Photography, Website & Print Design solutions.

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Website and design services end.

Due to a casual job turning into full time employment and the purchase of another business, I no longer have the time or energy to provide web design or graphic design services as of July, 2016.

I will continue to make small changes and website maintenance only for existing clients.

I will also continue on with my photographic interests.

Black and White

My daughter started studying photography at college, her first assignment is black and white film. We went out on a shoot together which I really enjoyed and I got inspired … I don’t take or edit many black and white images as I generally like to capture all the detail in my photos. Restricting yourself to mono helps you appreciate how light plays and works in an image.

Governors Gate

Playing with black and white, Government House, Hobart.

It was quite windy and a long exposure captured the movement in the leaves. I like the flare from the lamp and the long shadows.

Kellys Steps1

Snapped, Kelly’s Steps, Salamanca.

DSC02217

The photographer.

Night Walkers

Night Walkers.

Arch Window

Looking through the arch window.

I also had a play with some simple items around the house.

New Neighbours

“New neighbours”

I don’t really have new neighbours but it seemed like an appropriate caption after I took the image of a cup of sugar.

Toothpicks

Toothpicks.

Perhaps I have just inspired you to try something different?

 

Grades – Photography and Social Media

Light tree

The results and feedback for the Tas Uni course were released today!
Here are my results and feedback from tutor Jessica.

Project 1 – dropbox:   Good Pass.

Anthony,

Thank you for submitting your work for Project 1 and well done.

You have shown a very keen engagement with this project, exploring multiple ways to both interpret and execute the selfie theme. Your explorations have involved lots of documentation of your thoughts, experiments with techniques and design and editing. Your final three images are clever and well-justified. They convey your intentions well, incorporating the techniques that you have both learned and endeavoured to master throughout the course and are all visually very striking. I believe I have already said this in my critique, but I really like your lighthouse selfie. That is a really lovely image and so multi-faceted. All yours images are successful in this way. The more you look, the more you see. This is a wonderful technique to have mastered.

Your digital journal is also extensive and a great back up to your work. It nicely highlights your processes while analysing your own, and others work. It shows a clear path from where you began, to where you are now in submitting which is great to see. Perhaps a few more images of other photographers images that are inspiring to you or similar to your own would have helped to further contextualise your work, but apart from that – great work.

Project 1 – Critique -Group 8:   Good Pass.

Anthony,

Well done on completing this component of the task. You have very successfully contributed to the discussion board by uploading a range of creative and intriguing images for critique. These show a thorough investigation into your own ideas for a story. You have also shown consideration for the feedback you received from myself and your peers by actively showing your changes as a result of this advice given.

The feedback you provided to your peers was both insightful and constructive. You offered very positive reinforcement and made suggestions for how they might enhance their work. Your comments were considered and extensive, showing an interest for engaging with other artist’s ideas and processes.

Well done.

Project 2 – dropbox:   Good Pass.

Anthony,

Thank you for submitting your work for Project 2 and well done.

Your work has progressed in a very sophisticated way since the beginning of this unit. You have shown your ability to explore your own interests, push your own limits and acknowledge and actively take on the advice of your peers. Your final selection of images are very successful. You have cleverly explored a theme that plays right into the unit’s overall focus. You have also chosen a theme that has allowed you to explore many different aspects and techniques in photo-making. Your images are both documentary-like in nature, presenting a study of human nature, while also being studies in viewpoint, perspective and composition. The way you have captured your subjects as they use technology creates a very interesting dialogue between the viewer and the subject as we are viewing them through technology also. This makes them particularly successful for me.

Your journal is extensive and very engaging. You have documented your processes well, offering insights into your thoughts as you have progressed. What I would like to have seen is a little more contextual analysis – that is comments on images and photographers from photographers that you admire. This would have benefited you in the formation of your ideas.

Great work.

Project 2 – Critique -Group 8:   Good Pass.

Anthony,

Well done on completing this component of Project 2. You have successfully participated in the discussion board by uploading a range of original and experimental images for critique and by providing us with a detailed recount of the ideas and processes behind your work. It is good to see such detailed comments to accompany each image so that we are directed on how to correctly read the image. Nice work.

Your feedback on the work of your peers is well-informed, constructive and professional. You have provided positive feedback and detailed analysis of their images as well as made suggestions as to how they might improve. It is great to see that you took the time to comment on each of their individual images and offered your thoughts.

Great job.

Lost World

My daughter has started studying photography at College so together we set off to explore “Lost World” on kunanyi.
DSC02150
Mist swirled around us providing some interesting subdued lighting on our journey.
DSC02140
Lost World is not a long walk but is quite technical and at times the “track” is difficult to follow. It takes about 50 minutes to walk in.

Hidden Garden

It’s potentially a rather dangerous place an requires great care. There are big drop offs and gaps between the rocks.

LostWorld

It’s possible to get underground into a Labyrinth beneth the rocks however, people have been known to get lost.
DSC02125
Massive boulders under a towering cliff make for a surreal atmosphere. We were the only ones there …
Lostworld Lostsouls
… apart from those that got lost, never to return.
Life down the crack
Life survives between every crack
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and a top rocks.knarley
Life is harsh in such a place, but it thrives and goes on.
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We also visited the boulderfields on kunanji before returning home.

 

Social Media Roundup

SocialMediacrop
After three months of using various social media outlets I’ve found they are all different and have their own strengths and weaknesses. I think most people will formulate their own strategy in regard to the different platforms and what they hope to achieve from them.  Some I used more than others, mainly because of convenience – like Instagram for me is limited in that you can only upload from a mobile device. It’s very convenient for them, but as I now mostly use my Sony RX100III to get better image quality and flexibility in post processing, it is too clumbsy and time consuming transfering it to post from my phone, though I do like the platform with it’s very clean square image layout.
I can see a use for it and I may try a 365 mobile project on it in the future – I was inspired by fellow student Cathy Williams 365 project “#WorldAtMyFeet” where she takes an image of what’s under her feet every day.

Below is my strategy that works for me.
WordPress is a flexible platform that enables static pages for a website as well as a good blogging platform which allows you to present and post things the way YOU want them to appear. It is based on templates which makes it easier to set up, though it is more difficult to learn than all the others but far more flexible. Templates do restrict your design choices but there is a huge amount of free ones to choose from and it’s not hard to find something you like and can make your own and you can also pay for templates and further customisation if you wish.
Once set up, editing posts and pages is similar to using MS Word, though the editing interface not WYSIWYG which can be occasionally frustrating switching back and forward to check after each edit but you can drill down to HTML code if you wish. I recently noticed you can now schedule when a post will go live, allowing you to add a few at one time and stagger their publication.
On it’s own, it’s reach is somewhat limited but I’ve found that by posting blogs regularly with tags and promoting or sharing them using other social media like Facebook, Tumbler, Pinterest and even Flickr is a very affective way of building an audience and ranking higher in Google searches.
My most successful WordPress site is tasview.com which I started to promote my aerial photography in October 2014. It has now had over 53,500 views by more than 20,000 visitors. Topic has a lot to do with popularity and helping people with problems on the (at the time new) Walkera Scout.
You can access other sites I’ve created on WordPress HERE.

Flickr is still my favourite photography platform, mainly for it’s EXIF inclusion and copyright policy as well as it’s clean layout which is flexible enough to let you upload any sized photo. I have set mine up so that any uploads are also posted onto my Facebook wall for friends to see. It does have some restrictions, you can’t shedule uploads to stagger them and if you upload more than three images at a time they can often get missed by your followers. You can organise your photos into albums, set a location and join or create groups to share and comment on each others work.

I found Tumbler too restrictive for me in it’s layout and post format, but it is a good way to reach people and works well to share my WordPress posts to.

I like that you can create board to organise your stuff on Pinterest. Again, I don’t think I’ll be using the platform directly but will use it to pin WordPress posts for promotion.

I also use YouTube to upload my video’s (when I get back into flying) and then share them using Facebook and other social media mentioned above. Video upload is possible of Flickr but I found it wasn’t very successful.

Most of the other social media platforms I mentioned on my earlier post I tend not to use.

Project 2 – FINAL SUBMISSION

Photography and social media – counting the cost.

DSC01598Who doesn’t want a new phone every year? But do we really NEED one? The recent rise in both the supply and consumption of social media has been a boon for retailers selling the latest mobile hardware with agressive marketing techniques. Most manufacturers now upgrade their flagship model every six months and many consumers have an appetite for the latest gadget. These devices are no longer simply “phones”, they are a touch screen controlled computer in your pocket, sporting more powerful multi-processors than desktop PC’s of 7 years ago.

DSC01606With a huge range of competing companies and devices, the advance in technology in the last few years has been staggering. Most if not all these devices now sport cameras, some with 16 megapixel and higher resolution with greatly improved image quality  and are tethered to increasinly faster and larger wireless networks making it more accessible than ever for anyone to capture a moment and share it directly with their friends – or the world – through easy to use “free” social media networks.

DSC01146BBut is social media actually free, or social? Many people now seemingly live there lives through a tiny screen, staring at it instead of what’s happening live right in front of them, capturing every moment to share – ironically, exactly what I was doing for this project, this realisation made me become more aware, observant and even patient. I began to question within myself everything about social media.

DSC01855-BMany people love their devices. They decorate them, buy accessories, hold them with pride and gently caress the shiny screen in awe. It completely captivates them. They pull them out at every opportunity.

DSC01824Why do we do it? Is it for our own satisfaction or do we think others will be interested in what we do – what we saw? Does it enrich our lives – or make us time poor? What happens to all this collected data – where does it end up?

DSC01161Capturing, editing, creating and sharing a moment in time has quickly become a very common and generally accepted phenonenum. We give this information away freely  – often valuable, private data – to social media without thought, to be stored on a large companies server which can often be used at their whim – even in advertising without your express permission.

DSC01329-BIt seems if we’re not capturing social media, we’re consuming it. While it can be a great way to catch up on work, family or friends in other locations, we’re drawn away from those sitting right next to us while we interact on our precious little screens.
We can get so involved with what’s happening in that little box we often even ignore those important to us. It can change our emotions, suck us away to another world and steal part of our life!
DSC01848
We not only often give up copyright ownership to our content, we’re also helping these big companies build up an online profile about us and our friends. Not only with each post but with every click, every view, we are tracked and give a little more of ourselves away. These profiles can be used for targeted advertising, our data can be sold or traded and is extremely valuable.
Every time we leave a device on in our pocket and it’s teathered to a network we are not only contactable, our movements are also trackable, especially with GPS enabled.

DSC01339 Social media is not unlike an addiction to a drug. We crave it. It changes our behaviour. It doesn’t discriminate between young and old, race or class.  As we lovingly consume it, it also consumes us!
Wireless networks get larger, faster, more powerful. We put large radio towers next to schools and houses. We don’t yet know the full effects on society, on relationships, on our health, the long term consequences of all this information constantly passing through the air around us, inside us.

DSC01471In our lust for digital media, we also consume physical resources. Previously loved devices now broken, traded in for the latest model. Many products are refurbished and distributed to “poorer” countries or broken down and recycled. Many end up as landfill. These devices contain precious metals, contaminating heavy metals and toxic chemical batteries.

The want of a new phone.
The gift of tech.

What is the true cost of social media?

Project 2 feedback and changes …

I recieved a great response and some good feedback in the Universities peer critique for project 2. Based on the feedback and some suggestion, I’ve made a few changes to my project.
DSC01855-B
I have recropped the shot above and blurred the background so it is less distracting behind the phone users.
DSC01855
I tried another crop above which included another photographer but I thought it aslo distracted from the boys who were so interesting.

As a note on it’s development, the image above is actually one that I combined from two photos – the unused portions from both are shown below, you can make out where it is split behind the boy at left which shows how close I came to not capturing this image.
DSC01854 unused

After much consideration, I’ve chosen the image below to replace image 7 of the smiling couple at the table.
DSC01848
I dismissed this image originally as it is a tad blurry, but I’ve sharpened the ladies face and phone and I think it is more fitting to the caption as part of the story.

Some other options I considered are shown below:


I think the image below is probably the most powerful in the series.
DSC01329-B
I’ve blurred the background to put more focus onto the subject so that it has more of an impact. I did this in Photoshop by selecting the background only then using the blur tool so that it appeared natural as if I’d used a larger aperture when taken. I also used the burn tool the darken the girls midtones and highlights slightly and the sponge tool the add a little saturation to her so she stands out a little more.

Of the last image in my series, the tutor Jess said this:
“The last image of the piled up broken phones is effective but doesn’t work as well with the series. I would reconsider this one or include another that is similar.”
After thinking about Jess’ comments, I had an idea last night to alter the last image so that it included a human element and a reference to social media platforms in the hope that it ties in better with the other images in my series while relating to the story of social media consumption.
DSC01471
As I couldn’t access the old broken phones again, I took a seperate photo and used photoshop to combine them.

Project 2 – the final ten!

Photography and social media – counting the cost.

With the following ten images, I attempt to provoke the viewer’s thoughts on our interaction with digital technology and the true cost of social media. We consider engaging in social media a free activity … but is it?

I began capturing photos for this project around Saturday’s Salamanca Market in Hobart. It was a good location to blend in with camera toting tourists which made it easier to catch close up candid shots with my Sony RX100 III. None of these photos were set up, they were taken in public areas so no permission was required. As I captured more images, the ideas began to flow. My original intent evolved from a collection of images of people interacting with thier devices and not those around them, to a story of social media and mass consumption. I headed into town to capture some store shots and hunt down the holy grail – an idea I had for the closing shot.

I took hundreds of photos, many of the same group of people from different angles, then whittled them down to 31 images which I published in previous posts on my journal. They were selected based on several factors, primarily how people were interacting their devices and what people around them were also doing – many also using devices.

I edited the selected images from RAW files in Photoshop then cropped them using a 16:9 aspect ratio for consistency, sometimes using the rule of thirds as a general guide to draw the eye to phones, eyes or an Apple logo. Sometimes they were cropped to include background activities. A few images are actually two combined in order to get the right user interactions from several people in the photo as often one would be looking away or blocking their phone from me while the other was fully involved.

Out of these 31, I selected to following ten to tell the story, I could easily have included more. Some were left out as I felt the quality or composition was poor. I felt that these were the most powerful to deliver my message and provoke thought in the viewer.
I didn’t wish to answer all the questions I ask, but rather leave them open for your own interpretation. To start a discussion, to get you thinking.

In this, I hope I’ve succeded.

DSC01598Who doesn’t want a new phone every year? But do we really NEED one? The recent rise in both the supply and consumption of social media has been a boon for retailers selling the latest mobile hardware with agressive marketing techniques. Most manufacturers now upgrade their flagship model every six months and many consumers have an appetite for the latest gadget. These devices are no longer simply “phones”, they are a touch screen controlled computer in your pocket, sporting more powerful multi-processors than desktop PC’s of 7 years ago.

DSC01606
With a huge range of competing companies and devices, the advance in technology in the last few years has been staggering. Most if not all these devices now sport cameras, some with 16 megapixel and higher resolution with greatly improved image quality making it more accessible than ever for anyone to capture a moment and share it directly with their friends – or the world – through easy to use social media networks.

DSC01146
But is social media actually social? Many people seemingly live there lives through a tiny screen, staring at it instead of what’s happening live right in front of them, capturing every moment to share – ironically, exactly what I was doing for this project, this realisation made me become more aware, observant and even patient. I began to question within myself everything about social media.

DSC01854
Many people love their devices. They decorate them, buy accessories, hold them with pride and gently caress the shiny screen in awe. It completely captivates them. They pull them out at every opportunity.

DSC01824Why do we do it? Is it for our own satisfaction or do we think others will be interested in what we do – what we saw? Does it enrich our lives – or make us time poor? What happens to all this collected data – where does it end up?

DSC01161
Capturing, editing, creating and sharing a moment in time has quickly become a very common and generally accepted phenonenum. We give this information away freely to social media without thought, to be stored on a large companies server which can often be used at their whim. Valuable, often private data.

DSC01831It seems if we’re not capturing social media, we’re consuming it. While it can be a great way to catch up on work, family or friends in other locations, we’re drawn away from those sitting right next to us while we interact on our precious little screens.

DSC01329We can get so involved with what’s happening in that little box we often even ignore those important to us. It can change our emotions, suck us away to another world and steal part of our life!

DSC01339 Social media is not unlike an addiction to a drug. We crave it. It changes our behaviour. It doesn’t discriminate between young and old, race or class.  As we lovingly consume it, it also consumes us! We don’t yet know the full effects on society, on relationships, on our health, the long term consequences of all this information constantly passing through the air around us, inside us.

DSC01471
In our lust for digital media, we also consume physical resources. Previously loved devices now broken, traded for the latest model. Many products are refurbished and distributed to “poorer” countries or broken down and recycled. Many end up as landfill.
The want of a new phone.
The gift of tech.

What is the true cost of social media?

More images for Project 2.

On Saturday I set out hunting more images for Project 2 of the Tas Uni course – “Photography and Social Media”. None of these shots were set up.
DSC01824
I was after more general shots of people taking photos or using their phones so that I had more images to choose from for my final selection of ten photos. People watching entertainers made an easy target. I spent some time waiting for several users to gather in one spot and tried to position myself for good composition. Having everyone doing something interesting at the same moment took some patience.
DSC01820
Taking images of people at outside tables proved more of a challenge.
DSC01828
Trying to get different angles and decent composition without raising too much suspicion and an attempt to capture people being natural often wasn’t an easy task.
DSC01817
I found by flipping the RX100’s screen up and holding the camera down as if I were casually adjusting settings or viewing images worked well allowing me to work fairly closely without spooking my prey.
DSC01831
I never really noticed how people use mobile phones until undertaking this project, it’s often like an unconsious habit for some. As soon as they sit down, they have to check their precious device and give it a gentle stroke. Sometimes it delights them, sometimes it seems to disappoint them or make them angry.
DSC01826
And it’s lure is not restricted to those of fewer years. When you look for them, the use of mobile devices is staggering.
DSC01944
I discovered there was a car show on Parliament Lawns, a perfect place to blend in and  find distracted people taking happy snaps, allowing me to naturally shoot quite close. I normally love looking closely at all the cars but today I was instead, studying the observers!
DSC01958
Most times when you take photos, it can be a challenge to get people out of the picture, so for me this was a real turn around, deliberately trying to get people in my way.
DSC01948
On occasions I had people trying to duck out of my way or apologising for getting in my shot. The course turned out to be a bit of a conversation starter.
DSC01969
I had a lenghty chat with the camera enthusiast shooting with film in the above shot after he politely tried to get out of my way. When I explained what I was doing, he said he’d seen the Uni course advertised and had considered it himself. I cropped this photo to include the subtle background photograhers at far left and right.
DSC01855
being a bright day, I found the high contrast in the park a challenge to work with at times but I do like this shot, it forced me to edit the image differently to my usual style.

I thought it would be great to have lots of images to choose from for Project 2, however, now I’ve edited and posted another eleven here, it’s made the decision on which ones to include or omit all the more difficult. There’s a few for me that are obviously in that fit the theme and story I wish to compile but I now have to whittle it down to just ten. There’s also a few that are out mainly because of lower quality or composition.
I’m still not sure exactly how the story will unfold, though I have a few ideas utilising the sub-theme of consumerism of both hardware and social media. I’m hoping it will flow as I start reviewing and selecting the images. The project is due in about two weeks.

Photography Filters & Editing RAW.

In my last post I showed some filters I use. Here are some examples using these filters.
DSC01618
Above shows the very sublte difference between no UV filter and one attached. It has a lesser impact on digital camera sensors than it used to on film and it varies between cameras. I choose to have one pretty much permanently attached to my lens more for protection from dirt and drops than anything else, especially as my lens will be open when I take off with it on my drone. These images are unedited jpegs straight off the Sony RX100III camera.
UVPolarised.jpg
A Polarizing filter has a much bigger impact on an image. Above, I’ve shown how simply placing a clean pair of Polarized sunglasses over the lens can reduce reflections from water surfaces, alowing you to see through it better. As it also lets less light through to the image sensor, either speed, ISO or apeture needs to be adjusted to compensate – in the case above, I used a slower shutter speed. A proper filter will give sharper results and can be rotated more easily to give the result required. Of all the filters, I believe a Polarizing filter is the most important one to add to your kit as similar results can not be achieved in post processing. This is also a great filter to use in the snow as it results in better details in the highlights.
GraduatedND.jpg
Another filter that in certain situations such as the extreme example above, can avoid issues that can not be fixed in post processing is the Graduated Neutral Density filter. This filter is darker at the top and gradually becomes lighter at the bottom (as can be seen in the sky on the image at right) – it can also be used sideways or on angles. You can see above in these unedited images, in order to get some detail in the hedge at the bottom, the top tree branches are almost completely blown out with no filter and can not be recovered even from a RAW image in post processing.
RAWedit
To demonstrate the advantage of using the RAW format, the above image was edited – or post processed in Photoshop from the RAW version of the previous jpeg image with Graduated ND filter. This image is pushed pretty hard to show just how much extra data or detail can be recovered from highlights and shadows of a RAW image, compared to a jpeg, resulting in much better end results.
RAWadjust.jpg
Above shows the basic settings I generally start with to edit a daytime landscape shot. I have developed my own style of editing RAW photos based on what I like – which is including detail thoughout the range of light to dark. It depends on the image – subject, lighting and the feeling I want to convey – how I move the sliders at the right.
Most aspects of any image can now be adjusted in post and as long as an area isn’t too under exposed or highlight blown out, mistakes in the camera can be corrected – you can make an otherwise ordinary picture – extraordinary! Of course though, it does help to get a half decent shot to begin with. From my own experience and the way I like to edit my images, I’ve found it is better to slightly under expose an image than risk highlights blowing out, as detail can be recovered better from shadows – to a point.

There are many more advanced techniques, like selective editing, layering and blending that I also sometimes use. To view my photos, browse my Flickr photostream.

If you wish to learn more about photography and editing, head over to Trey Ratcliff’s inspirational and very informative site: Stuck in Customs.

Camera gear & essentials.

They say the best camera is the one you have on  you. My current camera gear is nothing overly fancy, photography on a budget but it suits my needs.
PhotographyGear
I brought a Nikon D3200 when they were first launched in mid 2012. If I had known the D5200 was coming, I would have waited for that as it has a flip out screen and more advanced features.
I chose the D3200 because at the time it was one of the smallest and lightest DLSRs suitable for bushwalking and I preferred the ergonomics to the equivalent Canon options. Nikon also have a good reputation for their lenses, however, I’ve found the standard 18-55mm and 70-30mm VR lens aren’t exceptional performers and not that easy to focus manually. It’s features are more akin to a first time DSLR users and pretty limited, but it does take pretty good 24MP RAW images when you get it right, which have a pretty good dynamic range between highlights and shadows.
If you have a DSLR there are some accessories that can make your photography much better.
Tripod: Still photography doesn’t require an expensive tripod as long as it is solid enough to  keep your camera still. Using a tripod can dramatically improve the sharpness of  your images, even for landscapes.
Filters – If you can only afford a few filters, these are the ones to get:
A UV filter is almost always screwed onto my lens for protection as much as anything else but it does improve bright daylight contrast.
A Polarizing filter – this can be turned which affects how light enters the camera, reducing reflections so you can see better into water and improves cloud contrast. Polarized sunglasses can work well over a phone camera or small lens.
A Variable neutral density filter can be turned to change the amount of light getting onto the image sensor. Great on brighter days to get motion blur like water or shallow depth of field.
A linear graduated filter is has a dark tint at the top smoothly going to clear at the bottom. One can be seen here at the front slid into a holder – these use adapter rings so can be used on different sized lenses saving you buying different sized filters.
Remote Shutter release – two are shown, a simple IR remote button and a intervalometer which can be set to release at intervals of time for time-lapse or long exposures. They can be had for as little as $20 online.
I recently bought the Sony RX100III secondhand to use for aerial photography and I’ve found it a fantastic little camera. If weight weren’t so critical for me, the A6000 with interchangeable lenses would probably be a better choice, as I do miss the longer zoom but the RX100’s 24 – 70mm zoom is mostly adequate. I carry this camera nearly all the time, it weighs less than 300g and takes fantastic RAW 20.1MP images. It’s discrete and I the rear flip up screen is convenient and usually easy to see, I’ve never used the pop up viewfinder! Two minor niggles so far – the zoom button is a bit sensitive, I’d prefer if it zoomed slower and when filming, changing focus gradually manually is difficult to do smoothly.
I have a Samsung Galaxy S5 and used to use it’s camera a lot before I got the RX100. The image quality can be very good but you have to work around the available light. No RAW format here unfortunately, highlights can blow out but HDR mode can be used to help with high contrast shots. i considered the Sony Xperia Z5 mobile when I purchased but for me, the S5 won out on it’s other features.
TIP: Protect your camera from dust or moisture – I’ve done this for both the Sony and the Nikon, get a zip lock bag that fits your camera and your hand inside. Grab a pen or texta and trace the end of the lens onto the bag. Cut the circle out of the bag so that it fits snuggly around the lens. A rubber band can act as a second barrier. Keep it in your camera bag for light rain or places like the beach.

Project 2 – story ideas!

DSC01422
While on the hunt for photos of people taking photos and using devices on Saturday at Hobart’s Salamanca Market, I found I was having trouble getting what I call my “photohead” on.
DSC01431
For me, this is the headspace often I get into when looking for photo opportunities. Difficult to explain and some times hard to get into, it’s like a surreal or different way of seeing the world as if time slows down into frames, cutting out other distractions and fears – almost seeing images through imaginary frames around my eyes and not looking at things as they are, but rather how they will be after editing. It can be a dangerous place to be when you need to pay attention to what you’re actually doing – like driving! – so it needs to be used with caution. I presume other’s have similar experiences too.
DSC01428
I wasn’t as happy with the images I was capturing and got thinking about other aspects of our device obsession that I might be able to use in my theme. This was before I read the Week 8 notes on Sunday night – which began talking about using photos for stories!
I remembered seeing clear boxes for recycled phones in shops some time ago – after being lovingly caressed, coveted and so much attention poured over them, they are discarded, often broken and thrown away – the life cyle of a mobile device – so I headed into the City to search out my idea.
DSC01440
This is the first shot I got, proudly displayed in the window of a mobile phone repair shop. I was pretty happy with it, but not quite what I was after. I continued my search going into a few shops with no luck, then I found this box …
DSC01461
After asking permission to take photos, I had problems with reflections and there weren’t many phones in there, mostly chargers, and I couldn’t get in there to re-arrange them, so still wasn’t really satisfied. So I headed next door into Coogans, where sales assistant Russel was extremely helpful!
DSC01466
He handed me his box of recycled phones and left me alone to empty it onto a table, arrange and shoot away!
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This is my favourite shot with the over hyped Apple logo using rule of thirds and in focus, broken screens, past loved devices used and abused. This will very likely be the closing shot for my project.
While walking around, I had asked in the Telstra store if I could take a photo along the line-up of their new phones, but was told no. I still want to get a shot of shiny new phones for sale – perhaps with customers as an opening shot. I have to head into town today, so might try again – they can’t stop me if I take it from the street 😉
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To keep the presentation of my theme consistent, I’m cropping my images horizontally  with a 16:9 ratio. Most of the images I take are cropped like this as it fits a standard TV, monitor or smartphone screen.

I haven’t talked about the INSPIRATION for this project, it was my own photo below, taken in February 2014 of people capturing a busker that got me thinking about this theme while making observations at Salamanca. Ironically, this is the very first image I’ve taken experimenting with street photography of people.
Feb2014
The caption reads: “Most people I know don’t like having their photo taken, so I don’t take many photos of people. I was reading recently about street photography but have never tried previously. What better place to start than other people with cameras!”

It can be found on my Flickr photostream HERE.

UPDATE:
I took my trusty discrete RX100 III into town with me and captured two shots suitable for opening the story of my theme for Project 2 which I’m extremely pleased with. I might include both of these as they tie in so well together and also the end photo I plan to use.
They were both taken from public areas outside the premises – a bit of a grey area as far as permission/privacy goes but I believe the law allows it and it’s for a Uni assignment – not showing anything a normal person wouldn’t see from the street.DSC01598
The shot above is a combination of two images which are shown below before blending and cropping. I really wanted the “Want a new phone every year?” to be the subliminal stand out – for me my eye first explores the bottom of the image before seeing the sign. Of course everyone wants a new phone every year – but do we really NEED one?
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Behind the scene: Here you can see the man walking past is from another image – before I adjusted the levels to match the ceiling inside. You can see I had a bit of leeway with cropping, but I was also restricted in that I cut the top of the man’s head off. I think in my edited photo he helps lead you into the shot – store.
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Mmmm, shiney new phones all in a line – “give the gift” indeed! This is very close to the image I had in my head for my opening shot but may now become the second. Both these shots show some powerful marketing strategies to entice us up upgrade to the latest – and dispense with the old. That has become the nature of our digital life.

Drone wiring diagram

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To help show what’s involved in building a “drone” to carry a flying camera, I’ve put together this complete wiring diagram showing all the components and how they are connected up.
While the overall diagram may look overwhelming to many initially, once you break it down into it’s smaller components and sections it becomes easier to understand and build the craft. The main skill required is soldering. And patience – lots of it.
Still waiting on my props before I can test fly.

The F550 Y6 Tricopter rebuild with Sony RX100 III and G40 gimbal has been moved to a new seperate page on tasview.com HERE, where there is much more information about the build and this diagram for those interested.

Project 2 – themes

I’ve had a real battle deciding on a theme for Project 2 of the Photography and Social Media University course. I normally take photos as opportunity presents itself in front of me, not usually with a particular purpose in mind. I had plenty of ideas, but I had trouble settling on one. Several ideas flowed and a few opportunities presented themselves – like the trip to Bruny Island where I got a good ten shots, I find old buildings intriguing – and chimneys and little detail on buildings – particularly around Hobart, there’s a few crackers about if you pay attention that most people would fail to see. Mt Wellington/kunanyi is on my back door and presents endless opportunities – waterfalls etc. If you look at my recent photos on Flickr you can see some examples.
I took quite a few very sad shots of roadkill recently which I won’t post, though they make an emotive subject and challenge the viewer, I find them somewhat gruesome and extremely confronting. And of course, the drone which I’m building.

Then it happened. The spark in my head went POP with a thought I couldn’t ignore. What better subject for a “Photography and Social Media” course, than – photography and social media!!!
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Most of us have an electronic device in our pockets. It invades much of our daily lives without us even realising it. Sometimes we ignore what’s right in front of us and around us, even people sitting right next to us, to stare at a small screen and interact or share stuff with people and things somewhere else via pixels. How absolutely bizare!
1324I don’t normally take photos of people so this subject challenges me to hesitantly wander out of my comfort zone to get the shots I am looking for. Fortunately, people are often so engrossed in their little electronic device that they are oblivious to someone taking their picture, even from quite close.
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I began exploring this idea around Salamanca Market and am so far extremely pleased with the results. These ten photos were taken over two Saturday’s.  None of these shots have been set up or posed for in any way.
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These guys are looking so intense at their phones while the girl lying down is ignored. I will continue to try and capture situations as they present themselves for this theme over the next few weeks and see what happens before selecting the final ten for submission.
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Most of these shots have been cropped with the “guideline” of thirds in mind, but when you explore and look around them as in the shot above, you will see people in the background – on their phones.
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I’m not even sure what this lady blending in with the crowd was capturing, clearly not the performer.DSC01118
I took several shots from this spot, but chose this particular one because the singer looks like he’s trying to get the otherwise occupied “crowds” attention. You simply can’t compete against a hand held electronic device, even if you have a guitar.
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Some of the content in the Uni course has focused on looking at other’s work for inspiration. While I sometimes randomly browse Flickr at what others are doing and occasionally try similar techniques, I prefer to come up with my own ideas and approach to photography. I have deliberately not sought out what others are doing on this subject.
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All these photos were taken with the Sony RX100III in RAW format. While it has a 70mm zoom lens, I had to get quite close to the subject in many instances. It’s small size and flip up LCD screen is a great advantage in not looking too obvious allowing you to get more candid shots.
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While I absolutely agree privacy is a concern, legally – if you are in a public place, anyone can photograph you without asking permission. Nowdays, almost anywhere you go within a city, surrounding area or building, you will be photographed. Big brother is watching!
And people are worried about “drones”?

Looking at these images, one has to ask the question: is it social media, or anti-social media?

I will publish these photo’s on my Tumbler account over the next few days.

The new tripod ..

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After an almost complete rebuild it’s now ready for launch – when some new props arrive.
Some initial testing will be required and I may need to change some configurations but I’m hoping to get enough shots before the Photography and Social Media course deadline to use this as my theme for Project 2.

Technical information: DJI F550 flame-wheel frame with Aimdroix extended arms, iFlight G40 gimbal, GentWIRE-MULTI  remote controlled Sony RX100 III camera, NazaM V2 flight controller with iOSD (On Screen display providing in-flight information live from the craft), F12E controller with First Person View. 6600 mAh battery, expected flight time around 12 minutes.
AUW: 2.5kg, Motor centres: 56cm apart. Top props 9443, bottom props 1145 – this may change depending on efficiency.

Playing with light

A couple more selfies I hadn’t edited yet. I decided not to submit my Project 1 selfies last Friday as I still have a few ideas to play with.
Using a single light source and trying a few different angles, I’ve post processed the following images using different methods in Photoshop. I’ve deliberately kept them dark and minimalist with lots of negative space. This goes against my usual editing style where, depending on the photo and subject, I try to recapture as much information from the highlights and shadows – as can be seen throughout my Flickr feed.
They’re both cropped using the rule of thirds onto my left eye. I prefer the first one, I feel it has a movie quality about it. I’ve added quite a bit of clarity, where as the second I took it away to make it softer. It is also cooler – more blue and to me conveys more emotion or action, like something is about to happen.


Both were edited from RAW images from the Sony RX100 M3.
Of all the camera’s I’ve owned, this has quickly become my favourite. Light weight, takes great quality images and is so vertatile.
I’m off for a bushwalk tomorrow. It will be nice to not have to lug 8+ kg around to get a decent shot.

1072 Workbench

After a few late nights over a hot soldering iron and tying seemingly endless zip ties – my new best friend, I have the RX and gimbal fully functional on my UAV along with all the other electronics. It’s now ready to fly again, just waiting on some propellers to arrive …

Project 1 submission

 
I did some re-cropping and final editing in Photoshop on some selfies but only chose to submit four for peer critique in the Utas forum.

Content and Context (what is in the images and why did I make them)
Being a “Selfie” project, I’ve put myself in the following images. I tired to show various aspects to my personality through them with a mix of personal and professional shots taken during my activities over the past few weeks. I particularly enjoyed playing with reflections which is apt given a selfie is a reflection of how you present yourself to the world.
I’ve cropped them all square so that they can be used as avatars for various social media, only some would be suitable to be used in a round format such as Google+ as I’m not in the middle. Some are clearly of me, some are deliberately obscure, hiding my identity but still revealing a little about me.
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Enclave: Situated in my “man-cave”, a place I’ve built where I work, tinker and relax, I wanted to appear almost part of the room – not standing out too obviously so the viewer is more inclined to browse at all the things around the room, witch include many of my hobbies and passions to show what I’m capable of in a professional manner.
493 Enclave
Composition and technique: It’s quite a dimly lit space, I used a tripod mounted high, pre-focused and a 10 second timer with the Sony RX100M3 – and ran backwards and forwards taking about 20 shots with various poses. I tried to capture myself at my computer looking relaxed and in control of the relative chaos around me. I’ve edited this photo based on some of the feedback provided in an earlier forum post. I’ve re-cropped it square with the border fading to black to contain it, my eyes are central horizontally in the image but I’m deliberately less than 1/3 from right into the shot so I’m not overpowering everything else (kind of an anti-rule of thirds). I’ve pumped up the colour a bit, but reduced the highlights on the monitors which were previously overpowering.
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Eye Selfie: A professional selfie, I wanted to capture my reflection in my own eye. I had in mind to just use my eye, but including part of the camera says a little more about me.
Selfie2 eyesD

Composition and technique: My eye is centered horizontally with my reflection 1/3 top so it is the focus of the image. To enhance this, in photoshop I sharpened my eye and blurred gradually out so it looked like I had taken it with a small apeture – I didn’t as it was hard to get my eye in focus in the mirror. I created a second layer, made the top one mono, deleted the area of my iris so the colour one would show through. It took a lot of experimenting with the mono area to get it soft enough, yet enough contrast to not look threatening. I used the dodge and burn tools to reduce some shadows around wrinkles, bags under the eyes and in the corner, the shadow from my brow without getting rid on any imperfections completely.
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Lens Selfie: Born from an epiphany, this photo exceeded my expectations. A professional selfie based on my love of photography, I’m shown reflected in the layers of glass in the lens of my Nikon.

Selfie4 LensC

Composition and technique: Taken with my Sony RX100M3, I placed my Nikon camera facing up on a table outside so there would only be sky behind me and shot it hand held at an angle so you could not see the RX100 – only me. It took probably 10 shots to get this – with the upside down image of me bang in focus – what would be captured by the camera’s sensor – this was a real surprise to me. I’ve center cropped it further than previously here to really get the detail inside the lens, it also makes it more abstract. I despeckled it as there was some noise, sharpened it, intensified the colours, increased the contrast and adjusted the levels again. You tend to see a lot more the second time you edit an image.
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Lighthouse Selfie:  During a day trip to Bruny Island with the family, I took this photo of me reflected in a window of the Cape Bruny Lighthouse with my Sony RX100 M3.
I particularly like the depth and layers in this image with the spiral staircase and window inside and the reflections on the window showing dramatic clouds outside, bordered by the tattered window frame.
A lot can be read into this image and is the reason I took it. Perhaps a metaphor for how we can only see certain parts of a person by what bits of their selves they choose to share with others during given moments of time. The damaged window frame could represent external scars, but there are dark or unknown places inside the viewer can’t see. We’re all connected by the helix of DNA, all going somewhere and have probably weathered a few storms but can be too quick to judge others without knowing their full story.
For that reason it is one of my favourites, though I don’t feature prominently.

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Composition and technique: I sat the RX100 on the window sill to get the best angle – it was a little awkard as it was a bit high so I took several shots – I was trying to exclude the camera yet still get me with the storm clouds behind and the lighthouse interior.
I’ve cropped it more for what’s around the edges than any “rules” – the space is even between the window corners, the damaged frame and I’ve come down almost onto the window at top. It has been selectively edited in photoshop to enhance the storm cloud reflection while retaining what little detail is in my face.
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Project 1 editing: Can I submit 4? It’s a tough choice on which one to drop. If I have to, it would likely be the enclave one as more thought and creativity went into the others.
I also like that the have a theme of reflection in them – and a selfie reflects who we are, or rather, who we want to present to the viewer!

Below are two more images I further edited but did not submit for critique:

Selfies for Utas …

I haven’t had a chance to catch up on the Uni course notes for a while, but I’ve taken a few shameless selfies during my daily activities over the last few days. The following images have had mild manipulation in Photoshop, generally adjusting levels, vibrance, contrast, white balance and the like. I’ve cropped them square to show how they could be used as an avatar.
1038LighthouseSelfieDuring a day trip to Bruny Island with the family, I took the photo above of me reflected in a window of the Cape Bruny Lighthouse with my Sony RX100 M3.
I particularly like the depth and layers in this image with the spiral staircase and window inside and the reflections on the window showing dramatic clouds outside, bordered by the tattered window frame.
A lot can be read into this image and is the reason I took it. Perhaps a metaphor for how we can only see certain parts of a person by what bits of their selves they choose to share with others during given moments of time. The damaged window frame could represent external scars, but there are dark or unknown places inside the viewer can’t see. We’re all connected by the helix of DNA, all going somewhere and have probably weathered a few storms but can be too quick to judge others without knowing their full story.
For that reason it is one of my favourites, though I don’t feature prominently.

1063 GBMan
The image above is perhaps more a professional “selfie”. There is another me – I’m also a real life gingerbread man! My wife and I own Tasmanian Gingerbread and have a stall at Salamanca Market. While my wife does the cooking, I run around like a gingerbread man does, getting ingredients, making deliveries and doing technical and design things like fix equipment, PC’s, design our branding and packaging and maintain the online store I created – tasgingerbread.com.
The gingerbread man on our car got rather muddy running around Bruny Island, but he had lots of fun 😛
The shot above was taken with my Sony RX100M3 using 1.8 apeture to minimise focal distance for dramatic effect and and 24mm lens to deliberately increase distortion.

231 SelfieChooks
I’m a bit of a night owl, often staying up till 2am tinkering in my “man-cave” on drones or PC related stuff, so I don’t often get up very early, except Saturdays, for our Salamanca Market stall.
Last Saturday morning around 6am, I snapped off a few quick casual selfies using my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone’s screen side camera during “the golden hour”. The shot above was just before the sun peeped over the hill while feeding my chickens. Considering I caught about 3 hours sleep, I think I scrubbed up reasonably well.

532 Selfie Supernova
While playing with the early morning sun as back lighting, I caught this shot just for fun and I quite like it. My brain went SUPERNOVA!! Three hours sleep will do that apparently.

605 Selfie FernsAM
This was more my original intention, “golden hour” back lighting through the ferns.  In Photoshop, I used the Shadows/Highlights sliders to recover some detail in the highlights and shadows before adjusting the levels and colour balance. I think my eyes look a little agressive or intense, they were probably trying to close themselves – and I was in a hurry, the wife was waiting to go 😉 And perhaps I should have a shave.

324 Selfie F550
I thought as part of this project, I would also post what I consider a failed attempt at a selfie to show some of my experimentation.
I was trying to use the pink sunset lit sky in the background while taking a selfie holding my rebuilt drone. Clearly the RX100 was in use so I used the smaller screen side camera on my phone, which clearly wasn’t up to the job. Unfortunately using that camera, I can’t use HDR or the flash for fill lighting. The ambient light was already pretty dim, added with backlighting from the sky has resulted in a grainy image with not much detail. I tried to rescue it in Photoshop as much as I could but the detail just isn’t there. I took about 12 shots and this was, um, the best.

I haven’t been back onto the UTas forum for some time, I know I need to post a few shots for others to critique as well as provide some feedback myself. I’m hoping to get a chance to fully engage again during the next week.

#smputas

Rebuilding my tripod …

Slightly off present selfie topics from the Photography and Social Media Uni course, however this will be of great benefit in my future aerial photograpic endevours, so I hope it counts for something.

The final parts that I ordered back in November for my F550 “drone” or UAV arrived, so I’ve been busy almost completely rebuilding it when opportunity arises, usually late at night.
338 cameras weight
The reason, I wish to carry a much better – and heavier camera, the Sony RX100M3 and G40 gimbal which means I need to trim as much weight elsewhere from the craft. I plan on also rebuilding and modifying some parts of the new gimbal to make it lighter.
024 F550 HexThe original F550 kit which I built is a Hexacopter – it has 6 plastic arms with a single motor on each.
923 Arms WeightI’ve been busy installing new, longer  lighter weight aluminium arms, but instead of six arms, I’ve reduced it to three, with a motor mounted top and bottom of each. This configuration is called a Y6.
817 inside electronics Hex
The internal electronics for the old HEX setup had been added to over time and became, well, a little untidy.
957 inside electronics Y6As I had to resolder the E300 ESC’s (Electronic Speed Controllers) to pair them up for the new configuration, I also changed the layout, tidied things up and reduced as much weight as I could, almost rebuilding it completely.
519 F550 Y6
This has resulted in a much lighter craft around 1kg as seen here, which should be more stable in wind and also more agile, allowing my to carry the heavier camera and retain flight times of around 15 minutes with an all up weight around 2kg.
I have ordered some larger propellers which should improve efficiency and hopefully increase flights to 18-20 mins – or allow me to put a smaller, lighter battery to trim weight further.
I still have the camera and gimbal wiring to finish and figure out the best way to attach it – along with some legs.

Playing catch up …

It’s been a busy week settling into my new roll as a red van driver, remembering the 3 new routes and absolutely loving it! Scanning the pavement is much more enjoyable than staring at pixels for a living, as I had done previously for 26 years as a compositor at the Mercury.

During one of my short breaks between runs, I tried to create a mind map as part of the course requirements. This is as far as I got before work duty intervened – but it’s an attempt for now at least.
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I took the photo below while turning around in a tight spot on one of my runs. On the left, the old Mercury building, on the right, the Hobart GPO – for me an ironic link between my past work life and my new employment.
For many of my 26 years at the Merc, my only view of the world from my desk was across this laneway from the window above the steel landing, the highlight of the day (other than escaping at lunch time) was when the sun would briefly hit the opposite wall casting long shadows from the bricks.
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A huge contrast to the ever changing scene in my new “office” below. Not a very good selfie, but one I’ll thow in here and on my personal Facebook account, it was taken while sitting in traffic with the smaller rear facing phone camera and is heavily backlit.
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Another hat I wear is that of Gingerbread Man – My wife and I own Tasmanian Gingerbread (tasgingerbread.com).
Christmas is of course the busiest time for us, I deliver products and pick up ingredients during the week and help out at our Saturday Salamanca Market stall. My wife does all the cooking and at this time of year we employ three people in our commercial kitchen at Kingston.
Of course, this week our oven decided to break!! Luckily all Christmas orders have been filled and we have a little bit of Christmas stock left.
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I was trying to catch up on the Uni Course notes at Salamanca and to escape disruption so I could concentrate, I went and lay on the grass with my phone. I haven’t done this for way too long and it brought back fond childhood memories of lying on the primary school oval watching the clouds roll overhead at lunchtimes with my friend Joanne Bates – and inspration for another selfie for Project 1.
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I didn’t get very far with the course notes, I’m still a few weeks behind.
I have a Family Christmas gathering today (Sunday) and back on the road again tomorrow.

I headed down to my lair one night during the week and finally had a play with my new camera gimbal for the F550 UAV or “Drone”, as they unfortunatly are often referred to. I don’t like the link to military Predator drones and the implications of spying and what-not that some people assume.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m considering using this as project 2. Below is a photo of the parts layed out ready for assembly to give you an idea of what’s involved. There’s not only the physical side of assembling and balancing the hardware below and all the wiring (which I started threading through the gimbal already), but also setting up the software, gimbal callibration for smoothness, remote transmitter controls for both gimbal and camera and the live video feed. It’s quite complex and involved but the improved image quality should be well worth the effort.
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I’ve done this previously on a smaller scale with my current setup on the F550 but this system is different, so I have many new things to learn. I currently use a much smaller GoPro sized Xiaomi Yi camera on a modified Walkera G-3D gimbal with HDMI to AVI video converter pictured below.
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The gimbal is mounted on two “rails” and counter balanced with the weight of the battery to move it forward so as to avoid propellers in the shot and also flickering shadow from them.
In any case, I will document this project and it will become a part of my tasview.com website and blog in the hope I can help others out who wish to attempt this. Since starting the tasview site in October 2014, it’s had more than 15,000 visitors and over 40,000 views.

Anyway, off to the family function … until next time.

Busy times …

Well, It’s been a busy few weeks. At the same time I started the Uni course in Photography and Social media, I started a new job at Aust Post as a Christmas Casual in the Mail Centre, learning to operate 3 big mail sorting machines. My shifts were evening. Last week I got a call and was asked if I wanted a full time position driving a van! How could I say now, of course I wanted to.
So, I immediately had 3 new routes to learn, my last one has 51 Red pillar boxes to empty, remembering how to get to each of them – and return to base by a strict time with not much lea way for error or traffic hold ups. I had my first solo run on Friday, started off nervously but by halfway around my route I was wearing a huge grin and loving it!
Here’s a quick selfie I took after my very first solo run:
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I took this with the smaller front facing camera on my phone, the result is pretty ordinary so not one I will submit for my project.

I haven’t had a chance to even look at week 3 information yet, nor finish some of the requirements for week two – like creating a mind map. If I were to create a mind map at the moment I don’t think I could find a piece of paper big enough – my brain is full! But I do have an idea for creating one when I get a chance.
I plan to continue with the Uni course when I’m more settled into my new roll at work and can hopefully catch up during the Uni break over Christmas. My hours are much longer and cut more into my day.

I’ve been considering themes for project two – I normally just shoot photos as situations arrive or I see something that visually works for a photo.
Last week a new gimbal to mount the Sony RX100M3 onto my F550 UAV or “drone” arrived along with a HDMI converter to give me live video feed on the ground and a remote camera controller. I can’t wait to set this up but it hasn’t had a look in yet. Lots to learn and fiddle with before it gets in the air. I’m also waiting on some longer and lighter aluminium arms to arrive and want to rebuild my current 6 arm UAV into a Y6 – 3 arms with a motor on top and another underneath of each arm to save weight.  This may become my theme of Project 2 of the course – two birds with one stone as it were.
My favorite idea so far though is “Monsters and Freaks”. When Abel Tasman discovered Tasmania he said that the place was so far south that it was only inhabitable by monsters and freaks. I would like to use this to show the two extreme sides of Tasmanian ideologies that often divide our community – the Monsters: those that are willing to destroy what is naturally special and spectacular on this island in the name of improving our ecconomy and jobs, and the Freaks: those that are standing up for the protection of the environment over short term greed.
This would require a lot of time and travel to accomplish what I would like to document and achieve, given my current workload I think I would be stretching myself a bit thin. We’ll see, a while before Project 2 needs to be submitted so I will keep my thinking cap on and see how I go.

Project 2 – the selfie, post 2

Below are two more selfies and some versions with various edits I’ve made. Playing with the idea that a selfie should “reflect” some part of our life or interests, I decided to play with reflections and these ideas evolved from that. This also plays with the fact that most selfies on the internet are taken from a reflection in a mirror.

Selfie reflection in my own eye.
Not that I was aware of it, but perhaps subconsiously inspired by the UTas’s graphic that led me to this course.
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They say the eye is the window to the soul, I wanted to capture an image of myself reflected in my eye.
“You never know just how you look through other people’s eyes” – Butthole Surfers in ther song “Pepper” – this is how I look through my eyes, kind of.
This is a single image taken using a mirror.
Selfie2 eyesA
To get only the iris in colour, in Photoshop I copied the image to a second layer and made the top image mono and adjusted. I then used the eraser tool with a edge hardness of about 45 to delete just the eye section of the top mono layer so the colour one showed. (This can also be done using masks instead). I had to then desaturate the colouriris as it looked way to intense and fake against the mono face.

I uploaded this pic to facebook as my avatar cropping very close onto just the left eye but it looked a bit menacing. I played around and come up with a single eye square crop for avatar use that includes the camara  – it still uses the “rule of thirds”. I digitally plucked a few long eyebrow hairs too 😉

Selfie2 eyeB
I still thought it looked a bit menacing with the added contrast and detail and I wanted to put even more focus onto the eye and the reflection of me in it, so below I’ve edited the shot by blurring the outer edges of my face and sharpened the eye to that the eye is drawn into it more. I also reduced the contrast of my face and reduced the shadow over my eye to soften the image.
Selfie2 eyeC

After getting some feedback in the UTas forum, I was looking at my efforts, re-reading the course guide and thinking about the images application when I the concept below poped into my head – a reflection of me in my camara lens. Unsure if it would work or how it would come out I’m exceptionally pleased with this single shot result, which has had only minimal post processing.

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Cropped using the “rule of thirds”.

I took it with my Sony RX100M3 looking into my Nikon D3200 lens placed face up on a table outside to get plenty of light. A hedge behind me frames the cirles of the lens nicely and I chose this one because the smallest “selfie” – which is upside down as it would appear on the camera’s sensor is very sharp and the focus fades as it moves out through the layers of lens glass.

Selfie4 LensB

Cropped with upside down me in the centre.

I love the depth, layers  and colour in this shot, however, I need to rething it as a small avatar as it loses all the lovely detail when reduced and it is quite dark. I perfer it cropped with the cirle in centre, to me it seems more balanced with this image. Here’s a closer cropped version which I prefer. For a small avatar, it could be cropped further.
Selfie4 LensC

 

Project 1 – the selfie

We are required to submit three “selfies” or self portraits for the Uni course as part of our assesment. These can be of our personal, creative or professional self and it’s very open and broad.
Sounds easy? Well, for me the image taking is not a problem, three selfies, simple. The challenging part for me is accompanying the images with text describing how I came up with the concept, inspirations, techniques – what, why and how …
For me, ideas often happen at the strangest times – and usually the just happen. An epiphany if you will.
Sometimes I will see something that inspires a creative idea and I bend it to my own needs or store it in my brain for later. Sometimes I’ll draw from something I saw in the past with no idea when or where but it will influence me to try something new.
I like to stay up late. REAL late. Sometimes when I’m really REALLY tired my brain works in wierd ways and BAM!! It’s like looking down a tunnel on a train with light at the end and I can’t stop, grabbing ideas as i fly past them until I explode out of that tunnel with creative genius! Sometimes I look at it again in the morning and think – “what was I thinking”, but most times I’m chuffed with the results.
Often after catching up from the above sleep deprevation with the occasional sleep in, something that’s been bugging me will suddenly become clear – things will come to me in dreams or on waking.
This happened yesterday with Project 2 where we need a theme for 10 photos – more on that in a future post.

Anyway, self portraits.
I guess there are two kinds – those you would use as an avatar – small square representation of yourself, usually a bust or head shot and larger image showing perhaps your full body and more of your surroundings.
Here’s a few examples of me I had posted before the course, there’s quite a variety showing some of my public self, interests and personality.


Below is my first shot taken for this course – perhaps the easiest one.
I’m in my comfort zone, surrounded by technology (I love it!). It’s where I spend a fair bit of my time, building, tinkering, designing, getting creative, sometimes playing games and staying up late. I built this space myself under my house, it’s an extension of me. It has room for eight PC’s and people – a group of mates come up every few weeks for a bit of virtual fun, usually head to head on a race track or hunting each other in a shoot’em. I guess you could call this my office or the Man Cave, I call it … the Enclave. More information can be found HERE.

The Enclave - Self Portrait 1

The Enclave – Self Portrait 1

I took – let just say quite a few – shots, trying different distances to get MORE in (yes, there’s much more!), different heights, angles and poses.
This was my favourite, I look relaxed and happy and though the image is quite cluttered, it shows what this side of my life/personality is all about and many of my interests. I also like the composition – it complies with the “guideline” of thirds, there’s a lot to look at in this image but I feel it flows quite nicely.
I took it with my Sony RX100M3 and processed the single RAW image in Photoshop, bringing out detail in the highlights and shadows and stripping back some of the colour but not all of it as I thought too much information was lost here with so much going on and too much colour made it more overpowering/confusing.

Now to post it in the Uni forums for some feedback. I hope they’re kind 🙂

Basic photography tips

Here’s a few tips/suggestions on taking and editing – or post processing your photos, I hope this post helps you get creative and take better photos if your new to photography.

Two most important tips with any camera to produce better photos:
1. CLEAN THE LENS! A dirty lens results in poor quality photos as it smudges the light hiting the sensor and can add dust speckles.
2. HOLD THE CAMERA STILL! The biggest cause of blurred images is caused by camera shake – this can happen just by the pressure of pressing the button. Ideally support your camera or your body with a tripod, wall, rock or something soldid. Improvise if you have to.
And a couple more:
3. Use the available light to it’s best advantage for your device. Move your position to try some different angles – be aware of back light subjects, they will come out dark.
4. Composition. Generally “the rule of thirds” works best for balanced photos – however, I consider it it more of a guideline than a rule. Divide your image area into thirds and line features up like eyes, horizons with these lines as can be seen below. In most cameras and phone settings you can turn on a grid/guide to help you. Always try to keep the horizon horizontal – unless you’re deliberately doing it for artistic reasons.

Rule of thirds - more of a guideline.

Rule of thirds – more of a guideline.

If you use a phone, there are some great free apps that allow you to do some impressive stuff quite easily before uploading. If you have an Android phone, Snapseed (by Google) is very easy use with a introductory tutorial.
I now use one called HandyPhoto, which is similar but I find it more powerful and doesn’t seem to introduce as much grain when pushing HDR and some other filters – I’m not sure if these are available on Apple’s store.
Unfortunately neither of these will let you put text for a watermark over your image, but “Photo Editor” will (though it’s a little clumsy) and it will also let you crop and resize the image before uploading.
If you are concerned about your photos being stolen – and unfortunately it does happen, you should add a subtle watermark and upload them at a reduced size – around 1200px wide or 800px high is large enough to be viewed online but won’t print very well at larger sizes. Reducing the size before upload also saves your data while your roaming 🙂

you can see more detail on a big PC screen than a phone screen when editing. On PC I use Adobe Photoshop CS6, which is brilliant but quite expensive! It is the last version which doesn’t require an ongoing subscription. You may be eligible for the discounted education version of Adobe Creative Cloud or Lightroom if you are a student.

For a very powerful FREE editor, try GIMP – GNU Image Manipulation Program.
It’s open source and available for PC and Mac.
I haven’t used it in some time but it has many of the tools in Photoshop.
There are tutorials and documentation available on the site – and also search the university of YouTube 🙂

I took this shot on my old Samsung Galaxy S3 using the built in HDR (Hight Dynamic Range) mode below, which brings out the detail in high contrast areas (highlights and shadows). The camera takes several shots and combining them automatically so you do have to hold it still.
By experimenting and using a phones inbuilt features you can get the best out of it and achieve surprisingly good results.

Sunrise Hobart HDR and edited.

This Photo was taken on a Samsung Galaxy S3 using HDR mode and edited with Snapseed.

Original Normal mode Jpg

This is the original unedited “normal” mode JPG from the S3.

Unedited HDR mode JPG from the S3.

This is the original unedited JPG in HDR mode on the S3. You can clearly see much more detail in the highlights and shadows.

I stumbled upon the following handy image size guide for uploading to different Social media on Pinterest – thought I’d share here.

Original source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/214624738470307136/

I previously had a problem with Facebook compression making some of my images look pretty ordinary.
By experimenting before I found the guide above,  I got the best results with images 1000 – 1200 pixels which were not compressed before uploading. In Photoshop I set the jpg image quality to 10. Looking at the chart above I got it right 🙂

By cropping and resizing your images correctly before upload you also save on Data which is important if on a limited plan.
If uploading some photos from your phone to Instagram, you can share it from the same upload to FB, Tumbler, Flickr and a few others – which saves time and multiple uploading / data.

And so it begins.

I’ve started a unit with the University of Tasmaniain in Photography and Social Media. I intend to use this Journal to post my pictures and thoughts as part of my study.

As part of this unit we are encouraged to explore social media and find people and photos that inspire us.
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INSPIRATION Photographers who have inspired me.

Trey Ratcliff (co-founder of mySpace) is perhaps my most inpsirational travel photographer/blogger, I first found him on Google+. He not only takes brilliant images but is happy to share his techniques and has quite a following. He also reviews the camera gear he uses. I’ve learnt a lot from looking through his images and reading his posts.
You can find his online blog here: www.stuckincustoms.com

Tom Anderson on Google+: https://plus.google.com/+myspacetom
is also a founder of mySpace and an excellent travel photographer.

I’ve followed Peter Schlyter on Flickr for some time:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/peterschlyter/
Scroll down though his pics and have a look at his heavily contrasted mono portraits – I love that they’re stripped back yet retain so much detail.
He’s been the inspiration for a few portraits I’ve done below (not many, I don’t like asking people to “model” for me)

______________________

Here are my initial thoughts on some suggested inspiration:

I found Instagram an appealing platform in that initially you are just presented with a wall of images. The GoPro Instagram feed (given as an example) was the most inspiring for me for it’s vast range of content from different photographers, all shot from a common device – the GoPro. It compelled me to keep searching through the images for a small peek into other peoples extraordinary lives.

Who doesn’t love dogs? Seth Casteel https://www.facebook.com/SethCasteel?fref=ts has found a creaive way to get a new angle on Man’s best friend, shot with an almost quirky sense of humour and compels you to view more.

One of the Facebook inspiration links supplied was for Steve McCurry: https://www.facebook.com/stevemccurrystudios.
I have followed Steve’s WordPress page https://stevemccurry.wordpress.com/ for a few years now and find it engaging and facinating how he captures remarkably diverse images of humans from around the world. I don’t take many portraits myself as I’m shy to approach “strangers” and am curious how he approaches people and engages with them. I much prefer his WordPress layout with the use of a non-distracting dark background than that presented on Facebook, though his Facebook page has over 567,000 likes compared to WordPress’ 36,000 followers.

Though Facebook probably has one of the largest and engaging social media reaches, unfortunately it adds it’s own image compression which can sometimes have a detrimental result on your photos. I did use Google+ for a while, as you can choose to upload your photos without automatic “enhancment”.

Also ownership is a major consideration for me in which “Social media” to share my images on, Facebook’s lack of copyright protection or lack of respect for ownership in the terms of use, meaning your images aren’t protected, unless you watermark them heavily but they can still be used anywhere at Facebook’s discretion – without them asking!

Retaining copyright is one of the main reasons I chose Flickr in the past for sharing my photos as it saves the images EXIF information, as well as it uploading your original or edited photos with no compression. I now limit the size I upload and watermark my images to help protect them.

_______________________
SOCIAL MEDIA
As this is a Photography and Social Media course, I decided to join the main Social Media sites I wasn’t already a member of to try them out and compare them. I read the terms in regard to copyright before using them to upload my photos. Tumblr and Flickr are now both owned by Yahoo and respect the submitters ownership of content, as does Printerest.
I’ve provided some links below and my thought’s on what I’ve tried to give you an idea as the are all quite different.

I use Facebook but don’t like it’s lack of respect for copyright or it’s rigid layout. It’s ok to catch up with friends but I’m careful which images I post and keep them small. I have thought about starting a page for my photograpy as it probably has the best reach but can compress photos.

I have used Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/edgetas for years, it’s designed especially for photos, they’re large and nicely layed out, not compressed when you upload. You click on each image to view larger with a caption or comments and more information, it saves all EXIF info from the camera. You can sort things into your own albums (and make them private) and share photos in groups. I’ve found the community and inspiration here brilliant, I would highly recommend it!
Flickr is my favourite but to be fair, I’ve been using it for a long time. It does take a while to build up a following and the best way to do that seems to be by liking and following others works and finding good groups to post to.
For me It’s easy to upload to and the only one that seems to show all your camera data, which is great when your looking at others photos to learn how they did something.
The “Explore” section is the best place to find new high quality content and users for inspiration, as well as hunting through groups for your interests.

I have a Google+ account https://plus.google.com/+ToneEdge/posts but don’t use it much anymore. I don’t like the layout much, I found it difficult to organise posts and they seem to repeat in your feed when you share to different groups or comment. Could be a setting or something I’ve overlooked. I like the circle of contacts idea to control who sees what but overall I found it … clumsy for want of a better word.

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/edgetas/videos
For sharing video and searching for content to learn things.
Part of Google and integrated into Google+. I’m getting more into video production since buying a UAV or “drone” but haven’t uploaded many. One of my video’s was featured by the SouthernCross News and The Mercury and has over 6,000 views.

WordPress: http://tasview.com     https://abcedge.wordpress.com/
I have several wordpress sites and have set up quite a few for clients and taught them to take over. It uses templates (free or premium) which can be somewhat restrictive and time consuming to set up. It has the biggest learning curve out of the “Social Media” I’ve tried but if you can use Word you should be right, there’s tutorials and help files. I found the photography and gallery section can be clumsy but the results are good.
Have a look at the two WP sites above, it is quite versatile and powerful with pages as well as a blog roll but can be a bit awkward for quickly uploading images. You can set it up to send emails to post.

Blogger: http://www.edgetas.blogspot.com.au/
I started testing some blogging sites out a few years ago for a project, this is really a personal test blog (2006-2008) that was abandoned – I haven’t used it in some time. Blogger was simpler to use but more restrictive than WordPress.

MySpace: https://myspace.com/edgetas

The original “Social Media”, I was and early adapter and initially thought it was groundbreaking and pretty good. A huge redesign and changes in 2013 meant I lost all my earlier entries and gave up on it.

Tagged: http://tagged.com/edgetas

A friend invited me some time ago and I tried it for a while but found it pretty limiting and a bit “spammy”. My profile is currently set to private and I haven’t used it for a few years.

________
Here’s my first impressions on some recently joined Social Media, still much to explore with each though:

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/edgetas
Warning –  Pinterest is extremely dangerous! It quickly sucks you in to a world of wonderful images and short headlines that gets your head swirling with ideas and befor you know it, an evening has passed. Seems good for sharing images with short grab lines and finding things that inspire you. You can “pin” and organise things in “boards” or categories. I quite like it though the layout is restrictive.

Tumblr: edgetas.tumblr.com
More a diverse blog tool with seperate obvious post types, for fun, personal and celebrity posts rather than serious photography (more time here could prove me wrong). Some cool stuff can be found in “Staff picks”, seems hard to discover new things at first but the layout is customizable to suit you. I expect with more use and time Tumbler may be good, my daughter likes it.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/edgetaz/
Major drawback – you can only upload photos from Mobile App, can’t add watermark thru app. Nice clean square image layout. I like the manual photo adjustments, easy to use – can you save presets?
This one is good if you just want to use your mobile for images but is clumsy for uploading images from a camera or PC. Perhaps there’s a way around this?

Twitter:
I have a Twitter account but have never really taken a shine to it’s short form posting. Seems to be mostly about celebrity self-promotion or posts pointing to websites but it is a popular platform. Each to their own.

Probably the best idea is to try them out yourself and have a play. You can always delete them if you decide you don’t like them.

There are a few Social Media sites that I haven’t tried:

Vine: for video

Picassa (part of Google)
Zenfolio
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