Louise Denton Photography

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TIPS | Photographing Darwin's waterfalls | PART 1

Travel, Tutorials and TipsLouise Denton

The country surrounding Darwin has more than its fair share of waterfalls. Our landscape is patterned with rivers and rapids, gorges and escarpment. Our landscape goes through extreme seasonal changes: whilst our waterfalls are perfect for a refreshing dip in the dry season (as long as they are crocodile free, of course), they become a deathly torrent of raging flood waters in the wet season. Our waterfalls are some of our most loved attractions - loved by tourists and locals alike. So how do you go about photographing these natural wonders….

TIPS | Lightning Photography in Darwin

Tutorials and TipsLouise Denton

Over the last few weeks, I have lost count the amount of people that have asked me "how do you take photos of lightning?".... It is a hard question to answer! I think my questioners expect a quick one or two sentence answer.... but it's not that easy (as anyone who has tried, will know).

Sure there is "luck" - a lot of the time you have to be in the right place at the right time. Sometimes it just so happens that you have a camera with you when out and about, a storm hits, and you get that "lightning shot" - you've got that one shot, and people think it's easy to get lightning bolts in photos. The challenge is getting another one.....

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.