The past few months I have fallen victim to a creative slump, a rut, a lack of enthusiasm around my photography. Call it what you want, I felt uninspired. Although I love nature and bird photography, I found myself struggling to make time to get out and shoot. We live on the gulf coast of southern Mississippi. There is an abundance of wonderful birdlife, beautiful sunsets and unique cypress swamps full of wildlife begging to be photographed. When I did get out, I found I was not very motivated to download my images, let alone take the time to process them. I needed a change. What I really needed was a challenge. I decided to try something I had heard of, but have never tried before, in the hopes that it would relight my photographic passion.
I can still remember buying my first camera, a Nikkormat, back in 1974. Since then every camera I ever owned had a viewfinder of some sort built into it. The prospect of ever owning a camera that didn’t have a viewfinder was so foreign to me that I simply dismissed buying the Nikon 1 J5 out-of-hand. Well, the combination of the delay in an updated V-Series body and the lure of improved image quality of the J5’s 20.8MP BSI sensor finally got to me and I bought one a little over a month ago. Within a week of buying the first one, I bought a second J5. What I discovered was that overcoming my ‘no viewfinder’ concerns was a lot easier than I thought it would be.
Not a very positive article to post from the perpetually optimistic Alpha Whiskey, or to pull me away from the exciting Euro soccer tournament (although this particularly pedestrian game will forgive me the distraction of writing this). But on a recent escapade a friend of mine seemed to be missing her photographic mojo. I’m not sure what happened but it had definitely vacated her previously enthusiastic demeanour. Perturbed to see my friend so forlorn I rationed a few brain cells (not having that many) to consider this problem.
Photographing the humpback whales of Tonga has been on my personal bucket list for a number of years and finally in 2015 I got to spend nearly three weeks in Neiafu, the main town in the Vavu’a island group in the north of the archipelago, where the majority of the whale watching takes place. The 170+ islands that make up the nation of Tonga are stretched out over a 800km long archipelago, located about 1600 km north-east of New Zealand in the western Pacific Ocean and are basically a long way from everywhere – even for Australians like me!
I am sad to say that the world of photography lost one of its true masters this past Sunday. Chinese photographer Fan Ho, known for his intimate street photographs of 1950’s Hong Kong, died of pneumonia at the age of 84. His photographs are more than simply beautiful; they show an understanding of light and composition is truly unparalleled. I cannot write anything that does justice to work like this, so I will leave with one of Fan Ho’s quotes – among the most beautiful sentiments I have heard from a photographer: “I put my whole life into a single photograph.”
The transition from film to digital was one of the most dramatic shifts in the history of photography, and countless new techniques arose along the way. Everything from exposing to the right to the ability to review photos on-the-fly dramatically changed the photographic world. Of all these changes, though, one has transformed landscape photography far more than any other: the advent of digital image blending.
We were in the Marina of Santa Barbara and I was looking for a cheap restaurant. Then I spotted On The Alley and rushed to the place. The song California Dreaming (a hit of The Mamas & The Papas) was playing and the attendants were dancing animatedly. When they saw me, they blushed. I just laughed and they immediately started serving me (and the service was excellent). I and my wife, Nina, enjoyed the food and left the place very happily after having a delicious raspberry pie with ice cream for dessert.
I just got back from a trip to Yellowstone National Park to test out the Nikon D500, Nikon D5 and Pentax K-1 DSLRs (reviews to be posted soon) and I wanted to share my experience, specifically my frustrations with visiting and photographing this amazing location, which has been my top spot for many years for photographing both wildlife and landscapes. I spent a week in Yellowstone and my original plan was to stay there for longer if needed, depending on how much wildlife I would encounter. But I had to cut my trip short, because I was just getting tired of seeing the same behavioral patterns of park visitors over and over again – to the point where it was just getting absurd, abusive and downright stupid.
My wife wanted to go out today to buy a few annuals for some of the flower gardens around the house. Naturally I thought this would be a great opportunity to capture some quick images of flowers and I volunteered to go with her. I know…I know…typical husband with an ulterior motive! I grabbed one of my Nikon 1 J5’s, popped on a 21mm MOVO extension tube and the 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 lens, and we headed out to a few of the area nurseries. [Read more…]
More than any other fundamental aspect of photography, light is at the heart of every image you take. Without light, photography cannot exist; it is the foundation of every image, giving shape and meaning to each scene in your viewfinder. Personally, as a landscape photographer, my photographic decisions are shaped more than anything else by the lighting conditions that I encounter. From a soft mist to a dramatic sunset, whether at a mountain or a desert valley, my preferred approach to photography is simple: chase the light.