Saturday, 30 June 2012

Honey, I shrunk my poodle

For about ten years I raced as a professional cyclist .... and I have to wear glasses. If I don't wear my specs I literally can't see more than the length of a 50mm prime lens. So when i was cycle racing and it rained, as it invariably did on race days I always picked up the comment 'Why don't you have little windscreen wipers on your glasses!'

At first, I treated these jibes from competitors and spectators with a degree of humour. But after the first two hundred comments they started to wear a little thin. So I started racing without my specs - actually racing 'blind'.  The comments stopped and so did my direction. If I was leading the bunch and i missed a  corner and went straight ahead the remainder of the lemmings followed me!

You may ask, and rightly so 'what the heck has all that got to do with photographing dogs? Wet hounds to boot'. Well, a client came to me with two brand new little French Poodles. Sure, they were cute, but ordinary cute. based on my theory that most people look better when you wet them I asked the poodles' owner to pop them into the sink with the coffee cups and give them a bit of a rinse. It was amazing. You've heard that saying 'Honey, I've shrunk the kids'; well this poodle shrank to half its size when put in water. Not only that, but my poodley little mate shook his little body at the same rate as a South American Humming Bird. My lens and glasses were completely covered with poodle spray. I could have used little windscreen wipers on my specs.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

The Three Minute Rule

Rules! Rules! Rules!
There's only one rule I follow religiously:
'I never microwave my camera for more than three minutes'
Forget the rule of thirds, the Golden Mean and the 5/3 rule. Put aside the sunny f16 and the Depth of Field 1/3 rule and develop a passion for your subject.
Margaret Bourke-White said. 'Saturate yourself with your subject and your camera will take you by your hand'
Feel for your subject, love your subject and develop an unstoppable passion for being involved. There is an eternity to obey rules after you die.
The shot:
I was in Andreh Pradesh in India a few days after the 2004 tsunami which took 15,000 lives. Our team rescued about 200 orphans and took them to the Hebron orphanage where I lived for a week. Two hundred meters away near the canal was a leper colony. The portrait is of a beautiful Indian lady with leprosy. 

Enter the Fremantle Portrait Prize and win $5000 cash. Entries close 1 Aug 2012.

Learn how to break all the rules, increase your love of photography and accelerate your learning by joining one of my University of Western Australia (Extension) courses.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Looking for Fresh Ideas?

Get out your weight belt and your underwater housing and take a look at what a difference a drop or two of water could make to your next portrait. 

Friday, 15 June 2012

Not just a waitress

If you want to create really boring images have lots of rules and guidelines - the 'Rule of Thirds', colour compensations, extreme sharpness and so on. Then, become really paranoid and engrossed with the technicalities  'Which focal length lens will I use?', 'Will I shoot RAW or jpeg?' and 'Should I use matrix or spot metering?'
Finally, subject your image to a severe 'MAC attack'. Run it through seventeen layers of Photoshop, assorted plug-ins and ten series of over-sharpening and HDR.
There is a really good chance you will end up with an 'A' level Deadly Boring Photograph.

........ on the other hand ....

  • take one lady
  • a mirror
  • a lipstick called 'Not just a waitress'
and you have all the ingredients for a creative image.

Low light and not even a tripod in sight.

'Creative images are not made in the camera, they are made in your mind.'

'Powerful portraits are not of a subject or even of a  photographer ..... the power of the portrait comes from the relationship between subject and artist in a split-second on a quiet Sunday morning.' 

Enter the Fremantle Portrait Prize and win AU$5000 cash. Entries close 1 August 2012