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I've just finished putting together a selection of photographs for a calendar company in Europe. Not sure who it is yet as my agent has organised it, which sounds very swish. "My European agent, darling, doesn't everyone have one?" If you live in Europe, it probably doesn't sound as swish as an Australian agent!
In the process of selecting 12 images, my agent's client picked 9 images and then asked if there was anything more they could look at - and were there any photos without dark skies!
As photographers, we can get hung up on what other photographers think of our work, yet the greater public still seems very impressed with a photograph that is bright, colourful and correctly exposed. And has light skies, obviously!
The photo of Hill Inlet on Whitsunday Island above is one of the new images I provided and that was selected. I think many regular readers will think it doesn't include much of 'my style', but when you're selling your work, the client is in control.
Do you want to take great photographs? Master the two essential photographic crafts - exposure and composition - by learning from two of Australia's leading AIPP Grand Masters of Photography. Peter Eastway and David Oliver will demystify the complexities of exposure, colour, framing and composition at David's Hunter Valley farm, just perfect for taking great photographs. Please read the program below to see if this is the type of content that could take you to the next level!
To read more about the program or make a booking click here!
I mentioned to a few photographers recently that I learnt a lot about light in the landscape by learning how to light for portraiture. My teachers were Robert Billington and David Oliver, and now David and I are teaching portraiture and portraiture lighting up at David's farm in the Lower Hunter Valley.
The workshop is in David's old dairy, except it's a brand new building purpose built as a gallery and presentation room. It also has large south facing windows which make perfect light for portraiture, once you know how!
Our next Natural Light Portraiture workshop is on Sunday 21 September up in the Hunter Valley. Love to see you there! Read further information by clicking here.
Make the Educational Photo Expo a day for the family. It does not matter if you are a beginner or an experienced professional photographer, you will get something out of the day.
Listen to some of the best photographers in the country. Learn "How to shoot someone you don't know", "What camera gear to pack when travelling", How to "shoot" wildlife in darkest Africa or get the low down on taking the best food shots and turn them into a stunning recipe memory book...move over Masterchef.
Talk to the experts on the exhibitors' tables and see some demos. If you are interested in audio with your DSLR, then attend David Green's session "Creating great audio from your DSLR". You could win a fantastic Zoom H5 Handy Recorder valued at $450. This is a great prize for the novice who wants to do much more or the professional who can!
Of course with Father's Day just around the corner, then a ticket to the Photo Expo is a great gift. He can even listen to a professional photographer talk about his experiences as a photojournalist. He will learn how to take macro photos, delve into the art of photographing family and friends or get down and dirty with a lesson on street photography.
Sponsored by Canon and Nikon and supported by Ted's Cameras and Camera House, there are door prizes such as a Nikon D610 digital camera valued at $2,900, a Nikon 1 V2 digital camera valued at $900, vouchers to learn photography and more.
For more information about the Educational Photo Expo and how to buy tickets visit www.educationalphotoexpo.com.au. At only $25 per session or a best buy ticket of five sessions for $80 you can't go wrong!
It's a big lens! It's pricey! And it's beautiful!
Phase One has announced the Schneider Kreuznach 40-80mm f/4.0-5.6 leaf shutter zoom lens, the second zoom lens designed for the Phase One 645 camera platform, joining the Schneider Kreuznach 75-150mm f/4.0-5.6.
"Designing a zoom lens with excellent optical qualities throughout the zoom range is always a challenge," said Senior Product Manager Espen Beck, Phase One. "When the zoom range goes from a fairly wide-angle perspective to a normal perspective, as our new lens does, this only adds to the design complexity. This lens has 15 optical elements, two of which are aspherical, arranged in 11 groups. We have invested greater design and engineering resources into this lens than any of those before it and we are very proud of the results. I think that this lens will be a perfect companion for on-location photographers."
The idea of a zoom lens replacing two or three other lenses is appealing, but going on location usually carries with it some weight restrictions. The 40-80mm weighs 1860 g, so it's no lightweight, but then again, nothing is for medium format!
The prime lenses in the Phase One range that have comparable focal lengths are the 35mm at 480 g, the 45mm at 492 g, the 55mm at 660 g and the 80mm is 500 g, a total of 2132 g. So, yes, if you're replacing these four lenses with the new 40-80mm, your camera bag will indeed be lighter!
Of course, having a zoom lens means being able to reframe and respond to your subject without annoying lens changes. There are definite advantages in a zoom design.
The real question is how does the lens perform. I had the opportunity to give the f4 lens a trial and, like most lenses, best performance doesn't happen wide-open. However, you don't have to close the aperture down much before the image quality snaps from great into 'simply amazing' mode. At f5.6 and at both ends of the zoom range, the new 40-80mm delivers the superlative results you'd expect from a Schneider lens. This is one sharp puppy!
To read more about the Phase One 40-80mm zoom, visit the L&P Digital Photographic website at http://www.lapfoto.com.au/products_view.cfm?ProductID=410
Just back from a landscape photography workshop on the Fleurieu Peninsula with a great group of South Australians and some of the most welcoming hospitality from Ron and Sonya - thank you! There were also some amazing landscapes and seascapes to be found, especially when you wander around the points and headlands surrounding Victor Harbor (the only harbour in the world spelt without a 'u').
The photo's location is at Petrel Cove, to the left of the stairs running down to the beach. Behind us on the other side of the headland is another bay with lots of shipwrecks, but I couldn't help thinking that if someone were shipwrecked out in front of these rocks, there's a very good chance they'd be skewered as they swam ashore!
The composition was a little rushed as the light was fading quickly. I wanted to position the rocks in a way that balanced the little islet out on the horizon, but I couldn't quite find the right spot. I'm sure it's there, but that will be for a return visit.
Instead, I moved the island. It required several months of permissions and council bureaucracy, but eventually we organised for two large tug boats to drag the recalcitrant bunch of rocks into the correct position, and I took the photo.
So, which is better? The island in the middle or the island to the left? Perhaps I should move the island to the right instead...
If you're interested in learning more about landscape photography (more about capture than post-production), I'm holding an Advanced Landscape photography workshop in Dee Why at the end of August, followed by a Landscape Photography Business workshop on the Sunday. There are still a few spaces available for both events. Click here for details.
The winner of the Creative Flair category in the 2013 Photograph of the Year competition run by Better Photography magazine was Suellen Cook. Who will win this year's competition? Entries close 31 August 2014, so get your entries in soon!
You never know what might be entered in the Creative Flair category! We have everything from macro photographs of unusual subjects to intricate composites like Suellen Cook's winning image above.
One aspect of Suellen's photograph that appealed to the judges is its imagination. In many photographic disciplines, the photographic skill is in capturing something that is already there or that happens in front of the camera, but we find in the Creative Flair category that photographs which show the photographer's ability to think outside the square are more highly rewarded. This doesn't mean that it has to be a composite photograph to win, rather that it must show the judges something that is unusual, imaginative and brilliantly executed.
Suellen's image is a composite of 28 separate photographs, taken at different times with different settings from which specific selections were made and then all blended together in Photoshop to make a new image.
"The idea behind the image is a modern 'take' on the nursery rhyme, The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. My version is about a young woman who would rather indulge in luxury (drinking martinis and lying around in the sun) than bother with housework and putting the washing on the line.
"The model is my 21 year old daughter; the beautiful, sexy Doc Martin boot belongs to a dear friend of mine and the remaining elements are photos that I have taken specifically for this image or collected over time.
"Post-production took in excess of 40 hours, although not all at once. The putting together of the elements and layering the image to take on the 'look' I am trying to achieve takes a considerable amount of time, both in Photoshop work and aesthetic assessment.
"The idea is usually developed on paper first, with a sketched drawing of the composition and a list of the elements I want to incorporate. I then shoot all the things on the list if I don't already have them (which generally I don't).
"In post-production, I start with the background and work my way up to the fine detail of the image. I try to shoot all the elements in the same type of light and with the light coming from the same direction, although this is not always possible. The images usually tell me how they want to be, they take on a life of their own, so putting them away and coming back to them is an important part of image development."
You can see more of Suellen's images on her website: www.suellencook.com
One of the best ways to improve your photography it to ask for feedback. There are plenty of ways to obtain it, but Facebook friends are unlikely to give it to you straight! In comparison, entering our photography competition is done anonymously, so we don't know who you are when the judges give you a score and a helpful comment about your work. What you receive is honest, direct feedback.
The 2014 competition is now open and entry is $20 a photo or five entries for $80. Each entry will receive a short critique, plus you can win Gold, Silver or Bronze awards - how many Silvers can you achieve? How many Golds?
To visit the competition website, go to the Better Photography website and follow the Other Links menu, or you can go there directly by clicking here. And thanks to our great sponsors!