Here's something a bit different to the norm of Ha.

I made the most of a bit of clean water a month ago and spent a some time taking some video while out freediving. No, taking video or freediving is not a new thing , what is new is actually cutting it together into what is probably my first 'proper' video. 

It's still a work in progress but I'm pretty happy with the result and it gives you a flavour of the freediving around Terrigal. 

Do yourself a favour, watch it in HD and full screen. If you like it, do me a favour – head over to YouTube and hit that Like button and Subscribe while your at it :)


Epic landscape family portrait

Epic. A word I am the first to admit is overused. When I here someone say 'Man, that was epic' I'm left thinking, was it? Was it really? Was it really a Herculean act, or a long poem or heroic in any way?

Well this time I feel it was, for me anyway. I'm not talking about the end result (which was pretty awesome if I do say so myself), I'm talking about the journey of getting this shot.  

Let me set the scene. A good friend's milestone birthday was coming up and his wife had this amazing idea to get a portrait of their children taken, printed and hung on the wall to surprise him. I was thinking 'yeah cool, that sounds like a great idea, how big are you thinking?' Her response, 'pretty big, I was thinking the entrance stairway so that it's the first thing you see when you walk in the door'. 

Now this wall is pretty big a majestic, not just that but you will also be walking past the print every time you come into the house or pass from bedroom to kitchen/lounge.

The challenge here is detail. The print would need detail and lots of it. I'm not talking about a 10 foot viewing distance, I'm talking 1 foot. We measured the size that would look good in that space out to 1.5 metres in height and I don't shoot medium format!!!

Now for the picture. She loves the long exposure landscape/seascapes I produce and wanted a seascape with the kids in it taken at a particular local spot on the Central Coast. It would need to be first thing in the morning, actually it was closer to last thing at night to be honest, and met up at the beach before the sun had even thought about poking it's head above the horizon. Tripod set up, a few test shots to nail the composition then it was time for the kids to perform. I'll take my hat off to them, 5am, pretty cold, can't see a thing (apart from torch light) and asking them to sit on a rock above the ocean and stay perfectly still for a bunch long exposure shots. 

Now it was clear that I would never do this print justice with a single shot — at the time I was shooting a Nikon D7100 and the Sigma 10–20mm was my go to landscape photography lens — so it would be a massive vertical panoramic stitch. To get the resolution I would need I ended up taking 20 shots with plenty of overlap to allow for the distortion of the rocks up close (30 second exposure each and using an ND 4 filter) and the kids...amazing — though getting fidgety by the end. At that time of the morning the light changes so quickly that you don't get a second run through so this was it. 

Ice cream for the kids to say thanks then back home and on the computer. I would hazard a guess of around 15 hours retouching to get all the joins perfect — yes, Photoshop does a good job but this needed to be perfect — cleaning the rocks up from the bit of rubbish and the occasional ciggie butt. Im sure some of these things were near on life size and know they would've been horrible in the final print. 

Once finished I did a few in situ mockups so we could get the colours perfect and then sent the file off for print. By now the timing was getting close, I didn't hear from the calls, response. After a week I finally got hold of him to find out he was out of stock and couldn't do it for me. Hmm, not amused but I won't name names here. After furiously calling around I came across the guys at Created for Life in Erina and they agreed to help out with my now crazy deadline.  

File sent, canvas printed stretched and mounted, picked up from the factory (when they weren't even open) and dropped off (think Guy Richie jump cut style here :) ).  

The morning of the reveal (that would be the next morning): I went out fishing with my mate the next morning and the plan was to have breaky at his place afterwards. We finished up, went back and there was the print hung up in all it's glory in the hallway. 

The result was amazing, the detail was worth every second of work, Mr and Mrs were over the moon with the result and now have a one of a kind seascape/portrait at one of the most iconic rocks at Avoca. In fact they love it so much the pic came down and the wall got painted into a feature wall to show the print off even more.

You'll have to excuse the pic here...we had just got back from fishing after all!!!

Avoca family portrait landscape photo

Long Jetty Sunset

Well I've got to say that's it's been a while since I got out for any landscape photography. In fact, I don't think I've gone out much at all since moving to the Fuji X Series cameras.

Why you may ask? Well I've been enjoying capturing people so much since changing systems that I have focussed a fair bit on that. 

This week I had the urge to get out for a sunset. I hadn't really looked at the weather, clouds, sun position or anything. I just picked up the camera, tripod, a couple of lenses and spare batteries (that's something I never used to do) and headed out to Long Jetty.

When I got there I was treated to a pair of swans basking in some beautiful god light so I grabbed a few pics of them before setting up the tripod. 

I'm still waiting on an adapter for my filters so there was a bit of hand holding an ND filter in front of the lens for a few shots but all in all I'm pretty happy with the spontaneous decision to head out and definitely enjoyed the getting back to a bit of landscape work :)

Another tick for the Fuji from me and love the little Samyang lens. 

Underwater family portrait

Here's a post I've been meaning to write for quite some time…almost a year in fact. What has made me finally get around to posting it? The timely reminder of producing the second family portrait for Tahnee and Simon.

So what's the deal? We have an actor and a comedian (yes I know it sounds like the start of a joke) and every year they produce a cool Christmas card to send out — it's a bit of keeping in touch and a bit of fun… ok a whole lot of fun). Each year it's different, a different location, a different photographer, a different theme.

This year they called me up and asked 'hey, what can you do?'. Well, I instantly thought 'underwater photography', let's do it ocean side so no pools, with clothes and in a local ocean bath where the water is a bit more controlled. 

After plenty of miss-fires with schedule clashes (try and get three self employed creatives plus children's calendars to match up) we finally got a date. Next problem, we'd had so much bad weather that the only ocean bath with some depth was filthy, quick re-schedule and we ended up in Terrigal.

The next issue was water temp, this was October and whilst the outside temperature was heating up the water was still around 17ºC and their son had been quite sick the last week. 

Like a trooper he carried on but we didn't have a big window of opportunity. 

And here is the result…

To check out a couple more pics from the photoshoot head on over here

Underwater family xmas card

September favourites

Yes I know there's still a week to go in September and I might be peaking a bit early but I wanted to share the best of September so far. 

One of the things I love about photography is coming back to photos and recapturing the moment you were in when you created that shot. The thought process behind each one, whether it was a fleeting moment that you just couldn't let pass or it was a carefully planned shot that you pour creativity in. 

A week in pictures

Nice photo filled week this week and here's a snapshot of it. Bushwalking out to see the local hieroglyphs – are you sure that one is an authentic Egyptian hieroglyph??

Photowalk with the youngest, I think we may have found a great location to head back to here.

Then some compulsory beach time. I think the salt air is a must for every weekend. I almost always come back a bit more revived having sand between the toes and ocean spray in the face.

The 24 Project - Week #4

Well what a cracker of a weekend. The sun was out blazing, the water warm and clear and my boys wanted to help out with this weeks project. 

You'll see on the last three pictures on the beach. 'Love Mummy' - Mummy was out at the markets all day today and boys were missing her. 'Sand' - well you know, it's sand ;). The last one? Our youngest writing his own name in the sand.

Some other comments:

  • The second photo was taken at f5, I was after some blur but not that much - still getting used to this lens/camera combo.
  • Who is Karla? I have no idea but I've had this guitar for over 17 years and it's a bit sentimental to me nowadays.
  • The calendar, 8th of August 2015. My brothers birthday and also 888 this year...
  • Who are you? No one knows if they have your board if they don't know who you are
  • Lazy Bar Stud... think about it :-)

This coming week's theme is under the pics.

Week #5

So what on for the next week? Texture. Texture in anything, it could be your couch, the road, the clouds. It might incorporate previous week's themes with colour or black and white or words. 

Do you have a unique perspective on texture? I'd love to see some of your photos. Put them up on Instagram #24aweek

Take it easy.

The 24 Project - Week #3 photos

Here you go, this week's 24 project photos. The theme was black and white, not just 24 photos converted to black and white but trying to see the contrast and visualise the photo in black and white before taking it.

What's on for this coming week? Words. 

Words that you might see anywhere, road signs, graffiti, train stations, books. Anything and anywhere.

I think this will be a fun one so get out and enjoy.


The 24 Project – Week #3

Ok yes I know, I need to get in earlier but no excuses so let's get into it.

Nice and short and a simple theme I'm working on this week – Black and White.

Now by black and white I don't mean 'just convert 24 photos to black and white'. Consider the photo, consider the contrast of the subject, consider you composition and general photography rules (leading lines, thirds etc)

I watched a Peter Hurley video today and one of the things I got out of it was 'there is a photo everywhere, you just need to see it' so go out and don't just see it, capture it.


24 Project Week #2 - Colour

Week number two, OK technically this has been two weeks. Wow, only the second week in and I'm already having issues. 

From technical issues, I somehow lost all the images on the card last week (that wouldn't happen on film now would it…) to picking a particularly bad week to do the colour theme (lots of clouds and rain) to just being flat out on a contract in the middle of the city with mostly 15 minute lunch breaks to shoot :(

Ok enough of that, yes I did get out and shoot, yes I got some photos and here they are!!!

So what have I learnt this last two weeks? Taking a camera with you everywhere isn't enough, no kidding you say, well it's one thing taking your time and shooting a landscape or quickfire surf shooting or being under the water. Exposing yourself to your fellow humans and taking photos, hmm, that's taking some getting used to.

So here's my tip for the week, GET OUT OF YOUR OWN HEAD!!!

Another post tomorrow for this coming week's theme.