The original image as presented for feedback.
Our Anonymous Photographer asks where should focus lie - and there are several ways we can answer this question. In terms of lens focus, the first question to answer is what is most important in the photograph? I imagine in this shot that the tuft of grass on the black sandy mound is key to the composition - if it weren't important, the photographer could have stepped forward and excluded it. So, in this case, critical focus should be on the grass and if the background mountains were a little out-of-focus, what does it matter, except to reinforce the importance of the grass in its environment?
In terms of compositional focus, the 'tonal mapping' of the photograph (the areas which have been lightened or darkened) creates a strong diagonal composition from bottom left to top right, but I feel the area top left is open and unbalanced. It's too light to balance the heavy foreground in the opposite corner. See the illustration below:
Tachogang Lhakhang Bridge, Bhutan.
Canon EOS 5DSR with 11-24mm lens, 30 seconds and 1/320 second @ f5.6 and f8, ISO 100
NiSi 180mm Filter System with NiSi IR ND1000 10 Stop filter.
David Oliver and I have returned from Bhutan with some great stories and even better photographs. In fact, David was just saying to me yesterday that he thinks he's taken some of his best work in many years and that the whole trip was incredibly inspiring. Certainly I'd be pretty happy too having seen some of his photographs - even if he continues to believe that black and white is the only way to go! :>)
On our first day in Bhutan, the photo above was pretty challenging because the bridge was in deep shade, but the background sky was incredibly light looking into the setting sun. If you click through,you can see the three exposures that were used to put the image together and why, at the end of the article.
Inititally I didn't think the photo was going to work because the bridge tower was so close to the bright sky, but careful exposure has created something that is better than I expected.
However, what I wanted to discuss was the colour balance - the cool foreground with the warm background. In recent photography competitions, I've commented on some entries where the foreground is completely different in colour to the background. For instance, a seascape reflecting a strong orange sky, except the sea is completely blue.
In this photograph, my camera is angled towards the river so that there is no reflection from the background mountainside, yet I felt the photo looked a little unrealistic. How does that work? My solution was to introduce a little warmth on either side of the flowing river, as though the water were reflecting the mountainside, just to tie the foreground and background together. I guess the point to take away is that with post-production so prevalent today, even when something is 'real', we may need to make it 'more real' by doing what we expect to see, even if it wasn't really there.
And thanks to NiSi Filters I was able to use my Canon 11-24mm lens and its bulbous front element with a 10-stop ND filter. You can read a fuller review about NiSi Filters in the AIPP Journal which is currently available for reading here: https://issuu.com/workingpro/docs/aj247/44.
If you'd like to see the original file without any processing, click through to the website for the full article.
Is it reasonable to bid for a photograph before you see it? Read on!
Would you buy a photograph without seeing it first? Most people do as high profile Australian fashion photographer Georges Antoni pointed out. In fact, our professional photography clients are doing it all the time. Photographers are hired based on their reputation, so why wouldn't you purchase a photograph without seeing it first - as long as you knew who the photographer was?
This was the concept behind the Sight Unseen charity auction, held at Sun Studios in Sydney, masterminded by Canon's Chris Macleod and supported by eleven luminary Australian and New Zealand photographers.
Death Valley Dunes. Tony Hewitt and Peter Eastway are leading
a photo tour to America's South West, including Death Valley,
23 Jan - 2 Feb 2017. Book now on the website!
Death Valley has been photographed to death, but this is no reason not to photograph it. Some locations have become so iconic, so recognisable, that it is almost our duty to add them to our personal collection. And there are lot of things to photograph in Death Valley, not just the infamous sand dunes.
As far as sand dunes go, Death Valley’s aren’t really all that impressive. And if it’s been busy, you’ll find footprints everywhere which tends to ruin that pristine composition with untouched sand ripples in the early light.
My first exposure to sand dunes in America’s South West was through Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. Some were photographed in Death Valley, but I think the photos of Edward's that I like the most were not taken by the side of the main road where mine were.
My personal website, hosted by Zenfolio
There's a lot more to the internet than just Facebook and Instagram. While these are great outlets for your photographs, they are not the same as having your own website - a personalised space where you can display your best photos and videos for people to see or your clients to find.
I've had a number of different websites over the years. My URL (www.petereastway.com) has stayed the same, but the websites themselves have ranged from a self-coded attempt to a custom build. The former had limited features compared to other photographers' sites, while the latter was expensive to develop and maintain.
Then I saw an advert for Zenfolio. Zenfolio lets you design and maintain your own website for as little as $7 a month (although I'm using Zenfolio's Advanced AU package at $420 a year), plus it's so easy to use. I can upload my photos at any time, change the look and feel of the site with a few clicks, write a blog and even email my subscribers.
If you can use a mouse, you can navigate your way around the Zenfolio interface easily!
What this means is that you can have your own website for a very modest annual fee, and then if you want to add in some extra features like an online shopping cart to sell your photographs, it's not a huge expense.
When I boiled down the main features I wanted in a website, it was a clean design that allowed visitors to quickly and easily see my portfolios. Zenfolio has dozens of creative and elegant designs which you can customise so they look unlike anyone else's. You have extensive control over the layout, colour, typeface and size of your photographs, plus you can add in your own logo (Pro and Advanced versions only). Or you can do what many photographers do and just choose one of Zenfolio's many superb design themes.
However, an effective website is more than just a smart looking collection of photographs. It needs to represent you and your work, so Zenfolio includes extra pages where you can introduce yourself, a blog which can be formatted with a variety of cool designs, and there's also a direct link to NuShots or Nulab for turning your photographs into prints and other products.
Look at it this way. Imagine you have a new body of work you want to show to the world. Upload your finished photographs to Zenfolio, place them into a gallery, choose one of the photos for your website's home page, and then write a short blog about the photographs. Immediately your photographs and words are live. It's that easy.
Importantly for a website, it needs to be fast and responsive. Zenfolio sites load pages quickly so your viewers are not kept waiting and both photographs and video clips are optimized for presentation at any display size.
Once your new work is up, you can send beautifully packaged email invitations to notify clients or friends and family when galleries are ready to view. And even better, your Zenfolio website is mobile friendly for viewing on any smart phone or tablet.
While the public face of your website looks smart and professional, the administration side is just as efficient and easy to use. Called 'My Zenfolio', the simple administation of your website's options hides the complexities of website design, allowing you to focus on the content.
When you first open a Zenfolio account, you'll want to spend a little time looking at all the different design options, but once you've settled on the look of your website, then it's quick and ultra easy to upload photographs into various galleries, write your blog posts and, if you're going for a business account, setting up your price list.
Zenfolio will let you sell both digital files or a range of prints and other products. In Australia, Zenfolio has an arrangement with NuShots and Nulab for printing and delivering your work to your customers - all you do is sit back and watch the profits deposited to your bank account. Of course, you can also print and deliver yourself.
There's so much more to Zenfolio, such as password access for clients, SEO optimisation and even email campaigns.
When Zenfolio approached me to be a Zenfolio ambassador, I was more than happy to oblige. I liked that they asked someone who was already using their services, and I also liked the fact they were prepared to offer Better Photography readers a 30% discount on their first year's subscription.
To access this special offer, visit www.zenfolio.com/au and have a look around. There's lots of information there.
(Also feel free to check out my personal website to see how I use Zenfolio - you'll find it at www.petereastway.com.)
Then, if you like what you see, sign up for a year and use the coupon code PETEREASTWAY for your 30% discount. Click here for more information.
If you're ready to share your photographs with the world, then you're ready for Zenfolio website.