Louise Denton Photography

louise denton

Darwin Photo Tours

Darwin and the Norther..., UncategorizedLouise Denton

For those of you who follow me on Facebook, you probably guessed that I was going to start offering Photowalks to budding photographers in the area!

And what's even better?

For the first Darwin Photo Tour, I will be giving away 8 places for my launch competition!!! Keep reading for details on how to win!

What are Darwin Photo Tours?

Darwin Photo Tours are going to be conducted by me, Louise Denton. You can see examples of my work within this blog and on my portfolio website www.louisedenton.com

Darwin Photo Tours are exactly that - visiting locations around Darwin that are great for landscape photos! I specialise in seascape photos, and also in other Darwin landscape photography, nature and wildlife photography.

So, if you think you might be interested in finding some great locations in and around Darwin and the Top End, the photo tours could be for you!

It's not all about the location alone, of course. And it's not just about having a good camera. You've got to be able to use it!

That's where I come in. I will be giving guidance on how to take better landscape and seascape photos.

I will be sharing...

  • How to get away from "auto" mode on your camera
  • The basics on how ISO, aperture and shutter speed all work
  • How to compose a scene, what to look for, and where to position the camera
  • What settings are ideal to use, for what circumstance
  • The answers to any questions you have!

Groups on my photo tours are limited to 8 people, so there will be time for me to get around to everyone individually, as well as talk to the group. And it's not just me you can learn from. These walking tours will be full of other people who love to take photos, a great place to share ideas, tips and knowledge.

Where will we go?

Upcoming itineraries are still being finalised, and dates are to be confirmed.

Locations will be Darwin beaches and parks, covering seascape, landscape and nature photography, including birds, flowers and other local fauna. We are lucky that Darwin is a very green city, with lots of great scenery to explore.

East Point, Mindil Beach, Casuarina Beach and my favourite, Nightcliff Foreshore.

Tours are set to begin on a regular basis at the start of July with a couple of close-to-Darwin sunset/parks sessions.

Some tours will offer a pick up minibus service, for those visiting Darwin or those without their own transport.

Within a few weeks, the groups will be venturing further out of town to some popular, and some lesser known locations outside of town. Day trips and eventually two day workshops will also be offered.

Stay tuned to this blog and to my Portfolio Website to keep up to date with new itineraries released. You will also be able to book (and purchase) online from my portfolio website.

Well, how can I win a tour?!

The first ever Louise Denton Darwin Photo Tour is planned for Monday 24th June. It is a late afternoon/evening outing (so you can come along after work!).

I'll run through the basics of how to use your camera for the magic "golden hour" of light, in to sunset and blue hour. We will also get the chance to use my favourite long exposures (I just posted a blog about them, check it out).

We'll be checking out one of my favourite areas along Nightcliff Foreshore.

To win a place on this first tour, all you have to do is:

GO TO  -->  www.louisedenton.com

Go to the Contact form and send me your name! That's it.

Each name will be entered in to the draw once, and the winners will be randomly selected.

Competition closes on the Friday 21st June.

There are 8 places available. Prize is only valid on the 24th June 2013, not transferable to any other Photo Tour at a later date.

Winners will be notified by email and also be sent an itinerary/details of meeting place.

There are a lot of people out there who wish they knew more about taking great photos - please share this blog with any friends you think might be interested!!

What should I bring with me?

  • A camera (d'uh). Any cameras are welcome, but a DSLR is preferable.
  • A wide angle or landscape lens
  • A zoom lens or telephoto for walks around parks
  • A tripod for landscape photos
  • For afternoon/day tours, there could be a little walking, so wear comfy shoes, use a comfy bag and bring a bottle of water
  • A smile and a creative mind!

This is a brand new service I am offering to people who want to learn more about their camera, and interact with other photographers.

They are a great opportunity for people visiting Darwin on holiday, to find great photographic locations without the trouble of finding them!

Let me know what you think - leave a comment below with any questions and ideas.

I will start offering this in my market stall this weekend. Come down for a chat - I am at Parap Markets on Saturdays (8am-2pm)and Mindil Beach Markets on Thursdays (5-10pm) and Sundays (4-9pm)

Or, contact me on my Facebook Page.

Photoshop - an introduction to my workflow

Tutorials and Tips, UncategorizedLouise Denton

One of the most asked questions about my photography in my stall is "are these photoshopped?" The answer is yes and no.

No - the photographs I display in my stall are not "photoshopped" to appear surreal or fake. The colours are not pushed to the extreme, the rainbows really were in the scene - I didn't add them in. The magpie goose really did fly in front of the eclipse at the right time, yes the lightning was real and yes that flock of birds really was that big.

Taken from Ubirr, Kakadu in November 2012. Just after sunrise, so all the birds were beginning their daily commute!

The scenes as I hang in my stall are 100% a real scene, and between 95% and 100% true to the Straight Out Of the Camera (SOOC) shot.

The above photo of the magpie goose has been cropped to about three-quarters of the original shot, to position the bird and the sun in a better portion of the photo.

How I use Photoshop

I would be lying if I said I didn't "photoshop" my photos. All pro photographers use editing software in some way. They would be lying if they said they didn't!

I think there is a difference in the way we can even speak the word "photoshop". For me, when someone says "that photo is photoshopped" - it implies the photograph isn't real and is manipulated, to completely alter the scene.

In my photographs, I would never refer to them as being "photoshopped". Instead, a less insulting way to use the word is "they use photoshop on their images". And that is true. I do!

Recently, I heard about quite a famous Australian Pro photographer who keeps a stock of files to use in new images. For example, a sky with interesting clouds, or a cloud-less sky, or rainbows etc - so that if a new photo is taken that is lacking this, it can be layered in to the new photo. So you can add in a perfect cloudless sky, or a rainbow, etc. I don't do this, and I don't really agree with it either. To me, being a landscape photographer is about showcasing nature - i.e. the natural sight. If that rainbow or perfect sky isn't there, you have to revisit the location on another day.

This blog is just a quick introduction to explain what photo-shopping usually is to photographers, and to illustrate how I (and many other photographers) use photoshop.

For those people who are familiar with Photoshop, I use CS5 and it comes with a package called Camera RAW. Camera RAW is software to process the RAW files, before transferring them in to photoshop.

What is a RAW file?

When you take photos on a normal camera, the files you then transfer to your computer are typically JPEG files. DSLRs do take JPEG files as well, but you can also choose to record your image as a RAW file type instead. As a photographer, this is a much, MUCH better way to record images. If you are a photographer, and you edit your photos digitally but still shoot in JPEG then stop - switch to RAW!

RAW files are exactly that - they are the raw file format. A lot of people don't realise that when shooting in JPEG, the camera actually makes changes to your photo in camera. It can create more even exposures, it boosts the contrast, saturation and sharpness for you - in the camera. Most people who use a camera, do not want to sit at a computer making their photos look nice and "as the scene was" - the camera does it to your JPEGs.

RAW files on the other hand, are RAW. The camera makes absolutely no adjustment to the photo whatsoever. A lot of people who make the jump to RAW might notice a decrease in contrast and saturation of colours in their photos. However, this is where post-processing comes in.

Post-processing refers to the processing you do to a photo after it has been taken and stored on your memory card. I.e. the processing you do on the computer. There are many programs to do this, and one of the best known (and the one I use) is Photoshop.

RAW files need processing on the computer. They can be flat and need to have that "JPEG" style treatment done to them. The difference is that as the photographer and editter (new word?!), you can control how your photograph looks by doing it yourself.

RAW files are a much larger file: each of my photographs is around 22MB off the camera and when editing and stitching photos, it's not uncommon to go over 100MB or even 200MB for one file.

RAW files give much more flexibility with how you can edit your photos, because there is no JPEG information stored in the file. The photo is a clean slate. I recently returned to JPEG files for a few photos, just to try to edit them and see how it worked. You do not get as much capability to change the photo, as there is already information there in the JPEG file that you have to write over with your extra editing.

RAW files give much more flexibility to adjust colour balance for example, if you choose the incorrect white-balance setting in camera you can easily adjust it by editing a RAW file. This is not so easy to adjust with a  JPEG file.

Anyway, I am getting side tracked.... Use RAW files!

So, what do I change in my photos?

The answer is "not a lot". I tend to "tweak" and "adjust" as opposed to "change".

I tend to do the exact same thing every time.

  • Open RAW file in Adobe Camera RAW
  • Correct barrel distortion (this is curved horizons due to using a wide angle lens)
  • Correct any Chromatic Aberration (CA is coloured fringes on the highlight edges, which can be caused by my wide angle lens)
  • Straighten the horizon
  • Tweak the exposure level, sometimes a little brighter, sometimes a little darker
  • Sharpen
  • Reduce noise (grain).

Then I open the file in Photoshop, I use version CS5. There is not too much left that I normally do, and it depends on the picture.

  • Check to see if there are any spots, dots, pieces of litter, random people, etc in my photo and remove if required
  • Sharpen, selectively, on the area that is my focal point.
  • Adjust white balance, for example increasing the levels of yellow in the golden highlights or removing blue/green from the shadows.
  • Enhance the areas of the sky to compliment the foreground, for example reduce the contrast in the clouds to add a bit more drama or boost the magenta in the magenta area of sky.
  • Usually an overall contrast adjustment to give the image more pop.

That's usually it.

As it does depend on the photo, I will illustrate below with an example so you can see the transition and tiny changes I make between SOOC and completed edit.

Example of an edit, step by step

Below is a RAW file, that I have opened in Camera RAW, purely to save it as a JPEG file for uploading here. This is the SOOC photograph, except for correcting the curve of the horizon.

This is a sunset shot from Vestey's beach, which is near the NT Museum looking out on to Fannie Bay

Next step was to open in Photoshop. The below photo has been cropped to a more panoramic style composition, which I felt flattered the shape of the rocks more and eliminated much of the dark sky. I also added a watermark and sharpened the rocks.

Crop, sharpen and watermarked

The next step was to enhance the golden light shining on the rocks.

Colour balance adjustment

I then adjusted the contrast throughout the picture by using a "levels" layer. This gives control over the levels of black and white in the histogram of that particular photo.

Overall contrast adjustment

Sometimes, because the sky is quite a bit brighter than the foreground and often a different colour, it can be good to make adjustments to areas, selectively. I.e. just the sky, or just the rocks. In this particular image, I adjusted the contrast in the sky by itself as well.

Final adjustment - contrast in the sky

That's the completed file.

I'd be interested to hear what you think..... Too much editing? Not enough?!

In the future?

I'll be sharing more in-depth explanations of how you can use particular layers in Photoshop. My knowledge is limited - there is SO much you can do in Photoshop. However, if you like my images I am happy to share what I do, to create what I create.

Let me know what you think.


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.

Photography Equipment

Tutorials and TipsLouise Denton

For those who have been following me on Facebook or Flickr over the last couple of years, I do generally post my EXIF and camera data with the photos. Here it is a little more detail (and up to date!):

Camera body: Canon 5D Mark iii - which I love! I upgraded from a Canon 450D last year (2012), and the jump to full frame is definitely worth it. The colour, sharpness and quality were differences I noticed straight away - especially when viewing images on the LCD screen.

Storm passing through Darwin harbour - the storm light illuminating the ocean green

Landscape lens: Canon 17-40mm F4 L lens. This lens is great, it's perfect for my needs. I was debating between this lens and the 16-35mm F2.8 L lens, but decided to go for the cheaper option. I could not justify spending an extra $1,000 for that extra 1 stop of light, when I rarely shoot below f9 or f10 anyway. I do notice a little Chromatic Aberration with the 17-40mm, and there is definitely barrel distortion too, but it is easily correctable with Adobe Camera RAW.

General Purpose lens: Canon 70-200 F2.8 L IS lens. I LOVE this lens. It fills the gap between landscape and telephoto, with gorgeous sharpness, clarity and colour. It's great for landscapes too. Awesome bokeh, excellent with the IS, love it!

Azure Kingfisher at Yellow Waters Billabong, Kakadu National Park near Darwin

Telephoto lens: Canon 300mm F4 L lens. This is great for me, as it's not too heavy to carry. It's small enough to handhold for a long time, and as a prime lens gives great sharpness and bokeh too. I do all of my bird shots and wildlife shots with this lens.

I also have a Canon 50mm F1.8 lens, which for the price is an awesome lens! It was the first non-kit lens I bought and I don't really use it that much anymore, but it is still an excellent lens and I use it when I'm trying to challenge myself a little! It's a good lens for stitching panoramics together with too.

I always use a tripod for landscape photos. It can be a pain lugging one around, but as I generally like to use around f11-f14 and ISO 100, the shutter speeds tend to get a little too slow to hand hold, as the light is fading. A lot of my sunset photos are actually taken when it's quite dark - between 15 and 30 minutes after sunset.  No matter how bright that sky can get, a tripod is a MUST, without severely sacrificing image quality (for example, by increasing ISO therefore increasing grain, or by having blurred images due to camera shake).

I always use a remote shutter release with my landscape and sunset photos. This eliminates any risk of camera shake. When taking photographs with shutter speeds of one second or longer (a lot of mine are 20 and 30 seconds), touching to camera to release the shutter can cause it to wobble and cause blurred photos. A remote shutter means you take the photo using a remote, so you don't have to touch the camera!

This is a 30 second exposure of Nightcliff Jetty in Darwin. Long exposures are great for smoothing out the water and waves to make the scene look calmer

Filters are a big part of landscape photography, and eliminate a lot of the need to use editing software - the exposure can be captured right "in camera". For sunsets, I use Graduated Neutral Density Filters, which are half clear and half grey. The sky is bright - the grey section in the filter darkens the sky and the clear part on the bottom means the foreground remains bright. I use Lee filters, I have a 0.3 soft grad, a 0.6 and a 0.9 hard grad. I usually use the 0.9 hard grad, with the 0.3 soft, to soften the transition caused by using these filters.

I also have a new 10 stop ND filter by Lee - these are very sought after, but I haven't had too much chance to play with this yet! It is a very dark filter, and you cannot see the scene through the viewfinder with it on. I have found that I have to compose the scene normally, without the filter - take a few test shots and then turn the camera to manual focus and put the filter in place to take the shot.

A circular polariser is useful for brighter days, and for controlling reflections (whether optimising or reducing). I use a Lee Circular Polariser too.

Cliffs reflecting in wet sand at Casuarina Beach, taken with a polariser filter

I also use an AEO lightning trigger for capturing lightning shots.

Midnight lightning over Nightcliff Foreshore

An introduction

UncategorizedLouise Denton

Basically, I want a platform to share photography and ideas with on a regular basis.

When I store my photos on my computer, I file them by date and I have a file for every single day of the year. There are a LOT of photos that I do not post or even look at, because another one or two photos from that day are "better". I want a platform to share the "unseen" photography, or to share photography from a trip, and to share photography from others, share other blogs.

I think this blog will fulfill that.

My passion is the ocean, and the sunsets that go with it, here. So what better way to start than to share my favourite sunset photos from Darwin, over the last twelve months or so? These are all photographs that I have taken myself, found at Louise Denton Photography.

A bright sunset from Lee Point Beach, Darwin

This sunset was amazing! Out of nowhere, as I was leaving Fogg Dam to head home.

This one is after a storm, with the sun setting behind me. I was shooting the opposite direction and looked behind to see a rainbow against the storm glow! at Nightcliff Foreshore

Silhouetted mangroves at Nightcliff, by Louise Denton

Some of my images are custom, panoramic sizes too.

Pandanus silhouetted against a Fannie Bay sunset

This East Point mangrove is one of my favourite trees to silhouette against a red sunset sky.

Nightcliff Foreshore, by Louise Denton

Clouds at Casuarina Beach, reflecting in the wet sand

Sunset over mini-mangroves at Rapid Creek mouth

As you can probably see, I like trees! I love just getting outdoors: the Territory is a perfect place for it.

What colours are your favourite? I love the reds and purples, but have found most people really like the blues and calmer colours. Darwin wet season sunsets can be unpredictable - sometimes bright and sometimes very calm.

Casuarina beach on an outgoing tide: a 13 second exposure

Calm waters looking over Fannie Bay

I think these photos summarise what my work is about!

If you simply like landscape photography, sunsets and beaches to look at, you can subscribe to this blog.

If you live in Darwin and want to see great photos from our area, you can subscribe.

If you are interested in photography, or learning to take photos - subscribe, as I can share tips, ideas and discuss ways to do things. At the moment, I am researching in to types of torches best for light painting.

I want to visit so many places in the Top End - you can follow this blog to follow my journey. And this can be a place to share ideas - you can comment on my blogs. Before the year is out, I am planning another trip to Kakadu, a trip to Uluru and the Red Centre, via the Devil's Marbles. If I get time, I would LOVE to go through Arnhem land to the Cobourg Peninsular. If anyone has been to these places, share ideas and locations and I can share them back with you!

If you are visiting Darwin, I will be talking about great places to see and go, and events upcoming in the area.