VSCO Film Simulation

We are all familiar to a degree with film simulation, as this is what many Instagram filters do (albeit in a very exaggerated way).  Unfortunately due to the overuse of such filters, film simulation probably gets a bit of a bad rap.  There are better options out there, though, that do produce an authentic film look and can transport us back to another era.  Those of us who grew up assiduously flicking through issue after issue of National Geographic can associate with this feeling. 

Personally, for better or worse, I love the film look for travel and street photography.  Would I shoot these on film?  Hell no! ;)  But an authentic look can be obtained via "profile" collections like those from VSCO.  I was lucky enough to get a bunch of these a while back for free under a special offer.  And I've been revisiting some of my recent India images, processing them in Lightroom with VSCO presets.  I don't anticipate putting many, if any, of the images up on my website here (I accept they will suffer from a "gimick" effect), but I will post them on my Wild Photo Australia Facebook and Google+ pages in time.

But in the meantime, here's a couple of images to give you an idea of the kinds of looks you can get.

On the train to Agra


Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

The Breaking of an Image...

As a break from processing India images from my recent trip I've been revisiting some older images.  Three years ago I visited central Australia for the first time and was confronted by some truly spectacular scenery.  And while the weather conditions were challenging for photography - very hot and very hazy - I did manage to snag some good images.  Unfortunately, I can't say that my Uluru shots lived up to that standard.  There are a couple that could come to something when I get around to processing them seriously.

Over the last three days I've been obsessing over one particular image of Uluru.  I've processed the life out of this one from all angles and perspectives.  Today, I admitted defeat.  There's just not enough resolution and sharpness in the foreground (nor enough in the rock itself).  Below is the final image that I have admitted defeat on.

Pleasing colours, but ultimately, not happy...

What I wanted to show you was an insight into the amount of effort I put into this one to try and get it up to scratch.  Normally I don't process images as much as this one, but hey, I was temporarily obsessed, and determined to create a masterpiece.  Oh well....  Here's the original image:


An idea of the scale of my obsession.  The following Lightroom screen shot looks like a pimpled teenager with all the brush editing points.  And that image doesn't show the gradient and radial filter adjustments that I threw at it either. ;)  Nor the edits to the original raw and subsequent Nik Viveva edits.  Next to that is a screen shot of the Photoshop adjustment layers I chucked at it.  Actually not that many for some people, but that's a lot for me.  I do most of my editing in Lightroom.

And that wasn't the end of it either! ;)

Alas, I will have to continue to stare at my other Uluru images until one of them grabs me enough to attempt to beat it into shape....

Post India - The processing begins!

As you can probably tell from my recent uploads, I have returned from my trip to India.  And what would a trip to India be without a trip to the magnificent Taj Mahal?  As a photographer, the Taj presents a number of challenges.  First major challenge is the crowds.  How to get that shot without people crawling all over it like ants?  Second challenge is how to capture something that is at least somewhat different from the standard view of the Taj.

Well, the first challenge was partly addressed by visiting early in the morning.  Unfortunately, due to the vagaries of Indian queuing and security, it took me about 45 minutes longer to get in than I had originally anticipated.  But I was still early enough to find some scenes without millions of ants - sorry, humans ;) - crawling all over the building.  The second challenge was addressed partly at the time by keeping my eyes open for something striking or interesting (often places where there weren't a lot of other people photographing), and partly in post-processing by converting to black and white (along with some other little tricks).  And some of those "other little tricks" are what also helped me to get rid of unwanted people in the scene.

In my next blog post I will detail the making of one such image (below) and show you a good trick for getting rid of people (and pigeons!) out of a scene.

Shop Up and Running!

I have my image shop up and running, with more images being added daily.  I am also still processing images from my recent India trip, so there will be a few additions from that.  If you have any queries about purchasing one of my images, please feel free to contact me via the contact page.

Free Camera Rental?

I've just used a trick I've used before to get some new equipment for a trip.  For my upcoming India trip, ideally I would like a smaller 'street' camera to use in busy markets and the like.  I've had my eye on a Fujifilm X100S (and more recently the X100T) for quite a while, but couldn't really justify the expense of owning one.  So I'm effectively aiming to rent a camera for free by purchasing a second hand unit for my trip, which I will sell on my return.  As long as I get close to my purchase amount (which I should, given it will only be a couple of months later), it will be a cheap rental.  So I've just bought an X100 on Ebay, which while being 4 years old technology, will still be a more than adequate camera for street photography.  Now I'm a happy photographer! (what photographer isn't happy with new toys to play with?).  I've still got my eye on a couple of second hand X100S's, though, so I might wind up with a little collection of the things... ;)

Upcoming trip to India

I have four weeks in northern India (and possibly Nepal) booked.  Flying via the recently crashing Air Asia, I hope to arrive at the end of February.  I'm really looking forward to concentrating on some people and street photography, but will of course be capturing as many shots of the amazing architecture and countryside as well. 

Welcome To My Blog

Welcome to my blog, everyone, where I hope to keep you informed of my photography activities and some photography tips and tricks from time to time.  In these early days, I will be learning the ropes for conducting e-commerce via the 'squarespace' platform that I use for my website.  Prints will be listed for sale, but in some cases, depending on where you are, the fulfillment process will be unknown until I actually try and fill your order.  With time I will get a better grip on which printers to use for which countries.  If you would like to order a print that isn't listed for sale (you may also find extra images on my flickr, facebook and google+ pages), please feel free to contact me and I can arrange the sale.  If you are interested in licensing any of my work, you can do so via my 500px page.

Thank-you for checking out my work, and any comments and feedback are welcome.