Some days you just have to walk out the door!
As I mentioned recently I seem to have fallen down a hole that involves artificial lighting, more specifically, Off Camera Flash or Strobism if you like. In theory it sounds fairly easy to get your head around but in practice it is a mine field at times! You need to look at light in a whole different way than you are used to and start to see the nuances in light which most of us take for granted.
I have been studying the Masters of Light ( Joe McNally, David Hobby and a whole bunch of others) and then gone out to try and put some of that theory into practice, with some truly horrible results at times (Slow learner!) and the rare success that keeps me going on this Quixotic quest!
I recently stumbled across a Perth photographer by the name of Brodie Butler who does some outstanding work with cars and glamorous girls and shares some of that knowledge on his blog. Although most of the work he does involves Elinchrom Studio Flash, great car images can be done with Speedlights and imagination!
I had a crack at an auto shoot the other evening with my two 580 EXII Speedlights and I am pretty pleased with the result!
Ok, it’s not a Lamborghini, but this represents a significant upward tic on my learning curve!
A lot of auto images are shot at dawn or dusk using the sky as a gigantic softbox and take advantage of the sky reflecting of the polished panels and windows of the car.
Once again, apologies for my absence! An infection in my leg has forced me to spend a lot of time off my feet over the last couple of weeks, so photography has been on the back- burner for a while. 😦
I was sorting through some recent images shot before all this happened when I came across this one of the ‘Blood Moon’ that happened a couple of months ago. This particular blood moon happened at moonrise on the full moon, so the moon was very dark for about 20- 30 mins after sunset. By the time I could actually see it, it was nearly dark and this image had a 30s exposure time at is0800, so there was movement in the moon over that period.
In the interests of experimentation, I decided to see if I could perhaps improve the image with a stationary moon.
After cloning out the original moon I dropped in another full moon that I had on file with a red & yellow gradient over the selected moon. After a couple of false starts I finally got the moon to look as close as possible to the original and ended up with this image.
Well, it has been a long 6 weeks of rest & recuperation after surgery but I am slowly getting out & about more regularly!
This is one of the first images I have shot for ages and is one I have had in my mind for quite a while,but the moon hasn’t been in the right place until last night’s full moon when it all came together at last! There is something magical about the moon rising over the Whitsunday Islands on a balmy tropical evening, reflecting across the water, a sight I never tire of!
All the Best for Christmas & New Year to you all, make it a Happy & Safe one!
This is an image I shot at moonrise last night. I actually saw this image the night before during that brief period when the eastern sky gets a beautiful magenta glow and you can actually see the earth’s shadow.
Couldn’t do much about it at the time as I was on the road, but I returned the next night knowing I would probably need to take a range of images and blend them together to re-create what I had seen the night before.
Remember that the moon rises approx. 50 mins later each night, so I knew that the moon would be too low in the sky during the 10min of Magenta glow.
Following, are the 3 images I took to get to the final image you see above.
The first image was taken to get the best exposure for the foreground, the second image was exposed for the sky, you can see that colour happening in the sky! Notice that the moon hasn’t even appeared yet, now I just need to wait for it and shoot with a 200mm lens.
By the time it is high enough in the sky which is about 20mins later everything else is getting pretty dark but that is ok, all I need is an exposure to get detail in the moon.
After a little work in Lightroom to get each image where I want them, I import the first 2 images into Photoshop where I can exchange the sky in the first image with the darker sky in the second image using a Quick Selection and a Layer Mask
After flattening the image I apply a curves adjustment which as a side effect saturates the sky a little bit more, but I don’t mind that.
Next, I import the moon image and and reduce it’s size by 25% so it fits the image better. Select All, Copy and then Paste it on top of the blended foreground image. Using the Move tool I can then put the moon wherever I like, in this case I put it a little bit higher in the sky to better balance the image
I then change the blend mode of the Moon layer to Screen and voila, the black sky disappears leaving that moon just hanging in the sky about where it was in reality. It is a little bright so I drop the Opacity to about 70% and flatten the image.
This is what Full Moonrise actually looked like.
“Whitsunday Magic” pictured here is a bit of a jinx ship! She was bought out from Turkey and for a few years was one of the largest vessels in the Whitsunday charter fleet, (I was briefly one of her skippers) before mysteriously sinking at the wharf. After refloating she was sold to someone who had plans to turn it into a floating restaurant down on the Sunshine Coast. After basic repairs they set off, only to have engine trouble shortly after and decided to return to Airlie Beach where the boat sat on anchor for quite a while until earlier this year when the remnants of TC Oswald created havoc along the Queensland Coast.
“Whitsunday Magic” was driven ashore along with many others and has stayed there since with the tide flowing in & out of her hull. I took advantage of the lowest tides of the year to walk out to her across the sand/mud flats & see if I could get some interesting images.
After this shot I waded out a bit for a different angle & that’s where it all went pear-shaped! While trying to extricate my sandal from the mud that I was slowly sinking into, I lost my balance, ended up on my knees and my 5D Mk II with 24mm TS-E came perilously close to going for a swim. Unfortunately they did get a bit of a light shower so the 5D is on it’s way to hospital as I type this!
I guess it would have looked pretty funny to anyone who might have been watching, but at the time………………….
After much thought, I recently purchased a Canon 70-200 f2.8 L lens and it sat in my bag for about a week before I put it into action. What a great lens! Sharp as a tack,great contrast & colour and at a good price.
Since then it has been my main lens and has tackled everything from yacht racing & landscape to a bit of candid street photography.
The last week or so has been a busy period for the Whitsundays. Airlie Beach Race Week, Whitsunday Reef Festival and Hamilton Island Race Week and we have been blessed by some superb weather through it all. The yacht racing fleet has had to contend with light variable winds but when the days are this good who could complain?!
These images show some of what’s been happening.
All taken with the 70-200.