Author Archives: Robert Young

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

Tilting at windmills…

The windmill is a part of the Australian landscape, familiar to anyone who has driven through the Australian countryside.

Windmill

The windmill is used to pump underground water into a trough or water tank sitting beside it. One of the fascinating things about windmills is that they are seen in a wide range of conditions, from brand new and shiny to completely collapsed.

Windmills are one of the re-occurring subjects in my rural photography. Who knows, they might even get an exhibition of their own.

Posted in art, discussion, explanation, influences, Travel

Melrakki by Joshua Holko

Melrakki is the Icelandic name for the Arctic Fox, the only mammal native to Iceland. Melrakki is also the latest project from renowned Melbourne photographer Joshua Holko.

Melrakki features a beautifully produced, limited edition book (I have number 5!), plus a superb print in an embossed folio cover.

Melrakki by Joshua Holko

Melrakki by Joshua Holko

The book features a foreword by Dr.Ester Rut Unnsteinsdottir of the Icelandic Institute of Natural History and extensive field notes by Joshua. Melrakki is the culmination of three winters of patient waiting to capture the magnificent images.

There are only 100 copies of this limited edition work, so if you want one, don’t mess about.

More information…

Posted in art, collection, Iceland, opinion

Back in Seddon again

Chris Gooden and the crew at Seddon Deadly Sins have very kindly given me some wall space for five of my urban fragments images. They are nicely framed and for sale.

If you find yourself in Melbourne’s west, drop into Seddon Deadly Sins (148 Victoria Street, Seddon) have a coffee and try some of the excellent food. Say hello to Chris and the gang and have a look at the prints on the wall.

Percy Street, North Fitzroy

Percy Street, North Fitzroy

Victoria Street, Seddon

Victoria Street, Seddon

Queensberry Street, North Melbourne

Queensberry Street, North Melbourne

Spencer Street, West Melbourne

Spencer Street, West Melbourne

Buckley Street, Footscray

Buckley Street, Footscray

Posted in art, exhibition

The Old Herring Factory

One of the places I return to when in the north of Iceland, is the old Herring factory at Hjalteyri. Hjalteyri is a small fishing village with currently less than 50 full time inhabitants. It is on the edge of the Eyjafjörður fjord not far from Akureyri.

The factory processed herring into fish meal and fish oil. It was built just before World War 11 and closed in 1966. The old concrete tanks, decaying walls and fading blue trim make it a rewarding place to photograph.

Hjalteyri, Iceland

Hjalteyri, Iceland

Hjalteyri, Iceland

Hjalteyri, Iceland

Hjalteyri, Iceland

Hjalteyri, Iceland

Hjalteyri, Iceland

Hjalteyri, Iceland

Hjalteyri, Iceland

Hjalteyri, Iceland

 

Posted in Iceland

Road trip

In June I took a road trip to the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia. This was part holiday and part hunting for images to round out my next exhibition.

The Yorke Peninsula has a unique character in South Australia. It has rich farmland, many small ports from which grain was shipped and in the north some serious mining, mostly copper.

A lot of the settlers and miners came from Cornwall and Wales, cornish pasties are the local cuisine. Just kidding. The landscape is littered with derelict stone cottages and the towns have a unique character.

Near Maitland, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia

Near Maitland, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia

 

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Near Yorketown, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia

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Yorke Peninsula, South Australia

Posted in art, exhibition, explanation

Michael Reichmann remembered

Just recently I was saddened to read of the death of Canadian photographer Michael Reichmann. I had been a regular reader of Michael’s website, Luminous Landscape, practically since the beginning. LuLa became a daily must-read as I wondered about switching from film to digital photography. It was a daunting prospect, there seemed to be a huge amount of new techniques and information to master. And being a darkroom person, making prints was a must, so there was the whole other topic of inkjet printing.

At that time around 2000 – 2001, digital photography and printing were in their infancy and Luminous Landscape was one of the major forums for discussing this new technology and how to get the most out of it. A major debate raged: Will digital photography ever be as good as film.

In May 2002, Michael wrote in one of several reviews of the Canon D60 dSLR:

“35mm Photographers: If you’ve been waiting to make the move to digital but haven’t felt that the cost / quality / image size equation worked for you yet‚ well, I think the time has come…”

And with that, the decision was made. I purchased a Canon D60 from Michael’s Camera store in Melbourne shortly after and began the long process of learning digital photography and inkjet printing.

Michael excelled at giving other photographers space on his website. Through Luminous Landscape I ‘met’ other photographers who have helped me with advice or timely information or just entertained me through the years; Mike Johnston of The Online Photographer, master printer Ctein, Jeff Schewe and Melbourne photographer Joshua Holko. All have played a part in my development as a photographer and printer.

In March 2008 Michael visited Melbourne. I was privileged to meet him in person, shake his hand and thank him for all of the free information and advice he made available through Luminous Landscape.

Rest in peace Michael, you are one of the greats.

Posted in influences, opinion, Photographers

Ice lagoon Exhibition Aftermath

My exhibition of images taken at Jokulsarlon, the Ice Lagoon, in Iceland is over.

The prints have been removed from the walls and the Point Cook public art space has been handed over to a new artist. All the purchased images have been delivered and the rest put away.

Thanks to all who came to see my prints and a big thanks to those who purchased one. I sold 19 prints making it my most successful exhibition ever. And I am now in the Wyndham permanent collection and the Encore Events Centre art collection.

A very special thanks to Megan Evans and Nicholas Boseley for their advice, encouragement and support. Wyndham City provides a lot of resources to support local artists and thanks to all in the Wyndham arts projects team for the great work that you do to make Wyndham an artist friendly place.

Ice on the Beach at Jokulsarlon, Iceland

Ice on the Beach at Jokulsarlon, Iceland

Posted in art, collection, exhibition, Iceland

Daily, Nightly

Just outside of my home town Geelong, there is an area called The Dog Rocks. This area has been a great favourite with local photographers, such as Laurie Wilson and his beautiful monochrome Dog Rocks series held at the National Gallery of Victoria. The last time I photographed there was at least 35 years ago.

Just recently long-time friend Phil Thomson asked me to join him there for a sunset photo walk. The first thing that struck me is how close housing has encroached on this area that I remember being out in the country. Fortunately the top of the hill has been preserved.

I enjoyed wandering about the rocks and photographing the old trees again as the light faded. So much so that I returned during the day to see just how different the images would be.

Dead tree at Dog Rocks

The windswept tree during the day

Dead tree at Dog Rocks

The windswept tree at sunset

Posted in explanation, How I shot...