Almost Weekly Photo

Wanted: Travellers to Georgia & Armenia

Ushguli towers, Georgia. Love the vehicles below.Phase One A-Series, 100MP,…

Have Aerials Passed Their Use-By Date?

Station track, Middlehurst, 2019Phase One XF, IQ4 150MP, 80mm Schneider…

Regular readers will know that I’m in the process of publishing a book for photographers, called The New Tradition. My wife Kathie has tweaked the design, including a change to the cover which features a castle in Cardona, Spain.

One of the points I raise in the book is how do you find great viewpoints from which to shoot subjects like castles, mountains or other points of interest. The answer is to go to the castle, mountain or point of interest first and then look around. What can you see in a straight line that could be a good vantage point?

For instance, from the castle walls in Cardona, I could see a road disappearing over a distant hill. Given it was a road, I figured I could drive there, so early the following morning, I used common sense to get me to that road and parked the car. The view was behind me!

Of course, sometimes the roads are private and sometimes the foreground is horrible. In fact, the foreground in the Cardona shot was a bit busy, but this was solved with a little judicious cloning.

At the end of last year, the printer sent me an email asking what colour we wanted the head and tail bands (the little bit of stitching you may have never noticed that sits inside the spine of a hard cover book). It’s a little detail (we decided on black), but important in giving the book a great finish.

We also received a mock-up of the book sitting inside it’s mailing carton (padded on all four sides for extra safety). Which way did we want the book in the carton – cover up, or back cover up? We went for the cover!

So, at this stage, the book is ready to be printed and bound and it will be shipping its way to us in Australia in mid-February. And then we’re into postage mode and sending out the books to the orders we currently have – thanks for your support!

There’s still a chance to secure a copy of the book with a special pre-publication offer – just $95 including postage and packaging ($145 outside Australia) – but you’ll need to purchase it before the book arrives (because then it won’t be a pre-publication offer)!

And because I’m a firm believer in not just the printed page, but the photographic print as well, I have a special ‘book and print package’ which includes an original, limited edition print, from the book and signed by me! For $295, it's an amazing offer that my accountant says everyone should have!

Click here for further details and the website page:

Patricia Lake, Jasper, Canada
Phase One XF 100MP, 55mm Schneider lens, f11 @ 1/4 second, ISO 50

Is photography changing? I'm currently writing the next issue of Better Photography and I have interviewed New Zealand portrait photographer Tony Carter. Tony has won the New Zealand Professional Photographer of the Year award five or six times now. In the earlier years, he was a digital composite guru, producing the most amazing compositions with fearlessly flawless technique.

In more recent times, he has returned to straight photography. He indicated he even relishes the opportunity to leave a few rough edges in his photographs, rough edges which make the image 'real'. I think I understood him correctly.

The photograph above is of Patricia Lake near Jasper in Canada. It was shot on a PODAS workshop last year (Tony Hewitt and I are leading another tour there next year). When we all bundled out of the bus in the pre-dawn gloaming, we were a little concerned about the low cloud, thinking we might miss the sunrise. We needn't have worried.

As you can see, we got the light. It was picture-postcard perfect - but is it too perfect? Is this just a chocolate box shot? Environmentalists would probably disagree because the evergreen pine trees are being eaten alive by beetles and the 'colourful' reds are not the sign of a healthy forest, unfortunately. And there are rows of houses and hotels behind us, out of sight. So there are some 'untruths' in the beauty, but I'm thinking you at least stopped to have a look exactly because of that beauty.

But too beautiful? I'm not saying this is a perfect photograph, but it's certainly 'pretty'. The question is, where does it sit in modern day photography? Are we over the perfect landscape? Or is there still room?

We spend a lot of time and money travelling as photographers and perhaps the strangest trips are by Australians flying over New Zealand.

I confess I travelled to Europe, Africa and South America before I stepped foot in New Zealand, and then it was to go skiing, but once I'd sampled the delights of the South Island especially, you can hardly keep me away. Iceland is great, Patagonia is amazing, but New Zealand really has it all and the ice cream and chocolate are great too!

I thought I'd post a few photographs taken from our last Middlehurst art photography workshop. A couple of the aerials are down at Cape Campbell, on the north western tip of the South Island. You can see how the earthquake raised the rock shelf in places a year or so ago. And it was pretty windy when we flew, but when you're over the ocean, strong wind isn't such a problem as it's completely flat below, whereas when you're flying over hilly land, you can find the trip a little bumpy. Keep your shutter speeds up high and all will be well.

Near Cape Campbell

Vineyard patterns, down the valley from Middlehurst.

Middlehurst Station

I confess I generally like aerials without the sky. When you include the sky, as in the overview of Middlehurst above, it becomes more of a record shot. And that's fine. What's not to like about a view like that?

On the other hand, when the sky is omitted, the resulting photographs can be more abstract in nature and I think this gives them more impact. Of course, as aerials become increasingly popular, especially with drones, we're all going to have to re-think our approach to aerials photography if we want to stay ahead of the pack!

Tony Hewitt and I have two photo tour/workshops in New Zealand next year if you're interested. One at Middlehurst again, the second an exploration of nearby D'Urville Island and also Cape Campbell where we'll be staying in the lighthouse buildings. Check it out on the Better Photography website!

The Middlehurst trip has now sold out, but just in case we have any cancellations we can put you on the wait list or we are taking expressions of interest for our trip in 2020.  Just email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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