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Preview: Martin Pot - Photography Blog

Martin Pot - Photography Blog

discussion, gear, and photography journal


Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 21:52 +0800

Halls Gap, Victoria, Australia
Canon EOS 50D, 24-105mm f/4L IS @105mm, 1/200 sec, f/4, ISO500

In January, we stayed in Halls Gap, in the Grampians national park for a few nights. The back of the house we were staying in looked straight out over grassland and towards some of the mountains, with plenty of wildlife visible every day. In the evenings we would see kangaroos and numerous birds.
Most days there were a lot of sulphur-crested cockatoos, and they were very friendly. They would sit on our back fence, the kids were able to hand-feed them, and I was able to get very close for some photos.

Halls Gap, Victoria, Australia
Canon EOS 50D, 24-105mm f/4L IS @105mm, 1/250 sec, f/4, ISO500

Halls Gap, Victoria, Australia
Canon EOS 50D, 24-105mm f/4L IS @105mm, 1/250 sec, f/4, ISO500

Sunset from the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel

Sat, 03 Feb 2018 19:55 +0800

sunset from the top of the wheel
Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, Docklands, Victoria, Australia
Canon EOS 50D, 10-22mm @22mm, 1/200 sec, f/9, ISO200

The Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, located in Docklands, Melbourne, and at 120m high, is apparently the southern hemisphere's only giant observation wheel. Last week, on our last day of a couple of weeks holiday in Victoria, we took a trip on the wheel. We timed our visit so we would see the sunset while up the wheel, allowing me to capture the photo above when our cabin was near the top of the wheel.

view of the city from the top of the wheel
Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, Docklands, Victoria, Australia
Canon EOS 50D, 10-22mm @22mm, 1/25 sec, f/9, ISO200

Looking west, towards the city, allowed me to capture the photo above, with the sunset light on some of the city buildings.
If you're visiting Melbourne, and want some pretty awesome views of Melbourne city and surrounds, the Star Observation Wheel is worth visiting.

Giving Back

Mon, 04 Sep 2017 21:23 +0800

As a photographer, I think it's important to think about how you can give back. This applies whether you are a hobbyist, keen enthusiast, part-time, professional, or some other type of photographer. This can take many forms and shapes, and I've mentioned some of them below. Ways To Give Back Donating Photos or Services to Charities and Non-Profits I will normally let charities and non-profit organisations use my photos at no cost, with an appropriate credit, providing they ask for permission, and they agree to my terms and conditions. If they're not making money from the use of my photo, then I can't expect them to pay for the photo. Conversely, if any commercial organisation contacts me for the use of any of my photos, then I expect to be paid for the use of the photo. Donating Photos or Services to Government Organisations The same reasoning as above applies. Here's an example of one of my photos being used by the Australian Department of Environment and Conservation. Releasing Photos under GPL / CC licenses or other similar licenses You can upload photos to, Wikipedia and various other repositories using GPL and Creative Commons licenses. These licenses allow people to use your photos for free, providing they adhere to the restrictions of the licenses. You can choose how loose or restrictive a license you want to release your photos under. Contributing Photos to Wikipedia and Similar Repositories When I first started getting into photography, I was often frustrated at the poor quality of many of the photos in Wikipedia articles, so I have made it a point to contribute better-quality photos to Wikipedia articles where I could. This could be a matter of pulling appropriate photos from your archives, or it could mean going out of your way to specifically take photos of places, animals or things specifically where you've noticed they are lacking. Have a look at at Wikipedia articles for places you're familiar with, animals you have as pets, cars, your cameras, or any other things that you may have photos of or could take photos of - and you might be surprised at the wide range of articles that could do with better photos. Sharing Photography Resources Online Share photography-related information, tutorials, how-tos, and other information online via a blog, videos or via some other means. I have been publishing a series of blog posts titled Understanding Your Camera that I have been writing as I teach camera basics and camera operation to my children. Sharing Your Knowledge at a Photography Club and/or with a Group of Friends Join a photography club and share your photography skills and knowledge, get involved at your local school and teach the children photography skills, or go out shooting with some friends and help each other improve your and their photography skills. I try to regularly go on photowalks with friends, as it gives us an opportunity to get out and take photos, share ideas, tips and tricks, see other people's compositions, and learn other things from each other (as well as socialise and have fun). A Wikipedia Example Over the years, I've released a number of photos on Wikipedia under Creative Commons licenses. One of the photos that has been widely used is one of my youngest daughter as a new-born, who was quite jaundiced when she was born, and had to spend some time under lights during her first few days in hospital. Samantha undergoing phototherapy to treat her jaundice Canon EOS 350D, 17-85mm IS @70mm, 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO400 I took the photo in February 2007, and posted on Wikipedia in February 2008 under a CC BY 3.0 Creative Commons license, which allows anyone to use the image (including commercially) as long as they credit myself as the photographer. The photo has been used on the english Wikipedia pages for light therapy and neonatal jaundice, as well as many Wikipedia pages in other languages. A google image search for the pho[...]

Selling Unedited Images and Out-Sourcing Post-Processing

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 21:10 +0800

Selling Unedited Images? Digital Photography School posted an article some time ago by Elizabeth Halford titled Should we ever sell raw, unedited images? The article compared the raw unedited images to food ingredients, and editing the photos (aka post-processing) is equivalent to using the food ingredients to cook a meal. A more recent post on DIY Photography by Caleb Kerr provides similar arguments for not wanting to provide raw unedited photos. I whole-heartedly agree with the argument that Elizabeth presents in that article, and would never provide raw unedited photos to a client, as the processing of the images is an important part of the photography process for myself as the photographer, and allows me to ensure the resulting photos look the way I want them to look. Samples - Unedited vs Edited Here are some examples of unedited photos (straight out of the camera) vs the edited version. I've selected a variety of photos from the last few years - and many are from a mission trip to West Timor last year. West Timor team photo Elizabeth Quay Bridge bonfire on Barate Beach, West Timor evening at Barate Beach, West Timor Milky Way over Lake Leschenaultia, Mundaring bride boat on the Keizersgracht, Amsterdam bride and bridesmaids machete girl Kupang class running to the beach, Kupang, West Timor Elpida School students, teachers and the Wings To Work team at the beach, Kupang, West Timor With some of the photos above, the edited result is quite different than the raw image. There are many ways each of those photos could be edited - the end result is what I was looking for when I was editing that particular photo. Out-sourcing Post-processing? There are companies that provide post-processing services, so you can out-source the post-processing of all your images, rather than doing it yourself. Out-sourcing post-processing is something that I first encountered it when Jasmine Star mentioned quite some time ago that she uses The Photographer's Edit (more info in Jasmine's FAQs here and here), and I've since encountered several other photographers who also out-source their post-processing. Many photographers are against out-sourcing, while others happily do it, as evidenced by the various comments in discussion on Note that I'm not referring to in-sourcing - ie, where a photographer employs someone in-house to edit photos. I'm referring to out-sourcing the editing to a third-party company via a commercial arrangement. This is a little different from selling unedited images, out-sourcing the post-processing is still putting the task of processing and editing of the photos into someone else's hands. Out-sourcing post-processing is still somewhat more controlled than selling unedited images, because you are using a (hopefully) reputable company to do the post-processing, and would have done some research into the quality of their work before entrusting them with your unedited photos. However, I don't like the idea of out-sourcing the post-processing of my photos, as it means I am delegating the responsibility of the processing to someone else, and losing control of that part of the creative process. What Do You Do? Do you or would you sell raw unedited photos to a client? Would you be prepared to out-source the processing of your photos? Have you had any experiences with out-sourcing the editing of your photos? [...]

Jarrahdale Sunrise Shoot

Sat, 03 Jun 2017 20:10 +0800

self-portrait at dawn Jarrahdale, Western AustraliaCanon EOS 50D, 10-22mm @10mm, 1/2 sec, f/8, ISO100 Early on Easter Monday morning, I headed out to Jarrahdale with my oldest son and some friends, to photograph the sunrise at a little-known rock called Southern Split Rock. It was only about 6.5 weeks ago, but it seems a lot longer than that, as so many things have happened since then. After parking the car on a gravel road as close to the rock as we could, it took us about 1/2 hour to make our way through the bush by torch light, using Google Maps periodically to confirm we were heading in the correct direction (the split rock is located here). panorama Jarrahdale, Western AustraliaCanon EOS 50D, 10-22mm @10mm, 1/200 sec, f/5, ISO400 Southern Split Rock Jarrahdale, Western AustraliaCanon EOS 50D, 10-22mm @22mm, 1/50 sec, f/5, ISO400 Later the same afternoon, 17 year old Laeticia "Teesh" Brouwer, a close friend and classmate of my oldest daughter, passed away after being attached by a shark while surfing in Esperance. This death had a big impact on our family, school community and church community. Four weeks ago, I ended up in the emergency department at our local hospital after experiencing a thunderclap headache. After a few re-occurances of thunderclap headaches in the following week, I haven't had any more, but am I'm still having ongoing headaches. A CT scan and MRI haven't shown any abnormalities. Three weeks ago, my father-in-law passed away after a ~7 month struggle with cancer. It was his 75th birthday, and a day before his 52nd wedding anniversary. His passing has also had a big impact on our family. sunrise behind Dog Rock Jarrahdale, Western AustraliaSony Xperia X Compact We found our very own Dog Rock (there's a well-known Dog Rock in Albany, Western Australia; this one is definitely not as well known - and it's possible that these are the first photos of this rock to be publishes on the internet ;). It didn't look as good at ground level, and the photo below was taken from on top of a neighbouring rock. Dog Rock Jarrahdale, Western AustraliaSony Xperia X Compact top view of a photographer in action Jarrahdale, Western AustraliaCanon EOS 50D, 10-22mm @22mm, 1/30 sec, f/5, ISO400 [...]

Rock Cairn

Sun, 07 May 2017 14:40 +0800

rock cairn
Sullivan Rock, Jarrahdale, Western Australia
Canon EOS 50D, 24-105mm f/4L IS @24mm, 1/125 sec, f/6.3, ISO320

Just a few minutes after I re-stacked the rock cairn to what is shown in the photo above, some hikers came past, and one hiker decided to try to add one rock to the top of the cairn. His action caused the cairn to collapse, much to his embarrassment and our amusement. He quickly tried to re-stack the cairn before walking off.

This is at Sullivan Rock in Jarrahdale, where we stopped after a sunrise photoshoot elsewhere in Jarrahdale (photos still to come) on Easter Monday. It is a huge rock in the bush, and is very accessible, as it's located right near Albany Highway (and is somewhat similar to Boulder Rock in Karragullen).

There were numerous rock cairns like this located at various places on Sullivan Rock. I don't know if they were marking any specific spots, or if they were randomly placed by previous visitors. Post a comment if you know.

In the Gun Sights

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 20:24 +0800

in the gun sights
Bali Safari and Marine Park, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia
Canon EOS 50D, 24-105mm f/4L IS @40mm, 1/320 sec, f/4, ISO200

A hunter takes aim at an elephant.

The intention of this photo is to make you do a second-take, and wonder why someone is pointing a gun close-range at a seemingly harmless elephant.

This scene was photographed during the elephant show at the Bali Safari and Marine Park. The show looks at the interaction between humans and elephants over the years, and focuses on elephant conservation.

rear view
Bali Safari and Marine Park, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia
Canon EOS 50D, 24-105mm f/4L IS @105mm, 1/400 sec, f/4, ISO200

The Importance of Understanding Your Camera - A Practical Example

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 21:05 +0800

This is the fourteenth article in a series on "understanding your camera" that I am writing as I teach camera basics and camera operation to my children.

Here is a very practical example demonstrating why it is important to understand your camera. As previously described in a blog post about exposure compensation, a camera will expose the scene to try to get an average of mid-tone grey, also known as middle grey.

Photo #1 (below) was taken with my phone (Sony Xperia Z3 Compact) at the beach at sunset, wtih the phone's camera in full auto mode. As expected, the camera over-exposed the dark sky as it tried to get the average exposre to middle grey. This does not capture the scene as the human eye saw it, and the sunset colours are lost in the background.

photo #1: photo taken with camera in auto mode

By changing to manual mode, and dialling in two stops of negative exposure compensation, I was able to capture photo #2 (below). This is much closer to what the human eye was seeing, and has captured the awesome sunset colours much better than photo #1.

photo #2: photo taken in manual mode, with 2 stops of -ve exposure compensation

By understanding what the camera is doing (attempting to expose for an average of middle grey), and applying some negative exposure compensation, I was quickly and easily able to get a much better photo of the sunset.

Macaws at the Bali Safari and Marine Park

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 22:31 +0800

blue and yellow macaw
Bali Safari and Marine Park, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia
Canon EOS 50D, 24-105mm f/4L IS @105mm, 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO1250

During a visit to the Bali Safari and Marine Park in January, I took a few photos of some of the resident macaws in the park. The bright colours of these birds were amazing, and as they were trained captive birds tethered to their perch, I was able to get pretty close to shoot some detailed photos.
The blue and yellow macaw in particular seemed to pose happily for the camera!

For anyone considering visiting the Bali Safari and Marine Park, I can highly recommend it. We had a great time there - the park is very large, and there's plenty to do and see.

blue and yellow macaw
Bali Safari and Marine Park, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia
Canon EOS 50D, 24-105mm f/4L IS @85mm, 1/320 sec, f/4, ISO1250

scarlet macaw
Bali Safari and Marine Park, Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia
Canon EOS 50D, 24-105mm f/4L IS @96mm, 1/80 sec, f/4, ISO1250

Resting on the Bridge

Sun, 22 Jan 2017 13:55 +0800

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Canon EOS 50D, 10-22mm @22mm, 1/15 sec, f/7.1, ISO320

During an early morning visit to Ubud, in Bali, Indonesia, we paused at this bridge for some photos. This is an old bridge that has since been replaced with a more modern bridge on the left side of this photo, and the old bridge has been retained for pedestrians.
The bridge was in pretty poor condition, with plenty of rust holes in structural components, and some areas where you could lose a leg through the wooden boards.

The lush plant growth on each side of the bridge, the interesting reflection of the sun on the car window in the centre of the photo, and Dwi (our driver) contemplating in the background all add some interest.

The black and white conversion was done using Silver Efex Pro 2 from Google's Nik Collection. I love using my wide-angle Canon EF-S 10-22mm lens in urban situations, as it allows me to capture very wide images like this one.