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How's the serenity

November 15, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Thank you to all who sent messages of affirmation for the return of the Picture Postcard. 

There were some gremlins skulking about the place and I know that some subscribers experienced 'no shows' with some of the interactive content. Thanks for informing me. I've investigated, found the problems and corrected them. If you experienced some glitches with the last issue, you should find that all is well now if you care to revisit it.

It's all Greek to me

The short video below illustrates one of the joys I find in photography: the discovery of visual significance in everyday surroundings when the eyes and mind are tuned to seeing beyond the ordinary. There's no magic or special power required to do it. I believe that anyone who doesn't sell themselves short as having no imagination can train themselves to look, think, imagine and then regularly see compelling visual relationships and juxtapositions. The rewards for a long look are satisfying. The making of the image "It's all Greek to me"


We spent a few days visiting family in Toowoomba in June. I had set myself an assignment to find an image to print and frame as a house warming gift for some special people. One morning I had a few hours to myself and drove a back road that zig-zagged down the shoulders of the Great Dividing Range to the coastal plain west of Brisbane.

A stand of pale gum trees beside Flagstone Creek looked promising and I pulled off the main road onto a blue metal driveway that disappeared into bushland. It was the entrance to someone's idyllic bush retreat and, although ungated, it passed between a couple of short sections of stout, white painted, timber fence that, while not exactly like the grand entrance to the Ewing dynasty's 'South Fork' ranch, were making something of a statement in the rustic setting.

When I drove a few metres through the entrance and made a U turn preparatory to parking my car on the verge of the bitumen before going for a wander with my camera, I saw the message painted on the side of the fence hidden from the main road.

How's the serenity—Darryl Kerrigan

How's the serenityHow's the serenityUpper Flagstone Creek Road, Toowoomba.

I just had to smile and feel a warmth toward the owners of the property. As a fan of that great Aussie movie, 'The Castle', I immediately recognised the quotation and felt empathy for the owners who had painted the message to remind themselves why they love their little piece of Australia each an every time they drive out of the entrance into the world beyond.

Quote from 'The Castle' (YouTube 44s)

I digress? Well, if the owners were so rapt in the serenity, I felt confident that there was an image to be found. The smooth barked eucalypts were the attraction for me and I shot some frames with a telephoto lens to emphasise the feeling of a thicket of trees. The inherent compression effect of the telephoto lens made the trees in the background appear crowded in with those in the foreground. The title 'Garrison' occurred to me as I photographed because the mass of tree trunks resembled a fortification. The images in the interactive group below illustrate the evolution of the image from the camera capture to the image I was visualising as the outcome when I would later get it onto my computer to play with.

Every garrison needs a few soldiers and the soldiers in my garrison would be Australian birds. All of the species included can be found in the Flagstone Creek area, despite my images of them having been collected across time and geography: 2006 Lake Awoonga; 2008 Crowdy Bay National Park, Strzelecki Desert and Tibooburra;  2013 Lake Cathie.

Garrison 1/8th · f11 · 185mm · ISO 200 · tripod

  • I hope that this image shows how visualising an outcome via future processing—before pressing the shutter—can lead to extraordinary images made in ordinary places.
  • I use Lightroom (Lr) to make rough sketches of a processed outcome before diving into Photoshop (Ps) to do the heavy lifting.
  • The Before image shows how dull the lighting was. The illusion of luminance in the final image could not have been achieved in camera.
  • Warm tints in the foreground trees and cool tints in the background enhance the sense of depth. Warm tones advance, cool tones recede.
  • Individual layer masks were tailored from the master B&W Ps MASK for each of the tinted areas.

Of course I Photoshopped it. I'm an artist!—Rob Smith

View on'Garrison'

View 'Garrison' on


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