Category Archives: Uncategorized

Keeping the Creative Juices Flowing

In these times of working from home, and with the recent relaxation of the rules regarding COVID19, there has been a real temptation to go out more on the weekends. However, we have exercised restraint as both Marie and I don’t want to have the virus as we are older and therefore more suspect to being hit harder.

So how have we been maintaining our interest in photography? We have had limited trips into the city on the last couple of weekends to do some street photography. I have also been practicing compositing using Photoshop to create altered reality images. This has been a lot of fun.

Here is a sampling of the images:

This one is really quite simple. The cranes and the circus rider sculpture with a texture overlay. The texture was some spider web in the corner of one of the windows at home.

Again, this is a simple image. The background and the woman walking through. The woman was taken from a street photography image. A texture was applied again created from spider web taken at home and manipulated in Photoshop.

The great part about having many images in my library that I haven’t used is it gives me a great selection to choose from for composites. The background scene was taken in Melbourne and the flying fish was taken up near Redcliffe. The texture was created by manipulating an image of water in Photoshop.

This image features a lot of manipulation. However, it is still only a composite of three images. This works for me as the window says “Smith & Daughters” and in the foreground are two young women who may well be sisters. The texture is an image of purple light onto a wall and manipulated in Photoshop.

Another three image composite. The texture was an image of the back deck at home manipulated in Photoshop.

This is a simpler composite being only two images combined. The background building has been posterized in Photoshop and the curves adjusted to get the effect. The bicycle wheels and pavement were placed on top using the hard light blending mode to achieve this effect.

How have you been keeping your creative juices flowing?

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Staying Home to Stay Healthy

A lot of things have changed since my last post. The COVID19 pandemic has resulted in the need to stay home to stay healthy. Fortunately I am able to do my work from home and have adjusted well in that regard. However, the same hasn’t been true for my photography.

Also, out of the blue, Marie’s hard drive containing her photos died. I spent time on restoring a backup to her new hard drive. However, some images were lost due to some issues with the backups. So it has been time to revisit our backup strategy to try to avoid a similar recurrence.

The photos I have made lately were when we drove past Forest Lake a few weeks ago and stopped to see the surface covered in a green plant. The City Council is trying to restore the health of the lake and this is a part of the process. Here are some images:

An overview of the lake
A close up of the lake surface
Looking towards a shore line and a water hen
Creating an abstract image out of a close up of the lake surface

I haven’t entered images into the last two monthly competitions conducted by the Brisbane Camera Group. In resigning from all my roles at the club, and the impacts of social distancing, I have lacked motivation to participate in the competitions.

One of my aims over the coming weeks is to further my photography education through online courses. I am hoping this will stimulate my creativity. In the last week, I watched a couple of Brook Shaden clips on YouTube. She illustrated how she created an image of herself coming out of a wall and the post processing involved. While it wasn’t an in depth presentation, it was enough to make me start thinking of the possibilities.

Lindsay Adler also has some interesting material on YouTube. I watched one clip where she explained how to look at a studio image and to work out how many lights were used to create the shot. While I don’t do much studio work, this was still very insightful on how lights are used to create various looks in images.

Well, that’s all for now. Until next time, stay safe – stay healthy.

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2020 Vision

2020 started in Melbourne after watching the fireworks on New Years Eve at Docklands. Marie and I had a wonderful time and what a way to start the year. A spur of the moment decision to go to Melbourne but it proved to be inspired. We both enjoyed the photography opportunities Melbourne offers.

From visiting art galleries, seeing shows and savoring the dining opportunities, we had no need to venture too far from the CBD area.

In fact we enjoyed our Melbourne visit so much we decided to change our February wedding anniversary holiday week from the Gold Coast to Melbourne.

We returned to Melbourne and one of our first experiences was a photo walk conducted by Melbourne Camera Club. We were made very welcome and enjoyed the walk. It was really well organised and we enjoyed photographing parts of South Melbourne before joining our fellow attendees for dinner at a local hotel.

Another highlight of our Melbourne visit was to see War Horse at the Regent Theater. It was a moving experience in a stunning theater. I would definitely see it again.

Other highlights were visiting the State Library (a truly beautiful building) and the Exhibition building for the Russian festival.

Here are some images from the visit:

20-Off

Image 1 of 21

The first competition month at Brisbane Camera Group was February and the topic was a song or film title. The definition was: “The image must bring to mind the title of a song or film which is in the public domain, either recent or historical. This can be achieved either by word association or scene association with elements of the image providing clear clues as to the title of a valid song or film.

February was my first competition submission as an A Grade member at the club. I was pleasantly surprised to receive one acceptance and two Merits.

Here are the images I submitted:

Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is – Acceptance
Searching for a Heart – Merit
What’s Going On – Merit

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2019 – The Year that Was

Well, the Brisbane Camera Group Annual Competition has finished, and it was very much an anticlimax for me. I was the only member to compete in the print section of my grade, so I received awards for first, second and third in each section I competed in. In the sections where grades did not apply, my images didn’t get close to a win.

To see the photos I submitted into the Annual Competition, please visit my Gallery. All my images were submitted as prints.

The club celebrated its 70th Anniversary as well as the annual awards at a dinner function earlier this month. As part of the celebrations a photobook was produced. I am very proud that a couple of my images were chosen for inclusion within the book. You can view a sample of the photobook here.

In the awards section of the evening, I was recognised for scoring the most points in my grade for the monthly competitions. I received a medallion for this achievement. Also, I received the Patron’s book prize for my service to the club in 2019. This award was a big surprise as I didn’t think I would receive anything other than the medallion.

At the start of the year I set the target of becoming an A Grade member for 2020. This was achieved even though I experienced a couple of rocky months with my entries. Over the Christmas break I will reassess and set a new goal for 2020.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Goal Achieved!

Another busy month due to family matters but I still managed to submit my monthly competition prints and my annual competition prints. October’s set subject was “high key” which was quite a challenging topic. I achieved one acceptance and two merits which I was pleased with.

Surf Rescue Training

This image received am acceptance. Through using a shallow depth of field, I was unable to have all parts of the image nice and sharp. The judge said letting the image drift into a silhouette would have worked well as the art is in the shape.

Mirror Image

I was not sure how this image would be regarded. However, the judge thought it was worthy of a merit. He said it is a very complicated image on first viewing but it holds you in for a while so you can get your bearings.

Down but Not Out

This image was awarded a merit which I am very grateful for. The judge commented “Thank god humour in photography isn’t lost!” This image is inventive, fun and well done. I must admit it was fun creating this image.

At the start of the year I set out to create prints for each competition and to qualify for advancement to A Grade within Brisbane Camera Group. I am pleased to say I have achieved both these goals. In 2020, I will be competing in A Grade which will really challenge me. The learning process continues!

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A Quick Update

It has continued to be busy with Marie’s dad in rehabilitation. Little time has been available for photography, especially new work. This month at Brisbane Camera Group the competition topic was “Framed”. I submitted three images into the set subject for judging.

Artist at Work

The image above was awarded an Acceptance. The judge thought the woman was a distraction and that the image had been over worked as there was some halo effects in places.

Through a Window

This image was awarded a Merit. It was praised for the placement of the people within the frame. It was also acknowledged that in camera multiple exposures can be quite difficult to create and this one was a success.

And The Cock Crowed

This image was also awarded a Merit. The judged commented that it was sharp right through the image and was a great example of “framed”.

Overall, a satisfactory night’s performance and these results keep me on track for promotion to A Grade. With one more month to go, I can’t afford to slack off.

That’s all for now. Until next time, keep on creating!

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The Best Laid Plans………….

Phew! What a month it has been. As can happen, the best laid plans come to zero. Our lives were turned around on Sunday 4 August when the Police phoned and told Marie her father had been involved in a motor vehicle accident. They said he was in hospital and that he was okay. We immediately stopped what we were doing at the time and went straight to the hospital.

As the evening unfolded and we spoke to the medical staff in the emergency department, we were not certain how the future would unfold. Would he pass away, or would he make a full recovery, or would it be somewhere in between? Being 92 years of age, his chances were not rated highly. The Neuro Surgeon told us he had a bleed on the brain and some fractured vertebrae in his spine.

Given these circumstances, we cancelled our planned 5-week overseas holiday so we could be here to assist in his recovery and adaption to life without a motor vehicle. Now, he is in rehabilitation and progressing well. Accordingly, photography has been less prominent in our lives as we have spent a lot of time visiting him and attending to some of his affairs.

I am pleased I had devoted some time to choosing images for the monthly competitions so I could submit entries for while we were away. This meant I just had to send the images to the printer for them to be ready. For the August competition I submitted my entries into the Open section. The results I obtained were very pleasing. Here are my entries and the results:

Cloud over Marseille – (Merit)

Three Doors – (Merit)

Burlesque Babe – (Honour)

As I mentioned last post, the opportunity to learn about Photoshop from Andy Cross through Maud Street Photo Gallery over six Sundays was too good to pass up. I completed the last three modules since last post and now need to get my notes up to date and indexed so I can find the techniques I need during my workflow. As with most things, if I don’t use what I have learned, it will be forgotten and attending the course will have been a waste.

The September competition topic is “Framed”. The definition we have been provided with is:

Framed refers to using elements of a scene to create a frame within your frame. For example, you might shoot through a doorway, pulled back curtains, branches, fences, tunnels, or arches to highlight your subject.

I have worked on some images that fit this definition. They will likely be the ones I submit to the set subject category rather than the open category in September.

Until next time, keep on creating!

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Learning Opportunities

Where did the time go? Seems like the last few weeks are one big blur! There haven’t been many opportunities to get the camera out and make some images. From having a week and a half off work due to the flu and spending the last three Sundays attending Photoshop lessons, very little time has been left over.

The deadline for submitting images for the monthly competition seemed to approach without warning and caught me unprepared. Therefore, I quickly scrambled three images I entered in the annual competition last year and submitted them in the monthly open section. I was disappointed all three images were only awarded acceptances.

I think this is a valuable lesson though. Just because an image performed well in the annual competition, there is no guarantee it will perform well in the open section of the monthly competitions.

Leanne in the Ring – this image placed second in the People section of the annual competition last year. The judge indicated there were some lighting issues with the image especially around the hand gesture. This area is a key focus point of the image that we want the viewer to look at and the hand is not lit well enough to draw the eye.

Preparing for Winter – this image placed first in the Social Documentary/Photo Journalism section of the annual competition. As an image in the Open section, it didn’t hit the mark well enough. The guy throwing the piece of wood is too dark and needs to be lightened so he is more a point of focus in the image. Some of the lighter areas could be darkened to draw the eye through the image.

Weaver at Work – this image placed third in the Social Documentary/Photo Journalism section of the annual competition. The judge indicated this may have worked better as a black and white image due to the varying strong colours in the background which distract the viewer.

Photoshop is a tool I have used but struggled with in the past. My prior education has been via Google searches to find out how to do what I wanted to achieve. The opportunity to learn from Andy Cross through Maud Street Photo Gallery over six Sundays was too good to pass up. To date, I have completed three modules with three modules to go.

Marie and I are going on a long-awaited break soon so I am working hard to prepare my competition images for while we are away. Also, I am aiming to prepare images for just after we get back. This will reduce the pressure and make it easier to start reviewing the images we have returned with.

Until next time, keep on creating!

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Negative Space

This month has been a mixed bag with Marie having her cataracts removed and a little down time as a result. I have also spent some time thinking of some techniques I need to work on. A couple of weekends ago, I wanted to test a Photoshop technique where you can photograph a scene and have the people removed. To achieve this, I took my tripod out and captured images for approximately eight minutes of various buildings around Brisbane. Taking an image every 45 seconds resulted in around 10 images per location.

The ten images for a location are then loaded into one file in Photoshop and a script is run which creates an image of the unchanged parts of the images taken. Most had some artefacts still, but I had one image where it required virtually no extra work to get the result I wanted. This image was of the Brisbane GPO and it appears below:

Marie and I are focusing on improving our fitness and on most Saturdays walked to build stamina and along the way capture some images. Here is a small selection of images I captured on these walks:

I submitted some images for the Presenters Night at BCG this month. A short showing of members current work is made so we can see how our images look on the large screen. Here are the ones I submitted:

BCG came second in the River City Print Competition which was a very pleasing outcome for the club. This competition is “impact judged” and my prints performed around the middle of the pack. Looking at the scores reinforces to me how subjective judging can be. I had one print in the Non-A Grade Colour section and it scored 21 out of a possible 30 points. The three judges scored it as 8, 5, & 8. The highest scoring print in the section scored 26 out of 30 points.

The most surprising result for me was my print “Walking Down the Alleyway” which was in the Non-A Grade Monochrome section. In the BCG annual competition late last year, this image was judged the best overall monochrome print for the club. The judges in the River City Print Competition judged it as 3, 5, & 8 totalling 16 out of a possible 30 points. The diversity in scores from the judges for this print shows just how much subjectivity there is in judging.

I entered two images in the set subject for the BCG monthly competition. The set subject topic was “Negative Space”. I received one acceptance and one honour. Also, I entered one image in Open and it received an acceptance. The highlight for me was winning the best image overall in my grade for the month for which I received a Sponsors Award from Brisbane Camera Hire to the value of $30.

Golden Tower – Acceptance
The Damage Has Been Done – Acceptance
Dancer in White – Honour

July’s Competition topic is “Photo Replication”. The definition is: “Photo Replication is the copy or reproduction of a famous photograph, painting, sculpture or piece of art. It can be replicated, reproduced or copied in any way as interpreted by the photographer, however the photo must clearly remind the viewer of the artist’s/photographer’s style. Photo  Replication is not considered plagiarism as this is the intention of this concept to flatter the artist’s/photographer’s work by copying or reproducing his/her’s work. The image can be in mono or colour.

This is going to be a challenging topic!

Until next time, keep on creating!

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Conventions, Competitions and Photo Walks

Marie and I attended the Photographic Society of Queensland (PSQ) Convention which was held over the long weekend in May. It was a great opportunity to catch up with some old faces and to meet some new ones too. The program was varied, and I gained some insights that I am sure will help my photography over time.

The keynote speaker was Professor Des Crawley who spoke on “Visual Cultures and the Imagined Vision”. There was so much in this presentation and I am very grateful he made the slides and supporting material available to attendees. I am planning to refresh my memory by working through his papers.

He also closed the Convention by speaking on “Developing Creativity at Club Level – The Portfolio Process”. This talk also provided many insights and I think will assist me with my next print project with Brisbane Camera Group (BCG). Many of the principles can also be applied to photobooks too.

Another speaker I found particularly interesting was Adam Williams. He spoke on “The Search for Meaningful Photography” and lead a workshop on “Creative Photoshop Wizardry”. Russell Brown spoke on “Change the Channel – Utilising the power of colour spaces in Photoshop” and afterwards I purchased his book, so I could follow some of his techniques to improve my images.

My first photobook arrived in the post during the month. It was done using chatbooks and I am happy with the results. Like any other first, it is a learning process. I need to pay more attention to the settings when I am ordering as the size was not what I expected. Also, I thought I selected that the title be on the spine but that didn’t happen. From a image selection perspective, I need to be careful not to have key elements too close to where the book is bound.

Recently I attended a photo walk conducted by Bruno Domingues Photography which focused on natural light portraiture in various Brisbane CBD locations. There were approximately 30 attendees and 6 models. This was very much an opportunity to create images of the models rather than being a workshop. Here is a selection of some of my images:

Each Presenters Night at BCG has a short showing of members’ work. I don’t submit every month as I often forget or am more focused on getting my competition images ready. This month I did submit some images and here they are:

Each year the club enters the River City Print Competition which is for clubs located in South East Queensland. I have been fortunate enough to have some of my images selected to form part of the club entry. They are below:

I entered three images in the set subject for the BCG monthly competition. The set subject topic was “Impressionist”. I received 2 Merits and 1 Honour.

Everglade Reflections – Merit
Waiting for the Storm to Pass – Merit
Peaceful Fields – Honour

June’s Competition topic is “Negative Space”. The definition is “Negative space, is the space around and between the subject(s) of an image. Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, not the subject itself, forms an interesting or artistically relevant shape, and such space occasionally is used to artistic effect as the “real” subject of an image.

I haven’t given this topic any thought yet, so I had better get moving and seeing what I can produce. It is always good to have a challenge that I can learn and improve from.

Until next time, keep on creating!