Success!

Well, I have some good news to report.
Yesterday afternoon I went to Cafe on the Dam ( http://www.cafeonthedam.com/ ) and showed some of my work. They agreed to take it on consignment, which means that if it sells, we both make some money.
They took everything I had with me, which made me want to have taken more, but you are only as good as the worst piece of work you are displaying, so perhaps the minimal work on display was a good thing?

Either way, I’m very happy with this success. Cafe on the Dam is set in a lovely location, in the bush behind Jarrahdale and Serpentine. Not only is it local to us, it is the kind of location I would like to display my work anyway and that is a really important thing.

I didn’t take any photos of the event happening, it was more a business transaction anyway. After we had agreed on what kind of commission the cafe would get, my partner and I had lunch and a short walk around the dam wall. My partner took a lot of photos, I have to say, I dislike being the subject of so many photos.

As usual, I wasn’t 100% prepared and I have to now write short little spiels for each piece. Well, I don’t have to, but I think that at least adding the location and description of each photo would add value for potential customers.

In other news, the last week has been very busy photographically for me. Exactly this time last week I was shooting for the cover of my employers new brochure. The shoot was a last minute request and was well timed as I was due to leave site and return home with in a few hours. Fortunately, my boss knew what he wanted and the surveyor I was working with was a great assistant/model. To help, nature put on an amazing sunrise.

Self Portrait, at work.

My employer ended up going with something similar to this.

Dampier has possibly one of the cleanest ports I have ever visited. Despite being a hub for heavy industry, nature exists here in all her glory and with just a little photoshop, you might never know otherwise.

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Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) patrolling the coast line

Over the Fathers Day weekend, we were visited by our niece. Being a child, she is wide eyed with wonder out here. As a child I remember the joy of visiting farms, playing with horses and chickens, bush walking, and it is very satisfying to see it in another young child.

Sun Dews are magnificently soft and only a little bit sticky.

Millstream-Chichester National Park, a brief tour

Being the mining, oil and gas industry, we have a plethora of silly and nonsensical rules.

One of the not so bad sometimes rules is the mandatory RDO. That’s a rostered day off for you casual workers. On this site, we aren’t allowed to work more than 13 days straight before we have a day off, and that day happened on last Sunday.
Thankfully, the crew here is pretty lively, interested in the local surrounds and keen to get out amongst it. So, the site supervisor took it upon himself to motivate us all to pile into the work 4WD’s and head out to Millstream Chichester National Park.
It’s here https://maps.google.com/maps?q=millstream+chichester+national+park&hl=en&ll=-21.189534,117.358704&spn=1.092208,2.068176&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=58.467737,132.363281&t=h&z=10

Anyhoo, we visited Python Pool and the Homestead, saw a train and another train, then some more trains. I took a photo of two trains. Every one else took videos. After spending some time waiting for the trains to clear the tracks (the boss had a snooze, people on the other side of the tracks made tea), we continued driving around.

The Kiwi in the car was fascinated by everything and after some close calls, heeded my advice to not touch anything. Until he decided that the spinifex looked soft and brushed it with his hand. He whinged like a pom.
After some casual racism and a bit more driving we saw some cows. I didn’t take a photo of the cows.

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Driving East towards Python Pool.

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The Homestead, built to last!

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The Homestead, it lasted long enough for me to take two pano’s.

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Spinifex Dove? These were really cool birds. They were not keen to be photographed, so would hide behind tufts of grass. They would run behind a tuft, look up over it, duck down, run behind another tuft and then look up to see if I was still there.

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Iron Ore trains. You haven’t been delayed by a train until you’ve been delayed by one of these. They seem to go for kilometres, a never ending flow of metal. Both literally and metaphorically.

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Python Pool. Not quite the gorges of Karajini, but special in it’s own way. I can only imagine being here 10,000 years ago, wandering through such a inhospitable landscape, coming across this place. Millstream Chichester has a strong history with the original inhabitants of this land, not just for it’s water, but also for the varieties of plants that grew there. The area was used as a meeting place for a long time.

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I don’t know, it’s a rock.

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The last photo I took. We had driven through Millstream Chichester, and were now heading back towards the township of Roeburne.

Despite my derisive sarcasm, I had a great time. Having other people waiting on you really forces you to focus and take a shot, rather than waiting around and hoping something better comes along.
I hope to do another trip on my next RDO, perhaps go further afield?

New Toys

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So I got a few new toys this week. Of the most interest to me were LR5 and Leap Motion.

I’ll start with the Leap Motion. This is the future of computing https://www.leapmotion.com , well, maybe in a generation or two.
When I ordered the Leap Motion, months and months ago, I was envisaging intuitive and natural control of my laptop by waving my hands around. I wasn’t 100%  sure how it would work, but I was sure it would be great. I am a little disappointed. Not much, I just had to remember that this was a technology that was in it’s infancy, and that I was not familar with it. I remember when I first used a mouse, I hated it, couldn’t see the need for it and I thought it was a cop out for lazy people who couldn’t use a keyboard. Now I resent having no use of a mouse. I suspect soon we will have tablets with inbuilt touchless/gesture control, desktops with out mice or keyboards and so on. It would seem that the only thing missing from my vision of the future is fully 3D screens and I don’t mean like the current crop of shitty  gimmicks in stores at the moment. Yes, it will be like in the Minority Report (sans the gloves hopefully).

My desire to see this happen is actually coming from a practical view point. I often spend 50+ hrs a week working in Civil 3D and other AutoCAD products. I draft in entirely x,y,z and have no end of issues with doing so on a flat screen. Sure, I’ve developed methods to avoid most of the common traps, but I can’t wait till drafting in 3D is as natural as sketching on paper with a pencil.
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Lightroom 5 has been interesting. I skipped Lightroom 4 and stuck with my dated copy of LR3.6, so I can’t comment on what exactly is a new feature for the program, only on what is new for me. Firstly, the Heal/Clone Brush=Awesome. Sure, you can do the same thing in PS, but that meant using another piece of software and considering I mainly only used PS for getting rid of things like powerlines, this is of great benefit to me. The tools were a little hard to find, I know they were in the same place, but they worked slightly differently, despite not looking any different and as such, it took me a while (hours) to figure it out. Both the images here have had power poles and lines removed and I have to say that I’m impressed with how well the tool works out of the box. There was mention of some additional functions being added to the Heal/Clone tool, such as feathering, but for now I’m happy enough.
Things like the lay out the sliders makes more sense than what was in LR3. Despite there being a little bit of time required to adjust from the habits of LR3,  I can appreciate the thought that went into modifying the layout and functions. Another boon is the extra control available in Lens Corrections. I do try and shoot in a way that minimises Chromatic Abberation, but you can’t always lose a shot for some shit tech reason like that. LR3 was pretty damn good at fixing CA, but LR5 is miles ahead.
Supposedly, there is several stops of additional Highlight/Shadow Recovery available now, but I can’t say I can see it, though I’ve never had an issue with blacked out shadow or blown out highlights appearing in a photo. Sometimes in the real world, looking at things with your real eyes, there will be black shadows and white highlights in the same scene, so I can’t see what the fuss is about, maybe I’m missing the point? I think at this point, I should point out that in both the above photos, I was using fill flash, from a SB-900 with diffuser, mounted on camera. This was to help balance the very contrasty scene.

The other very exciting feature is the Book tab. I’m not really sure when I will get around to publishing a book. Probably when I can find a coherent theme and also find a printer that will print a small run (several hundred, tops) for a reasonable price, Regardless, this feature is brilliant. I hate, with a passion, book making software. Every company has it’s own shitty in house software and they are all missing features, never the same features and they all have peculiar quirks that are annoying to have to learn. Assuming that most book printers will accept LR5 Book PDF’s, I can’t wait to put it through it’s paces.

Both LR5 and Leap Motion will take some getting used to, learning a new tool while trying to achieve the same work is never straight forward, but both have been fun and useful so far.

About the photos. My partner and I took our youngest horse out for a ride whilst we had lend of a friends float. I was interested in scouting locations for possible shoots in the future and my partner was looking for new places to ride. Whilst this was not the most consistently scenic place, there were a few spots that had potential. A few weeks earlier, we ventured to Kwinana, to the horse beach behind the heavy industrial area. http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokentoyshop/sets/72157634758081259/ This shoot was much more productive, I have a several decent shots still to go up.
I would welcome any suggestions of locations to shoot horse and rider portraits , in and around the Perth Metro area.

Bells Rapids

Bell Pano

We spent part of our weekend in the Swan Valley. Most people think of the Swan Valley for it’s wine, chocolate and tourist traps.

I’ve spent very little time in the Swan Valley before and the vast majority of that time was in the air, the flight paths from Karratha, Barrow Island, Port Hedland and the rest all pass direclty over the Swan Valley. Prior to Saturday, I had often looked down at the above scene and wondered where it was exactly, how to get there and if it was open to the public. On Saturday, as I drove into the car park for this area, I still had no idea that where I was was where I had often wondered about, I was pretty distracted with other things.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I figured it out!

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I had a short wander up the valley, not stopping until I found some actual rapids. Shooting scenery in the middle of the day isn’t ideal, but as with anything, the challenges are what  makes  it interesting.

Project Delays

Project Delays

I’ve not been shooting much lately. I’m not even taking my camera to work these days. No more stops on the drive up the hill to shoot a sunset.
Work is taking up all of my time. Once this week is over, I will have time again, time to shoot.

In other news, I finally bought a decent printer. An Epson R3000. I’m no pro when it comes to printing, but it’s a nice thing to learn and since our nearest quality printer is 45mins away, it’s an investment into self-sufficiency.