I have always been a fan of the Tasmanian wilderness photographer Peter Dombrovskis, he would hike off into the Tasmanian Wilderness with a large format camera and return with beautiful images which he would publish in the renowned Wilderness Calendar.
Apart from his discerning eye for light, the images would nearly always have a very strong foreground leading the eye through the image and they were sharp! I have tried with varying success to emulate that look at times but wide -angle lenses always introduced distortion as soon as they were tilted from a vertical axis. After thinking about it for a while I recently purchased a Canon 24mm Tilt Shift Lens (TS-E f/3.5L II) to see what they do.
Expensive,yes, but they are a very versatile lens indeed and sharp! They are a large lens because if the tilt/shift mechanism and manual focus only, they are also a little bit fiddly so a tripod is pretty much a given. No firing of a quick sequence with this lens.
What can you do with this lens? Panoramas both vertical & horizontal are a breeze using the shift function and because there is no rotation of the camera the stitching software loves it. With a crop sensor camera 3:1 ratio panoramas are normal.
As the shift function operates in 8 directions,large resolution square images are also possible but probably best used with static objects due to the time factor.
Combine the shift function with focus stacking and a low viewpoint camera and you have a wonderful combination!
They are not easy to use by any means and they are not for everyone, but if you are willing to spend time with one of these lenses it is well worth it! To get an idea of what is possible with these lenses there is a great e-book written by Darwin Wiggett available fom his website.
I have only used the tilt function of the lens a couple of times so far but I intend to get to grips with it soon, Stay tuned!
This is a 14 image blend and stitch shot of Liffey Falls blended in L/R Enfuse , stitched in PtGui and processed in Lightroom 3 and PS CS5. First time I had used this technique which is probably old hat to many of you photographers out there! I have to say I am pretty stoked how well it popped out the other end, might play with it a little further sometime. If anybody has any ideas on how I can improve it, I am all ears!
Last image from here, off to the West Coast next!
Another quick one from Tasmania. This was processed and stitched in Lightroom & PT Gui on a Netbook!
Another view of the Port Douglas sugar shed but with an old time look to it. I had another set of images with a paddlesteamer in it which looked great until I realised that one of the images was a little shaky for some reason. Had to ditch the lot 😦
Just looking through my files and I found this image of the same tree but with a looming storm in the background. Whatever the conditions, that tree seems to draw your attention and to me both images are quintessentially Australian!
Well,finally the sunshine has returned and looks like it might stay for a while. The ground is soggy and the roads are a mess,hopefully everything will dry out and we can all enjoy some nice weather for a change!
Yesterday I went for a drive out to Lake Proserpine with the idea of getting a couple of shots of the water coming over the spillway. Couldn’t get near it because of fences and gates, so I went for a drive along one of the access roads to cattle properties that border the lake.
I came across this stand of eucalypts and I was taken by the shape of the big white one in the center of the image. Love the way it seems to glow against the surrounding forest.
Thankfully there is still a lot of this type of forest in the area. If we keep destroying forests worldwide, one of the best ways of removing carbon from the atmosphere and producing the oxygen that we all need will be lost!
Weather has been totally crap over here in coastal Queensland for the last few days. It just won’t stop raining at all! In the last week we have had over 400mm of rain here in the Whitsundays and I forget the last time I saw a shadow.
Funny thing is that the Qld Government is funding a big tourism campaign to advertise that Qld is open for business. What with everything else that has happened over the last few months, this latest bout of wet weather is lousy timing if nothing else! We just keep saying under our breath that ‘the sun will come out!’ If you say it enough it will happen……..won’t it??
This image is just to show you all that the sun does shine in the ‘Wetsundays’ and when it does you wouldn’t be anywhere else!
Is it possible to have “photographers block”? If so, I think I have a case of it right now, just can’t seem to get the results I am looking for at the moment.
Anyway, for this post I will stay in Tasmania. I have previously posted about one of these buildings before but at the time the light was pretty flat so wider views of the old building were a little bit dull with a blown out sky.
On my last visit to Tasmania I wanted to get some more shots of this dilapidated building, so I did an early morning drive to try and get the low sunlight that I thought would be a little more interesting. Glad I did, as some other outbuildings on the same property were lit very nicely by the early morning light as well. Not sure what these outbuildings were used for, maybe workers quarters,stables, etc, but I am glad I stumbled upon them while rambling down a country road just following my nose!
These will one day be gone, but for now they add some historic context to a world which is becoming more homogenised.
This is one from the last time I was in Tasmania. As I mentioned in a previous post, I drive past this hayshed regularly and it has always caught my eye. Conditions were pretty good this day so I stopped and took a few shots.
I like the recycled corrugated iron which gives it some character and the horse was a bonus. He even looks slightly guilty in this image!
Tony Middleton mentioned how much he liked my header image so here is the full monty. Hope you like it Tony!
The next one was taken about 10 minutes later just as the sun hit the horizon. I really like the subtle light in both of these.
I imagine you have all seen the amazing footage of the destructive power of water coming from Sth. Queensland! Jaw dropping stuff indeed.
Thought I would post an image of water in a more benign state although when this creek is in full flight the water level in this pool rises another 2-3 metres above this level!
Hope you all have a safe & happy Xmas & New Year!
Ho Ho Ho!!
After watching a 60 Minutes Report on the looming battle over the exploitation of The Kimberley for resources, a couple of thoughts went through my head. Colin Barnett, the W.A. Premier and Wayne Bergmann from the Kimberley Land Council, both cited how the proposed Gas Plant at James Price Point would bring enormous opportunities for the for the local indigenous people such as employment, wealth through mining royalties, etc. Would this really be the case though?
I am sure Wayne Bergmann is trying his best on behalf of his people, in Colin Barnett’s case, I seriously doubt it!
Exactly how many jobs would aboriginal people get out of this project considering that the amount of trained personnel amongst the local indigenous community would be fairly small?
Would Woodside be willing to spend all that time and money on training, when they could import trained people from elsewhere to build and operate the plant?
Would all this money that they say will be a boon to the local indigenous community actually help lift them out of the squalor that some of them live in?
I think the more likely scenario will be that many of those jobs will go to outsiders who will descend on the area attracted by the big wages that are common in the resource sector. That in turn will lead to inflated prices for rent, goods and services that will further marginalise a lot of people who live on the edges already. Broome will likely suffer the same sorts of problems that are seen in places like Dampier, Karratha and Port Headland!
The Kimberley Land Council have already been blindsided when Colin Barnett announced the compulsory acquisition of the land for the plant. A couple of days ago Mr Bergmann and other members of the Land Council were in Canberra lobbying against this blatant land grab by the W.A. Government.
This Gas Plant is probably the tip of the iceberg for the Kimberley and is wrong on so many levels, the aboriginal people and the wider community must start thinking of the wider and longer term implications if it is given green light.
In the 60 minutes Report, I think Albert Wiggan came out with the most intelligent rationale against any exploitation of the Kimberley and everybody who loves the Kimberley should keep it in mind!
Haven’t posted for a while as I am recovering from a hip operation that has made it painful to sit at a computer for too long! Good news is that I appear to be mending quickly,thank God!
I was reading a post by Christian Fletcher about the proposed Gas Plant at James Price Point near Broome and in the comments section I came across a scary piece of information found by David Bettini about a proposed copper mine near the Horizontal Falls!
I have spent quite a bit of time at the Horizontal Falls in my day job as a charter vessel skipper, and have driven tourists through the falls many times in all conditions. This image does not show the Falls in full flight as they are very dependant on the range and state of the tide. At maximum flow on the biggest tides of the year (11.5m range) they are an awesome sight with a 3m difference in level in the outer gap and a 5m wall of water in the inner gap. Water speeds reach up to 20 knots with huge whirlpools and turbulence, driving a powerboat through these is to be on the edge of control and very much an adrenalin surge to put it mildly!
The surrounding area in Talbot Bay is an ancient,rugged and unforgiving landscape that will punish any lapse in concentration on land or sea. Huge tides, crocodiles, sharks and a rugged rocky landscape with little fresh water makes it a place to keep your wits about you!
It also has a beauty and grandeur about it that is awe inspiring at times,especially when you look at how the sandstone strata has been pushed, pulled and twisted by unimaginable forces over millions of years.
To really get the best perspective of these forces and how this landscape has been formed flying over it is the best way, a truly unique experience!
The ancient rythms of life hold sway out here and make it a very unique area but unfortunately a mining company can’t see them. What they see is potential profit by changing and perhaps ruining an ancient landscape forever! And the politicians will be all for it if it looks viable.
I seriously hope people fight this and the Gas Plant near Broome tooth and nail and tell those in power that there are some places that are out of bounds!
If you want to see some more of what there is to lose, check out this brilliant video by Michael Fletcher!
After reading Mark Stothard’s latest post from Tasmania, I thought I would post a couple of images showing the aftermath of logging operations in the Tasmanian forests.
Once again, not a pretty sight!
The Forestry Department do collect as much seed as possible from the fallen timber and reseed the area but it is never the same and in a lot of cases they put in fast growing hybrid plantation timber which is not far removed from a pine plantation. We all know what “deserts”they are!
The big problem is that in Tasmania, Forestry employs a lot of people directly and indirectly and is one of the major industries, so government understandably are not about to throw a lot of people out of work.
Thanks to the Greens keeping the spotlight well and truly on the devastation that happens in the forests hopefully we will see a day when this portion of the earth’s lungs are safe from the chainsaws and bulldozers.
Another one from Tasmania.
Beautiful sunny day near Sheffield, I was trying to get some shots of a hayshed and haybales with my favourite Mt Roland as a back drop. As the sun got lower in the sky, the light angling across the mountain was looking pretty good and I was debating whether to open a gate and trespass so I could get a better angle for a stitched pano.
A little bit of cloud would not have gone astray either just to give some interest to a boring sky but that wasn’t happening.
I turned around and saw this nice little scene that was looking just right in the late afternoon sun!
I like it better than what I was trying to get in the first place.
And yes, I did open the gate!
I’m hoping someone can help me out here, I am trialing a couple of Photoshop plugins at the moment, Genuine Fractals & Alien Skin Blowup.
Both these plugins are for resizing files and apparently do a better job than Photoshop itself. So far it is hard to tell them apart, Genuine Fractals looks slightly sharper but is slightly more noisy than Alien Skin. Both seem to do an outstanding job so it may come down to price and ease of use.
Has anybody out there used either of these plug-ins and what were your impressions?
While you are mulling that over, here is an image taken during my recent trip to Tasmania. There is an image of a European castle in Peter Eastway and David Oliver’s excellent book ‘Away’.
I thought i would see if I could do something similar to this image, unfortunately I failed miserably but I will give it another crack at a later date.
For all that I don’t mind the result that I ended up with!
5 image stitch, Lr2 & PSE7, dash of red wine!
Cape Gloucester is about an hour drive from where I live and a place I visit often, nice beaches, uncrowded and one of the rare places you can watch the sun set over the water while still being on the mainland.
Took a drive up there recently hoping to get a couple of shots of the sun skimming across the contours of Gloucester Is. which sits just off the Cape.
Thin cloud was passing across the sun when I arrived which made the light fairly patchy and low contrast so it was just a matter of timing to get the sun on the hills and the beach in the foreground.
The cloud looked like it might make for a nice sunset and I am glad I decided to hang around!
One of the best sunsets I have seen for a while!
This is another stitched pano from the same day as the last post. The one thing I have noticed about these falls is the colour of the light reflected from the plunge pool and surrounding trees. It has a “swampy” quality to it, quite unlike any other falls I have shot.
A little bit of white balance and HSL work in Lightroom seems to have improved it.
6 image stitch. Processed in PtGui and LR2
After all the rain we have had over the last few months, I thought I would go out to one of the local swimming holes at Cedar Ck and try a few stitched panaoramas.
The falls were running well and there were not too many people about which was a bonus.
I like this one because of the shape of the trees in the foreground framing the pool and falls. the girl standing in the water was just in the right spot as well.
As the light around the falls is often a murky green which is sometimes hard to deal with effectively I thought monochrome would work better and concentrate more on the shapes of the treees.
5 image stitch,PtGui and Lr2
It seems like Mark Stothard is making the most of his time in Tassie,the guy is a machine! He will definately find some awesome scenes to shoot if he gets the time in his busy scedule.
As I was down that way myself just recently, I started to post a few images before I was rudely interrupted by Cyclone Ului,very inconsiderate!
I have shot a lot of images of Mt. Roland as it’s a bit of a favourite of mine and I think this is probably one of the best so far.
I had been in another location for about an hour and got som ok images with a boring blue sky. As I was driving back to Devonport the cloud appeared. Faaaark, where can I pull over?!!
Luckily I knew of a spot just up the road and managed to jag this one, whew!
5 image stitch, PtGui, LR2.
This is another angle on the boats that were driven ashore recently during TC Ului. Wanted to see if I could get a darker feel to it, not sure if I actually succeeded. Constructive comments welcome!
Happily all the boats pictured have been returned to their native element although they will need some time in the shipyard to undergo repairs.
On another note, I am having trouble with my stitching. They come out all shapes and sizes! Is there a way to get a certain ratio, 2;1 or 3:1 without making them look stretched or squashed?
Any help would be much appreciated!