Black and White Photography, Fuji X-Pro2, Nik Sotware, Outback Australia, Photography, Silver Efex Pro, Travel

Rangelands, Winton, Qld, Australia

Rangelands is an amazing location approximately 30kms north-west of Winton. We were fortunate to be shown around by a local and given the opportunity to make some photographs for a few hours. We also shared a wine and nibbles as we watched the sunset and the moonrise. It was delightful.

I was particularly intrigued by the trees and how they survive in such a rocky, desolate environment. Unfortunately the trees which make such a nice pattern in the sunset photos are South African prickly acacia, which is now a weed in Queensland. It is ironic that seeds were distributed to station owners so that the plant could supply shade and fodder. Now it is proving quite difficult to eradicate.

Rangelands is a “jump-up”. The Age of Dinosaurs (located also near Winton) website is built also on a Jump-Up. On their website they say (https://www.australianageofdinosaurs.com/page/55/australian-age-of-dinosaurs-the-jump-up) “Like much of the Winton Shire, The Jump-Up is part of the Winton Formation, which is dated around 95–98 million years old. As the cap-rock surface of The Jump-Up is solid rock it has resisted erosion throughout a period of deep weathering that has eroded the surrounding countryside.”

At Rangelands it is possible while standing on a Jump-Up, to observe another Jump-up to the east. The rock itself has eroded to form channels and outcrops which it was fun to explore. I’ll leave the photos at ianmarksphotography.com/rangelands to help you understand this wonderful part of the world.

Again I used my trusty Fuji X-Pro2 with the Fuji XF 60mm lens and processed the photos using Lightroom and Silver Efex Pro2.

Check out the moonrise on my previous blog!

Till next time

Ian

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Black and White Photography, Color Efex Pro, Fuji X-Pro2, Nik Sotware, Outback Australia, Photography, Silver Efex Pro, Travel

Black and White or Colour in Travel (and Landscape) Photography

I recently travelled to Winton in outback Queensland for an art trip with my wife Sue and some friends. We were lucky enough to meet up with a local lady, Sasha, who was able to take us to Rangelands Station, a few kms north of Winton on the Kennedy Developmental Road. It was an amazing landscape with many photo opportunities.

We were also fortunate to be able to visit the day after the Full Moon, so sunset and moon rise nearly occurred simultaneously. We enjoyed sunset with wine and nibbles, very nice, while taking photos of both the sunset and the moon rise.

Those people who know my photography would be aware that my photography has been exclusively black and white for over a year now. My Fuji X-Pro2 has been setup with the Fuji Acros Film Simulation so I see black and white through the viewfinder and also the back screen. I then process my photos mainly using Silver Efex Pro2 from Nik Software.

As this week started I had a preliminary look at the photos I made on the trip and started to process them. I processed this particular photo a couple of times before I was happy with it, but found the processing a bit ho-hum. I seemed to have settled into a routine with my processing, so then, after watching a few processing videos, changed my processing with the photo above being the finished product.

Usually I am satisfied with this but for the first time in quite a while I wondered what it would be like in colour. When I had a look I really liked the colour out of the camera and then used Color Efex Pro 2 (again Nik Software) to make a colour version which I was also happy with.

For those interested, I used the Fuji 60mm lens (90mm as a 35mm equivalent) to make the photo with settings f4.0 and 1/90th of a second.

I like them both as I think they tell slightly different stories. It has however, led to me to question whether I should process exclusively in black and white. For now I think I will treat each photo on its merit as either a black and white or a colour image, or maybe both! What do you think?

Check out more photos at ianmarksphotography.com .

Till next time

Ian

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Black and White Photography, Bushwalking, Camping, Infrared Photography, Photography, Travel

Photography and Bushwalking in the Sunshine Coast

The pandemic has had many effects as we all know. Fur Sue and I it has helped us to purposely plan to travel when we can inside our own state. So when we had picked a date, then it was choosing a location. This was super easy on this occasion as we were travelling with friends and the destination was to be the Sunshine Coast.

You never know what to expect when you enter a new camping area. What struck me most at Kookaburra Park, approximately 10kms from Kenilworth on the Maleny Kenilworth Road, was the space and the hills in and surrounding the park. There were no rows of caravans, but people parking in different places on the site with both powered and unpowered sites. Check out the plan and animals on their website – http://www.kookaburrapark.com.au. The amenities were clean and well maintained. We camped with friends in “The Garden” and found it to be a pleasant and enjoyable stay.

My first venture was into Kenilworth to explore and also pick up some paper maps for bush-walking and sights in the surrounding areas. Kenilworth is a small town in The Mary Valley, with dairy farming being the main industry. The town is known for the cheese factory and the bakery which makes donuts. Now I am not a big fan of donuts, so I’m really the wrong person to give a review. I had a couple and enjoyed them. They had a great range of donuts and their coffee was good too. Unfortunately we missed the cheese factory.

Sue was off painting during the day and I spent time taking exploring the national parks, taking photos and bush-walking. I intended to process photos on my laptop, but discovered early on that I left the power plug at home, and as the battery is nearly dead, that was the end of photo processing, which was unfortunate as you will soon find out.

The information Centre in Kenilworth supplied some maps and information and so I ventured down to Charlie Moreland Camping Area, on the banks of Litte Yabba Creek. This is a large camping area (no power) with multiple facilities and looked to be a peaceful place to camp. The road to the camp was dirt with some corrugations but presented no other challenges.

There were two walks – Little Yabba Creek Circuit, and Picabeen Circuit (named after the palms) which is an extension of the Little Yabba Creek Circuit, a total distance of 5kms. With photo stops it took a little over 2 hours to walk. It was an easy track to walk and navigate.

I enjoyed the scenery on the walk. It was virtually entirely within the forest and for photography I settled on using my 60mm Fuji XF lens (90mm equivalent on a 35mm camera) . The nature of the forest was such that most photos were taken where the sun lit up the scene, so there were quite a few photos of small subjects and looking up to the sun.

I like being prepared for photography when bushwalking, so I had packed lenses that I thought I might use and carried my Slik Sprint Pro II GM tripod which I have owned and used for a few years now. It is a great little tripod, if only I chose to use it more. All too often, instead of taking the time to set it up, I hand hold the camera and make the photo. I usually check the histogram, but not always the focus. In the past I have got away with it, especially with wide angle and normal lenses, but using a longer lens up close in low light taught me again not to overestimate the shutter speed below which I can hand hold the camera and get a well-focussed photo. I usually have a quick review of my photos on my laptop but this didn’t happen unfortunately, so I didn’t notice the camera movement issue until I returned home.

The following day, I drove down Baloumba Creek Road to the Conondale National Park. While the first section of the road was bitumen, this soon changed to dirt with a couple of creek crossings. The guide suggested that this part of the road was only suitable for 4WD’s, so I took the cautious approach with our SUV and decided to walk to the day use area, and then pick up the track from there.

The road into the park involved two creek crossings which were quite easy, The second creek offered some good photo opportunities.

The hardest part of the walk was from Day Use Area 1 to connect with the main walking track. This first day I decided to walk to the old Gold Mine (not much to see) and return. The main walk followed alongside the creek, sometimes quite high up, and was easy walking with the path being quite wide. One highlight was the Stangler Cairn, built from rocks.

On the second day I walked without stopping to the point where I had turned around the day before and then continued on to the Artists Cascade. On this second day I encountered more walkers who were completing the Great Walk. The Artists Cascades were a good stopping point to enjoy this small waterfall.

The week prior to taking this trip, I had purchased a second-hand Fuji X-E1 which had been converted to infrared. I was interested in this as it would add some variety to my Black and White photography. This was the first trip with the camera, so I experimented with the camera and different lenses around the campsite. Normally landscape photographers tend to prefer early morning or late afternoons, but infrared is best used in the middle of the day in bright light. The infrared shows the green of plants as white, with the sky often quite dark which makes for an interesting effect.

I also took this camera when I completed the “Jurassic Trail” within the caravan park. The trail itself was at times overgrown, steep and the grass was also quite high. However it afforded some good views and opportunities to get close to some Bunya Pines in the wild. I enjoyed using the infrared camera and looked forward to processing them once I returned home.

You can see more photos at ianmarksphotography.com.

Until next time.

Ian

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Bushwalking, Camping, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized

Lake Moogerah – Post-Covid Camping

It was wonderful news when we learnt that we were once again able to drive up to 500kms and to camp. As luck would have it, we (Sue, my wife, and I) were able to link up with another couple so Sue could enjoy a painting trip and I could listen in as well as make some photos and enjoy the outdoors.

The destination was Lake Moogerah, a drive of an hour and a half and just over 110kms. Lake Moogerah is a dam located above the Fassifern Valley with the nearest town Aratula 11kms from the dam and Boonah the nearest major centre. We enjoyed good coffee from the fruit and veg shop at Aratula.

The dam, built between 1959 and 1961, supplies drinking water to Boonah and Ipswich, irrigation water for local farmers and is used by a gas turbine power station located at Swanbank. When we visited, the dam was quite low as can be seen in the photo below.

The Lake Moogerah Caravan Park, is quite large with powered and unpowered sites for caravans and camping. It is a popular boating and fishing destination, although we just enjoyed being out in nature and the painters had numerous views to choose from. The lake is surrounded by private land; farms and the camping establishments.

The most dominant landmark was Mount Greville, which to me looked like an elephant’s trunk and head. Mt Greville forms a national park with the peak being 767m high. Moogerah Peaks National Park also is near the lake, all being part of the Scenic Rim formed by volcanic activity.

Most of my photos were taken early in the morning with one morning having good mist effects. All photos were taken with my Fuji X-Pro2. Photos on the website, ianmarksphotography.com, are presented in order of being taken. The first morning I used a vintage Minolta 24mm lens which on the Fuji is a 35mm equivalent. Then switched to a vintage Leica 90mm (135mm equivalent) lens and then the wide angle views were taken with a Fuji XF 14mm (21mm) lens. With a few of the Leica photos I used some ND filters to enable a longer exposure time to obtain the milky water effect.

All in all, it was a great time of camping, exploring and creating, apart from a couple of very windy nights.

Keep safe!

Ian

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Photography, Travel

Jacobs Well, Gold Coast, Queensland

Flower photography was my focus during January, but as February approached I was determined to change my focus. I chose Jacobs Well, a coastal suburb of the northern Gold Coast positioned on the delta of the Pimpama River. As it is close to home, I was able to visit it on a number of times in the early morning with quite different conditions which provided good opportunities for photography.

The village is popular for boating, fishing and water sports with a small beach, boat ramp, tackle shop and ample parking. There is also a Volunteer Marine Rescue Station based there. The caravan park borders the carpark.

Differing light and weather conditions gave the opportunity to make photographs of different light, moods and emphasis.

There was also a variety of activities occurring to create interest and different subjects.

I’m looking forward to revisiting this area again soon. Just need to remember to take the Insect Repellent. The midges can be savage!

Check out more photos at ianmarksphotography.com. Enjoy!

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Photography

Fave or Like – Flickr or Instagram?

One of the joys of photography is the sharing of photos with friends and on-line contacts. My site of choice for quite a while has been Instagram, but I’ve grown increasingly frustrated by needing to process small sized images, and also the speed of the feed, so I thought I would have another look at Flickr.

I joined Flickr back in 2013 when I regularly went on photoshoots with a friend and we used Flickr to share our photos. I didn’t really explore the site at all and my use gradually diminished over time.

I was really prompted to have another look at Flickr after receiving a letter from them around Christmas time. I now find that the site has been making a financial loss, that SmugMug have taken it over and are planning to develop and grow it. The letter was really a plea for money, by becoming a Pro Member and enjoying various privileges. SmugMug also indicated that they would continue to develop the site for photographers. We shall see!

So I started uploading some photos and decided to try to learn about the site and the best way to use it. And I must admit that I have really liked it and think I will continue using it.

One of the main reasons is that I don’t have to think about the small size of the photos on Instagram. I know that people will still view Flickr on their phones, or iPads or tablets, but personally I prefer using Flickr on my computer, as I trust others do, and so I am viewing and posting images more suited to the larger screen.

I publish my photos directly from Lightroom and my Keywords become Tags in Flickr. I have also joined quite few groups which revolve around my interests in photography:

and these groups come up on my feed, which I enjoy scrolling through. Whereas I feel that photos come up on Instagram and then disappear quite quickly, the pace on Flickr seems slower, particularly with some of the groups. Maybe I should learn to be a better Instagram user, but I think I will be spending more time on Flickr.

Lastly, as a student of photography I am enjoying viewing photos in a large size in the groups I enjoy. I think I will spend most of my time in Flickr, but will still post photos to Instagram and Facebook. You can see me on Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/ianmarks/ .

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Uncategorized

Resurrecting an old lens – Tokina 35-200mm f3.5-4.5

Those of you who follow my Instagram account (@ianmarksphotos) would be aware that recently my photography has been focussed on flower photography, including some macro photography. As I explored this interest, I viewed a B&H video where the photographer used a telephoto lens to make close up flower photos. This led me to look at various options for purchasing a suitable lens, including purchasing a vintage 135mm lens. I looked at various options including Leica, Mamiya and even Canon.

But then I recalled that I had an old zoom lens from my Minolta film camera days. While it is quite large and heavy compared to a Fuji X prime lens I thought it was worth trying it out. Unfortunately the lens had mould in it and it looked quite dirty inside. Following a search on internet, I found a page describing how to clean this lens – thanks to Daren Sefcik. http://www.sefcik.com/2013/08/tokina-at-x-35mm-200mm-fungus-repair.html.

It was quite dirty inside but after some careful cleaning and some very fiddly little screws, the lens was back together and I looked forward to using it. I attached the lens to my FujiXPro2 using an adapter and made a few photos of some Frangipani flowers from my back deck. Here’s a photo slightly cropped, but with no other editing at 200mm zoom (equivalent to 300mm on the XPro2) with the Fuji Astia film simulation. I then converted it to Acros film simulation using Nik Software Silver Efex Pro, again with no editing. I quite like the results (even with the slight green colour cast). What do you think?

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Photography

Re-exploring flower photography

Over the last week I have returned to making photos of the flowers in our garden, not that there are many of them. I wish I could say this was a careful decision, but it was more logistical and sheer chance.

The previous blog described the first flower photo I made recently. I then felt I needed to spend more time with the camera and it was easy to wander around the garden and explore the flowers which were blooming.

I also wished to continue with my journey in black and white photography using my vintage Leica 90mm lens (made in 1959). While it may seem counter-intuitive to make flower photographs in black and white, I enjoy exploring the lines, shapes, textures and patterns in these photos.

I also felt that I wanted to get closer in to the flowers and decided to buy some macro extension tubes, which can be mounted between the camera and the lens. The top photo was taken with the tubes behind the Leica. I also puta tube on the back of the much maligned 18mm Fuji X lens and took some macros with the subject about 1 cm from the lens. The results are below. I hope you enjoy them!

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Uncategorized

A symbol of life and hope

As I sat on the deck this morning reading yet another photography book, I looked down and saw this rose glimmering in the sunlight. The light was filtered, by dust and smoke from recent bushfires, which seemed to enhance the light on this rose and the one below.

I was struck yet again by its beauty, the wonder of creation, and how, even in drought, this plant just keeps on flowering and bringing light and joy into our garden. As you look carefully you may see the light shining on a thread from a spider’s web, and even the spider in the top left hand corner. This symbiotic relationships in nature reminded me to rejoice in the close relationships we enjoy with our loved ones and ….

After I made the first photo I was drawn to this bud as it seemed to be reaching out to enjoy its life. It seems so perfect and yet it has a small imperfection which is hidden somewhat because of the black and white. It seems eager to grow and develop. To me it represents hope in the future, even in the smokey and hazy light. Just like life really.

For those interested, the photos were made on a Fuji XPro2 with a vintage 90mm Leica lens. I developed it using SilverEfex Pro2 in Photoshop applying an Acros 100 Film Simulation and a Green Filter.

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Uncategorized

Why black and white …

Over the last few weeks my Instagram posts have all been black and white photos. Which of course leads to the question above.

Just as legitimate is the opposite question, “Why not colour?” – a good question. Here are a few photos from July.

I enjoy processing in colour and having vivid and rich tones, but I enjoy black and white even more. When I am making photos in black and white, I find that I spend more time composing the photo, and thinking about brightness, texture and contrast. It slows me down and helps me to be more reflective, even contemplative, in ensuring that I convey my thoughts on “the moment of impulse” which caused me to take the photo.

At times I miss the “pop” of colour, but I believe that black and white has led to growth in my photography, and also in my enjoyment, even though at times I think it would be so much easier to process in colour.

Ultimately my answer to why black and white is because it brings me challenge and joy. I hope you enjoy them too!

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