I am not going to be winning any awards for best producer and director. In fact, I have been told my videos can be a little dull and I waffle too much! Oh well… I get asked all the time how I make my photos look the way I do, and I guess some of you want to learn how to use your camera better. So if you’re not interested in the behind the scenes stuff then don’t watch the video… you might find me dull and boring! On the other hand, if you want to see my thoughts on composition and settings then press play…
As the sun rises over the horizon another day begins… for me sunrise is one of the most peaceful times of day, why do we like to sleep through this moment each day?
It seems that Instagram has overtaken the headlines today, the company released new T&C’s (Terms and Conditions) that allows it to sell users images and information to advertisers without re-imbursing or compensating the original owner. Apparently this will take effect from the 16th January 2013 and I am not sure if it cause for panic just yet… thousands of users have been deleting their accounts and there is a flurry of negative comments across the internet in regards to the move by Instagram, my guess is that the message will be received loud and clear and the T&C’s may end up being revised or changed. But is it time to panic? I don’t think so… the change is 3 weeks away and this will give you time to consider your options, the risk of your images being used online is always present, as soon as you upload it you’re taking a risk… I wonder how many Instagram users have used an image without consent, or worse still, copied music or software? At least Instagram are asking for your permission. I am not sure of my stand on this one, and wasn’t getting a great benefit out of it anyway, so for me I may just close my account… I am interested in your feedback and thoughts so leave a comment if you’re up for it…
Along many beaches are these cool lifeguard towers… this one is on Kurrawa Beach at Broadbeach.
Recently I was asked to review the Hydra Pro HDR software for the HDR one online magazine. The software itself has a sexy User Interface and is very ‘Mac’ like. I have been using Photomatix for some time now and so I can give you a direct comparison and say that I would still choose Photomatix over Hydra. I am sure that as time goes on the Hydra software will become better but for now it is suffering from a couple of issues, the main being that it struggled to process larger files from my D800. The second issue that I found is that you have a lot of ability to control the final output image, and some of you would say this is a good thing, and I agree, but it is only good if it is easy to use and in the case of Hydra it starts to get confusing when you start making more advanced adjustments.
I think that all HDR software developers stop trying to be the one stop shop and just focus on making a program that is really good at tone mapping, aligning and de-ghosting. We can use Photoshop and a host of other plugins to add the final touches… just my thoughts!
Make sure you head over to HDRone.com and check out my full review… it should be published in the coming weeks…
‘Fire in the Sky’ – Sometimes the sunrise doesn’t look like it going to be that great, this particular morning there was a storm off the coast and the cloud on the horizon was thick and heavy… this moment as the sun broke through lasted less that 2 minutes… it pays to be ready!
I was invited to a dinner at a restaraunt called 360, for those of you unfamiliar with Sydney, that is the revolving restaraunt at the top of Sydney Tower. It stands 309 metres (1014ft) high above the Sydney CBD making for a ‘birds eye view’ of the city. Being the keen photographer that I am I took my DSLR to dinner… you never know, if conversation gets boring I can excuse myself and indulge in some image creation…
I did get the opportunity to grab some pics, and the first issue I faced was reflections, I thought if I get my lens really close to the glass, I would eliminate it… no such luck, what was worse, was these windows are double glazed, and the reflection from the outer pane of glass is destroying my image! I really didn’t get anything I was happy with.
I was planing a trip to the Gold Coast, and whilst the Sydney Tower is tall, the Q1 tower on the Gold Coast is taller! I wanted to get a shot from the top of Q1 and I knew they would probably have similar construction so I decided to start working out how to eliminate the reflections. Below I share with you how I shoot through glass.
1. A rubber Lens Hood. They come in all shapes and sizes, and I found with my wide angle lens it was visible in the corners so make sure you get a hood that will suit your lens. There are UWA rubber lens hoods. The hood allows you to press/rest your lens up against the glass to eliminate any reflections on the inner glass panel, you will still have reflections on the second ‘double’ panel of glass in the case of double glazing that a lot of these towers have unless you use item number two!
2. A dark Cloth. To get rid of the reflections on the outer pane of glass, you need to hang a dark cloth on the window, and then shoot through it. Use a 30cm x 30cm cloth, cut an X in the middle of it big enough for your lens to fit through, I suggest make it a snug fit, so it wont slip over your lens hood, this way it all stays together nicely during your shoot.
3. Suction cups (unless you are an octopus then you won’t need the suction cups). The final piece of the puzzle, use the suction cups to mount your dark cloth to the glass.
Basically, you are creating a dark room for the end of your lens, I also cleaned the glass where I was shooting to get rid of the fingerprints left by previous admirers. So there you have it… a nice cheap and effective solution to shooting through glass.
If you have been following my blog you may well remember I have had a problem with my TVC-33 tripod from Really Right Stuff. After emailing them they were more than happy to send me the replacement parts, and as expected, they arrived well packaged and quickly at no cost to me! Even though I have only had a problem with one of the spring loaded ratchet locks, they sent me 3 replacements, not only did the send replacements, they came with thorough instructions with photos and Loctite threadlock to do the job properly!
It took me about 5 mins to replace one of the ratchet locks properly, this included cleaning the old bolts with acetone. An easy fix in the end and I was pleased of how hassal free it was when dealing with Really Right Stuff… another reason why you would spend the extra dollars and get one of their tripods!
Okay, I have a confession… every time I see water I am obsessed with getting a shot of something reflecting in the water, there is an art to this and I have learnt 2 key things… one, the water needs to be smooth… and t