Tag Archives: Abstract

Joadja Club Trip

Last weekend the Southern Highlands Photographic Society (SHPS) held a club field trip to Joadja. This historic village is nestled in the Joadja valley some 28 km from Mittagong in the Southern Highlands.

This site is of cultural significance due to kerosene shale being discovered there in the mid 1800’s. At its peak some 1200 people lived and worked in the valley. It is hard now to imagine a huge industrial complex of mines, a bank of retorts and a refinery. The shale was “cooked” in banks of retorts to release kerosene oil. This oil was then refined into paraffin was, kerosene, grease and oils.

Life was tough and the community was by necessity mostly self-sufficient.

I have visited Joadja now 4 or 5 times and I still see images everywhere! It is not an easy place to capture successful images. There is so much photographic material there, but there are mostly remnants and overgrown ruins of the original operations. The challenge is I think to try to un-clutter the mess. Instead of shooting wide, try going in close and concentrate on details. That being said I have also shot a number of very wide panoramas that I am happy with!

The bright sun just adds to the challenging conditions, especially if the scene has a couple of “hotspots” that spoil the composition.

Joadja is privately run operation more information can be found from their website Joadja Town.


Family Tree

Family Tree

Hiku Rust

Haiku Rust

Retort Pastels

Retort Pastels

Indoor Garden

Indoor Garden

Whomping Willow

Whomping Willow

Blue Danube

Blue Danube

Global Warming

Global Warming

Grab the bull

Grab the bull



#joadja #southernhighlands #historic #landscape #abstract

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Photographic Scales

I was recently on a landscape workshop and commented that I was often slow to get started. Someone said that’s ok, it is all part of performing your photographic scales. I have heard this term before and it makes perfect sense. Any pursuit requires regular practice. This idea translates easily to photography. If it has been some time since you have taken an image do you find that you sometimes struggle to capture an image that you are happy with.

Practice not only involves getting technically better, but extending creativity. You have to exercise your eye and your imagination.

These are not intended to be award-winning images, just an exercise in photographic scales. I am happy with the results.

How often do you practice your photographic scales?


MKImages Photographic Scales_56

Photographic Scales #56

Photographic Scales #52

Photographic Scales #50

Photographic Scales #49

Photographic Scales #48

Photographic Scales #45

Photographic Scales #40

Photographic Scales #38

#landscape #abstract #wabisabi

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Finalist in Photo Masters Cup 2013

I was fortunate to be awarded  as a finalist in the 2013 Photography Masters Cup.

There were 8,521 entrants from 86 countries, so feel pleased with my result.

The image is also from Karijini, but whilst it is a favourite the aspect ratio just would not fit into the collection for our current exhibition at the Milk Factory Gallery.

Emma & I were in Kalamina gorge (one of our favorites) just looking for mini landscapes under our feet. I spotted this & was immediately drawn by the shapes that looked just like mountains. After a couple of frames I then thought actually it looks more like a volcano!

I then decided it needed smoke puffing out the top, so I simply scouted around until I had gathered enough red pebbles of various sizes.

Later, I really got carried away & splashed water & slime from some nearby puddles to add the look of puffy clouds, however it was not as successful as I had first imagined.

Still, I did not really care as I was having fun playing around like a big kid…


MARK KELLY “Karijini Volcano”

this is the press release



LOS ANGELES (16th Feb 2013) – Photographer Mark Kelly of Australia was presented with the 6th Annual Photography Masters Cup Nominee title in the category of Abstract at a prestigious Nomination & Winners Photoshow. The live online ceremony webcast Saturday, February 16, 2013 was attended by photography fans in 86 countries who logged on to see the climax of the industry’s most important event for color photography.

The awards international Jury included captains of the industry from Phillips de Pury & Company in New York; Kunst Licht Gallery, Shanghai; XPO Gallery, Paris; Tasveer Galleries, India; BFN, Netherlands; to BBH in London who honored Color Masters with 239 coveted title awards in 18 categories.

“It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 8,521 entries we received this year,” said Basil O’Brien, the awards Creative Director. Mark’s “Karijini Volcano”, an exceptional image entered in the Abstract category, represents contemporary color photography at its finest, and we’re pleased to present him with the title of Nominee.”

INTERNATIONAL COLOR AWARDS, PHOTOGRAPHY MASTERS CUP is the leading international award honoring excellence in color photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in color photography. www.photomasterscup.com.

# # #

Contact: Mark Kelly
Email: mk@mkimages.com.au
Website: www.mkimages.com.au


Karijini Exhibition Invite – Sat 16th Feb 4pm

An exhibition of photographic prints by father and daughter inspired by the wonderful rock formations of Karijini National Park.

A Fleeting Kiss

I love how clouds are often so dynamic. I was working in the yard yesterday, hoping to cut the grass before what looked like an impending storm. However, every time I looked up I could see wonderful cloud formations. Quickly I grabbed my Phase fitted with an 80mm lens (this is equal to a 50mm on a DSLR) and shot this series of photos. The bright sun was a bit tricky to shoot, especially with clouds passing in front,  but I settled on 1/1000 sec at f6.3 (Iso35). Shooting in manual I then could just adjust the aperture to cut back the amount of light when the sun came out. I wanted to expose for those bright highlights, but careful not to let them blow out.

It is much easier to darken an image than it is to lighten it as far more detail and tones are stored in the brights than the darks, provided you do not over-expose. Once you over-expose there are no details left to recover.

I shot these series of images in under a minute! The clouds were swirling in fast. I really liked the gap between these clouds when all of a sudden they seemed to briefly kiss and were then gone.

The detail you see is really there, the medium format Phase just is able to capture it.

I have used the new version of Capture One to add some clarity, structure and contrast. Then I used Nik ColorEfex with a “bleach-bypass” filter to further emphasise those wonderful crazy textures.


Kissing Clouds 1


Kissing Clouds 2


Kissing Clouds 3


Kissing Clouds 4


Kissing Clouds 5


A Sense Of The Forest

This post is an extension my earlier “Dragging The Shutter” post. The New Zealand beech forests are wonderful places. Being a fan of TLOTR it is not hard to imagine seeing Hobbits, Elves or even Orks in these places. My natural shooting mode would be to create a huge wrap-around panorama. However, the light is fairly harsh, and there is a strong breeze blowing, so I abandoned my tripod to shoot intimate details of the forest that I hope will give me a sense of the forest.

The mind is an amazing thing, with only a few visual clues it is able to fill in the details!

The Phase is not really what I would call a point and shoot camera and to get shutter speeds up a suitable speed for hand-held I choose ISO 100 and f2.8. Using a 150mm fixed focal length lens I find that looking up at the back-lit leaves I can see interesting shapes.

Sense of the Forest - One

Sense of the Forest – One

Sense of the forest - Two

Sense of the forest – Two

Sense of the forest - Three

Sense of the forest – Three

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


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