Monthly Archives: August 2014

Another attempt at chasing Sugimoto

Today here in Melbourne a foggy morning presented an opportunity to take a photograph of a foggy sea view.  Now while I call this chasing Sugimoto I am in fact not replicating his work, which was filmed based and generally very long exposures, producing sublimely delicate images.  What I am doing is exploring a concept in photography of minimalism,  reducing the photograph to two elements with a graduation between the two that makes the boundary indistinguishable.

Previous attempts have often lacked that subtle graduation between the sky and the sea.  In this case it is fog and the sea.  there is a major problem this image to my mind:  I should have taken a tripod so that I could have fitted a neutral density filter enabling a longer exposure so as to reduce the sea to a much softer part of the photograph.  By not using a tripod I have reduced the my ability to make the boundary indistinguishable.  Therein lies that truth for all photographers, take a tripod with you for landscapes, you may  not need to use it but if you do then you can.  Having no tripod has limited this photograph.   


Having said all that I still like the photograph, however it does show that to produce a really fine work, especially in landscape one must be prepared to go again and again to find that image that really works.




Continuing the Suburban Botanical series

I have for nearly two years been taking high key photos of leaves, plants and flowers that I find in my neighbourhood.  Lately I have had to wait for some anemone bulbs to flower and I am still waiting patiently for the Flanders Poppies to put up a few flowers as well.  I also planted a few tulip bulbs which I am hoping will produce a nice spray of flowers to add to my collection.


Today I had five anemones open their collective flower heads so it was time to pick those five heads and proceed to photographing them.  Now normally I lay the flowers down so that there is no vase to include.  However today I decided that I would vase the flowers and try that , just for a bit of variation.  With not to much to go wrong it was just 5 shots to get the one I wanted,  here it is hope you like it (including a copyright overlay which I hope is not too distracting).


Creating in Photoshop

Now that I have better control over selecting objects in Photoshop I can embark upon trying creative ideas.  Last night I had this thought of doing a tunnel with cape gooseberries emerging out of it, almost like looking into the sky through a very large telescope.


So today it was photograph a tube of aluminium ducting and then copy and paste images of gooseberries into.  Of course they needed scaling etc so that it looked somewhat like they were receding into the distance. 


Here is the result,  hope you like it.


Lake Tyrrell

I did a post on Lake Tyrrell some time ago and today I was revisiting the images from that shoot with the thought of using my slightly improved photoshop skill.  I picked one image shot with the Canon 8-15mm Fisheye and tried to improve the contrast between the sky and lake without the lake ending up to dark like the first attempt.


So today I selected the sky and just used a levels layer to reduce the mid tones and increase the blacks.  I then selected just the lake and again just used a levels and vibrance/saturation adjustment layers to bring out the colours of the lake.  Final adjustment was to merge the adjusted and original layers using overlay.  Oh and I put another layer with copyright text as a fill pattern hope it is not too distracting.


Here is the final image hope you like it.


Working with textures in photoshop

Along the lines of my last post I decided to try using textures on a simple flower photograph to further my photoshop skills.  This has become possible now that I can select a part of the image with much greater accuracy.  Previous attempts have always left me with an image that looks like I cut out the selection with a pair of pinking sheers,  not nice.

Having had a photograph of aJapanese Anemone, at least that what I think it is, and if you do know then let me know because my botanical knowledge is what one would call challenged.  I then selected the background and used a layer mask to hide it leaving only the flower.  Then added in a blank layer which is visible in the masked areas.  Into the blank layer I added a photograph of some rock and gaussian blurred that so it became more of a background instead of an in focus foreground appearance.

Finally I added another layer over the first few and then added the rock layer again, made it an overlay layer and reduced the opacity till I had something that I liked.  That finished all of the layering to get an image that seemed to work.  Finally added in a black and white layer, tweaked that to pop the pinks and yellows and added a couple of gradient maps, black and white to boost the contrast.


This is the result.


Hope you like it.



Improving my Photoshop skills

The last few days I have decided that my Photoshop skill are somewhat lacking.  This is quite a limitation, especially when I see some stunning effects that can be produced.  Is this an evolution in artistic output?  Probably.


Today I decided that I wanted to be better able to replace a sky in an image, something that has always bugged me a great deal as I could never get a nice replacement because my selection process was rubbish.  So it was onto the internet and do a bit of searching and reading and listening to videos, especially those from Adobe TV.


I found one that works a treat for easily selecting  the sky and it is done like this:

Pick your image and duplicate the layer.

Use the quick selection tool and select the sky, then click on refine edge and turn on smart radius and set for around 40, or at least that worked for me.  Also adjust sliders for contrast say around 40 and Shift Edge slider to around -20.  The using the quick select tool paint into the areas that need adjustment eg around trees.

Then say ok for selection.  Then inverse the selection and refine edge again after repeating the above slider adjustment.  Again paint areas until satisfied with the selection.  Set the output to layer mask and say ok.


Have a look at Adobe TV video for selecting and replacing sky for a very nice explanation.

Then cut and paste your layer onto the image and blend to get the effect you want.


I wanted a black background, especially after seeing Mabray Campbells  work , someone I have been following for some time.  However one has to find a building that looks good with a black background.


This is the result of doing two images.  Am I pleased at finding a quick and very effective selection process, sure am.  Hope this helps anyone trying to do the same.

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Looking at Melbourne

A few years ago the Eureka Tower was built in Southbank, Melbourne.  Eureka for Australia has cultural significance as it featured in a small rebellion against unjust treatment of miners near Ballarat.  The most well know aspect of the whole incident was the Eureka stockade a fortification erected by the miners to repel the government troopers.   From that particular incident a flag was created which featured a stylised Souther Cross on a blue background.


The Eureka tower in its design has some features that reflect the incident.  Part of the tower is golden in colour with a red stripe to represent blood and the building itself has a blue and white theme picking up the colours of the flag.

After a visit on Friday with Leanne Cole (thank you Leanne for inviting me) we took a few photographs from the 88th floor.  The single biggest problem is getting rid of reflections in the glass windows.  There is quite extensive lighting inside all of which is nice but oh so difficult when trying to photograph Melbourne.  Despite all of that I have three shots that are ok, meaning not to many noticeable reflections.


Here they are hope you enjoy them and if you are in Melbourne and looking for a great aspect to see Melbourne from then visit the Eureka Tower.


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