Category Archives: influences

Tilting at windmills…

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


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.

Also posted in art, discussion, explanation, Travel

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.

Also posted in opinion, Photographers

A day with Joshua Holko

Like many photographers, I suffer from a tendency to GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). For a while now I have been aware that the quality of my prints and skills as a printer haven’t been improving and fall well short of what is expected of a fine art print. First solution is more megapixels, right? So I upgraded my camera. This resulted in bigger prints but didn’t do much for my ability to print, so new printer, more software, more plugins, still looking for that magic bullet.

Then I happened upon the website of Melbourne-based landscape photographer Joshua Holko. Joshua has won many awards and regularly leads photograph trips to places such as Iceland, the arctic and Antarctic.

After an exchange of emails, we arranged a day for me to take advantage of Joshua’s mentoring program. And what an eye-opener that day was.

Starting with shooting technique we discussed the entire workflow needed to produce a gallery quality print. Joshua critiqued some prints I had brought with me, then spent several hours taking me through a Photoshop workflow that produced much better results than I would have imagined.

And to prove that more gear isn’t the answer, Joshua then produced a beautiful, detailed print from a file from my old camera, not the fancy new one.

Spend a little time to go through Joshua’s website and his list of achievements, this man knows what he is doing.

Before you give in to the symptoms of GAS, try learning how to use and get the most out of the equipment you already have, that might solve the problem.

A farm in Iceland

Also posted in art, changed thinking, Iceland, Photographers

The Top Twelve Project

Just before Christmas I read two blog posts on the same day. They were both about photography, by different photographers coming from different perspectives. But both posts made the same point: when trying to attract the attention of a potential client, or just people who might be interested in your work, less is more.

Over at The Online Photographer, Mike Johnston explains his thoughts as he looks through a photographer’s online portfolio. He comments on what is and isn’t helpful to someone looking for great images.

And what does he find? Too many gallery links that don’t indicate what lies beyond, interface design and navigation that get in the way of looking at the images and just way too much stuff to wade through.

Scott Kelby takes a look at an online portfolio and has a hypothetical conversation with the photographer about why he has so many images and why he has ranked them in that way.

Both Mike and Scott make the same point, why don’t photographers just show their best 10, 20 or 40 images, instead of hundreds. Not all of that lot can be winners or potential work-getters.

This set me thinking: what impression am I giving online? Apart from a few images on this blog, my online presence is mostly the 1000 plus images at the sharing site ipernity.

If anyone actually managed to wade through this many photos, what would they think of my photography? What am I saying about what I do?

The images I have sent to ipernity cover a vast range of topics. Some I have taken in an attempt to show creativity, some are holiday shots, some are there because I wanted others to be able to see them easily and some are experiments.

Those 1000 plus photos don’t project the image of my photography I would like to present to the world.

So, as a result of reading those two articles, I have started the Top Twelve Project. I have added a new Top Twelve page to the site, accessible from the tab at the top.

This page will give access to a gallery of 12 images. At the moment these are my favourite images from the last two years. Trying to choose the best 12 from the thousands I have taken over the last 24 months was a daunting task and I would be the first to admit that the choice might not be perfect.

The challenge now is to discipline myself to update this gallery as I take new images that I judge to be better than at least one of the ones that are there.

So, it is with great pleasure that I declare my Top Twelve Project open. Thanks to Mike Johnston and Scott Kelby for prompting this change of direction.

Also posted in art, changed thinking, discussion, explanation, Photographers

Another Great Has Left Us…

R.I.P. Irving Penn

One of my heroes, Irving Penn, passed away on 7th  October at the age of 92.

Penn was one of my very early influences as I was learning photography in the ’70s.

I wrote about him and his influence on an earlier blog, here…

“A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.”

~Irving Penn

Also posted in Photographers

The War of Art

Resistance is Futile…

A little while ago I bought the excellent book ‘The War of Art‘ by Steven Pressfield. It is an excellent little book that examines the main problem that artists and writers have: sitting down and being arty and writey.

As a photographer and business writer with aspirations to become a ‘proper’ writer, I know only to well how easy it is to find distractions instead of sitting down to work. Cleaning out the fridge suddenly becomes very important.

Pressfield tackles the issue head-on and blames ‘Resistance’. Resistance causes procrastination. Pressfield goes on to explain all about resistance and how to overcome it and achieve what you want to achieve. people say it is a very good book.

I will probably get around to reading it soon.

Also posted in art, changed thinking

Early Influences #1

Astrid Kirchherr

The moody black and white photos of Astrid Kirchherr are my earliest memory of being interested in photography as an art. My family had always had cameras and had always taken photos. I have boxes full of holiday snaps and family events going back to the 1920s. I even have some negatives that my Grandfather took during World War One (yes, One). When I manage to find the right box and remove it from storage, I’ll post a photo of the much-travelled old Kodak.

But Astrid’s photographs were more than holiday snaps, they contained emotion, they conveyed something to me. The first images I saw were of The Beatles in their early days. This series, taken in Hamburg; inspired my interest in black and white photography and has shaped the way I think people should be photographed.

Astrid photographed the group and individual members many times in the early ‘60s but by 1967 had virtually given up photography entirely. It was difficult to make a living as a female professional photographer in the 1960s and this was compounded by the fame she had gained from photographing The Beatles.

“They (magazines) wouldn’t look at my other work. It was very hard for a girl photographer in the 60s to be accepted. In the end I gave up. I’ve hardly taken a photo since 1967”, she said.

It is a shame because I would love to know how Astrid’s work would have developed over time.

I am very pleased to have two of Astrid’s photographs on my wall, both signed. Nearly fifty years after they were taken, they still remind me just how effective black and white photography can be.

Some photos from the Hamburg series:


These reduced, scanned images do not do the originals justice, unfortunately.

Some slightly better scans are here at the Silver K gallery site:


The last information I have about Astrid is that, along with Ulf Kruger, she owns a bookshop (K&K) in Hamburg.

Also posted in Photographers