Behind The Shot 59

Behind The Shot

Happy Trails

Personally, I would prefer a Nikon
Nikon D500, 200-500mm Nikon lens @ F5.6, 1/50s, ISO400, 200mm

with Carole Garside

Carole, remind us who you are and what you do!

I am a graphic designer by trade, but after being made redundant, I decided to take time out of the workforce. I still haven’t gone back! I have always owned some kind of camera from when my parents bought me a Kodak Instamatic for my tenth birthday. A legacy from an Aunt meant that I bought my first DSLR around the same time I stopped working. It was quite a steep learning curve from my previous bridge camera, but I turned it to manual mode, made myself shoot every day, and have not looked back since.

Since my feature in issue 21, just over three years ago, I have qualified with a Level 5 diploma in photography through the Southern Institute of Technology. This was a great way to learn about different genres. It covered everything from street photography, portraiture, food photography, real estate, landscape etc.

I entered the Pukekohe Creative Focus Salon last year for the first time and was really happy to receive a highly commended for one of my pieces. I also got my Licentiate through the Photography Society New Zealand in July of this year which I’m absolutely thrilled about. I am starting the Level 6 diploma next month, which I expect will push me out of my comfort zone.

How would you describe your photography?

I would describe my photography as fairly eclectic. I will give anything a try. Having said that, if I look back at my favourite shots, they tend to be nature and wildlife shots. I love photographing birds and fungi in particular.

I’m always trying to improve my landscapes as we have such beautiful scenery here in New Zealand. I have also started dabbling in composite work, whether simply changing an untidy background with a texture or doing a full-out creative composite.

What are you shooting with?

I still have my first DSLR, a Nikon D7500, but I mainly use a Nikon D500 now. I seem to have acquired quite a stable of lenses. My latest one is a Nikon 70-200mm. I regularly use my Nikon 16-80mm, 200-500mm and 105mm macro lens. I also have a Tamron 10-24mm wide angle and a Tamron 18-400mm (a good all round travel lens, but I seem to have retired it.)

My current tripod is a Peak Design carbon fibre one. I changed from a Benro one, as it’s much lighter and packs away very compactly. I also have a Benro filter system with a couple of ND filters and a hard graduated one.

Tell us about your Kakaruwai photo…

At the end of May, I was lucky enough to attend one of the New Zealand Photography Workshops, led by Richard Young to Stewart Island. This was a great opportunity to visit somewhere new and covered both landscapes and wildlife.

The highlight of this trip for me was visiting Ulva Island to see the birdlife (and my personal goal of finding my first Entoloma hochstetteri (blue fungi). This photograph is of one of the South Island Robins (Kakaruwai) we saw on the island. They were generally very inquisitive but quite difficult to shoot in the darkness of the bush. This shot was taken out of the forest on the beach.

After walking through bush and forest, we stopped on the beach for refreshment. This particular robin was hopping around on our camera equipment and rucksacks. For a minute, it actually sat on my back!

I thought this shot was quite amusing, a robin showing off his photography skills! I was having to back away, as I still had my long 200-500mm lens on the camera, and he kept getting too close. I would have liked to stay longer on the island, but time was limited due to ferry timetables.

What editing did you do to this photo?

I use both Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC for editing. As I was caught off guard, I still had the aperture set wide for the dim light in the bush. Consequently, the shot was a bit bright, especially the background.

I used the curves adjustment layer in Photoshop just to darken it a little. No cropping was needed in this bird photograph, as it was actually too close for the lens I was using at the time.

How happy are you with the shot, what would you do differently if given a second chance?

I wish the back of the camera was in focus, and I wish it was a Nikon, not a Canon! As I mentioned, it was such a surprise shot that I was still set up for shooting in the darkness of the bush. Given a chance, I’d have changed to a shorter lens as I couldn’t back far enough away from him without getting my feet wet.

What tips can you share with readers, given your time on location and the surprise opportunities?

First of all, be prepared; you just don’t know what will happen in a wildlife situation. We saw saddlebacks in the bush, but I just wasn’t quick enough to capture them.

For bird photography specifically, the best tip I can give anyone is to use back button focus. It feels strange at first but will soon become a natural habit, and you will hit the focus on more shots.

Where can we see more of your photos?

An Introduction To Creative Human Photography

An Introduction To Creative Human Photography

Headshot Nikki

Headshot Nikki

by Shelley Harvey

Creative portrait photography is all about what inspires you.

 

It is your interpretation of a concept, creating a piece of work which evokes emotion and inspires a viewer to want to keep looking at it and hopefully hang it on a wall in their home.

I have been creating fine art portraiture for eight years, and all the while, my work has been an intuitive, evolutionary process. I am forever learning new techniques and finding new ideas to try. We should never stop trying to learn and move forward in our craft as trying something new, something which is challenging and perhaps uncomfortable, is never time wasted. Even if our best-laid plans fail, we will have at least learnt from the process.

When we speak of portraiture, we often think of client sessions and family photos – fine art portraiture differs, as it is a work, a creation, we do for ourselves. We create the scene, create an emotion, and turn it into art. We have full creative licence to do as we please (always with the model’s consent, of course!)

Concept & Creativity

My style varies from shooting in natural light when I’m keen to capture catchlights in the eyes to shooting against dark backgrounds, which suits my darker, grungy style of photography.

I always convert my work to black and white to see if the image becomes more powerful when the colour is stripped away. Take, for example, my image titled Scintillating Silver, where I took inspiration from my surroundings and the props I had on hand.

Prior to my workshop, I found a cool piece of metal mesh in my husband's shed. I instantly thought this could be used in an image! The mesh was pliable and didn't have too many sharp edges that would scratch the model. Once on location, the idea came together when I had Millie in make-up and dressed in a silver bodysuit - that's when the mesh was added.

I love the texture the mesh brings to the image and also the ‘why factor’. I am always looking for items or objects I can add to an image to create a different look.

Hands

When creating fine art portraiture, the original image SOC (straight out of camera) is often the foundation on which to build meaning that, although I plan the concept, some of my images from planned shoots are happy accidents. Sometimes I will use the full image; other times, I may focus on one area, as was the case in my image titled Fallen Angel, which has become all about the hands. This was not my original intention, but once I got into post-processing, I was mesmerised by the hands and the emotion they conveyed. The rest of the image suddenly became less important, hence the blurring of the rest of the subject. By using this process, the viewer is drawn to the hands, and a story begins to unfold. To me, this image signifies struggles of faith and power.

Very rarely will I delete any images from a shoot as I will go back and use pieces from different images to create a composite, and as my post-processing techniques evolve, I always have stock to pull from to process in a different way.

Preparation of the concept is imperative before I begin a shoot. There are several factors to consider, including location, natural or artificial light, props, wardrobe, hair, and makeup. Am I going for a set theme? Does this involve creating a period in time? What emotions am I trying to convey? Do I have a story in my mind that will be easy for the viewer to decipher, or do I want it left open for interpretation?

Read the full article by Shelley Harvey in Issue 58 of NZPhotographer magazine.


For access to all articles in our back issues, become a subscriber,
alternatively, you can order a printed copy.

Behind The Shot 58

Behind The Shot

Happy Trails

Living Art
Tiles: Nikon D850, 28-300mm Nikon lens @ F7.1, 1/160s, ISO1600, 85mm
Trees: Nikon D850, 28-300mm Nikon lens @ F7.1, 1/8000s, ISO1600, 44mm

with Ann Kilpatrick

Ann, Tell us about yourself and your journey into photography so far…

I retired in June 2019 and have been able to spend a lot more time on photography as a result. I have always photographed the candid moments going on around me. As I age, those recorded moments become more precious for the memories they evoke.

I bought a DSLR in 2015, so to make best use of that investment, I have been actively learning about photography, online, in the classroom at structured courses, and at workshops.

How would you describe your photography, is there a genre you’re most passionate about?

I think my style is still evolving as I am very much still learning. As above, I enjoy photographing the candid moments that occur around our property, within our family, and out on the street. My photography is simple, I try to make the subject obvious and to create a good quality image.

I am enjoying learning how to use my camera more creatively and to manipulate images in Photoshop. I am still very much a learner in this regard. However, it is very therapeutic to make an image which tells a story through photography and helps one to move forward in a more positive frame of mind.

What are you shooting with?

I shoot with a Nikon D850 and various lenses: 50mm prime, 16-35mm, 105mm prime and a very flexible 28–300mm. I practice with a specific lens consistently for a while to best understand what I can do with it.

I have a set of Benro filters which I don’t use often enough and various CPL and other filters. I borrow my husband’s Manfrotto tripod a lot and there’s also a Godox flash that I need to master.

Tell us about your photo, ‘Living Art’

This photo is a multiple exposure made in camera. My camera will allow me to make a series of images with a range of multiple exposures in each image. Often, I will set my camera to make a series of multiple images with usually two exposures in each image. Then I will shoot away and review the multiple exposures later to see what images I made, essentially by chance, that I like, or which ones “worked”.

For this image I liked the look of the tiles on the wall and decided to try a more deliberate approach for multiple exposure. I shot the tiles and then selected “multiple exposure mode” selecting the tiles as my “first exposure”. My camera gives me a choice of overlay modes: Add, Average, Lighten or Darken. This meant I could take the first exposure of the tiles, then go outside and shoot a range of images using the tiles as the first exposure and various plants and trees in our garden as the second exposure. Using the “select first exposure” option, and my preferred overlay mode, I had more control over the composition and look of the final image.

I was deliberately trying to learn and apply a new way of working as I made this image, and I had been thinking about the tiles and potential images that might work with them for a while. It was a process of trial and error and applying my camera to blend art and nature in a way that worked for me and created the image I had imagined in my head.

What editing did you do to the final image?

I didn’t do much editing at all, mainly just used the standard sliders in Lightroom, increasing the whites and reducing the highlights, adding some clarity and dehaze, some sharpening and some noise reduction. I also removed some spots off the wall.

How happy are you with this multiple exposure, is there anything you would do differently?

I am reasonably happy with the image given I was trying to learn a new process. It worked as I envisioned and I will probably use the “select first exposure“ option more often in the future, instead of mostly shooting multiple exposures at random and hoping I will get a “lucky shot” that I like. Of course, I would probably also try to get the tiles straighter if giving this another go!

What tips can you share with readers for achieving a similar shot?

Check to see if you can easily make multiple exposures in camera with the model that you have. Try the different overlay modes to learn how they impact your image. This might also help you to understand some of the blend modes in Photoshop.

Have fun, experiment with your camera - turn on the multiple exposure mode and shoot away to see what comes up. Then, once you understand what your camera can do, be more deliberate.

Where can we find you online?

Lessons In The Landscape

Lessons In The Landscape

Happy Trails

Our Land
F22, 1/20s, ISO250

with Judy Stokes

A passionate relationship with photography started when I found a style/genre of photography that moulded perfectly with my personality.

 

Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) suited my quest to find a style that was free and spontaneous. For me, ICM is a way of playing behind the camera – a way to find that joy and sense of wonder we had as kids, a way to explore the unexpected and feel a bit of magic touch our day – simply a way to have FUN while out in nature! I also love the quirky fact that the images turn out to really look more like paintings than photographs!

So how do we create these photographic images that look like paintings? I have chosen some images to tell the story of ICM creation in the landscape.

Milking A Moment

The grand masters of photography would throw up their hands in horror at this approach but I have found it works for me! When something catches my eye that I want to photograph I literally play with it with my camera and I use the viewfinder to think through the process.

Here you can see how I play - I take some “straight shots” as well as experiment with different types of camera movement shots with a variety of results.

The one I ended up with as the chosen shot of this set is called “Storm meets Sea”. The bottom three images, straight out of the camera, show how I adjust my ISO to be able to get different slow shutter speeds. The “Storm meets Sea ” image has very little post-processing, mostly removal of dust spots which is a thing you will need to watch out for with ICM images!!

Feel The Soul Of A Place

The reason I do photography is not for the results and images I end up with, but for the pleasure of the process and how I feel after I have been out with my camera. I love the way photography slows me down - makes me stop in a beautiful place and gets me to be at one with nature. I will often take the time to sit in a place and get a feeling for it before I start my camera playing.

I always shoot on my own, hand holding my camera, and don’t like to use filters therefore, forests are fabulous for ICM as they enable me to slow down my shutter speed. These two images are taken from the same spot but you can see I focused on different parts of the forest for them. In the first one, I focused on the nikau frond and in the second, the trunk of a large native tree. You can see how in these images I also played with exposure compensation. I often use exposure compensation as a “mood tool”. Again, these images have had almost no post-processing.

Read the full article by Judy Stokes in Issue 57 of NZPhotographer magazine.


For access to all articles in our back issues, become a subscriber,
alternatively, you can order a printed copy.

Behind The Shot 57

Behind The Shot

Happy Trails

Moon Rising
Nikon D3400, 55-300mm Nikon lens @ F5.6, 1/30s, ISO200, 300mm

with Peter Maiden

Peter, tell us about yourself and your photography journey…

I’ve appreciated great photos from a young age; the best ones I collected from newspapers and magazines and put in a scrapbook. Unfortunately, my own attempts to take great images generally ended up as miserable failures, with many a film wasted. My family still reminds me of my classic shot of Big Ben with only half the clock face in it.

It transpired that I had really wonky eyes and was suffering from RP (basically tunnel vision). I became legally blind with less than 5-degree field of vision in middle age. I kept trying to take photos but even point and shoot digital cameras didn’t really work for me.

When I retired seven years ago, my daughter lent me her DSLR camera and lo and behold; I could see through the viewfinder and more importantly, the photos turned out OK. Even when I did get things wrong, nobody had to see it, and there was no wasted film.

Photography then became a retirement hobby, and I was presented with a challenge from my daughter to post a new photo every day on Instagram. That was a good challenge that I've kept up to this day as it motivates me to keep looking for things to photograph.

Being visually impaired is a real pain, but I don’t let that hinder my efforts. In some ways, it raises awareness of the photographic opportunities that are out there and keeps me looking for things to shoot. Also, because my view of the world is ‘heavily cropped’, it enables me to have a ‘singular focus without the peripheral distractions’.

How would you describe your photography, is there a genre you’re most passionate about?

I don’t really have a photography style as I’m always looking to capture beautiful (even ugly is beautiful) and interesting things; anything goes. I’m fortunate to have Wellington’s south coast as my backyard, which provides an unlimited range of subject matter.

Saying that, looking at the images I have had printed and which hang on the wall at home, it seems I have an affection for black and white photos and abstract/arty photos of things like wet stones on a beach.

What photography gear do you have?

Currently, I’m shooting with a Nikon D3400 with a Nikon 18-55mm lens, a Nikon 55-300mm lens for telephoto work and a Nikon 10-20mm lens for wide-angle shots. I also have a few filters and a tripod. It might be ‘old tech’, but it works for me.

I’ve also taken some awesome shots with my Samsung Galaxy S20 phone. It’s amazing the advances that have been made in phone camera technology. There’s an old saying that the best camera is the one you have at the time!

Tell us about your photo, ‘Moon Rising’...

I love sitting out on our deck watching a full moon rise over the houses on the ridge top on the other side of Island Bay, especially at twilight when there is still a reasonable amount of light in the sky.

Last November (2021), I got all excited when I heard there would be a near-total lunar eclipse, and the moon would rise shortly after sunset. Better still, it would rise in the northeast, which would be over the houses.

I’ve taken many shots of the moon rising over the years, but a lunar eclipse would be special, even more so when the eclipse would be in its early stage. All I needed was a cloud-free evening.

The time came, and after a few test shots to get a feel for the required camera settings, I waited in eager anticipation for the moon to come up. A passing cloud thankfully went away, and after five minutes of patting our dog, the moon started to appear over the rooftops, and I started shooting away.

I was thrilled to see how much of the moon was in the earth’s shadow, making the photo more interesting.

After getting the shot I was after, I made myself a coffee and stayed out on the deck watching and shooting the eclipse as it played out. The moon was pretty reddish at its peak, not as much as I expected, but still beautiful.

What editing did you do to this shot?

I mainly use Snapseed on an iPad for ease of use for editing. The image was a bit on the dark side, so I lightened it up slightly while adding some contrast to the houses and the ridgetop as well as smoothing the sky. After a bit of sharpening, I finally cropped it square, which I felt highlighted the moon better.

Is there anything you would have liked to do differently?

From experience, changing shutter speed is the key setting to capturing the detail of the moon. I seemed to get that about right for this shot, but on reflection, I shouldn’t have been lazy and should have gone full manual instead and maybe changed the aperture setting.

Where can we find you online?