Thursday, September 22, 2011

On the road, having slight adventures

Hi Mum! (A2_102310)
This week I'm travelling through New South Wales, on my way to the Australian Photographic Society's 2011 APSCON photography convention. I've been staying on a horse stud for a few days, doing things like photographing foals being born, heading out to visit a nearby wildlife rehab centre, etc.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Look for details!

Unexpected nose (A2_055219)
When travelling I'm usually encountering new locations every day, and am constantly looking for ways to capture interesting images. And many days I'm also encountering locations I'm familiar with, and still I need to find interesting images. Whether you're in a new or familiar location, in the search for images it's worth keeping an open mind.

The photographs in this post were made in the Recoleta Cemetery (in a suburb of Buenos Aires). It's a fascinating location, full of sculptures, geometry, and textures. I've usually visited it at dawn, before the crowds arrive, and before the rays of the sun reach down into the laneways. This particular morning I was using an EOS 5DmkII with the 70-200mm/4 L IS lens, with a monopod to add stability (tripods are not allowed in the cemetery).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Drake Passage crossing

Cold, windy, and wet (A2_068535)
I made this image in late March 2011 while on a ship crossing the Drake Passage, going from the Antarctic Peninsula up to the Falkland Islands. In fact this was the same LuminOdyssey expedition that we were heading to when I made the recently-posted images in the Buenos Aires cathedral. As you hopefully sense, I was trying to capture a sense of the wild conditions this stretch of sea is renowned for. The deck of the ship is covered with snow and ice, while the wind has whipped the waves into a frenzy. I made the image through the bridge windows on our ship (Aurora Expeditions' Polar Pioneer). I went through some unusual contortions to get it, which is why I'm telling the story now.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

National Cathedral, Buenos Aires (2)

Led by the light (A2_061963)
Like the image I showed several days ago, this image was made inside the National Cathedral in Buenos Aires. In fact, it was made from almost the same location within the building. But rather than looking across, it looks towards the altar. The beam of light immediately caught our attention, and I think we each experimented with different approaches to capturing it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Keep your backups safe!

As outlined in my earlier articles (including the recent one about my field image-processing workflow) I've put some thought into maintaining efficient and safe backups as part of my routine workflow. While travelling I generate a lot of valuable files, and if I lost them I would only have the memories and the experience left. Insurance can replace equipment, but it can't replace files! By having all my files on the laptop and duplicated onto an external drive (sometimes two backup drives) I have a lot of protection.
If my laptop is damaged, lost, or stolen, I could access all the external files on another MacBook. If I got a replacement machine I could even reinstall all the software and setup from the external drive. Even without a replacement or borrowed laptop I could still download new cards directly to my Nexto drive. 
If my hard drive is damaged/lost/stolen I could obviously continue without it. But I would also still be able to use the second (Nexto) drive as the backup.
However, I still need to do sensible things with those backups in order to be protected!

My recent image processing workflow in the field

Curious Walrus (A2_084372)
Having recently spent long periods away from home generating new photographs and video content, I've of course been practising and refining my in-field image management workflow. I've tweaked a few things over the last year, so here's an overview.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ice and mist, Svalbard

Kittiwakes in the mist (A2_086917)
This image was made during this July's LuminOdyssey photography expedition to Svalbard.

I made this image while standing on the deck of our ship while we prepared to board our Zodiacs to explore the glacier in this fjord up close. Fog was flowing down off a nearby mountain and across the glacier, and made a stark backdrop to the foreground. The kittiwakes (small gulls) perched on the ice are just a tiny detail, with the mountain showing through the back-lit mist on the left. Tiny details stand out in a large print, while unfortunately a small JPEG on the web only lets us see the overall image design. Hopefully it works on both levels.

Made with an EOS 5DmkII and 24-105mm/4 lens (zoomed to 105mm to get this framing) at ISO 100, I was able to capture this at 1/800s @ f/8. Shooting in manual exposure and having fixed my exposure for some panoramas across the glacier, I knew the exposure was going to be close to correct for this bright scene. And on reviewing the histogram it was: I have not had to tweak even the Exposure slider inside Lightroom.

This is one of those simple compositions that are partly an experiment. But I think I like the result. Continue reading "Ice and mist, Svalbard"...

Camera manuals

Bearded Seal, Svalbard (A2_077787)

The mundane topics of physical camera craft are very important to master and "get out of the way", so we can make the most of the scenes we encounter out in the world without having to stop and think everything through from scratch.
While I'm on such mundane topics: some thoughts about camera manuals.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

National Cathedral, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Reflected glory (A2_061952)
Instead of some wildlife or a landscape, here's an image I made in March this year in Buenos Aires (on my way to Antarctica to lead another LuminOdyssey photography expedition).

Managing your camera's viewfinder

There's lots of useful information presented to you in a camera's viewfinder, and I see so many people on my workshops not using that information to its full potential that I've realised that many people have glossed over some fundamental camera craft and have not adjusted their viewfinders to suit their eyes.

This article specifically talks about the viewfinders of Canon EOS cameras, and refers to Canon accessories. But the underlying information is applicable to all cameras with eye-level viewfinders.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Walrus antics, Svalbard

Peek-a-boo! (A2_083872)
Just for a change in pace, here's one of the many images I made in July this year while leading a LuminOdyssey photography group around Svalbard in the high Arctic.

Managing your files

Having brought back thousands of new images from the LuminOdyssey August African trip, I'm in the process of editing that collection down, and integrating the trip's Lightroom catalog into my main system. In this process I also made some discoveries of "old" files on my system!

Cleaning up the mess (A2_099492)

Friday, September 9, 2011

September reboot

A whole month! I've been busy though, with 3 weeks leading a photography expedition through East Africa: hopefully you've been able to keep an eye on the traffic over at the LuminOdyssey site which we kept updated during the trip (and which flowed through to the LuminOdyssey Photo Expeditions page on Facebook). I did have almost two weeks at home between the Svalbard (arctic) trip and the African (equatorial) trip, but after recovering my sleep debt there wasn't much time left over!

We're back to business in Australia now though, and are queueing up blog articles for you. Stand by for further transmissions.

The first article will probably be about an issue that came up while backing up the 300+ GB of new files I brought back from Africa...
Continue reading "September reboot"...