally to get this I would have to play around with Lightroom and vignetting etc to get the highlighted look.  A unfocussed flash would have too much spread.

Now it is a useful tool just remember if you make one to use it when required and not over use it.


Lake Tyrrell

Lake Tyrrell is situated in the Mallee region of Victoria.  Much of which is a marginal farming district adjacent to the National Park called Sunset Country.  As a national park it is open to tourists but be warned it is classed as four wheel drive country and not an area to visit in summer.  Despite that if one gets the opportunity to venture into Sunset Country it has a raw beauty associated with harsh dry conditions.  However I digress as I was going to mostly write about Lake Tyrrell,  very rarely anything other than a salt lake.


One can visit Lake Tyrrell via a viewing platform just outside a town called Sea Lake.  The view from there is quite distant but it allows one to see the scope of the salt lake.  Tyrrell is not on the same scale as the Salt lakes of South Australia such as Lake Eyre or Lake Frome but it is much closer to Melbourne than those lakes and therefore much easier for me to visit.  At some stage I intend going to one of the South Australian lakes.


If one wants to get closer to Tyrell then one is best advised to visit the Salt Mining company and introduce yourself and obtain their permission to drive around the lake as they currently hold the lease.  Now it is unlikely that they would protest if one ventured into the area without their permission but I still think it is the best policy to let them know that one is going to be driving around.  One final warning about driving around the perimeter of Tyrrell,  four wheel drive is a must and don’t go if it or has recently been raining.  Failing to follow these warnings will result in a long walk back for help.


Now for the photos, just two of the lake surface taken with a fisheye lens.  The first is around 1pm with a clear sky and shows the pinkish tinge to the lake, however from a distance it is white in appearance.



The second was taken around 7:15pm at sunset.


High Key flowers

Today a little bit of rain meant that some Clematis flowers growing in my yard would have some nice water droplets.  Therefore it was time to do another high key flower or three and add to my growing collection of Suburban Botanicals ( a collection of flowers, plants and leaves from my neighbourhood).


Here it is and I hope you like it.