Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Matt Pitts Sings

I was sleeping on the couch yesterday afternoon when musician Matt Pitts walked in and dropped off a couple copies of his soon to be released album "Ride". I came up with the concept and we shot the cover about 6 months ago in the valley 15 minutes behind my house in Currumbin. His label in Sydney did a real good job and the album looks and sounds great. You can check out this shot and the ones that didn't make the cut here

The Power of One

All it takes is one light. An advertising client of mine asked me into his home to take some family portraits. The family was classic and the short session was a lot of fun.
Getting down to one lightsource really makes you get back to basics and replicates what we normally get in nature, after all, there is only one sun. For this shoot I used a 43 inch shoot through to the right and a reflector on the left to bounce some light back.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Finding the Sweet Spot

In 1775 American revolutionary Patrick Henry once said “Give me critically sharp focus or give me death”. Ok, I in fact made that up, he didn’t say that at all, but had he been a photographer he would have. I am now able to tag this article with “American Revolution” thereby increasing the hits! Shameless I know.

In all seriousness though, with all that post processing can do for photos, one of the fundamental things that it cannot do is focus. If you are in the business of taking photos for print or publication, you might have experienced having a wonderful photo rejected due to “soft” focus. Now, this is not to say that great photos are always perfectly in focus, in fact some final edits are actually produced soft as an effect. However, having photos critically sharp in camera increases the ratio of how many keepers you will have and reduce throwaways.

Now there are a number of factors that go into having a photo critically sharp, and I’m just gonna touch on one of them today….aperture or F stop value. I am also not gonna bore you with charts with numbers on them, you can search for those on the internet specific for whatever lens you use.

I want to talk about the “sweet spot” that every lens has, similar to a tennis racket. The sweet spot is when the amount of light let in by the aperture setting optimizes the focus of the image. Typically this sweet spot occurs a couple stops above the maximum aperture setting of your lens. So if your lens begins at lets say, F4, your sweet spot will likely start around 5.6.

A common misconception is that buying a fast lens (i.e. 1.4) enables you to get critically sharp images at the maximum aperture. In reality a faster lens brings the sweet spot into a higher aperture value, so the sweet spot on a Canon 50 1.4 may start at F2. (Although you’d be surprised at how small the focal range is at F2, close to the size of a postage stamp)

Finding that “sweet spot” on your lens is a really good step in beginning to take control of the environment that you shoot in. If you know that you are going to get the best results at F 5.6 at ISO 100, then you can go about arranging your shoot in order to allow you to shoot at this setting, it forces you to consider things like perhaps additional lighting in a form of strobes etc.

So get out there, find the range that is your lenses sweet spot, and see if it turns you from taking photos into making photos.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

The Night Tony Became a Man........

Was happy to accompany my new friend Tony, his brother and friends on there wild night in Surfers Paradise. Don't let the private school manners and Queens English fool you, the boys from Sydney's Northern Beaches know how to do a 22nd birthday in style, tunes pumping, champagne on ice, vodka slammers and girls, and that was before we got out of the stretch Hummer.
Cheers guys, good times!
The rest of the photos are confidential....

Monday, July 6, 2009

Jindabyne (Day 8)

Well, the time has come to go home. We packed up and headed off on the drive to Sydney. I got to pull out the lightsphere a couple times, and took a couple more shots with it

Jindabyne (Day 6 and 7)

Well, the next couple days turned out to be absolute crackers! After all the snowfalls the weather cleared, the wind died down and we did nothing but slide on the fresh powder that was left. I got the camera out on a couple occasions and snapped pics of my kids doing a couple jumps at the terrain park. Heidi even got a pic of me snowboarding which is awesome cause I never have pics of me doing stuff.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Jindabyne (Day 5)

Snow, snow and more snow. Not much else to say. Camera was safe in the car, and the Lightsphere never made it out of the lodge. The road up the mountain was closed to all cars except those with snowchains and 4wd vehicles. Luckily our hire car eats conditions like this for breakfast and we cruised up and back. Heidi took the above shot on the way up as I was driving.
The wind chill was reportedly -15c and the wind was gale force. We played to our hearts content as the crowds were few and far between. Felt good to get back to the lodge and get warm again though. Was so cold that I had problems with ice freezing in my bindings resulting in my back foot coming out on the top of the mountain. Had to go down the whole way with only one foot strapped in. 5 minutes at the repair shop fixed it though.
Hoping to get some more photos in, but the weather looks like more of the same tomorrow. At least the snow cover is thick and really fun for boarding.