Northern Territory

What is your personal photographic journey? In a photographic sense, how did you start, and with what equipment? How have you progressed, and where are you, and your photographic skillset, placed today?

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Northern Territory

Postby Wink on Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:27 pm

Hi everyone,

From Australia Day until Easter I'm in Darwin for work, so I'm taking the opportunity to attempt to capture some landscapes with the aim of getting at least a few good enough to print big and hang on my walls back home.

I'm hoping with the experience of the members within this forum I'll be able to learn from your suggestions and comments in this thread on my continuing efforts to capture the shots that will be good enough to hang on my wall.

I recently brought a Lee GND filter setup with a 0.6 and 0.9 soft GND slide. I probably should've got a hard filter too, but I couldn't stretch the budget that far. :(

Here are some of the shots from my first sunset session...

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Larger versions can be seen HERE.
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby the foto fanatic on Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:32 am

Adam, of these images of similar subject manner, I prefer the first. The lighting is quite superb, and I like the balance between foreground and background.
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby aim54x on Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:08 am

Adam, these are all really nice. The first and the last stand out the most to me with the combination of great light (partiulary in #1) and nice depth that draws you into the image. Those clouds really came out to play for you!
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby stubbsy on Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:19 am

Adam

I'm with the others - #1 is the standout. Why? I think it's better lit and a bit more interesting compositionally (although I'd like a more level horizon :wink: ). #2 looks distorted somehow. I also quite like #3.
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby Wink on Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:25 am

Thanks guys!
#2 is a 3 shot pano, so that might be why it looks distorted?

Hopefully I'll get another chance tonight. :D
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby colin_12 on Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:34 pm

I'm with the others on #1. I like the lines of the clouds and cliff converging.
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby biggerry on Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:31 pm

Adam, this looks like a promising location.

Starting with the last 3 images, they all have similiar compositions, I would consider stepping away from the symmetry about the horizon for these, this would work much better if it were cropped to pano style. One thing you will probably learn pretty quickly with seascapes and sunrise is that having a brillant sky (whether it be clouds or not) is only half the game. A brillant sky with a lack lustre foregorund or a foreground with not interesting element will struggle to move the viewer thru the image.

The first image is an example of an interestign foreground and a good sky, when I look at it, my eyes lead from the bottom of the image, to the elements in the foreground like the large rock boulders and the flat white sandstone one, from there they naturally head to the horizon and then the sky. This prcess is much more laboured for the 2nd last one for example.

In terms of PP, there are a plethora of options but really thats up to your tastes.

I would work on the composition, points of interest (intersect them at the power points), leading lines and where possible water movement, however, as usual, above all else, composition will hold an image up, nail this and the rest is childs play.

All that said, the first image is the one I prefer most, don't be afriad to back off the saturation, especially when bumping up teh contrast, early in the morning the colours are brillant and sometimes, even though the scene is like that, a little dialling back of the saturation helps.

Now, I expect at least one sunrise session per week from you up there until you get back to cold melbourne :up: :rotfl2:
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Northern Territory

Postby Wink on Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:36 pm

Ah, I was hoping you'd chime in with your advice... Thanks!

I'm out again tonight. I don't think there's going to be much from it though.
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby biggerry on Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:47 pm

whoops...wrong section for CC, I just realised you posted in the 'photo journey section' and here I am banging on with CC, I hope you dont mind!

Wink wrote:I'm out again tonight. I don't think there's going to be much from it though.


thats also half the game, getting out there regualrly and making do with what conditions you have, only once a year will you probably get the perfect conditions so you need to know how to make do with different scenes, ie no cloud, completely overcast etc. you will find you can sometimes make the best pictures from days when you thought the morning or evening was looking crap!

good luck.
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby surenj on Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:09 pm

Hey Adam, looks like you had some decent (but not the best) light and made the most out of it. :cheers:

If you keep trying you might get lucky with the light thoughl. Good luck.
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby Wink on Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:20 pm

biggerry wrote:whoops...wrong section for CC, I just realised you posted in the 'photo journey section' and here I am banging on with CC, I hope you dont mind!

Not at all! I want C&C and advice on how to improve.
I posted these here because I want to be able to post more photos in the one thread as I continue this learning 'journey' while I'm up here.
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby Wink on Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:49 am

Some of tonight's efforts...

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Re: Northern Territory

Postby biggerry on Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:21 pm

Lookign good Adam, I am soooo jealous of your location right now!

You have the exposure perfect for the sun and sky in these imo. The foreground will need work still, did you use both grads stacked? or just the 0.6?

There is alot of image data in those jpegs, so shadow recovery, in particular on those rocks will bring up a nice shot. Also don't be afraid to pop out a few bracketed shots too, HDR images with the grads can *sometimes* work very well.

Compositionally, I was drawn most towards the 2nd last image, the eye leads thru the image from the lower left to the top right very easily - there are a couple of cropping options which may improve this too.

I had a crack at this one just to see what crops might work, I also used d-lighting on the foreground only (using the mask tool) then global d-lighting then midtone/shadow contrast then global contrast. PP might be pushin it a bit much, but sometimes the best thing is to push it over the edge then come back :rotfl2:

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Re: Northern Territory

Postby Alex on Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:53 pm

I really love no. 1 in the first post. Fantastic light and the colours are very rich. The perspective is very nice also.

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Re: Northern Territory

Postby Wink on Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:32 pm

biggerry wrote:Lookign good Adam, I am soooo jealous of your location right now!

Company supplied room, car and fuel. If you can get up here for a few days and feed yourself then I've got the rest covered... I could do with some practical lessons. I'm kind of guessing at the moment.

You have the exposure perfect for the sun and sky in these imo. The foreground will need work still, did you use both grads stacked? or just the 0.6?

I stacked them when the sun was really bright and then dropped back to just the 0.9 (I think) as it got darker.
I bracketed 3 shots for all the shots I did. Some 1 stop and others 2 stops depending on what it took to pretty much eliminate the blinky's from the sky.

There is alot of image data in those jpegs, so shadow recovery, in particular on those rocks will bring up a nice shot. Also don't be afraid to pop out a few bracketed shots too, HDR images with the grads can *sometimes* work very well.

I tried a few HDR, but my processing skills with HDR aren't all that great, so the final pictures didn't look all that great.

What I ended up doing for 2 or 3 of the last lot was mask either some or all of the underexposed sky with the neutrally exposed foreground. The over exposed shot looked a bit too much to me. In hindsight I probably should've used that one and then dialled it back a little.
I was a little unsure of how far I could brighten up the foreground before it would start to look unnatural.
The foreground in the photos on the web are appearing a bit darker than they look in LR. Not sure why. :?

Compositionally, I was drawn most towards the 2nd last image, the eye leads thru the image from the lower left to the top right very easily - there are a couple of cropping options which may improve this too.

I was trying to concentrate on leading lines on the last set after the comments from my first lot. My idea was to use the gap in the rocks to kind of lead to the sun. I hope that worked.

I had a crack at this one just to see what crops might work, I also used d-lighting on the foreground only (using the mask tool) then global d-lighting then midtone/shadow contrast then global contrast. PP might be pushin it a bit much, but sometimes the best thing is to push it over the edge then come back :rotfl2:

I do like the look of the foreground in those... Something to work on next time. :cheers:

Thanks for everyone's comments. They're really helping me along! :D
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby Wink on Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:50 pm

Here's something a little different from the Adelaide River.
If you ever do this use a 24-70 or something reasonably wide. The 100-400 was a real struggle, so please ignore my poor composition, or complete lack of it.

Crab hitching a ride...

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Last time crab hitches a ride...

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These fellas will swoop down, catch a tiny piece of meat thrown in the air and eat it all in full flight...

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Re: Northern Territory

Postby Aussie Dave on Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:56 am

Hi Adam,
I agree that the foreground in your sunset shots could have some more detail brought out to give some further interest to the images.
My other thought, regarding composition, is that you seem to have the horizon in the centre of the image. Perhaps try taking some photos with the horizon higher and/or lower in the image, to emphasize either the sky or the foreground.
If you're empahasizing the beautiful sunset, the foreground is a distraction so the horizon should be lower to show more of the sky.....and vice versa if you want to show the foreground. Doing this along with looking for leading lines will help to strenghten the composition of your photos and make them more appealing.

I would also advise reading up on the net about doing HDR's as it is a great tool to be able to use, particularly in regards to the current photos you are taking.

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Re: Northern Territory

Postby biggerry on Wed Feb 09, 2011 7:50 pm

Wink wrote:
biggerry wrote:Lookign good Adam, I am soooo jealous of your location right now!

Company supplied room, car and fuel. If you can get up here for a few days and feed yourself then I've got the rest covered... I could do with some practical lessons. I'm kind of guessing at the moment.


Man, I am so wishing work would send me up there, even for a couple of days, I always end up in crummy locations like Melbourne, Adelaide, Sale etc..

Flights up there are around 200 bucks each way, if I can find the time it could be a serious possibility!
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby Wink on Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:59 pm

Hi guys,

Work has had me flat out and with the help of monsoonal rain, a cyclone and my attempts to catch a Barra I haven't taken a whole lot of shots. However, my girlfriend came up to visit from 2 weeks recently, so we took a drive to Katherine Gorge...

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Then across to Jabiru for a helicopter tour around the escarpment of Kakadu...

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Ranger Uranium Mine...

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The road home...

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Re: Northern Territory

Postby biggerry on Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:34 am

Adam, I love those two aerial shots (8 and 9), particularly the one with the rain and cloud just rolling on in! very dramatic. I think it could be cropped to pano to really add some effect.

Good to see some more images, I thought ya had been eaten by a croc... :rotfl2:
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby Big V on Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:06 pm

The waterfall shot is great because you get a different perspective of it and you can see how much water is entering the system - love it.
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby surenj on Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:13 pm

Very interesting weather patterns!

What was your ride getting you above these great scenary?
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby Wink on Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:23 pm

biggerry wrote:Adam, I love those two aerial shots (8 and 9), particularly the one with the rain and cloud just rolling on in! very dramatic. I think it could be cropped to pano to really add some effect.

Thanks Gerry. I'll give the pano crop a go.

biggerry wrote:Good to see some more images, I thought ya had been eaten by a croc... :rotfl2:

We fish around the creeks and rivers a fair bit and the other day we pulled up to our favourite spot to see a BIG croc that would've been over 5m easily slide into the water right where I usually fish. That's when it really hits home. Especially when you see a male. They're just massive!

Big V wrote:The waterfall shot is great because you get a different perspective of it and you can see how much water is entering the system - love it.

Thanks.
Due to all the wet season flooding all the roads to these places are shut, so air really is the only way (other than hiking for a week) to see these places in all their glory in the wet season. It really was an amazing way to see these parts of the country.

surenj wrote:Very interesting weather patterns!

What was your ride getting you above these great scenary?

I was over the moon when I started to see the weather build up like this because it really was a typical wet season day. It was an incredible experience.

We flew in a helicopter with all the doors off. Just like the one on the operators site... http://www.kakaduair.com.au/heli.html
I'm not sure of the model of aircraft. I'm sure one of the aviation buff here will know. The only thing I know is that it was a LOT smaller than I thought it was going to be. :shock:
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby Wink on Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:42 pm

Time is almost up for me here in Darwin, so I made a dash out to one of the wetlands to capture some bird photos.

Have a look at what unfolded...

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The bird is a White Bellied Sea Eagle and it's the second largest bird of prey in Australia.
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby Wink on Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:44 pm

A few more from the same trip...

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Re: Northern Territory

Postby biggerry on Fri Apr 15, 2011 10:51 pm

Nice stuff Adam, that first bird series is great, talk about being in the right place at the rigth time! I reckon you hav done well to nail so many shots in that series.

There are certainly some weird looking birds up there, ain't evolution a bizarre thing... :up:
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Northern Territory

Postby Wink on Fri Apr 15, 2011 10:58 pm

Thanks.
There's quite a few more to that series, but I skipped passed the ones that looked similar to the others.

I only just managed to jump into the bush so I could see passed a tree as I saw it beginning to dive. I only just got the camera up in time for the capture. I would've loved to of caught a few frames before it too.

I didn't realise the white bird in the second set had a fish in it's beak until I got home and had the photos on the laptop.
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby aim54x on Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:05 pm

Great capture on that sequence of the Sea Eagle!
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Northern Territory

Postby Wink on Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:04 am

Well, the time has come!
All camera gear and all my other stuff is packed up and ready for the early morning flight tomorrow.

It's been a great 3 months and I've seen some incredible sights around the top end. Some of which I hopefully did justice with my photos.

The hotel I've been staying at saw my photos and asked me if they could put some on their website and also on the walls around the reception area. I said yes of course!

I'm definitely coming back to the Top End during the dry season some time to experience what it's like at that time of year and get into the places that are currently inaccessible due to the water levels at the moment.

Looking forward to spending some more time on the forum again too!
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby surenj on Wed Apr 20, 2011 6:14 pm

Great stuff Adam, you are using that 8fps to it's maximum potential!
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby dervish16 on Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:14 pm

You have taken some great photos in the past 3 months Adam. The eagle sequence is really good and the first sunset images #2 and #5.
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby biggerry on Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:48 pm

Top Stuff Adam! good to hear the hotel wants to use some of your images, make sure you get a bit of credit for it, I would be happy for signature and webbie in the corner :)

Wink wrote:I'm definitely coming back to the Top End during the dry season some time to experience what it's like at that time of year and get into the places that are currently inaccessible due to the water levels at the moment.


Its an amazing place, over towards the Kimberly and Broome is great!
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Re: Northern Territory

Postby Wink on Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:26 pm

Thanks guys.

The photos have my signature in the corner. They're going to look after me when I go back next year in exchange for the photos. I'm happy with that.
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