Better Photography magazine's blog is written mainly by its editor and publisher, Peter Eastway. Here you'll find a wealth of comments, ideas and, hopefully, you'll like some of the photographs as well. If a blog doesn't sit neatly into one of the other categories, then generally you'll find it here!
Click on the blog titles to read.
Scorched leaf detail, Arnhemland.
Canon EOS 5DSR, 100mm macro lens, 1/160 second @ f4, ISO 400, tripod.
Click the YouTube link below to see a mini-slide show.
In many parts of Australia, fire is part of the seasonal ebb and flow. Flying into Arnhemland last year, we could see lots of spot fires all around. My understanding is some are lit by lightning stikes, others are intentionally lit for land management. Whatever the reasons, they add an accent to the landscape.
What struck me most about the aftermath was the colour. Rich orange and red browns dominated small sections of the bush and so the challenge was to create an interesting composition. However, as you will see from the location shot (you'll see it on the website), it was a very busy area with strong overhead light. It was challenging!
My solution was to get in close using a macro lens. I also looked for areas where the leaves were backlit by the sun, but the background was in the shadow of a hill or outcrop, thus making a dark background against which the leaf would stand out.
For macro work, I like to work on a tripod so I can precisely control my focus. The closer you focus, the less the depth-of-field, the less of your image will be in tack sharp focus. However, I didn't want the entire leaf to be sharp, just a section of it.
So with the camera nice and steady on a tripod, what's the problem? There was a very slight breeze. It really was hardly a hint of moving air, but it was enough to move the leaves ever so slightly. To maintain my aperture, I needed to choose a higher ISO setting (400 in this case) to keep my shutter speeds fast enough to arrest any movement.
In post production...
Tidal stream, Arnhemland.
It's interesting what 'the judges' pick as being successful photographs. At the recent WPPI Awards held in Las Vegas, this print was lucky enough to earn a Gold Award, while three others from the same shoot and area earned Silvers or a Silver with Distinction. What makes this image better than the others?
You can see the other images by clicking through to the website, but I am going to suggest that I really don't know! I can't know, because I'm the author. I have so much baggage attached to these images that it is hard to be objective - and I don't want to be objective.
Unlike the other images, this photograph has very distinct lines breaking up the frame. Looking like a dirt road, they are tidal watercourses in Arnhemland photographed from a helicopter while on my photo workshop last year. The other images are more random in their design and not as compositionally obvious, and sometimes I think that the photographs that are elevated to Gold status are helped by being a little more straightforward.
Tree, Bryce Canyon
24mm Schneider lens, Horseman body, Phase One P45 back.
I remember this photograph very well because it was taken on my birthday. I also remember a few days earlier, looking at a photo of Bryce Canyon covered in fresh snow, wondering how photographers were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time!
I was in Las Vegas at the WPPI photography awards and after the event, Phil Kuruvita and I had a week or so in the desert, scouting for photographs. As we drove out of Las Vegas under perfectly clear skies, I put any thoughts of snow out of my mind.
However, the weather in the mountains, even relatively small mountains like those around Bryce Canyon, can be completely different. Late that afternoon, we found ourselves driving into Bryce Canyon with lots of low cloud. We drove back down to the hotel and it started snowing.
Soberanes Point, California.
Phase One XF 100MP, 240mm Schneider lens, 1/1000 second @ f9, ISO 50.
For photographic historians, the name Point Lobos will be closely associated with photographers Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. On my recent Southwest USA expedition with Tony Hewitt, accompanied by Barbara, Katherine, Marie and Grant, we planned to visit the famous headland only to be met by closed roads. Huge swells pounded the coast and the rangers appeared worried that tourists like us would be swept off the rocks.
And just maybe they were right. The challenge for photographers when travelling is to adapt to the circumstances presented to them and fortunately, Tony and I remembered another couple of locations further south. Just before Soberanes Point, we pulled off the road for a smorgasbord of opportunities: back lighting, plumes of sea spray, breaking waves, jagged rocks.
Interpretation of a raw file (or of a negative, as Ansel Adams would say), is incredibly important. The raw file is merely the collection of pixels in a format that can be adjusted during post-production. You can see my unadjusted raw file here...
There are six publications in the Photo Business Package
Are you wondering if you can turn your photography into a business? There's no question that we live in a very competitive market when it comes to photography services and sales. However, whether competitive or not, there are some fundamental things we all have to do if we're going to be successful in business.
Peter Eastway has written an introductory book What You Need To Know To Be A Successful Professional Photographer. Reading this information is no guarantee you will be successful, of course, but not understanding all the issues the eBook covers will make it very difficult!
There are six publications in total. The main eBook is general in nature and sells for $49.95. Then there are three other books that specialize in weddings, portraiture and commercial photography for $19.95 each. And finally, there's the Photo Business Plan which helps you plan your own business using a series of proven templates - for $99.95. However, the whole package can be purchased for just $149.95 as the Complete Photo Business Package.
And there's a money-back guarantee if it's not the information you're after - click here for details.