Monthly Archives: October 2012

Karijini Workshop Photos Published In Better Photography

In April this year (2012), my daughter and I attended a landscape photography workshop at Karijini National Park. It is centered in the Hamersley Ranges of the Pilbara region in northwestern Western Australia. The surrounding rocks are part of the Banded Iron Formation. These rocks are probably some of Australia’s oldest and were formed on the sea-bed which geologists estimate occurred over 2.5 billion years ago.

Apart from the surround spectacular landscape, Karijini also features numerous Gorges that have been carved out by ancient river systems. A truly special place and well worth visiting. We stayed at the Karijini Eco Resort which was great.

The workshop leaders were Christian Fletcher, Peter Eastway and Tony Hewitt.

The level of image-making was outstanding from all participants, and it was fantastic to share time in such a wonderful place as Karijini with a group of like-minded people.

Every year Peter Eastway publishes images from the workshop. See the Better Photography Spring 2012 edition for this years contribution.


Better Photography Spring 2012 cover


Emma Kelly


Mark Kelly

Dragging The Shutter

My daughter and I  recently attended  photo workshop to the  Fiordland District in New Zealand.  Mike Langford and Jackie Ranken are multi-award winning Canon EOS Masters that operate the Queenstown Centre for Creative Photography (QCCP) and run numerous workshops.

During one of the workshop presentations Jackie suggested that not all landscape photography is about everything in focus and perfectly exposed etc. She suggested trying to capture mood and emotion and “the essence” of a place by using really shallow depth of field and even introducing motion by using very slow shutter speeds.

Hence the title of this post “Dragging The Shutter”

I experimented with various shutter speeds, but finally settled on around 2 seconds.  I found a shutter speed longer than this resulted in too much blur. Rather than trying to get too complicated I choose simple small amount of vertical camera movement.

This method is completely opposite  to my normal methodology regarding shooting with medium format. In my previous posts I describe always shooting on a tripod, using mirror lock-up and often focus-stacking! (iPhone vs Phase aka David vs Goliath In The Camera World)

I am very happy with the images I took. It was a very useful exercise on a number of fronts:

1. I tried a completely different approach.

2. It pushed me out of my comfort zone.

If you are going to New Zealand and are planning to visit Queenstown I would highly recommend attending one of QCCP‘s numerous workshops.


Oreti Flow I

Oreti Flow II

Oreti Flow II

dragging the shutter - abstract fores image

Oreti Flow III

slow shutter abstract forest image

Oreti Flow IV


Wine Label Design Project

I am in the middle of my first major assignment for my TAFE visual arts design course. Our brief is that Enigma Distilleries, which currently brews beer wishes to enter the wine market. They anticipate producing five types of up-market organic wines and require a series of groovy labels created. We are to produce five Constructivist styled labels and five Saul Bass styled labels. Part of the brief is to show our research and ideas as we work through the design process.

The five types of wine are:

  • Botrytis
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Chardonnay
  • Riesling
  • Sparkling Wine

I started researching labels by wandering through the local bottle-shops. I know nothing about wines, but I do like a nice label!  I also searched extensively on-line. Please note that  in Google images there is a really cool feature of “similar”, so if you find an image you really like, you can filter your search based on images that maybe visually similar to that selected image. Mr Google does not always get it right, but it is a really handy feature.

I also started thinking about possible characteristics of each type of wine in terms of colours and personalities.

My thoughts for “Personalities” for Styles are:

  • Riesling – light, fresh, zingy (fairy, sprite, Elf?)
  • Botrytis – sweet, dessert, temptation, (Eve – danger/desire?)
  • Chardonnay – elegant, refined, (queen, regal lady)
  • Sparkling White – bubbles, celebration, (fairy, sprite)
  • Cabernet Sauvignon – full-bodied, powerful, strong, dominant (Ring leader, bull fighter, Centaur)

My thoughts for “Colours” for Styles are:

  • Riesling – green, lime, melon
  • Botrytis – honey, alluring red,
  • Chardonnay – white, silver, pale yellow
  • Sparkling White – gold, bright yellow, white
  • Cabernet Sauvignon –  deep red, maybe dark purple

The first series attempted I was inspired by the classic Constructivist design approach of simple exploding shapes:


Simple – Botrytis

Simple -Cabernet Sauvignon

Simple – Chardonnay

Simple – Riesling

Simple -Sparkling

This is what the collection looks like together:


Simple Constructivist Style Series

The next series are based on the Russian Propaganda Posters which used a cyrillic font with two letters BO, CS, CH, RL and SW as the background. This font made the background consist of graphic shapes than recognisable letters.

I liked the way that the background interacts with the text. The effect is easy to achieve. Simply create a duplicate of the text. Colour one version white and the other black. Make sure the black text is on a layer above the white one. Then using magic wand select anywhere on the red background. The select the black text layer, then while the selection is current, choose “add mask” to the black text layer. Since the mask matches the background shapes, they will be hidden – revealing the white text.

The subtle addition of a wine glass typical of the style of wine I feel adds a nice element.

This is what the second collection looks like together:


The third series I thought I would try to use sorts of personalities that I thought might be associated with each wine type. I then used clip art as the basis for characters.

Saul Bass - Botrytis

Saul Bass - Cabernet Sauvignon

Saul Bass - Chardonnay

Saul Bass - Sparkling


This is how the third series looks like as a collection:


Currently all designs are just ideas and definitely are a work-in-progress. However I am having fun and it is sure different using Photoshop with hard edges, shapes and text than applying local adjustments with a big soft brush.

Link to Social Media For Photographers

Colby Brown has written an interesting article about Social Media For Photographers – you can read the article here.

It has a good summary of all the popular social media tools available as well as a summary of advantages and disadvantages with respect to photographers.

Fishing and Photography

I have several mates that are regular fishing partners. We all enjoy fly fishing for trout. Whilst we all fish dams and the larger more popular designated trout rivers our preference is to fish the smaller Alpine streams of the Snowy Mountains region. On these smaller waters we practice “catch and release” and record our activities through stills and video. Yes, we have our fair share of “catch and grin” images were the happy smiling angler shows off his catch, but increasingly we are trying a more artistic approach through capturing images of the landscape in which we fish, abstracts of fish or gear, and more contemplative portraits.

Our approach to fishing is probably different to what most people would expect. We enjoy just being out in the environment  sharing each others company. If we do catch fish it is an added bonus. No matter what you do there is no guarantee of success. The water conditions,weather, the choice of flies and their presentation –  not to mention the “mood” of the trout all conspire against you. Sometimes the fish are just “on” and all you have to do is land a fly anywhere on the water. Other times fish will refuse the most beautifully delicate presentation, or ignore it completely.

I must admit this behaviour can be frustrating at times, but if you are stressed or anxious I believe your chances of success are less than when you are calm, controlled and focused.

It is interesting that I find myself applying this philosophy to my photography as well.  Just enjoy begin out shooting images, not being too worried about having “to catch” the perfect image. If you are relaxed the images will come far easier than if you are stressed.

I have recently been playing with Nik Color Efex primarily with “Bleach-Bypass” and “Detail Extractor” filters.

Roy is a fishing master – he spots (then often catches) fish we cannot see. He is a video editing genius and has recently purchased a Canon DSLR.

Callum is a master craftsman – he builds beautiful split cane rods.

Callum’s Rod making website can be found by clicking Indi River Rods

Mark – thinking about the next fishing trip?

Mark has recently jumped into photography in a big way – but does not like having his photo taken!

Roy lays out long cast in some beautiful light.

A beautifully marked brown trout is about to be released.

Mark contemplates a “top five” fishing day – the kind of day in which everything was just perfect!