Unlocking elements

Okay, so I keep coming back to this scene because I know there is more than one image here. I just have to remove anything that is not essential to making that image work.

I think I finally have a composition I’m happy with. The netting forms this great leading line between the vines. My only problem today was that unlike previous days, the sky this morning was really clear which presented a high contrast scene. Here are the results of bracketed exposures.

It’s a situation where there is no right exposure even in an age where high dynamic range is beyond anything film could ever do.

Yes, I could do a composite and If I was desperate I would but I like the challenge of getting it right in camera.

Using a graduated filter may have helped but I think the main problem is getting some more light and detail on the foreground. That means going back to see what late afternoon might offer. If the sky lacks any drama I may go with a different composition with less sky. Something like this.

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Deliberate practice


Just a bunch of pencils right?

There is more to it because this is practice, not just getting the lighting, exposure and focus right but starting with a pile of pencils and just looking at them, playing with compositions and placing them in different colour combinations.

If your eye is drawn to the yellow pencil, that’s no coincidence, it’s practice.  It’s all about repeatedly trying , failing and learning.

If only I had a sitter as patient as these pencils…

The hill

The hill

A few months back I started riding a bicycle to the train station and back each day. One part of the route I can’t avoid on the route is the steep descent into the valley. Physically it’s downhill so no effort but mentally quite demanding. I rise early and it’s dark and all I have is a tiny light to show me what’s ahead. There have been a few near misses with Foxes, Possums, spider webs and fallen branches. You have to concentrate and draw from limited information to make progress. Downhill is challenging but achievable.

The way home is uphill and for the first few weeks I had to dismount and walk. I was convinced this would be normal, after all, I’m no athlete and I’m getting older.

But then I tried.

I failed.

The next day I tried again, got further but failed.

The day after I tried again and got halfway before I could go no further.

Fast forward two weeks…

One rainy afternoon I made it, exhausted to the top of the hill. I had no energy to appreciate the achievement. I needed to keep going to get out of the rain.

To paraphrase Ian Fleming “Once is odd, twice  is a coincidence and three times is a pattern” The climb up that hill has become a pattern most days of the week. so has the descent.

Look harder

Look harder

Things you pass every day, regardless of how mundane they appear…


Are worthy of and deserve your attention, if only because one day, they will be special.

Makes note of these ordinary things and think about the changes different time and light will make. Then be ready to act when the time and light are right.

One of those episodes

One of those episodes

Watch enough television and there will be more than one series that has one of those episodes… It is basically an episode composed entirely of previous episodes, chock full of flashbacks. It comes across as a cheap way to produce an hour of viewing but it sometimes serves to show newer viewers what they missed.

In that context, the following post will draw heavily on previous material. In looking back I also hope to discover ways forward.

One thing that stands out is that revisiting places has helped me to think through images and come up with new ways to approach them in terms of composition, light or technique.


I have photographed this location many times but there is still more I can do and learn from it.

Another thing is that I seem to have thing for red.

The final thing is the lack of people and most of the underlying reasons for that have been dealt with, just leaving time and opportunity. That’s about to change and it can’t come soon enough.

Under pressure

Under pressure

What are you like under pressure?

I think that pressure is relative to who you are right now and what you have experienced up to this point. It’s also vital to have a way to deal with the pressures of life that does not rely on sticking your head in the sand and avoiding them.

I am under a lot of pressure right now but I can see some relief on the horizon. While I’m being squeezed right now, I’m still open to and looking for opportunities.

I suspect I may have some obsessive compulsive disorder when it comes to revisiting subjects. I can’t seem to help going back and re-examining subjects at different times of day or weather. The chain is there every day at the train station waiting for me to unpack something else about it. I have 5 minutes before the train arrives, so there is little time to think about my approach. Just get an image and avoid repeating exactly what I did yesterday. I do feel a little chained up at the moment so perhaps there is an affinity there that brings me back to this part of the platform each day…

The red door was freshly painted and caught my eye as a walked past it this morning. If I had been obsessively focused on my workload I would have missed it. Controlling where my attention is focused helps me deal with pressure. I choose to focus on the way over or around rather than the wall itself, To do otherwise is what will cause me to hit it.