It isn’t really a ‘Mac Thing’ (or maybe it is!) – But the Snow Leopard is definitely my ‘favourite’ of the big cats (I also have a soft spot for the Persian Leopard); which accounts for my continual return visits to photograph them whenever possible at the Melbourne Zoo. This photograph was taken during the same shooting session as ‘Snow Leopard in Profile‘, but captures a very different moment and feeling. My only regret with both of these photographs is that this is a captive animal and not wild. But since Snow Leopards are native to a foreign country, endangered and extremely rare I hope you will forgive the captive nature of these photographs and instead enjoy them for their merit in their own right. I used the Canon 300mm F2.8L IS lens for this shot at ISO400 on the 1DSMK3. I have had a few emails from readers asking me how I photograph these animals without any ‘bars or cages’ in the shot – ‘Did I have special access?’ The answer is no – I photographed all of the animals either in the wild or from normal public Zoo access. The trick when faced with caged animals is to use a lens with a wide aperture like the Canon 300mm F2.8L IS and to put the lens as close as possible to the bars; whilst putting the animal as far away from the bars as possible. This effectively throws the bars or cage so far out of focus that they become invisible. Its a very useful technique to photograph captive animals.
The issue of how to safely and securely archive thousands, tens of thousands or possibly even hundreds of thousands of photographs is a constant problem for photographers. Well, a new solution is on the horizon from Sandisk – the ‘WORM’ Write Once, Read Many SD card. Initially available only in a 1 Gigabyte size; but larger sizes are sure to come.
IDG News Service - SanDisk on Wednesday announced a Secure Digital card that can store data for 100 years, but can be written on only once.
The WORM (write once, read many) card is “tamper proof” and data cannot be altered or deleted, SanDisk said in a statement. The card is designed for long-time preservation of crucial data like legal documents, medical files and forensic evidence, SanDisk said. The media comes with capacity of only 1GB. SanDisk determined the media’s 100-year data-retention lifespan based on internal tests conducted at normal room temperatures.
To draw comparisons, the card is like DVD-write only media, but much smaller and with a much longer life span. SD cards typically slot into portable devices like digital cameras and mobile phones to store or move images, video or other data. The WORM works like conventional SD media, but only with compatible devices, SanDisk said.
The company said it is shipping the media in volume to the Japanese police force to archive images as an alternative to film, SanDisk said. The company is working with a number of consumer electronics companies including camera vendors to support the media. The media is available worldwide through resellers. SanDisk did not comment on pricing.
In response to a few emails I have had asking me how I went about processing this photograph – ‘Footprints on Mars‘I have put together a short video on the steps I took in Lightroom 2.7. I have subsequently upgraded to Lightroom 3.0; but the processing remains the same (the sharpening for this photograph is slightly different in 3.0). The video is quite large (over 100 megabytes and runs just under fifteen minutes) in order to keep decent quality to clearly see the steps and difference pre and post processing. You will need to right click on this LINK ’save as’ to download the video file. Enjoy.
I have blogged before that the road up to Mount Buffalo in the Victorian high Country is one of my favourite drives in the country. I enjoyed it all over again last week whilst on holidays with the family at Bright, Mount Buffalo, Mount Hotham and Falls Creek. It has been a bumper start to the snow season this year and there was a good covering on the summit slopes as well as some lower areas with the help of snow making equipment. Temperatures were cool during the day on Saturday hovering around -2 on the top of Hotham; but the sun was out and it was glorious to be out ‘in it’. Sunday was much warmer around 8 degrees (although it felt a lot hotter chasing the kids in the snow!) I did not get a lot of opportunity for serious landscape photography as I spent most of my time on the toboggans with the kids. I did however, manage to sneak away early one morning in the dark and fog to capture a nice sunrise across the fog filled valley from the Mount Buffalo road.
Another fabulous video on the Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption – posted to You Tube by Chris Weber. This video really gives you a great impression of the volcanos incredible power. It is hard to imagine just what a potential eruption at the nearby much larger Katla volcano would be like! The Modern Survival Blog has some interesting reading on just how big, devastating and powerful a Katla eruption might be – worth a read as the consequences could well be global. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ydnLkVvfZM]
This third photograph from the Perry Sandhills in New South Wales almost didn’t make the cut. I was doing one last final review of my photographs from this trip when this shot jumped out at me as having a really nice ebb and flow to the dunes. As in the other two images (Part One & Part Two)the rainstorms have added a really lovely texture to these dunes that accentuates the wind blown folds in the sand. For me this photograph is all about the texture, ridge and shape of the front dune. I have had a few emails asking me how I went about processing these photographs (in particular Part Two), so I have put together a short video on the processing; which I will post in the next few days.
Was checking out the webcam this evening of the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano at 9:27pm EST – Visibility has been pretty much zero on the webcam for the last few days and the thermal camera has been down for maintainence; but tonight the weather is relatively clear across the valley and the webcam shows one of the best views of the crater I have seen in the glacier. I have taken a screen shot as the weather changes so rapidly its likely to quickly disappear.
This second photograph from the Ruins outside of Charlton looking from the back of the house toward the front door was also shot with the Canon 17mm TSE lens. What attracted me to this composition was the rotting floorboards leading into the frame with the doorway on the right and at the front of the building. The tree outside the far door is not what I would have liked as I feel it is somewhat of an anticlimax for the eye, but that is what was there and cloning it out would have significantly altered the image; leaving just an empty space. The inclusion of the brick ruined door frame on the left and right help frame the shot and the there is a texture and colour to the walls that I find very appealing.
The Modern Survival Blog is reporting increased earthquake activity at Katla in the last few days. Hard to know what to make of this as there have been no reported earthquakes on RSOE in the Iceland area and they are usually one of the first to report.
The increased earthquake activity reported by the Modern Survival Blog does not look good and an eruption may not be far off – as yet there is no ’swarming’ of earthquakes so it is still a guessing game. The suspense is really starting to build for me now with the clock rapidly ticking down to my Iceland trip.
Currently there is zero visibility on the Webcam as of 10:26am EST 15th June and the thermal camera is down for maintenance.
On the drive back to Melbourne from Perry Sandhills (Part One & Part Two) in New South Wales I stumbled across an old abandoned house not far out of the small town of Charlton on the Calder Highway. It was one of those serendipitous moments when I just happened to glance out the side window of the car at just the right moment to spy the building in a distant paddock, partially obscured by some large trees. Australia’s countryside is liberally sprinkled with old sheds, barns and buildings – but they are usually overly dilapidated and of corrugated iron construction; which generally does not photograph at all well (at least I dont find them photogenic). This building was a good find however as its construction was old brick and its state of disrepair ideal for photography.
Old buildings such as this are getting harder and harder to find, so I have book marked this one to go back when storms are forecast for some external shots in contextual surroundings. In this photograph, taken from one of the front rooms looking out to the front door I have used the two doorways to stack depth and to try and guide the eye through the shot. I also like the warm light spilling in from the front door. I used the 17mm TSE lens for this photograph; which allowed me to correct for wide angle distortion.
I am leaving today for a few days up at the snow with the family for some rest and relaxation (and of course some photography). It looks like a bumper start to the season with some good fresh snow falls on pretty much all the major mountains – Let it Snow!
I am very pleased to announce that one of my works ‘Portrait of Skipper’ has been selected and accepted to be part of the 2010 Nillumbik Prize at Montsalvat in Eltham, Melbourne. Although portraiture is not my ‘bread and butter’, Montsalvat is one of my favourite places in Australia for photography (I frequently go there to photograph my kids or sometimes just for a coffee at the small cafe) and when I came across this gentlemen in the grounds I just knew I had to photograph him – thankfully he kindly obliged. I am very pleased with this photograph and very humbled to have it accepted into the gallery as part of the 2010 Nillumbik Prize. This work will be on display at Montsalvat from the 22nd of June this year.
Many thanks to the alert reader and follower of my Blog who sent over the following screen grab from the ABC news on Monday and Tuesday nights this week. Looks like the ABC flipped the photograph in Photoshop so Paul could stand on the right hand side – I will have to remember that next time I submit work for publication to a news station.
Dont know if anyone else saw it – but another of my Landscape photographs ‘Cloud Warp’ taken in the Yarra Valley in Victoria was featured on the ABC news in the weather segment both last night and this evening.
Those of you who follow my blog will know that I am a big fan of Nick Brandt’s African wildlife photography. I recently attended his current exhibition at Source Photographica in Melbourne; which was truly amazing and inspirational. If you have the opportunity to see any of Nick’s work I highly recommend taking the time to do so.
The cost of ownership of most of Nick’s limited edition prints unfortunately places them out of reach of many (myself included); which is a shame as the prints truly are beautiful. However, the next best thing has just been announced with his new Limited Edition signed Artists book coming this September. The book is now available for Pre-order from Source Photographica in Melbourne – I have of course immediately ordered a copy. There are 1000 copies available in Australia and 3000 worldwide and I would expect these to sell out very quickly.
I am on the road, so can’t verify by downloading (as I am on the iPhone) but it looks like Lightroom 3 is now available for download. Would love it if someone could download the trial and see if they have added in softproofing and leave me a comment.
Lightroom 3 Download
EDIT - I have just got back to the office and can now verify that unfortunately soft-proofing has not made it into Lightroom 3.0. This is very disappointing for me as it means continually having to round trip my photographs through Photoshop for soft-proofing before going back to Lightroom for Print. No doubt an Adobe conspiracy to get me to upgrade to CS5… Nevertheless there are some very welcome new features in Lightroom 3.0 and the upgrade is certainly worthwhile.
Adobe has posted a new video showing Terry White’s top 5 favourite Lightroom 3 features. Note they don’t say Beta anywhere in the video – in fact, Terry quotes “Lightroom 3 is here! In this episode I’ll show you my Top 5 Favorite New Features. Lightroom 3 has lots of new features that I absolutely LOVE, however in this Episode I’ll show you my top 5 favourites.” Top 5 Favourite Lightroom 3 Features. The short video clip demonstrates new capabilities such as tethered capture, custom watermarks, flexible print package layouts, lens correction plus additional slide show features including video export and background soundtracks. Unfortunately there is still no mention of soft proofing, but you would have to believe that the 3.0 release is now very close with the release of this video.
Edit (A couple of hours on) – Well it looks like someone at Adobe slipped up – the video has been removed. Luckily I grabbed the quote from Terry White off the site before they took it down. Adobe really is the ship that never stops leaking…
Edit 2 – You can actually still get to the video on google’s cache HERE as of 8:12pm EST.
The more time I spend photographing wildlife the more I am enjoying it – what started out as a bit of an experiment to see what sort of wildlife photographs I could make as a precursor to a possible African safari next year is slowly turning into a type and style of photography that I will be actively seeking out far more often. There is definitely an African safari in my photographic future!. The Lion enclosure at Werribee Open Range Zoo is about as close as one can get to an African Safari without leaving Australia. Its a wonderful location for wildlife photography – and you don’t need super exotic glass to get great shots. You can get really quite close to many of the animals; especially if you book onto the open top safari drive (and I recommend that you do). All of the enclosures are open range in nature; giving the animals real room to move and roam in an environment far closer to their natural world than most zoo cages. As a result the animals tend to be more active, more alert and make far better photographic subjects.
For this photograph I used the 300mm F2.8L IS lens (my favourite telephoto lens for Wildlife) and lay on the ground in order to get a different perspective to the average lion shot. By lying on the ground at the Lions level I was better able to capture the lovely cross light from the late afternoon Autumn sun. I really like this photograph as its clearly a decisive moment in time – the Lioness on the prowl with a keen eyed glare and a purposeful stride.
This is definitely an ‘Awwww…. isn’t that cute’ photograph; but I just couldn’t help myself – Sumatran Tiger cubs are too cute! And the opportunity to photograph a couple of these endangered Tiger cubs doesn’t present itself very often. For the record these cubs were born in captivity at the Melbourne Zoo a few weeks ago.This was quite a tough photograph to make. I was at ISO800 wide open on the 300mm F2.8L IS with a shutter speed of 1/100th of a second. I shot half a dozen frames on motor drive and this was the only one where the cubs stopped moving and are sharp (the front cub anyway). The back cub is soft due to the shallow depth of field at F2.8 on the 300mm.
This second photograph from Perry Sandhills in New South Wales was taken the following morning about ten minutes before sunrise (although I never saw sunrise – the sun was buried behind layers of thick cloud). The morning was cold, with howling winds, racing clouds and regular rain showers – In short, weather that is far from comfortable (although quite conducive to good light) for outdoor photography. Nevertheless I persevered, stuck out the weather and came away with a second photograph I am very pleased with. I used a similar approach to the previous evenings shoot using a wide angle lens close to the ground with a three stop soft neutral density filter to darken the clouds. The twenty five second exposure has captured the clouds streaking across the sky adding a good deal of drama to the image. I could easily be accused of using LEE’s new Big Stopper ten stop ND filter for this photograph, but the truth is it just wasn’t necessary. The winds were pushing the clouds along at a rate of knots and any long exposure was going to blur them significantly.
In this instance I deliberately chose to leave in the trail of (almost gone) foot prints as they add some mystery to the image as well as the human element to what could have otherwise been quite a stark photograph. Like the previous photograph the sand is heavily pitted from the repeated rain showers; which has added a texture to the dunes that I find very appealing.