Wentworth landscape

 Wentworth landscape or In the next 30 seconds

Wentworth landscape

On the run home from a quick trip to Rufus River the other night. We marvelled at the amazing late light dancing across the wide open plain country. Light and shadow  transforming this normally subdued Aussie landcape into a breath-taking vista of springtime splendour.

But that’s not what this picture is about. No… This is about those few magical seconds after the sun slips below the horizon. When everything seems to become quite and the gently breeze of just a few moments ago… stops. When the eastern sky glows blue and magenta.

I spotted this lone tree, the sky and the  tiny coloured desert plants as we passed. Hitting the brakes, and  fully aware that I probably wouldn’t get back and set up in time, I determined I would try.

Our Troopy, isn’t the quickest stopping vehicle on this planet. Luckily she is excellent at high speed reversing. I jumped out. Figuring only one of the 3 cameras in the back was even remotely configured for the shot.  Grabbed our medium format rig. Which is not normally known to be a fast setup camera system. In fact the setup sequence is kinda like prepping one of Qantas’s A380’s for flight.

That said, medium format was going to be my best chance of pulling off this Wentworth landscape image. Also, I am fully aware that you never ever place the horizon dead centre of the frame. Nor does any photographer with even the slightest knowledge of composition place the main subject into the centre of the frame. Well…. one out of two isn’t bad.

Why did I break the rules… Simply because in the few seconds I had to compose this shot before the light faded…… It felt right.

Photography isn’t about rules, or techniques but ultimately about feeling. And if it feels right…. Then I press the shutter…..

 

Another sunset video

Not another sunset video

Just a bit of silly fun really. I had intended to let off some steam by shooting this amazing sunset… But it didn’t happen. So this little sunset video is all I came away with. You can’t win them all… comes to mind.

Created at a billabong near  Mildura, in the Sunraysia region of Victoria, Australia.

Winter sunrise time-lapes

Sunrise time-lapes over the Murray River near Mildura.

Yesterday moring 23,000 people gathered at 4:52am to view the sunrise at Stone Henge in the UK. Nine of them were arrested for being drunk and for about 30 seconds they saw the light.

This morning, I watched the sunrise alone, didn;t get arrested and it lasted for around an hour. Lucky I live in Sunraysia I reckon.

The lesson for today is arriving on location 38 minutes before sunrise isnot early enough to create a time-lapes

Storm chasing Mildura

Storm chasing Mildura and being cut off by heavy rain and hail.

It’s not often we get a chance to go chase a storm. Mostly because if your are a photographer you have lots of advanced bookings. the other reason, we don’t get a lot of storms to chase hear in Mildura. Probably a good thing… But I digress.

Last Saturday while sitting at the computer trying to get work out….. The ever present twitter feed beside me started to tell a story of an approaching front. A front with all the hallmarks of being a photo opportunity in the making. Sadly as I watched the electrical activity started to drop away to the South. Disappointed that time wouldn’t allow me the opportunity to follow the front South. I continued working. Pausing for a moment to post a note on FaceBook to the effect that any photographers south of Mildura should get their butts into gear and get ready for a show.

Then as the afternoon progressed. I took a peek outside… The sky was amazing and there was a storm almost on us. To early but hell…. It was a storm. I drove to Wentworth, getting held up by some heavy rain and hail, which was a bit uncomfortable as I had pinched Robyn’s car….  Great little rig but not built for storm chasing, or heavy  hail. All worked out well. Except the photos…. BORING. On the drive home, past a couple of NSW Police, so pulled over for a chat and told them about a medium sized Red Gum, situated in a public park that was struggling to stay upright. Day over or so I thought.

Thunderstorm passes over vineyard.A second, much smaller storm began to develop later in the afternoon. It was touch and go as to whether I would stop work again to try and cut it off. You see my preferred angle for late afternoon thunderstorms is ahead of the storm and to the East if that is possible. After setting out it was soon apparent  mother nature had other ideas. Firstly the storm front was moving mach faster than I anticipated. Secondly there were not a lot of roads available to me. Even less as the storm flattened out and heavy rain began pouring down. Followed a few minutes later by a barrage of medium sized hail stones. It was pull over and ride it out time. At least this time I was in the old Troopy, so no fear of getting Robyn’s car all dented.

As with most thunderstorms the rain and hail stopped almost as quickly as it had started. Two things became apparent almost immediately. There was much more ice laying around than I had expected and the air was filled with the distinctive aroma of shredded vine leaves. Not unlike the smell you get just after a mechanical harvester has past over a patch of vines. Thing is of course it wasn’t harvest time!

Hail damage vineyardI was able to take a few photos of the damaged vines and hail laying around before the storm moved off and I once again gave chase. Still hoping that I may get a shot worth keeping. As it turned out I manage to get one keeper. Not the amazing shot that all photographers strive for, each and every time they pick up a camera. Until next time however, it will do.
Thunderstorm NE of Mildura Storm chasing Mildura.

Macro photo grape flower.

Close up of flowers on grape bunch. Have you been this close before?

flower-grape

Here’s a shot from a current project. Tiny little flowers on a grape vine. I have to admit, having spent a lot of time around grapes during my life time. I learnt something while taking this photo of a grape flower. For some silly reason I thought the flower buds openned like most other flowers. That is, unfolding from the top back. But I was wrong. They peel up from the botom of the stem. Kinda like peeling a banana. The flowers then spring out to do their thing. The tiny unfertilised fruit can be seen in the centre of each flower. They will within days begin to swell and take on the shape of new berrys on the bunch.

I know, stop sharing this stuff and show us some proper photos….. Maybe later in the week.

 

 

Big sky tonight.

Big sky out the office window tonight.

Panoramic photograph of a big sky over the australian outback at sunset. Photo by outback photographer Ian Mckenzie

Some days we are just plain lucky to have an office window that provides us with amazing sights like this…. Shhh don’t tell anyone I was supposed to be working. But what photographer could resist a big sky in both directions. Yup it was just as good out to the East.

There is a bigger version over at Google+  At least until I get a full size file up onto our server.

Gold Coast photography in the rain with Stephanie

Excitations were on the Gold Coast shooting recently.

While we were there we met a whole bunch of great people, caught up with a few old friends and clients, as well as geting to shoot some amazing places. One of our real discoveries was a beautiful lady by the name of Stephanie.

Beautiful young woman photographed on the streets of the Gold Coast at night, in the rain. Lots of street lights and reflections in this half length portrait by Mildura photographers excitations.

Firstly I gotta tell you Stephanie was great. Despite steady rain falling, and a very chilly evening, she threw herself into the photo session with amazing enthusiasm. Now Stephanie is a tall girl…. really tall. So the chances of her going anywhere without turning heads is …. shall we say unlikely. Which is maybe why see had no problems struting her stuff , right out there on the streets of Broad Beach. More than a few sets of admiring eyes followed her around  duringt our shoot. I might add, most people stayed inside, in the warm to watch the Stephanie show.

Full length portrait of beuatiful woman standing on wet street in Gold Coast at night. Lots of available light and reflection. Photo by Mildura Photographer,  Excitations

Hope one day, to get a chance to work with Steph again, in maybe a little less challenging situation. There are just so many things we could do with a tall stunning model if not hampered by falling rain. Steph managed to complete a number of very interesting poses using props found on the sidewalk. Some of which I’ll post here later. In the meantime so much to do, so little time in a day.

Arty farty rain forest picture

Excite Art will  be releasing a couple of new rain forest art images shortly.

Abstract photographic art  rain forest picture of a mist shrowded rain forest with tall trees.

Had the great pleasure of spending a couple of hours walking through a wet and foggy rain forest recently. Medium format digital camera over my shoulder. Camera  secure in a custom rain coat. (Read new Garbag) the purpose of the visit was to get a rain forest picture we could use for our photo art business. I ended up shooting a fair number of images that I’m really pleased with. I haven’t had a chance to do anything with the shots yet but it looks like we will release a set of abstracts like the one above. They most likely will be large canvas works, suitable for home and office decor. There were a couple other more normal images that may also be released from what was a very productive and satisfying morning in the rain.

The rain forest picture set will be released through a couple of outlets and will also be available through Excite Art when the website is finally fully functional. In the not to distant future I hope.

 

Urochilus-sanguineus Maroon Banded Greenhood Orchid

Urochilus-sanguineus Maroon Banded Greenhood Orchid

So I know you guys aren’t here to look a pictures of flowers. But I love em, so you’re going to have to put up with the occasional post about them. This little dude is fairly common in Southern Australia. He is a Maroon Banded Greenhood. A native terrestrial orchid, who is a little shy and hard to find unless you know where to look. His real name is Urochilus-sanguineus  and I photographed this one just South of Adelaide the other night. Hi was growing in some scrubby dune country a couple hundred metres from a beach.

Maroon Banded Greenhood Orchid, Urochilus sanguineus .  Growing in natural environment in the Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park, Aldinga, South Australia. A common terrestrial orchid found growing over a wide range. This specimen about 15cm tall. (Ian Mckenzie/excitations stock)

Like a lot of his mates, the Maroon Banded Greenhood doesn’t exactly stand out in the crowd. This one was around 12cm tall.

Close up of flower of Maroon Banded Greenhood Orchid, Urochilus sanguineus. Fine hairs on the labellum are clearly shown. (Ian Mckenzie/excitations-stock.com)

A closer look at the flower of Urochilus-sanguineus, showing the tiny hairy Labellum. With greenhoods the Labellum is sometimes referred to as a trigger. It seems some of this little guys have a trigger that is  “set” so that when a suitable pollinating insect comes along, the trigger goes off and temporarily traps the insect. Who has to struggle to get free. While struggling helps pollinate the flower. So tricky little dudes as well as hard to find. Oh by the way if you do find native terrestrial orchids growing in the wild. Please leave them there. Don’t be tempted to dig them up for your garden. You see many are reliant on special fungus growing in the soil. If the fungus isn’t present, the plant dies.

 

 

Colour over the billabong.

Evening dusk photograph of a billabong on the River Murray system with strong colour reflections.

The image above was shot earlier this evening as dusk settled over a billabong at Merbein. It was shot for a continuing project we’re involved in shooting. So in that regard enough said. It isn’t the picture that we went to shoot, and most likely won’t make it into the final selects. But when plan A goes dramatically pair shaped. Plan B always seems to be a good idea. Even when it’s not. I’m here so I might as well have a go at getting something.

So why post the picture at all? Simple really. The image above is pretty much the colour and look we went hunting for. Just not the subject or angle we had in mind. It has been through Photoshop, we added the logo, and the black line around it plus retouched out a couple of roof tops, but that’s it. Now take a look at the image below.

Jpeg from a flat raw file straight out of a MF digital camera

This image is a straight jpeg conversion from an original camera file. Some of you will think there is something wrong with lower photo. Or that we have worked the top image heavily to change it. Or as someone said the other day fix it. Truth is the photo at the bottom was exactly what we wanted to see from the cameras raw format. A flat, low saturated image that contains all the information that we could ever want. The image at the top hasn’t had it’s colour changed. All we have done is striped away the information we didn’t want which left us with the photo you see  at the top of this post.

The really cool part is, I can reprocess the bottom file again tomorrow and get a completely different looking photograph without losing any of the quality of the original. You see when we process a raw image in  raw conversion software, we are still keeping the original in tact, returning to it as many times as we like to reprocess it without ever losing image quality. If however, we let our camera process the file at the time of shooting. A popular method used by many photographers. The camera discards any information not needed to produce its final image file. The picture straight from the camera looks way better than one of our raw files. But that’s it. Any significant reprocessing to change colour, contrast or saturation is difficult, and also destructive because the reprocessing again chucks out more file information. Often lowering the image quality dramatically.

I’m not going to kid you. Not all of our raw files look this flat and lacking colour. But even if they did, I would much rather a raw looking like this to an out of camera file looking like the image at the top. Why? because the flat uninteresting file has virtually unlimited possibilities. Why the one at the top is about as good as it can get without going south in quality terms.

When someone says to me,  just burn the files from the shoot to disk and we’ll get them printed. I wonder if they have any idea what the print may look like.