Rising Star

Rising Star

Happy Trails

Solitude
Nikon Z6 + Sigma 28mm F1.4 Art

with Tom Rae

Tom is a 17-year-old landscape and astrophotographer who captures images of the world around us from the South Island of New Zealand. Being under the night sky gives him an indescribable sense of awe. He hopes his images will inspire others to look up at the night sky and ponder their place in the universe.

 

Tom, tell us about you and how your photography journey started…

I was first introduced to a camera in 2017, where I mainly took landscape images and edited them in artistic ways. I loved the way you could pretty much create anything you could imagine. After I began my journey with a camera, photography joined with something I've always been fascinated with ever since I was a little kid - the night sky. I find that photographing it is an experience like no other, and it is what I mainly focus on in my work today.

Being in nature and under the night sky is probably my favourite thing about photography. I just love being out exploring, enjoying the world around us and thinking about our place in the universe. Experiencing the incredible view of our night sky creates a feeling that cannot be replicated.

Behind the camera, there is an intense and indescribable sense of awe, wonder, and gratitude. I think my appreciation for nature and curiosity for the night sky, combined with my love for art and creative freedom, drives my motivation. I also love to inspire people through my images by producing the best work I possibly can and showing people what is really out there past the lights of our cities.

Origins
Nikon Z6 + Sigma 28mm F1.4 Art.

What are you shooting with?

I am currently shooting with a full-frame mirrorless camera (Nikon Z6) and a number of wide-aperture prime lenses, which I use primarily for astrophotography.

When you shoot long exposure images of the night sky, you can get what’s known as star trailing when the earth rotates in space. To counteract this, I use a star tracker mounted on my tripod to keep the stars still and sharp while shooting with ultra-long exposures, allowing me to shoot longer exposures of the night sky and produce cleaner images.

How did you learn photography?

I have been self-taught ever since I first picked up a camera! There has been a lot of trial and error, but I am happy with my progress so far!

Read the full article by Tom Rae in Free Online Issue.


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The Art of Street Photography

The Art of Street Photography

Mumbai Taxi

Mumbai Taxi
Fujifilm X-T20 @ F22, 1/15s, ISO200, 21mm

By Alan Blundell

In the last 4 months, we have explored the fundamentals of street photography – shooting techniques, gear, and basic settings.

In this month’s article, I want to look at some of the more artistic ways cameras can be used to deliver more creative outcomes…  What do I mean by arty?  Well, Andy Warhol once described art as “Anything you can get away with”. Art is limited only by your imagination and ability to capture, experiment, and produce a final print.

Let’s look at some ideas to allow you to put something together with a less technical focus and start you thinking about more abstract work when out on the street.

Motion Blur

Up to this point, the discussion has been about capturing an image that is in focus, but what methods are available to deliberately convey that sense of movement?

Panning – This idea can be used in a scenario where you stand side-on to the direction of movement and follow your subject with the camera at the speed it is travelling. The objective here is to freeze the moving object and blur its background.  The principal variable will be the shutter speed – which of course will vary slightly depending on the speed of the object.

Moving object – Holding a camera still with a slowish shutter speed such as in this circus silk rope act image - especially with strong lighting, can create dramatic results. The challenge here is keeping the camera still and making sure you get your exposure right. An f-stop of around f11 is needed here to limit the amount of light getting through to the film or sensor for the longer period than normal that the shutter is open.

Combination – If you have a willing participant, (such as my wife during lockdown), you can set up some scenarios and experiment with still and moving elements until you get the right mix of static and dynamic to produce, in this case, an interesting variation on a portrait. The texture in this shot is really important. Adding soft fabric elements can introduce a lovely softness to these types of images.

 

Silk

Silk
Leica Q2, @ F1.7, 1/30s, ISO640, 28mm

Read the full article by Alan Blundell in issue 55 of NZPhotographer magazine.


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Thoughts Over Morning Coffee

Thoughts Over Morning Coffee

By Richard Young

 

"Photography doesn't start with the landscape or the camera; it starts with us."

As a creative photographer, I think more about why I photograph and what I'm trying to express than I do making or editing photographs. Each morning, I wake up early and make a coffee - fresh espresso, of course - like many things; coffee is worth taking time in its preparation, enjoying the art of creation. I'll sit on the couch for about an hour reading photography books and magazine articles (plus watching the odd YouTube video) from photographers I admire.

Often I will just read, but sometimes I will have a creative thought process, and I have to write down a few notes; this is how most of my articles for the magazine start, a thought over morning coffee. These thoughts are often continuations on topics explored in the two ebooks I wrote with Ken Wright in 2020 on Style & Vision and Expressive Photography.

 

Over the last year, I have spent a great deal of time thinking about why I make photographs, what I'm trying to express, and what stands my work apart from others who work in the same landscapes. I'm not referring to how I can create better images than them. In fact, I'm less and less worried about external validation of my work. It's more about trying to understand why I am creating images to start with. What are my photographs telling me about myself? What is the relationship with the subject that I'm trying to express? 

For me, the camera unlocks more about me than the object I am photographing. And really, this is why I photograph these days. I photograph more to understand myself and express my relationship with the landscape rather than capture images representing landscapes I visit. A great photograph is like a great coffee, not simply the end product but about a process of creation. Of course, there's a technical side, a skill, but the use of this must be guided by intent. We can't simply use a set process to make the best photograph. What are we even aiming for, and how do you define the "best" photograph?

As we grow, our tastes will change, our expectations will increase, and we may be less content with what was once considered good enough. So I encourage you, not just to go out and photograph, not just to spend your time editing images; spend your time thinking about your work, thinking about what you're trying to express. And when you are out photographing, enjoy the process of creation, not just the final product.

Read the full article by Richard Young in issue 54 of NZPhotographer magazine.


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Get Your Grunge On

Get Your Grunge On

 Fairlie Atkinson

Have you wondered how some photos manage to give off a grungy vibe? Or have you looked at a photo and asked yourself how they have managed to create texture in a shot that would not ordinarily have it? The answer is by using editing software.

Grunges are different to filters as they are an overlay that you pop onto your photo during editing. A filter is what you use when you’re shooting. If you’re of the Instagram era this may confuse you, as you add the filter after you take the shot. What this is doing though is creating a photo that looks like it has been shot with that filter already in place on a camera.

A grunge is an overlay to provide a textured look to your images.

GETTING STARTED

It’s quite easy to find copyright free grunges online. If you go to WikiMedia Commons and type ‘texture’ in the search bar you will find a plethora of textured free images of wood, grains, and grunges that are free to use. You can also find free grunges on Pixabay and other commercial sites but you have to sign up and then the emails don’t stop!

I downloaded a brown distressed concrete grunge from WikiMedia Commons and popped it onto an image I took of a gannet at Cape Kidnappers. The grunge enhances the yellows and browns in the original image and gives it a nice texture, not only does it look good on the screen, it will print really nicely on a canvas for a unique piece of home décor.

Here you can see I have popped the grunge as a new layer over the gannet. I will enlarge it until the entire bird is covered by the grunge, then choose a blend mode, change the opacity and then erase parts of the grunge that cover the bird that I don’t want. We will look at this process in more detail in the next part of this article.

Read the full article by Fairlie Atkinson in issue 53 of NZPhotographer magazine.


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Photographing One of the World’s Last Remaining Homogeneous Tribes

Photographing One of the World’s Last Remaining Homogeneous Tribes

By Susan Blick

I was recently in the very North-Western tip of India, about 7 hours north of Srinagar on the Kashmir Line of Control in Ladakh, India. Ladakh sits right in the middle of the World’s highest mountain range, the Himalayas. It’s completely inaccessible overland for eight months of the year, totally cut off from the world bar infrequent flights.

This isolation has allowed the preservation of people known as Dropkas in Ladakhi which means nomad or Turk, not from the modern day Turkey, but a Kingdom of Turkic or Dardic people who once ruled the Karakoram in the time of the Greeks.

The Dropkas (Aryans as we know them in English) are ethnically, socially, linguistically and culturally completely different from all of the other inhabitants surrounding them. They are the decedents of the men from Alexander the Great’s army who could travel no more and were tired, sick or injured. These decedents live mainly in three small villages in the only fertile valley in all of Ladakh. They originally migrated from the Gilgit area of Pakistan, wandering Westward looking for better hunting grounds and pastures and eventually stumbled upon and settled in this valley squashed between the Indian and Pakistani Line of Control.

I had read a lot about the Aryans before traveling to the region and I was keen to
document one of the World’s last remaining homogeneous tribes.

Just getting there is a story in itself, but photographing them wasn’t as straightforward as one might expect either. First of all, the people are hard to find. Their village lies on a steep cliff face and at an altitude of around 3,500m, it makes it very hard to sniff them out. Secondly, they seem to slip in and out of their houses without being seen, camouflaged-well in their traditional dress and blending with the forest surrounds and giant granite boulders that nestle their village. The lane ways are devoid of people and in the night they tell me Himalayan wolves and shanko (high-altitude feral dogs) as big as lions roam the mountains in search of wildlife and domestic animals.

Add to this, the fact that in the past, Dropkas believed that cameras could steal your soul, so most people still aren’t all that keen on being photographed! Nevertheless, I needed these photos as I had come so far.

Click here to read the full article

The Best Weather For Landscape Photography

The Best Weather For Landscape Photography

By Richard Young

There is a common misconception among non-photographers that the best photography weather is a bright, sunny day. The reality is quite the opposite; a sunny day for landscape photography is often the worst weather you can have!

Good photography comes from a mix of weather - interesting weather, along with its light, will add more drama to a landscape. A bright, sunny day means boring, empty blue sky and a flat image with deep shadows.

Click here to read the full article