Straight up





Contest Finalist in Still Life Shots Photo Contest
Peer Award
Evgeniylord Isshin grandpa_Vlad Carnel chiphendershot mihaela2167 Pitzi +17
Top Choice
violetbee maxmanus piathelandersonsmith davesmithuk aimeejohn AshleyKingz
Outstanding Creativity
brendenpaddock beauport Rustybucket8472 aplrichard
Superb Composition
AlanJakarta cristinacovas Chasingthelight_67
All Star

Submitted to Photo Contests


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Showing Depth Photo ContestTop 10 class
Showing Depth Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
HDR Only Photo ContestTop 10 class
Inanimate Objects Photo ContestTop 30 class
Inanimate Objects Photo ContestTop 30 class week 2
Still Life Shots Photo ContestTop 10 class
Still Life Shots Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
Still Life Shots Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1


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Behind The Lens

Beauty is found in the most unlikely of places, in this case the contrasting color of my backdrop, the door leading to underneath my house. I am an Australian born, self-taught, amateur photographer and classically trained pianist based in Canberra the Capital of Australia. With a background in Event Management and Marketing, I first picked up a camera out of sheer necessity and soon discovered photographs capture expression and tell stories. My work to date has concentrated on a variety of styles ranging from corporate events, still life, landscapes, portraiture, nature and animals. Specializing in fine art photography and HDR, many of my images are influenced by music and the seemingly ordinary things that surround us in everyday life.
"Straight up" was taken outdoors from three exposures using natural light during the golden hour of a late spring afternoon. It was completely by accident I discovered bowling pins make an ideal subject for still life HDR photography. My exuberant puppy kept knocking the pins over while my daughter was playing with them and one happened to roll in front of the backdrop for this photo. The contrasting colors immediately caught my attention and I was drawn to the perspective they created looking from the ground up.
When using natural lighting my preference is to shoot in the late afternoon when the sun is setting. This particular photograph is comprised of three separate exposures merged into a single image and takes advantage of the side light available to me at the time. Usually, I avoid selecting light colored objects for still life HDR photography; however in this example the surface of the pins and light diffused from the backdrop was perfect for emphasizing texture and defining the depth in this shot.
While high end equipment is something every aspiring photographer desires to have in their camera bag stunning shots can be produced by stepping out from the auto function on your camera, taking advantage of your environment and what's available to you at the time. This image was produced with a Canon EOS 450D using a standard 18-55 mm lens at an ISO of 100 at F/8 using a tripod. Unless you are intentionally trying to achieve ghosting effects, a tripod is a must for HDR photography.
The view from a puppy’s perspective and playful vibrant colors was my inspiration for this photograph. Combined, they produced a lovely vintage feel. Looking through the lens I loved the perspective this shot created, drawing your eye up towards the center most pin.
I merge my HDR images using Photomatrix then bring out the finer details in Photoshop and Lightroom. I take the approach that less is more, especially in HDR landscape photography where the story can easily become lost in that unsightly halo affect that is produced around objects, particularly the sky from shooting in harsh light or over burning the image. My preference is for a soft dreamy look and I often achieve this through composite shots, leaving some areas of my image HDR and others not.
In my camera bag
Although tempting to bring along every piece of equipment when I'm out on a location, I only carry what I need. After all, it's heavy to carry and every photographer at one time or another has been distracted fumbling around in their camera bag missing that one perfect opportunity to create art. In saying that you don’t want to be caught short so it's good to have a creative vision in mind and plan what equipment you need before you venture out. My dream camera bag consists of Canon 5D Mark III or Sony Alpha A7s with modest lenses appropriate for landscape, still life and portrait photography. In reality, my humble camera bag consists of an inexpensive lightweight aluminium tripod that can easily be clipped to a backpack, my trusty EOS Canon 450D, a UV filter and the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens. What I love about the simplicity of the 50mm prime lens is it forces you to move, creates effortless depth of field, handles low light situations and produces images with outstanding clarity and sharpness.
Sometimes it's not about the technical details or rules of composition, it's about learning to spot subtle details, experimenting with your camera and taking chances that not everyone may like to bring your creative vision to life. Although high end full frame cameras provide more creative flexibility, you are the essential component in producing stunning images. When I first started experimenting in HDR photography I was in awe at some of the amazing photo's I'd seen. Suddenly I had an overwhelming desire to photograph everything I saw including my dog in HDR. I soon discovered some subjects are more aesthetically pleasing than others and not every image needs HDR processing. Shooting in RAW gives you just as much creative flexibility to create your vision without the need for multiple exposures. If you've never tried HDR photography and want to give it a go, lower your ISO and take as many different exposures as you want but typically three exposures are enough. To minimize halo effects, shoot first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon. A sturdy tripod, HDR post processing software and familiarity with auto bracketing is a must.

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