Category Archives: Perth

Rottnest Island with True North Mark

A few weeks ago me and my friend Signe had the pleasure of being invited aboard True North Mark’s big and beautiful private boat for a brilliant weekend at Rottnest Island with Mark and friends. A huge thanks to Mark for having us along and Brett, Greg and Jordan for outstanding company and great fun. We toured the whole island, we shot some photos and had a wicked and unreal time (using a bit of the surfer slang we learned). We also went snorkling twice, for hours, and this was a huge thing for me, only the second time ever I have been snorkling. Swam a long way and saw beautiful reefs and absolutely loved it. Wetsuit experience was nice, those things work really well at keeping you warm and it is a somewhat funky feeling against the skin too. First day I did not have one and I think my lips were blue for hours after becoming seriously cold!

Mark and I shot quite a few photos and we had some good luck and bad luck. Beautiful clouds on the first day but not enough sunshine. Second day Mark is kicking me awake (takes a bit of work) at 5am asking me if I want to come for the sunrise shoot. Having slept about 5 hours I mumble a long “ehhhhhhh” followed by a “ehhh…….yes”. I jump in the True North tender boat and Mark steers us towards the lighthouse for a sunrise shoot. I am barely awake and have not brought shoes. Good decision for rock walking when one’s feet is not exactly leather yet! Happy I got up though, we capture images from dawn to after sunrise and these are my two favourite Rottnest images:

Rottnest lighthouse dawn - blog

It looked nice as well when the sun peaked up over the horizon but this is more dramatic. Quiet calm dawn with gorgeous big clouds.

And after sunrise this enormous cloud covered 180 degrees of the sky. After a bit of Lightroom work, mostly warming the cloud a lot, it yielded a very dramatic image which I like a lot:

Rottnest lighthouse cloud - blog

You can see a few more of my Rottnest images by going to my News gallery, click here:

Cheers Mark for a brilliant weekend, thanks for showing us “your” island!

Shooting Cropped Panoramas

It is no secret that I love the panorama format, I’ve mentioned this in countless posts. Read this one for why I love the wide format. I don’t own an actual panorama camera like a 6x17cm Linhof or 2x35mm Hasselblad x-pan so I shoot panoramas in two ways with my Canon 5D. The first way is to use an ultrawide lens, compose the photo as a panorama and then crop the top and bottom of the raw file in post production. The second way is digital stitching, shoot several photos and stitch them in programs like PTgui. This post focuses on cropped panoramas, the next post will focus on stitching.

Cropped panoramas

It’s simple as…just crop your photo so the width to height ratio is at least 2:1 and you have a wide panorama shot! If you want a good result there’s a bit more to it though. Have a look at these panoramas from Sydney and Perth (click to see large):

Click to see large size on my gallery!

A sunset panorama view of the Opera House, The Harbour Bridge and a ferry.

Click to see large size on my gallery!

A late afternoon view of Kings Park, gum trees, bicycle and person on the left, the skyline of Perth in the top right 1/3 and long shadows leading your eye into the shot.

Both shots are shot very wide with my 17-40mm L f/4.0 lens (which is super wide on a full frame Canon 5D) and then cropped as I developed the raw file. The next two screenshots from Rawshooter Premium shows you the full photos with the crop mask in place:



Notice how the Sydney shot needs almost every bit of the 17mm wide view to get everything in frame. Also notice how much dead space I have in the top and bottom of the shots? That’s intentional of course, I composed with a cropped pano in mind so the full shots are boring compositions with far too much dead space and the horizon dead in the middle – which leads us to:

Composing the cropped panoramas

Here is what I do:

  • Shoot at around 17mm on my full frame Canon 5D so I can get a very wide shot (equivalent to around 10mm on a crop DSLR camera)
  • Look through the viewfinder and visualize the 3:2 image as a cropped panorama at least 2:1 wide – this is the hard part, you have to compose the shot inside a panorama rectangle you don’t have in your viewfinder, only in your head.
  • Stick the horizon straight in the middle of the viewfinder (the actual viewfinder, not your imaginary pano viewfinder). I’m cropping the shot anyway later and having the horizon in the middle of the original shot greatly reduces the barrel distortion at 17mm.
  • Make sure you get plenty of dead space top and bottom of the shot and look carefully in all corners of your viewfinder to make sure you have your panorama composition inside your imaginary panorama viewfinder.
  • Shoot 4-5 slightly different versions to make sure you have one useable for cropping.

The hard part is visualising your panorama composition inside a 3:2 viewfinder, sometimes I use my hands to form a pano viewfinder (film director style) and sometimes I wonder if I should carry a piece of cardboard cutout as a pano viewfinder. If anyone owns an old Panavision viewfinder they’d love to sell me get in touch! 😀

Cropping the photo in post production

This is the good part about shooting cropped panos, it opens possibilities in post productions. You might not end up with what you imagined when you shot it (you might not even remember what you imagined) but you have lot’s of options since your shot has so much dead space. Remember to crop this dead space though and crop it tight, you want to create a photo with an exciting panorama composition that creates visual tension for your viewer.


I find this method of shooting cropped panos works very well after some practice. If you intend to sell these cropped files or print them at large sizes you need lots of pixels though since you’re cropping away so many of the pixels. I have 13 megapixels of high quality in my Canon 5D and that’s alright, poster prints at 100dpi at 120cm wide  look great. I could use more though and some day I might invest in the new Canon 1Ds MkIII camera with it’s amazing 21 megapixel full frame sensor.

Next time I’ll talk about stitched panoramas but until then, if you like panoramas as much as me – get out there and practice shooting cropped panos, it’s great fun!

Chasing the sun

I am now also a Sunchaser. I am on the west coast and the best bit – watching the sun set into the Indian ocean and Western Australia sunsets are stunning! I almost forgot how good they are in real life and not just on photos, how special it is to see the sun fall straight into the Indian Ocean. So here’s what I did the other day (click for larger size):

Click to see larger size

Get the train to Cottesloe Beach, sit and enjoy the 29 degree warm Spring day

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Watch the fantastic cloud formations light up behind the Indiana Teahouse

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Stroll the beach in the dusk light

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Watch some blokes decide this sunset is so good they have to jump in a boat and chase it to the horizon – and then wishing I had gone with them!


If you jump on a plane in Sydney and fly 5 hours and 4300 kilometers west you would be forgiven for thinking you would land in another country. Well, you don’t, you are now in Perth in Western Australia the worlds most remote capital!

Perth is beautifully situated right on the Swan River and presently home to an estimated 1,5 million people and that is growing rapidly due to the oft mentioned “mining boom”. Western Australia is rich on minerals (richest mineral soil in the world) and the mining industry is doing incredibly well. Fortunately Perth is still the way I remember it – an outback country town with a few highrises thrown in! A very nice change from too-hectic Sydney. Perth has that great laid-back remote outback Western Australia feel and almost all of the 1,5 million live in the suburbs so Perth CBD is very small (and totally dead and slightly spooky after 6pm). Most streets are fairly wide, most houses are only a few floors tall. Most of CBD is one big construction site at the moment though, trying to adapt Perth to the many new inhabitants building new highrises.

Been a long time since I’ve been here, spent a long time here in 1999 in another life starring another me. Bit weird revisiting (like a never-ending flashback) so I put myself to work straight away shooting pictures, my main reason for being here (the few Perth shots I have from 99 are shithouse, backpackers, alcohol and photography don’t mix). Here’s a few of Perth more at my gallery.

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Perth with purple dusk light as seen from South Perth across the river

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Perth at night from Kings Park

Outback Western Australia

I love outback WA, so beautiful and so remote. Just to try and put it into perspective: WA is about the size of Western Europe but home to only 2 million and the 1,5 million of those are living in Perth! So that leaves 0,5 million people for the rest of Western Europe!

Some day I will revisit and re-shoot the fantastic far north outback of Western Australia. The Kimberleys are one of the best spots in Australia. Not on this tour though, wrong time of the year to go far north now, pretty much has to be in May/June/July. Fortunately Perth is so remote you only have to drive a few hours north to get to places like these, more at my gallery:

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The Pinnacles in Nambung National Park

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Sand dunes of Lancelin

I need a holiday!

Yeah I know sounds pretty stupid to need a holiday but I’m so exhausted! This trip was always about photography first, holiday maybe second. But the past 3 weeks I may have overdone it and wore myself out as I tend to do, doing nothing but photography full time every day trying to get to as many shooting ops as possible every day. I love, live and breathe photography don’t get me wrong but it’s a lot of work. So I need a holiday. I also need a new left foot! Something wrong with the one I have now, something happened to it doing those 200 kilometers walking in Sydney. My left shoulder is not really keen on the heavy camera bag anymore either. So these last few days of my trip I have traveled around by taxi, taxi to and from Kings Park, to and from the beach etc. Soon I will be shooting my shots out of the window of the taxi and annoying the taxi driver to no end: “Just a bit forward mate. Stop. Go back a bit. Stop. Left a bit. No too far. Back. Stop. Forward. Turn around. Go right. There. Perfect shot. Ah bugger the light is gone…forward!”


  • You gotta have your fun living in the remote outback. Which is why you will see roadhouses advertising “25 hour service, 8 days a week” and pubs in the middle of nowhere advertising “Ocean View!”
  • Ah the joys of photography at dusk. Mossie bites on my right hand this time! Where are the Germans, I need a bit of your mossie repellant!
  • Big sign on the Transperth train saying “if you witness criminal or anti-social behaviour on the train report it by calling this number”. Anti-social. Hehehehe that could be me, I’m not very social, not a real people’s person – so I better watch my behaviour on the Transperth trains!
  • Always take the weather with you – and I do! Have had fantastic weather the whole trip, even here in Perth (Spring is not normally that warm here) it’s been up to 27-29 degrees and sunny. Have had sunshine basically non-stop since 23rd of August!