Floating on air

On New Years’ Eve, I flew down to Cape Town. Luckily I managed to get a window seat, so I spent part of the flight taking photos of the scenery out the window.

And when the clouds cleared, fields and roads on the earth below made for gorgeous abstracts.

Cape Recife Lighthouse

At the end of June my parents and I went holidaying in Port Elizabeth.

After touring SAMREC we went for a walk/shoot on the beach at Cape Recife; a nature reserve including SAMREC and the Cape Recife Lighthouse.

The beach was full of abstract patterns, textures…

…and rocks of interesting shapes and sizes.

While exploring, I discovered this section of rock covered in flies – I half expected to find a rotting body around the corner. (By the way, did you know that a group of flies is called a business?)

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions about my images!

Giselle Ballet – Final Dress Rehearsal

A few weeks ago, Joburg Ballet invited people to photograph the final dress rehearsal of the Giselle Ballet, for a small fee.  It was an amazing opportunity; Giselle is an extraordinary ballet telling the moving story of a young girl who dies of a broken heart.

I finally managed to finish sorting and editing the images a week ago, on the way to a well-needed getaway to the Kruger (see images soon!).

The first act occurs on a sunny autumn morning during the Middle Ages; the season was reflected in the red and orange leaves decorating the set.  The strobes cast a horrible colour cast on the dancer’s skin, which I corrected with Google’s Color Efex 4 Pro software.    I also enjoyed playing around with Google’s Analog Efex Pro 2 software for interesting artsy effects.

Act I ended with a dramatic portrayal of Giselle’s death; after discovering that her lover is engaged to marry another woman, Giselle dances violently until her heart gives out.

Act II took place in a misty graveyard, with a strong blue colour-cast.  A group of avenging, supernatural woman (‘The Wilis’) summon Giselle from her grave, and attempt to sentence her lover to death over his betrayal.  Giselle’s enduring love overcomes the Wilis’ hatred; she saves her lover before returning to her grave for good.

My fine art renditions of the dancers from Act II ended up being my favourite images of the day (actually, I think my favourites of the year so far).  I edited most of the photos in Google’s Silver Efex Pro 2 and Analog Efex Pro 2 software, along with my usual Lightroom workflow.

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One Photo Focus – April 2016

After-Before Friday is an event which allows photographers to share their processed images, and, if they choose, their post-processing steps. On the first Friday of the month, all participants have the opportunity to edit the same photo in the “One Photo Focus” challenge.

My computer had a bit of a moment while processing this image – as hard as it tried, my multi-tasking eventually got the better of it. As I was about to save my edit in Photoshop, it froze.  I lost hours of careful editing, but managed to take a screenshot before everything closed down; so, in the end, disaster averted!  The screenshot managed to retain enough information for me to complete my edit.

Immediately when I saw the image I knew I wanted to create a wintry scene; snow, fog, the works.  I found this tutorial on YouTube which basically dictated my Photoshop workflow.

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Close, but not quite yet what I was aiming for.  So, I opened it up in Analog Efex Pro 2 (did you know that Google’s entire Nik collection can now be downloaded for free?!).  I’ve never used any of the Nik software before, so a fair amount of experimentation ensued.  In the end, I added light leaks, a scratched texture, a bit of bokeh and a white vignette which amplified the overall aged effect.

Once again, the before vs the after:

I hope you enjoyed my edit!  I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on the end result. Images from other contributors can be seen here.

 

 

Chobe – Mini-Planets

My family and I recently went to the Ichingo Chobe River Lodge for a week; we stayed on the Namibian border and went on a cruise up the river every morning and evening.

I have so many decent photos from the trip that I decided to split the posts into categories (in conjunction with my blogging revolution to write shorter posts).  Before we left I read an article on 500px ISO about How To Turn Your Panorama Photos Into 360-Degree Little Planet Images; these images are the before and afters of two of my panoramas which successfully underwent the process. Out of the four or five panoramas which I tried, these were the only two which were able to blend seamlessly.

 

Project 365: Week 50

I am happy to report that I managed to scrape up a theme of ‘fire’ this week, based on the fun I had with last week’s Ghost Breath image.

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Monday, 07 December

Santa piggy – Rusty was quite happy  to start getting into the Christmas spirit this week – he seemed to find this hat pretty comfy, and was soon settled in.  I bounced my flash off the wall to camera right, and applied a vintage tone curve effect in Lightroom.

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Tuesday, 08 December

Ablaze – this ended up as my least favourite image of the week, mostly because it least resembles what I wanted to create.

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Wednesday, 09 December

Fire worship – in this image I wanted to represent the idea of people bowing down to worship the power of fire.  I superimposed the smoke on top of the image to add some drama.

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Thursday, 10 December

The Elements -I’ve seen many photos of the classic four elements – earth, water, air and fire – on 500px, and have long wanted to create my own version. I placed my flash, behind an umbrella, parallel to the glasses on camera left.  I photographed the fire and smoke separately and then added them as layers in Photoshop.

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Friday, 11 December

Holy bokeh – while I’m not religious, I thought this sort of fit into both of my themes – fire and Christmas.  No actual fire was involved; to create the bokeh I positioned several crumpled bits of tin foil behind the necklace, and aimed my flash at it.

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Saturday, 12 December

Will you marry me? – this is another repeating image that I saw on 500px – a simplified, more minimalist version of my previous image.

Enjoy the rest of your week – as always I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on my images. Prepare for lots of photos from my upcoming trip to Botswana next week!

Project 365: Week 49

I cannot believe that it’s December already! Only three weeks to go! I didn’t decide on a theme this week – my creative juices seem to be evaporating in the heat.

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Monday, 30 November

Bolt – this is an abstract impression of my beagle, Romulus.  I set my camera to a relatively slow shutter speed, and panned while Romulus ran past.

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Tuesday, 01 December

Witch’s brew – this was my amateur-version of Dina Belenko’s style; she’s one of my favourite photographers, and someone I have long admired.

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Wednesday, 02 December

911 – I had a lot of fun with this image’s special effects – I created my own mini fog machine by following this tutorial. I added the headlights and police lights to the car in Photoshop.

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Thursday, 03 December

Make a wish… – I lit this dandelion seed with flash reflected off the wall behind it.  I used the reverse-macro technique to get in close.

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Friday, 04 December

Dying wishes – this is a montage created in Photoshop, consisting of a duplicated texture and a dead dandelion seed.

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Saturday, 05 December

Teddy – I helped out with Animal Allies again on Saturday, this time at Zandspruit township.  The majority of the dogs were tiny puppies, some of which were young enough to still be drinking from their mothers – it broke my heart to see the awful conditions they live in.

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Sunday, 06 December

Ghost’s breath – This is the first image I’ve taken in a while where I was absolutely delighted with the outcome.  I positioned a candle in front of an unlit match, which spewed smoke, and then lit the image with back-flash.

Enjoy the rest of your week! I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on my images.

Project 365: Week 47

After some thought, I decided on a theme of ’round’ this week; again this involved a fair amount of abstract images.

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Monday, 16 November

Spoons – I saw an image on 500px of a few spoons on top of a piece of music paper, and wanted to try a slightly different version.  As you can see, I used a trio of spoons and a piece of newspaper. I used the columns of the newspaper to draw the eye to the spoons, and then the ‘stems’ (for wont of  a better word) of the spoons drew the eye through the rest of the photo.

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Tuesday, 17 November

Alien ocean – These are simply soap bubbles which I spread onto a piece of clear glass and lit with back bounce flash.  I used the reverse-macro technique to really get in close. I tried to create an un-Earthly ‘ocean’ effect.

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Wednesday, 18 November

Condensation – This is literally just condensation, from a thawing, half-frozen bottle of water.  I bounced my flash off a nearby wall, creating soft light and a softbox-type effect in the droplets of water.

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Thursday, 19 November

Cinematic – Another simple thing – these are backlit straws.  I reduced saturation and applied a vintage split-toning in Lightroom afterwards.  They sort of remind me of olden day cinema projectors (not that I’ve ever seen one in real life!).

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Friday, 20 November

Ephemeral soul – I had never realised how hard it is to get the cornea in focus! Wow! Eventually I settled with this mystical abstract, which was lit by bounce flash off a wall.

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Saturday, 21 November

The Amoeba – this was a typical ‘accident-shot’, where I hadn’t even meant to click the button but ended up with something rather interesting, which turned out to be the only decent shot I got. I had planned to shoot some water droplets on a piece of glass, and was busy figuring out lighting when this happened.

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Sunday, 22 November

Molten steel – this is the shot that was supposed to happen on Saturday. I sprayed some water on a piece of glass and played with bounce flash until I was happy.

Enjoy the rest of your week! I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on my images.