Kolmanskop – Disneyland for photographers

8 11 2011

My Namibian trip is going sensational so far…. Unbelievable landscapes.

Yesterday I spent hours photographing the ghost town of Kolmanskop.   I can only describe it as Disneyland for photographers if you like photographing old stuff, abstracts etc.   It is SO MUCH FUN.

Not much bandwidth, so I’m keeping my post brief.  Off to Wolverdans today for some big landscapes!!!

My bag with my light modifiers and light stand got lost on route, but luckily they have found it and I will be reunited soon.

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I’m Off On The Best Photo Trip In The World!

2 11 2011

Photo courtesy of Paul Bruins

OK, Maybe the title is a bit subjective, but thats how I feel.  On Friday I depart for a 2.5 week trip to Namibia.  I’ve been planning this trip for over a year and now it’s finally here.

I am travelling with one other photographer (Analia), and her husband Rob.  Together we are spending two weeks in a

Photo courtesy of Paul Bruins

Landcruiser photographing one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

We collect our 4WD in Windhoek (the capital).  It will be all decked out for camping with 2 fold out tents on the roof, fridge, BBQ, tables, chairs, camping gear etc.  We then head down to the Quiver Tree Forest near Keetmanskop,  then off to Luderitz which is on the coast.  The reason we are going here is to photograph two incredible ghost towns – Kolmanskop and Elizabeth Bay.  Both are ex diamond mining towns, and when the diamonds ran out, the people moved out.  What makes Kolmanskop especially interesting is that the desert has started reclaiming some of the buildings, so you get these incredible scenes of abandoned houses with sand dunes in them.   For me this is going to be a fun exercise in light, composition and colour.

Photo courtesy of Paul Bruins

Then we start heading up North to Wolwedans which has some absolutely gorgeous big landscapes.  We are staying in a private camp site all to ourselves with 4wd access roads into the park, so we can photograph at our leisure.

Photo courtesy of Paul Bruins

From there it’s a short hop up to Sesriem.  Our only luxurious accomodation for the trip. Here we are staying at the Sossus Dune Lodge which is inside the gates of the park.  The reason for this extravagence is so that we can photograph the incredible Dead Vlei at night…. I’m just dying to do some light painting here,  I think that it is the perfect subject for it and I have only ever seen two images that were shot at night in this location.

Then we drive for 3 days right up the North of the country to a town called Opuwo.  We pick up our local guide who is going to take us out for 5 days with various Himba tribes.  There I want to really focus on some environmental portraits using off camera flash.  We will go and visit the Epupa falls and the desert country of the North West.

Then back to Windhoek via Etosha National Park for one night of Wildlife viewing.

And then as if that wasn’t enough… when we get back to Windhoek again, a super talented local photographer called Sigi is going to line up a model for a shoot in a great looking ghost house.

This is going to be a photo trip of a lifetime as far as I am concerned.  2 weeks in country… chasing the light… eating, sleeping and breathing photography.  Life doesn’t get much better than that in my book.

Stay tuned, I’m not sure if I’ll be posting from the road, but I’ll sure as hell be posting when I get back.

Brent





My Mission Australia Project To Help Youth Homelessness

25 10 2011

This is Maryanne.  At 18 she was kicked out of home and became homeless.  As Maryanne said, it’s actually very easy to become homeless and a hell of a lot more difficult to find a home.

I’ve always loved it when I can combine my love for photography with a philanthropic cause.  Earlier this year I went to Tanzania and made a video for St. Judes, the year before that I was in Uganda supporting an school for aids orphans.

I just finished a project with Mission Australia.  I photographed and made videos of four kids that either are still homeless or were homeless.  It was fascinating for me how different each of their stories were.  While some kids came from the stereotypical broken home,  others grew up in what you would call a totally normal family.

I enjoyed photographing the kids and trying to capture something of themselves in a dignified way.

I have made small vignettes of each of their stories.  If you are interested in understanding how kids can find themselves homeless, head over to my Vimeo site and check out the short videos.

This is Nate.  Nate’s parents were both heroin addicts and he was kicked out of home when he was 13.  He fell in with the wrong crowd and was led down a life of crime.  Nate was jailed at 17 for armed robbery.

After going through rehab, he started Mission Australia’s Creative Youth Initiative where they teach disadvantaged kids art and music.

This course turned Nate’s life around and since then he’s been going to TAFE and has almost completed his Diploma in Music Production.

I really enjoyed meeting all of the students.  I hope my photography and video editing help Mission Australia raise funds to help Australia’s young homeless problem.

Brent





Photoshop Tutorial – Processing Death Valley

14 10 2011

 

I had a request for a tutorial on how I processed the image above.  So I have put together a short 4min tutorial on the processing of Death Valley Image.  Enjoy.

Brent

 

 





B&W Graphic Portrait Project

14 10 2011

Here’s a project that I have recently kicked off.  I want to put together a body of work of models shot in front of very graphical buildings or backgrounds.   All the work is black and white and have strong graphical elements in it.  Here’s a few shots that I did as a test/starter.

This image of Carly was shot in front of the cool chain-mail curtain hanging around the building on the corner of Bent St and O’Connell St in Sydney.  If you haven’t seen this chain mail, it’s pretty cool.

Same building as above, but just around the corner, I really loved the black and white contrast of the steps and column.  Both of these images printed up nicely in B&W.  I’m enjoying the challenge of “seeing in B&W” as I scout Sydney in with a whole new mission.  Both shots were taken with one light, an Einstein shooting into a Parabolic Light Modifier.

Today I went scouting and found a few more locations that have potential…. see what you think….

I saw this wall in a courtyard and loved the black and white graphic patterns…. There’s a ton of it lining the whole courtyard, so I figure I can play with big patterns (if the model is close to the wall), or small patterns if the wall is in the distance.

This second shot is of a huge sculpture outside another building.  What grabbed my attention was not only the textures on the steel sculpture, but also the way the light was beautifully graduated around the curved surface.  I’m thinking that could be a pretty cool abstract background.





I’m Back!

12 10 2011

Hey for those of you that follow my blog,  I apologise for my absence.  I just looked and it has been about 3 months since I have posted.

I have had a bunch of crap going on at work.  The specifics aren’t important, but it’s amazing how distracting stuff like that can be.  I found it totally distracted me and zapped my creative energy big time.  I had no desire to do any Photoshop work, and I wasn’t using my camera anywhere nearly as much as I normally do.

But I’m back… and with a vengence.  I have worked on a few projects recently, and I’ll post on those in the next few days.  I’m also only 3 weeks away from what I think is going to be a photographic trip of a lifetime – Namibia!!!!  I’ll also tell you more about that in the coming days.   I’ve been using some great new plug-ins for Photoshop and generally starting to have a lot of fun again.

I’ve also got a couple of tutorials that I’m planning.

So again, for anyone that gives a toss…. sorry for my absence.

Brent





When Is The Best Time To Shoot Landscape?

11 07 2011

So last week I was in Nevada and I went to check out Death Valley.  I scouted out Zabriske Point at Death Valley and planned the pano you see above.  It’s a pretty obvious shot of the location.  However as I was checking it out under the mid-day sun, I was asking myself when should I shoot it.   I think the conventional answer to that is to shoot it when the sun is low in the sky so that you get strong shadows and depth.  So that is what I did,  however I remembered back to a shot that Peter Eastway made in Death Valley, and the one thing thing that stuck in my mind was that Peter said he made the capture way after the sun went down when it was almost dark.

So I thought I would give it a try as well as making my capture in direct light.  For me, it was no contest, the light from the post-sunset capture was much more subtle, but still provided plenty of highlights and shadows.  I realised that the sky above the setting sun was acting like a big soft-box and throwing a much softer (but still directional) light onto the scene.

Not sure it will work in all situations, but it was definitely an interesting experiment for me.

Shot 40min after sunset

Shot just before the sun set