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Better Photography Free Content

Capture One Express and Capture One Pro are raw image processors which allow you to process, edit and refine your camera's raw files. It isn't designed to replace Photoshop, but it can be used as a final image editor if required, offering both global and local adjustments.

Ormiston Gorge, Central Australia


Ormiston Gorge isn’t as big as the Grand Canyon, nor as deep or as wide, but it does have a spiritual presence. The age of the rocks, the ruggedness of the terrain, the light spinifex grasses and the white trunked gum trees create an enchanting landscape. Around two hours west of Alice Springs, it’s not far from Glen Helen Gorge where we were staying for the night and we planned to be there for the morning shoot.

We awoke at a reasonable time, 5.00 a.m. which was an hour or so before sunrise. A short trip in our vehicle and we found ourselves at the mouth of the Gorge. From the car park, you can take a level stroll around a dry river bed and into the gorge itself. There are several deep pools locked by towering rock walls, but to walk further requires a more agile state of mind and some rock hopping. We went this way on a PODAS a couple of years ago with Kevin Raber, Ken Duncan and Jeff Schewe.

The other option is to climb up a path. There’s a great gum tree up the top of the rise and it can be photographed from a point half way up, or up at the tree itself. I went all the way to the top and spent a magical hour watching the light intensify, the sun rise and the light snake its way from the top of the gum tree down to the bottom of its trunk.

Just being up and out at this time of the day is wonderful enough, taking a few great landscape shots even better!

Across from the tree, a finger of land pushes into the Gorge, requiring it to dog-leg around. As the sun rises, its rays skim across the top of this land, lighting up the trees and grasses, but I’m also seeing the strong reds come through in the rock faces below and behind. To my eye, it’s a strong composition, but it requires a telephoto to make it happen. Although many people think landscape photography is best approached with a wide-angle or a panorama camera, I find a lot of my shots work better by simplifying the scene with a telephoto.

The accompanying image is photographed with a 110mm Schneider Kreuznach, so it’s only a mid-telephoto, but long enough to crop the scene and eliminate the sky behind. By removing the sky, the image has the feeling that the rock face behind goes upwards forever, plus it reduces the number of compositional elements to deal with.

And while I might be teaching most readers to suck eggs, when shooting into the light, it’s important to not only use a lens hood, but perhaps shade the lens hood with a cutter or your hand as well. It’s essential to keep any unwanted flare under control.

Desert Oak, Curtin Springs Station



It’s off on an adventure, down an unmarked dirt road through the Kings Creek Station and into Curtin Springs Station. It’s hundreds of square kilometres of remote outback Australia and only a handful of people have access to the road, so we see no one else for the next day until we reach the Lasseter Highway several hundred kilometres south.

Our vehicle is purpose designed for this sort of travel, yet even so we find ourselves bogged at the top of a particularly soft sand dune. No trouble! We bundle off the vehicle, grab the metal boards from the trailer and dig them under the wheels. It doesn’t take us too long to sort it out, but we do unload a few suitcases to make the vehicle lighter. Was that a good idea? Possibly not as we then found ourselves carrying our suitcases along the sandy track to the rescued vehicle – it certainly made a comical picture.

Future sand dunes were approached at higher speed and we only had one more situation to deal with. It certainly made it exciting for a bunch of people used to life in the city, although I dare say our driver Dave was a little unhappy with himself getting bogged the second time!

It’s amazing how much the landscape changes and we soon found ourselves in some beautiful parklands. We sheltered in the shade of desert oaks and set up camp well before sunset, giving us time to prepare our meals and take photographs as the light improved. We all went our separate ways, investigating the surroundings and struggling a little with the complex landscape.

However, once the sun was gone and the stars were out, we discovered a fantasy land right next to our campsite. The red embers from the fire were throwing a warm light on the surrounding trees, contrasting beautifully with the Milky Way above. We tried different exposures from 10 seconds to a couple of minutes, hoping there was not too much breeze moving the delicate leaves.


Imperial Shag, Bleaker Island

It was a bleak morning on Bleaker Island in the Falklands. However, if you like photographing birds, then the Falklands is a great location no matter what the weather is like, although transport from island to island isn’t without its challenges. Although there are small airfields dotted around, most people visit as part of an expedition ship and I was no exception, travelling with Peregrine Adventures.

Where we landed on Bleaker Island was home to two main colonies of birds, Rockhopper Penguins and the Imperial Shag. The weather was cold, overcast and very windy. We even had a couple of snow showers pass over which was great for atmosphere, but not particularly helpful for photography.

As usual, there were strict rules as to how close we could get to the birds and our group was strung out along a fence line. It was hard to know what the island was like in fairer weather, but I have no doubt it would be very picturesque!

At the end of the fence was a colony of shags who used a stretch of land just in front of us as a runway. The birds would gather speed and throw themselves into the wind and out to sea. It was a perfect location for shooting the Imperial Shag on the wing, but I confess to shooting several hundred frames of which only a couple were satisfactory.

And then, of course, there was the unsatisfactory nature of the light. It was dull and lifeless, so I figured this was a time I could use Capture One to breathe in some colour and excitement!

You can play the movie above by clicking on the arrow.



Tumbleweed, Rainbow Valley

My image of Rainbow Valley was taken with an Alpa TC, a 23mm Rodenstock Digaron lens and a Phase One IQ180 digital back. I positioned the camera very low and very close to the tumbleweed and took several frames at different focus points, so I can focus stack an image if necessary. However, I quite like the softness on the bluff in the background.

After applying some global adjustments to the colour, saturation and cropping, there were two main challenges to deal with and the first was easily solved. The bright sky needed to be balanced with the darker foreground, so I used a Local Adjustment in Capture One Pro 7 with the new Gradient Mask. This allowed me to darken the top of the frame and gradually reduce the effect towards the horizon line.

The second challenge was to allow the tumbleweed to stand out from the cracking mud below. Although the wood in the tumbleweed is partially bleached, it is nevertheless coated with dust and sand, much the same colour as the mud behind. It is well camouflaged.

I would like to avoid creating a very fine mask for the tumbleweed itself, but as you will see, this wasn't to be!

You can play the movie above by clicking on the arrow.

Gentoo Penguin, Carcass Island

Carcass Island in the Falklands is owned by Rob McGill. It’s tiny and, if you can get there, accommodation is in the owner’s house and meals are taken with the family. Not surprising as there are no streets, shops or other amenities – and that is undoubtedly the attraction.

We disembarked at Carcass Island as part of our Peregrine Expedition through the Falklands, South Georgia Island and Antarctica. It was only a whistle stop in the afternoon with just enough time to walk across the isthmus to the windward side where we saw the Magellanic penguin, but it wasn’t until I returned to the lee of the island that I met lots of Gentoo penguins.

Walking along the beach, we looked down at the penguins who barely acknowledged our presence. One of the highlights of visiting these remote locations is that the wildlife are relatively unafraid of humans. However, a human perspective creates a relatively boring camera angle. One of the best angles for a penguin is around penguin height, so I lay down on my stomach and put my camera to my eye.

The issue on this day was the wind-blown sand which added to the photographs, but worried me a little as I had several weeks left and I didn’t want to lose a camera due to mechanical failure! However, I needn’t have worried as the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III and 300mm f2.8 telephoto had sufficient weather-proofing to handle the little breeze on Carcass Island.

As always, time is short. You are always balancing your opportunities: do I stay here longer and hope to get an even better photograph, or do I move on and hope to discover something better?

Back on board the Akademik Sergey Vavilov, I would look through my files for an image with a difference. We all had great photographs of penguins (although using a telephoto with the lens wide-open at f2.8 helps to create a slightly different look to a compact camera), so I was relying on my subjects to provide the sparkle!

You can play the movie above by clicking on the arrow.



Peter Eastway Uses

Peter Uses

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