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Did I do that?

November 22, 2016  •  7 Comments

Recently I photographed along the Googik Track (pronounced Goojick) with some friends from our photographic club. We have a personal interest group (PIG) concerned with nature photography.

Something interesting happened.

I brought back some images that I was pleased with but which did not surprise me. They are the sort of thing I'm attracted to and I visualised a way of processing them on my computer at the time I photographed them in the field.

The image below, Melaleuca rising, is an example. I photographed it with a fisheye lens pointed vertically. I like the curvature imposed on the trunks and the enclosing dynamic of the branches against the sky. 

I added a passing raptor to the patch of sky and examined the result critically. Some will be surprised to learn that I didn't like it and deleted it.

Viewing the image gives me a feeling of being a small creature in the forest. The complexity of the dendritic network is a metaphor for the complexity of an ecosystem and how the smallest of things, like a mite on a leaf high in the canopy, are linked back to the earth. The plants reach to the source of earth's energy. They appear as if in orbit.

(Untitled)Melaleuca rising1/1000th @ f5.6 & 16mm ISO 200

I also brought back some images that were unusual in that I felt they didn't reflect my usual style. I created them by using intentional camera movement. There's nothing unusual about that for me. I also used neutral density filters to prolong the exposure (shutter duration) so that the intentional camera movement could weave its magic. There's also nothing unusual about that for me—it's common practice.

So what is it about the image below that had me asking myself, "Did I really make that?"

Googik idyllGoogik idyll2s @ f22 & 600mm ISO 200

These are the things that have occurred to me:

  • Few of my images are dominated by these hues; green and blue/violet. I'm more of an earthy beige type!
  • It looks like a designer print produced by an artist's brief and minimal brush strokes
  • I think that it has been influenced by the way some of my female photographer friends see the world. And that's a good thing. To me it feels like a work produced by a woman rather than that of a bloke. Perhaps its simply the flowers.

The camera was mounted on a video fluid head on my tripod. This allows me to perform a smooth tilt (vertical pan) while the shutter is open. I could see from the camera's information readout that the exposure would be about two seconds.  I opened the shutter and counted "One and..." while keeping the camera still, then "...two and" while tilting and jiggling the fluid head's handle.

The initial pause during the exposure allows the lilies to be rendered distinctly (not too blurred) and the jittery tilt during the latter part of the exposure has introduced the ethereal streaking and some squiggles from specular highlights.

This kind of photography is hit and miss. You make a lot of exposures and you get a lot of crap. It's worth it, though, when an occasional image stands above the crowd and you think "Yes, I like that!"



Chris Prior(non-registered)
Cool- surrealism. I like it. How would it go reversed? I find I'm drawn to the top left corner.
Thank you for your feedback, Robyn, Des, David, Geoff, and Phil. :-) ®
Phil Whiteman(non-registered)
Great images Rob and I really like the explanations. Gets me thinking.
Cheers, Phil
Geoff Barnes(non-registered)
Nice one, Rob.
Your Googik was particularly striking.
David Ashton
Love 'em both Rob. Let your feminine side come out more often!
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