Three Photographic shoots were organized for Participants of the VAPS convention
On the Friday night I met with 77 keen photographers on the Princess Bridge and quickly formed three smaller groups to work our way along both sides of the Yarra River. The night was clear and thanks to a Full moon we had a lighter sky with lovely warm reflections from the city lights in general. My sincere thanks to Peter Walton and Greg Earl for their great assistance on the night. Sunday morning was our second location shoot and about 38 very keen people met at dawn near the Brighton Pier in anticipation of good dawn light. It failed to realize but that didn’t stop any of us from working the scene and getting some pleasant early morning images of the city lights and boats. Some used their imagination well and photographed along the beach with subjects like old metal boat ramps and rows of lights. Our third outdoor photographic activity was a meet on Monday morning at Dawn, right down on the Mornington Peninsular at Cape Schanck. 38 participants clambered up and down the long flights of steps and ramps to take advantage of lovely Dawn light. This National Park has wonderful rocky coastlines and bays with a Lighthouse that’s perched on top of the cliff. The dawn light came over Bushranger’s Bay in a light orange glow and because of the fast moving clouds and Rain squalls earlier out in Bass Strait, the light changed constantly and allowed for some wonderful photographic opportunities for all in attendance.
Out this week is the latest Issue of the Australian Camera Magazine which features an article I wrote for them about the beautiful Tarkine region on Tasmania’s West Coast. The story begins on page 26. The magazine features one of my Photographs in the background of the front cover which is driftwood at the mouth of the Arthur River with an approaching storm. The four page feature is part of the Photogenic places that has been running in the magazine for a number of years and to date this series has featured six articles by me. Later in the year there will also be a feature by me in this series on the area around Benalla in Central Victoria.
A lot of photographer’s have asked me recently many questions with regard to the Olympus OM-D-5. How good is it and how do the photo’s you take compare with your current camera. Well simply put: nothing will replace my full-frame Nikon Camera and Lenses. However having said that there are going to be numerous times I don’t wish to carry heavy gear and having a lightweight alternative makes a lot of sense. I am doing some long hikes now and some of these will run into multi-day ones, and there is no way I am going to carry heavier gear. The Olympus OM-D-5 is a marvel of engineering and precision. I am completely astounded at the quality of the images it can produce. Bear in mind that its the way you use this camera that will give you the desired results and the worst thing you can do is treat it like a compact camera. This machine is far far ahead of that! In the following examples I show you what it can do. The first image below is a copy from the Latest Digital Photography magazine (Issue 31) just out on the Newsagents stands this week. In the Editor’s Welcome an image of mine has been used from Nepal. This image is a 3 shot vertical using the 9-18mm zoom. I used 25% overlap and shot 2 images of each 1 with 2 stop under-exposure and one with 1/3 stop under. the two images were merged in photoshop individually and then the final images was created. Readers of my blog will be aware that I have already inserted the copy of the 4 page article on the camera, but if you want to buy and keep the magazine and refer to the article its on pages 94 to 97.
In the next photo below I have an example of extreme contrast in a rainforest setting. Again I am amazed at what the Olympus can do! On Lord Howe Island there are large pockets of rainforest and within this are stands of Pandanus. I took this photo after quite a long walk and the sun was nearly full overhead with extreme contrast. I hand held the camera and took a set of 5 images @F9 to eventually form a panorama once I got all the images into the computer. Each set of images were exposed 3 times. One at 2 and 1/3 under exposed One at 1/3 under exposed and One at 1/3 over exposed. Each set 0f 3 images were merged in Photo-matix Pro and the default tone-mapping was left on. Using the 5 finished images I then stitched/merged in Photoshop using the reposition setting. the photo was tweaked in Nik software using structure/saturation/sharpening. The finished photograph is 18 inches by 30 inches and is quite superb in quality. The details in the photo are excellent and its sharp front to back.
In the image below is another very tricky lighting situation. This is a little stream near the Rocky run on the far side of Lord Howe Island. This spot is in the rainforest too and the light was again very contrasty. I shot hand-held @F8 exposing a set of 4 images each one with 2 exposures One at 2 stops under and One at a 1/3 underexposed. The two images from each sequence were merged in layers in CS6 and once finished were stitched in Photoshop using the reposition setting. Not strictly a panorama, but I wanted to capture the entire scene so therefore the need to take all the images. A few more tweaks in Nik software to get the lighting, Structure and sharpening just right I ended up with an image 15 inches x 25 inches of incredible high quality and also incredibly sharp, showing off the vast detail in this rainforest setting. I deliberately set out to find a difficult and challenging setting to work the Olympus OM-D-5 and put it through its paces. It has come up trumps and I would have no hesitation recommending it to anyone. If you click on any of these images, I have downloaded them in a slightly higher resolution than I normally would, so anyone can see the quality on their computer screen.
Finally, the image below is a five photo merge and it was taken after a quick dash up Mount Eliza and shot while catching my breath, hand held and with at least 30% lap on each image. Finished in Photo-shop and tweaked up. Late afternoon light helped of course…But here the Olympus did the job extremely well, and no heavy load on this walk to slow me down.I sincerely hope this little exercise has helped answer the many questions I have been asked recently. This is not a paid ad for Olympus but I have used Olympus camera’s in the past, especially in the film days. There are a lot of small camera’s out there that just do not come up to the mark…. But the OM-D-5 is not one of them. Its my backup camera and will be in my bag on all my travels.
Sixteen mad keen participants recently spent ten days with me on this Idyllic World Heritage Island. We had the most magnificent weather, changeable and breezy. To see Rain squalls and cloud, storms and rainbows, followed by sun and dazzling displays of crepuscular light as it swept over the horizon almost everyday was a spectacle and a Light chasing Photographer’s dream! My sincere thanks to John Bell and David Burren for their wonderful efforts in leading the bird photography as I concentrated on the Landscape and coastal Photography. All participants were spoilt for choice. This is an incredibly beautiful part of Australia and for those serious about their outdoor photography, it doesn’t get much better than this! Featured here are just a sampling of the images that I took during the workshop. I will undoubtably be spending much more time on the remaining multitude of images I have as yet not finished! The images displayed here are about half and half with both the Olympus OM-D-5 and the Nikon D700…guess which were taken with what camera? If you can’t, this only goes to show how good the quality is of the Olympus micro four thirds!
Sydney’s Inner West lifestyle magazine “Ciao” recently ran a story by Winsor Dobbin and all images used were courtesy of me from my extensive King Island Collection. Currently images from this King Island portfolio are being used on three websites, two facebook pages and recently, four travel articles have made use of my photographs too.