Thursday, 28 January 2010

Photographers versus Graphic Designers

Someone made an interesting comment at our first Photoshop Creative Series, 'that as being a Graphic Designer', tutor Diana Ziv 'would not be using Photoshop in the same way that photographers did.’ Is this a question of relevance? Diana answers what we find an intriguing question in relationship to photographers versus graphic designers.

Ms Ziv says not only do graphic designers use Photoshop for many of the same reasons as photographers, but they have been doing so for a lot longer. “Truth be told, I was using Photoshop when photographers were still using film and I was editing their images on a daily basis, removing blemishes, changing colours, spotting, taking objects in and out of images, montages, you name it,” said Diana. “Every day I was taking their images and building on them.”

Ms Ziv said photographers have been playing a catch up game with designers, trying to make up lost ground. “If anything, photographers have been very keen to learn the skills that graphic designers had to have, before photographers went digital.” She said it is also becoming more difficult to distinguish between the technical skills required of photographers and graphic designers. “The lines between designer/photographer/web designer/video editor are blurring into multimedia skills.”

Diana explained that her profession still demands more from Photoshop than photographers do. “[The] second part of the editing I would do to an image would include more or different creative techniques that photographers would probably not typically consider”.

In fact, do graphic designers deserve more credit than they are given? Are our professions combining? Indeed it is an exciting path forward we face in the multi-media world.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Star Trail Photography - Some of the Problems

Image taken by Kristin Repsher at the
Bluedog Photography Star Trail Workshop Jan 2010

Star trails can be one of the most rewarding or disappointing photo shoots you can do.
We love them! What are some of the pit falls and traps of star trail photography and why do images not always turn out the way you would like?

Star Trails may take a lot of experimenting under different conditions.
Noise is the number one enemy you will encounter doing a long exposure star trail with digital cameras – one reason some drag out their film cameras for this type of image capturing. Every camera will have different noise at different times; you just have to find your limit.

Factors such as the night temperature can affect noise. On our Bluedog Star Trail Workshop last weekend it was a warm 23°C. As the temperature drops, the signal to noise ration improves, and your noise will decrease.

Noise will almost always be apparent if you expose for more than 10-20min. Different parts of your camera heat up and affect how the sensor works. Every camera is different and it also depends on the environmental conditions such as haze, dust, ambient light and temperature as mentioned above. On this particular workshop we had also had a grass fire earlier on close by.

Digital noise is more pronounced in the darker areas of an image than lighter areas.

If you experience noise try to do the following:
Use Noise Ninja and try different settings to reduce noise
Use an adjustment layer and increase contrast (reduce brightness of the image).
Use the foreground as silhouette only.

A note about dew. Some of us experienced dew building up on our lenses towards the end of the star trail. This is very common and caused by the amount of humidity in the air. To overcome this use a sock wrapped around your lens hood, or use a battery operated hair drier every 5 minutes to keep the lens warm. You can also use one of those hand-warmers that you put inside your gloves for winter activities. Wrap it around your lens barrel (or even inside of your hood).
Never use a lens cleaner to clean your lens during a shot.

The images below show an example of noise in a star trail. While noise is very evident at 100% magnification it is far less visible at screen view.

We hope this information is useful and you are inspired to get out and try more star trails in the future.
Cheers Garry and Danielle

Image by Garry Schlatter  magnified 100%

 Image by Garry Schlatter at screen view%

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Some of our Faves from 2009

As the dust finally settles on 2009 and we all plan our paths for 2010 we thought we’d ask some of the Bluedog Tutors for a memorable personal shot from their past year of photography.

‘As a child I was terrified of electrical storms. The thunder would send me skittering to my mother looking for reassurance. Photography more than age has changed that. On Tuesday 17th November Brisbane was hit with a massive electrical storm and I couldn't have been happier. This image is one of my favourites I got from that night (and I got over 30 images all up). I like this one because it shows the true scope of the momentary flash. It clearly shows so much more than the naked eye can see with all the minor offshoots of the central strikes. One of the most rewarding things about this storm was that I got to sit in the comfort of a dry deck, drink red wine with good friends and storm watch while taking some cracking shots. Just gotta love a great storm :)’

'During my photographers' tours of Vietnam and Cambodia, my groups are quite often invited into the 'homes' of people living in small villages. This was one such occasion where my group had the opportunity to photograph this wonderful old lady as she was preparing dinner.
Image captured in the northern mountain region of Bac Ha, Vietnam in the village of Ban Pho.'

‘This photo of little 8 day old Sammi would have to be one of my all time faves for 2009... such a little angel and I was really happy with how the DOF and neutral coloured rug just worked... thanks to Deb for allowing me to capture such a precious memory.’

Out of all the varied locations, cultures or subject matter I’ve encountered this year, be it studio work or in the field, this candid shot of the kids taken Christmas Day ’09 would have to be my favourite for the year – maybe ever! I just really like to look at it and it makes me smile when I do. I can really sense their characters in this image – 2 seconds before it Dylan was licking the side of Lily’s face. I’ve spent a lot of time away from family this year with work and somehow it made this moment of being together and recording it in 1/160 of a second sweet as. It also reveals how these two have developed from rivalling siblings into young adults who genuinely care for each other. As a mum I can’t be anything but proud. I like the colour version of this image too but the shades lent themselves to make it great in Black and White.

2009 was filled with so many memorable photographic locations, people and times this was a hard task but one of my special moments was working with the monks in the ancient temples in and around Siem Reap including Angkor Wat in Cambodia. This image was shot at Bayon temple, a little older than it’s more famous neighbour Angkor however an amazing opportunity and one I will never forget. Another of my ‘must see’ ticked off the list!”