Going through some old images recently I came across what is possibly my first ever “proper” portrait and still one of my favourites!
Quite a few years ago,back in the days of film, a friend of mine called around unexpectedly. Mandy,at that time was a part time model who was a natural beauty and as we sat chatting, I noticed the light coming through the window was falling on her in a very flattering way!
On the spur of the moment I asked if I could take a couple of photos of her to which she surprisingly agreed. I think all she did was brush her hair and touch up her lipstick while I arranged a white bedspread as a backdrop and we made a couple of images. The only light was window light coming from directly behind me if I remember correctly.
I have lost the negative unfortunately but I did keep a laminated print for my own portfolio and Mandy also liked it enough to keep one for her portfolio.
This is a scan of that laminated print which has some further digital processing applied and I think I like it even more! Of course, it helps if you have a great subject in the first place. And it shows that sometimes impromptu portraits can sometimes have great results!
Apologies for the long absence from the blogosphere although I have been checking you all out occasionally!
The reason for my absence is that my father of 92 years of age passed away about a month ago down in Tasmania. Luckily, I did get to see him before he went although he was not concious at the time.
It was while we were putting together some photos for his service that I realised that I didn’t have any images of him that I had taken and there were only a couple of images of us together that thankfully another family member had taken. There was also a long period of his life where there were very few photos of him at all which effectively meant that most photos were happy snaps taken in his early years or his later years!
After his service, I thought about this and came to the conclusion that peoples memories of him were his best legacy and it also made me realise that although I have been a photographer on & off for many years, I had always put people in the ‘too hard basket’ for various reasons.
So, I have resolved to try and become a better people photographer because most of us are guilty of taking our family & friends for granted and they won’t be there forever!
A couple of good friends of my father’s invited me to stay with them up at Cradle Mt. while I was there, so just to put things in perspective, I took them up on their offer. The Ellis brothers who I have posted about previously, are men from a different age. Tough as nails and with a body of knowledge in their heads that is slowly disappearing as one by one they pass on. While I was there, I had an opportunity to capture them in their environment and hopefully try to bring out there personalities on “film”.
Mort & Alec live in a couple of spartan cabins right on the edge of the Cradle Mt Nat. Park. Along with their late brother Ossie they had extensive land holdings in the area which they have subsequently sold for tourism development. Surrounded by tourism accomodation, most visitors to the area don’t even know they exist.
Mort is the oldest brother, 95 yrs young and still keeps himself occupied with making his own cheese and ínventing’ perpetual motion machines! He has a great singing voice and is convinced that all the woes of the world are caused by man’s greed for money. To listen to he & my father passionately debate this issue was an education in itself!
In spite of his advanced years he is still as sharp as a tack with a healthy sense of humour and a twinkle in his eye. Still drives his car down to the nearest town, which is an hour drive for most people, along steep winding roads at a very healthy pace!
Alec, his younger brother lives semi-permanently in a cabin separated from Mort’s by a large machinery shed. Alec is the ‘entrepeneur’ of the family, he , along with Ossie saw the opportunities in the Cradle Mt. region many years ago and together they built the first commercial accomodation, built in the area, Pencil Pine Lodge.
At heart, Alec is most happy when he is at the controls of an earth-moving machine of some sort and is always tinkering with something along those lines. His cabin is a single room shack that was an old Hydro shack he saw on the back of a semi-trailer one day and later bought for around $100.
One of the worlds great talkers, (heaven help you if he calls you on the phone!) he knows everyone, has a great fund of stories and is always seeing new opportunities and has a heart of gold as well!
One day these two great old men will be gone, I am proud to have met them through my father and the world will be less for their passing. In the meantime, I hope I have captured them in a way that shows the essence of these two ‘old timers’!
While I am on the subject of Cradle Mt, I would like you all to meet one of my father’s closest mates. Mort Ellis, 94yrs young!
Mort and his brothers Ossie and Alec were the builders and owners of Pencil Pine Lodge which is now known as the world famous Cradle Mt. Lodge. Pencil Pine Lodge was the first “commercial” accommodation built in the area back in the early 70’s and I remember spending some great times there over the years! And a few that I am a bit hazy about as well.
Ossie was a bit of a legend in bushwalking circles before his untimely death. He built all the tracks and bridges around Cradle Mt Lodge that enable guests to go for walks in the different environments surrounding the lodge. A total opposite to my father in political persuasion,they were the best of mates and shared many adventures in some of the wildest areas of the Tasmanian wilderness. To listen to them having a passionate political debate over a few beers was highly entertaining and sometimes alarming as they always used to to stir each other up for the fun of it!
While Mort was not into bushwalking so much, most of his working life was spent in the bush on the rugged west coast of Tasmania. An area that is not known for it’s metro-sexuals and new-age men!!
There are not many people like Mort left nowadays and with each passing year, a wealth of knowledge slowly dwindles away. To listen to people like Mort, Ossie and my father with their knowledge of their environment and the old-fashioned bushcraft they used was fascinating!
On another note, this image was processed mostly in Lightroom using a technique that involves ramping up the Fill, Blacks and Clarity sliders to max, back off on the Blacks to suit your taste, desaturate to taste and put a vignette around it.
Not a great technique for aspiring model but for someone with a lived in face like Mort it works a treat!
Ok gang, I need a little bit of feedback here!
First off let me say that I am NOT a portrait photographer, there are people out there that do it for a living and are much better at it than I am.
But when a close friend of mine asked me to do some shots for her to be posted on a business women’s networking site, I thought I would give it a crack.
As I don’t have flash equipment and reflectors etc, I figured I would keep it simple using window light only.
When I put them up on the computer screen I knew there was a good reason I don’t do portraiture!
However, I don’t have a chance to redo them, so using some Lightroom Presets and painting on Negative Clarity to help her skin, these are what I have come up with.
Some constructive feedback would be most welcome from you bloggers out there. I can see some improvements still to do but they are pretty close to what I will send her on Monday.
Go to it!