aka 'Canon Corner'

The getting of (photographic) wisdom....

Robin and I decided that it would be a good idea to get some education improve our photographic skills and technique. After a couple of schedule conflicts, we finally locked in a two hour introductory DSLR manual settings training session with professional photographer, Penny Koukoulis.

Melbourne's iconic Block Arcade - 2015

Our session was a combination of tuition sitting in the lobby of a luxury city hotel and a street walk putting some of the new techniques into practice.

Penny is very committed to ensuring her students understand 'why' the camera and it's settings work not just the 'how' to configure the camera for specific light and locations. The next piece of learning for me was to understand that I need to slow down and 'think' about what I was about to do with the camera, not just fire off a random set of captures and hope that at least one picture turned out OK. This was a real challenge for me, but luckily Penny had a process or a memory jogger to share with me to run through in my head before every shot. I need to practice more until much of this becomes routine but I sense the beginning of a new dawn of photography for me.

So in order to practice, Robin and I headed off to Crib Point where there is an old submarine lying a few hundred metres off shore. It was very windy and the boat was distant but just the discipline of getting out and thinking through the processes and settings was helpful and they are just starting to become a little more natural.

HMAS Otama - 2015

The next step is to find decent subjects at the right time of day. So I did pop out early-ish one morning when the light looked quite nice and took a few shots of the garden and property. Nothing special, but the start of a more considered and planned approach to capturing interesting and decent images.

Morning light - 2015

We both enjoyed our session with Penny very much, and when we think we are ready for more information and knowledge I am sure we will contact her again and either do more 1-on-1 sessions or attend one of her structured Melbourne city laneway or night photography tours.

Studio Portrait Workshop

I attended a Studio Portrait Workshop yesterday, organised by the Frankston Photographic Club. The event was held at the professional studio of club member Greg Desiatov in Dandenong South. The studio has three main configurable spaces for use. Greg had arranged for 12 attendees (in two groups of six), with two models, multiple costume changes and a supporting stylist. Plenty of action was in store for the next four hours. Some 610 shots later…

Studio white space - 2015

The problem with having professional models is that they expect a professional photographer. They expect you to know what you are doing technically, have a sense artistically and the confidence to translate that into direction to the model in terms of pose, light and animation.

Then there was me. I stammered when I introduced myself and probably mumbled something about 'your best looks' left and right to start and we'll see…'. Cue embarrassment. Then, when I made a rookie settings error that turned fifteen pictures totally BLACK, my confidence fell even further.

Stepping back and letting others have a turn, I re-grouped sorted the camera and had some better sessions after that. The quality of the setups and lighting (power and direction) made the photos almost too easy to take. Pixel peeping on the screen on the back of my camera I was initially worried about the general sharpness of my hand-held pics. But once at home, I needn't have worried. I got enough 'decent' shots to make me really happy and thanks to Greg & Craig my knowledge of light and the studio process has gone up immensely.

'Parasol' w/Kathleen - 2015

Some of the better shots from the day can be found on my Flickr Gallery here. Thanks to the models Kathleen and Rebecca for their hard work and patience, stylist Michelle and Greg and Craig for putting on such an enjoyable and educational afternoon.

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Little ol' me? w/Rebecca - 2015

Hello Lightroom, goodbye Aperture

The time has come. I need to make the switch. I know Apple to Adobe is bad, but it could be worse if I had to move from Canon to Nikon….

I received a 12 month subscription to lynda.com last year for my birthday and I have used it learn the finer points of my Canon 5D Mk111 and some Speedlight flash photography instruction.

I should say, I bought LR3 a little while ago, upgraded to LR4 the following year and received a free copy of LR5 with my Leica P&S purchase a couple of years back. And that is the version I currently have, upgraded to current release 5.7. To be honest apart from playing, and finding it way different to Apple's Aperture, the icon stayed pretty silent in the dock of my MacBook Pro.

But with an inevitable move to Lightroom being necessary sooner or later, I figured I had better jump on board now while I still have access to my training subscription.

I am fairly proficient in Aperture and don't have a workflow per se. I just import my images, hop in and edit, publish online somewhere (website or Flickr) and get out. Lightroom seems to demand more discipline and process than I am used to. I am now a few hours into the Basic modules of Library and Develop and I must admit that I am impressed. Very powerful but probably too flexible. Certainly too many choices and options for a newbie to get their head around quickly. But the Develop module does give impressive results pretty quickly once you get a basic understanding of the sliders and their function and impact on the tonality and presentation of your images.

More to come.

New lens - Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L

The one missing link in my lens arsenal is that of a wide angle prime or zoom lens. I am delighted to say that has now been corrected.

I have been a satisfied customer of The Camera Exchange in the Melbourne suburb of Box Hill North previously and I noticed online that they had an 'as new' example of the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L ready to go. Complete with lens hood, bag and manual, I couldn't resist!

Canon 17-40mm f/4 L - 2015

After a quick shoot around the property late this afternoon, I am really pleased with the purchase. It feels great on the 5D Mk 111 body and the image detail (in RAW) seems excellent. A couple of sample shots below.





The different perspective offered by this lens opens up new and exciting creative opportunities for me. Great stuff!