Tuesday, March 31, 2020

GREEN Colour #photoassignment

There is lots of green in the garden at the moment but I haven't photographed the staghorn fern near the front door in a while. I noticed a new frond unfurling so I got in close.

When you look around the house and look, really look in detail its amazing what you might find to photograph, especially when you look close

Monday, March 30, 2020

YELLOW colour #photoassignment

I want to photograph something strongly yellow in my home. However most of the candidates I've photographed before.  Hmm. Suddenly it was after dark and this jaunty metal cockatoo was the only yellow thing I could see.

Still he takes an ok photo.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Colour #photoassignment Finding Orange in the Sunset

This was a little easier, I was counting on a good sunset and waited for the strongest colour. Ok, I'm a little restricted in the view to the west but I much better views than a lot of folk in single room isolation or locked down. Still, there is beauty in watching the sunset.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

RED Colour #photoassignment

Don't Eat Me
I took the baby tomatoes from the fridge and placed them over a green cloth (the pale green makes the red look redder) and then got two hole center stamps out from the hole punch added eyeballs with a black felt pen. The tomatoes where cold so condensation on them held the eyes in place.

The Colour #photoassignment post.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Small #photoassignment :: View from my Window

Light Through My Window
If you are in a quarantined or in total lockdown situation. The four walls can start to feel like they are moving in. BUT most rooms have windows and what's outside and the path to light coming into the room changes a lot over the day and from day to day. So photographing those changes and looking for the devices moments is a nice way to use your camera, to expand your little room. It could also be a great photo essay topic. If nothing else it could be a good challenge of your creativity and great phototherapy.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Indoor #photoassignment :: Chasing a Rainbow of colours

This is a week-long assignment for those confined inside (ie roughly half your self-isolation period). Issac Newton suggested there were seven colours in the spectrum/rainbow of colours he could split daylight into using a glass prism.

They are Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue (a lighter blue a bit closer to cyan) Indigo (a darker blue) & VioletEach day select one colour and find a place or object around your home that is full of that colour. (Hint you might be doing a lot of close ups). The colour need not be vivid it could be a paler or pastel shade it just needs to convey the essence of that colour.

A  lot of modern renditions of the rainbow only show 6 colours. Which colour have they left out?

If you don't have a glass prism handy and want to show the kids how light can be broken into a rainbow of colours. Find an old  CD, DVD or BluRay disk and look at the underside, it has a defraction grating built in which acts like the prism for the laser reading the disk. You will see at least two strong rainbow lines radiating from the center.  The number of line you see will depend on the number of strong light sources in the room. Again how many colour can you see?

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Hmm Don't Do It

Our Prime Minister warned about panic buying/stockpiling, and his message was simple "Don't Do It".
I hope I'm not involved in the lead up to the lastest COVID19 delays. A number of on-line photo finishing services have sent emails explaining they are overwhelmed with orders and will have some difficulty providing everything within their normal turn around. So firstly I must thank them for a bit of advanced notice in these uncertain times.

So if you are doing as I suggested on Sunday and taking photos to put on some form of on-line photo service product, be patient. I'm sure  they will keep their doors open as long as they can comply to local restrictions (and we all know these can change from day to day.)

Secondly, I would avoid any overseas services, with the tightening of borders everywhere, the chance of product being caught in limbo is high. So if you are in Australian look to PhotoBook Australia, Snapfish as decent places to start (BUT check both companies source some specialist products from overseas) many local stores also offer either in-house or local fast turn arounds on photo printing and some special products, eg Ted's Camera, Harvey Norman, Office works, Big W and Kmart. There are possibly other obvious places I've overlooked and most offer on-line uploads but may required prepayment and/or store pickup, again check (shopping centers are open now but again could be closed at short notice)

I had thought of putting links to these companies websites but they will be so easy to find I encourage you to do that yourself, also look for special offers or deals, they might save you some cash, and in these times that's a good thing.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Making a Photo Essay

This idea really comes from Brookes Jessen (his Lenswork publications and podcasts are worth a listen) as different ways develop to share and show your photographs. Also you can probably get more interest from others when there is a story or common theme that links things together.

My current photo essay project
 is "Underfoot"
 So what is a photo essay? I'm not the arbiter of the term but what I am going to discuss is a collection of photos that tell a story or theme (in a visual way). It can be produced as a series of prints, a short small book, a slide show or better still a downloadable PDF for sharing via email or the web. This is an ideal photo project to undertake while you are in a period social distancing, quarantine or lockdown

What do you have to do to create a Photo Essay
  1. Think of a theme and plan out some photo ideas (you can change your mind as you progress).
  2. Take the photos (a smartphone is fine, I'll be using a small mirrorless camera, but compact cameras and DSLRs will be just as good)
  3. Organize and select those that best tell the story or represent the subject. (this might be a gallery app on the photo, built-in photo software on a PC or mac or up to a specialist digital photo package)
  4. Use Software or an App that lets to arrange the photos, and publish them (into a common distributable format eg. PDF, slide show or video)

Simple really.

As an example have a look at a couple of my recent photo essays. I've used Photo Mechanic & On1 to manage and edit my photos and the app Canva to format and export the PDF. I'll be posting a bit more on the last two points in the next days and weeks

Monday, March 23, 2020

Indoor #photoassignment :: Chasing Light

This assignment may suit if your social isolation or quarantine means you are confined to home. Keep your camera or smartphone handy and check out the light and/or atmosphere around the home. Find a place and time you like best. You will probably have to take a few images. Later in the day or after dinner sit down and choose just one photo.

You are allowed to come back tomorrow at roughly the same time and "stage" a second attempt (eg remove distractions. closer crop etc).

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Small #PhotoAssignment :: Making A T-shirt

I decided my today's photo assignment would be to make a tshirt (or in more general terms it could be any photo product, mug, calendars, mousemat, phone covers, tote bag... etc  that are available through any on-line service). I have a redbubble account and they do good stuff including tshirts (possibly a little on the pricy side).

Anyway at 9:30am I mapped out a rough idea and took a couple of photos of a tape measure against my black coat. My idea was based on the Australian Government have issued clear guidelines as to what social distancing means (1.5m away from others and indoors each person requires 4 square meters of space). Very succinct and clear. So a few words and changing the text on the tape measure was all I needed to do.

I'm at my beach place and only have my little HP spectre which only has photography software loaded so I had to use ON1 and Paint,net to do the more computer graphics parts, which they did well.

Then it was onto my mobile modem and uploading to the redbubble website and choosing the items I think it might be suitable to print on. It was up and publically available by 11:30am.

Moral of the story :: It was a fun way to exercise my creativity for a couple of hours. So todays photo assignment is for you to make a photo product that someone in your family or friend might appreciate and get it created by an on-line service.

Also you can buy theTshirt if you like.

Saturday, March 21, 2020


I started my first photo essay project of the pandemic social distance phase following my own suggestion Yesterday. I'm collecting photos looking down at what underfoot when I'm out walking with my camera.

Of course, I am taking other photos as well but over this coming week, for now I'm just taking photos and keeping them in a separate album. At this stage its probably advisable to not cull anything until you have a clear idea of what you are expecting to capture. Being able to compare a variety of images (even some less than perfect ones) should help you on your way to a much more personally satisfying project.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Stay Healthy and Keep Fit

I'm starting my photo journey
 at the front door
Forget toilet paper and food in packets, concentrate on fresh food, fruit vegetables, and good quality protein. Eat well (prepared at home) and exercise. If you can get out take your camera out in the fresh air (it's getting less polluted by the day) but stay away from crowds. Not everyone has access to a large open parkland like me but just walking around the block or down to the local shops (high street) is exercise.  It is also a great opportunity to take photos. Start with snapshot to the path you take (perhaps looking down at the path) and key landmarks along the way. When you get home wash your hands with soap and water and give your camera a wipe down with a microfiber cloth (don’t use a spray or sanitizer on your camera, just wash the cloth after use) then put the camera away.

No need to show anyone the photos, but later that day or night review them and think what could I have done to get a better picture (Hint most often it will be to do with composition and framing, then perhaps tonal balance). Sharing your photos can come soon enough, but treat your first day as practice.

This mission is inspired by Rich Salmon’s recent book “Photo Therapy Motivation and Wisdom” here is the advice he offers on this topic given before the COVID-19  crisis.

“Exercise as much as you can and try to eat smart. The healthier you are, the better you feel and the more energy you will have when you are out photographing. Download a fitness tracker or utilize the step counter on your smartphone. Also, cut back on the carbs.”

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Coping with Social Isolation

Social distancing doesn’t mean you should stop photography.

In fact taking a little time for photography each day could be really good for your health (Body, Mind and especially Soul). Thus I have started this little series of blog post that has ideas for mini photo assignments while Self Isolating. Today's assignment will suit you if you're totally locked down or in quarantine.

The COVID-10 pandemic is set to become a very significant world event and remembering what you and your family had to do will undoubtedly become one of the more significant events in your lifetime. So it is a perfect time to start your view of what is happening as a visual record of those little things happening in your daily life. They could be the same as usual or new, that particular way you have had to adapt.

Don’t go overboard and photograph everything and post it to social media. Take a much more contemplative view.  Have the camera ready at a location you can find quickly and take a photo easily or alternative always be ready with the camera on your smartphone. If you are finally sitting down and enjoying a coffee consider getting up and photographing the cup your favourite chair the sun streaming through the window even the time. What about the family playing cards (even if they are not all enjoying it try to capture that). Aim for 5 or fewer pictures each day but make the effort to put them aside into an album that gradually grows. Look to include those little moments of joy and frustration as well as the daily grind.  When the lockdown or quarantine is over make a slide show for the TV, or a photo essay to print or even consider making a book of your lockdown to show your grandkids.

Today I'm blogging.

"what I'm doing right now," was the original catchphrase for twitter, and sounds relevant for today. Unfortunately, twitter, in particular, has fallen to a very untrustworthy common denominator now in a race to the fake news bottom. So stay away from social media just concentrate on creating memories for your future self and family


In the last paragraph I wrote yesterday I implied it was best to stay off social media and I still think that might be a good way to avoid the mass hysteria and misinformation. However social media is a good way to stay connected to your friends and family while in isolation. So Yes definitely use social media BUT be safe there as well be careful who you trust and avoid passing on unsubstantiated rumors if you can. I still suggest not posting every photo you take, just yet.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Social Isolation and the Photowalker

The cancellation or postponement of large Photowalks need not be an end to your photography, in fact, social distancing and working from home could give you the opportunity to practice more. Firstly allocate some time each day, it could be a short art 15-30 minutes. Now go for a walk with your camera. It might take a refocusing of your mindset, thinking more locally even around the home or garden. If your town isn’t totally shut down and your feeling well take the opportunity to get outside.

I’m lucky I live close to a large natural park in the middle of suburbia and I walk in there two or three times a week, there is always something to photograph. See my Year in Jells Park album on Flickr. It need not be a park, it could be local road signs, letterboxes or interesting street trees. Your imagination can be let free, with a digital camera there is little penalty if you decide to throw everything away and start again. The key is to really look around before you take the picture, so you are not taking the obvious snapshots but photographs that interest you.

If you’re in a total lock-down or confided to a 14 day self-quarantine, or suffering Flu like symptoms and need to self isolate, look for favourite spots in your home or garden, places that catch a special light. Start looking I’m sure you will find them. 

Perhaps do a series on your favourite chair.

Friday, March 06, 2020

The Risks of more Megapixel, pin sharp fast Lenses and Pixel-peeping

The Risk of more megapixel, pin sharp fast lenses and pixel peeping is producing boring photo, putting pressure on storage, taking longer to process and not forgetting more expensive gear to start.

Photorealist painting from last years Archibal Prize

It is the same as for Photorealistic paintings, the work is technically outstanding but the Images soon become boring. Often very boring. Frequently the brilliant technical specs get overlook because their is nothing for the viewer to work out and keep their interest. In the art world there is a nice example in last year Archibald prize. The technically well executed and large Hyperrealist painting of David Wenham by Tessa MacKay was pretty much overlooked by the judges. Yet it was popular with the public and won the packing room prize, which is judged by the gallery staff who receive, unpack and hang the entries. In this case the artist has looked at a strong composition of building over the road seen through the glass window and painted reflections of the interior. So there is a fair bit to see but once you notice the detail becomes tedious and it back to being boring

Getting back to photographs, whilst other “purist” photobuffs, you tube watchers and owners of the latest and greatest cameras will enthusiatically discuss bokeh and edge to edge crispness. The average public viewer will look instead at the subject perhaps to composition and/or colour and perhaps interesting patterns or textures then they will move on. Capturing their gaze to look a little longer which usually depend on print size and viewing distance. Further weather you can interest them at that scale

Viewing distance and print size.

I have written about this previously, and that is a good summary. The issue here is you must concern yourself with the viewers eyesight media for display and type of illumination, print sharpness usually isn’t a real consideration.  There is also a lot written about this on the internet and a lot of it is only partially truthful and/or bias. The chart on the left show the relationship between common sizes (in Inches BTW) and the megapixel count of the image and assumes that you will want to print at 300 ppi (pixels per inch).  Each coloured rectangle then has the number of megapixels required for a given size. You will probably be surprised how few megapixels are required for common sizes. So what happens to all the extra detail capture on a full frame/high megapixel camera? Well they just get averaged together and that detail disappears

Capturing the Viewers attention

  1. On instagram/Facebook were images are displayed on small screens and this is potentially the place you can show your work to the potentially greatest number of people. Both Instagram and Facebook now use algorithmic methods to display your post, and they may very well limit the display to 20 cases and stop there if no one interacts with you post/picture. Thus if you are looking to become famous for your photographs you need to be already famous (ie have a lot of friends that follow and interact with you).  The images displayed  are tiny (and thus not detailed) and are normally held close. Unfortunately the viewer also has the ability to scroll through the images quickly. You might only have half to a couple of seconds to get them to stop and take a long look. This favours bold composition, strong colours and tones. #hashtags and clever titles.
  2. #72/365 My $10 PhotobookSmall prints. Portfolios and Photobook, larger Ipads and Tablets  have and arms length or less view distance and because they can be picked up and handled  they are likely to get the closest scrutiny. Thus they do need the required level of detail (eg 8 megatpixel for  10” by 8”). They should be designed the allow the viewer an extended period to inspect (this might include captions and perhaps a short paragraph of so to provide context.) They are likely to be the very best way to get anyone interested in your photography, having the massive advantage of social media sites on small screens in that they are something tangible and physical.
  3. On a wall (could be in a gallery or your home). This is the reason usually give for large sensors and High megapixel counts, it in theory allows for big prints (often gigantic) but this is probably the most challenging way to promote your work. Firstly large prints can be expensive to create and frame and it is likely to have the smallest number of viewers. Further the potential buyer is likely to consider these larger image as a d├ęcor items not art (ie does it make the couch)?