Light and Landscape Magazine - Issue 6

I'd just like to point you in the direction of Light and Landscape magazine where an article of mine has just been published in the latest issue (issue 6). Light and landscape magazine is a free to download, iPad only magazine for all things related to landscape photography and more. 

I was recently invited to submit an article by Matt (the editor). The article is called 'Slow Down' and it discusses the topic of slowing down and shooting less frames. The idea being that you consider your subject or scene and produce more higher quality frames by taking the time to get it right first time.

The magazine is still in its infancy but the standard of work, both photography and written pieces is very good, so if you like photography and you like landscapes then I urge you to have a look at it. Here's a handy link.

Take care and enjoy the article, 

James

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Creative constraints

As any photographer will know, planning what gear to take for a trip or holiday can be a bit of a headache. We like to travel but we also like to have all of our gear to hand. The problem with this is that we end up with too much gear, weighing us down to the point that it tires us and becomes a burden.

I'm very much that photographer. I like to have everything I could possibly need with me at all times. I'm also like this in my everyday life. This is why I can mostly be seen wearing cargo style shorts. Big pockets = more room for stuff that I might need!

I'm about to go away on holiday to New Zealand so choosing and packing my gear is very much on my mind. I've spent the last couple of weeks making a list of all my lenses and filters and other stuff that I will more than likely want and need for the work that I'm planning to produce. There's a lot there and even though I have a fairly small and light mirrorless system now, it's still going to be heavy by the time I carry everything on the list.

When I plan a trip or a shoot, I like to set myself a creative constraint in order to help me think differently about how to approach the work and also to flex my photographic creativity and skill. This trip is going to be no different. After a lot of thought and consideration I've decided to travel light this time, really light. I will be travelling with only my Fuji x100t and a couple of filters. The fuji x100t* is an extraordinary camera that every photographer should own. It's a small, fixed focal length (35mm equivalent) camera that you can fit in your pocket. It's perfect for travel, for portraits, for all different types of work. Many pro's swear by them, for example Zack Arias who recently said if all of his gear was to be taken from him then all he would want left would be his x100 cameras. It produces gorgeous photographs, aided by fuji's film simulation modes which were designed based on the film rolls that fuji used to make.

By using a single camera with a single focal length it will force me to be more aware of my composition, my proximity to my subject. It will force me to think outside the box and think creatively about how I photograph. Also it's such a lightweight kit that it won't be hard work or tiring to carry it around all day, thus allowing me to stay fresher and be more receptive to my surroundings. It's going to be quite different from my usual kit that I carry and a challenge for sure but I'm very excited about it. I think the results will be facinating and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you on my return. My kit list, for the nerds among you is as follows:

 

Think Tank Retrospective 7 Bag

Glanz 110cm 5 in 1 reflector

Fuji x100t camera

Fuji WCL-x100 wide angle lens converter

Binoculars

X-rite Color Checker Passport

Lens pen and blower

Gorillapod mini tripod

49mm Kenko circular polarising filter

A couple of spare batteries and charger

Lee Seven5 Soft Grad ND filters (0.3/0.6/0.9)

Lee Filter holder

Think Tank memory card holder with 6 16GB SDHC cards

 A couple of lens cloths

iPod

Notebook and pen

 

Finally it's time for me to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year celebration. I may post the occaisional photograph from my trip as we go, depending on the wifi situation. Apart from that I've nothing more to say other than I'll see you in 2015!

Best wishes,

James

My travel kit, ready to pack.

My travel kit, ready to pack.

* There are actually now 3 cameras in the x100 series, the first generation x100, the x100s and the most recently released x100t.

The wedding...

I thought I'd take a minute to let you know that this page and all of my other social media feeds will be a little quiet over the next three weeks. This is because I've made the trip over to the UK where I will be getting married in the amazing Knowsley Hall, in a little over a weeks time. As such I will be pretty busy with the final wedding related tasks but I'm hoping to get out at some stage and show you some of the beautiful areas that the UK has to offer.

Keep monitoring my pages and my website for sneak previews and I look forward to speaking with you when I return to Australia at the end of May. 

take care and thanks for your ongoing support, 

James

 

Knowlsey Hall

Knowlsey Hall

Giving life to an image

First, let me wish you a happy New Year. I hope you had a great time over the festive and New Year period and let's together look forward to the New Year ahead. My celebrations were relatively low key this year. I spent New Year's Eve in the company of good friends and watched the midnight fireworks display in Brisbane City. New Year's Day I went to the cinema to see the excellent 'Secret Life Of Walter Mitty'.

'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' follows Ben Stiller's character, Walter Mitty, who is a full time daydreamer and Negative Assets Manager at 'Life Magazine'. The magazine is due to cease print production and as such Mitty works in conjunction with Sean O'Connell (Sean Penn), a Photojournalist, to produce the final cover image for the last print edition. The negative, which O'Connell recommends to Mitty as the 'quintessential' Life magazine image, disappears and Mitty begins a journey to locate and retrieve the missing negative (negative 25). This movie is fun, easy going and well produced. Mitty travels to some absolutely amazing places in Greenland and Iceland, two places that are on my future travel to list. It has an excellent soundtrack too. If you haven't already seen it then I highly recommend it. It's brilliant!

Before I saw the movie, I read about a particular scene concerning one of Mitty's daydreams. Here, whilst looking at a photo of O'Connell, Mitty is beckoned into the image. I heard about this moment through the blog of one of my favourite photographers (David DuChemin - http://davidduchemin.com). DuChemin describes this moment as O'Connell inviting Mitty in, wanting him to stop watching other people's adventures and live his own. This is absolutely correct and Mitty does go on to have his adventure. I looked at it a little differently though: when I saw that photo come alive for the couple of seconds that it does, it made me consider, what if my images could come alive? What would they say? What would the reaction of the viewer be?

In the couple of days that have passed I've begun to revisit some of my favourite images, both my own and those of the photographer's that I greatly admire. I have looked at the images and imagined how they would feel, what they would tell the viewer. Whilst technology doesn't allow for our images to come to life (except the video camera!), there are ways in which we as photographers can use our craft to make an image invoke a feeling or a thought and sometimes even allow the viewer to imagine what it was like to be there and capture a scene before their own eyes. There are a variety of techniques that we can use, from the traditional photography skills of creative composition and lighting, creative aperture, shutter speed settings and metering techniques through to the processing of images with the different types of photo editing software and plugins available.

There's no right or wrong way of creating an image with depth or feeling and you can use any one or all of the above techniques in order to achieve your desired result. By taking a moment to consider how we can give life to our images either before, during, or after the in-camera stage, we can create a stronger photograph. A photograph that stands out from the crowd. A photograph that comes alive. 

This is my goal in 2014; to continue to make stronger photographs, to try and make them come alive. 

 

The moment where Sean O'Connell welcomes Walter on his journey. (The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty)    http://www.fubiz.net/en/2013/08/02/the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-trailer/

The moment where Sean O'Connell welcomes Walter on his journey. (The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty) 

http://www.fubiz.net/en/2013/08/02/the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-trailer/