Monthly Archives: April 2008

Time Chaser

I always write I’m a light chaser and a weather chaser but lately I seem to be chasing time mostly. Too much to do and could not catch up with time (something about needing to get the Delorean up to 88 miles per hour!).

Been very busy with my photography business and doing some freelance IT-consulting and a tonnes of other stuff + the light has been boring for a week (weather’s been great but boring light from cloudless skies) so I haven’t shot anything new nor found the time to write. Need to catch up with time and need better light over Copenhagen (a small thing to ask!)

Going through the RAW files from last year I did find a few new keepers from Brisbane, one of my favourite cities in Australia. A cityscape at dusk and an amazing sunset panorama from Lamington National Park 2 hours south of good old Brissy:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Brisbane River & Skyline at dusk
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Lamington National Park Sunset Panorama
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

The cityscape from Brisbane really shows you how nice the sky lights up at dusk and how good a digital sensor is at picking up the red colours in the atmosphere. And the highrises of Brissy are impressive!

The sunset from Lamington National Park is just a sunset shot, but it was an incredible one at that with great colours and cloud definitions.  Both shots received a bit of ‘painting’ with light but later today I’m picking up my Wacom 6×8″ tablet so expect my next batch of shots to be painted with light like it was going out of fashion!

Painting with light

One of the most powerful tools of processing a photo (be it in a traditional darkroom or a digital darkroom) is dodging and burning – the process of darkening or lightening parts of the photo. By doing this you are painting with light, you are controlling shadows and highlights and you can dramatically alter and enhance the expression of your art and control where your viewers eyes go when first viewing the photo. The human eyes are always attracted at first to large areas of light or darkness.

Ansel Adams was a master of photography and the darkroom and to see a perfect example of good old darkroom painting with light, have a look at how shadows and highlights are used in this classic Tetons and the Snake River shot to enhance the drama, expression and visual tension. My favourite contemporary landscape photographer is Peter Eastway, an Australia grand master of photography, and his portfolio is a textbook example of painting with light.

As you know I am not interested in a reality that doesn’t exist anyway, and I find myself more and more wanting to manipulate the look of my images to better create the drama, the tension and the expression I’m after. Only I struggle with the techniques in Photoshop and curse myself, my computer and my mouse! I am reading Scott Kelby’s books on Photoshop and photography and practicing but I still have a lot to learn. Unlike say RAWshooter, PTgui  and Lightroom I am still far from getting the results out of ‘painting with light’ in Photoshop that I really want but at least I am improving (ever so slightly, Rome wasn’t built in a day etc!)

Here’s a few recent attempts at painting with light and digital post processing:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Sortedam Dossering HDR sunset
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

This sunset from Copenhagen is a heavily post processed image with a lot more going on than just painting with light and it’s closer to digital art than photography. I merged two exposures of the same shot into a high dynamic range file in the new Photomatix 3.0 software. This brought out the detail in the buildings (shadows) and the clouds. The HDR software didn’t do wonders to the look of the water though so I decided to completely alter this using motion blur tool in Photoshop. Finally I added vignetting and ‘painting with light’ to the image in Photoshop. The sunset is still real though, it really did look like this! It’s mostly an experiment but I am fairly happy with the results.

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Pandanus Palm at Trinity Bay
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

This is a photo from Australia where I have only used ‘painting with light’ to darken the messy boring bits of the photo (the trees and bushes) and lighten the interesting parts – the combination of the palm tree, the water, beach and sky. I am going for the Peter Eastway effect here and I have to admit I am not totally happy with the results. It’s alright but not totally what I had in mind so I will keep practicing on this photo.

One thing that I find hard is to ‘paint with light’ using a mouse. It’s impossible to do nice curves and strokes using a mouse and I am seriously considering getting a Wacom Intuos3 tablet – anyone have good experiences with using a tablet?

I like painting with light and as I slowly get better at it I see how incredible and powerful a tool it is and it allows me to be even more creative and really work my photos into the exact expression I want. I am still a photographer full stop and not a graphic artist and shooting the photo in the field will always be the best part of the experience for me. But no camera can capture what I want to express so I need to be able to do the digital darkroom stuff to perfection to create fine art landscapes and cityscapes so I’m back to cursing myself, the computer and the mouse!

Updates, design tweaks and RAW housecleaning!

I’ve done a lot of “house cleaning and painting” lately on my blog:

  • I did a few design tweaks trying to match the blog design as much as possible to my gallery web design.
  • I updated the About, Photography, Buy Photos and Australia pages (see top menu).
  • I added a lot of photography links to photographers I admire and good photography websites – see links in the left bar, scroll down a bit.
  • I added a new page about Copenhagen, my home city where my My Copenhagen photo mission unfolds. See top menu.

I also added a new page with my Travelog to the top menu. This page is an easy way to access my travel stories in a chronological order. I tend to write a lot when I travel (lot’s of time to write when waiting for the light and lots of experiences to write about) but 23 posts written while travelling in Australia in 2007 surprised even me, I certainly was a prolific writer! I have a tonnes of older travel stories but don’t know if I’ll ever find the time to post them, I’m working on photography around the clock 🙂

I am also presently going through the more than three thousand RAW files from the 10 weeks in Australia 2007 one last time. It’s the last and final archive run-through making sure every keeper shot has been converted to tiff and all shots are catalogued etc. I’m far from done, but have found a few goodies that wasn’t online before, stuff like:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Pandanus Trees Panorama
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Dunk Island Dusk Panorama
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

It’s all part of “house cleaning” before the next photography trip! Getting itchy travel feet, I gotta go again soon and am presently planning. Need more photos, more desert, more outback landscape and some more helicopter flights!  😀

Btw – it’s obvious to me when going through the files that fatigue both mentally and physically does set in on a 10 week photo odyssey. At some point the extraordinary becomes ordinary and there are some of the locations that are exceptional on their own but my photos are not and I didn’t shoot enough compositions either. It’s hard to arrive with “fresh eyes” to a location and really work the landscape when you’ve been travelling a long time, something I have to remember the next time (gotta figure out a “refresh eyes” function!)

Frederiksholm Canal in Copenhagen Panorama

Wednesday we had one of those weird Spring days where the weather goes from sunshine to rain to hail storms back to sunshine. The sky cleared about an hour before sunset but still had a layer of humidity and you get this fantastic soft warm light that you will not see on any other day.  There were only a few clouds about so I scouted for the best composition to include the warm red and orange sky and this strange otherworldly soft light.

I found my shot at Frederiksholm Canal in the inner city and here’s the result and the latest panorama release in my Copenhagen collection (click to see large):

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Frederiksholm Canal Panorama
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

As you can see the sun is just behind the buildings to the right and it’s not normally a good time to shoot this location with almost all of the buildings in deep shadows. But due to the soft warm colours of the light on this particular evening the exposure could be controlled, keeping most of the highlights and shadows in a single exposure and some fill light in RAWshooter brought back shadow detail. This is a stitched panorama of 6 vertical shots at 23mm using the 17-40mm f/4.0 L lens and PTgui did a perfect job stitching it. The finishing touch was the use of LAB colour space in Photoshop to get exactly the glow and look I wanted by soft light blending in a lab colour layer. As you know I am not interested in reality at all, I am interested in creating an expression of what I felt and saw when I shot the scene and I am also trying to create my own unique style.

I am very pleased with the result, what d’ya reckon?

Mindil Beach at Dusk Panorama

Even if you haven’t been to Darwin, you may have heard of the beach in Darwin called Mindil Beach and the market where everyone goes Thursdays and Sundays – Mindil Beach Market.

I’ve blogged about Mindil Beach before when I was there in August 2007, it is a great and fun melting pot of so many cultures, market stalls and buskers and thousands of people. Then there’s the sunset. It is not just watched it is almost worshipped by the Territorians and the tourists. It is out of this world, only in the tropics will you get these colours. Dusk is even better, the colours are so intense and saturated that Scandinavian eyes used to our somewhat paler version of the world find it hard to believe these colours exist!

I recently finished stitching a panorama of Mindil Beach at Dusk that I feel succeeds fairly well in showing the magical dusk light at Mindil Beach. Click this to see the large size version on my website:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Mindil Beach at Dusk Panorama
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

About the photo

I love this shot, looking at the full size version it totally brings me back to Mindil Beach – all that’s missing is the many sounds and smells of the market and the tropical heat! The colours are spot on as I remember them from Mindil in dusk light and this particular night (I was at the market 3 different nights) had the best light and one other important thing – the tide is out and went out timed perfectly with the sunset! There’s a 9 meter tide at Darwin so it’s a huge difference, either there’s no beach or a huuuuge beach! Having the tide go out timed with the sunsets leaves these tiny rivers of reflected light in the wet sand picking up all the colours of dusk! Only happened on this night! I underexposed by more than a stop to keep the red channel from blowing out.

It’s not a perfect panorama shot technically though, I did quite a few things wrong and I have spent hours and hours in PTgui and Photoshop trying to correct my mistakes, “salvaging” this pano. I didn’t have a tripod for this so I shot it handheld, but that can still work fine. It won’t work when you’re not paying attention though, I must have still been jetlagged because the horizon is all over the place from shot to shot. You would think I bloody shot it one handed looking at the files! This + the fact that it’s a very wide ‘n wide angle pano shot vertically is why the horizon is not totally straight in this shot and I had to do a lot of cleaning up in Photoshop of the stitches. It was worth all the work though, I love the shot but wish it was a bit better technically, certainly would have saved me many hours of work at the computer if I’d done my work properly in the field to begin with. I guarantee it’ll still look great on your wall though 🙂

The Market

Gotta love Mindil Beach Market, half of Darwin is there not just the tourists and it’s great fun. I’ll end this with one of my shots from the market itself, click to see large:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Busy night at Mindil Beach Market
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

…and finally, a video of the market courtesy of Northern Territory Tourism at Youtube:

The Great Australian Bight – camping at the edge of the world

“Life on the edge”, “living on the edge”, “if you’re not living on the edge you’re taking up too much space”, “I tried living on the edge, didn’t like it much”, “I’ve been to the edge and back” etc. etc.

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen PhotographyNo shortage of sayings about living on the edge. Well here’s my story about camping on the edge! Working on some old files the other day for my World Panorama Stock portfolio I rediscovered an old favourite destination and story of mine – The Great Australian Bight!

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen PhotographyThe Great Australian Bight is a bight than runs for more than 1,000 kilometers along the southern coast of Australia. If you look at a map it looks like someone took a huge bite (bight, geddit? haha) out of Australia! When you get there it literally is the end of the world; you stand at the top of cliff faces that descend 50-60 meters straight into the ocean and you truly feel like you’re on the edge and at the end of the world! I don’t know many people who have been to the Great Australian Bight and yet it is one of the most stunning and remote locations in Australia!

I realised the other day that I didn’t always have to write about the current photos I shoot, I could also write about older tours and older photos! This opens up a whole new bag of tricks (some might say can of worms) for this blog – so this is my story and “Lonely Planet Style” travel guide to living on the edge…

Getting there & around

To get to The Great Australian Bight you simply travel in your 4WD along the Nullarbor plain for a long time and when you feel like you’ve gone far enough you turn due South (there are no roads so any place will do). You then bump (be prepared for a few dislocated discs in your back!) across the open flat plains for a few hours and all you have to do now is remember to stop when the world ends! Here’s a map showing you the location, you won’t need a more detailed map, you really just need to remember to brake before you go over the edge. You can drive your car straight over the edge, but the chances of reversing back up are slim!

bight map

My trip to the Bight began in January 1999 in Perth with my mate Andrew’s tour company Bolstaor Coastal Safari (sadly the company is now closed) and onboard his 4WD OKA truck. We drove to the mining town of Kalgoorlie (distance: 600 kilometers) like a bat out of hell, stocked up on beer, food and Coke at Woolworths and then took the Trans Access Road (no food or fuel for 862 kilometers!) to the great Nullarbor Plains:

Trans Access Road by Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

We bush camped in the middle of the … bush! The next day we hit the Nullarbor Highway and at some point we took a right turn. After hours of bumping across the amazing landscape accompanied by Kangaroos we suddenly run out of World and have to come to a full stop!

Places to stay

Bring your own! (same goes for beer and food). There are no signs of civilisation here at all which is what makes it so fantastic so remember to bring your swag (bedroll) and some tukka (food)! We camped almost on the edge of the Bight and it was a spectacular camp and spectacularly windy! Here’s the late great Bolstaor Coastal Safaris OKA truck and our camp on the edge of the world:

OKA on the bight by Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

It certainly is one of if not the most amazing place I have ever bush camped. Hold on to your belongings though, the cold Antarctic winds arrive from the Indian Ocean with nothing in the way to slow them down and you’re the first thing they meet on land!

Things to see & do at the Bight

Sunrise! You simply must spend a night here so you can catch the sunrise! It is one of the prime locations in the world for watching the sunrise and see the day come alive and the red rock light up like gold. See my photo at the end of this post. Be prepared to get up really early and be prepared for working without daylight. I slept in all my clothes sans shoes and had my camera bag with me in the swag. So I just had to wake up at 4am (took some kicking from Andrew before that happened), find my shoes, check the shoes for snakes and scorpions and caterpillars, put on shoes, grab camera bag, stumble slowly towards the edge while wiping the sleep from my eyes so I don’t step over the edge – and I was ready for some magic!

Go fishing! At some places you can actually descend down to the beach and there are so many salmon to catch even I caught several (I actually caught a huge 5 kilo whale of a salmon!) The water is so clear you can see large schools of salmons dart across the waves and you just need enough arm strength (I have none, it’s a miracle I caught some fish) to throw the line out to these big waves!

Watch the dolphins! There are a large number of dolphins surfing the waves and putting on a show. At the right time of the year you can also see humpback whales.

Study the wildlife! We found a very nice quiet python snake (I have a photo of me holding it that I’m not showing you!) and Andrew’s brother Peter got stung by a small scorpion (nothing happened except his finger turned purple)

When to go

It’s a fairly windy location to say the least! And the wind is usually of the cold variety coming from the Antarctic. So I would reckon it would get a bit cold camping here during the Winter months (June-August) and I would recommend going during Summer (Dec-Feb) as I did.

Conclusion

The earth is flat, believe me, I have seen the edge! If you’re in Australia and get a chance, I wholeheartedly recommend going to the Great Australian Bight and see the edge of the world with your own eyes. It has been 9 years and this is one experience that never fades, I absolutely loved every second at the Bight. Loved how remote and desolate it was, how rough it is, no signs of civilisation at all and plenty of wildlife.

And now…the photo that won’t fade either thanks to digital technologies.

My Great Australian Bight panorama

This is the shot I was dusting off for World Panorama Stock. It is my favourite photo of the Bight. Originally shot on Fujichrome slide and scanned on a Minolta slide scanner using the super VueScan software it is now a lovely 16-bit colour high quality 72 megabyte tiff file.

This is sunrise at the Great Australian Bight in all its glory,
click to see large size on my gallery:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Great Australian Bight – the edge of the world
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

World Panorama Stock & my new Sydney Panorama

As always, it’s a panoramic world for me!

wps-logo I recently became a Pro member of World Panorama Stock, a great stock site that specializes in high resolution, high quality inspirational, Rights Managed only panoramic stock imagery to professional photo researchers, graphic designers, advertising agencies, publishers. I am very happy to be working with them as I am a big supporter of the panoramic format!

Yes, I hardly need to reiterate that I love the panoramic format and World Panorama Stock is a great way to display and hopefully sell more of my panorama photos. Click to see my feature World Panorama Stock page with my bio and the images that I’ve submitted so far. There are many other fantastic panoramas for you to enjoy, check out some of the other featured photographers or use the category or search feature.

Sydney Panorama and the 17-40mm f/4.0 L lens

My latest panorama release is a stitched panorama from Sydney, shot from Kiribilli across the harbour. It is late afternoon and the sun is low and the strong sidelight lights up the Opera House. The panorama is 7 vertical images stitched in PTgui and then I did some post production in Photoshop, including a custom vignetting and some dodging and burning. PTgui did a very respectable job of blending a panorama shot across the harbour even with water in motion. This is the big drawback of stitching digital panos as opposed to a true panoramic 6×17 camera – motion! Especially water is really hard to stitch, there will be a big difference between shots when you have a bit of wind. I probably still have a bit of cloning to do in this panorama shot, but here it is – click the image to see 1000 pixel version on my website:

Click to see large size on my gallery!

Sydney Panorama, Opera House, Skyline and Harbour Bridge

Like many of my panos it is shot with the Canon 17-40mm f/4.0 L lens and I really recommend this for landscape and cityscape work including panoramas. It is super tack sharp (a fair bit sharper than the 24-105mm f/4.0 L lens!) and the coating on this lens produces some fantastic colours even without polarizer (which of course you can’t use in a stitched pano!). Only problem with the 17-40 L – it’s actually too light so it doesn’t create enough counterweight, shooting handheld I always end up with slightly tilted horizons! Well, the weight problem will be cured when I get the 16-35mm f/2,8 L !