Louise Denton Photography

Landscape photography

Post Processing Workflow (2)

Tutorials and TipsLouise Denton

It's been a while since I posted a work-through of a particular photo. My processing techniquye and style has probably evolved quite a bit since then, so I thought it time to do another one.

This example is slightly different in that I'm going to use two versions of the same image, to blend together for a correct and balanced exposure. The image below is probably not the best example of when and why to blend two images together - the image below is more so just to show the technique….

First impressions - the new Canon 16-35mm F4 L lens

Tutorials and TipsLouise Denton

I’ve been using a Canon 5D Mark III since their release in 2013 (I think it was?!), along with a 17-40mm F4 L Canon lens. I’ve never been happy with that lens - it felt like a reduction in quality from where I had previously come (I was using a Canon 450D and a Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6). I found the 17-40mm was never as sharp as I expected from an L lens, it suffered badly with distortion and chromatic aberration….

TIPS | Graduated Neutral Density filters?

Tutorials and TipsLouise Denton

What is a Graduated Neutral Density (GND) filter? How would I use one?

GND filters are a square or rectangular filter.

They are 50% dark grey, and 50% clear.

The dark grey half will reduce the brightness over the area it is positioned, whilst maintaining an exposure for the clear part.

GND filters are useful for sunset photography as they darken out a bright sky…

Those that got away July & August 2013

Darwin and the Norther...Louise Denton

June and July were pretty quiet months for me in terms of getting out and taking photos: not only am I very busy with the tourist season and making stock for markets, but we are also nearing the "biggest" part of our house renovations - the kitchen! We've been working hard to get ourselves a working kitchen, and we are still going..... the end is now in sight, so another few weeks and the house should be complete.

Because of that, it's been impossible to find time to get further afield for photo exploring (boo hoo). I've been staying fairly local. And unfortunately the sunsets in my opinion are a little more "uninspiring" at this time of year. The sun goes down, and that's that. Wet season is a million times better for sunset photography - every Darwin sunset in the wet season is different! Rain, cloud, red cloud, passing showers, blue clouds - fast clouds, slow clouds, fluffy clouds, smooth clouds....! I like clouds :)

But now.... Now things are improving! Even a couple of showers. Already!!

Anyway, because of my slow photo-taking around Darwin this last couple of months, I have grouped the July and August unseen photographs together. Trust me, as the storms build up and the skies get crazy, the tourists slow down and the lightning comes out.... I will be out at least once a day and there will be a lot of photos!!

Long after the sun disappeared below the horizon, Nightcliff Foreshore

A couple of sunset watchers relax with dinner, looking over Nightcliff Jetty

An evening sea kayaker at East Point

One lonely yacht against a smoky dry season sunset sky (Fannie Bay)

A couple of mangroves at Lameroo Beach, right in the Darwin CBD

An interesting looking tree, with a whistling kite, at Lee Point. I need to revisit this tree with an awesome sky and a low tide

Black and white, or colour? For the below:

Managed one short boat trip out to Corroboree Billabong this month. More a trip for the rellies though, than a photo outing. Found a few crocs though!

A recent sunrise - looking back toward Nightcliff Pool

Magnetic Termite mounds, against a charred backdrop - exploring the rural area!

The sunrises are starting to improve!!

One of my favourite trees, unfortunately on a bland background.....

One of my new favourite spots, I think! The following three photos are from Berry Springs, NT.

berry springs vertical copy berry sp copy berry sp roots2

Lemon Bellied Flycatcher

Vestey's Beach, sunset

These shots have not been published online anywhere else, so if you have any comments on any of the photos, please feel free to reply to my post below!

To see the other photos I upload regularly, find me on Facebook - "Louise Denton Photography"

If you make it to Darwin, NT, Australia, be sure to say g'day in my market stall at Mindil Beach Markets or Parap markets!

Have a great weekend. :)

TIPS | Seeing Stars?

Darwin and the Norther..., Tutorials and TipsLouise Denton

A few of you who follow me on Facebook or Flickr will see I've had a couple of recent attempts at taking photos of the stars. This was all sparked by me hearing about the Perseid Meteor Shower. I've never heard of it before this year - it is an annual shower, that provides regular and spectacular meteors for us viewing down here on Earth. Every year it peaks around the 11th of August, and I decided to try and catch my own meteor on camera.


Those that got away... June 2013

Darwin and the Norther...Louise Denton

Every month I want to start doing a blog post for the "unseen" photos I took that month. I take photos at least five days a week. In wet season, I usually go out everyday, sometimes twice a day! Although I am not as "trigger happy" as I used to be, I still end up with a LOT of photos. Each sunset shoot I probably come back with between 15 and 30 shots. On a longer trip I can take hundreds of shots.

I only usually post one photo a day to social media - Facebook, Flickr and G+  - I pick my favourite shot from the day to process and then share online. A lot of photos become archived, and forgotten about, all because there was one I liked slightly better. So I have a lot of photos that never see the light of day!

Each month, I want to make the effort to post the "runners up" of my photo outings. Other shots that I liked, but weren't the favourite of the day. These are shots not shared elsewhere, so if you have any thoughts/critiques/comments on any of the photos, please do leave a comment!

 A close up view of some of my favourite trees!

I don't do black and white too often, but this seemed to fit right :)

A shot from my first Photowalk, as the sun sets.

A very similar shot to another I took of Jim Jim Falls this visit. This one differs in it's wideness - this is four vertical shots stitched together to make the view of the gorge a bit wider.

Another shot of the supermoon setting on at sunrise, 24th June. Taken from East Point with the iconic Casuarina tree framing the moon

Close up of some (more) of our interesting rock formations in Nightcliff!

Nightcliff Rocks - a long expoure

Nightcliff Foreshore viewed across the cliff-tops (looking toward the pool)

This month has been very hectic with markets and making photos, but I am hoping to get out and around the area a little more over the next month or so!

Let me know what you think!

Lou :)

TIPS | Composition for landscape photography

Tutorials and Tips, UncategorizedLouise Denton

The biggest mistakes made by beginners starting out in landscape photography, are in composition. In my opinion, it is one of the most important things to get right "in camera". Composition (aside from a little cropping) cannot be fixed in post processing. Nothing you do on the computer is going to change how you arranged the scene in the viewfinder.

Tweaks can be made, of course - e.g. cloning out intrusive branches or straightening the horizon but generally, composition must be right at the time of the shot.


Things to do in Darwin - for Photographers

Darwin and the Norther..., Tutorials and Tips, UncategorizedLouise Denton

There are some awesome places in Darwin to photograph our landscape and wildlife - unfortunately quite a lot of time is required to check them all out and be able to do our varied and vast landscape justice!

I have a few favourite local spots I visit regularly - some further away from Darwin's city than others. Darwin receives a lot of tourists and visitors every dry season, so I thought I would write about a few of my favourites in an attempt to help out future visitors with planning things to do in the area.

I am a photographer, so most of where I would recommend are great for photography. Darwin is rich with a lot of other things - a varied food culture and history: a significance in World War II which surprised me and a fabulous array of indigenous culture.

In Darwin suburbs:

Anyone who is half interested in landscape photography will understand that sunrise and sunset are the best times for photographing the scene.

  • Darwin is mostly best for sunset photography - there are not too many places where you can see the sunrise. One of my favourite places for sunrise is Buffalo Creek (near Lee Point). This is around a fifteen minute drive from the CBD and although there is not a whole mass of interesting landscape here, the creek is interesting and attracts an array of bird life. Watch out for crocodiles here, and check the tides.... Anything above a 6.5 metre high tide will leave you with a very limited area of sand to walk on.

Storm approaching Lee Point

For sunset, you can't beat the variation and colour along Nightcliff Foreshore.

The cliffs are a fabulous shade of red, the rocks are flecked with orange, yellow and purple. There are mangroves, open expanses of beach, rock pools, pandanus and of course the ol' favourite Nightcliff Jetty! Showing their true colours Those finger rocks, again Untitled

There are barbeques and on weekends food/drink outlets so you can watch the sun go down with family. From a photography perspective, there are so many nooks and crannies to explore.

Another awesome and varied location is East Point Reserve. Fabulous mangroves, perfect vantage point to the city as well as a perfect viewing platform for storms passing through the harbour (Oct-May). Passing Rain

The afterstorm glow

Framed with fire

The perfect view

Litchfield National Park (1-2 day trip) and Kakadu National Park (2-infinite number of days trip) are must see trips from outside of Darwin, but there are some fabulous lesser known hideaways along the way.

Fogg Dam is a beautiful location for bird photography

Willie Wagtail Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo Australasian Darter

And when the skies deliver, is a great place to soak in the sunset!

Over the dam wall

Corroboree Billabong is a beautiful wetland habitat - abundant bird life and crocodiles amongst tranquil waters.

Corroboree Billabong

Jabiru

A flash of colour

Are you sure you want to get any closer?

I could go on... Darwin is filled with perfect landscape photographic opportunity! If you have any great locations or photography things to do in Darwin, let me know by leaving a comment below!

Darwin Photo Tours

As some of you are now aware, I am conducting local photo tours in the area - taking groups of  photographers (beginners - intermediate), out around my favourite locations. I'll be sharing my knowledge, techniques and ideas. I know what level the tides need to be at for the best locations, and I can show you where they are!

If you are interested in joining me in Darwin, check out my upcoming photography itineraries here - Darwin Photo Tours. Private tours (1 - 3 people) are also available - Contact me for ideas, dates and pricing.

TIPS | Long Exposures

Tutorials and Tips, UncategorizedLouise Denton

What is a long exposure? Basically, a long exposure refers to the length of the shutter speed used to take a photo.

There is no "typical" shutter speed, but in daylight, on automatic settings a small camera might use 1/250th of a second, or maybe even a 1/1000th of a second. As the light starts to fade, or as aperture is narrowed, longer shutter speeds are needed to correctly expose the exposure.

I would consider anything half a second or longer to be a "long exposure". This is definitely too long to hand hold!

The shutter could be open for half a second, or ten seconds, thirty seconds or even four hundred and thirty seconds, if you wanted to!

30 Second exposure, blurring the water around the rocks

Why should I use long exposures?

I LOVE long exposures. 95% of my sunset and seascape photos are taken using exposures of half a second or greater. There are lots of benefits to increasing the shutter speed.

Sometimes longer exposures are a necessity, as light gets lower the camera needs a longer shutter speed to create the correct "lightness" (exposure) within the photo.

Depending upon light, and tidal condition, I tend to use between a quarter of a second or one second to create images showing the movement of the water. The water blurs together to create interesting lines and patterns.

Wave receding back in to the ocean, using a 0.8 second exposure (F13, ISO100)

Water moving around the rocks of Fannie Bay - a one second shutter speed

As shutter speeds get longer, water tends to smooth out more. In Darwin, I generally use around fifteen seconds or longer to smooth the water - all the water movement blurs together in to one flat surface.

30 second exposure, smoothing out the water

Images using longer exposures tend to get sharper - the camera captures more detail.

Longer shutter speeds can also result in more vibrant colour.

Depending on wind conditions, long exposures show movement in the clouds creating patterns in the sky of the photos.

There are lots of uses for long exposure photography. I use it mainly for landscapes and seascapes, but it can be applied to a variety of subjects.

Below are some examples from Flickr.com:

Traffic travelling at night, from Emmanuel_D Photography, 121 second exposure

Believe

Stars and meteor shower in Queensland, by Bill Owens

Little Wonder

Light painting, by John White Photos

Australia

Waterfall long exposure by ForestWonder.com

long-exposure-autumn-waterfalls

There are so many more long exposure examples that I want to share from Flickr! Check out more in my "favourites" folder on Flickr.

What do you need for long exposures?

  • A DSLR.

Some compact cameras can be used manually, and you can use long exposures, sometimes up to 30 seconds. Generally speaking, they are capped at a maximum shutter length (and in set increments). DSLRs allow much more flexibility and much longer exposures. A DSLR camera will also allow you to activate the "mirror lock up" setting, improving sharpness in images.

  • A tripod.

The camera must not move! A tripod is essential, and it must be sturdy too. On the beach, this can mean burying the legs and feet deeper in to the sand to ensure it doesn't move with the water.

If you don't have a tripod, you can use a fence post or something else stationary and steady!

  • A remote shutter release.

This is not essential, but very useful. The remote will enable you to take the photo using the remote, instead of the shutter button on the camera. Why? Long exposures require complete stillness of the camera, and often pressing the shutter will cause the camera to wobble slightly - causing blur in the photo. Using the remote means you don't touch the camera, which means sharp photos!

A remote shutter release is also very useful for exposures taken using "bulb" mode. Holding your finger down on the button for 30 seconds, or 360 seconds can be annoying - the remote I use, operates on "bulb" mode by pressing the remote once to start the photo, and once to end the photo.

If you don't have a remote shutter, you can also use the two-second-timer setting on your camera. The shutter is depressed, and the camera waits for two seconds before taking the photo. This gives the camera chance to steady itself and prevent camera shake and motion blur from touching the shutter.

  • ND filter (optional)

To create long exposures in brighter, daylight conditions an ND filter can be used to make the scene darker (therefore requiring a longer exposure to correctly expose the photo). A Neutral Density filter (ND) is a grey filter attached to the front of the lens. They vary in darkness, dependant upon how many stops of light they block. The darkest used is often the 10 stop ND filter, but they also are available in 1 stop, 3 stop, 9 stop, etc. A 10 stop ND filter can capture daylight scenes at thirty seconds.

184 second exposure taken just after sunset with a 10 stop ND filter

450 second exposure after sunset, f13, ISO100

How do I take long exposures?

I usually use Aperture Priority mode for my landscapes. I generally use between f11 and f16 for my landscape photos. My photos are generally taken between 10 and 20 minutes after the sunset, and using Aperture Priority mode will calculate your shutter time for you (either Av or A on your camera dial). Shooting this long after sunset, with the settings above and ISO 100 will result in longer exposures calculated by your camera.

Using dark ND filters will generally require you to use your camera manually. Sometimes Shutter Priority mode can be used, but personally I prefer to have a control on my aperture instead of shutter speed.

One of the most important set up points with using long exposures is the steadiness of the camera. The tripod must be sturdy, and avoid touching the camera to take the photo.

Sometimes, the environment can get too dark for Aperture mode to calculate your shutter speed for you. Most DSLRs are limited to 30 seconds as a "setting". If you want longer than 30 seconds, you will need to use "bulb" mode.

Bulb mode

Bulb mode refers to the manual mode on your camera that enables you to choose the length of your shutter speed. You will also need to set your aperture and ISO manually.

How do you know how long to do your shutter speed? There is an easy way to work it out (other than trial and error!)

Compose the scene, set up your camera and use Aperture mode to take a test shot. Set your Aperture to the desired setting (e.g. f11). Now, if it is too dark increase the ISO to 200 or 400 and remember the shutter speed it set.

Now flick to bulb mode, use the same aperture (e.g. f11) and reduce the ISO back to 100. To calculate the shutter speed required, using the recommended shutter speed from your "test" and multiply that by the factor of the ISO.

For example, if in Aperture Priority your settings read f11, ISO 200 and 30 seconds, your bulb settings would be f11, ISO 100 and 60 seconds (shutter speed multiplied by 2 - of ISO 200).

For example, if in Aperture Priority your settings were f14, ISO 800, 15 seconds, your bulb exposure would be f14, ISO 100 and 120 seconds (15 sec shutter speed multiplied by 8 - of ISO800)

I think that's the basics to get started on long exposures! Feel free to ask any questions below, or via my Facebook page.

The Traveller's Special!

UncategorizedLouise Denton

I often run promotions at my market stall, but up until now have not had an online platform to promote the same. With the advent of my new blog, I can provide more information to my Facebook, Flickr and other online followers! Dry season looking out at the clear waters of Fannie Bay

Mindil Beach markets, where I am based, sees thousands of visitors a night - a lot of them visitors to the area.

A lot of the visitors to my stall comment that getting the photo home, in a suitcase, could be tricky. I do offer a bubble wrap and packaging for those people who want to take their photos with them.

 

For the next month (until the 30th June), I will be offering discounted shipping for my larger framed prints!

My current special is my 16x20" framed photos (100% ready to hang), packaged and delivered via courier to your door, for $150!

For the first time ever, I will be offering my "market specials" online to my interstate followers!

How do you order?

  • Browse my portfolio ---> select "add to cart" when you see an image you like
  • A pop up box with lots of frame sizes and colours pops up (you can see about the frames here)
  • Select the 16x20" size (or 20" size for the panoramic option), with your choice of frame and either white or black matboard surround.
  • Check out --> in the DISCOUNT code, enter TRAVEL
  • Select the 16x20" postage option ($35.00 usually, but the TRAVEL discount code will reduce your final total to $150!)
  • If you have any questions, or problems, get in touch here. I can organise for an invoice to be sent, or payments over the phone with a credit card, if you prefer.

Some examples:

This wood is only available from me in stall, but you can purchase "ebony" wood online which is the same colour.

Panoramic style image, framed in "baltic light" wood

at Kakadu National Park. Framed in a "jarrah" colour frame

Special frame available from my market stall

Silhouetted against a vibrant purple sunset. Panoramic style, framed in "jarrah" colour.

Driftwood at Lee Point Beach

Looking out at Nightcliff Framed in plain black frame.

I keep a wide range of my Darwin landscape photography prints in this size; including the much-loved Darwin sunsets, seascapes, beaches, wildlife and popular locations around Darwin and the Top End, like images from Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks. If an image you like is not currently in stock or on my website, that's fine - just send me a message either on my Facebook page or via my Louise Denton photography website.