Tutorial: Post Processing “F11 and Be There”

27 03 2011

It’s been quite a while since I have posted on the blog, so I thought I’d get back into it with a photoshop post processing tutorial.  This morning I went out with a few buddies for a shoot.  What a fantastic day…. one of those days where everything comes together… forecast was for scattered showers, so I was hopeful….. on the drive down to Curl Curl it was raining pretty hard, but my iPhone showed it was just an isolated shower.

Sure enough once I got to the car park and met the other three photographers that were shooting with me the rain stopped, but there was big brooding storm clouds all around us.  We walked off onto the rocks, got one more little shower and then the rain stopped for the rest of the morning and some clear patches opened up on the Eastern horizon.

The reason for the title of this image is because I think this expression is the best way to get images… just be there….. there were supposed to be a few others showing up to shoot, but my guess is that the rain scared them off.

There is nothing too flash in this tutorial, but it’s more the combination of when and where I use various effects that give me the results on this image.  It’s a short tutorial, I hope you enjoy it.



Photoshop Tutorial – My Cousin Scott

2 01 2011


This is a photo I took on New Years Eve of my cousin Scott.  A cool dude by any measure, and somebody who was keen to see what I get up to when I do my sunrise shoots.  So I planned an environmental portrait that I wanted to make for him as a present.  This tutorial will show you the rather stylistic processing approach that I took to create this image.  I hope you enjoy it.  If you have any questions, post a comment on this blog and I’ll respond.

Happy New Year



Funny How Thing Work Out Sometimes…

30 12 2010

Often when I go scouting I don’t take a camera along with me, or else I’ll just take a pocket camera with me (or iPhone).  However when I went scouting on Tuesday to the rock shelf on the Southern side of Avoca Beach, I knew there were photo opportunities there because I have walked the shelf before.  So I decided to take my “big camera” along with filter belt and tripod.

The weather was overcast which made the lighting quite flat.  When I got to the spot that I wanted to photograph, I composed the shots I was thinking of, and used filters to slow down my shutter speed.  For the shot that you see here, I used my 10 stop B&W filter to allow me to shoot with 30sec shutter durations even at 3PM.  Later on I used 3 filters (3stop Grad ND, 3 stop ND and Polariser) which allowed me to shoot waves with a 1-2 sec shutter duration even in mid afternoon.

I was pretty happy with my shots and looking forward to dawn on Wednesday when I would go for my “keepers”, but as it turns out it was a glarey “blah” sunrise and I wasn’t at all happy with the shots that I got. So I ended up processing up my scouting shot.

The original raw files- Top=Scouting trip, Bottom=Sunrise

You can see the dramatic differences in the lighting in the two RAW images above.  The top image was the shot from the scouting trip on Tuesday @ 3PM taken during overcast skies.  The bottom image was taken at about 5AM on Wednesday with a BLAH sunrise.

For those interested in my post processing it included

  1. Colour correction to fix the colour cast introduced by the 10 stop filter
  2. High contrast b&w layer blended in multiply mode to get dark dramatic water
  3. Used Nik Color Effex “Brilliance and Warmth” filter to warm up the rocks
  4. A bit of “Freaky detail” on foreground rocks
  5. Desaturating image using Joselph Holmes colour variants
  6. Some dodge/burn and darkening curves
  7. Vignette.

I guess the lesson in all this is… if the light is good, then scout with your “real camera” and filters.

Happy New Year


Sick with a mancold – Another Tutorial

17 11 2010

OK, I’m home sick today with a man cold.  I still don’t know why women don’t fully understand the seriousness of man colds!!! I’m not getting any sympathy.  Anyway, with some spare time on my hands I thought I’d do another tutorial.  I processed the above image yesterday.  The reason that I am doing a tutorial on it is because I had to use a number of methods to get the detail and drama into the water.  You can see from the original file (bottom) there wasn’t much detail in the highlights,  I had to coax the detail out in post processing.

I hope you enjoy it.


Cool New Research Addition – Predict Cloud Cover

22 08 2010

Hey Folks

Somebody showed me a very cool site for predicting cloud cover.   It’s a tool for astronomers, but obviously it has great uses to Landscape photographers.   You can zoom in on specific parts of Australia (and other parts of the world too) and it gives you cloud cover predictions for several days in the future.  now I don’t know about you, but I reckon that is very cool.

To check it out just go to http://www.skippysky.com.au/

Thanks to Bill Owens for this great research site.  I’ll be including this as part of my standard research now.


Seascape Workshop At Turimetta

10 08 2010

Hey  folks

I’ve announced the next dates for my 2-day intensive seascape workshop which is being held at Turimetta beach, it’s on Sat 18th September and Sunday 19th September 2010.   For those that haven’t shot Turimetta in September, this is often the month when you get the crazy luminescent green weed on the rocks which makes for some wicked shots.

There are still a few places left for this workshop, so let me know if you want to really give your seascape photography a boost.


Whats In My Seascape Camera Bag?

26 01 2010

My guess is I’m not the only one that has accumulated way more photographic gear than will fit comfortably in a single camera bag.  So I tend to pack my camera bag for specific types of shoots that I am going on.  I enjoy seeing what other photographers have in their camera bag, sometimes they have a very cool accessory that makes life  a lot easier.  So I thought I would share with you whats in my bag and on my belt when I’m photographing seascape or landscape images.

A – My Crumpler photo bag…. I like this bag for a couple of reasons

  • It’s well made and well designed
  • For seascapes, sometimes you are standing and wading in water, so you can’t put the bag down anywhere (which is a problem with backpacks)
  • It’s fast to get access to your gear
  • Comfortable to carry short-med distances (I’d use a backpack if I had a big hike ahead of me
  • The only time I have damaged gear is from backpacks where I don’t fully do the zippers up and gear has fallen out when I have lifted up the backpack.  With the Crumpler it has a flip over flap which velcros shut.
  • Has a handy little front pouch with easy access
  • Easily adjustable internal pads to support camera and lenses.

B – My ShamWow shammy – I have this folded up at the bottom of my bag in case I get wet while shooting.  It also provides extra padding at the bottom of the bag for lenses etc.

C – My Nikon D700 with 24-70 f2.8 lens.  The camera also has a Really Right Stuff L-Bracket on so I can flip from horizontal to vertical format in a flash while keeping camera weight over the center of the tripood head.

D – My Nikon 17-35mm f2.8 lens.  This is probably on my camera the majority of the time when I’m shooting seascapes

E – My Nikon 16mm fisheye lens

F – My Hoodman LCD Loupe – I just got this recently and I love it for the following reasons:

  • If you are trying to view your LCD in a bright light, then it’s a disaster without this
  • I wear glasses, and normally when I want to inspect the LCD I have to remove them to focus on the LCD.  Because the Hoodman has a diopter in it, I can leave my glasses on and focus on the LCD (yay!!!)
  • There is something special about inspecting your LCD with the Loupe.  It’s almost like watching your image projected on the screen of a cinema… it’s all dark except for your LCD image, and you can really study it without ambient distractions.  I think it must be a bit what it is like when large format photographers put the black cloth over their head and study the ground glass.

G – My legal rights as a photographer in NSW.  This is a cool 1 page dual sided print out that summarises my legal rights as a photographer in Australia…. Everything from shooting in public places, through to photographing people in public etc.  I have that in my bag in case I get into a tussle with a cop or security guard about photographing certain locations.

H- My business card with contact details.  I had a terrible scare once where I left my camera bag on location and didn’t realise for about an hour.  While I was absolutely crapping myself on the drive back, what made it worse was that I realised I had no contact information in my camera bag.   Now I make sure I have a biz card in each of my camera bags.

I – My home made night photography table.  Allows me to calculate exposure for moonlight photography.

J – Allen key to adjust my tripod adjustments

K – 2 spare batteries for my D700

L – Lots of spare CF cards (I now shoot with a 32GB card in the camera which gives me 1,200 RAW files, but it’s nice to have a few extra cards in case of problems or in case I can’t unload.

M – My electronic timer and cable release

N – Lens cleaner solution from Visible Dust.  I’ve found this stuff to be the best at cleaning lenses without leaving smears.  It’s great stuff.  I get it shipped from the USA because I haven’t found anybody here who sells anything as good.

O – Heaps of microfibre cloths. If I’m shooting with lots of spray in the air, I put a few in my left pocket and a few in my right pocket.  Left pocket does a wet clean, then right pocket cloths polish the lens or filters clean.

P – Optech Rain Sleeve – weighs nothing, costs nothing, takes up no room, but provides good insurance for big wave action, rain or spray.

Besides my Crumpler full of stuff, there are a few more accessories I carry.  I usually either sling my tripod or carry it as a walking stick.  Around my waist I wear an army belt with a pouch for my filters.  Here’s what I use.

1 – Velbon carbon fibre tripod with Really Right Stuff BH40 Ballhead.  I love this head for a heap of reasons:

  • It’s super light weight but will support all my lenses (including my 70-200 f2.8)
  • You can just rinse it under water if you get salt or crap on it
  • It’s great for pano’s because it has a swiveling pano base
  • Nice friction adjustments
  • I can change my camera from horizontal to portrait in about 2sec flat and everything is balanced over the center point.
  • Really Right Stuff make absolutely gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous gear.  If you appreciate well made gear, you will love theirs.

2 – My filter pouch and military belt.  Having your filters right there all the time makes it easy to drop in an ND filter, or try a polariser.

3 – My set of ZPro filters (100mm wide).  These include from left to right…

  • Cokin circular polariser
  • Singh Ray 3 stop hard GND
  • Sing Ray 2 stop hard GND
  • Lee 3 stop soft GND
  • Lee 2 stop soft GND
  • Lee 3 stop ND
  • B&W 10 stop ND

4 – My Cokin ZPro filter holder and 77mm adapter ring.

I hope you find whats in my camera bag interesting.  If you have some equipment that you regularly carry, please share it by commenting on this post below.

Happy Australia Day Everybody