Monthly Archives: June 2010

Help protect the pristine Kimberley

I have blogged about James Price Point several times before, recent post from March is here. Thankfully, thanks to the campaigns to save the Kimberley and James Price Point and a recent Four Corners program on Australia’s ABC; the debate about the proposed LNG gas complex project is on again. You can watch the Four Corners show online here, highly recommended as there are some great interviews and new information. Do read Christian Fletcher’s post as well.

Wilderness Society in Australia is running a new multimedia campaign, you can visit here and please support by adding a message. We are not just trying to save James Price Point, we are trying to save the entire wild pristine Kimberley area and wildlife from being destroyed forever by becoming a built up industrialised area. Most people realise that the gas development needs to happen in some way, we all need energy. I am no saint myself, far from it, I travel a lot so I unfortunately pollute more than most people, and that is quite a shameful fact. But we want everyone in charge to realise there is already a huge infrastructure in the Pilbara’s which can be utilised. We do not want the remarkable, the spectacular Kimberley coast ruined, there are alternatives and public pressure can hopefully change the decision and pipe the gas to the Pilbara. If you can and like, please help save the Kimberley!

I will end this short post with another of my images created at James Price Point. This is almost straight out of camera, just a bit of levels and sharpening. I left the image as is to show the natural beauty of this place, at low tide this is really what you can expect at James Price Point:

remarkable james price point - blog

I have also updated my James Price Point video:

  

Links:

Wilderness Australia Multimedia Campaign

Save The Kimberley

Hands Off Country blog

Wilderness Society Australia – Kimberley

ABC 4 Corners Kimberley Special

In pursuit of dreams

Without dreams we have nothing. Do you dream of becoming something, do something or going somewhere? Reach out and grab it. Only you can change your world.

fbj at sugarloaf - blog 

There is a classic scene in HEAT where Al Pacino and Robert De Niro’s characters have coffee and discuss why they do what they do, one being a cop, one a robber. "Don’t know how to do anything else. Don’t much want do either!" they both answer. Recently it has become very clear how much I am now a photographer. Contrary to Pacino and De Niro’s characters, there are a few other things I know how to do well but I don’t much want to! Well, I would also love be an astronaut or a scientist but one dream at a time. 

fbj - ansel adams button - blogI love photography. Three years ago I quit my fulltime job in IT in pursuit of new horizons and photographing the world. I have since done some freelance IT-consulting to help pay the bills but my passion is truly photography. Travelling the world, capturing and creating images of untouched ethereally beautiful wide open spaces. I love being out in remote locations hunging for the perfect light and composition. I love capturing those fleeting moments of Mother Nature’s magic. I love studying the art of others, especially non-landscape photographer’s like the personal work of Joey L. Photojournalists and ethno-photographers and especially cinematographers are a great source of inspiration for me. So is other art, I love music, writing, reading, movies. I love the digital darkroom and all the creative tools available. I cherish receiving a gorgeous print from the lab and sending it off to a customer. I love when my stock images are sold for websites and magazines. I just simply love photography.

I want galleries around the world selling my art and I want books published. I want to build a large high quality stock library. I want to be Art Wolfe and travel to the edge with a camera crew documenting the journey. I want to create images that moves the viewer, shows how gorgeous and powerful Mother Nature is with an otherworldly twist.

Will it happen? Yes it will, some day. I have much to learn, but I am dreaming it, living it and I will make it happen!

I felt like sharing my passion today. Thanks so much for reading. If you wish, you can find more detailed info about me, my journey and my photography on the About page.

Hamlet’s Copenhagen Midsummer Dream

Listen closely and you can hear Shakespeare spinning in his grave, cursing me in the finest of poetic ways possible for stealing his words for the title. My only hope is that I can outrun an almost 400 year old ghost on my bicycle here in Hamlet’s home.

Inspired by a post by Tony Middleton, I wanted to shoot a panorama of Copenhagen on Summer solstice, longest day of the year. But with not a cloud in the sky and Spain playing in the World Cup I never quite moved my behind off the sofa yesterday. But I persevered today, just one day after solstice, better late than very late, and created a Copenhagen Midsummer Dream:

Hamlet Copenhagen Midsummer

This is a stitched panorama and a very wide view of the Copenhagen Harbour, shooting towards the city. It’s not the best of views but one I had not shot before and I wanted to include the soccer! There are some nice buildings here like the royal castle Amalienborg – and some not so nice new buildings. The pier is host to a large screen showing the soccer World Cup and I wanted to include this in the pano. The sun sets at 10pm and then dusk light lasts for a good hour.

soccer screen-blogNaturally, the very long exposure completely blows out the screen, so I took another earlier image exposed just for the screen and Photoshopped it in, see 100% crop on the right. I may clone out that shadow in the water from the screen and I really also should crop the left side – but had to leave the tug boat in for Charlene! I graded the sky as the weather gods needed help tonight. Neither the light nor the clouds really shined for me and it’s probably not a keeper, but it was good to get the gear out again and have fun!

Summer Solstice and the longest day of the year came and went. It is now – astronomically – all downhill from here. Well…except…if one ventures to the Southern Hemisphere!

PS. Pictured below is my vehicle of choice in Copenhagen, my trusty old human powered spaceship Silver Arrow Mk3 ! By far the best and fastest way to get around Copenhagen, she’ll do .5 past light speed.

silver arrow-blog

Big Australian Rock in Heaps’a Water

Sugarloaf Rock. It is a famous rock on the beautiful Southwest coast of Western Australia. Australia has a great tradition of very uninspired place names – Mount Bruce, Mount Sheila, Lake Disappointment and I could go on all night. With this tradition in mind, Sugarloaf Rock is actually not too bad. I would have expected it to be called ‘Big Rock In heaps’a Water’. That reminds me, I still have to write the Places With Wrong Names To Be Renamed list to the Australian government (Kakadu, Nourlangie, Alligator river etc). So much work!

I got a couple of scoops of Sugarloaf back in February. We met up with True North Mark and he took us to the Big Rock In Heaps’a Water. Christian Fletcher we had met earlier, but he was unable to come out and play that night, something about having sold his house and car for a Phase One camera.

Big Rock In… really is a big rock. Images do not do it justice as it really is much bigger than it looks and it is a really gorgeous location for a sunset shoot. Mark being Mark, he naturally climbs the highest and hardest to get to rock straight away and sets up shop for his shot, then iphone browses while he waits. I climb around a bit, try a few locations but having never been here before I end up searching too much and do not really find my sweet spot. My best image from the first night is this dusk panorama, shot while escaping mossies on the way back to the carpark:

Sugarloaf in dusk light - blog

We went back the night after and the light was completely different and I created this panorama that I quite like. A dark and moody Sugarloaf is going to sleep image:

Sugarloaf night - blog

Both images are stitched panoramas from about 3-4 horizontal images. It is easier with less images when you have moving water. Long exposures using stacked Lee filters made stitching fairly easy. I export all the layers to Photoshop from PTgui so I can manually mask and blend them and get the waves looking natural, also I can choose the best wave from each image.

Looking at both of them it is clear I did not nail it, did not get the job done. In both images I feel I am too far away from the scene, feels too passive, not enough drama or motion. I want to be down in the water with the rock towering in front of me and the waves crashing into me. Something I have learned about seascapes, the ones I like have action and drama and needs to be shot standing in the water basically. I look forward to tackling Big Rock… again some day, see you down there mates!

Cloudcatcher & Stargazer

Cloudcatcher. Stargazer. Occasional summoner of Weather. Dreamer – struggling mightily with reality.

Clouds are nearby friends in the sky, the stars are faraway beacons of hope. Surreal and otherworldly, ingredients of dreams but real. This may get a mite esoteric and peculiar, bear with me on this mind trip. During the day there is nothing quite like clouds that will catch my eye. At night it is the stars calling me leaving me gazing deep into the universe, back in time and lost in dreams. Cloudcatcher. Stargazer. Dreamer.

Clouds are a key subject in my photos, I could shoot nothing but clouds all day. I am convinced they are alive. Clouds catch my eye and I run around looking for a foreground subject. Occasionally I feel I have magic powers and can summon the clouds and the weather. Certainly, in USA I had so much good luck with the light and the clouds it surely cannot be a coincidence. Example, I really only shot at Grand Canyon for 3 hours but managed to first summon a huge snow storm for dramatic storm shots, then move the storm out of the way just in time for a sunset. I summoned a sand storm in White Sands. Last year I was able to summon rain in the Namibia desert, extremely rare. All in a days work. Here is an example of clouds I summoned in Arches, Utah, a great dramatic snow storm:

Clouds - Arches - blog

The stars always bring me hope. Hope of space travel and life on other planets. Hope for the future of our self destructive race. A pitch black night allows me to leave the Earth and fly away to other galaxies. The Saint Agustin plains and Very Large Array in New Mexico offered the perfect launch platform and a billion stars to capture:

Stars - VLA - blog

Finally, my home city of Copenhagen in Denmark has more bland and less dramatic weather but is occasionally still home to fantastic clouds. I present an oldie from 2006, a sunset in late autumn. I remember this day well, stressed out from my then fulltime IT job I sat fatigued and zombie-like at Lake Peblinge observing a forthcoming sunset seemingly holding few promises. It was bone-rattling cold, and I felt like going home. Slowly this ‘spine’ of clouds formed and lit up like in a dream. The sky was a burning lava magenta for about 20 minutes and I have never again witnessed anything like it here. On this day, Copenhagen was a tropical town and I promise this is what it looked like:

Fiery sunset Lake Peblinge -blog

Cloudcatcher. Stargazer. Dreamer. Reality?

PS. Two awesome cloud videos for you fellow cloudcatchers: Joe Taylor and Edvard Brun.

Interview with the…vampire?

No, just me. Interview with the alien perhaps! A little interview with the me about travelling, is now online at Travel Insurance.org, a resource about travel insurance. Click here to read it.

I’ll be in my light room

I must admit I much prefer shooting the images to processing them. For one thing, when I shoot them I am out in nature and loving it. When I post process, as much creative fun as that is, I am still inside staring at a screen. I was able to process some of my images along the way on my 6 months on the road, but I am now digging into 3,500 raw images from the 2 months in USA. Can get a bit overwhelming. All images to be revealed in good time, but here’s a tiny glimpse (sticky beak for you Aussies) into what I am working on:

usa lightroom - blog

I process such a large number of images using a recursive approach. I close Firefox (too distracting), put on headphones and fire up some tunes and enjoy a brew (coffee). I run through all images in Adobe Lightroom picking my ‘picks’ and dividing picks into groups using stars, 5, 4 ,3 etc. I repeat, honing the selection. I do some quick processing along the way to try out things. This is where Lightroom shines, I quickly play with many creative variations of an image. I do 80% of my work in Lightroom as it is so intuitive and much more fun and geared towards photographers than Photoshop. Photoshop is for my pixel level editing, selective editing using masks and sharpening etc. When I have the ‘hero’ shots narrowed down I develop them using an iterative ‘juggling many things at a time’ process. Not necessarily the most efficient way but this being my brain works. I cannot work on just one image, for me it is more like sculpturing. I work on an image some, feel I get stuck, switch to another image, sculpt that for a while and then onto the third and then perhaps back again to the first as a new idea strikes me. This repeats itself until I feel the image is good enough, for some images 5 minutes, some 5 days. I then mark this image ‘done’ in Lightroom with colour label green to tell my brain ‘It is done…stop tinkering!". Panos are then stitched in PTgui, editing is finished in Photoshop.

A small look into my light room. Not terribly exciting. I will persevere to write something better next time, I promise. Follow me on Twitter for more image previews as I get them developed.

What is your preferred tools and work method?