Tag Archives: Bulimba

Tourist in your own town

When was the last time you went for a walk as a tourist in your own town, city or suburb? We spend hundreds and thousands of dollars every year to go somewhere foreign or exotic and take our camera out, blow off the dust and take pictures. BUT when was the last time you wandered around Brisbane City, Bulimba or Capalaba?

I can hear it already:  “But I am too busy”, “I don’t know what to photograph”, “I need inspiration to shoot”. So here it is!

Go for a 15 minute walk down your street. Take your camera, don’t take your phone (unless it is your camera). Don’t walk the dog, just walk. Slowly. Look UP, look down, look around you, and take in all that your street has to offer. I am sure that you will find something to photograph in the first 100 metres – a flower, an interesting tree, a spider web, a hood ornament, or even just the clouds!

Whatever it is, try to photograph it in three different ways, and change the style in each. Use a different aperture or a slow or fast shutter speed. Photograph it close up. I have added some examples below to show you what I mean, as I live in Bulimba. Here are my Bulimba photos.

tourist in your own town Star trails and Planes; Canon 5D II, 16mm, F6.7, 189 shots at 20 seconds per shot (About 63 minutes). I didn’t even leave the house for this one, taken from my bedroom balcony, this is the stars the moon and some planes coming into land. This post will tell you how I did it.

02 Tourist in your own TownCityCat at sunset; Canon 5D II, F6.7, 1/20th, ISO 800. Taken at the Hawthorne Ferry Terminal just as the CityCat was leaving. This used a panning technique.

03 Tourist in your own TownAll clear on final; Canon 7D, F4.5, 1/1500th, ISO 400. This macro shot was taken in my back garden. Less than five steps from my back door.

04 Tourist in your own TownBulimba Ferry Terminal; Canon 5D II, F2, 1/1500th, ISO 50. I dropped my wife to the terminal and noticed the sun on the terminal building. I took this shot as part of my 365 photo a day challenge.
05 Tourist in your own TownSunsets and CityCats; Canon 5D II, F2, 1/45th, ISO 50. I saw the rays as I was driving home and thought the Hawthorne ferry terminal would give me a nice vantage point.

07 Tourist in your own TownTo Bulimba; Canon 7D, F9.5, 30 seconds, ISO 400. I missed the ferry to Bulimba, and while I was waiting (without a tripod) I put my camera on the ground, propped it up with my wallet and took this long exposure.

08 Tourist in your own TownDodge; Canon 1000D, F2.8, 1/350th, ISO 400. This was parked just out front of the Jetty Bar at the end of Oxford Street in Bulimba. As it was an old car, I thought I would give it a black and white process.

A picture can be taken anywhere, so take your camera with you and you will be surprised what you find.

Try This

Have a go! If a 15 minute walk up the street is too far, check out your garden. Or take a ferry instead of driving so you can enjoy the scenery.

If you are planning a holiday, why not get your camera out now and get back into using it, or if you need a little push, we have our holiday memories photo walk, to help you learn more about holiday photography.

Which 1000 words does your photo tell?

I was told that a picture must be self-explanatory some say a picture is worth 1000 words, i.e. the person viewing the picture should understand what is going on without a title and without speaking to the creator of the picture.

When I was told that I never really understood what that meant and how I was supposed to portray that in one shot. If the reader wasn’t with me and they don’t know the subject matter like I do, and they may or may not care what the subject is, how do I tell them the story?

Over the years as I developed as a photographer I realised that this skill makes your photographs stand out, and pushes you to get better and pay more attention to the small details in the photo.

So how do you tell a story in a picture without using words? I think the best way to do this is to show the reader the different parts of the story in the picture. That is by using the foreground, the background and the subject matter to each have their say in the final story that the picture is telling.

Examples

I photographed the Brighton Jetty Classic in Adelaide, and was tasked to show the event at its best. So the story behind the photo was to show the Brighton Jetty, the swimmers in open water and that the people swimming are in a competition. The three examples show how the story is told better in each example.

Picture worth 1000 words This image shows the open water swim aspect, shows the competition as they are all wearing the same caps, and shows some competition, but it does not show the location.

Picture worth 1000 words This image shows off the location, and if you look closely enough you can see the competition but it’s not the focus of the shot. Again it tells a story but not the whole story.

1000 Words 03This image now shows the open water swim, the Brighton Jetty location and the competition. It tells the whole story. The three aspects are combined into the one photo.

1000 Words 06Lastly I was asked to capture a Ford fanatic’s large car collection, and his large shed. He also drives a sprint car. To get all of that into one picture I took this shot, bearing in mind the green car was not running at the time, so the shed had to be the location for the shoot. This photo was commissioned for Street Machine Magazine.

Try This

Give a picture with no title to a friend and ask them to tell you what the photo tells them. Compare that to the reason you took the image and what you were trying to put across.

RAW

What is it?

RAW is the digital equivalent of slide or negative film. It’s a format that allows you to process the image after you have taken it to suit your liking, or to process it a very different way altogether. In short, it’s like the roll of film you used to take to be developed, and then go back to get your prints. With RAW, you do the developing.

How do I use it on my camera?

Usually your camera is set to take photos in .jpg format. This format gives you a processed picture that is ready to share or print. Depending on the make and model of your camera, you may have a dedicated button for selecting the RAW option or you may have to change it through the menu system. Your camera may be able to take both a .jpg and RAW image at the same time, or just one format. This function may allow you to choose different .jpg and RAW sizes as well. Please note: shooting RAW will produce large file sizes and will slow down your camera’s burst mode (ie, how many pictures you can take quickly in a row.)

What does it do to my pictures?

Shooting RAW gives you much flexibility when processing your images. It allows you to adjust every facet of your image, from brightness, colour, contrast, sharpness and lots more. Newer versions of Photoshop Camera Raw Editor even allow you to apply a graduated filter effect, remove dust spots and other unwanted elements in the image. Basically, you can manipulate your picture to your hearts content.

You may be thinking, “we can already do that with editing software for our .jpg files”. Yes you can! BUT, like slide film, any change made to a RAW file is just a tweak to the file. It is not destructive, which means that any change can be reversed, or improved with more changes. You can always revert to the original RAW file. Even cropping the image does not destroy the remainder of the picture, not to mention that in the future, there may be better software or you may have a better understanding of processing that could give you a better result.

Once you have made your adjustments to the RAW file, simply save as a .jpg for printing / sharing.

While you may not be able to process a RAW file now, it is worth shooting in RAW, because at some point you may be able to, or you may want to change the feel of a shot. Processing software will improve over time and will allow you to produce a better result!

The following examples show images that I took years ago, and have been able to re-process because I kept the RAW files.

Example 1

RAW Pics 1.jpgI took the picture above in 2004 on a then new Canon 300D (using a 18-55 kit lens). The picture settings were F16 (aperture), 60 seconds (shutter speed), and ISO 100. I processed the image with the Canon Raw editing software supplied with the camera.

RAW Pics 2.jpgI can now process that file with the latest Adobe Camera Raw Editor. You can see the many sliders and variables that can be used to adjust the look of the image. Please note that when you open the file, all the sliders are set to 0.

RAW Pics 3.jpgIn this image, I have moved the sliders, and the image has changed:

  • Moved white balance – toned down the yellow cast

  • Increased exposure – increased the overall brightness

  • Increased contrast – blacks are blacker and whites are whiter

  • Decreased the highlights – which remove some of the extreme white light around the street lights

  • Increased clarity – which sharpens the image

 

RAW Pics 4.jpgHere is newly reprocessed image. If I had not taken this picture in RAW in 2004, these edits would not have been possible.

Example 2

The photo on the left was taken on a Canon 1000D. The settings were F2.8, 1/750th shutter speed and ISO 100. The photo on the left was as shot, you can see that it is quite overexposed, as this image was taken in RAW i am able to repair the image and bring it back.

  • Decreased the exposure –  to darken the overall image

  • Increased contrast – blacks are blacker and whites are whiter

  • Increased the highlights – as they needed a little

  • Increased the shadows  – to highlight the flower

  • Reduced the whites – to remove the harshness on the lake

  • Increased the clarity – to sharpen the image

If this was a jpg image out of the camera, these adjustments would not have been possible.

Try This

Take a picture in RAW and have a go at processing it yourself with the sliders, moving each one at a time and seeing the results. Watch how the histogram moves left to right and how the peaks rise and fall.

The making of “30 Minutes of Lightning over Bulimba”

I recently posted a picture which was taken of a large storm with lots of lightning over Bulimba. It was on the 29th of Dec last year. Usually I would post a picture like the one below of ONE big strike captured in one shot.

ligthning over bulimba
ligthning over bulimba

To capture this sort of picture, I have set-up my camera on a tripod, I have set the camera to manual focus, and pre-focused on the tree in the distance, then set the camera to a manual setting that suited the night, on this occasion it was aperture F9.5 ISO 400 and shutter speed of 30 seconds (this is a long exposure). Then I wait for the lightning to do its job.

But while the storm was passing over, I noticed that the lightning was quite regular. The storm was so large that there  would be lots of strikes. So I had an idea, if I took lots of images of the strikes and then put them all into one shot, what would it look like?

This style of processing is called “stacking”, to do this I have used some free software called Startrails, its usually used to stack images of stars tracing across the sky into a star trail, like the picture below. You can download their software here.

110514 Startrails1

So I reset the camera with this in mind, all I wanted was the shots with lightning in them, so I set the camera to F9.5 ISO 400 and 4 seconds. Using a remote shutter trigger, I locked the camera on so it took continuous shots of the storm as it passed over.

The result was about 450 shots taken over 30 minutes. Of those there were 75 images with lightning bolts in them, here are a few of the images.

ligthning over bulimba
ligthning over bulimba
ligthning over bulimba
ligthning over bulimba
ligthning over bulimba
ligthning over bulimba
ligthning over bulimba
ligthning over bulimba

Please note that the buildings in the foreground and the clouds are not lit up by these four pictures above, but a couple of the closer stronger bolts of lightning actually lit up the houses and clouds like this one.

ligthning over bulimba
ligthning over bulimba

Those 75 were then processed by Startrails and the result is below.

ligthning over bulimba
ligthning over bulimba

The difference in the lightning bolts colour and size were the first things that amazed me. Not to mention the amount of bolts that hit very similar spots!

If you note the camera settings above, this could have been taken on a 100D Canon or a D3200 Nikon with a standard kit lens.

The extras that you would need are a remote shutter cable release depending on your camera brand and model they range from $20 to $100, and a tripod.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

Michael