Are We Ever Truly Alone ?

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Rip Curl Pro Surf Comp at the iconic Bells Beach here in Victoria earlier this year and I was just like the rest of crowd that took up every conceivable spot on or near the beach to watch and be swept up in the emotion on the day. I managed to capture over 700 photos, some blurry and some went straight to the delete folder but there were a number of keepers. However there is one image that I keep going back to and staring at, and I stare at it for several minutes as well.

 

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World Surfing Chanpion, Steph Gilmore answers questions via a microphone while a drone watches over her.

 

We live in a world where we are connected to each and everyone through the use of smartphones and social media. Which is why every time I look at this photo, I ask myself and we ever truly alone? how do we get time to ourselves? Time alone to sit and think, time to think about where life may lead you or just to think of others like family and friends.

And that’s why I continue to stare at this photo of Steph Gilmore, Australian World Surfing Champion answering questions while a drone watches over her as she waits for the wave that will propel her to greatness.

Happy Shooting

P.S This photo looks so much better on the big screen than it does on Instagram

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I’ve Got SOS – Shiny Object Syndrome

I have something that I need to get off my chest and I’m sure that there are a lot of people out there who will be in the same boat. I have recently mentioned this to a doctor and he laughed, laughed a lot actually and said he has the “same issues” but was unaware of any treatment options. This has all come about due to a self diagnosis I made (whilst I was standing in another shiny object shop) and have determined that I have two horrible diseases that have had a profound affect on not just me but also those around me. These disease are not well known or well researched however I believe that I have contracted SOS and CRAFT disease!

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Mick Fanning showing off his moves during the finals

SOS does not discriminate between genders and knows no age barrier and has been seen in small children. Once this horrible affliction takes hold, well lets say that it doesn’t end well. To add to the burden of having SOS I have also contracted CRAFT disease. I know that this doesn’t sound pretty but first let me explain what SOS actually is.

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Top of the wave crashes down over Mick Fanning.

SOS is not to be underestimated by any measure and to my knowledge there is no cure for it either. SOS or “Shiny Object Syndrome” doesn’t suddenly appear over night but is gradual over time and will effect people differently. Recent research has seen it passed onto family members and friends with devastating effects.

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Stephanie Gilmore won the 2018 Women’s Rip Curl Pro

As I said, I also suffer from CRAFT disease which has similar symptoms to SOS and doesn’t suddenly appear over night but also takes hold slowly. I have suffered from this disease for some time now and I’m not sure if it will ever get better. As with SOS there is no cure nor medication that can alleviate the symptoms but research has not seen CRAFT disease passed onto family and friends easily.

By now you are probably wondering what CRAFT disease is, and as with SOS, this disease should also not be underestimated. CRAFT or “Can’t Remember A F$#%ing Thing” is horrible and is only noticeable when you are standing in a room wondering why you went in there in the first place. Disturbingly this disease has some serious offshoots, the most prominent and not so obvious until its to late disease is “I’m not sure how I spent that much on a ………!” however to aid in the treatment, self treatment I might add was by losing my wallet which has seen a sudden and profound downward effect on my “I’m not sure how I spent that much on a ……………!” affliction.

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Winner Rip Curl Pro 2018 – Italo Ferreira

The direct result of these two diseases is that I keep becoming distracted and forgetting that I need to spend time not just photographing and processing the images that I take but also writing on this here little ole‘ blog. To be honest there were some serious good intentions to write about the Rip Curl Pro, the huge crowd with the enormous amount of photographers present on the beach (some serious lens/gear envy), the ability to get up close and maybe get “that shot” or mention that I had the opportunity to use a Nikon D810 with (what I thought was huge) 400mm lens. Unfortunately I became distracted by SOS and eventually CRAFT kicked back in resulting in me forgetting to write about this amazing and sometimes emotional event.

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Mick Fanning Paddles Out

There should be a support group for people who suffer from SOS or CRAFT disease. Somewhere their loved ones can drop them off for a few hours where they can be monitored and not make any unnecessary or spontaneous purchases of shiny new objects. Oh wait, there is such a place. Its the Pub and that’s where I’m off to.

Until next time, Happy Shooting Photographing

The Eyes Have It

 

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Red Flames, White Lines

I’ve said it before, car shows are the place to go and get your photography groove on. You can spend hours wandering around the cars photographing all aspects of the chrome adorned hot rods and on some occasions the people who own them or have been hired to work on them.

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But every now and then you find something different, something that is worth that little bit of effort to photograph, making sure that you get it right and in this case it was this gentlemen with the steadiest hands I have ever seen painting the white edging around the flames.

As I started to post process the images I felt as though that overall there was to much red and I ended up going down the path of processing the image to black and white. DSC03031 1Now the problem I have is I don’t know which one should be the final product.

Which one do you prefer?

The Green Caps

I could get used to being a surf photographer only because of the sand between your toes and the beautiful sunshine but I had no idea how to photograph a Surf Lifesaving Club Enduro Swim.

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What I do know is that camera gear is not water proof and I figured that I could go up to my knees if I needed to get some shots.

But the opportunity to photograph the competitors ends once they sprint into the water and start swimming.  So I waited around the finish line for about 40 mins and looked around to see if I could photograph anything else.

I also never reset any of the settings from previous shoot so my ISO was set at around ISO 50 or ISO 80 which was probably way to low for what I wanted to achieve. I need to remember to reset the settings after each shoot or at least check them when before I start.

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Shirts optional when you’re photographing an event at the beach.

It was at this point that I realised I was on the wrong side of the finish line. All of the competitors ran to the left of the finish line and I was on the other side. I’m not sure how to fix that, maybe try and work out where I think they would run and move to that side before hand, either way its going to be guess work.

I also realised that a Sony A7 with a 28-70mm lens is insufficient and that a DSLR with a selection of lenses would have been much better suited to this type of event. I would have liked to photograph more of what was going on in the background however there wasn’t much happening at the time which is probably due to the event starting at 8.30 am.

Happy Shooting.

Some Dogged Inspiration

This is an image that has stuck with me for years and was taken by Elliot Erwitt in 1946 in New York City. If you don’t know who Elliot Erwitt is, I highly recommend this interview by his son, Misha which will add some context to this image and who he is.  Elliot Erwit has an amazing body of work and dare I say is an inspiration to many people, including me who have picked up a camera over the years.

Elliot ErwittI love this photo because he has got down low, real low and he has managed to maintain the dogs eye contact while showing just how small the dog really is. For me, taking this photo takes skills and some incredible forethought. He has other photos of people with small dogs and some are photos that easily recognisable.

I have always wanted to use the theme of the photo as inspiration to see what I could create. As its been pretty hot in here in Australia lately (40+ Degrees Celsius) I figured the best spot would be the boardwalk at the beach to attempt to take my concept of the small dog theme. There should be plenty of people around and some should have their pets out for a walk in the mornings or late in the day.

DSC02805I sat on the kerb of the footpath and watched this little dog with its humans to see what he would do. He kept looking back behind him and turned around completely while they waited for someone else to join them.

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This little one, called Melluka, rides the train on the boardwalk and keeps his human train driver company.

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I asked his humans if I could take a photo of their dog and they said that he wouldn’t come near me but he did exactly the opposite and walked straight up to me and let me take his photo. Maybe he was looking for a sniff, a lick or maybe some food but he was pretty happy that he was out for a walk with his humans.

It was definitely worth getting out in the sweltering heat to photograph these dogs and their humans and I must admit that the British Bulldog photo is my favourite photo of the day.

What inspires you to get out and shoot ?

Please note that I am unable to link Elliot Erwitt’s image or text to a specific website as I am unable to find one that has all of his work located however I am going to provide two links, both from the New York Times. This link is an interview with Elliot Erwitt and an Art Review. If someone finds an appropriate link please let me know in the comments as I will update these links. 

The Small Details Matter

The photographic opportunities at car shows to practice are endless. I haven’t met a car enthusiast yet that isn’t happy for you to take photos of their prized possessions.

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However the problem with car shows is that a lot of people crowd around cars, and I always seem to find that they get in the way whilst trying to take a photo or you’ll end up with a lot of people, who are as photographic as I am, in the shots. So to avoid having photos with people in them I try and photograph the smaller details or find a view point that is often over looked by everyone else.

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With these two shots (above and below) I wanted to process them in such a manner that they would have a 70’s or 80’s feel to the overall image. This is something that I was thinking about when I took the photos as well however I’m not sure that I have managed to achieve the look but I may let them sit for awhile and come back and have another look in a couple of weeks to see if I’m still happy with the result.

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Some times the smaller details are in the windows.

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There were quite a few people around this muscle car either taking photos with smart phones or DSLR cameras but I would say that most of them ended up with photos that had a lot of people in the way or in the background. I simply didn’t want that so I had to look harder to see what I could photograph. I spent a few extra minutes walking around the car I found that the GTR Badge with the thick black racing stripes which hopefully leads the viewers eye away from the badge towards the window making you see the other colours and more of the car.

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HOLDEN = Hope Our Luck Doesn’t End Now

Well that what I think of every time I see a Holden Badge.

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As young fella I had a Holden GTR Torana, It went like the wind and handled like it was on rails but every time I turned the engine over the police would turn up and book me for some thing, anything they could find which forced me off the road and ultimately to sell it. The police were happy about it, I wasn’t !

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Some of these hot rods or muscle cars have interesting signage on the doors and this sign is something that I wanted to photograph because of the originality of it and the likely innuendo that the sign writing implies.

The end result is a set of images that are all about cars showing the smaller details that are often over looked which in some cases the small details matter.

Happy Shooting

On ya bike!

I would pretty happy if ever get to be as old as these two and still cycle, even just to get a coffee and sit by the ocean.

I took this with a Samsung Galaxy S8 and processed it ever do slightly using snapseed. Never leave home without your camera smartphone.

Now to dig through my garage to find my bike.

Well that’s what I think I do!

I enjoy blogging, I find blogging to be a great way to put thoughts down, show photos, pass on tips and tricks like detailing how I took that shot etc.

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Town Cryer, Australia Day 2017

Well that’s what I think I do!

But the reality is the exact opposite. I’ve read more blogs than I’ve written and spend more time surfing the net (Hello Youtube). Last year I posted an extraordinary number of posts. An incredible 12, that’s right. 12! Sounds like one a month but I didn’t even manage to maintain that. A simple one post a month. How hard can it be, honestly once a month?

Why? why do I continue to blog? or attempt to anyway.

I think the answer is that I like to write my thoughts down, read other peoples blogs, show some photos and connect with other bloggers and photographers.

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Luna Park Ferris Wheel, Sydney

But sometimes the only way for improvement is to set some goals, and before you ask no they’re not new years resolutions because we already 10 days in.

It occurred to me (after surfing the net for awhile) that these goals need to be kept simple and somewhat achievable.

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Money Please! An old lady begging in Davao City, Phillipines. 

If I follow my own advice and do what I have set out to do these 4 goals should be achievable over the next 12 months,

  • Set time aside to sit down and write posts

Manage my time better, especially since that blogging can be achieved from mobile platforms so there is no real excuse not to.

  • Improve my writing skills

This is something that I have been striving to be better at throughout my life. Writing concisely to get your message across is important, especially blogging however there is always room for improvement.

  • Continue to improve my photography skills. 

I’m already doing this by shooting as much as possible. Constantly looking for something  or a scene that is unique. I agree with the principle of taking your camera everywhere you go but that is not always possible however with smart phone comes advances in technology for cameras built in to smart phones. Combine that with blogging from mobile platforms should see an increase in posts for 2018.

  • Define my social media 

Social media is not something that I’m terribly good at. I have Instagram (IG), Google Plus, Twitter and 500Px. Some of these social media platforms I post to quite a lot but some I haven’t touched in over 12 months and should be cancelled or deleted. Instagram(IG) is by far the easiest to post a photo to but to make the most of it I need to find one theme and stick to it (street or 4wd touring). This may result in splitting the themes into two seperate IG accounts.  The other social media platforms, well I’m just not sure on what I’m going to do with them yet.

All of these are achievable I just have to follow my own advice. Does anyone have any NYE Resolutions goals of their own for 2018, I would love to read them.

Old Plane, New Colour

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