Monthly Archives: September 2012

A Different Sort Of Rock Art

I was editing some images from the trip to Karijini National Park for inclusion to my next exhibition. I have a range of different sorts of images from 6m wide panoramas, the result of stitching up to a dozen 80MP photos, to rock texture detail and water abstracts. Lately some of the rock textures have caught my attention and over the last few days I  have concentrated on assembling  a collection. I am still undecided how to present them in the gallery, but one idea is to have either a group of small images hanging together, or actually make a single composite image.

So tonight, I was scrolling past this image and was thinking it was “nice”, but I felt it could become much more than “nice”. I am not sure why I did, but something in the back of my head suggested using this single image as a reflection.

I opened the image in PhotoShop. I then expanded the drawing canvas by doubling both the width and height – in this case 174cm x 131cm. I then duplicated the layer, used transform to “flip” the image, then drag it to a spare corner of the canvas.

Next I did a “copy visible” which I remember as the “eagle claw” keyboard shortcut, as you press four keys (all at the same time) Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E (Windows), or Press Shift+Command+Option+E (Mac). This simply creates a new layer which is simply a copy of the current visible layers. This third layer I then flipped vertically, again using the edit, transform command.

The final combined image was really starting to interest me – suddenly I noticed that the image needed rotating – WOW! I could not believe this could come from a simple image.

Next, to start to bring out more of the features l as used curves to create a darker version on another layer and gently revealed parts of the darker layer with a mask and soft brush. I then flattened those layers and have been fine-tuning with a “dodge and burn” layer. There are lots of different ways to do this, but a simple way is to create a new layer and fill with 50% grey. After setting the blending mode to “soft light” use a soft brush set at 5-10% opacity. Areas you brush with a black brush will darken and areas you brush with a white brush will lighten. This technique allows you to gradually build up the effect, as multiple brush strokes are accumulative.

I am still learning to be subtle, but multiple light brush strokes are preferable over a single heavy one.  For this sort of editing a graphics tablet is invaluable.

The final image is still a work in progress, but I got excited over what I had created and had to share straight-away…


Karijini Rock Art Starting Image

Karijini Caged Monster Rock Art

Lunch Interrupted

I was going on a walk  around a local park that has a nice lake in the middle. I often walk in the bush from this starting point (see my earlier Waratah post). I had not gone ten paces when I suddenly saw a rather large red-bellied black snake next to the track. After my initial shock, I stepped back and watched. After a long cold spell having  much warmer spring weather it is not surprising that snakes are becoming active.

However, what did surprise me was that it had just caught a big frog and was only part way trying to swallow it!. It is amazing how snakes can dislocate their lower jaw and swallow prey that is in fact larger than themselves…

I have had a long fascination with snakes and lizards so could not help but admire such a lovely creature. I know many will not agree. Yes we have deep fears of snakes and sharks, but statistically we are far more likely to be injured commuting to work or going to buy groceries.

Disclaimer! – I do not recommend trying to photograph snakes with an iPhone.


Snake having lunch comprising of a big frog

Compare size of frog to size of snakes head – do not try to be this close!


iPhone As A Visual Diary

I was walking in bushland not far from my home the other day and noticed some Waratahs starting to flower. These are a couple of quick “grab shots” that I have processed in Snapseed. I often find now  that I am using my iPhone as a sort of visual diary. I can quickly try out ideas for images. Why don’t I just shoot it with a regular camera first – I hear you ask?. Well two reasons. When I went for a walk it was the middle of the day and quite harsh light even under the trees. The other important consideration was that it was extremely windy. With my “regular” camera I would have simply struggled to get the shot.

I am not too worried, I got some ideas to work on and I am sure there are other ideas bouncing around somewhere on the “back processor”. Also, I have started keeping a visual diary as part of my TAFE visual arts course (ie paper, not digital.) I have never kept a visual diary before, but I find that creating quick images on the iPhone as well as sketching ideas in my visual diary get me thinking more like an artist, not a photographer.

So next time I go to photograph some Waratahs, I will have had some practice, and “practice makes perfect!”


Cloud Abstracts – Part 1

I love clouds. Working out in the garden was hard, as every time I looked up the approaching weather front had some absolutely stunning cloud formations. I used Snapseed to “tweak” these images a little.

  1. add drama
  2. add detail
  3. crop if required
  4. increase saturation
  5. alter colour balance

In between  these “test shots” I also shot a heap of images on my “proper” camera as well. I will process and post these in due course…

Cloud Abstract ICloud Abstract IICloud Abstract IIICloud Abstract IVCloud Abstract VCloud Abstract VICloud Abstract VII

Red Centre Adventures In Colour – Part 2

A few of my friends have commented on the strong use of colour in my earlier post!. Just to show I am in touch with my softer side here are a couple of images just for you…


Red Centre Adventures In Colour – Part 1

Welcome to my blog which is now part of my website. It has been a pretty hectic time getting this all up and running, which is why I have been late with the current post. As promised, I thought I would share a couple of my colour images from the recent trip.

Desert SwirlMars Landing

Red Centre Adventures in Black and White

I recently joined a “Adventures in Oz” photo expedition to Central Australia. The “Red Centre” is aptly named – the red rocks and sand permeate every part of the landscape. Even just spending a short time there it gets in everything, your shoes, your camera bag under your nails. Red does dominate, but is subdued in the harsh daylight. However, in low light at either end of the day, the hues and tones are of a truly beautiful. The landscape is spectacular with a rich palette of colours.
When travelling the vast distances between campsites and shooting locations there were numerous opportunities to make images despite the glare and harsh light. This is a hard country. The landscape is hard, tough and sharp.

I have chosen various Black and White treatments using Snapseed which I feel suit the images. Dont worry, I am also working on a coloured set of images too – these will be in a future post. These images feature my three favourite subjects: clouds, rocks and trees – I hope you enjoy.

Cloudscape I

Cloudscape II

Cloudscape III

Desert Oak V

Desert Oak Grove

Desert Oak VI

Cloudscape VII

Cloudscape VIII

Cloudscape IX

Desert Oak X

Cloudscape XI


King’s Canyon