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YOUR BEST SHOT

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Photos with

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PHOTOGRAPHER VS WILD Why hikers get the best landscapes... and how you can too!

WHY I SWITCHED

IMAGE DOCTOR

Top pro shares his mirrorless experience

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Small spiders, spectacular pictures

July 2016

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Australian Photography is looking for the best amateur photographers to share in cash and prizes worth over $15,000. LANDSCAPE / NATURE / TRAVEL / BLACK & WHITE / PORTRAIT / STUDENT / PHOTO OF THE YEAR Individual winners and runners-up will be named in each category, plus an overall winner named 2016 Photographer Of The Year.

PRIZES Winners will share in a prize pool of more than $15,000, including $10,000 in cash and more than $5,000 in prizes. The Photographer of the Year will win $3,000 cash plus a Panasonic Lumix GX85 camera and 14-140mm lens, valued at $1,699.

TO ENTER VISIT: www.australianphotography.com/poty UPLOAD: Your portfolio of FOUR images addressing one of the category themesLandscape, Nature, Travel, Black & White, Portrait or Student, or upload your best SINGLE image in the Photo of the Year category. • You may enter more than one category • You must be under 18 (as of 8 November 2016) to enter • You may enter each category as many the Student category times as you like • You only need one image to enter • The same photo may not be used in the Photo of the Year category more than one category, or in more than one entry Entries close: Midnight, 15 November 2016.

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ENTRY FEE


EDITOR’S NOTE

ESTABLISHED IN 1950 EDITORIAL Editor: Mike O’Connor mikeoconnor@yaffa.com.au Contributing Editors: Drew Hopper, Darran Leal, Dylan Toh, Paul Hoelen, Rob Ditessa, Prashphutita Greco, Anthony McKee and Saima Morel.

Mike O’Connor, Editor

Heroes t seems like only a few years ago that I first drew the link between Afghan Girl, the iconic photo that turned photographer Steve McCurry into a household name, and the wider body of his work that made him one of my genuine photography heroes. He’s a legend – a bona fide titan who seemingly couldn’t put a foot wrong. I’m utterly envious of our former AP editor Robert Keeley who got to interview McCurry when he visited Australia in 2013, and a print of Afghan Girl even hangs above AP Publisher James Ostinga’s desk; our tastes in photography aren’t always the same, but with McCurry’s photos there’s no debate. It’s also why I was saddened to follow the recent criticism of McCurry after allegations of image manipulation were made about some of his photographs. It started with a seemingly innocent blog post by photographer Paolo Viglione who, while visiting a McCurry exhibition in Italy, noticed some unusual colours on one of his images taken in Cuba. Leaning in for a closer look, Viglione was stunned to see a fairly dodgy example of Photoshoping – the spot-healing brush had definitely not been used very well on this shot. Once home, Viglione published his discovery online and although he later removed the blog on realising it could be damaging, the cat was out of the bag. Internet sleuths found a number of other McCurry images with removed sections, and before long McCurry himself was being contacted for his comment. His response? An apology, blaming

I

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it on a lab technician who took his task much too liberally and now no longer works for him. But should he have to apologise? As Jeremy Gray at website Imaging Resource noted, there is a difference between doing work for photojournalistic purposes, such as for National Geographic, and doing work for personal artistic reasons, like McCurry claims he was doing with his shots in Cuba and elsewhere. It’s been said that a photographer should not be held to the same standard of editing for their personal work as they should be when presenting images for journalistic purposes, but these days the lines are narrower than ever before – it’s not unusual for professional photographers to share personal pictures alongside their more serious work on websites and social media – it’s all part of the image many professionals want to project about their chosen profession. If there’s one issue that seems to get photographers up in arms, it’s image manipulation. As a community, we’re often so quick to criticise excessive post production, yet more people than ever have the tools at their disposal to edit their own images on the fly quickly and easily. Is what McCurry did right? I’m not entirely sure. Regardless, nobody likes to watch their heroes integrity questioned, and even Paolo Viglione acknowledged he was wary of criticising someone he clearly still respects greatly. Sadly for McCurry who believes he was working in good faith, the breadth and scope of modern communication means nobody is above reproach. ❂ LEFT Steve McCurry’s iconic Afghan Girl photo hangs above AP publisher James Ostinga’s desk. Whether McCurry will be able to weather the storm currently swirling around a number of his images remains to be seen.

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GPO Box 606, Sydney NSW 2001 Yaffa Photographic Group includes: Australian Photography + digital, Capture, www.australianphotography.com www.facebook.com/ australianphotographymag Publisher: James Ostinga Marketing Manager: Chris Hamilton Marketing Executive: Jasmine Gale Production Director: Matthew Gunn Art Director: Ana Maria Heraud Studio Manager: Lauren Esdaile Designer: Bree Edgar All editorial contributions should be sent to editor@australianphotography.com Australian Photography welcomes freelance contributions. Please check with the editor before submitting your story. Editorial guidelines are available via email and include full details on all requirements for story and image submissions. Please note that stories should be embedded in the body of the email, or supplied as email attachments in text format (.txt), rich text format (.rtf) or Microsoft Word format (.doc). Ideally, images should be supplied in JPEG format (.jpg) with a separate list of captions. JPEG compression should be no lower than 9/12 (75%). Digital images should be supplied at a resolution of 300ppi, at a physical size of at least 20cm and not larger than 42cm on the longest side.

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AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


CONTENTS July 2016

In this

issue

08

30 FEATURES 24 2016 Photographer of the Year – 10 tips to improve your chances Entries for Australasia’s most prestigious photography competition are now open. Before you enter, read pro photographer and judge Paul Hoelen’s advice on how you can make your entry really stand out.

30 Small wonders It’s a common conversation in photographic circles – should you ditch your big bulky DSLR for a mirrorless model? AP regular Drew Hopper weighs in on a modern day David and Goliath battle.

40 World wide web They’re just 2mm long, but it seems everyone is talking about Australia’s very own peacock spiders. Mike O’Connor talks to Sydney’s spiderman, Michael Duncan, about what it takes to capture these tiny critters on camera.

48 Photographer vs wild Freshly back from a photographic journey in Tasmania’s Western Arthur Range, landscape photography expert Dylan Toh details just what it takes to balance hiking and photography on your own wilderness adventure.

58 Here comes the sun Starbursts can really brighten up your day. AP’s Darran Leal shows how to bring this cool effect into your photography.

66 Olympus Pen-F A heap has changed since the original Olympus Pen-F was released in 1963. Anthony McKee takes a look at the new improved 2016 version and finds a camera that’s host to a number of cutting edge technologies.

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DEPARTMENTS 08 Behind the Lens Pro photographer Drew Hopper shares how a striking image seemingly fell into his lap while caught in the back of a taxi in the city of Jodphur, India.

10 Quick snaps The latest news and products from the world of photography.

16 Q and A

58

Prashphutita Greco answers readers’ questions.

66

18 Your best shot Take a look at the best images from our ‘portrait’ photo competition.

68 APS Gallery and column News, views and images from the Australian Photographic Society.

78 Fujifilm Image Doctor Saima Morel critiques a selection of readers’ image, and picks the winner of the Fujifilm Finepix XP90.

16

48 COVER Hammersley Gorge, Karijini National Park, WA. Photographer Dylan Fox took this shot during a 10-day solo camping trip. Sony A7R, 24-70mm Zeiss lens @ 32mm, 2s @ f/16, ISO 50.


BEHIND THE LENS

Jodhpur

taxi

Homelessness in India has been a problem for centuries. With few alternatives, many people turn to a life of begging on the streets. During my two-month visit to India I had no intention of documenting or photographing the homeless, however I found it everywhere and often it was impossible to avoid. I remember feeling somewhat ashamed and uncomfortable taking this photograph from the backseat of a taxi in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. I was inclined to document the situation with my camera and try to convey a sense of desperation behind the fleeting moment. As a travel photographer I’m constantly fascinated by the daily life of other people and how people interact with each

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Photographer: Drew Hopper another. It was this interest that steered me to shoot this image of a young Indian girl begging through the taxi window. We had just stopped at the traffic lights when the girl advanced across the street straight to the taxi window, presumably after seeing two foreigners (myself and my girlfriend) in the backseat, then proceeded to tap on the window. My girlfriend (in the foreground) ignored her, as our driver specifically said not to make eye contact. The young girl continued to plead and hang onto the car demanding money. She kept repeating, “I’m hungry, money money,” It wasn’t until the traffic light turned green and we drove off that she turned away. After taking her picture I did AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


feel a bit guilty for not giving her any money, but I’d prefer not to worsen the begging situation any more than it already is. Shooting with the Canon 6D with the 16-35mm f/2.8, enabled me to capture a wide perspective, and shooting wide allowed me to fill the frame with my girlfriend in the foreground and create negative space around the car window. Ideally, I would have preferred to shoot this on my Fuji X100S with the aid of the silent electronic shutter, however I did switch to Canon’s silent shutter to be more discreet. By holding the camera on my lap and shooting from the hip, it helped me remain somewhat inconspicuous without having the girl notice I was taking her AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016

picture. I covered the camera with my scarf and fired half a dozen shots without chimping (reviewing) the images. Discretion and the ability to go unseen is a powerful thing when shooting candid and fleeting moments like this. Whenever I’m travelling I always keep my camera within reach because I never know what may transpire into a photo opportunity. CANON EOS 6D, CANON 16-35MM F2.8 @ 24MM, 1/800S @ F/4.5, 400 ISO, HANDHELD. WHITE BALANCE, CONTRAST, CLARITY AND SHARPENING ADJUSTED IN ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CC.

AUSTRALIANPHOTOGRAPHY.COM 9


Quick snaps Canon demos monster 120-megapixel camera Canon has demonstrated an eye-watering 120-megapixel concept camera at Shanghai’s Canon Expo 2016. The 120-megapixel beast was announced in September 2015, but the event in Shanghai was the as-yet unnamed camera’s first public unveiling. Build wise, the new camera appears nearly identical to the existing EOS 5DS and 5DS R. For the expo, the camera was housed on a glass table pointed downward at a box filled with different objects - a book with descending sized text and a matchbook sized book with even tinier text. The image from the camera could then be viewed on a giant wall display and on a computer – zooming in revealing the huge level of detail that a 120-megapixel sensor provides. EXIF details show that each RAW .CR2 file captured by the camera comes in at a massive 214.1 megabytes. So it’s safe to say if you’re thinking of getting one of these 120-megapixel DSLRs in the future when it’s released, you’ll probably need to stock up on memory cards first. Whether there is enough consumer demand for 120 megapixels

ABOVE Canon has put a 120-megaixel sensor into a camera housing similar to an EOS 5Ds (pictured).

remains to be seen, although the potential of so many megapixels is quite exciting – it can turn a standard lens, like the popular EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, into a macro lens. That said, there are limitations. A number of Canon’s lenses aren’t recommended by the company to be used with the existing 5DS DSLR, and with the resolution bar set almost three times higher on this new model, it remains to be seen just how many lenses in the current line-up will be able to leverage the full capability of the behemoth sensor.

Leica M-D says no to LCD monitor

RIGHT No chimping allowed! Leica’s new M-D is rare among digital cameras in that it does not have a LCD monitor. The idea behind the omission is to encourage users to focus on the next image – not the one they’ve just taken!

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Leica has released its latest rangefinder camera, the M-D (Typ 262), the first serial production model of the digital M family to be made without an LCD monitor – the back of the camera instead simply features an ISO sensitivity setting dial. The idea behind the camera is to remove the distraction of the monitor and recreate a workflow similar to film, where the photographer focuses on taking photos and cannot review the images until they are downloaded to another device. According to Leica, the M-D’s technical features are based on the Leica M (Typ 262). The M-D features a high-resolution 24-megapixel CMOS full-frame sensor dedicated exclusively to rangefinder photography. The camera’s Maestro processor is designed for fast processing of captured image data. Exposures are saved exclusively as RAW data in DNG format. Accentuating the functional design of the Leica M-D is a brass top plate with a step that alludes to the design of the Leica M9.  To aid discrete shooting, the M-D boasts a hardly audible shutter cocking system, that Leica says is particularly quiet in single exposures and enables a shutter release frequency of up to two frames per second. In continuous mode, the M-D shoots up to three frames per second. The Leica M-D is now on sale. The camera package also includes a leather carrying strap in full-grain cowhide. Recommended retail price is $8,900.  AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


Photo: @ewenbell | Model: @amandaluxe

CAPTURE THE SOUL OF THE STREETS Lumix GX85 – for adventurers, explorers, and artists at heart. Travel photographer Ewen Bell captures the soul of Brooklyn in this spontaneous shot. The decisive moment is gone within seconds; the lightweight GX85 with 4K, 5–Axis Dual I.S. and Post Focus is ready to capture life on the move. www.panasonic.com.au/gx85


QUICK SNAPS Canon unveils lens with built-in light Canon has released details of its new EF-M 28mm f3.5 Macro IS STM lens to suit EOS M series mirrorless cameras. Canon says the new lightweight lens offers unprecedented macro capabilities and uniquely features the world’s first built in ring light, to aid in the removal of shadows and darkness. The lens also features optical Image Stabiliser and Hybrid IS technology to correct angular camera shake. The EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens has a minimal focus distance of 13mm, and weighs just 130 grams – claimed by the manufacturer to be the world’s lightest macro lens for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. The lens’ dedicated Macro Lite is designed to allow macro shooters to illuminate small objects up close. The Macro Lite can be manually controlled by a switch to change the lighting intensity and direction on one or both sides. Canon says the Macro Lite’s design reduces shadows cast by both the camera and lens.  The EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM will be available in June. Prices set at dealer discretion.

Pentax launches first full-frame DSLR: K-1

Samyang to release 14 and 50mm autofocus lenses Korean optics manufacturer Samyang has announced details of its first range of autofocus lenses. Samyang says its new 14mm F2.8 ED AS IF UMC and 50mm F1.4 AS IF UMC lenses will be available to suit Sony E-mount cameras and are designed to cover full-frame sensors. Featuring a robust metal housing, each lens utilises phase-detection autofocus as well as contrast detection, and will offer 67mm filter threads. Samyang says its new AF range features aspherical lenses to minimise aberration and unnecessary light dispersion, delivering high resolution from the centre to the corners of the image. The 14mm F2.8 and 50mm F1.4 are also reportedly compatible with both phase detect and contrast detect sensors to operate fast and accurate focus detection. Samyang’s autofocus lenses will be available from July 2016. Pricing not available at press time.

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Pentax Australia has officially launched the new Pentax K-1 in Australia. The K-1 is Pentax’s first full-frame digital camera, and is the first full-frame DSLR on the market to offer built-in five-axis image stabilisation. According to Pentax, the K-1 features a weatherproof and dust sealed body, 1/8000s high-speed shutter and 36.4-megapixel CMOS sensor boasting a “simulated” anti-aliasing filter and Ricoh’s Pixel Shift Resolution for high picture quality. The K-1’s 5-axis sensor shift image stabilisation is supported by a large optical viewfinder and 33-point AF system with 25 cross points. The 3.2-inch LCD delivers a resolution of 1.04 million dots and can be moved vertically, horizontally and diagonally.  The K-1 supports high-ISO shooting up to 204,800 and features nine Exposure Modes and

picture and creative settings including: HDR, Skin Tone, CTE, Digital Filter, Multi Exposure and Interval (timelapse) Shooting Mode. Videographers can shoot Full HD movies with the K-1 (1920x1080, 60i/50i/30p/25p/24p) and HD (1280x720, 60p/50p), which also features stereo audio recording via built-in and external microphones, adjustable recording level and wind-noise reduction. Interval Shooting is adjustable from 2s to 24hrs and 2 to 2000 images can be recorded in 4K/FullHD/HD in Motion JPEG format (AVI). Other K-1 features include built in GPS, Astrotracer, Wi-Fi and Image Sync for remote shooting. The camera launches with two new fullframe lenses: the HD Pentax-D FA 15-30mm f/2.8ED SDM WR lens and the HD Pentax-D FA 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6ED DC WR, with more lenses on the way. Current owners of Pentax APS-C sensor cameras can also use their lenses on the K-1 in crop mode, with the camera automatically detecting the mounted lens and setting the crop accordingly. Also, the camera is compatible with Pentax’s back catalog of legacy lenses designed for Pentax 35mm film cameras. The Pentax K-1 is available now with an RRP of $2,899 (body only).

AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


Blackmagic Video Assist 4K adds professional monitoring with HD and Ultra HD recording to any camera! Now it’s easy to add professional monitoring along with HD and Ultra HD recording to any SDI or HDMI camera! Blackmagic Video Assist 4K has a large super bright 7 inch monitor so you can see your shot clearly, making it easier to frame and get perfect focus! Featuring two high speed SD card recorders that save HD and Ultra HD video as 10-bit 4:2:2 ProRes or DNxHD fi les, you get much better quality than what most cameras can record. The files are open standard which makes them compatible with all leading video software so you can start editing immediately!

On Set Monitoring The super bright 7 inch display is much bigger than the tiny displays built into most cameras and can be used to monitor HD or Ultra HD video. The touchscreen works with simple tap and swipe gestures, making it easy to set up and use! You can rig it directly onto your camera or pass it around to the crew so they can review shots on set!

High Quality Audio Recording Get better quality sound recording than your camera! Blackmagic Video Assist 4K features two mini XLR inputs with 48V of phantom power and an extremely low noise fl oor of -128dBV so you can bypass poor quality camera audio. Audio is embedded in the same fi le with the video so you don’t have to worry about syncing separate files!

Broadcast Quality Connections Blackmagic Video Assist 4K includes HDMI and 6G-SDI inputs so you can record from virtually any camera or DSLR. The HDMI and SDI video outputs let you view shots on larger screens or even projectors! You also get a built in speaker, headphone jack, LANC, 12V power and two LP-E6 battery slots for non stop power!

Non-Stop HD and Ultra HD Recording Now you can bypass the lossy compression used on most DSLR and video cameras! With 2 high speed UHS-II recorders that use commonly available SD cards, you’ll never miss a shot because when one card is full, recording automatically continues onto the next! You get 10-bit 4:2:2 ProRes or DNxHD files that work with all editing software.

www.blackmagicdesign.com/au Camera not included.

Blackmagic Video Assist Blackmagic Video Assist 4K

$765 $1,349


QUICK SNAPS

2016 Head On Photo Festival: Winners announced The winners across the four competition categories of the Head On Photo Festival (headon.com.au) were announced in May in front of a crowd of approximately 1,000 guests at Sydney’s Lower Town Hall. The winner of the Portrait category was Antonio Heredia, whose winning image shows brain cancer survivor, Oscar Prieto, who beat the disease following surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The image captures Prieto’s lasting reminder – a deep scar running down the back of his head. Second and third place were awarded to Giles Clarke and Kristian Taylor-Wood, respectively. First place in the Landscape category went to David Chancellor for an image of an injured giraffe on the brink of death, captured in South Africa. Paul Hoelen and Yasmin Mund placed second and third, respectively. Andrew

Morgan won the Mobile category, while Isabelle Sijan won the Student category. The annual Head On Photo Festival is Australia’s largest photography event, boasting a bustling satellite program of talks, hands-on workshops and exhibitions. More than 4,000 entrants vied for over $50,000 worth of prizes across the four categories: Portrait, Landscape, Mobile and Student. CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT Giraffe, Blue Sheet, Eastern Cape South Africa. Photo by David Chancellor. Winner, Head On Landscape Prize. Survivor. Photo by Antonio Heredia. Winner, Head On Portrait Prize. Manly Beach, Sydney. Photo by Ireneusz Luty. Winner, Head On Landscape NSW Award. Girl Sees All. Photo by Isabelle Sijan. Winner, Head On Student Prize.

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AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


My Cloud

â„¢

Mobile App


QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Prashphutita A. Greco

AP answers your photographic queries

Rule of thirds

Q

I keep hearing about the ‘rule of thirds’ needing to be followed to create a good composition. But, I don’t always find this in all the photos I really like. I am confused. How important is this rule for creating a compelling photo?

John Hall, Melbourne, Vic.

A

The ‘rule of thirds’ can be a useful guide for composition, but it’s not always the best option.

16 AUSTRALIANPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

THINKSTOCK.COM

RIGHT

In his book The Great South Land, Australian photographer Ken Duncan says: “There are no rules. If an image works, it works, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.” While the rule of thirds can be useful, it is more of a guideline than a hard and fast rule. Aside from viewing photography exhibitions, looking at art is a great way to help understand composition, and it will also help you understand the rule. An example of another rule that’s used in art and photography is the ‘golden ratio’. This ration appears throughout nature, from the smallest scale like fern fronds, to the human face, to the largest spiral galaxies in our universe. Leonardo Da Vinci incorporated this ratio into most of his paintings in numerous and very intricate ways and it’s been said that it is one of the reasons the Mona Lisa is so alluring. There are many factors that contribute to an outstanding photo. Capturing a fleeting moment which is very rarely witnessed and requires someone to be ready and responsive at a very precise instant can lead to a great shot. There might also be the possibility of incorporating leading lines – such as in a landscape, or in a cityscape – to draw the viewer’s attention to the subject. Again, in a landscape, there might be a winding river which forms a pleasing S-curve shape, through a canyon, for example. AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

LEFT TO RIGHT

Perhaps some very strong foreground interest can be incorporated, for instance fully-blossomed, colourful flowers in front of a mountain range bathed in the last golden-toned rays of sunset. Regardless, there’s no one rule that results in great photography. What’s more important is to experiment until you find a rule that works for you.

Original scan, with offset-printed halftone screen visible; adjusted scan. The success of the changes is limited by the quality of the original scan.

Book photo scans

Q

I have some photos that I have scanned from a book that I would like to include in a book of photos from that era. Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate the originals of those photos so will have to use scans. What is required for removing the moiré effect in the scans? I know that is a real pain. I have tried googling moiré and it seems that Photoshop does have some tools for improving the photos. Whether or not these techniques work is another thing – an acquaintance who is quite wellversed in Photoshop said it would need a genius to do anything with them. What do you think?

Vidagdha Bennett, Perth, WA.

A

The moiré effect occurs when viewing a set of lines or dots that are superimposed on another set of lines or dots, where the sets differ in relative size, angle, or spacing. The effect can be seen when looking through ordinary window screens at another screen or background. It can be prominent when two sheets of glass are stacked together, separated by a very thin air gap. Or, when a closely spaced, regularly repeating pattern (for instance, due to a fabric, such as with a herringbone jacket) matches the spacing of the sensor elements (“pixels”) on a digital camera’s imaging sensor. There are a few problems with the original scans I can see. One is the burntout highlights on the cheekbones, but an even bigger problem is that the original print appears to have sustained damage. There’s a few things you can do to minimise moiré when scanning. First, be sure your image viewing program is not misleading when it reduces the number of pixels to display the image at less than full resolution on your monitor. In Photoshop, go to View > Actual Pixels. AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016

Scanning at the highest available resolution, and as colour, at a bit depth of 16 bits per channel (rather than 8 bits per channel) would likely be very helpful in obtaining better results with post-processing. Some of the better flatbed scanners, for instance, the Epson Perfection V700 Photo, will have a menu option or setting to minimise the halftone patterns at the time of scanning, using multisampling, or averaging of pixels, and so on. Depending on your scanner, this option could be called descreen, raster scan, or interlace. It might also be worthwhile experimenting with placing the printed page at a slight angle onto the glass of the scanner as well, to determine whether that assists with reducing patterns. One possible solution could be using a Fourier transform plug-in. What is usually done in Photoshop is to apply a blurring filter, such as Gaussian Blur, which tends to make the finely-spaced dots less visible. However, this is at the expense of fine detail in the image. Basically, it starts to “turn to mush”. One free product that works quite well is Image Analyzer (http://meesoft. logicnet.dk). In the limited time for

testing, I was unable to get results as good as I hoped for, but some of this could be attributed to the low resolution, and limited bit depth of the scan. Image Analyzer’s Adaptive Smooth/Sharpen filter did however work well at first attempt. The Median filter also yielded a good result. As usual in image editing, whether using Photoshop or another application – there are a large number of possible approaches, which may yield varying degrees of success. As an initial attempt at one of your scans, I used the following workflow in Photoshop: Image > Adjustments > Shadows/Highlights (to attempt some highlight recovery); Topaz Labs’ DeNoise plug-in (it yields a great amount of control); Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur; Spot Healing Brush Tool, and Healing Brush Tool, as required in numerous locations; Athentech Imaging’s Perfectly Clear plug-in (various adjustments); Exposure, Contrast, Vibrancy, Sharpening, and Light Diffusion were used. As with Topaz DeNoise, Athentech Perfectly Clear was used as it offers plenty of control and let me quickly and easily access the required adjustments and corrections. ❂

Photography got you stumped? Got a perplexing photography question? If you have any queries at all relating to photography or digital imaging please email Prashphutita Greco at qanda@australianphotography.com. Please include your question, along with your name, suburb, state and phone number. Prashphutita will try to get back to you with an answer within a couple of weeks.

AUSTRALIANPHOTOGRAPHY.COM 17


Your

best shot

Portrait

This month we wanted to see your best portrait photos and it turned out to be one of our most popular competitions yet! Judging was so dificult we chose three highly commended images – for the irst time ever. Read on for our shortlist.

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AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


AP

HIGHLY COMMENDED

SUBSCRIBER CLUB

PHOTOGRAPHER

Linda Keagle EDITOR’S COMMENT Ouch! Linda Keagle writes that when her partner needed to get stitches recently she saw a portrait photo opportunity. “I thought the photo enhanced his rough handsomeness, and alluded to his past as a boxer,” she says. This is a great shot, with plenty of character, and by capturing him up close like this you’ve

emphasised his particularly rough and weatherbeaten look. We like how the white of his eye contrasts with the stitches.

DETAILS Sony A6000, 35mm f1.8 lens, 1/60s @ f/1.8, ISO 320, tripod. Black and white conversion in NIK Silver Effex Pro2.

WINNER PHOTOGRAPHER

Meg Nurse TITLE My friend

EDITOR’S COMMENT A personal moment in the life of the subject; the love and trust between her and her dog; the lifelong collection of memorabilia filling the room and finally the empty chair devoid of visitors – Meg Nurse says there’s a lot about this scene she wanted to feature. “The image was taken using natural light with soft flash bounced off the ceiling,” she says. “I set up my tripod at the same level as the subject so as not

AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016

to be looking down on her. I left everything in the room as it was to portray the scene just as I found it, and added a slight vignette to the corners to draw attention to the important part of the image.” This is a great example of environmental portraiture, and we love the story told by this scene. Congratulations Meg!

DETAILS Nikon D7000, 18-70mm lens @ 18mm, f/6.3 @ 1/60s, ISO 500, tripod. Contrast adjusted in Lightroom.

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YOUR BEST SHOT HIGHLY COMMENDED PHOTOGRAPHER

Izmir Congo EDITOR’S COMMENT Izmir Congo says he was setting up to take a few photos of an afternoon storm rolling in, when his son Alex started showing off his best Donatello (from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) stance. “The wide angle shot produced a dramatic portrait I had to share,” he says. We’re glad you did. This has it all – it’s a fun shot and Alex looks like a pint sized force to be reckoned with! The wide angle lens is an inspired choice, with the distortion helping to amplify Alex’s mean expression. Great work.

DETAILS Canon EOS 5D Mk II, Tokina 16-28mm f2.8, 1/50s @ f/4.5, ISO 800. Basic crop and sharpened in Lightroom, before conversion to black and white.

HIGHLY COMMENDED PHOTOGRAPHER

Brett Ferguson TITLE The blue book

EDITOR’S COMMENT Brett Ferguson says he took this image of his daughter as part of a series using the books as an anchor to all of the images. “I wanted to try out a dark background in order to reduce the distraction from the subject. I like the tones in the image, especially in conjunction with the old books,” he says. This is a great concept made better by contrast – the negative space and stripped back composition makes for a powerful image, and you’ve lit the scene perfectly. Bonus points for the cheeky gothesque black fingernails too!

DETAILS Canon EOS 5D Mk III, 70-200mm lens @ 115mm, 1/160s @ f/9, ISO 100, tripod. Selective saturation, sharpening, and luminosity.

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PHOTOGRAPHER

Howard Jack TITLE Cattleman

HOW I DID IT Albert has a face full of “character” and since I met him at the Kumbia Campdraft in March this year I have met up with him on a few campdrafts since then and taken more photos of him. This one still remains one of my favourites and I must admit late at night when I turned the colour image into mono I sat back and thought, “Wow, I love this image”. Candids or portraits at a campdraft can be frustrating as the broad-brimmed hats usually leave the upper face in shadow with bright sunlight on the lower section. I was lucky this day that the cloud cover provided even lighting. For me Albert in this image epitomises the look of a cattleman.

DETAILS Sony A77 II, 16-80mm f3.5-4.5 lens @ 75mm, 1/250s @ f/13, ISO 800. Lightroom CC for cropping, exposure, highlights, shadows, contrast, clarity, dehaze, sharpness and noise reduction. Image converted to black and white in Nik Silver Efex. Eyes and face dodged in Photoshop and image flipped horizontally.

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AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016

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YOUR BEST SHOT

PHOTOGRAPHER

Laurie Wilson TITLE Self portrait as a macro photographer

HOW I DID IT The idea for this picture emerged by accident (as many good photo ideas do) when I lay my camera on its back to screw a macro lens onto the camera via an adaptor. The swing-out viewfinder was facing me and I saw this striking image. With only a small amount of manoeuvring I was able to line up the macro adaptor with one of the wildflowers I was planning to photograph. I decided to leave the vignette effect of the adaptor so as to visually link the lens with the camera.

DETAILS Canon EOS 600D, Tamron 18-270mm f3.5-6.3 lens @ 18mm, 1/125s @ f/22, ISO 800. Minor sharpening in Photoshop Elements.

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PHOTOGRAPHER

Warwick Sparkes TITLE Me and I

HOW I DID IT This is a self-portrait I took using a 10-second timer on the camera. It was hard and it took some time to stand in the correct position to get the frame and focus right. I must’ve taken almost 30 shots till I got what I wanted. I didn’t use a tripod as at the time I didn’t possess one. I had my camera balanced precariously

on a stack of various things lying around, and kept adding to the stack till I got the height I was after. I deleted the other images as it may look weird having 30odd shots of me in and out of focus lying around on the computer!

DETAILS Canon EOS 5D Mk II, 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, 1/100s @ f/4.5, ISO 2500. Lightroom for black and white, contrast and clarity.

AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


How to enter

Your Best Shot is open to AP subscribers and APS members. To enter an image in the comp, check the competition themes and instructions below and email your best image to yourbestshot@australianphotography.com UPCOMING COMPETITION THEMES SEPTEMBER ISSUE SYMMETRY Deadline: June 30, 2016 OCTOBER ISSUE ABSTRACT Deadline: July 31, 2016 NOVEMBER ISSUE BABY Deadline: Aug 31, 2016 DECEMBER ISSUE DECAY Deadline: Sept 30, 2016 JANUARY ISSUE BLUR Deadline: Oct 31, 2016

EMAIL DETAILS

CONDITIONS OF ENTRY

• Send your entry to yourbestshot@ australianphotography.com • Include the name of the competition theme you are entering in the email subject line, for example ‘Abstract’ or ‘Baby’. • Please include the following details with your entry: your name, image title (if there is one) and 100-200 words about how you created your image. Please also include technical details including camera type, lens type, focal length, shutter speed, aperture, filter (if used), tripod (if used) and details of any software manipulation. • Entries may be submitted up to midnight on the evening of the specified deadline.

• To enter, you must be a subscriber to Australian Photography or be a member of the Australian Photographic Society (APS). See inside for subscription offers. • The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. • Employees of Yaffa Publishing (and freelance contributors) are not eligible to win the prize. • Submitted images must have been taken no more than 24 months before the competition deadline. • The prize is subject to change without notification. • You must have an Australian street address to be eligible to win the prize. • By entering you grant Yaffa Publishing the right to publish your image in Australian Photography and at www.australianphotography.com for the purposes of promoting the Your Best Shot competition. Copyright remains the property of the photographer.

IMAGE REQUIREMENTS • Images must be saved in JPEG format. • Ideal image size is between 30 and 42cm (on the longest edge) at a resolution of 300 pixels per inch (ppi). A JPEG compression of 9/12 (or 75%) will keep images to an acceptable email size without noticeably reducing image quality.

Win a new EIZO ColorEdge CS230 Photo Editing Monitor valued at $1375! Thanks to our good friends at EIZO, Meg Nurse has won a gorgeous EIZO ColorEdge CS230 Photo Editing Monitor valued at $1375. While your camera can capture trillions of colours, most computer monitors are only able to show a fraction of that colour range – around 16 million colours. The ColorEdge CS230 has a library of over 278 trillion colours and can display more than one billion of those simultaneously resulting in smoother colour and tonal gradations, truer images and much more detail. For around the price of a high-quality lens, the 23in ColorEdge CS230 Photo Editing Monitor lets you see subtle details and a richness of colour that would otherwise be hidden from view. There’s also automatic colour adjustment with a built-in self-correction sensor and ColorNavigator software. That’s why EIZO monitors are used and recommended by Australia’s leading photographers and are the only monitors used for judging the Australian Professional Photography Awards (APPAs).More info: www.eizo-apac.com

PHOTO COMPS ONLINE If you’re looking for more great photo challenges, you’ll find plenty at www.australianphotography.com including Photographer of the Year and our free monthly photo competition. To enter, go to www.australianphotography.com and click the ‘competitions’ tab.

AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016

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LANDSCAPE / NATURE / TRAVEL / BLACK & WHITE / PORTRAIT / STUDENT / PHOTO OF THE YEAR

Photographer of the year How to improve your chances What does it take to make a successful portfolio entry for Photographer of the Year? We asked pro photographer and long-time Photographer of the Year judge Paul Hoelen to share his best tips to help you improve your chances in this unique competition.

Dasha Riley’s mesmerising series of photos of her daughter Julia won the Portrait category and the overall Photographer of the Year award in 2015. “Dasha Riley’s photographs are quietly beautiful, elegant portraits,” said judge Tamara Dean. “I particularly enjoy the sense of narrative imbued in each of the works and the inclusion of both interior and exterior locations...”

P

utting together a portfolio for a photo competition like Photographer of the Year, presented by Panasonic Lumix, can be challenging. How do you know which images will be the most popular with judges? Do you simply choose the best images you've shot over the past six months, or do you try to select four images that show a consistent visual and narrative theme? What weight will the judges place on things like narrative and originality? These are just a few of the questions you will come up against when it comes time to submit your entry. Photography is an art form and there are no hard and fast rules. However, for any competition, there are a few things you should consider to increase your chances of success.

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LANDSCAPE / NATURE / TRAVEL / BLACK & WHITE / PORTRAIT / STUDENT / PHOTO OF THE YEAR

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“...your series will be stronger if it has a consistent visual style and explores a cohesive theme.”

01 The basics

The first thing any judge or curator will look at is the technical competence of your images. Make sure your image choices show a strong understanding of light, exposure and focus and the image is well composed. It helps to make sure the subject is clear, and limit any distracting elements that could have been avoided or cropped to make a stronger composition. Is the image sharp where it needs to be? Is the subject captured in the most flattering light? Look to avoid blown highlights and blocked shadow detail, over or under sharpening, banding in the sky or too much digital noise.

02

Consistency and flow

Your initial strategy might be to simply enter the four best images you’ve taken that year. And while that seems a reasonable approach, you have to remember that judges are considering your images together as a whole. In most cases, your series will be stronger if it has a consistent visual style and explores a cohesive theme. When you get close to your final selection, pool them all together and reflect on what links them and how well they sit together. It may be you need to let go of a strong individual image for the sake of the collective strength of the series if there is a clear discord with how it fits in with the others. Can your eye move through the whole series with some sense of ease and flow? Is there something that ties them together in terms of subject matter, story, a concept or idea, particular style and presentation, or even colour palette? Almost all the winning folios in recent years have had one or more of these elements.

03 Narrative and emotion

Do the images have emotional impact? Do they take you somewhere or invite you into a new emotional space? An emotional response can be drawn from the initial

Ann Doljanin was runner up in the Landscape category of the 2015 Photographer of the Year. Her portfolio, photographed in Brisbane shopping centres and industrial estates, took a different approach to most landscape entries. “Seeing beauty within the urban landscape takes talent, simply because most of us have tuned out the familiar items that we drive past every day,” commented judge Anthony McKee. “The images celebrate the colour and the patterns of urban landscapes... Within the images there are also some subtle elements of humour, the surveillance camera looking awkwardly over some blocked windows; a small water connections trying to compete for importance with a electricity supply box. The photographs reflect upon the built environment, and our attempts to put an individual stamp on anything and everything in our neighbourhoods. And in many ways, that is humour in itself.” AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016

impact or develop through the series, but either way it leaves a lasting impression. While emotion can grab attention, a storyline can often hold it over time. Is there a storytelling element that develops through the imagery or takes you on a journey exploring the subject, idea or theme? One of the potential advantages of submitting a series of images is the opportunity it gives you to flesh out a more complex and interesting narrative and ultimately provide a greater opportunity for engagement.

04 Originality and innovation

Originality is a key driving force in any competition. Given that the judge will see many images before and after yours, if your images stand out as fresh and original you will instantly grab their attention. By presenting a familiar subject in a different light, using fresh angles, perspectives or unusual techniques you may inspire a new way of relating to the subject matter and provide a point of difference to make your entry stand out from the crowd.

05 Diversity

This one is a little up for debate, but it’s worth considering. I’m not necessarily referring to diversity of subject matter here (though that could be a strength in certain cases) but more the portrayal of different photographic techniques or ideas in how the subject is presented. This would potentially showcase a greater complexity or flair in the thought process and skillset of the photographer. And if you’re competing with a folio of very similar or repetitive images that show less imagination, you may just end up getting the nod.

06 The weakest link

Having a consistent calibre of imagery in your folio is important. Aim for four strong images. More often than not, a folio with one or more images that don’t come up to the same standard as the others will be overlooked in the final count. Look at your portfolio and ask yourself, is there an image that lets the series down somehow? This might cause you to rethink your approach and, if time permits, you may even consider a reshoot to help round out a cohesive set of imagery.

07 Start and finish strong

Enter your images in the order you want them to be judged. The first image provides the greatest opportunity for initial impact and getting the judges to sit up and take notice, while the final image often gives the most lasting impression. For maximum impact, start and finish with your strongest images.

08 Read the fine print

It may seem like time better spent doing something else, but in my experience it’s well worth taking the time AUSTRALIANPHOTOGRAPHY.COM 27


LANDSCAPE / NATURE / TRAVEL / BLACK & WHITE / PORTRAIT / STUDENT / PHOTO OF THE YEAR

to read the terms and conditions. It might save you being disqualified on a technicality (e.g. wrong image size, or submitting an image outside of the allowable capture time). Additionally it may help you refine and clarify the strongest image set to fit and meet the category criteria and subsequently increase your chances of success.

09 Feedback and critique

Don’t be afraid to approach someone you trust and respect to gain some positive critiquing on your image choices and to get some help in curating the final set. We can become very close to our own work, particularly if we’ve put so much of ourselves into creating it. But you need to remember, the judges won’t know the story behind the images and will only see the image in front of them without any of the personal or emotional context. Getting feedback from running a fresh set of eyes over your work could help to create a much more objectively balanced folio.

10 You’ve got to be in it...

As the saying goes, 'You’ve got to be in it to win it’. Doing well can be a great confidence boost and may even help open some doors, but the greaatest benefit in my opinion comes well before you click the submit button. The process of delving deeper into your work, refining your vision and working to push your imagery to a new level can be reward enough in itself! Regardless of whether you’re motivation is, for fun or advancement, it’s a great way to share your images with likeminded photographers and you never know, maybe you’ll share in the $15,000 or so in cash and prizes up for grabs in this year’s competition! ❂

2016 Photographer of the Year

Douwe Dijkstra’s portfolio, which was shot with a smartphone, won him the title of 2015 Black & White Photographer of the Year. The square format of the images helps to visually tie the series together.

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• Photographer of the Year, presented by Panasonic Lumix, is open for entries from 1 July to 15 November 2016. • Photographer of the Year is the pre-eminent annual photography award for Australian and New Zealand amatuer photographers with a prize pool in excess of $15,000, including $10,000 in cash prizes. The overall winner will win $3000 cash, a Panasonic Lumix GX85 camera plus a Lumix 14-140mm lens valued at $1699. • Portfolio categories for 2016 include Landscape, Nature, B&W, and Portrait, with two brand new categories, Travel and Student. We’re looking for the best portfolio of four images in each of the six categories. You can enter as many categories as you like, though you must be under 18 to enter the Student category. • This year we’re also looking for the 2016 Photo of the Year. We’re after the best single photo you’ve taken in the last year – any category, any theme. • Enter the 2016 Photographer of the Year, presented by Panasonic, at www.australianphotography.com

AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


EIZO ColorEdge

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GEAR GUIDE the mirrorless experience

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Small wonders Why I’m a mirrorless convert For pro photographer Drew Hopper, making the switch from his beloved DSLR to a smaller, mirrorless camera has been a revelation. He lists his eight top reasons why mirrorless cameras have changed the way he shoots.

A challenging lighting situation with harsh highlights and strong shadows. The Fuji X100S electronic viewfinder (EVF) helped me expose correctly without removing my eye from the viewfinder. Fuji X100S, 35mm f/2 lens, 1/2000s @ f4, 400 ISO, handheld. Cropped, lens correction, curves and saturation in Photoshop CC.

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GEAR GUIDE the mirrorless experience

A

s photographers we’re always searching for that perfect camera, but is there really such a thing? In the past decade I’ve been shooting with Canon DSLRs. They have served me well in that time, especially with landscape photography and commercial work. However, technology has advanced and small cameras are now becoming popular among professional photographers. I’ve always been a firm believer that it’s not the camera that matters; it’s the end result that counts. It’s still my view on photography, yet everyday I’m trying to push the limits of my gear to get the best possible results – I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I want to share some of the benefits of using smaller cameras, and mirrorless cameras in particular, and how they can change the way you shoot – potentially opening up a new world of opportunities. All the images in this article were shot

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with the Fuji X100S mirrorless rangefinder camera. It’s what I’ve predominantly used over the past eight months while travelling in Southeast Asia. It’s worth mentioning that I’m in no way affiliated with Fujifilm. I’m purely writing this based on my personal experiences using the Fuji system.

01 Size and weight

DSLRs and most traditional cameras are often bulkier and heavier than the more portable compact cameras on the market, making the camera act as a barrier between the photographer and their subject. Because of this it’s often a common occurrence to miss certain shots when the camera viewfinder is pressed to your eye. The bulkiness and size sometimes obscures your vision, which can be frustrating when shooting in busy and chaotic environments. It can mean missing other photo opportunities. AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


LEFT Two boat ladies in Hoi An, Vietnam. They were completely unaware of my camera. When they looked up to ask me for a boat ride, it was as simple as covering my camera in my hands and waiting for them to look away. Fuji X100S, 35mm f/2 lens, 1/250s @ f4, ISO 800, handheld. Monochrome conversion, curves and contrast in Photoshop.

BELOW Lady selling bananas on the street in Hoi An, Vietnam. Using the Fuji X100S made it enjoyable to walk around in the heat of the day trying various angles to get a decent shot. Fuji X100S, 35mm f/2 lens, 1/250s @ f8, ISO 800, handheld. Contrast, curves and saturation in Photoshop.

BOTTOM A mirrorless Fuji X-Pro2 with a 23mm lens (top) and a full frame Canon EOS 6D DSLR with a 35mm lens. Both cameras have a similar field of view, but the Canon is considerably larger and heavier.

On the other hand, mirrorless cameras or smaller more portable cameras don’t really have this issue. The smaller build size enables you to move freely and quickly with the freedom to see what’s happening around you. The smaller body size in most cases makes these cameras lightweight, creating an easier and more enjoyable experience to carry a camera with you at all times, increasing the chance of capturing moments that may have been impossible with a DSLR.

02 Being discreet

Ever wondered how to be invisible as a photographer to capture more candid and natural photos without disrupting the scene? Although it’s not humanly possible to be invisible, there are certain methods to be discreet when shooting in public. Some photographers use telephoto lenses from a long distance to grab candid shots, however, formidable DSLR cameras are not AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016

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GEAR GUIDE the mirrorless experience

BELOW

RIGHT

A very simple yet iconic image of Hoi An, Vietnam. Shooting with the Fuji X100S meant I could make adjustments in camera and see them in live view through the EVF, which saved me a lot of time chimping and post-processing. Fuji X100S, 35mm f/2 lens, 1/125s @ f2, ISO 640, handheld. Slight 3:2 crop, lens correction, curves and saturation adjustment in Photoshop.

Walking the busy food market in Hoi An, Vietnam, can be an overwhelming experience. Having a small camera on me meant I could work as inconspicuously as possible to capture candid real life moments. Fuji X100S, 35mm f2 lens @ 35mm, 1/100s @ f4, ISO 200, handheld. Curves, contrast and saturation in Lightroom/ Photoshop.

preferred in a lot of situations due to the attention they draw. There are times when holding the cameras viewfinder to your eye is abundantly obvious that you are shooting. When trying to capture candid and natural moments you don’t want your subjects aware that you are taking images. Smaller cameras have the benefit of being less invasive due to their compact size; therefore increasing the chances of grabbing more natural shots. People react differently to small cameras than what they do to big cameras, especially for street photography.

03 Silent shutter

With film cameras, there was only one kind of shutter: the mechanical type. These days, digital cameras you have two types of shutters; hybrid and electronic shutters, effectively replacing the old mechanical shutters. The advantages of electronic in comparison to mechanical shutters are simple. They are more robust and reliable because there are no moving parts – this makes the shutter completely silent. It also helps eliminate the risk of blurry images at slower shutter speeds. 34 AUSTRALIANPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

As a result, the electronic shutter allows faster shutter speeds. Most mechanical shutters quickest speed is 1/800th. Auto focus speed and tracking is also improved due to the autofocus sensors being placed directly in the main image sensors that are constantly exposed to light. Many of the mirrorless cameras available today offer a silent shutter. This is a huge plus when trying to capture photos of people without being obvious you are shooting. People tend to react differently when they hear the camera clicking. The Fuji X100S is unique in that it has a leaf shutter and an electronic shutter. Leaf shutters are extremely quiet; basically dead silent. Often you won’t hear it even fire a shot. Leaf shutters also allow extremely fast shutter speeds with flash.

04 Electronic viewfinder (EVF)

Relatively new in digital camera technology, the electronic viewfinder (EVF) has become popular among professional photographers. Traditional DSLR cameras bounce the image up into the viewfinder by a mirror and prism. This is an optical view of what the lens is capturing and requires no AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


electronics, just the same as looking through binoculars. Mirrorless cameras with an EVF use the light from the lens straight into the sensor that records the data and displays a preview in the viewfinder of what the sensor captures. Think of this as live view mode through the cameras eyepiece. There are various advantages of EVFs: the ability to display the histogram in real time, which is extremely beneficial when shooting in tricky lightening situations when properly exposing. Another advantage is live display rendering. You are able see the dynamic range of highlight/shadow detail before pressing the shutter. When shooting in low light environments EVFs are much brighter, therefore the benefit of ISO can be clearly visible. Focus peeking is useful, as is the focus assist zoom. But probably my favourite feature of EVF is the option to review your images without removing your eye from the viewfinder, great when outdoors in bright environments.

05 Dedicated dials and controls

Modern cameras, in principle, tend to be complicated, jam-packed with features that most people don’t AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016

need, not even professionals. Introducing new features, dials and controls isn’t always a good thing. In my opinion, this evolution is complicating matters making it an overwhelming experience for beginners starting out in photography. People may say it’s just a matter of learning to operate whatever camera you have available, however, it’s easier to adapt to a design that’s intuitive. Mirrorless technology seems a step ahead with intuitive cameras with only the right ingredients. Most of these cameras are far more instinctual, making it easier to adapt with their dedicated dials and controls. I like Fuji’s simple ergonomic design, which, from my experience, are some of the simplest cameras to operate straight out of the box. There’s nothing worse than buying a new camera and being overwhelmed by it’s design and features. Usability improvements such as dedicated dials for aperture, shutter speed, and ISO are important. It becomes a mess when you have to fiddle through a menu in order to adjust settings; this is the big advantage of dedicated dials in the right places. AUSTRALIANPHOTOGRAPHY.COM 35


GEAR GUIDE the mirrorless experience Three women chatting at a local market in Hoi An, Vietnam. The small Fuji X100S helped me stay unnoticed while the electronic viewfinder made framing and composing as simple as watching the scene unfold in real time. Fuji X100S, 35mm f/2 lens @ 35mm, 1/125s @ f8, 200 ISO, handheld. Mono in-camera filter, levels and contrast adjustment in Photoshop.

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GEAR GUIDE the mirrorless experience

ABOVE A very detailed scene that caught my eye while walking around a remote village in Central Vietnam. The fixed 35mm forced me to work for my composition without changing lenses, making for a more rewarding image. Fuji X100S, 35mm f/2 lens, 1/210s @ f4, ISO 400, handheld. Lens correction to straight brick wall, curves and saturation adjustment in Photoshop.

06 Misleading value

A huge advantage of travelling with a smaller more portable camera is that it tends to look less expensive than a bigger traditional DSLR. The general person on the street tends to assume the smaller the camera, the lower its value. I’m not saying it’s a complete deterrent, as people who steal will commit crime regardless of the camera, but smaller cameras do tend to be smaller targets. Another advantage is people don’t really associate compactstyle cameras as ‘professional’ cameras. It’s a great way to be inconspicuous while still retaining optimum image quality.

07

Accurate autofocus

Traditionally, DSLR cameras have offered faster and more accurate autofocus than mirrorless cameras but the gap is closing. For some DSLR users, the hassle of framing with the little centre square point and then re-framing to get the desired composition can lead to missed shots. It’s safe to say DSLR autofocus right now is much faster than mirrorless, however, vast improvements have been made in recent mirrorless cameras that allow them to utilise both contrast-detect and phase-detect autofocus systems.

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The latest mirrorless cameras use phase-detection autofocus in live view. Phase detection autofocus systems are used to get your subjects pin sharp. Learning how to effectively use this method you can efficiently lock focus in even the most challenging lighting situations. Mirrorless may not be the quickest focusing system yet, but it is accurate when the camera locks focus, making for an enjoyable and effortless shooting experience. Plus, you never need to fine-tune autofocus on mirrorless cameras. To me, this is a huge advantage.

08 Great image quality

Both DSLR and mirrorless cameras produce high quality pictures at similar resolutions, with agreeable amounts of digital noise (grain) at higher ISOs. Earlier mirrorless camera models meant lower quality files, as they did struggle in low-light situations, but technology has advanced tenfold. Camera manufacturers have developed more sensitive chips which suppress digital noise. It is important to keep in mind, mirrorless is continuously evolving and there is still debate about image quality, but in such a short period of time mirrorless is most definitely changing the world of digital photography. ❂ AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


,TLYNPUN7OV[VNYHWOLYZ» 4HZ[LYJSHZZ

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Monday 1Z[(\N\Z[ 9V`HS9HUK^PJR9HJLJV\YZL:`KUL` Our industry has an abundance of talented up-and-coming photographers. But talent, on its own, is rarely enough in the highly competitive world of professional photography.

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It’s a long and sometimes daunting journey from emerging photographer to successful professional, and the path can be fraught with potential obstacles. The question is, how do you turn your talent and your passion for photography into a rewarding and successful career? In this unique half-day event, a select group of Australia’s most respected photography professionals share their wisdom and experience, their successes and failures, and explain how to stand out and lourish in a crowded and competitive marketplace.

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EMERGING PHOTOGRAPHER’S MASTERCLASS TOPICS: • How to stand out in the crowd • Harnessing social media to make the most of your follower base and see a return on investment • How to get your first big break, and what to do with it • Rookie mistakes and how to avoid them • Strategies to develop your signature style • Effectively marketing to your target audience • Pricing for profit

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Exploring macro can open up a world of detail in your photography. AP’s Mike O’Connor meets Sydney’s very own spiderman, Michael Duncan, to get the lowdown on a tiny world just waiting to be discovered. AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


PHOTO TIPS macro 101

The spiders get their name from the beautiful colours displayed by males. To attract a female, the males raise their legs and wiggle their brightly coloured abdomen. If she's suitably impressed, the female will mate with him. It's amazing to watch and from the first time he saw them, Michael was hooked. He knew he had to photograph them. “I'm an amateur photographer really, but I learnt a little about macro photography by taking photographs of reptiles and bees which I did as part of my research work. I knew I wanted to delve into it a bit further so I started with larger jumping spiders before moving to peacock spiders. What I love about macro is the unbelievable detail,” he explains. Want to know what it takes to capture something so small in such incredible detail? Hard work, patience and a little bit of luck. Here's Michael's tips for macro success.

LEFT An undescribed species. Canon EOS 70D, Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 lens, handheld. MT24EX macro twin light flash, diffused with 8mm packing foam. Eighteen images stacked in Photoshop.

01 You don't need lots of gear

W

hen I visit macro photographer extraordinaire Michael Duncan at Sydney University, he's hanging out in a room full of bees. They're everywhere, landing on the lights and buzzing around the room. He doesn't seem the least bit bothered. It's easy to understand why. Michael's focus has been taken up with an entirely different subject in recent years—a species unique to Australia that's really got people buzzing—and his photographs are a big part of all the noise. Alongside his ‘Project Maratus’ colleagues and fellow experts Michael Doe and Adam Fletcher, he has spent the last 12 months studying the remarkable habits of peacock spiders. Although records show they were discovered in the late 1800's, it wasn't until 2005 when one was witnessed jumping out onto a bush track that they began getting much attention.

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And you don't need to spend huge amounts of money either. Michael started shooting spiders with a basic setup comprised of a Tamron 90mm macro lens, Yongnuo flash and a Raynox diopter, a DCR250. The diopter is a simple snap on adaptor, much like a filter, that increases magnification on a lens – on a standard 50mm it will increase magnification by two and a half times. It's also a great low cost way to enter the world of macro photography. Even if you don't want to invest in a dedicated setup, an alternative is to try reverse macro. By using a reversing ring, a small metal ring that has a standard filter thread on one side and a lens mount thread on the other, you can attach a regular prime or zoom lens to your camera backwards and make the most of it's magnification powers. Michael believes the best lens for reverse macro like this is the humble 18-55mm kit lens packaged with most DSLRs, or a nifty 50 – a 50mm prime lens. Both are cheap lenses that can produce outstanding results perfect for web publication and social media. And better still, reverse macro rings can be purchased online for as little as $3 or $4. His current set-up is slightly more refined. He uses a Canon EOS 70D, which he likes for the fold out touchscreen, as well as the benefits that come from a crop sensor. His lens of choice is a Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro lens coupled with the MT-24EX twin macro flash. “It's a pretty unique lens, and has been an absolute game changer for me. It's fully manual, and comes with a pretty steep learning curve – but it allows for pretty incredible shots,” he says. The 5 to 1 macro essentially allows for incredibly close shots. “You could probably take a photo of just the eye of the spider if you wanted to,” he says. AUSTRALIANPHOTOGRAPHY.COM 41


PHOTO TIPS macro 101

OPPOSITE PAGE Maratus harrisi. Canon EOS 70D, Canon MP-E 65mm f2.8 lens, 1/160s @ f/8, ISO 100, handheld. MT24EX macro twin light flash, diffused with 8mm packing foam. Images stacked in Photoshop.

RIGHT A 2mm Maratus purcellae on a match head. Canon EOS 70D, Canon MP-E 65mm f2.8 lens, 1/160s @ f/13, ISO 400, single shot. MT24EX macro twin-light flash, diffused with 8mm packing foam.

BELOW Maratus volans. Canon EOS 70D, Tamron 90mm f2.8 Macro lens coupled with a Raynox DCR-250, 1/80s @ f/20, 250 ISO, single shot, flash.

02 Get to know your subject

With a species as quirky as peacock spiders, you'll need to spend time getting used to their behaviour if you want to photograph them with any success. I spend an hour carefully trying to get a male (brightly coloured) to display to a female (dull coloured). It involves carefully moving the male close to the female, but not too close as they may not display, likewise if you move them too far away, they probably won't see each other. The perfect arrangement to make the spiders display comes from trial and error. And if you want to photograph it when it happens, you have to make sure you're ready to take the shot at any moment. Peacock spiders are relatively common and according to Michael, are found throughout Australia. “I get messages from all over the world saying 'can I come and find peacock spiders?', but it's not as easy as it sounds – they live in very specific areas.” Adding to the challenge is peacock spiders are not in colour all year round. “Males change colour after their 42 AUSTRALIANPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

final moult, and are only in colour for about three months of their lives in Spring,” he explains. If you're just starting out with macro photography, Michael suggests finding detail in large subjects first. Flowers in particular are great for practicing. “Try spraying water on the leaves or flowers and capturing the droplets,” he says. “It's a great way to get a sense of the minuscule changes that can make a big difference to your final image.” Another good subject is jumping spiders. They're bigger and easy to find too. “You can actually follow jumping spiders around, they're quite curious and make good subjects,” he explains. “I tell people to try feeding them a fly with a pair of tweezers – while eating they will stay still. If they are preoccupied they're a lot less worried about you being there.” Michael reckons you can shoot jumping spiders with just about any gear – it's only when you want to start photographing smaller subjects you might need to consider higher magnification. AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


03 Be zen

Michael says it's vital that your calm and relaxed when it comes to photographing moving subjects. If you're not having any luck, have a break, and go away and do something else. “It's happened to me plenty of times, where I know I’m not in the right head space for it – the critical thing is to be patient,” he explains. And like anything you have to have a passion for what you're doing if you're going to get the best results. “People ask me how I have the patience for photographing macro subjects. I can sit there and spend four hours taking photos of one spider to get one stack – but be hugely proud of the photo afterwards,” he says.

04 Play with depth of field

Getting your depth of field right for your subject can be a challenge in macro photography. Part of this is due to the fact that depth of field increments are measured in mere millimetres when up so close. If you do use a wide AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016

aperture, for example f/2.8-f/5, it will give you a shallow depth of field. Only a small range of your subject will be in focus, with the foreground and background blurred. If you want to capture all the hairs on a spider in tight focus, you'll need to use a small aperture. As he's progressed, Michael's moved to shooting smaller and smaller apertures, which requires slower shutter speeds to allow sufficient light into the sensor. “All my earlier single shot images were at f/22 to f/30 which were fine for social media, but when enlarged were soft,” he explains. “I then started exploring ways to get greater depth of field while still keeping the image as sharp as possible. Now I shoot at f/7 to f/11 for sharper images for focus stacking,” he adds.

05 Stack it

For Michael, focus stacking has brought his macro photography to another level. Focus stacking is a brilliant way to get sharpness AUSTRALIANPHOTOGRAPHY.COM 43


PHOTO TIPS macro 101

IMAGE: MICHAEL DOE

throughout your shot – and sharpness is everything in macro photography. The technique involves combining multiple images taken at different focus distances, with the resulting image having a greater depth of field than any of the individual source images. Michael says it was his friends that helped him become better at focus stacking. “The three of us started challenging each other to take better and better stacked shots, and it evolved from there,” he explains. “Our first stacks were pretty terrible, but that said, often three or four shots of a spider will still give you a decent picture for stacking – it's only when you want to get every hair in detail that you need to be taking more. We've worked out about 12-14 is a good number that will give you great coverage.” He suggests starting in front of the subject, and moving forwards. “I like to start just before the legs. Before the spider comes in focus, you need to start shooting. It helps when shooting insects like spiders to follow it around the branch, and when it pauses, brace yourself, don't breathe, and continuously shoot.” Using a battery pack to assist firing your flash unit helps dramatically with recycling time... Michael also advises when taking the images you intend to stack, to use continuous shutter. “I like using slow continuous shutter. I like to see where I’m moving across the spider, and sometimes it may mean I'll only need to take 350 photos instead of 700 in a shoot . It means a lot less time in front of the computer!”

06 Brace yourself

Keeping your images sharp when hand-holding your camera can be a challenge. Michael suggests bracing against a firm surface, squeeze your arms tight in against your body and holding the end of the lens firmly. “It'll give you the best chance of getting a sharp shot,” he says.

07 Light em' up

TOP Michael Duncan photographing on his custom diorama, a lazy susan he uses to imitate the spiders habitat and manipulate their positions.

ABOVE Maratus elephans. Canon EOS 70D, Canon MP-E 65mm f2.8 lens, 1/200s @ f9, ISO 100, handheld. Canon MT24EX macro twin light flash, diffused with 8mm packing foam. 131 images stacked in Photoshop.

OPPOSITE PAGE An undescribed species. Canon EOS 70D, Canon MP-E 65mm f2.8 lens, 1/100s @ f/11, ISO 100, handheld. Canon MT24EX macro twin light flash, diffused with 8mm packing foam. Ten images stacked in Photoshop.

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One of Michael's greatest challenges is light. To keep shutter speeds up he requires his flash to be coupled to a battery pack, and when shooting hundreds of frames, there is a real risk that the heat generated by the continuously firing flash will literally melt it. “You've gotta be wary during a shoot to let the flash rest after a few 100 shots. However it's easy to get carried away!” he laughs. You find you get all these unique poses – they're upside down, hanging at different angles, and you just want to go for it.” Michael explains that regardless of what flash set-up you use, diffusion of your light is the key to high detail in your macro images. “I use packing foam bent over my twin macro flash heads in a concave shape. I have done this with every type of flash I own and the results speak for themselves. You can even do it with your built in “pop up” flash”. Diffusing the light, when the source is so close to your subject, removes harsh blow-outs that can occur in your images.

08 Bring the outside in

Moving your subject indoors can make macro photography easier. Because macro photography is typically more about the subject than the background, Michael prefers to shoot inside in a custom diorama. The one he shows me in AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


“The three of us started challenging each other to take better and better stacked shots...it evolved from there.”

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PHOTO TIPS macro 101

ABOVE An undescribed species. Canon EOS 70D, Canon MP-E 65mm 2.8 lens, 1/160s @ f8, ISO 100. Canon MT24EX macro twin light flash, diffused with 8mm packing foam, handheld. Six images stacked in Photoshop.

his office is simple - a piece of twig and some leaves to imitate the outdoor environment, with the whole setting balanced on a lazy susan. “With the lazy susan it's easy to move the whole diorama if the spiders move,” he explains.

09 Embrace post processing

If you're going to focus stack, you'll need to get comfortable using post processing software to manage the large numbers of images to be combined. Luckily, the adobe products most photographers use are up to the task. “Photoshop manages focus stacks brilliantly, and will even allow for minor corrections in movement,” explains Michael. “It makes the entire process much more efficient.”

to 10 Continue challenge yourself

Michael finds it's the challenges from his friends that continue to push him to take sharper and sharper images. “I'm always looking for new things to try. Lately I’ve begun trying wide-angle macro using the new Venus Optics Laowa 15mm f/4 wide angle fully manual macro lens. “It's a new 46 AUSTRALIANPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

challenge entirely – stepping down aperture while trying to focus, while at the same time trying to get light into the lens – it's about challenging myself.” For Michael, the challenge also comes from being part of a community that's at the forefront of research into these unique and beautiful species. “The buzz of discovering new spiders that nobody has ever seen before is pretty special,” he says. “It's impossible to explain what it was like the first time I found one myself.” And new species are being found all the time. “It's exciting. Right now, there's huge parts of Australia that have never been searched for jumping spiders, and a lot of the spiders that have we have found were just on the side of the road – they are so small, nobody's ever looked for them.” With 30 plus described since 2005, there's clearly plenty of them out there. “In the next few years there will probably be another 30 described – were right at the start with these guys,” he says. ❂ If you would like to follow more of “Project Maratus” work you can visit www.facebook.com/projectmaratus AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


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PHOTO TIPS planning a wilderness adventure

Federation peak during a scenic flight. Sony A7R II, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens, 1/800s @ f/5.6. Colour and contrast adjustments in Photoshop.

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Photographer

vs Wild Heading off into the great outdoors for several days is a great way to discover new and beautiful landscape locations. It’s not hard to do, but you need to plan carefully and be prepared for changing conditions. Just back from a thrilling week-long expedition to Tasmania’s Western Arthur Range, Dylan Toh shares his top seven tips to help you plan your own wilderness adventure.

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PHOTO TIPS planning a wilderness adventure

ABOVE Secret Falls during steady rain. Sony A7R II, Canon 16-35mm f4 lens. Two exposures, 6s @ f/11, ISO 200 and 1/3s @ f/5.6, ISO 1600 for the foliage. Manual blending of exposures, colour and contrast adjustments in Photoshop.

OPPOSITE Last light illuminates the face of Mount Geryon. Sony A7R II, Canon 1635mm f4 lens, 0.8s @ f/13, ISO 100, tripod. Nisi 3-stop, soft-edged GND and CPL filters. Contrast, colour and adjustments in Photoshop.

I

n January this year, I had the opportunity to travel to Tasmania for one week with three other talented photographers. Our original plan was to hike the Western Arthurs as far as Lake Oberon, one of the many wilderness locations immortalised by the late Peter Dombrovskis. In order to prepare for a seven-day wilderness trip with no support but ourselves, we started planning the trip months out from our departure date. Foremost in our minds was the variable weather of the Tasmanian wilderness. We were accordingly planning for the worst, but little did we know that we would not even be able to access the trailhead. At the time of our visit, devastating bushfires were raging through the pristine wilderness and threatened many World Heritage areas. Our trip became one of changing plans on a daily basis but our overall preparation meant we would at least be fully prepared for whatever we chose to do. Here are some of the considerations I took into account for this trip. If you are planning a similar expedition, these are some of the things you need to nail down before you go.

01 Lighten up

Plans for hiking into the wilderness must include good quality hiking equipment and contingencies for a safe journey. With the inclusion of photographic equipment, pack weight and capacity become a major limiting factor. I used an 80-litre One Planet Strezlecki backpack which is waterproof even without a raincover. Carabiners were used to hang a smaller waterproof camera bag (AquaPac Stormproof) as a front pouch for easy access to my camera while walking.

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The packed weight of my setup was 26kg, which lies within my comfort zone for long hikes. In the preceding months I had practiced hiking with this setup to get used to the unusual weight distribution of the front pack. It is important to feel comfortable with the pack weight and to develop a fitness base that will allow enough energy to venture out for a photographic outing after setting up camp for the evening. Otherwise, you might find the allure of a warm sleeping bag too much to resist as fatigue sets in toward the end of the day!

02 Camera and lens choices

One of the major dilemmas of such an outing is just how much camera gear to bring. For this trip I had set a photographic target weight of 6kg. I was using a Sony A7R II with a Metabones adapter and Canon lenses. The A7R II suffers from poor battery life. As a result, I packed 7 batteries as well as a power bank. SD cards contribute so little space and weight that I brought 256GB worth of storage, far more than I would need. On previous hikes, I found that I was either shooting very wide at 16mm or attempting to zoom into distant mountain peaks. The longer focal lengths help give a degree of compression to allow the peaks to loom larger than life. The problem with my preferred long lens is that the 70200mm f2.8 II lens weighs 1.5kg itself. As a result, I borrowed a 70-200mm f4, which weighs a mere 800g and the image quality is just as good. Despite the 24-70mm f2.8 II being an excellent lens, I elected to leave this out of the kit initially as its focal length AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


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PHOTO TIPS planning a wilderness adventure

would probably be the least used. Keep in mind that if hiking is your primary objective – not photography – you can save a heap of weight by packing a good compact camera.

03 The burden of accessories

ABOVE Marion Bay driftwood at dawn. Sony A7R II, Canon 16-35mm f4 lens, 1s @ f/16, ISO 100, tripod. Nisi 3-stop, soft-edged GND and CPL filters. Monochromatic conversion, ‘radial blur’, colour and contrast adjustments in Photoshop.

TOP A panoramic view of the Tessellated Pavement at dawn. Sony A7R II, Canon 16-35mm f4 lens, 0.6s @ f/13, ISO 100, tripod. Nisi 3-stop, soft-edged GND and CPL filters. Panorama stitching and ‘boundary warp’ in Lightroom, colour and contrast adjustments in Photoshop.

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I brought a 1kg carbon fibre tripod without a centre column for added manoeuvrability and the lighter of my two ball-heads, a Sirui K30x. Since I do a lot of long-exposure photography, I elected to bring a Nisi filter system with two graduated Neutral Density (ND) filters (a three-stop soft edge, and a three-stop hard edge), a six- and a 10-stop ND filter. In order to keep the filters safe, I packed a hard filter case. To have easy access to the filters, I also packed a waist belt to hang the filter case and other accessories from, including a cable release, Kimwipes and a garbage bag with rubber bands doubling as a rain cover. I packed my 70-200mm lens in a lens wrap, which also served as a ‘tarp’ to throw on the ground and lay out my camera gear for easy access when out in the field. I also brought a GoPro Hero3 to record quick video footage while we were walking.

04 Lost and found

Safety aspects of the trip included reliable navigation gear and a personal locator beacon. If you don’t hike very frequently into remote areas, personal locator beacons can be hired from Service Tasmania prior to your hike. These are compact and add little to your pack weight. I had a compass and a paper map wrapped in a waterproof cover to serve as a ‘hard copy’ for navigation but relied mainly on a GPS app on my android phone. There are several apps AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


available that don’t rely on mobile phone reception but the one I am most familiar with is ‘View Ranger’. This version is best for New Zealand locations as topographical maps can be downloaded for a small cost. Wherever you plan on hiking, open street maps can be downloaded and fortunately, most of the well-known tracks in Tasmania had been mapped on this site. (https://www.openstreetmap.org/). The disadvantage of using a mobile phone as a navigational tool is its power consumption. It was another reason to pack a power bank – I used the ‘Mi’ 16000mA power bank (http://www. mi.com/en/powerbank/). This unit weighs approximate 350g and was able to charge the Sony batteries four times, the GoPro twice and my phone once whilst only consuming 50% of its charge.

05 Hiking kit

In order to compensate for the additional weight of electronics and camera equipment, the right compromises had to be made in terms of other equipment. Essential items included a good set of waterproof outers, a spare set of clean inner clothes, dry sacks for items within my backpack, a three- or four-season tent and adequate nutrition. Meal times can be as fancy or as basic as you like but bear in mind that the ‘fancy stuff’ tends to weigh more and take up more pack room. For that reason, I went entirely with freezedried meals. This meant fuel was only consumed for boiling water and that no additional implements were needed at meal times. All of my meals were purchased online from Snowys (https://www.snowys.com.au/), which has a wide range of meals to choose from. Our group of four allowed us to share two, two-man tents. Both tents were top-end Hilleberg tents which are very AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016

comfortable and importantly, kept out the moisture even when you’re pitching in steady rain.

The journey Thus far the preparation of equipment had been written with a view to going ahead with our original plans but we found that we had to modify our trip several times due changing conditions. Only 24 hours prior to our arrival, the access road to the West Arthurs was closed. After some debate, we chose to explore the area around the Southern Overland trail called The Labyrinth. This hike was not as arduous as the Western Arthurs and we allowed

ABOVE Cephissus creek. Sony a7R II, Canon 16-35mm F/4 lens. 2s @ f16, ISO 100, tripod, CPL filter. Taken using the ‘Orton’ effect, colour and contrast adjusted in Photoshop.

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PHOTO TIPS planning a wilderness adventure

ourselves five days to explore the area thoroughly. Since this reduced our food supply requirement by two days, I opted to bring the 24-70mm lens with me on this hike in addition to the photographic gear I had already packed. On an overcast drizzly day, we departed Lake St Clair by ferry to start our walk at Narcissus Hut, located at the southern end of the Overland Track. We hauled our 25-30kg packs over 15km and up one particularly steep ridge leading to the Labyrinth’s entrance. Six hours later, we arrived at the Pool of Memories, wet from the afternoon drizzle and set up camp for the next two nights. During our time here, the conditions were clear and there was no hint of any bushfire haze. We were struck by the primitive nature of the landscape, which was dominated by beautiful Pandani plants (Richea pandanifolia). The skies were particularly clear on our second afternoon 54 AUSTRALIANPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

and evening as we explored several other alpine lakes in the area. We approached photography in this area with the thought that the weather conditions could change at any stage and hence tried to maximise our opportunities while the weather was good. From our campsite, the rugged Mount Geryon dominated the landscape from every vantage point. The morning of the third day started clearly enough as we headed a short distance back toward Lake Elysia to set up camp for the night. For the rest of the day, we explored some of the lesser-known trails in the area leading to a myriad of named and unnamed tarns. On our third afternoon however, conditions turned hazy and we could smell the smoke approaching due to a change in wind direction. Not knowing if the fires were approaching and threatening our exit route, we took the safe option to hike out on the fourth day. AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


LEFT A telephoto lens was used to ‘compress’ the apparent distance between Mount Gould and the trees lining the banks of Lake Selene. Sony A7R II, Canon 70-200mm f4 lens, 1/5s @ f/11, ISO 100, tripod. Nisi 3-stop, softedged GND and CPL filters. Contrast and colour adjustments in Photoshop.

BELOW Bushfire haze envelops Mount Geryon in the early morning. Sony A7R II, Canon 16-35mm f4 lens, 1/13s @ f/11, ISO 100, tripod. Nisi 3-stop, soft-edged GND and CPL filters. Two focal points for foreground and background. Manual focus stacking, contrast and colour adjustments in Photoshop.

This turned out to be a good decision since the Overland Track was simultaneously being closed from the North due to the advancing fire threat. Our plans to spend a night camped near the plateau of the nearby Acropolis were put on hold as we ventured only as far as the beautiful but dry Cephissus Creek near Pine Valley hut. The forecast for the rest of our trip was for storms and heavy rain, which boded well for the fires, but not for good photographic conditions. Due to the rain, we switched our focus to locations within reach of Hobart. Our emphasis would ultimately be on waterfalls due to the heavy rain and storms. We made several forays to the south-east coast along the Tasman peninsula for dawn and were blessed with some dramatic conditions. At the Tessellated Pavement adjacent to Eaglehawk Neck, we experienced a clearing sunrise. Heading south in the early morning, Fossil Bay was home to big surf. We even AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016

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PHOTO TIPS planning a wilderness adventure

ABOVE The Western Arthurs photographed late afternoon during a scenic flight. Sony A7R II, Canon 24-70mm F2.8II lens, 1/800s @ f/5.6, ISO 400. Monochromatic conversion, colour and contrast adjustments in Photoshop.

RIGHT Russell Falls after a day of steady rain. Sony A7R II, Canon 16-35mm f4 lens, 1s @ f/11, ISO 100, CPL filter. ‘Dehaze’ radial filter for water motion in Lightroom. Colour and contrast adjustments in Photoshop.

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experienced some blue-sky summer weather as we ventured down to Crescent Bay. This location is a pristine beach flanked by dunes with views of Cape Pillar and Tasman Island to the south. Since the entire trip was supposed to be a backpacking trip, I found it difficult to shoot without a dedicated photographic daypack as the AquaPac was not suited to carry more than one body and one lens. We visited some of the waterfalls around Mount Wellington while making a few unsuccessful trips to the summit, which remained shrouded in cloud during our visits. On a rainy evening, we also photographed the iconic waterfalls of Mount Field National Park. Russell Falls and Horseshoe Falls were barely trickling at the start of our trip but after two days of steady rain, the usual forest greenery and water flow had been restored. To round out the trip, we were fortunate enough to have a flight arranged for us through Tourism Tasmania to view the Western Arthurs from above. During the flight, widespread damage to the vegetation could be seen as well as the low levels of the Gordon dam, indicative of the dry conditions which allowed the fires to burn out of control in the first place. If you plan on spending time in the wilderness, safety should always be the primary consideration. Decisions about what photographic equipment to bring should be secondary but I hope these general tips will help you to experience a safe and productive photographic wilderness adventure of your own. ❂ AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


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PHOTO TIPS sunny shots

Antarctica can offer 24-hour light and a very low sun for a long time. When we were offered a zodiac trip late one evening it was easy to say yes. Shooting into the sun helped to add another dimension to this beautiful landscape. 14-24mm lens @ 14mm, 1/125s @ f/8. Processed in Lightroom.

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Here comes the

sun AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016

Adding a starburst effect is a cool photography technique that can really make your images shine. AP regular Darran Leal shows how it works.

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PHOTO TIPS sunny shots

BELOW

RIGHT

Shooting into the sun can open up a great deal of creative options – add a super wide angle lens like a 16mm on a full frame sensor or a 10mm on an APS-C sensor and you can easily spend well over an hour like I did shooting in a location like this! My goal here was to balance the clay patterns in the foreground with the dunes and an early sun. 16-35mm lens @ 16mm, 1/750s @ f/11, EV to minus 0.5, ISO 200, handheld. Processed in Lightroom.

Shot with one of my favourite techniques, Program Mode, with TTL auto flash. Point, shoot, and take the image: it was that easy. I had my shots of Machu Picchu and was looking for other photo opportunities. This simple style allowed me to concentrate on the moment and enjoy it as well. The Llama was only in this position for a few seconds. 17-40mm lens @ 17mm, 1/200s @ f/13, ISO 100. Processed in Lightroom.

I

’m surprised how many times I’m asked how I get those lovely images shot into the sun, and in particular the starburst effect with my photos. I hear all sorts of formulas, but to be honest, the easiest way is to simply point your camera and shoot. Of course, this is an oversimplified comment, so lets look into more depth at what effects you can get, and why and how you can maximise this very creative use in your own photography. Our modern camera meters, regardless of the brand, are incredibly good at averaging out the difference from highlights to shadows. What was once a hit or miss system and invariably required multiple different exposures to guarantee a result, can now create a great result with one shot. A few points allow for this, starting with the meters built into our cameras – another is the range of detail our modern sensors can capture and finally, fantastic and simple programmes to process our images like Adobe Lightroom.

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However, other factors come into play when you want to shoot into light. Have you noticed you can see unusual colour shapes and effects when shooting into a light source? This is most prominent into the sun, but will occur with streetlights too. One effect that I love to use to my creative advantage is the ‘starburst effect’ (SBE).

What causes the starburst effect? In simple terms – the starburst effect is caused by light, in particular a point of light, entering your lens and diffracting. That is – diffraction is the slight bending of light waves around small obstacles and the spreading out of light waves past small openings. In the case of photography, light enters your camera through a small opening, the aperture, it bends around the edges of the aperture blades and creates the starburst look. So technically speaking, the smaller the aperture, like f/22, AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016

“The most creative photographers are those that can visualise the result before shooting, and then apply simple techniques for a unique result.”

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PHOTO TIPS sunny shots

ABOVE Cappadocia is one of the best locations for balloons as around 100 rise most mornings. This 3 shot stitched panorama was my favourite. No tripod too – thanks Lightroom! 70200mm lens @ 70mm, 1/4000s @ f/8, ISO 400. Processed in Lightroom.

RIGHT I was attracted to this scene by the patterns and shapes of the clay pan. This was accentuated by shooting into the sun with more shadows and the contrast of the sun. 16-35mm lens @ 16mm, 1/750s @ f/11, ISO 200, handheld. Processed in Lightroom.

the more emphasised the starburst. (Note: I rarely use such an aperture.) This applies during the day as well as during the night, so is worth considering if you want to use the same effect on streetlights. Another important aspect of SBE is the focal length of the lens you use. The wider the angle, the more prominent the SBE. So focal length and choice of aperture all play a roll. There’s also a few other points.

01 Think wide

For me it’s the super wide angles lenses that display the best SBE. I generally use a 16-35mm lens, which is equivalent to about 10-20mm on APS-C size sensors. If you can, try to use as short a focal length as possible – the most common focal length to use when aiming for SBE is about 50mm, which works out to around 30mm on smaller APS-C and similar sensors. In theory, cheaper lenses will offer more lens imperfections including less clear SBE and increased flare and other imperfections. Flare occurs when shooting into a light source, especially towards the sun. In your photos you may see coloured and multi sided

Use depth of field preview You can use your depth of field preview button to ‘close down’ your aperture, darkening the scene and offering you an accurate representation of flare and sun burst. I highly recommend this technique and most DSLRs have this feature.

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shapes emanating from the centre of the sun. This is one form of flare. This also occurs with bright lights like those in the street or in your house. In recent years, Photoshop has allowed photographers to take out these ‘reflections’ and it has also allowed you to add them in. Can you believe it? Of course some people love flare and other imperfections. My son Pearce has been published in several magazines aimed at people aged 20-30 years old. These magazines love images that are processed for a more natural look and yes, they love flare! He has the best gear, including lenses, but is happy to show the faults of his lenses. Remember that all lenses, no matter what their price, have faults. The other form of flare to be aware of is generally a secondary effect that is widely distributed across the image and thus not always easily visible. It will reduce contrast and image quality. Lenses with large numbers of elements, such as zoom lenses, tend to exhibit greater lens flare, as they contain more surfaces at which unwanted internal scattering or reflections occur. It can be reduced by using a lens hood or at a pinch, another shade like your hand. One form of flare is specific to digital cameras, and is known as ‘Diffraction Artifacts’. With the sun shining on an unprotected lens, a group of small rainbows appears. This artifact is formed by internal diffraction on the image sensor, which acts like a diffraction grating. Unlike true lens flare, this artifact is not visible in the eyepiece of a digital SLR camera, making it more difficult to avoid. I personally don’t worry about most of these ‘effects’ and with subtle changes of camera position and angle, can even use the effects to my advantage. That said, occasionally, I will touch out flare if it is too far from the light source, or is a distraction to the final look of the image. AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


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PHOTO TIPS sunny shots

Safety first Remember that looking into the sun can be dangerous. It will not damage your camera, but can damage your retina and cause future eye health issues. Make sure you limit your time looking into the scene with the sun and do not look directly at it.

02 Think about the weather

Cloud, fog, and smog can all affect your result, especially when shooting into a light source. This is because the source of light is either diffused or more spread out and will stop the best diffraction occurring. The opposite can be said for very clear air like in Antarctica or in a desert. The clear air will optimise diffraction in the lens.

03 Pick your time

Early morning or late afternoon may also affect your results. When sunlight travels through the earths atmosphere, dust particles and moisture affect the light before it meets you. This is why you may shoot in one location for a result you like and find the very next day, at a similar time, does not offer the same result. A combination of timing and atmospheric conditions will rarely offer the same result twice. One of my favourite recent SBE images was shot in Namibia. It was taken before sunrise, using moon light. The result is an image that some viewers think is a daytime image with a SBE from the moon. Street scenes are probably the most common time to see SBE and shooting after rain can add even more interesting results.

04 Set and forget

ABOVE

OPPOSITE

Cerro Fitzroy in Patagonia can be shot at any time of the day. We are often up before sunrise for that special light, although this is one of my favourite images taken in the afternoon. On this occasion, the cloud offered an extra creative touch and I waited for it to just cover the sun. 1424mm lens @ 24mm, 1/500s @ f/11. EV to minus 0.5, ISO 200, handheld. Processed in Lightroom.

Deadvlei is a perfect location to shoot into the sun. Its stark contrast of 700 year old mummified trees, giant sand dunes and clay pan base is very surreal. By shooting into the sun, I could also add the extra facet of the trees shadow. This image was shot in 2006. Note the minus 0.5 of a stop EV setting. Today, I might not bother to set this as often, rather shooting straight to the meters ‘suggested reading’ and adjusting as required when processing. 17-40mm lens @ 17mm, 1/250s @ f/11, EV to minus 0.5, ISO 100, handheld. Processed in Lightroom.

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In theory, you can use any mode and any aperture/ shutter combination to get a result. My favourite is f/11 and occasionally f/8. I have heard of photographers teaching that f/22 is “a must set aperture”. This is not true and creates issues with slower shutter speeds and a general lower success rate. I guarantee that setting f/11 for many such shoots will offer you a great result and more creative options, and will also give you a better understanding of the final look and technical issues. I also use my keep it simple principle of Aperture Priority for the majority of shoots. I set the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed – easy. We are in the 21st century after all! Any variables are often subtle and easily adjusted in seconds when it comes time for processing.

time on composition, 05 Spend not the camera

I feel this is the most important point to the success of shooting into light. It is less relevant which camera you use and with which lens. It is also less relevant which aperture you use. If you can’t shoot a well balanced, lovely looking image, then you will not achieve great looking results. Try and find a great story image that works with the light AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


source and backlit subjects. Try visualising the result you want. The most creative photographers are those that can visualise the result before shooting and then apply simple techniques for a unique result. Look for line, form, shape and contrast to add to your SBE opportunity. These four combined, by themselves or as opposites, can offer unique creative results. I will also often use something to partially block the sun when shooting directly into it. This could be a tree top, a building, rocks or any number of other things – it can all help. I start by blocking the sun and then moving slightly to allow the first rays to be seen in the viewfinder. It’s simple, but offers a very cool SBE. Remember, don’t be shy to shoot into the sun or a light source. Your own backyard is not a bad place to start or perhaps down at the beach or at the local park. Aim to add foreground interest and balance this with the light source. For me, this is where a super wide angle lens becomes a powerful creative tool. And above all – don’t forget to keep it simple! sometimes the simplest photos are the most effective. ❂ Darran and Julia Leal offers photo adventures around the world. From Antarctica to Africa, Europe to Asia and beyond. Explore their website for more information and free tips and techniques – worldphotoadventures.com.au

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TESTED Olympus PEN-F

Olympus PEN-F It might look like a camera from the 1960s but the new PEN-F houses plenty of 21st Century technologies. Anthony McKee takes it out for a spin. ABOVE Hats off to the Olympus PEN-F, one of the most stylish, well crafted mirrorless cameras to come onto the market. Solid build quality and positive controls make it the ideal travel camera, perfect for wandering city streets or travelling to far away lands. Portrait of Craig from Grand Hatters in Melbourne. 17mm lens @ f/4, 1/80s, ISO 1600.Â

I

t was 1963 when Olympus launched the original PEN-F. The compact SLR featured interchangeable lenses and manual controls, but its most innovative feature was its half-frame (18 x 24mm) format that allowed photographers to capture 72 photographs on a roll of 36-exposure 35mm film. The only quirk was that in a normal shooting position, the format was aligned to portrait mode, but this did not stop the PEN-F from being one of the most elegant, portable and desirable camera systems of the 1960s. Fifty years on and the PEN-F is back, this time with a 20.3-megapixel Live MOS sensor and a five-axis stabilisation system that ensures sharp photographs at slow shutter speeds

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about four stops below the norm, and smooth video when hand-holding the camera. Olympus have also enabled this camera to shoot 50-megapixel JPEGS and 80-megapixel RAW files by shooting a rapid sequence of images as the sensor is subtly moved within a grid by the image stabilisation system; this artificially increases the pixel density of the camera to create a file that can provide more detail that most other consumer cameras on the market. The PEN-F can capture video in Full HD (1080/60p) (although it lacks an external mic and headphone jack) and time lapse video at 4K. Other key features include built in WiFi, a 2.36-million dot OLED electronic viewfinder and a fully articulated 3in touch-sensitive LCD display with a resolution of 1,037,000 dots. The PEN-F has a top mechanical shutter speed of 1/8000s and a top electronic speed of 1/16,000s; the camera can capture up to 10 frames per second (fps) shooting with the mechanical shutter, and up to 20fps in electronic shutter mode. Top flash sync is 1/250s, and while there is no built-in flash, the PEN-F does have a hot-shoe and is supplied with the Olympus FL-LM3 flash. This tiny flash weighs just 51g and is ideal for travel, but what I enjoy

even more is that the flash-head can be rotated upwards 90-degrees and 360-degrees to bounce the light in suitable conditions. What I think most people will be impressed by is the build quality. Older Olympus cameras have a distinctively solid feel; they might have a compact size but there is a lot hiding under the bonnet. The new PEN-F is no exception; it has a moderately compact body measuring just 125 x 72 x 37mm, but at 427g (body only) the camera feels solid in your hands. The chassis is made from magnesium alloy and aluminium but a soft leatherette provides an elegant finish. A deep thump grip on the rear of the camera makes the camera easy to hold, and with the LCD screen folded into the rear of the camera, the PEN-F feels almost like a film camera in your hands. Other tilts to a bygone era are a good sized rubber viewfinder and a screw-in cable release socket on the shutter release button. One of the best features of the PEN-F is the control dials. The power switch is a round, beautifully knurled knob on the left side of the top deck that is easy to find and operate. On the right side of the deck are the exposure control dials including a lockable mode dial, two main adjustment dials (useful for aperture and shutter control) and AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


Specifications Price: $1,799 (body only) RRP

Viewfinder: Built-in OLED, 2.36-million-dot, 100% field of view

Sensor type: Micro Four Thirds, Live MOS Sensor size: 17.4 x 13mm (Four Thirds)

Flash: External. Olympus FL-LM3 TTL flash supplied for use on hot shoe

Resolution: 21.7-megapixels (up to 80 MP in Hi Res Shot mode)

Still format: JPEG, RAW and JPEG + RAW Movie format: 1920 x 1080, 60p

Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds mount

Movie format: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 / Motion JPEG WiFi: IEEE 802.11b/g/

Shutter speeds: 30-1/8000s mechanical. Up to 1/16,000 electronic shutter Exposure compensation: ± 3 stops in 1/3rd stop increments

an exposure compensation dial. All the dials are well crafted and have positive, click-stop actions that won’t be accidentally knocked off their mark. The PEN also has a “Creative Dial” located on the front of the camera that pays homage to the old shutter speed dial on the original PEN-F film camera. This dial lets you quickly choose between normal shooting mode and four creative modes, including Monochromatic (black and white), Colour Profile, Art Filter and Colour Creator modes. There’s also a toggle switch just beneath the main mode dial to let you fine tune the tone curve (how the camera handles shadows, midtones and highlights). This will appeal to those who like to shoot JPEGs but is supefluous if you shoot Raw. The build quality and classic look will appeal to Olympus devotees, but the image quality is also noteworthy. The new sensor provides better detail at the lower ISOs and the new TruePic VII processor provides improved noise reduction at higher ISO settings. If you enjoy making big prints though, the PEN-F also has the advantage of using sensor shift technology to create BIG photographs – up to 80-megapixels in RAW mode. So long as your subject is static, you have the camera steadied (preferably on a tripod) and you are AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016

Battery: Lithium-Ion BLN-1 battery. Good for 300 images (CIPA). Dimensions: 127 x 74 x 52 mm

ISO range: Low, 200 - 25,600 ISO

Weight: 427g (body only with battery and SD)

LCD: Vari-angle, 3-inch, 1,040,000-dot

More information: olympus.com.au

working at the lower ISO settings, then the High Res Shot mode works a treat. The detail is amazing for a camera this small. The PEN-F is an enjoyable camera to use. It is small, discreet and very capable. The rubberised viewfinder makes it comfortable for spectacle wearers (like me) to see 100% of the fine details on the EVF while the controls and shutter can be operated without the need to go looking for them. Some have touted the PEN-F as a “street camera” but the half-second wake-up from its sleep state is too long for street work when I want to literally lift the camera and push the button. What the PEN-F is ideal for is travel. This camera is comfortable enough to carry all day, it’s small and subtle enough to go unnoticed in a crowd and it’s ideal for all the challenges of travel, from capturing candids in a market to shooting hi-res landscapes. Paired with some of the gorgeous and rather compact Olympus primes and the FLLM3 flash, the PEN-F makes for a very elegant, go anywhere camera. Some people will buy the PEN-F because it is a very capable, practical Four Thirds format camera. Others because it is a beautifully designed tribute to a past era of photography. Neither group will be disappointed. ❂

Results

SCORE FINAL WORD The PEN-F has some great features that will appeal to many photographers. The design and build quality are as good as it gets, and you know that wherever you are or whatever you are photographing, you will be doing it in comfort and style.

9

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APS GALLERY

With Sandra Anderson

Close up For vision-impaired photographer and APS member Sandra Anderson, photography offers new ways to see and interpret the world. Here’s a selection of her favourite images.

I

am a vision-impaired photographer and my camera is a wonderful tool to bring subjects in close. Photography to me is a great insight into the world we live in. I am a member of the Mount Gravatt Photographic Society, where I am coordinator of the portrait group, and the Australian Group of International Exhibitors. Highlights of my photography achievements include obtaining my

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EFIAP and FAPS and receiving national and international awards including gold medals in Austria, America, Germany and Wales. I have many friends and peers who have inspired and supported me along the way, but my biggest supporter is my husband. What the future holds I have no idea but I am always looking for that next better image and trying to develop as an artist. â?‚ AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT Sailor beware; My security; Hard times in drought; At rest.

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APS GALLERY

CLOCKWISE FROM RIGHT One glorious morning; Moonlight serenade; Nature’s destiny; Just holding on.

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AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


APS FOCUS

With Peter Manchester

Confusion reigns when it comes to photographing people in public places, writes Australian Photographic Society member Peter Manchester.

PHOTO BY PETER MANCHESTER.

Permission required?

I

gave a lecture recently and was introduced as a past president of the Australian Photographic Society who specialises in street photography. At the end of the presentation a member of the audience asked, “Do you follow the APS’s policy of only photographing people if their permission is obtained?” Yes, the Australian Photographic Society does have policies in place in the Plagiarism and Ethics section of the website. But it does not have written policies on photographing people in public places. It expects its members to follow the acceptable laws of the Australian Privacy Act. Can you take a photograph in a public place that contains images of people you don’t know? Yes and no. Yes, you can take photographs in a public place without asking permission if the images will not be used for commercial purposes. This extends to taking photographs of buildings, sites and people. Photographing people for a commercial purpose is where AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016

limitations occur and a model release may be required. Importantly, there are no publicity or personality rights in Australia, and there is no right to privacy that protects a person’s image. Existing privacy laws are more concerned with storage and management of personal information and are of limited relevance to the present issue. There is also currently no tort of invasion of privacy in Australia. There is also no restriction on taking photographs of people on private property from public property. So people who are photographed on their property from a public location have no legal claim against you if what is captured in the photograph can be seen from the street. It’s important to remember that successful street photographers don’t just tell us about the person in the photograph, they also tell us about the person behind the camera. I don’t take pictures of people, I take photographs about people. While in a public place with my camera, I know I do not have any legal restrictions, so I can embrace

my creativity totally. I know the fundamentals of how my camera operates and what it can do in terms of speed and aperture. When I first started out in street photography I admit it wasn’t easy. Like most photographic pursuits, for example nature photography, it takes a special skill and lots of practice. I’ve found the most important thing is to listen to what your gut is telling you about your subject and the situation. Sometimes your visual instinct will lead you to a composition that does follow clear cut rules. Other times it will lead you to something where the rules simply do not apply. Both outcomes can be equally powerful, as long as you let your gut feeling lead you there. What camera is best for photographing people? Confronted with this challenge, I approached several members of the Australian Photographic Society who were able to suggest some good options. I am fortunate to be part of an organisation that includes so many talented and helpful members. I have no regrets in joining. ❂ AUSTRALIANPHOTOGRAPHY.COM 71


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Photo tips from the John Wayne

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Image

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Check out the online version of Image Doctor at www.australianphotography.com, moderated by professional photographer Anthony McKee. Submit an image and find out what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong and, most importantly, what you can do to improve. To upload an image go to www.australianphotography.com and click the ‘image doctor’ tab on the home page.


“The bird’s wing shape and the curved trails of water are wonderful – you have captured a truly beautiful moment.”

THIS MONTH’S WINNER!

Spectacular shot Jon Vause paddles his kayak into the wetlands near his home to photograph bird life. He says that photographing from the kayak gives a good height in relation to the subject and allows him to drift into areas to get close to birds without disturbing them. However, he writes that there is also a lot of hit and miss. This image was taken in evening light when the egrets were feeding and moving around. “You don’t get a lot of time to compose and capture the shot so you have to be prepared and understand the birds’ behaviour and movements,” he says. This is a spectacular shot – a one in a million type! The bird’s wing shape and the curved trails of water are wonderful – you have captured a truly beautiful moment. This image ticks so many boxes in nature photography: interestingly posed subject, sharp, flattering even lighting, nicely blurred backdrop, good composition – and more.

AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016

The main weakness with this image is the grainy noise, which can manifest in situations with low lighting and high ISOs (and also long exposures – which are not involved here). You can look at reducing some of the noise through Photoshop’s filters. However this is a minor issue with such a great shot! Well captured! SAIMA’S TIP: The trade-off with noise reduction in post-production is image softening and the loss of detail which can be offset (carefully!) with a little sharpening.  TITLE: Egret’s flight PHOTOGRAPHER: Jon Vause  DETAILS: Canon EOS 60D, Canon 70-200mm lens with 2x teleconverter @ 400mm, 1/1000s @ f/7.1, 500 ISO, -1/3 exposure compensation, hand held, minor adjustments, sharpened and cropped in Photoshop.

AUSTRALIANPHOTOGRAPHY.COM 79


IMAGE DOCTOR

A bit of punch Ian Sampson took this photograph in the ghost town of Big Bell in the mid-west region of Western Australia. “The structure was likely built between 1930 and 1950 when Big Bell was a flourishing town,” he explains. “It was made of various types of wire, metal pipe, logs and cut timber and I am assuming it was a rather elaborate chicken coop. In post-production, the foreground and background were blurred using the brush tool and dehaze option which created a de-contrast effect at the same time.”

I love the shape of this structure. The effect is very similar in feel to that of black-and-white infrared, but not exactly. The coop has got strong blacks but the rest of the scene is a bit ‘wishy washy’, especially around the tree line. Dehazing supposedly clears up backgrounds. If you wanted to reduce the presence of the background, you may have been better off going in closer, bending down and shooting up at the coop. As it is, a bit of ‘punch’ is needed to give this image more impact and I think a bit more mid-tone contrast could help do the job. If you look online at examples of blackand-white infrared images, the ones that really stand out are the ones with good contrast and a broad range of tones. SAIMA’S TIP: Infrared film operates on chlorophyll in living plants turning them white for a lovely ghostly effect, but if you want to get the same effect digitally, check out www.lifepixel.com for software and a gallery of image examples. TITLE: Chicken coop PHOTOGRAPHER: Ian Sampson DETAILS: Nikon D810, 14-24mm lens @ 24mm, 1/50s @ f/16, 125 ISO, tripod with cable release, converted to black and white in Lightroom CC 2015. Selective clarity and contrast, foreground and background blurred with brush tool and dehaze option.

Tripod a must “I was travelling in the north-west wilderness of Sydney chasing the spectacular dusky glow in this part of the world, especially overlooking the Blue Mountains,” writes Nitin Saksena. “After I found the right day, I rushed on to capture the glow over the horizon. The surroundings were a little lacking so I created the illusion of water by using my car roof to create a reflection of the red glow. The photo does give an illusory impression of a body of water.” Top marks for creativity and lateral thinking. At a quick glance it does look a bit like a water reflection and the colour is impressive. However, it is not really a good reflection and that ‘pink’ area is exceptionally noisy. There is also noise elsewhere in the sky but the foreground noise is the one that is immediately obvious. It is also 80 AUSTRALIANPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

a shame that the black horizon line isn’t more exciting or interestingly contoured. Everything you say indicates that it was all bit of a rush, and you really didn’t have a strong plan. More of a plan with a strong location and subject in mind for a shot using that great glow – and a tripod – would be an advantage. That 4000 ISO setting is a factor in that unflattering noise and if you had a tripod, it would not be necessary.  SAIMA’S TIP: A tripod is a must for shooting serious sunset shots. TITLE: Illusion PHOTOGRAPHER: Nitin Saksena DETAILS: Nikon D810, 24-70mm f2.8 lens @ 70mm, 1/60s @ f/2.8, 4000 ISO. AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY JULY 2016


The right mood Hannah Kurschner from Germany is a relatively recent arrival in Australia and says she finds travel the best way of learning more about life and opening up the mind. She writes: “The best way to save experiences is with photography. I couldn’t bring a large camera, nonetheless I’ve caught some amazing images. When I arrived in Brisbane everything was, of course, new. This is perfect, because you look at everything with a very different vision. This day I walked with a friend along South Bank. The plan was to go swimming but suddenly the sky darkened. At that moment I took this picture with its amazing light and I think you can feel the suspense.” I suspect that the overall ‘drama’ of the scene is what is impressive, but to me it looks a little dirty, like an oily smoke pall has descended over the city. Perhaps that is the ‘suspense’ you refer to. This effect is hard and a little coarse. The problem with in-camera filters is that they are a one-stop shot. They don’t allow you to control the effect and don’t allow for selective or subtle alterations. Obviously if you are on a trip, you may not have easy access to or time for post-production processing. I hope that you took some straight shots as well so that at a later date you can make subtle adjustments and do things like HDR which allows you to process twice. The skill you need to develop is to learn to recreate the mood that you obviously liked in a better way than the camera filter allows. SAIMA’S TIP: In-camera tools offer fewer controls than post-production which allows much more control with sliders and other options for custom adjustments. TITLE: Brisbane’s shadow PHOTOGRAPHER: Hannah Kurschner DETAILS: Olympus Tough, 1/160s @ f/3.5, ISO 125. In camera ‘Art 7’ dramatic effect.

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IMAGE DOCTOR Go long “I took this image in late afternoon after seeing the sky covered in cloud with a touch of colour,” says Rene Martens. “There wasn’t much wind around so there was a reasonable reflection in the water as well.” I suspect you were enjoying the moment but that emotional experience doesn’t translate as well to the image. The touch of colour and dullish lighting are not that exciting and neither is that building – at least not from this angle. That water and reflection could be smoother, and a longer exposure would achieve that, but a tripod is advisable for longish exposures. I also think you need to consider a rule-of-thirds composition for this situation where the clouds in the sky are much more interesting than their reflection in the water so probably two-thirds sky and one-third water would work better.

Stand back This shot was taken in the grounds of a shrine in Tokyo on a spring morning. Ron Pokarier says the intermittent light showers were a challenge but the accompanying even lighting was a bonus. “It was not easy to find a suitable spot to take the shot while exercising appropriate cultural sensitivity to a ladies’ art group who were jostling for positions to sketch the shrine.”  That cultural sensitivity may be the reason for this set of gates being so centred. It would have been better if they had been shot from more of a side angle. One way around your dilemma may have been to use a longer lens from further back. It could have helped for a couple of reasons: first, to avoid the artists and then to compress the perspective. I would have also suggested shooting in the vertical format as well. It’s a tricky situation as these shrines can be a little ‘untidy’ with a lot of greyish peripheral details. The spring weather in Japan can also be a little fickle so the lighting may be soft and even – but unexciting – and if you over brighten the red it can be a little harsh and in your face.

SAIMA’S TIP: Neutral density filters help achieve longer exposures than you would be able to get usually in both light and dark situations. TITLE: Lake Benalla, Victoria PHOTOGRAPHER: Rene Martens DETAILS: Canon EOS 6D, Sigma 50-500mm APO lens @ 50mm, 1/320s @ f/4.5, 400 ISO. Tone adjustment in post.

SAIMA’S TIP: For spring and autumn trips to Japan, check out the interactive colour maps from JTB for an idea of best ‘viewing’ times and locations for blossoms or autumn colour. TITLE: Torii, Tokyo PHOTOGRAPHER: Ron Pokarier DETAILS: Nikon D90, 18-55mm @ 29mm, 1/30s @ f/9, 64 ISO. Franzis HDR projects to brighten the red while avoiding flare. 82 AUSTRALIANPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

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Don’t crop too much Graham Bauer writes that he has been trying for years to get a decent photo of a willy wagtail at a camping spot at Hastings Point, NSW. “This was our last time camping here and it rained no end,” he says. “Willy was there but this time was happy to be photographed. You can see rain drops on the feathers.” While you got a good side-on view of the bird, the image has suffered greatly from loss of quality. The bird is “running out of pixels” and many of the feathers are not visible as a result, and those drops of water look more like white specks of dandruff, not droplets. There is also a problem with colour noise. This picture has the quality you would expect with a 3-megapixel camera, not an 18-megapixel one. You need to crop half the amount that you cropped, and it will appear much sharper though the bird will be smaller in the frame. There was also no advantage in shooting

at f/16, and it just meant that the increased ISO didn’t help the situation with noise which appeared even worse with cropping. If you had shot at f/8, the ISO would have been 800 which would have been much better than 3200. SAIMA’S TIP: Cropping reduces the number of pixels and as these decrease in number, the quality goes down as well. TITLE: Willy PHOTOGRAPHER: Graham Bauer DETAILS: Canon EOS 600D, 18-270 f3.5-6.3 lens @ 270mm, 1/500s @ f/16, 3200 ISO. Adjustments to colour, contrast and sharpness in Photoshop Elements. Image cropped, ‘catch light’ added to eye.

WIN a Fujifilm Finepix XP90!

How to submit an image

Thanks to Fujiilm, Jon Vause has won a fantastic XP90 camera valued at $299. The XP90 features four rugged protection features and is ideal for holidays and outdoor leisure activities. Weighing just 203g, the XP90’s compact and lightweight body also comes equipped with a high-deinition Fujinon lens and delivers highquality images thanks to Fujiilm’s unique colour reproduction technology. The XP90 is waterproof to 15m, can withstand a drop of up to 1.75m, will still operate in temperatures as low as -10°C, and is dustproof to prevent the intrusion of dust or sand. The XP90 offers a 5x optical zoom lens that includes a 28mm wideangle setting for sweeping landscape and scenic shots. Find out more at fujiilm.com.au

• Email entries to: imagedoctor@ australianphotography.com with ‘Image Doctor’ in the subject line. • Tell us your name, the title of the picture and up to 150 words about how you created it. • Only one image per person per month. • Images must be saved in JPEG format. Maximum file size is 5MB. Include your name in the filename of the image. • An Australian address is required in order to receive the prize. • Employees of Yaffa Publishing or the sponsor are not eligible to win the prize. • The editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

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Australian photography july 2016  

Australian photography july 2016  

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