Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Winter's Afternoon

Click image to view at 1000 pixels wide

The low sun tells you how far north Stockton, Cleveland, UK, is: this was early afternoon and the sun is behind the trees of Ropner Park, whose skeletal boughs reflect the early December date and the fact they will be covered with snow very soon. It was a raw day in winter, 2006, filled with dramatic light and colour, the sort of photographic opportunities that are perhaps rarer in Australia. Sharpened and contrast-balanced, and, stark as this image is, extra colour was added. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Big Feller Tree

This massive eucalypt was photographed in September, 2009, at Arbury Park, a special ecological school in the Adelaide Hills. It was early in the morning and the low sun made amazing textures of light and shade on the rugose bark, while the dramatic angle up the trunk made the most of the tree's amazing height. It was a simple composition shot, and was enhanced with sharpening only. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The City By Night

Click image to view at 1000 pixels wide

This is the third of my night shots in Sunderland, UK, taken during a chilly walk on an evening in November, 2007. Here I'm approaching the St Peters bridge, just visible at right, from the south side, and the streetlighting has registered the muted tones of buildings and grass amazingly well. The image was enhanced with gamma correcion to bring up the middle values, then contrast and colour saturation were used to restore visual density. The camera was held solidly against a lamp post to defeat shake, allowing the long exposure to do its magic. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Silk Flowers

Click to view at 1000 pixels wide

I took this shot in September 2009, when evening light through red and gold bottleglass caught a spray of artificial flowers and generated these deep, rich colours. This is pure opportunistic shooting, in a few minutes the image would have been gone, the idea is to see the shot and take it without hesitation: a took five frames of which this was the best, the horizontal light catching the fine-scale structure of the flowers in visually pleasing ways. Sharpened only; Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

White Horse on the Hills

The famous 'white horses'of the southern vales of England are a cultural icon but there are two kinds: real ones, dating from the Bronze Age and created perhaps as navigational markers in the landscape, and false ones, created in the 19th century as landscape aesthetics. This is the latter type, photographed in December, 2006, in Wiltshire. This was a telephoto shot from the roadside, and the hazy conditions were the result of rain going through all morning. Technically simple, it was a case of recording what was there before the tour moved on. I took many high-telephoto closeups but the haze seriously reduced the image quality. Sharpened and colour-enhanced; Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic, telephoto. Image by Mike.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Busy Airport

Click image to view at 1000 pixels wide

This was a simple enough shot, but compsition was the object, looking for a frame filled with machines and the implicit action of people interacting with them. Flights were arriving and deplaning at Newcastle Aiport, UK, this evening in November, 2007, and while I waited for my own connection to London I amused myself shooting through plate glass, defeating reflections by easing behind a standing display of some sort, and using telephoto to close on the subject matter. As evening drew toward night I held the lens surround hard against the glass to control shake. Here a row of Boeing 737s was marshalled at the arrival terminals, and handlers were busy with their offloading and replenishment. The usual enhancements were done; Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic, telephoto. Image by Mike.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Look Back at Autumn

Click image to view at 1000 pixels wide

In winter's grey days it's nice to look back at the bright, warm days of autumn here in the southern hemisphere. Can it really be only eighteen weeks (April, 2009) since the fall colours were bright at Loftier Gardens? Here I shot up past a picnic area under a tree whose shade created a dark foreground against the brilliant backdrop of the forest, always a visually engaging lighting situation. Normal enhancements; Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Fitting the Frame

Click image to view at 1000 pixels wide

Very large objects can be very difficult to fit into a photographic frame and maintain any sort of pleasing composition. This is the British Museum's Diplodocus skeleton, which at over 80 feet long is a textbook example of how to accommodate such a subject within the confines of a photographic frame. I shot this subject from every angle imaginable, and going upstairs was a way to shrink the apparent scale. Note the slight blur on some museum patrons, a clue to the light levels and thus exposure length. Sharpened and contrast-balanced, with a tweak of extra colour. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Beachhouse at Dusk

Click image to view at 1000 pixels wide

The light levels must have been very much 'in the cracks' between what was possible for daytime photography and the restrictions for a nighttime shoot. I caught this soft study of a house on the Brighton foreshore, southwest of Adelaide, SA, in spring, 2007, between sunset and moonrise, and the chip registered the pastel tones of the cool light wonderfully well. The frame was sharpened and very carefully balanced for colour and contrast, so as not to rob it of its original feel. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Street Art in Stockton

Click image to view at 1000 pixels wide

Public artwork can take almost any form and sometimes it is quite surprising. In Adelaide's Rundell Mall we have a cast bronze pig rummaging in a waste bin! I photographed these energetic dogs in the High Street, Stockton on Tees, Cleveland, UK, having realised by their frozen imobility that they were statues, though painted to look lifelike. In Classical times statues were painted, it is only in recent centuries we have become used to the idea of bare stone, and here bronze is treated to create a strangely lifelike impression, especially when glimpsed from the corner of the eye. The composition was simple, the light soft in the winter shadows of an afternoon in November, 2006, and some foreground was cropped before the image was enhanced the usual way. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Where are the Orcs?

Click image to view at 1000 pixels wide

A forest like this sometimes seems on the brink of spontaneously giving up hordes of ravening subhuman warriors... Maybe it's because we watch too much fantasy these days, but the natural world was home to such aberrations in the mind and imagination of the classic fantasy writers and the image comes no less to mind now. This is Rocky Paddock, at Mount Crawford Forest, east of Adelaide, photographed in May, 2008, and the splay of shadows as the POV looks into the sun quadrant is aesthetically very pleasing. Extraneous forground was cropped and the image was sharpened and balanced as per usual. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Jurassic Coast

These are the fossil-bearing cliffs of Whitby, Yorkshire, UK, photographed in November, 2006. The whole area is rapidly eroding and dedicated fossil hunters work the shoreline constantly. The shot was taken from the base of the east breakwater, and shows how unstable the strata is. The composition was a simple framing and the low light conditions were registered very well by the chip. Sharpened and balanced. Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.