Sunday, 23 September 2012

Photographing Textiles

Words and images by Danielle Lancaster
Last week I had an assignment come in which is not in the usual line of the photography I take on however I looked at it as a challenge and to be honest, I am a photography prostitute - if they pay money I may well do the job (there are always a few buts to this but at the end of the day I have children to feed and a mortgage to pay off on a single income).

The job was photographing a hand woven woolen quilt for a competition and exhibition. It was a piece of art. Days gone past pieces of work such as this would have to be sent in for judging but nowadays with digital, judges require digital images to judge by. Photography of textiles has long been important for securing appraisals and acquiring insurance for examples and now for judging.
What camera to use?
While having a digital SLR is great images can be taken on point and shoots. The important thing is the camera must be at least 5 megapixels so pictures can be enlarged and the images are at least 300dpi.

What else do I need?
A tripod or something that can perform the same way such as stool will work well. Many use a cable release or remote control, however the self timer function in your camera will work just as well. Turn VR or IS off when using a support. For Canon and Nikon users this is on the lens and for Sony and Pentax users it is set in camera (at time of writing).

Lighting = Exposure and colour
Light needs to be even and show the texture. While normally side lighting highlights texture for art purposes the lighting needs to uniform across the piece and colour balanced. Taking the pieces indoors means consistent lighting can be controlled. Generally I shoot on AWB and in both Raw and Jpg. My aim is to be working on making sure exposure is even over the piece and therefore even lighting and correcting the colour temperature in camera using my white balance. By doing this I usually have a high res jpg, correctly exposed and colour balanced that can go straight out. If you have a choice on colour bulbs to buy for the purpose choose daylight-balanced bulbs.

Use an aperture of around f5.6 as this is where most lenses are most accurate and you will have the least lens distortion for the lens you have chosen. For point and shoot cameras the Macro or Flower setting is often the best. Always bracket several images at different exposures using exposure compensation. Most important is to keep the ISO low so turn ISO Auto off if a feature in your camera.

Backgrounds do matter. Choose a background the will compliment the tones in the piece. Either white or black is preferred.

 'Bush Fire Ashes'
by Cecile Favery
Woven woolen quilt.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

A day on the beach

Words and Images by Danielle Lancaster

I awoke yesterday to grey skies and rain gently falling on the roof. Thankfully this did not spell doom and gloom for our day on the beach as by the time we manoeuvred the 4WD down (after a short stop in the Scribbly Gum forest) onto the beach clear skies were there to greet us.

Fraser Island’s Seventy File Beach has become a major drawcard for anglers, campers and four wheel drivers. Being a Sunday there were plenty of people throwing in lines, families relaxing along the pristine Eli Creek and plenty of four wheel drivers weaving their way back and forwards.

The beach itself is a designated road, as are all the tracks on Fraser so normal road rules apply. The only difference to this section of beach is you share the ‘road’ with planes which have right away.

The Pinnacles are most probably the best examples of coloured sands on the island. For those keen shutter bugs morning is the best time to visit while the sun still shines on their multi-coloured layers.

Our stop at the Maheno was perfectly timed. A landmark of the beach, its rusting hull seems to have everyone pulling out cameras. Thankfully we timed our stop so we had the old ship to ourselves. Due to its state getting in close is warned against though one can still capture fabulous images of its textures from the recommended 3m distance simply by zooming in. 

The rusting hull of the Maheno on Fraser Island 

The day was topped off by a dingo sighting and a top tick on most lists to see while visiting the island. The dog happily trotted around are vehicle and others, sniffing at tyres and bull bars and when satisfied there was nothing there for him, continued his jaunt down the beach. 

A lone Dingo dog trots along the beach.

With sand in our toes, a touch of red in our cheeks we headed back for ‘home’ (currently Kingfisher Bay Resort) and toasted the Gods of Fraser for our great day out on the beach.

 Bolts and coloured rust of the Maheno gives fabulous textures

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Another Day in Heaven

Fraser Island's forests have always delighted me. Within them towering satinays dwarf piccabeen palms, ancient ferns fringe creeks that flow silently over their sandy beds and animals relish in their protected environment. They are without a doubt a remarkable feature of the island.

The forest is looking in need of a drink at the moment and overnight showers no doubt will be providing a welcomed watering.

Though the island was once heavily logged, tall stands of satinays, kauri pines and brush box remain untouched by man showcasing the unique vegetation of the island. Pile Valley, between Central Station and Lake McKenzie, where much of the logging took place, has the tallest of the towering satinay and brush box. 

If you have never been here make sure you earmark a walk along Wanggoolba Creek at Central Station, where you can easily see the magnificent angiopteris fern, which has the largest fern fronds in the world. The angiopteris fern is notable due to its use of water pressure rather than structural tissue to keep its fronds erect.

There is more than tall forest to lure the naturalist. Fungi is one that is assured to delight and a favourite of mine to photograph here. Maybe it's because they sit still, don't fidget or run away. For those with a keen eye there is an array of species to be found and each year that I come I seem to discover another that I've never seen sprouting from the forest floor or the rotting remains of fallen timbers.

So when you take a work through the forest, look closely and you will be rewarded.

A fungi found on our walk yesterday through Pile Valley

One of my companions captures another fungi

On a previous walk I found this tiny fungi sprouting from the bottom of a large Satinay