Cinderella Ballet

Last month, the Joburg Theatre hosted a photoshoot at the Cinderella Ballet final dress rehearsal.  This is the second ballet I’ve had the opportunity to photograph, and I’ve really taken a shine to the genre.  (Earlier in the year I attended the Giselle Ballet final dress rehearsal.)

The two ballets had a very different feel to them – while Giselle was eerie and mystical, Cinderella had a whimsical, humorous nature.  The latter is not something I usually incorporate in my photography, but I enjoyed the challenge.

The ugly stepsisters were the highlight of the show – especially the one portrayed below.  ‘She’ (actually a man dressed in drag) aced the comical, overdramatic facial expressions which were crucial to the role.

The show also contained a couple of quiet scenes, depicting Cinderella’s despair and feelings of loneliness.

Then, of course there was Cinderella’s fairy godmother, and the iconic carriage…

…followed by the ball, and the lost slipper.

The court jester kept the crowd entertained during the hunt for the slipper’s owner.

Finally, the prince was reunited with Cinderella, and all was well with the world – once again, a brilliant performance at the Joburg Theatre!


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.

April 2016 One Photo Focus-1-2.jpg

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 47

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


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.


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.


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.


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!).


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.


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.


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.

Project 365: Week 14

This week I challenged myself to take fine art photos. I know there are many different definitions of fine art photography, but this is my favourite:

“Fine art photography is photography, slightly removed from reality, which is created in accordance with the vision and emotions of the artist as photographer. “

Happy Easter to all of those who celebrate it!

Dullstroom: Haunted Moon tutorial

As I promised ages ago, here is a tutorial on how I created this photo:


For the photo of the moon, I used: a Canon EOS 1100D, a manual 170-500mm lens, Manual, partial metering, ISO 800, 1/40th/sec, and f5.


For the photo of the tree, I used: a Canon EOS 1100D, an 18-55mm lens, Manual, partial metering, ISO 400, 1/640th/sec, and f5.6.


  1. Post-processing began with opening both photos as layers in Photoshop.
  2. To prepare it for the final image, I turned the moon into black and white, and used a filter to reduce noise.
  3. I then selected the moon, made a new layer out of the selection, and deleted the old layer.
  4. By clicking “Select – colour range” I selected the blues in the sky. I inverted the selection in order to select the tree and its branches, and made a new layer containing a copy of the tree.
  5.  I reordered the layers so that the tree-with-the-sky was at the bottom, the moon was in the middle, and the tree at the top (this means that the moon was between the sky and the tree).
  6. I used free transform (Ctrl/t) to change the size and position of the moon, until I was satisfied.
  7. Finally, I used adjustment layers to convert to black and white, create an infrared effect (by pushing the reds) and increase contrast using curves.