Friday, 26 June 2009

Focusing for Motor Sport Photography

Since we are heading out tomorrow for a Bluedog Photography ‘Fast Shutters Fast Cars’ session we thought we’d look at focusing in motorsport photography.

Most of the time we use the autofocus operation, and once again there is a ‘but’ to this and that's when we are doing panning. On autofocus we choose continuous and usually keep the focus sensor in the middle of the frame.

While continuous focus will chew through your battery power, the real advantage of it is it helps minimise shutter lag - the time your camera takes to confirm focus before the shutter is released.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

15 Tips for Landscape Photography

1. Create Depth: Position subjects so you have a foreground,
midground and background and all are in sharp focus!

2. Choose a small aperture anything from f/11 to f/32 or smaller and watch your shutter speed – when it falls below what you can hand hold at, use a tripod.

3. Use a wide angle lens – gives a greater angle of view, the depth of field will always be greater with any given aperture than with a telephoto lens.

4. Choose either aperture priority or manual mode.

5. Don’t forget composition! Are there lines you can use to lead the viewers eye into and around your image; look for frames, contrast, colour, what about that rule of thirds?

6. Keep your horizon level – yes another you have heard before but do it!

7.Shoot both vertically and horizontally.

8. Look for a different view point – what’s it like close to the ground or from higher up?

9. Use a low ISO.

10. Learn what your hyperfocal distance is and how to use it.

11. Try not to shoot into the sun and if you really have to use a lens hood or something to reduce or avoid flare.

12. Don’t delete on the shoot – wait till you get home and see it on your computer – you may be pleasantly surprised!

13. Every day is a good day! Look at what’s around.

14. Clouds should be included and are often very dramatic as the rain is going!

15. Study the work of others and learn.

At full moon the sky in the opposite direction to where the moon is rising or setting will often be more exaggerated in the hues of pinks and purples!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Special Places for Photographers to Explore - Fraser Island

The largest sand island in the world, a remarkable and changing landscape with diversity in flora and fauna, Fraser Island, is a photographers delight to visit. Little wonder it has been World-heritage-listed!

Sweeping sandy beaches, pristine rainforests, arid sand blows, rusting shipwrecks, clear lakes and tidal pools are just some of the attractions to entice photographers onto this isle located
just off Queensland’s remarkable Fraser Coast.

Here are some of our favourite places to visit:

1. The jetty at Kingfisher Bay Resort at sunset
As the sun dips across the Great Sandy Strait this and baths the sky in either pastels of pinks and blues or rewards you with a stunning vibrant sunset there is an array of topics to photograph. Fisherman luring the last catch for the day, the wooden jetty jutting into the ocean, yachts bobbing just offshore and people enjoying the last of the day at the ambient lit jetty thatched roofed hut.

2. Pile Valley – the only place on earth where rainforest grows on sand! This wilderness area boasts towering Kauri trees, pretty ferns, a range of wildlife that call it home and don’t miss the creek itself!

3. The Wallum - Take a drive, eco tour or walk through the open heath lands where the wildflowers bursting into bloom provide a startling contrast to the ancient Yidney Scrub and wallum. While an island of sand may not at first conjure up thoughts of wildflowers, Fraser Island in bloom is truly a sight not to be missed. Best time to visit for wildflowers is in May.

4. Rainbow Gorge - A short walk off Seventy Five Mile Beach through a cypress forest are the amazing colour sands and sand formations of Rainbow Gorge. Almost an eerie lunar like landscape, the winds of millions of years have carves some wonderful patterns to capture creatively! There are many other sand blows on the island well worth exploring.

5. Cathedral Beach and the Maheno -The most famous of the wrecks on Fraser, the rusting hull of the Maheno lies onshore about 10kms from happy Valley. Washed up in 1935 during a cyclone the once well-known trans-Tasman liner was on route to a Japanese wrecking yard. Not far from the wreck is The Cathedrals - coloured sand cliffs again sculptured by the wind and rain.

And not to be missed is Fraser’s wildlife! From slithering carpet snakes to the huge mariners of the deep - humpback whales – Fraser’s is a nature lover’s haven. One our favourites is the whales which migrate each year from late July to early November – don’t forget a longer lens.
Top Tip:
Don’t have a 4Wd to explore Fraser Island? Then head on out on a Kingfisher Bay personalised Ranger-Guided Eco Tour. You can design your own or let you guide show you around. We’ve done one and they are really great. Find out more by visiting Kingfisher Bay Eco Tours

Pile Valley; Reeds;the Maheno; Kingfisher Bay Jetty

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

A “Genesis” of Photography

The term photojournalist is often used very loosely I feel these days and often more than not some of us, I included, are drawn by the necessity to pay the bill and keep the damper on the table to utilise our image taking and satisfy the hounding editor or at least keep them from the gin bottle for another hour.

I am constantly awed by photographer’s abilities to be able to follow different themes and produce truly stunning images. One of these is Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, considered one of the best photojournalists alive today.

He has dedicated his life to capturing images that tell the truth, no hidden facts. He is indeed a humanist who conveys his feelings with powerful images and tells of life how it really.
In his latest project which is nearing completion, “Genesis” he is documenting the effects of modern development on our fragile environment.

"I hope that the person who visits my exhibitions, and the person who comes out, are not quite the same," says Mr. Salgado. "I believe that the average person can help a lot, not by giving material goods but by participating, by being part of the discussion, by being truly concerned about what is going on in the world."

View a slide show HERE of Sebastião Salgado from the New York Times Media: And if you have the time view THIS amazing video - long but worth it!

Image By Sebastião Salgado
A community above ChimborazoEcuador, 1982
© Sebastiao Salgado

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Landscape Photography - Don't Forget to Look Over Your Shoulder!

I often talk about looking over your shoulder while doing landscape photography and yesterday I experienced a classic example of this. I was out touring around on Thurlby Station, a 33,000 acre cattle property west of Charleville with Peta Debney and we thought there may be a good sunset so picked a possie and crawled into the back of Peta's 4WD ute.

We were right, the rain was looking like it was going to do one thing or another, drench us or go away and there was a band of cloud heading towards the horizon which we were hoping the sun would beat, and it did.

But while we waited we were treated to an array of colour as the clouds, sky and mulga covered country changed hues as the sun set. Then behind us we saw a rainbow trying hard to form against the storm clouds while the mulga glistened golden.
The whole scene didn't stop changing and our heads were continually swivelling and my finger didn't stop clicking.

Here are three from the arvo shoot - if you look closely at the one of the rainbow you can see the shadows of Peta and I as we stood in the back of the tray. Sorry these are also unprocessed but thought too good an example not to share. Yep I ended up soaked as well but hey it was worth it!

Peta and husband Justin have opened a camping/caravan ground on their station - Evening Star -am thinking this and Bonus Downs would be a great outback trip if anyone would like to tag along with me again. Check out

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Outback Folk - A Bloke I Met Yesterday

Outback characters are one of the special experiences visitors to the outback can encounter. Their colourful tales of a life filled with what they consider every day events leaves many of us living in today's world amazed and enchanted.

This is Kenny Read, he's 73 and lives just outside Charleville. Kenny packed his swag, hitched his two wheel cart with his faithful horse and left his home in Forbes New South Wales at 13 years old. He made his way north working as a drover, horse breaker, station hand and any other job that came his way. He fathered 8 children, never married, bought some of them up by himself on the river bank. He drove 32,000 sheep from northern Queensland to near Sydney and wielded the whip driving this 5 horse Cobb & Co Coach.

A highlight for me was Kenny inviting me to his home and to see his shed - a pride in any Aussie boy's life. Kenny's shed is packed inside and out with his lifelong collection including 7 horse drawn vehicles.

A meeting such as this with Kenny is one of the experiences when I come into Queensland's outback I treasure.

We salute our outback characters, those ordinary men and women doing extraordinary things very day of their lives.

A Bous Photography Experience

I've just spent two days on a farm stay called Bonus Downs, 46km south of Mitchell in western Queensland.

This amazing historical property is owned by Lyle and Madonna Connolly who bought the 33,000 acre station in 1990.
It was once owned by Sir Samuel McCaughley, a pioneering settler who acquired the property in 1908 when it spanned a massive 300,000 acres. Sir Samuel quickly built the place up - within five years there was 130,000 merino sheep lining up at the 42 stand shed which employed 100 men.

When Madonna and Lyle moved to the property with their two young children, a woman had not lived in the homestead for more than 30 years.

To say it was derelict is an understatement but with the couple's fire, passion, determination and a lot of hard work the property has been restored to its former glory.

For those looking for an outback experience to keep the shutter finger occupied this could be it. While a spectacular outback sunset eluded me due to heavy dark clouds threatening rain, there was loads of memorabilia, rustic artefacts, a shearing shed with fleeces, farm activities and animals (including two ever so cute blue cattle dog pups which I admit I am a sucker for) glorious gardens and an ancient Ooline forest dating more than 1.6 million years. Thanks Madonna, Lyle and Grant - I hope to one day come back again soon.
For more info on Bonus Downs visit

Images: Top to Bottom
One of those cute pups, Cattle during cattle work in the yards, A bunch of keys done with unlocking, Grant breaks in a horse