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Photo Escapades, Australia 18/8/17

Putting paid to the idea that post processing in the computer is cheating.

Hands up those who think that processing in computer software is cheating. I keep hearing people say it and it's a LOAD OF RUBBISH!

When I first started working in photography, much of my day was taken up in the darkroom. I would make a print, take it wet in a tray, and show the photographer. He, it was a male dominated industry then, would tell me to darken the sky, darken the foreground, vignette, lighten an area and/or darken another. Like all serious photographers of the time, I developed an amazing ability to dodge and burn using my hands in front of the enlarger lens, sort of like making rabbits in a light striking a wall. In fashion, women had very light skin, men had darker skin, we lightened the centre of women's faces and often darkened the shadows on a man's face. This was all done by shading an area we wanted to lighten (dodging) and burning (giving more exposure) areas we wanted darker. These techniques were passed down through all the photographers that went before me. Was this cheating? Did Ansel Adams go out, shoot a picture, process the film and make a straight print? – I don't think so! Ansell Adams was a master of the darkroom and is arguably the most famous landscape photographer to have lived. When digital photography came along, it made these techniques much easier, quicker and more accurate to apply. 

Photography allows us to express what we saw, in a picture. In interpreting our pictures during processing we can inject and or enhance, emotion, thus making the picture much more than just a snapshot. On this level I recently came across a very interesting article. It points up the thought process and the level of detail considered in making a famous B&W print. Have a read and then consider using these ‘dodging and burning’ techniques when you next process an image in your chosen software, keep it simple for a start, but in the end I think you’ll find that by simply dodging and burning, you can control the way the eye travels through the picture, which is what makes a picture interesting. Have a look: Magnum and the Dying Art of Darkroom Printing. Maybe it's not dying after all, just changing.

Ric Wallis.


Photo Escapades, Australia, Posted 25/7/17

Seeing like a photographer - it's a mind set.

In order to take great pictures, seeing like a photographer is THE most important thing. If you take a lot of pictures then start calling yourself a photographer and thinking of yourself as a photographer, this will help you observe the world as a photographer. After the sun sets you'll notice the effect the reflected sky has on buildings, water and especially car paintwork. When the sun shines you'll notice shadows cast, highlights on dull surfaces and the effect it has on colour. There's just a myriad of things to be seen and noted so that when you go to make a picture, as opposed to taking a photo, you'll be able to plan the best time to be on your location or where to put an object to get the best result and, more importantly, the result you saw in your minds eye.

Ric Wallis.

Photo Escapades, Egg Beach, Flinders Island, Tasmania, Australia,  27/1/17

One of the highlights of our visits to Flinders Island is Egg Beach. It's quite a long beach completely covered in egg shaped rocks of all sizes most of them perfectly smooth. When you think about it it's pretty obvious that the shaping is due to tidal and wave action rolling them around against each other but of course everybody asks how it happened. A while back I wrote to the head of geology at Melbourne Uni and asked how he thought they were formed. Unfortunately, he was too busy to reply, however further investigations have born out the obvious theory. Anyway, it's an amazing place!

Ric Wallis.



Photo Escapades, Flinders Island, Tasmania, Australia, 28/12/16

Chappell Island sits off the west coast of Flinders Island and is normally just a barren island which rises about 200 meters out of the water. It has it's own particular brand of Tiger Snake. Matthew Flinders named it after his wife Anne, Chappelle (yes, they left the 'e' off the name of the island!)  being her maiden name - the poor guy had been at sea for a long time and I think maybe it was the shape that inspired him! Anyway, one morning after our dawn shoot, we saw this amazing sight. I think it's caused by warm wet air flowing over the cool island causing it to condense into a thin layer of fog with the bottom of the island uncovered. Really great!

Ric Wallis.

Photo Escapades, Australia. 13/3/16

We took 2 planes to Three Hummock Island and late on the Sunday afternoon while on our way home, we overtook the beautiful Beechcraft Travelair containing some of our party, and got this wonderful view of it skimming the tops of the clouds over Bass Strait. Yarra Valley Aviation own and operate a vatiety of aeroplanes idealy suited to flyiing into the remote destinations Photo Escapades frequent.

Photo Escapades, Flinders Island, Tasmania, Australia, 28/3/15 – 8:04 AM.

When I'm on a Photo Escapade I only sometimes take a 'real' camera. We were in the ranges doing our dawn shoot and it was a bit cool. When everyone had had enough, we climbed into the van and started heading back for breakfast. As we were driving down the hill the sun shot through the hills and licked over the clouds, "wow, does anybody want to get out and get that?" no, they were all too warm and cosy. I shot this on my little Canon G10 happy snapper through the open passenger side front window - I was driving. It just goes to show how important 'right place right time' is. I wish I'd had a propper camera though.


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