Namibia – Abstract Landscapes

8 12 2011


One of the highlights of my trip to Namibia was visiting the Deadvlei near Sesriem.  From the time I first saw photos from this amazing place I said to myself “this is somewhere that I just have to photograph”.   The textures of the dry lake bed…. the abstract shapes of the petrified trees….. the beautiful red/orange sand dunes surrounding the lake are all like something out of a Dali painting.

A light painted image taken at night.

I ended up doing three shoots at this location.  A sunset shoot, followed by a sunrise shoot, and then a sunset/night shoot.  Similar to Kolmanskop, this location was a photographers dream… lots of different ways you could approach the shoot.  Different compositions, lighting and post processing all combined to make this a pretty special and surreal landscape.

I deliberately went pretty hard with the post processing.  The reason for this was that there are plenty of lovely “natural prints”,  however because this is such a surreal landscape, I wanted to add a bit of surreal processing to the post production to create an image that was a bit different to everybody elses.  The top image looks incredible when printed large on fine art paper (and on super glossy).


I’ll follow up with a tutorial on my post processing for some of these images in a few weeks once I have finished my image processing.


A Lovely Shot From My Buddy…

28 10 2010

Photo By Gavin Marchio

A couple of weeks back I organised a fun shoot down on Long Reef rocks at sunset.  There were six of us Photographers that were shooting the lovely Kate McCracken (in her wedding dress no less).  and we had a ball.

I just saw one of the shots that Gavin Marchio processed which I think is a real cracker. (I think it’s going to be better than my shots that night). Gavin’s not too shabby a photographer (when he’s allowed out to play).  He came up with a really different composition by including our lights in shot.   If you are interested you can check out more of Gavin’s work on Flickr. The other thing that makes Gavin interesting as photo buddy is that he is a salesmen’s dream… If a photo company puts out a new product and Gavin doesn’t own it…. he’ll buy it.  He is physically incapable of walking into a photogaphic shop and not coming out with a purchase  😉  This makes him a good person to go shooting with, cause he has all the gear you could possibly need…  😉

Sculpture By The Sea

28 10 2010

Hey Light Painters… I’m probably going to head out to Sculpture By The Sea at Bondi for some nocturnal fun on Sunday night.

Hope to see some of you guys n gals there.


Light Painting An Entire Freaking City!!!

28 10 2010

Check this out…. This is light painting on a grand scale… What a project.  50 photographers went to great details to light paint an entire city.  While the translation from Spanish is not perfect, it’s still worth having a read of what these guys got up to.  Absolutely amazing.

You can read the whole story here.


Tutorial: Kirsty At Middle Head Fort – Part 1… The Capture

16 05 2010

It’s been a while since I posted a tutorial, so I thought I’d do a tutorial on this image that I made last night.  This article will be in two parts;

  • Part 1 will talk about how I made the capture
  • Part 2 will take you through the post processing of the image.

So last night I was running a workshop for Northside Creative Camera Club on Light Painting.  I decided to ramp it up a bit and include some off-camera flash techniques as well.   We invited a lovely model called Kirsty to come and model for us.  Here’s how we did this shot.

Set up an SB900 flash unit in a soft box just out of frame on camera left.  The flash was close to Kirsty which meant the light levels dropped off quickly in the scene and allowed us to control the lighting on the bunker separately.  I was using Nikon’s CLS to control the flash power.  Camera was set on ISO200, f5.6, 30sec exposure.

As we triggered the shutter the strobe fired, and then we started light painting the bunker from camera right, and then from camera left using my olive oil can with a fluoro in it.  We also went behind the bunker and popped a second flash with a pink gel on it into the bunker about 5 times to create the pink glow.

The stars were captured separately from a high ISO shot (iso 1600, f5.6, 30sec) and then blended in using a contrast mask.

Thats pretty much it.  Even though it was a long exposure, Kirsty was sitting in darkness, so the flash pop gave her sharpness.

My next post will show the post processing step-by-step.

I hope you like it.  I am using a more stylised processing approach for these portrait sessions because I feel they lend themselves more to it rather than straight landscapes.

More later


Light Painting Article in Better Photography

29 12 2009

I just picked up a copy of the latest edition of Better Photography.  Peter Eastway has written up a nice article about a shoot I took him on a few months back to show him the ins and outs of light painting.

It’s funny what editors omit from their articles… he ommited to mention that he went on a seascape shoot with two Phase One backs in his backpack wearing thongs.  Now the trip out to the headland wasn’t too bad, but it was an incoming tide, and I think Peter got a tad nervous when we had a few dashes across the rocks in between waves.  Watching somebody dash across the rocks in thongs with about $80K worth of camera gear on their back was certainly one of the moments I won’t forget in a hurry.



The Making Of Nightmare (part 1 of 2)

21 11 2009

It’s been a while since I have posted a video, so I thought I would give you a double-header.  This is the first of two videos that show how I made an image called Nightmare.  This video is part 1 which takes you behind the scenes when we did the shoot.  It was a lot of fun, there was a group of about 8 of us and I think everyone really enjoyed the location and the shoot.  When you are shooting with a good group it really makes photography fun.  We were also lucky enough to have a gorgeous and talented model (thank you Mandy) who modeled for us.

This shot is something different for me in a few different ways.

  1. It combines off-camera flash with light painting.  I don’t normally do much off-camera flash, but I’m keen to start doing more after Oat and Nelson’s wonderful off-camera flash workshop.
  2. It is a shot of a person… I normally have a bit of a mantra of not shooting anything that talks or shits.  Hence the fascination with seascapes, landscapes and urban shots.  In this case I do feature the beautiful Mandy.
  3. This shot was totally pre-visualised for about 3 months, and I have set out to create it.  I planned everything about the shot from the pools of light to the type of clothes that Mandy had on.  I wanted to see if I had the technique to accurately re-create my vision…. and I have to say I was very happy with the results.

What is this shot about?

Nightmare is about a chick who has been out for a wild night of partying finding herself in the wee hours of the morning in one god-awful freaky place.  Her clothes are in disarray, her makup is smudged over face and I wanted to create a response in the viewer of “what the hell happened to her…. what is she doing in this freaky place”?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video…. I will try to post part II tomorrow which will show the post processing including some pretty cool techniques.

This video was produced in High Definition, so I’m not going to embed it inline with the blog but send you over to Vimeo where you can enjoy it in all it’s HD splendor.