Almost Weekly Photo

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Aerial With Cloud, Middlehurst, New Zealand.
Phase One XF 100MP, Schneider 80mm lens, 1/2500 second @ f2.8, ISO 200

What is our ultimate aim as photographers? I think it is to produce photographs that please us. There is no guarantee anything we do will please another human being, so that seems to be an exercise fraught with peril, even if it's something we all aspire to do. I mean, I'd prefer it if you liked this photograph.

But it isn't necessary. I like it. It's a favourite. It has been sitting on my work-print board for the last month or so as I figure out what I want to do. I love the simplicity of the composition, the tight cropping, the ethereal cloud in the middle. I like the narrow colour palette and the highlights on the wrinkled, crumpled mountain range that sits behind Middlehurst Station.

I believe our ultimate aim is to produce photographs that we like, that we're pleased with. This doesn't mean we don't share our images with other people, or enter competitions, or take criticism and re-consider what we're doing. All of this is part of the growing experience as a photographer.

But if after some time you reach a point where you're pleased with a lot of the photographs you produce, then I think you've made it.

Of course, this is no excuse for complacency. Just because you like it this week doesn't mean you'll still like it next week or the year after. As we grow and develop as photographers, so does our 'taste' and our 'discernment'. Liking the photographs you take today doesn't mean you have become the best you can, but it does indicate you're on the right path!

For readers in Sydney and the environs, please come along to my Evening Atelier at Dee Why RSL this Wednesday evening at 7pm. You can buy a ticket online for $9.95 which helps with catering (tea and coffee), but you can also also pay $10 cash if you turn up on the night!

This Wednesday I have my good friend Steve Gosling from the UK giving a short presentation on his simply beautiful black and white photography. I'll be featuring my Middlehurst images and Momento Pro book (Middlehurst is where Tony Hewitt and I take a small creative photography masterclass each year - we have two seats left for this July).

And what about this photo in black and white? Click through to the website to see if it works as well.

 

at^el^ier [a studio especially for an artist, designer or photographer]

 

Date: Wednesday 28 March 2018

Time: 7 to 10pm

Venue: Dee Why RSL - Sydney

Clarence Avenue, Dee Why

 

Peter will be conducting 5 Evening Ateliers at Dee Why RSL, each will be completely different content.

 

The second evening is on 28 March and includes Travel Portfolio, Middlehurst NZ; Inspiration, Ansel Adams; Technique, Channel Masks; and Steve Gosling!

 

Book your place now! Click here

See content of each Evening Atelier below:

Hill outside Glen Helen, Central Australia.
Phase One 645DF, IQ180 back, 300mm Mamiya lens, 3 seconds @ f5.6, ISO 35

 

There's no doubting the magical quality of light in Australia's Red Centre, especially after sunset. The base colour of the earth is so rich and red that everything is coloured, so much so that people who haven't visited the Red Centre often query whether photographs depict the real colour or not.

 

On occasion, I have reduced the saturation in the reds so it could fit into the gamut provided by the ink and paper combination I was printing to. On other occasions, I have reduced the red just to make it look more believable. It really can be very, very red.

 

And of course, there have been other times that I have increased the red for aesthetic purposes! The point I'm labouring is that colour in photography is far from absolute or precise and that we can do a lot of things to our files to render them as we see fit. Or as we experienced them.

 

So, what about the colour in this photo? If you click through to the website, you'll see the raw file with minimal processing. It shows that the base colours are there, but the sky is pretty washed out and the colours are not as rich as perceived by the eye (or at least by my memory).

 

As I stood on the knoll behind Glen Helen Homestead Lodge, I couldn't help but marvel at the silvery light with a hint of rose and its effect on the surrounding hills. However, while capturing high quality pixels, the long exposure had lightened everything up and lost the magic. Temporarily. 

 

In Capture One (or Lightroom), I explored the colour temperature settings until I produced the right balance of blue in the sky and red in the hills. I then added in some contrast to build the richness of the colours, and then added a little colour saturation as well. Finally, I darkened down the image to regain the magic, but using an adjustment layer in Capture One, lightened up the little hill as though it were capturing the last rays of sunset. This was made easier because the edit was based on fact.

 

I hope you like it! Tony Hewitt and I are planning a workshop to Central Australia this August in conjuction with Phase One. However, there is no need to be shooting with Phase One gear to come along, although there is an option to hire a Phase One outfit if you're interested. If you've ever wondered what medium format is all about, this could be a great opportunity! But DSLR and mirrorless camera owners are most welcome!

 

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