Author Archives: Robert Young

A day in the city

I haven’t been for a walk around the city in Melbourne for a long time. Recently I had some business in town and took the opportunity to have a walk around with the Olympus and the newish 12-100 f4 zoom. This is a fantastic lens for me, almost my entire shooting range in one lens.

I managed to pick one of the hottest and brightest days so far for my walk, which was at midday of course. So, not the ideal time to take photos according to conventional photographic wisdom.

But that was the time I was there and those were the conditions, so I wandered about looking for opportunities.


Posted in opinion

All the fun of the fair

I visited Brighton in England for a few days in May this year. This coincided with the Brighton Festival which had the town buzzing. with music and the artists’ open day. Visiting and talking with artists in their workspaces, often their home) was an entertaining way of spending a weekend.

Another feature of Brighton that I had wanted to see was the tradition seaside entertainments. Unfortunately it was early in the season and not all were open, but it did make for an interesting evening walk.

Posted in Travel

Another Gallery Update

I have added another new gallery of images under the Gallery menu. This set of images was taken over a 90 minute walk through the sand dunes at Coffin Bay National Park, South Australia.

Conventional landscape photography wisdom says that landscape images should be made at first light or late afternoon when the light is at its best; not in the middle of the day.

These images were taken in harsh midday sunlight.

See the Coffin Bay Gallery.

Posted in opinion

Gallery Update

I have added a new set of photos under the Gallery menu. This set of images, titled Time & Ice, were taken early one morning on the black sand beach at Jokulsarlon, the ice lagoon in the south of Iceland.

A soft misty rain was falling which gave the images, along with the long exposures, a sense of time and movement.

Time & Ice

Posted in art, Iceland, Travel

The bins in Brighton

While in Brighton (England, not Melbourne) earlier in the year, I noticed a number of large bins, or maybe dumpsters dotted about the foreshore and some of the streets.

These bins were often very artistically placed and made for some nice images.

Thanks Brighton council.




Posted in art, Travel

What I did on on my holidays #3

Dropping in on the Tates.

While in London I visited both the Tate Britain and the Tate Modern. The highlight of the Tate Britain for me was the Turner Collection. What can I say? I spent several hours in rooms full of Turner paintings.

Looking at Turners


The drawcard at the Tate Modern was the exhibition of modernist photography from the collection of Sir Elton John. Either Sir Elton has a fantastic eye or he has been very well advised, probably both. This was a major highlight of the trip, so many iconic images I have been seeing in books and online all my photography life; Brassai, Dorothea Lange, Kertesz, Rodchenko, Man Ray to name but a few.

Spending some time sitting in a quiet room of Rothko paintings wasn’t bad either.

Inside the Tate Britain

Posted in art, exhibition, Photographers, Travel

What I did on my holidays #2

During my few days in London, I walked around the streets of Soho. It still has character but is no longer full of bars, strip clubs, etc. The locals are complaining it is becoming gentrified and bland.

I dropped in to The Photographer’s Gallery at 16-18 Ramillies St, Soho to see the Roger Mayne exhibition. Mayne was known for his black and white images documenting life in the streets of the 1950s and 1960s.

Mayne died in 2014 and  this was the first exhibition of his work since 1999. Once again, I learned the value of seeing original prints instead of images in books or on line. Unfortunately I couldn’t hang around long enough to see the exhibition of Gregory Crewdson’s work.

The Photographer’s Gallery


Posted in art, exhibition

What I did on My Holidays #1

Just back from a road trip around south west England, including Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, as well as Wales and Ireland. Caught up with some relatives in Liverpool and Norwich and met up with some old friends in Bristol and Chester.

Photography took a back seat for a while but there are some interesting shots to come.

A house in Cornwall

A house in Cornwall

This photo was taken while visiting Clovelly on the Cornish coast.

I was travelling light, using the new (to me) Olympus E-M1 Mk 2. A lovely camera, but I still have a lot to learn about it.

Posted in Olympus, opinion

It’s Panoramic

I am a member of the Point Cook Camera Club, a recent club competition had the set subject of “Panoramas”. It has been a while since I have tried to make a proper panorama. I have read the theory about tripods and nodal points and such, and all that hard brain work put me right off them, not to mention having to join them together yourself in the early days before Photoshop introduced its Photomerge function.

My first attempts were made with PTGui, a very clever program but one that was a little beyond my skills at the time. One of the issues for me at the time was trying to deal with lens distortion, never did manage to get that right.

Not long back I read an article on Luminous Landscape by Kevin Raber, explaining a simple method for taking the images needed for a successful panorama. It semed easy enough so I had a few tries at it.

For the camera club competition, I took two panormas, one at a favourite shooting place near Geelong; Dog Rocks. And another on the outskirts of Werribee. The Dog Rocks panorama has 7 images and the Werribee Badlands panorama is 9 images stitched together using the Photomerge function in Photoshop.

Dog Rocks Panorama

Dog Rocks Panorama


Werribee Badlands Panorama

Werribee Badlands Panorama

Posted in art, discussion, explanation, How I shot...

In search of monochrome…

Prior to switching to digital photography in 2002, I shot almost entirely in black and white. My film of choice was Kodak Tri-X and after experimenting with a few developers over the years, I settled on Rodinal. My favourite paper was Agfa, I loved the rich blacks and the contrast I could get from the Tri-X/Agfa combination.

In the early days of digital, I was captivated by the new world of colour I had had easy access to, plus my early attempts to create monochrome images pretty much stopped with desaturating the colour image; never really successful.

As I learned more about image processing in general and Photoshop in particular, I tried a few times to re-discover the magic Tri-X look, but I never managed to consistently produce images I was happy with. I wasn’t sure if this was because:

  • Digital didn’t produce good black and white images
  • I didn’t know enough about converting colour to black and white
  • I had been making colour images for so long I no longer ‘saw’ monochrome images
  • All of the above.

I have just had yet another day of trying to develop a workflow that will consistently produce results I can accept. This first image, Stobie pole, was processed using the Alien Skin Exposure Tri-X preset.

Stobie pole

The next image, Three trees, was made with the Nik Silver Efex plugin. Silver Efex doesn’t have a Tri-X preset, so I picked the nearest ‘look’ I could find for this image and that turned out to be the Ilford HP5 preset.

Three trees

Both images were then tweaked; extra contrast, some dodging and burning and other minor, darkroom-like changes.

I am still not entirely happy with the results, but I feel like I am making progress and learning more about how to change a full colour image into a monochrome one.

After that, must learn how to make good monochrome prints again.


Posted in discussion, explanation, opinion