• Abandoned
    An abandoned British research station on Stonington Island in Antarctica
  • Harbour Dusk
    The daily buzz on Sydney Harbour is always a joy to experience.
  • Mona Vale
    View from the headland to Mona Vale Pool.
  • Antarctic Night
    Midnight in Antarctica and mirror-like reflections.
  • Neko Harbour
    Sunrise over Neko Harbour in Antarctica.

Amazing light awaits us – join the landscape photography workshopSeptember 2nd, 2014

We have had some really amazing – sometimes moody – light in Sydney as of late. It’s a great time of year to shoot for sure.
There has been a large amount of interest for another workshop, so I have just set the date for our next 1.5 day weekend landscape photography workshop in Sydney - 27/28 September 2014

Please click here for details

September Special:
The first 3 sign-ups will receive a 10% discount on the workshop, so contact me ASAP.
Don’t pay $299! Click here to secure 10% off.  Only valid for first 3 attendees!

Learn to take images like these:

Captur1e 400x298 Amazing light awaits us   join the landscape photography workshop Capture2 400x289 Amazing light awaits us   join the landscape photography workshop

Capture4 400x319 Amazing light awaits us   join the landscape photography workshop

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Next workshop in JuneMay 9th, 2014

After the 101 workshop was such a success, I would like to announce my next workshop. It’s going to run at the beginning of June. Please follow the below link for more details and contact me asap if you would like to attend.

http://www.kajophotography.com/blog/landscape-workshop/

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Free Photography 101 workshopApril 6th, 2014

Many of my workshop attendees are beginners.
It is the purpose of this free event to give photography amateurs the foundation of all the technical skills required to take award winning photographs. Take your photography to the next level now!

I will offer great discounts to my full weekend workshops at the end of the event, so it’s definitely worth coming along. The following aspects will be covered:

– Interior of an SLR
– How to operate your camera in manual mode
– What is aperture, shutter speed and ISO and how to set the correct values
– Understanding compensation and how to use it effectively
– How to make your images pop
– How to nail your focus every time and achieve perfectly sharp images in all conditions
– and more!

This event will most likely go for about 2 hours. Please RSVP soon as I expect this event to fill up very quickly. Simply leave a comment or use the Contact Form on this website.

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Time change is coming!March 31st, 2014

And that means sunrise will be nice and late at this time of the year. We are changing time this weekend (going back one hour).

The perfect time to run a workshop. It’ll allow you to have a bit of a sleep in…well of sorts.

The next Sydney Landscape Photography Workshop will run on the weekend of 3/4 May.

Please see the below page for details and contact me asap if you would like to attend.

http://www.kajophotography.com/blog/landscape-workshop/

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New Workshop date announcedNovember 28th, 2013

Because it rained buckets at the original date for the workshop, I postponed it to December 7-8. So in just over a week.

If you would like to attend, please let me know asap as there are only two spots left.

Please click the below link for more details.

http://www.kajophotography.com/blog/landscape-workshop/

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Last Workshop for this yearOctober 19th, 2013

I’m going to run a final Landscape Photography workshop this year in Sydney.

Please find the details in the link below and let me know asap if you would like to attend as places are strictly limited to 8 attendees.

http://www.kajophotography.com/blog/landscape-workshop/

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Reminder: Landscape Photography Workshop this weekendJuly 9th, 2013

This is the final call for my Landscape Photography Workshop this weekend (July 13 & 14) in Sydney. If you would like to learn the ropes of photography or improve your existing skills, this is the perfect workshop for it.
It will be a fun and productive weekend, so act now if you want to take your photography to the next level.
Here is some feedback from my previous workshops:
—-
“Excellent value for money. We are lucky it is a small group.” - Stephanie
“Engaging nature and knowledge.” - Kim
“Great theory background and individual help in the practical parts.” - Kristy
“Even if others have some experience, there is always more to learn.” –  Andrew
“Good pace, relaxed, accommodates different skill levels, small class number, very good knowledge base.” – Zoe
—-
Please contact me asap if you would like to join.
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Announcement: Landscape Photography WorkshopJune 13th, 2013

Due to a huge amount of requests, I am happy to announce my next Landscape Photography Workshop.

Places are strictly limited to 8 people. So please RSVP asap if you don’t want to miss out (use the comments form or email me via the contact page).

As regular readers of this blog know, I have won numerous photography awards and for the last year or so have been on assignment with Tourism NSW.
My wealth of experience can take years off your photography learning curve. You will learn all the tricks of the pros in a fun and productive environment. Meet like-minded photography enthusiasts and enjoy a great weekend of photography.

Please note: There is a charge of $299 for this workshop.

Level: Beginner to Intermediate.

More details about course and syllabus you can find here:

http://www.kajophotography.com/blog/landscape-workshop/

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My work on Sydney.comMay 30th, 2013

It’s nice to see ones photos used in many different places and types of media. Just yesterday I discovered some of my photos being used on the official Sydney website (check out sydney.com).

sydney 600x485 My work on Sydney.com

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Some recent imagesMay 25th, 2013

With the Tourism NSW campaign having finished, I thought I might post a few more images that I know were used in the campaign in newspaper articles as well as billboards. It is a great honour to see my work being exhibited on such a large scale.

hornsby lighthouse 600x433 Some recent images

 

first kiss 600x444 Some recent images

 

observatory hill views 439x600 Some recent images

 

bullzeye 491x600 Some recent images

 

diamonds in the night 600x359 Some recent images

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Collecting interest for my next Landscape Photography Workshop in SydneyMarch 7th, 2013

I wanted to collect interest for my next Landscape Photography workshop.

If you would like to learn more about landscape photography and literally save yourself months and years of learning the hard way, this workshop is for you. Level is beginner – intermediate.

Check out the link below for more information

http://www.kajophotography.com/blog/landscape-workshop/

Please just drop me an email or send a comment below to register your interest. If you come with a friend, I will give you both a 10% discount on the workshop.

Space is strictly limited to 8 attendees, so please contact me as soon as possible.

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Son Doong – The worlds largest Cave is in VietnamJanuary 18th, 2013

I have been to Vietnam on a photography assignment in the past and I wish I had known about this cave back then. But then it wasn’t even discovered yet. Some cave explorers discovered the Son Doong cave only in 2009 and it is now deemed the largest cave in the world.
I am pretty certain that this will be a huge tourist attraction in the future. So the best time to go and see it is now.

 Son Doong   The worlds largest Cave is in Vietnam

Take a look at more pictures here.

And a National Geogrpahic doco:

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Amazing sattelite imagesJanuary 16th, 2013

Nasa has published a free ebook  that shows some absolutely fascinating images of our planet.
this would make a great coffee table book. But if nothing else I will put this on my ipad and put that on my coffee table icon smile Amazing sattelite images

From the Foreword:

“In 1960, the United States put its first Earth-observing
environmental satellite into orbit around the planet. Over the
decades, these satellites have provided invaluable information,
and the vantage point of space has provided new perspectives
on Earth. This book celebrates Earth’s aesthetic beauty in the
patterns, shapes, colors, and textures of the land, oceans, ice,|
and atmosphere. Earth-observing environmental satellites can
measure outside the visible range of light, so these images
show more than what is visible to the naked eye. The beauty|
of Earth is clear, and the artistry ranges from the surreal to
the sublime. Truly, by escaping Earth’s gravity we discovered
its attraction.”

Capture 600x568 Amazing sattelite images

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Get your camera in unusual placesJanuary 14th, 2013

While shooting photos for the ad campaign for summer in Sydney at the harbour, I saw the huge construction site in front of the Opera House and a newly created foot bridge for pedestrians to cross the big hole in the ground. I instantly thought that this could be a great opportunity for me to get my camera in an unusual place to take photos from. After all, the construction site is only temporary and thus I might be able to shoot an image from the Opera House that that has not been shot to death.

It is very hard to find fresh and new angles of icons which have been shot to death, so I couldn’t wait to plan my next shoot from that bridge.

A week later I set out to going there and once I arrived at the top of the pedestrian bridge, I noticed that the safety fence  of about 3 meters height would be a big obstacle. I went through my options of shooting through the fence, but quickly dismissed it as the mesh was way too narrow. Finally I could only think of climbing up the fence (not a good idea if you’re 20 meters above a construction hole with temporary fencing) or lift my camera up to the top of the fence and use live view to compose.

Finally a time when live view is actually useful. I have never otherwise used it as my trusted viewfinder is a much better and more reliable way to compose (especially as it is a 100% viewfinder on my trusted D300 – unlike many other cameras).

Here is the shot of the setup. I just lifted the camera up on the tripod and clamped my hands down to fix the tripod against the mesh of the fence. Finally with the remote release and via live view I managed to compose a shot of  the Opera House that is unusual and unique as soon the bridge and the construction site will have disappeared.

IMAG0243 2 338x600 Get your camera in unusual places

Finding oportunities like that are really golden and I encourage anyone to go out there with open eyes and seize them as they present themselves. Oftentimes this might include a bit of trespassing on constructions sites etc, but it certainly keeps your photography unique and exciting.

after the opera 600x470 Get your camera in unusual places

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Amazing photographs from spaceJanuary 11th, 2013

Aboard the International Space Station there is a an astronaut as well as a passionate photographer who takes some amazing photos of planet earth.

He uses a 600mm Nikon lens and a 2x teleconverter to zoom right in on our planet.
The photos are unique and really amazing. Check it out yourself.

 Amazing photographs from space

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Mount Everest in 2 billion pixelsJanuary 6th, 2013

I am a big fan of mountaineering and had the chance to meet one of the most famous some time ago: Peter Hillary – son of famous mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary who was the first man to reach the summit of Everest.

Recently I found this amazing photo that was taken high above Base Camp Everest. It’s a whopping 2 billion pixels in size. Stitched with a Canon 5d MkIII into one massive panorama.
I hope you enjoy the detail in this shot.

Click here to view.

 

 

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Some big exposureDecember 14th, 2012

I have just seen the first photos of the Sydney summer campaign that has started recently.
It’s amazing to see my shots on Melbourne’s trains. I wish I could go down there to see this with my own eyes.
Below a few shots of it next to the original photos that I submitted.

maxi tram at flinders st 600x390 Some big exposure

pool and bridge 600x484 Some big exposure

mega tram at fed square 600x388 Some big exposure

crown jewel.jpg 600x345 Some big exposure

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Go Pro Action Sports FootageNovember 4th, 2012

I am a huge fan of adventure sports and for many years part of this is a tiny little HD camera in a water and shockproof housing which captures the action right there and then. It’s name is GoPro Hero and over the years there have been many many amazing videos that amateurs took out there in the wild. Go Pro goes into the 3rd round with their latest camera model and the clip below shows some amazing footage.
Not exactly photography related, but I enjoyed the clip so much, I thought I’d share. And no, I do not have any affiliation with this (or any) company.
Enjoy.

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Amazing Time Lapse PhotographyOctober 22nd, 2012

This must be one of the most impressive time lapse videos I have ever seen. I’m a big fan of time lapse and would really like to get involved at some stage.

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Great News!October 19th, 2012

I have been fortunate enough to have been picked again to photograph the new ad campaign for Tourism NSW. After having finished my workshop last weekend, I have gone straight back to reccing new places to shoot.

In the meantime, I have been shown how some of my images were used nationally and internationally.
Here are a few examples:
Screen Shot 2012 10 09 at 9.56.34 PM 600x399 Great News!

Screen Shot 2012 10 09 at 9.56.12 PM 600x387 Great News!

Screen Shot 2012 10 09 at 9.56.17 PM 600x400 Great News!

Screen Shot 2012 10 09 at 9.56.26 PM 600x401 Great News!

Screen Shot 2012 10 09 at 9.56.34 PM 600x399 Great News!

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Next Landscape Photography Workshop announcedSeptember 3rd, 2012

I am thrilled to announce my next Landscape Photography Workshop in October 2012!
It’s been a few months since I ran the last one, and due to personal commitments, this is going to be the last workshop for this year.
So if you always wanted to join, now is the perfect time to do so.

Feedback has been extremely positive over the last few years and there is no better way to learn the ropes or take your photography to the next level than this.
For more information, please follow this link.

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More Sydney ShotsAugust 21st, 2012

I haven’t been in touch for a while. Work is keeping me very busy and I am currently organising another workshop in the coming months. But if you follow me on facebook, you would know that I am putting up photos there regularly.
Here are a few more that I took for the ad campaign that is already running by now.

vertical 248x400 More Sydney Shots

round and round 400x265 More Sydney Shots

opera point 400x152 More Sydney Shots

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Advertisement Campaign for SydneyJuly 21st, 2012

Lots of people have asked if I can show some shots of the campaign I shot for Tourism Australia.
Well without further ado, here are some of them:

wheel and bridge 400x265 Advertisement Campaign for Sydney

luna park huzzle 400x276 Advertisement Campaign for Sydney

crown jewel 400x230 Advertisement Campaign for Sydney

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Next Landscape Photography Workshop on 23rd/24th of JuneJune 12th, 2012

The next landscape photography workshop has now been announced.
It’s going to be on 23rd/24th of June. If you would like to attend, please send me an email as quickly as possible, as the course is almost filled up.

For more info, check out this link

http://www.kajophotography.com/blog/landscape-workshop/

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Assignment completedMay 21st, 2012

Sorry for the lack of updates from my end.
I have been extremely busy with the assignment I was shooting for Tourism NSW.
It is now been finished and the client is very happy with the results.
Soon my Sydney Harbour shots will be displayed around Australia and also internationally in the latest Sydney Winter Advertisement campaign.

Here is the feedback I received of Tourism NSW: “Destination NSW recruited Kajo for a landscape photo shoot and he produced brilliant results exactly to brief and on time. I would have no hesitation in commissioning Kajo for future photo shoots.”

I will post some of the shots I took on this website, so that you can see the results.

It was been a great experience and a real honour to shoot my favourite city and show off its beauty to the world.
So next time you open a magazine or pass a billboard and it depicts a shot of Sydney, think of me.

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An honourApril 10th, 2012

I have recently been awarded a very prestigious project by the office of Tourism NSW.
The assignment is to shoot iconic shots of Sydney for their international advertisement campaign.

So this has kept me extremely busy – scouting and getting unique shots that speak Sydney!
But I really enjoy working for such a huge project and feel very honoured to be the photographer who’s photos are going to be displayed in magazines and on billboards all across the globe.

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Photoshop CS6 is going to rockMarch 26th, 2012

I’m just having a play with the new beta version of Photoshop CS6.
I gotta say it will be a must have upgrade for me.
The content aware tool was introduced in CS5 and worked beautifully, however sometimes it also completely stuffed up, because the user had no control over it.

They finally introduced user control of content aware fill, so it has become much more usable now.
There are a few other things I very much look forward to using and that is the tilt/shift filter.
I just love the miniature effect that it can create but it’s a very expensive lens. Being able to now create it in Photoshop is going to be a lot of fun.

Here is a Sneak Peak video of what you can expect.

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Next Landscape Photography Workshop announcedMarch 7th, 2012

Hi guys,

quick note that my next landscape photography workshop is going to run on the weekend of 28/29th of March.
If you would like to attend, please shoot me a quick email.
For more information, please click on the following link.

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Antarctica Ebook – finally releasedMarch 5th, 2012

Screen Shot 2012 03 05 at 4.08.56 PM 400x300 Antarctica Ebook   finally released
I am very excited to announce that my 2nd ebook has just been released.

It follows my trip to Antarctica in 2009 with lots of photos, descriptions, shooting details and general information about Antarctica.

If you’re planning on going down there some time or just want to day dream about it, you will love this book.
It has been two years in the making and finally I am ready to release it.

It will soon be available on its own dedicated website (like landscapephotographyguide.com) but for now you can already grab it from here.

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One-on-One TuitionFebruary 28th, 2012

Due to popular request, I am thrilled to announce as BRAND NEW
“Kajo’s Private Landscape Photography Classes”
Completely customised to your needs and time constraints, you will learn everything I know about Landscape Photography. This course is 100% tailored to your skill level, expectations and requests.

As a AIPP accredited Photographer and NAPP accredited Photoshop Expert, you will be in a unique position to have my full attention, to ask all those questions you have been dying to know, and learn all the tricks of the trade.

I personally guarantee that you will increase your skill-level EXPONENTIALLY during my one-day class.
My Private Landscape classes may cover any of these topics:

• Composition (basics and advanced)
• Basics of photography – interior of an SLR, components of exposure (aperture, ISO, shutter speed, focus,…), technical terms explained
• Histogram and exposing to the right – how to make use of it and how to improve your images with it
• Rules of composition
• Reading the light
• How to get more saturated photos with richer colours
• Bracketing (basics for HDR photography)
• Layer blending
• White Balance blending
• How to capture seascapes
• Shutter blending
• Creating panoramas
• Tips for researching (planning, scouting, shooting)
• Gear (recommended cameras, tripods, lenses, filters,…
• Where to buy your gear (cheap and reliable shops)
• Pre-shooting checklist
• Practical Shooting tips
• Post-Processing Workflow

COST

A full-day private course totals 8 hours and costs $495. It may include sunset and/or sunrise shooting (depending on your request) as well as a post-processing workflow session.

If you do not have camera equipment, I will offer you to loan my professional equipment during the class at no extra charge.
Additional participants may attend for $100 each, up to 4 persons.
SPECIAL OFFER FOR A LIMITED TIME: BRING ONE FRIEND FOR FREE

Book now using the contact form link below
DON’T FORGET YOUR LOVED ONES!!
GIFT VOUCHERS ARE AVAILABLE AND MAKE THE PERFECT GIFT FOR PHOTOGRAPHY-ENTHUSIAST FAMILY & FRIENDS

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Some new photosFebruary 21st, 2012

I had some time to process a few more of my shots from Europe last year.
This time I tackled some of the Prague shots that I was meaning to do a long time ago.

Prague is an amazing city in terms of photography. There is so much to shoot there. Old buildings, trams, subway stations, the castle and the incredible atmosphere at night.
The city is lit in a very curious way that gives it a very medieval atmosphere once the sun has set.
I cannot wait to go back there as there is so much more wanting to be photographed!

Here is a start with the first couple of images from Prague.

prague tram 600x408 Some new photos

carls bridge 600x398 Some new photos

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Making of Mona Vale PoolJanuary 24th, 2012

I got a few questions regarding my Mona Vale Pool processing and I uploaded this 10minute video to show you.
There was another shot that I wanted to process from the same morning, so I caught two birds with one stone and recorded the processing which was very similar to the previous one.
Anyway here it is. I hope you find it useful.

If you would like to learn more about photoshop, consider joining my Photoshop Workshop where you will learn all my tricks and tips regarding image processing and workflow.
Click here for details.

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Photoshop Workshop Official AnnouncementJanuary 23rd, 2012

Due to popular request, I am thrilled to announce my brand new Photoshop Workshop in Sydney, 18th of February 2012.

Photoshop Workshop – From Camera to Print & Web.
I am an honourable member of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals and my new workshop is jam-packed with photoshop and workflow tricks. Meet like-minded photography enthusiasts and enjoy a fun and social day while learning all the tricks of the trade!

Click below to view the program for the day
http://www.kajophotography.com/blog/photoshop-and-workflow-workshop/

I expect the workshop to go for around 5-6 hours. Laptops are not required, and course videos are provided to take home after the workshop.
Half the places are ALREADY filled with past participants in my workshops, so to avoid disappointment book your spot immediately by sending me an email.

NB: Places are secured once a deposit is received.

photoshop ad flyer 600x340 Photoshop Workshop Official Announcement

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Mona Vale PoolJanuary 19th, 2012

The other morning I went out with some photography friends to shoot the pool at Mona Vale at Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

It was raining heavily during the night, and we were all very excited when we met at 5am. Stormy mornings make for some of my most favourite conditions to shoot in. It produces the most atmospheric images in my opinion.
Well here is one of the shots I came back with. I do enjoy symmetry in the photo, but not exact symmetry. Therefore I intentionally did not clone out the pole at the left.

mona vale pool 600x397 Mona Vale Pool

If you would like to learn how to take seascape photos like this, why not join my next landscape photography workshop on 4th/5th of February!
I still have two spots left, so simply use the contact form at the top of the page to send me an email.

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Landscape Photography Workshop in FebruaryDecember 30th, 2011

The next landscape photography workshop will be held on the weekend of 4th/5th of February 2012.

If you would like to join, please contact me via the contact form or via the comment section of this post.
For more information on the upcoming workshop, please check out:

http://www.kajophotography.com/blog/landscape-workshop/

workshop ad 600x315 Landscape Photography Workshop in February

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Lunar eclipse – bad luckDecember 15th, 2011

The frustration of us photographers sometimes is when you’re on location, set everything up and spend hours waiting only to see the sun rise behind clouds, or there are no clouds at all and the sunrise is really bland.
It’s also why photography is so exciting. It requires a good amount of patience. And when you get rewarded from time to time, you really appreciate it.

I had one of those moments when I was in the garden, setting up my gear, waiting for the lunar eclipse. It was supposed to start at 11.30pm and finish at around 2.30am. So that’s 3 hours of waiting if you want to capture the whole thing.

So I was standing in the garden like a statue for 2 hours and just before we had the full lunar eclipse with the moon turning red, a huge cloud field moved in and completely covered the moon. It was literally 15 minutes before it would have happened.
So the result was a very unhappy Kajo with not much to show for in terms of photos. Oh well the next chance I will have will be in 2014!!

It’s part of photography and while it’s frustrating, there’s nothing I enjoy more than being out in nature trying to capture her at her finest.

Here is one of the shots I took that night with the earth’s shadow already creeping across the moon (100% crop):

Screen Shot 2011 12 15 at 6.47.22 PM 600x559 Lunar eclipse   bad luck

I shot with my trusty Nikon D2H and  80-200 f/2.8 lens. I also added a 1.7x TC (also Nikon) to get extra reach. I really wanted that moon to be nice and big. Effectively I had a 340mm lens. Not bad on a cropped sensor (which corresponds to roughly a 500mm lens on a full frame).
I shot at pretty high ISO and fairly wide open. Shutter speed is important, because the moon moves and if you want a razor sharp moon, you have to have a fast shutter speed.
So ISO was at 800 and aperture at f/5.6. This gave me a shutter speed of about 1/125sec. That’s plenty for what I was going for.
Below is a shot of the setup I used.

photo1 400x298 Lunar eclipse   bad luck

photo 400x298 Lunar eclipse   bad luck

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Give the gift of Photography this ChristmasDecember 7th, 2011

Because last year was such a big success, I will do the same thing again this year for Christmas.

If you know someone who would like to improve their photography and you’re still looking for a great Christmas gift, I will offer a special discount for my future workshops (up to 6 months).  If you contact me before Christmas, I will give you 25% off the regular workshop price. That’s a saving of almost $75!

workshop ad xmas discount 600x346 Give the gift of Photography this Christmas

Just email me or comment on this post if you would like to take advantage of this Christmas offer.

This offer will expire on December 22nd.

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Some more photosNovember 30th, 2011

Finally I’m getting around to going through all those photos I took in the recent half year.
Life gets busy with stuff sometimes and the passion has to lay low, ready to get reignited at any moment.

The following three shots were all taken in Venice last Summer.
Being one of the most visited cities in the world, it is not easy to get shots there without the millions of tourists who crowd the narrow streets and the boats on the canals.

Simply allowing yourself to get lost in the maze of alleys is by far the most amazing way to soak up Venice. This is when you fall in love with it. It did not happen at Piazza San Marco, the world famous square in Venice. It was actually pretty underwhelming in my opinion.

So not being too keen to shoot the tourist stuff, I tried to convey being in Venice in other ways. The canals being the obvious choice, but also the famous condolas, and the many colourful houses.

If you ever get the chance, try to spend at least a night there. Most tourists have left in the evening to sail away on their cruise ships and the streets become almost abandoned. This is when you’ll get your best shots of Venice. Promised.

venice canals 600x398 Some more photos

lone boat 600x436 Some more photos

grand canal 600x355 Some more photos

venice 406x600 Some more photos

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Next workshop is at December 3rd/4thNovember 10th, 2011

My next workshop is now officially announced. It’s going to be on the weekend of December 3rd/4th.

This is going to be my last workshop for this year, so if you don’t want to miss out, please contact me asap.

For more info on the workshop please click here.

workshop ad 600x315 Next workshop is at December 3rd/4th

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Some new shotsNovember 7th, 2011

Only recently did I get the time to process some of my shots I took during the last 5 or so months.
The following shots are all from a recent trip to Paris. Being a passionate landscape photographer, I had to find something else to shoot in Paris and I did discover a new passion. It’s cityscapes. In all shapes and sizes. So not only skylines and panoramic cityscapes but also architectural stuff.

Especially the latter sounds very boring, but I’m not going for the standard architectural stuff. More for quirky bits and pieces that you find in big cities. I like capturing parts of well known cities that the viewer doesn’t recognise, like the shot of the round about below. You wouldn’t think this is one of the busiest traffic intersections in Paris, would you? That’s because I waited more than an hour for a shot without any cars in it. It really tested my patience as there were 532622 cars in every other shot.

Also HDR plays a big role here. So it’s a mix of street photography and architecture. And I’m really enjoying it.

montmartre sinking 600x518 Some new shots

round about 600x367 Some new shots

moth to the light 600x398 Some new shots

I will post more photos in the coming days. Any questions and comments are welcome (use form below).

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Amazing Time Lapse PhotographyOctober 20th, 2011

This is a must watch and shows the incredible capabilities of time lapse.
Make sure you watch it in 1080p and full screen.

http://youtu.be/ymXfruw5-hs

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Selling my Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/2 ZF lens FOR NikonOctober 18th, 2011

Selling my beloved Carl Zeiss Distagon 35mm f/2 for Nikon mount.

It is the sharpest lens I have ever used, but it simply does not get enough use on my camera. Therefore it has only been used a handful of times and is condition: as new.

If you are interested, please email me. I’m selling it for $900, with is about $300 cheaper than market price.

This lens is very hard to get in Australia and I had to import it myself from the US.

Zeiss Distagon 35mm f2 ZF2 Selling my Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 35mm f/2 ZF lens FOR Nikon

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The workshop is fullOctober 12th, 2011

My Landscape Photography Workshop is now full.
If you are interested, please contact me and I will put you on the list for a future workshop.

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75% of the spots are taken!September 25th, 2011

If you don’t want to miss out on your chance to bring your landscape photography to the next level, contact me as soon as possible.

The workshop runs on the weekend of 15/16th of October.

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Landscape Photography Workshop in October 2011September 4th, 2011

workshop ad 600x315 Landscape Photography Workshop in October 2011

I will run my next Landscape Photography workshop on the weekend of 15/16th October 2011.

If you are interested to join, please contact me by either leaving a message or using the contact form on this website.

If you sign up by September 15, I will give you a 10% early booking discount.

For more details on the workshop, please check out this page.

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Arc de Triomphe – ParisAugust 17th, 2011

Been a while since I updated this blog. I’m currently shooting almost every day and have not spent much time at all in front of the screens.
The hard drives are filling up and I am very glad that the new 1TB portable drives have come out as I had to emergency buy a few of them.
Anyway, here is a shot I managed to process of a very famous arch that probably does not need introduction to you.

arc on fire 600x404 Arc de Triomphe   Paris

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele IIJuly 19th, 2011

Milan is truly remarkable. The gallery is one of those wonders of the world in my personal opinion and probably the most beautiful mall as well.

The below image has been merged to HDR from three exposures, as the contrast of shooting right into the sky was too high, so I had to bracket the exposure.
I teach this technique in my workshops as well by the way.
Using my fisheye lens allowed me to capture most of the ceiling in one shot and I quite like how it turned out.

galleria 600x408 Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

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Glowing Cathedral in StrasbourgJuly 5th, 2011

From Wiki:
“Strasbourg Cathedral or the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Strasbourg, France. Although considerable parts of it are still in Romanesque architecture, it is widely considered to be among the finest examples of high, or late, Gothic architecture. Erwin von Steinbach is credited for major contributions from 1277 to his death in 1318.
At 142 metres, it was the world’s tallest building from 1647 to 1874, when it was surpassed by St. Nikolai’s Church, Hamburg. Today it is the sixth-tallest church in the world.”

This is a three exposure HDR, handheld using my new 8mm fisheye lens.
It’s so much fun shooting architecture with this lens. You can see it is a HDR by looking at the woman in the white jacket. If you’re wondering whether a photo is a HDR, these kind of effects are dead giveaways icon smile Glowing Cathedral in Strasbourg
I could have fixed it but I liked the ghostly nature of this person in this very grand cathedral.

glowing cathedral 600x398 Glowing Cathedral in Strasbourg

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Fisheye funJune 16th, 2011

As some of you may know, I am a big sucker for super wide photos. So it was only a matter of time until I would get myself a nice fisheye lens.
I bought a Samyang 8mm. What a bargain for a lens of this class – and one of the best performers too.

Still playing around with the manual focus and manual aperture dials of this lens, but it’s not my first manual focus lens so once you’re used to it, it’s virtually no different. Focusing with such a lens is easy, because of the inherent amount of DOF of such an ultra-wide angle lens. Set it to infinity or close to it and if you shoot at f/5.6 or higher, and your subject isn’t too close to the lens, you will be sweet.

Anyway here is a shot I took recently in a hotel.

sophienpark stairway 600x401 Fisheye fun

Fisheyes are just so much fun and I reckon mine will stay glued to the body for quite some time.

Here is a review of this lens. Highly recommended.

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Nikon D7000 or D300sMay 30th, 2011

Both Back 600x345 Nikon D7000 or D300sAfter my Nikon D300 had broken on holidays, I decided to buy a D300s as a replacement.
But recently the brand new D7000 was released and I received many emails asking me why I decided for the older D300s and did not buy the slightly cheaper and newer D7000.

Well it was a very close race for me between the D7000 and the D300s.
My camera broke at an unfortunate time, because later this year the D400 should become available (D7000 sensor in a pro-DX body), and I am planning to buy it. However since I needed a camera right now, I had the choice between the D7000 and D300s.

The problem with the entry-level bodies like the D7000 is, that you need different batteries, different cards and other connectors, like a different remote release. Frankly I did not see the point in buying all those additional things for a camera that I will definitely sell again when the D400 gets released this year.

So whilst I was very tempted to buy the 16MP D7000 with superior image quality, I stuck with the D300s. It allows me to keep on using my batteries, CF Cards, remote release and camera plate.

Essentially, for me the more expensive D300s is the better camera. However, the D7000 is no clunker, it’s 80% of what the D300s is. Now, if that was all there was to the story, the D300s would be the better camera, but there’s a lot more.
On the spec sheet, the D7000 equals or betters the $500 more expensive D300s in areas like high ISO performance, resolution (more mega pixels), video capability, AF capabilities (those extra 12 points on the D300s probably don’t matter much), frame rate (D7000 can go 6fps in 14 bit while the D300s can only do 2.5 in 14 bit), AF microadjust, and a built-in intervalometer.
Looking at the complete package, there’s no reason not to buy the D7000 unless you are like me and not a fan of the entry-level design (esp. when you are used to a pro body) as well as the issues I mentioned above. So you must decide if you want to get the essentially 3 ½ year old D300s or if you can live with the few shortcomings, buy the latest and greatest by buying the D7000.

I can hardly wait for the D400 to get released. But for the time being I have to bite the bullet and shoot with a camera that is not at the top of the DX line-up anymore.

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What a rewarding landscape workshopMay 22nd, 2011

Another landscape photography workshop has finished and I am always amazed at how rewarding it is to teach other people about photography.

Watching students improve their photos over the last 2 days is simply wonderful. The feedback was great and everyone went home with great shots and made new friends with other workshop participants.
Thanks again to all participants for signing up to my workshop and I hope we will meet again one morning at one of Sydney’s beautiful beaches.

Below is a quick shot that I managed to take at the Pool in North Maroubra where I ran this workshop.

Mahon may morning 600x407 What a rewarding landscape workshop

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D300s or D700 for landscape photographyMay 20th, 2011

Well a few days ago I was wondering whether I should replace my broken D300 by upgrading to a D700 and therefore going full-frame.

I have now made my decision. I will stick to the D300, or what is the newer model – the D300s.
It’s basically a D300 with a few minor bells and whistles (HD movie, 2nd card slot, artificial horizon and silent shooting mode).

I simply realised that all those super wide angles for full-frame can’t take filters, and therefore are completely uninteresting to me. Aside from many disadvantages IMO of a full frame sensor over a cropped sensor (see attached image), there is a larger choice of wide and super wide-angle lenses for cropped sensors and almost all of them can take filters (esp. at the super WA end of things).

Screen shot 2011 05 20 at 3.39 D300s or D700 for landscape photography

As you can see, the issues are mostly related to the corners of the image. And since a full frame sensor is larger than a cropped sensor, you hardly have the above mentioned issues on a DX sensor because it does not cover the corners of the image.
Also lenses and bodies are much cheaper for cropped sensors and it would have been expensive for me to upgrade those lenses, for virtually no apparent difference in image quality.
Of course I understand why some ppl upgrade due to the obvious better ISO capabilities, but personally I do not care about high ISO settings as 99% of the time I shoot at ISO 200 or less.

So I stick to cropped-frame and looking less professional on location, but I can live with that icon smile D300s or D700 for landscape photography

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Last chance to join my workshopMay 16th, 2011

This is the last chance to join my workshop this coming weekend (21st-22nd of May 2011) in Sydney.
As already mentioned, this is going to be my last workshop probably for the rest of this year, so if you don’t want to miss this chance, contact me as soon as possible, either via the contact form on this website or just write a comment.

For details, please click here.

workshop ad 600x315 Last chance to join my workshop

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Fullerton HDRMay 9th, 2011

Another HDR photo that I took in Singapore. This was a three image exposure processed using the amazing Nik HDR Efex.
I do prefer it to Photomatix for its easy of use and more realistic results.

fullerton hdr 600x408 Fullerton HDR

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Singapore Skyline HDRMay 5th, 2011

Here is the first shot I processed from my recent trip to Singapore.

It is a stitched panorama of two panels with each panel being 4 different images merged to HDR.
It’s a rather complicated and time consuming process but well worth the result in my opinion. I took this from my hotel room, which had a beautiful view across Singapore Harbour.

I also put this one up for sale here.

singapore mandarin 600x267 Singapore Skyline HDR

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Photography Workshop in MayMay 4th, 2011

I will run my last workshop in May as I will be busy with various photography assignments for the rest of the year.

If you want to join, please check your calendar on 21st/22nd of May and drop me an email so that I can put you on the final list.

For more information on the workshop, click here.

workshop ad 600x315 Photography Workshop in May

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Tales from a broken cameraMay 3rd, 2011

Well my trip to Singapore turned out to be good and bad.

Good for all the superb photo opportunities there, esp. at night. Bad for my camera, as it did not survive the trip.
It got dropped and for some unfortunate reason the back LCD display got taken out. Fortunately other than that, only one of my lenses now doesn’t focus anymore.

photo1 600x448 Tales from a broken camera

Now, effectively I had a Film camera – I had no idea how the shots would turn out without a display to check them.
It was an exciting challenge and I had to use all my photography knowledge of reading the light to get some decent exposures. Whilst this made taking photos a lot harder, it also was quite rewarding when I came back home to check the images on my laptop.

I now realise how much easier we have it nowadays, being able to check every shot we take right after taking it and being able to validate the correct exposure – vital esp. for night shots. Guessing the exposure values without being able to take test shots turned out to be much harder.
So inevitably I about 30% of my shots were not correctly exposed, either too short or too long.
Aside from that some shots were taken at the wrong ISO which did not occur to me due to lack of a back display.

After a couple of days I got the hang of it though and started to get more and more keepers.

My camera is now in repair and hopefully will return to me very soon. In the meantime I will keep posting about my trip along with some of the shots I have taken there.

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Back from holidaysMay 1st, 2011

I am back from my holidays in Singapore and am going to prepare some images as well as talk about some valuable lessons I have learned over there in terms of photography.

So watch this space as I will have multiple blog posts lined up over the next few days.

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Last Workshop in MayApril 15th, 2011

Due to a long term photography assignment, I will not be able to run workshops during the 2nd half of this year.
Therefore I would like to run one last workshop this May.
Please get in touch with me if you would like to participate and I will put you on the list. I have not fixed a date yet, but it is probably going to be the 2nd or 3rd weekend in May.

For more information on the workshop, please check out this link.

workshop ad 600x315 Last Workshop in May

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Photoshop Monday renamed to Photoshop TutorialsApril 6th, 2011

Due to many time constraints, I cannot post an new photoshop tutorial every Monday.
However I will keep on doing them, just not every week.
I therefore will rename the Photoshop Monday category to just Photoshop Tutorials.

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Photoshop Monday – Freaky DetailMarch 28th, 2011

A photoshop effect that I use regularly in my seascape images is called Freaky Detail. It’s an amazing way of adding a large amount of clarity to your textured foregrounds, e.g. rocks, water, etc.
Give it a go, I am sure it will help improve some of your landscape/seascape images.

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Pack the right lensMarch 27th, 2011

I just love those mornings when you wake up and it’s completely overcast and pouring outside. Sometimes you end up getting up in vain, going to the beach and getting completely soaked, wiping raindrops off your lens.
But sometimes you come home happy, when the rain stops, the clouds move over just to let some early morning sun shine through and you know you have just witnessed a spectacular sunrise.

It was one of those mornings that Brent, Gavin, Andrew and I witnessed and we were all darn glad, that we left the comfort of our homes to get out and battle the elements for that perfect shot.

I usually pack my bag the night before, however today I stuffed the wrong lens into my bag in the wee hours of the morning. Thus instead of taking my beloved Sigma 10-20mm, I only had the Sigma 50mm with me.
Well, I had to make the best of it, so instead of being right in the action with my legs knee-deep in water, I had to take a step back… and shoot from the comfort of the beach. New experience for me and it required some rethinking about composition with such a long lens (long for landscape photographers). However it was a great, if somewhat unwanted exercise and I was quite happy with what I got.

Here are the shooting details:
Nikon D300
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 @ f/16, 2 seconds
Lee 2-stop split grad
No HDR

5563236173 3c2123c5a2 b 600x361 Pack the right lens

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Workshop this weekend postponedMarch 23rd, 2011

Unfortunately, due to several last minute cancellations of my workshop, I have to postpone the workshop.
Please email me as soon as possible, if you would like to participate in the next landscape photography workshop and I will be in touch with you.

workshop ad 600x315 Workshop this weekend postponed

Here is what other people said about this workshop:

“Excellent value for money. We are lucky it is a small group.”, Stephanie
“Engaging nature and knowledge.”
, Kim
“Great theory background and individual help in the practical parts.”
, Kristy
“Even if others have some experience, there is always more to learn.”
, Andrew
“Good pace, relaxed, accommodates different skill levels, small class number, very good knowledge base.”
, Zoe
“On the weekend i attended Kajo’s Landscape course.
I thoroughly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about the art of Landscape photography.
There is plenty of theory and also heaps of hands on time in the dusk and dawn shoots to show your new found theory.
So if you get the chance book into his next course”, Paul.

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Photoshop Monday – Creating an eye catching logoMarch 22nd, 2011

Sorry for the lack of photoshop sessions. I was occupied with some non-photography related stuff.
So with some delay here is my photoshop tutorial this Monday!
It’s a neat little way to make your logos more visually appealing by using some stock-images.

Take a look at the video.

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Lightroom 3.4 and Camera RAw 6.4 releasedMarch 14th, 2011

Adobe announced today that Lightroom 3.4 and Camera Raw 6.4 Release Candidates are available for instant download from the Adobe website. The new version bring support for various news cameras including Canon EOS Rebel T3i and Olympus E-PL1s and they also improve lens correction, which was introduced in Lightroom 3.3 and Camera Raw 6.3, The lens profiles help photographers automatically correct unwanted distortion and chromatic aberration.

In addition, the Lightroom 3.4 and Camera Raw 6.4 Release Candidates address a number of issues reported by customers on the previous releases.
Get Camera Raw 6.4 here
and Lightroom 3.4 here

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Photoshop Monday postponedMarch 8th, 2011

I spoke at an event last night, so I did not have time to record a photoshop Monday session. It will be online here soon though.

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Photoshop Monday – Poster Layout for your imagesFebruary 28th, 2011

Poster layout is another really nice way to frame your images.
In this tutorial I show you how you can add your custom signature to your images and make it all look really presentable on the internet.

Hope you enjoy this video.

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New Landscape Photography Workshop Date AnnouncedFebruary 23rd, 2011

I just fixed the date for my next Landscape Photography workshop. It’s going to be on the

26th/27th March 2011.

If you are interested, please send me an email (via the contact us page) or leave a comment here.
For more information on the workshop, click here.

workshop ad 600x315 New Landscape Photography Workshop Date Announced

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Saw throat – photoshop Monday postponedFebruary 22nd, 2011

I gave a speech on Antarctica yesterday in front of a group of interested people and as a result, my throat is saw today.
So I have to postpone the photoshop Monday session by a few days (until I can talk again properly).
Check back in the next few days and it should be online.

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Featured in Photographers Hall of FameFebruary 21st, 2011

I just received notice that I have been featured in the photographers hall of fame.
It’s a brilliant website to browse for talented photographers. Take a look, some of the talent there is absolutely amazing and I am humbled to have the honor to be part of it.

Check out the link to the Photographer’s Hall of Fame

outstanding Featured in Photographers Hall of Fame

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Next workshop in MarchFebruary 17th, 2011

Just wanted to give an update on the next workshop. It will be mid-late March.
If you want to join, please hit me up via email (contact us) or by dropping me a comment here.

For more information on the workshop, click here

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Photoshop Monday – Batch processingFebruary 14th, 2011

After learning about how to create actions last week, here is a way to apply what we have learned to a multitude of images.
Photoshop calls it Batch Processing.
Most people have not heard of this function in photoshop, so I figured it would be a good idea to use the action we created last week and apply it right away. If you missed last weeks tutorial, I suggest watching that one first. The link is here

Enjoy!

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Photoshop Monday – Using actionsFebruary 8th, 2011

Today, I’d like to show you how I use actions in photoshop which allow me to streamline my workflow, by automising all those tedious and repetitive steps in photoshop. With actions, you can record an infinite amount of steps and just apply them to any photo, with the press of a button.

A video says more than a thousand words, so here it is. Enjoy!

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Some workshop feedbackFebruary 4th, 2011

Here is some feedback I received for my landscape photography workshop last weekend

“Excellent value for money. We are lucky it is a small group.”, Stephanie
“Engaging nature and knowledge.”
, Kim
“Great theory background and individual help in the practical parts.”
, Kristy
“Even if others have some experience, there is always more to learn.”
, Andrew
“Good pace, relaxed, accommodates different skill levels, small class number, very good knowledge base.”
, Zoe

If you want to join the next landscape photography workshop, contact me and I will set a date in the near future.

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Photshop Monday – Layer masking 101February 1st, 2011

Sorry for posting Photoshop Monday on Tuesday. I just did not get around to recording a photoshop tutorial at the weekend, since I ran my Landscape Photography Workshop.
One of the attendees asked me about layer masking and how to use it for blending images. So I thought it would be a good idea to show you a tutorial about how I blend images indestructibly using layer masks, one of the most important and powerful tools in photoshop!
Hope you learn something new.

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Another successful workshopJanuary 31st, 2011

Last weekend I ran my landscape photography workshop and it was again a huge success. The quality of the work I reviewed was astounding and the creativity of some people keeps on making these workshops so interesting.
If you would like to join the next one, please drop me an email and I will set a date in the near future.

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Last spot for workshopJanuary 26th, 2011

There is one last spot available in my workshop this weekend. If you would like to join last minute, please let me know asap.
Click here for more info.

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Photoshop tutorial – VignettingJanuary 20th, 2011

It’s Photoshop Monday again and I want to show you the different ways of adding a vignette to your image.
I’m showing you three different ways of doing it. Enjoy!

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Photoshop Monday – Arranging your workspaceJanuary 17th, 2011

It’s Monday again and I’ve prepared a neat little tutorial for you about how I arrange my workspace.
Make sure you don’t miss it as it is a powerful tool to keep an overview of what you’re doing.
I demonstrate this by retouching the lips of a model I shot.

Hope you enjoy it!

t>

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Only one spot left for Landscape photography workshopJanuary 14th, 2011

There is only one spot left for my Landscape Photography workshop on 29th/30th of January. So if you want to grab the last spot, hit me up fast either by Using the contact page or by simply dropping a comment here.
Click on the banner below for details on the workshop.

workshop ad 600x315 Only one spot left for Landscape photography workshop

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Lurline BayJanuary 12th, 2011

With all the rain we have had recently down here in Sydney, it was no surprise that the conditions were no different when I headed out last weekend.
So I had my umbrella handy (it’s always in the car) and I did make good use of the towel I brought. Surprisingly enough not due to the rain but a rogue wave that washed me and my camera out…again.
I really hardly ever get back home dry, so my saying is: It wasn’t a good morning for seascapes unless you’re soaked to the bones with salt water.

lurline bay colour 600x422 Lurline Bay

And below is the B/W version of the same shot.

lurline bay 2 600x421 Lurline Bay

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Photoshop Monday – Framing your PhotosJanuary 10th, 2011

It is Photoshop Monday and I wanted to show you how I add frames around my images before uploading them to flickr, my blog, etc.
I hope you enjoy it and find it helpful!

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Resizing and Sharpening for Web TutorialJanuary 3rd, 2011

I received some questions asking me how I resize and sharpen my images for web presentation so I put together a video tutorial showing you how I go about doing this.


From now on I will upload a tutorial once per week every Monday and call it Photoshop Monday. I hope you guys will enjoy it!

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Happy New YearJanuary 3rd, 2011

Happy new year to everyone! I took a trip down to the South Coast to check out Jervis Bay.
It is one of the top 10 beaches in the world and now after having been there, I know why. The below shot was a 7 image stitch of Hyams Beach. It has been stitched with Autopano Pro and then cropped and slightly straightened in photoshop.

jervis bay 600x194 Happy New Year

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Tilt/Shift lens funDecember 20th, 2010

I have always been interested in tilt/shift lenses. Although they are very expensive, they produce some amazing effects.
One of the advantages for landscape photographers for example is that you can tilt the plane of focus almost horizontally and thus have an infinite amount of depth of field.

Another great effect of a t/s lens is the miniature effect. It allows you to create only a small area in your picture that is in focus and everything around it in an elliptical manner is out of focus. Thus our brain perceives what we see as very small.
Recently I saw a report about a German based photographer, who goes around the world making short movies with a tilt/shift lens. The results are incredible, take a look at it yourself in the below video.

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Workshop date is setDecember 15th, 2010

Thank you for the feedback everyone. I have now set the workshop date to

29th and 30th of January 2011.

Please contact me as soon as possible, if you would like to attend since the first spots have already been taken. Also keep in mind, that I am offering a Christmas special with a 50% discount if you signup for yourself and your friend.
For more information on the workshop, please follow this link.

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Give the gift of photography this ChristmasDecember 9th, 2010

workshop ad xmas1 600x346 Give the gift of photography this Christmas

If you have a friend or loved one who wants to improve their photographic skills, why not give them the gift of photography this Christmas and enroll them in one of my workshops.

Next one is running in late January 2011, but the voucher is valid for any workshop in 2011 – I usually run them on a monthly basis.

If you decide to sign up yourself and your friend/loved one to my workshop, I will offer a 50% discount on the 2nd person.

You will also receive a voucher in the mail that you can give your friend as a gift.
This offer is valid until 24/12/2010, so please contact me asap if you are still in need of a really meaningful Christmas gift.

For more information on the workshop, please check out the workshop page.

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Not your usual brideDecember 9th, 2010

A few weeks back we went out to shoot a lovely model. We asked her to bring a long, white dress.
However she surprised us all when she rocked up in her original wedding dress!
She did not cringe at all when we asked her to walk across the sharp and wet rocks in her dress for us. Not your usual bride I’d say icon smile Not your usual bride

We had a softbox to camera right with two Nikon SB-900 and Kaktus triggers (Pocket Wizards are just too expensive) and another SB-800 with honeycomb on a small stand behind her.
Whilst most of my shots I made sure that the model was right in front of the back light, I quite like the below shot with the back light visible. Then again, I have not really mastered the flash craft yet.

sunset veil 452x600 Not your usual bride

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Collecting interest for next workshopDecember 5th, 2010

I am planning to run the next Landscape Photography Workshop in late January 2011. So far there has been plenty of interest for another workshop in January, so before I want to fix a date, I would like to ask you to please get in touch with me and let me know when you are available for a workshop.

I was thinking of the weekend of January 29/30. Please either drop me a comment or contact me via email: kajo@kajophotography.com regarding what date would suit you.

I will then fix the workshop date based on what the majority is happy with.

For more details on the workshop, please check out the Landscape Photography Workshop Page.

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Another shot from the workshopDecember 2nd, 2010

I went back to look over the shots I took at my last workshop and found this one, which I thought was really worth processing.

Here is the result. It’s a 3 exposure HDR shot processed with Nik HDR Efex. I used one of the standard presets (natural) and adjusted the sliders a bit to my liking. I really like Nik HDR Efex as it allows you to do very subtle HDR images, which have slightly increased dynamic range, but don’t stand out like a cartoon like with Photomatix (if you’re not careful with it).

Well here is the resulting shot called “Rise oh Rise”

rise oh rise 600x388 Another shot from the workshop

Btw. the Landscape Photography ebook is selling like hotcakes and feedback has been very positive, so get yours today. Click here.

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Landscape Photography e-Book publishedNovember 29th, 2010

asas1 600x419 Landscape Photography e Book published

I am happy to officially announce the introduction of my first e-Book.
It is a Landscape Photography Guide which contains my accumulated experience of more than a decade of shooting landscapes.

I am confident that it will save you years of trial and error and thus accelerate your learning curve immensely.

It has taken me quite some months to get it finished and now it finally is ready for sale. I kept the price affordable so that everyone can improve their photography without having to spend much money. I believe it is a very valuable asset for any photographer and serves as a great reference on a huge variety of topics.

Please check out landscapephotographyguide.com for more details on the book.

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Another fun workshop is overNovember 24th, 2010

Last weekend I ran my probably last workshop for this year. The silly season always gets the better of everyone, so I don’t think there is going to be much time and demand for a workshop. However if there is enough interest, I will consider running one. Please email me if you are keen.

The below shot was taken at the workshop last weekend. We had a wonderful sunrise with beautiful pink and orange hues.

morning glory 600x400 Another fun workshop is over

One of the workshop attendees wrote up a really nice feedback about the workshp last weekend:

“On the weekend i attended Kajo’s Landscape course.
I thoroughly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about the art of Landscape photography.
There is plenty of therory and also heaps of hands on time in the dusk and dawn shoots to show your new found theory.
So if you get the chance book into his next course”, Paul.

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Awakening – a new dawnNovember 16th, 2010

Life as a landscape photographer requires a lot of patience. Waiting for the right light, getting frustrated when the light just did not happen that day, or euphoric when you are being rewarded with that spectacular sunrise you have been hoping for.

This morning at Sydney’s Eastern Beaches, I was glad that I made the effort to get up at 3.40am. Nothing makes you feel more alive than witnessing such beauty.

awakening 600x352 Awakening   a new dawn

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Gold Course SunsetNovember 12th, 2010

Even though I was late for the model shooting at Long Reef with my friends, I just could not resist to take a few quick handheld shots of those amazing light rays over the golf course of Long Reef. You need a fast shutter speed in order to succeed with a handheld HDR shot, as any shake will cause ghosting and weird artifacts in the final image. I underexposed the image slightly at the time of shooting, so that I could achieve a reasonable shutter speed.
The rest was quiet simple really. I created the HDR image in HDR Efex, which I am beginning to like more and more. A quick vignette in Photoshop,  sharpened and resized for the web and up it goes onto the blog.

golf course 600x415 Gold Course Sunset

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Still a couple of spots remainingNovember 9th, 2010

I still have a couple of spots left for the November Landscape Photography Workshop. Please contact me via the contact form, or just leaving a comment and I will put you on the list of workshop participants for this month.
It’s going to be the last workshop of the year, so this is your last chance to bring your photography to the next level and learn to take some stunning images this Christmas.

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Gear for saleNovember 4th, 2010

A friend of mine has some great Nikon gear for sale at bargain prices. I myself took a lens off her, and I can tell you she looks after her gear well.
The lens looks like new! Take a look at what she has for sale and drop her an email if you’re interested in something!

Screen shot 2010 11 04 at 11.59.27 AM 600x131 Gear for sale

Email Analia at analia2@bigpond.com.

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Landscape Photography Workshop in NovemberNovember 2nd, 2010

workshop ad 600x315 Landscape Photography Workshop in November

I am happy to announce my next Landscape Photography Workshop on the weekend of 20-21st November 2010 in Sydney.
The following aspects are going to be covered:

Session1 (Saturday, 2.30pm-5pm):
• Basics of photography – interior of an SLR, components of exposure (aperture, ISO, shutter speed, focus,…), technical terms explained
• Histogram and exposing to the right – how to make use of it and how to improve your images through it
• Rules of composition
• Reading the light
• Bracketing (basics for HDR photography)
• Layer blending
• White Balance blending
• How to capture seascapes
• Shutter blending
• Creating panoramas
• Tips for researching (planning, scouting, shooting)
• Gear (recommended cameras, tripods, lenses, filters,…)
• Pre-shooting checklist

Session 2 (Saturday, 5pm – 8pm):
On-location shooting at one of Sydney’s Eastern beaches. Composition is going to be a major subject at this dusk shoot. I will show you what to look out for and how to line up the shot. Everyone will have some one-on-one time with me.

Session 3 (Sunday, 6am – 9am):
Second on-location shooting. You get a second chance to apply what you have learned the evening before at the dawn shoot.
Experience first-hand, how shooting landscapes at different times of day affect your photos. There will be plenty more time to ask questions and correct mistakes.

Workshop price: $289
I am confident that I can teach you some very valuable lessons. However should you feel like you did not get any value out of the workshop, I am offering a 100% money-back guarantee.

If you are interested, please email me at kajo@kajophotography.com or reply in the comments below.

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Another Workshop SuccessNovember 1st, 2010

My workshop last weekend was very successful again. Whilst the sunset shoot was somewhat disappointing due to heavy winds and a thick cloud cover, we were rewarded by quite a beautiful sunrise and easing winds in the morning.
Students captured some stunning compositions as well and a portfolio review over breakfast revealed some quality work. It is a great reward for me to see students improve and I just love looking at other peoples work, see how they approached the subject of seascapes. There is always something to learn – for student AND tutor!

DSC1069 600x398 Another Workshop Success
Composing a beautiful dawn shot: Markus, Tammy and Michael

mahon morning 426x600 Another Workshop Success
The only shot I managed to take that morning, during the tuition. It’s a HDR shot from three manually braketed exposures and processed using the brand new Nik HDR Efex. I just used it for 30 minutes but I already feel very comfortable with it. Photomatix took me days or even weeks to master. Figures…

I will run another workshop this year, on 20/21st November. If you’re interested please contact me asap, as this workshop is already filling up…

Some feedback from this workshop:

“Kajo put together a great script, the workshop was personal, good atmosphere and you can ask any question you like, Kajo spends time to answer and explain them all.” Markus

“A well rounded course with subject matter to please. Photographers at all skill levels.” Peter

“A lot of information and fun” Tammy

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Finalising numbers for workshopOctober 25th, 2010

I am just finalising the number of participants for this weekend’s workshop. If you would like to attend, please contact me asap – either via email: kajo@kajophotography.com or leave a message here in the comments.

workshop ad 600x315 Finalising numbers for workshop

1 Comment »

Faces of a vanishing world by Joey L.October 24th, 2010

Brent showed me the link to a guy called Joey L. – a very talented environmental portrait photographer.
He travels to very remote corners of the world in order to photograph the native people – a vanishing world.
I find his work very touching – not only are those photos very evocative and beautifully executed portrait shots, many of his images also include incredible backgrounds vistas.
This is environmental photography at its best.

Screen shot 2010 10 24 at 7.31.00 PM 600x588 Faces of a vanishing world by Joey L.

Check out Joe L’s gallery here and below is the official trailer to his DVD: “Faces of a vanishing world” – a one hour look behind the scenes. I can’t wait to see it!

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Server problemsOctober 22nd, 2010

For the last 7 days, we had massive server problems. My hoster – one of the most reputable and biggest hosters in the world got hacked by an ex-employee. As a result, they experienced the biggest loss of data in history.

After a tiring week of merging servers, I am how happy to announce that kajophotography.com is back.
I apologize for the inconvenience that it caused and hope to see you all back here. I was also unable to receive any email due to the same issue, so please resend any email that you may have sent to me in the last week and I will respond right away.

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Amazing Apnea FootageOctober 13th, 2010

Guillaume Nery is the world champion in apnea diving. Recently he did a base jump underwater. Yes you read that right.
With a small weight on his back he falls to the ocean floor just like a base jumper. It’s an amazing video, and whilst it is not directly photography related, I still wanted to share it with you.

1 Comment »

Workshop postponed to 30/31st OctoberOctober 11th, 2010

Due to multiple inquiries, I have decided to postpone the workshop by one week.
It will now commence on the 30th of October and finish on the 31st of October. If you are interested in attending, please contact me asap, as spots are filling up quickly.
It may be the last workshop for this year as we all get increasingly busy in the weeks before Christmas. So don’t miss out!

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Times Square BuzzOctober 7th, 2010

New York is really a rewarding city to shoot. There is so much going on, no matter where you point your camera, you get something interesting.
Particularly Times Square is a great place to hang out with the camera and simply stand at the traffic lights, wait for the cars to stop, walk out on the street, snap a few and cross to the other side.
This way I got many interesting photos.
The following is one of them: I liked how the encroaching school bus creates some sense of third dimension in the photo, along with the street going into the background.
It’s a three image merge to HDR using layer-blending and some cross processing at the end.

times square moods frame1 600x505 Times Square Buzz

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Few spots left for the October workshopOctober 5th, 2010

There are another few spots available for the October Landscape Photography Workshop.
Hit me up as soon as possible to secure your spot.

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Landscape photography workshop in OctoberSeptember 28th, 2010

workshop ad 600x315 Landscape photography workshop in October

I am happy to announce my next Landscape Photography Workshop on the weekend of 23-24th October 2010 in Sydney.
The following aspects are going to be covered:

Session1 (Saturday, 1.30pm-4pm):
• Basics of photography – interior of an SLR, components of exposure (aperture, ISO, shutter speed, focus,…), technical terms explained
• Histogram and exposing to the right – how to make use of it and how to improve your images through it
• Rules of composition
• Reading the light
• Bracketing (basics for HDR photography)
• Layer blending
• White Balance blending
• How to capture seascapes
• Shutter blending
• Creating panoramas
• Tips for researching (planning, scouting, shooting)
• Gear (recommended cameras, tripods, lenses, filters,…)
• Pre-shooting checklist

Session 2 (Saturday, 4pm – 6.30pm):
On-location shooting at one of Sydney’s Eastern beaches. Composition is going to be a major subject at this dusk shoot. I will show you what to look out for and how to line up the shot. Everyone will have some one-on-one time with me.

Session 3 (Sunday, 6am -7.30am):

Second on-location shooting. You get a second chance to apply what you have learned the evening before at the dawn shoot.
Experience first-hand, how shooting landscapes at different times of day affect your photos. There will be plenty more time to ask questions and correct mistakes.

Workshop price: $289
I am confident that I can teach you some very valuable lessons. However should you feel like you did not get enough value out of the workshop, I am offering a 100% money-back guarantee.

If you are interested, please email me at kajo@kajophotography.com or reply in the comments below.

2 Comments »

First workshop wrap upSeptember 27th, 2010

Yesterday I finished my first Landscape Photography Workshop and I have to say, we all had a blast!

The theory went well, and despite a huge amount of information, I believe that I was able to convey everything in 3.5 hours.
There were even two students attending with over 5 years of experience and even they said, they learned a few new tricks, so that was fantastic.
In the evening then we had quite a lovely sunset with lots of colour in the sky and 6-8 ft waves pounding the rocks. It made for some beautiful photographs. Finally the next morning participants were able to shoot sunrise and then got the chance to take some action shots of surfers. We wrapped things up – after a critique session for the students – with a hearty and well deserved breakfast.
Here are a few testimonials of this workshop:

“The course is a great start for anyone wanting to take their photography to the next level. Highly recommended.” Quang T.

“I absolutely would recommend this to anyone with an interest in landscape photography. From beginners like me especially but the advanced photographers also seemed to benefit greatly from it!” Miki O.

“Really Enjoyed it.” Susan J.

There has already been plenty of interest for the landscape photography workshop on the 23/24 October and spots are filling up quickly. If you don’t want to miss out, email me at kajo@kajophotography.com or simply leave a comment.

Here are some photos I was able to snap during the evening

DSC0183 600x398 First workshop wrap up
Nice colourful sunset

DSC0166 600x398 First workshop wrap up
Some huge waves for the students to shoot

DSC0179 600x398 First workshop wrap up
Quang composing a beautiful shot of cascading water

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Final Workshop preparationsSeptember 24th, 2010

Today I finalized my workshop preparations. I’m bringing way more gear than I thought.
Plenty of additional camera gear to demonstrate techniques and good study material for the workshop attendees. It should be a blast, I’m excited!

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Workshop is fullSeptember 16th, 2010

The Landscape workshop on 25/26 September is now officially full.

If you would like to join the next landscape photography workshop in a month, please let me know and I will put your name on the list.
It’s going to be on the 23/24 October.
Email me: kajo@kajophotography.com or leave a comment here. First come, first serve – so let me know asap.

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Post Processing tutorial of Zoe’s RaysSeptember 15th, 2010

I received a few emails asking me questions about my post processing of Zoe’s Rays which I posted on my blog yesterday.
So I knocked up a video of all the steps in Photoshop. I hope it helps and you learn something new!

P.s. little error in the video: When I draw the circle with the elliptical marquee tool, I press SPACE to move my selection around (not SHIFT as I said in the video), sorry for that.

3 Comments »

Smoke out the old factorySeptember 14th, 2010

Last weekend, Brent, Keith, Michelle, Chris and myself had some fun in the old Dunlop factory again.
The top floor looks like a sieve after the hail storm a decade or so ago. On a sunny day this creates uncountable light beams with the dust swirling around. We brought a smoke machine and a generator to get those light beams really visible in our shots.

After several setups it was not until close to the end when I thought we had really nailed it. The young model called Zoe, that Brent had organized was easy to work with and her red hair was the perfect splash of colour in front of the blue fog.
It took some practicing with the smoke machine and placement of the flashes to enhance the smoke and I am quite happy with the results.

Zoe rays 600x502 Smoke out the old factory

zoe radialblur2 379x600 Smoke out the old factory

And here is a behind the scenes video that I filmed for the most part and Brent edited to a cool little movie.

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NSW Parliamentary Plein Air CompetitionSeptember 10th, 2010

I was fortunate enough to be one of the finalists in the inaugural NSW Parliamentary Plein Air Photography Comeptition.
I attended the gallery opening last night and Minister Judge invited us into her private office. 30 finalists crammed into a tiny office was quite an experience and the excitement for all of us was big, since the winner would receive a check over $10.000.

It is an honor to have one of my photos exhibited in the NSW parliament. The exhibition is open to the public and runs til the end of September, so if you would like to see some really beautiful photographs, I encourage you to take a look. There were quite a few big names here, amongst them Christian Fletcher,  a very talented photographer from Perth with his beautiful shot of Dangar Falls.

I find it amazing how digital photography has brought out so many talents – young and old- all around the world. The quality of photographs improves from year to year and the real winner is – of course – photography!

P1030433 600x450 NSW Parliamentary Plein Air Competition
Minister Judge welcomes us in her private office in the Parliament building

P1030443 copy 600x450 NSW Parliamentary Plein Air Competition
The announcement of the winners – mine and Christian Fletcher’s photo in the back

P1030445 600x450 NSW Parliamentary Plein Air Competition
My entry into the competition

P1030442 600x450 NSW Parliamentary Plein Air Competition
Nice place to have a gallery

2 Comments »

Nik HDR Efex only one month awaySeptember 8th, 2010

I always get excited when I hear about new tools for us photographers.
Particularly when it’s a new HDR tool. I’m not entirely happy with the results I get with Photomatix, although it still is the market leader for HDR photos and it certainly beats Photoshop and other 3-party HDR products.
That being said Nik has always convinced me with their plugins. I use almost their whole range of plugins, from Sharpener over Silver Efex to Color Efex. Their filters are simply superb!
It goes without saying that I am very excited to give Nik HDR Efex a try when it’s being released this October.
Here is a video for the time being. Just check out the HDR presets which they use with a single click.

Here is the link to the official website.

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Only one spot leftSeptember 7th, 2010

There is only one spot left in my landscape photography workshop 25/26 September 2010. If you don’t want to miss out on the 25% discount I give on this first workshop, then hit me up fast and secure the last spot.

email me at kajo@kajophotography.com

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Behind the scenes of graffiti girlSeptember 6th, 2010

This is a behind the scenes video that I took during the shoot of Graffiti Girl.

I hope you enjoy it.

4 Comments »

Graffiti GirlAugust 31st, 2010

I went out with Brent and Chris last weekend to shoot a model, Brent had organized. He had a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve, and with combined lighting gear, we lit the heck out of the abandoned factory, where we shot Sarah Jane.

She was really easy to work with and we all had a good time. After some starting problems with Nikon’s CLS, we finally managed to fire the three flashes at the same time and get some really cool shots. The location itself is increasingly becoming popular amongst portrait photographers. At the time we were there, there was another model shooting in a different room. It’s great to see so many eager photographers nowadays. So much talent and new ideas…exciting times!

graffiti girl Graffiti Girl

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Only 2 spaces leftAugust 26th, 2010

The Landscape Photography Workshop on 25/26 September 2010  is almost full, so if you don’t want to miss it, hit me up asap.
There are only 2 spots left, so don’t miss out!

Email me at kajo@kajophotography.com

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Workshop date confirmedAugust 23rd, 2010

Ok, the date for the workshop has been set. It’s going to be the
25th – 26th September 2010
We start at 12pm for the optional portfolio review (please let me know if you are interested), the official theory session is from 1.30pm – 4pm.
Right after, we will head out for the practical session.
For course details please refer to the previous blog post.

Email me at kajo@kajophotography.com if you would like to attend the workshop. You won’t regret it.

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Announcing first Landscape Photography WorkshopAugust 20th, 2010

workshop ad6 Announcing first Landscape Photography Workshop

I am happy to announce my first Landscape Photography Workshop on the weekend of 25-26th September 2010 in Sydney.
The following aspects are going to be covered:

Optional (Saturday, 12.00pm-1pm):
Portfolio Review – bring your prints or digital images and I will give you constructive feedback

Session1 (Saturday, 1.30pm-4pm):
• Basics of photography – interior of an SLR, components of exposure (aperture, ISO, shutter speed, focus,…), technical terms explained
• Histogram and exposing to the right – how to make use of it and how to improve your images through it
• Rules of composition
• Reading the light
• Bracketing (basics for HDR photography)
• Layer blending
• How to capture seascapes
• Shutter blending
• Creating panoramas
• Tips for researching (planning, scouting, shooting)
• Gear (recommended cameras, tripods, lenses, filters,…)
• Pre-shooting checklist

Session 2 (Saturday, 4pm – 6.30pm):
On-location shooting at one of Sydney’s Eastern beaches. Composition is going to be a major subject at this dusk shoot. I will show you what to look out for and how to line up the shot. Everyone will have some one-on-one time with me.

Session 3 (Sunday, 6am -7.30am):

Second on-location shooting. You get a second chance to apply what you have learned the evening before at the dawn shoot.
Experience first-hand, how shooting landscapes at different times of day affect your photos. There will be plenty more time to ask questions and correct mistakes.

First workshop special: Get 25% off the regular price = $217
I am confident that I can teach you some very valuable lessons. However should you feel like you did not get enough value out of the workshop, I am offering a 100% money-back guarantee.

If you’re interested, please email me at kajo@kajophotography.com or reply in the comments below.

2 Comments »

Nikon D3100 releasedAugust 20th, 2010

353 25472 D3100 front Nikon D3100 released

An interesting new Nikon camera has just been released the D3100. It’s a 14.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor with Full HD video capabilities at 24 fps.
What’s more: It has full-time autofocus with monaural sound. Nice!
Like it’s predecessor, the Nikon D3000, it is an entry-level camera, pretty light and compact in size.
Nikon’s EXPEED 2 processor allows you to get up to ISO 12,800. But don’t ask me how noisy that would be…

Find out more here.

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HDR and landscape shotsAugust 18th, 2010

HDR is the buzz world in the photography word for quite some years now.
Although it somewhat lost some of it’s shine, ever since we saw a huge load of very artificial looking photos – result of “overcooked” images.

It is very easy to go overboard with HDR and the actual challenge consists of creating high dynamic range images and at the same time retaining a natural look and feel.
You would think it should not be too hard to achieve just that, however going overboard with programs such as Photomatix or HDR Expose happens all too quickly.

Some of the more experienced HDR crowds know about this issue, and if that wasn’t bad enough, artifacts (where foliage or even the camera itself was shaking in between captures) can be a nightmare to get rid of.
One solution is layer-blending parts of the original capture (e.g. the 0 EV shot) over the areas where artifacts have occurred in the original image.

This is quite a time-consuming process, and the results can often still be underwhelming.
The key with HDR is subtlety. Less is definitely more.

Here is a shot from this morning. It’s been created from 3 exposures (-1,0,+1). Subtlety paid off, it may not even look much like a HDR shot, however the digital range is definitely larger compared to a single capture.

mahon dawn 600x409 HDR and landscape shots

If enough people are interested, simply drop me a comment here and I will record a video how I processed this shot in Photomatix.

5 Comments »

New Panorama – Antarctic MoodsAugust 12th, 2010

When you go on a photography trip to an exotic a destination as Antarctica is, you can be guaranteed to return with months if not years of post-processing in your bag icon smile New Panorama   Antarctic Moods
It’s been about 1.5 years that I set foot on the Antarctic mainland, and I still find some gems in my Lightroom Antarctica catalog.
This one was taken on the first day of entering the magic dreamworld that is the Antarctic peninsula.

4862639316 960d90d90e b 400x98 New Panorama   Antarctic Moods

Don’t forget, my Antarctica ebook is about to be released in the coming weeks. So be sure to check back frequently.

5 Comments »

The Life of NailsAugust 6th, 2010

I really dig creative minds, and this collection of photos is exactly what I’m talking about.
The gallery is called “The life of nails” and it is exactly that.
Take a look at it, it is truly inspiring. I could have not imagined that emotions can be conveyed using something as simple as bent nails.

Check it out here. Well done Vlad Artazov.

Nails Art Nails life  212 263x400 The Life of Nails

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Digital Magazines – the way of the futureAugust 3rd, 2010

Digital magazines seem to be the way of the future and Apple’s Ipad is the perfect device for it.
I believe it will be able to change the way we browse magazines long term.
Wired Magazine app for the Ipad has been a big success already and Adobe plans to make publishing digital magazines a lot easier. Find out more here.

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Exciting new HDR tool – HDR ExposeJuly 15th, 2010

Many photographers have played around with HDR, either in photoshop or with dedicated software products such as Photomatix.
I am a big fan of HDR – as long as they are naturally looking.
However it is very easy to go overboard with it and create an overprocessed image, that looks completely unnatural.
I myself always used Photomatix and although it was hard to control, I was able to create some nice looking images with it.

3361334151 18e0b65951 o 600x398 Exciting new HDR tool   HDR Expose

Bay of Fires – 3 exposure HDR

Making HDR more user friendly when it comes to the interface was always something I thought could be improved.
It looks like the wait could be over.
Enter HDR Expose. In the press I read:
“HDR Expose produces natural looking HDR images without halos and color shift artifacts that have become synonymous with the HDR Look”
It has caused quite some stir already and just looking at the video, I am thrilled:

The introductory price is $149, but there is a special til the end of July for $99. It also comes with a LR and Aperture plug-in.

I am very keen to try it out. You can download a fully functional 30-day free trial here

3 Comments »

Malabar DiagonalsJuly 14th, 2010

I love curious looking rock formations and with some patience and a keen eye you can always find and interesting looking rock.
What attracted me to take this photo was obviously the symmetrical rock formations going diagonal into the frame.
Of course you have to set up your camera at the right angle to make it all work.
Hope you enjoy this one.

4344933599 60d6e1ab7b o 600x416 Malabar Diagonals

1 Comment »

Use your Ipad as extended displayJune 29th, 2010

airdispaly LR 600x404 Use your Ipad as extended display

I usually don’t write much about gadgets such as the Ipad, but this feature I just discovered is too cool.If you have a Mac there is an app which allows you to to share your screen on the ipad. Check it out for yourself.

1 Comment »

Lurline BayJune 26th, 2010

The other day Gavin and I went out to scout a new location. It is called Lurline Bay and supposedly this is the place where many dead bodies wash up ashore – nice!
Well armed with head torches, gps, tripod and our cameras, we made our way to this remote spot in Sydney’s South. It was not easy to find and the pitch black did not make it easier. However we arrived there on time for sunrise and realized that it is almost impossible to get down to the bay without climbing gear – especially in the dark.

So we had to stay up on the cliff and shoot from there. You can see the actual spot by following the shoreline to where the pebbles are. I took a close look through my long lens for a close up shot and no – no dead bodies that morning icon smile Lurline Bay

4719324617 a309afbe1e b 600x420 Lurline Bay

1 Comment »

Adobe Lightroom 3 has been released!!June 9th, 2010

The wait is finally over and after Photoshop CS5, Lightroom 3 has just been released!
Check this link to see some cool new features of Lightroom 3.

And here is a workflow video made by Terry White. He shows you how he gets his HDR images from LR3 into CS5:

2 Comments »

The World of MacroJune 8th, 2010

I was always interested in up close photography. So close that you can see things in a way you can not see them with the naked eye. This is probably what fascinates me the most about photography.

Macro Photography is such a thing. It opens up a whole new world to you. Seeing the fine details of the eye of a praying mantis, or the fragile canals of a maple leaf. It’s all there – right in front of you.
We tend to ignore this perspective mostly – but I encourage you to go flat on your belly in a garden or in a park and observe life up close. You will see so many new possibilities opening up to you.
Here is a macro photographer I always admired and I followed his work for years. His name is Ronnie Gaubert – a Louisiana based photographer.

Personally I shoot with a Tamron 90mm macro lens. It is one of the sharpest lenses I have ever used and I even use it for portrait work sometimes.I also bought a Nikon pn-11, which is an extension ring that you can put between the lens and the camera. This allows you to focus a lot closer and thus get into the zone of larger magnification than 1:1. In fact with the pn-11 you can get as much as 2:1.

The below shot was one of those 2:1 macros, which really shows you the detail you can get from this setup.
In case you do not recognize what it is (another artistic trick that you can use in macro photography), it’s the surface of a strawberry!

4513572975 bc3473c14c o 600x420 The World of Macro

1 Comment »

Professional Surf PhotographyMay 28th, 2010

Screen shot 2010 05 28 at 11.34.12 AM 600x538 Professional Surf Photography

Our local surf photographer here in Sydney has just been displayed on magicseaweed with a collection of his best shots from the Mentawais – an island group in Indonesia, world-renowned for it’s surf breaks.
Uge, the owner of aquabumps.com takes most of his shots right in the water with an aqua housing. Over the years he has become so proficient with it, that he now takes some of the best surf shots, I have ever seen.
Usually you don’t get to see his shots in large unless you visit his gallery. However for the plug on magicseaweed, Uge cranked out the med. res files and it is a true joy to look at them.

Click here to see the gallery
Check out Uge’s website aquabumps.com. Make sure you subscribe to his daily newsletter – whether you’re into surfing or not, his photos are gorgeous!

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Photoshop CS5 first impressionsMay 4th, 2010

With Photoshop now shipping and the 30 day free trial available on the website I decided to give it a quick spin.

Firstly it looks very familiar to what we have all become used to. If you used CS3 or CS4 you will be right there.
We are talking 64 bit now, so most plugin producers will have to release compatible versions for it. Shouldn’t take long though.
Whilst the new warp function is not of much interest to me, I am really digging content aware fill. It gives a whole new range of possibilities, which in particular landscape photographers will know to appreciate. It also solves big issues when stitching panoramas.
Will talk more about it once I have thrown a few images at it.

Here is a not-so-serious video of one of Adobe’s biggest fan:

1 Comment »

Making of Rushing and Splashing IIApril 16th, 2010

My latest photo called “Rushing and Splashing II” took quite some time to be developed.
I had pre-visualized what I wanted to achieve when I set up my camera:
Rushing water across the little rock face to give the image some motion, and on the other hand I wanted to portray the action of the wild water at that evening.

A long exposure would have simply blurred the waves that came crushing against the rocks. A very short exposure would have frozen the action, but it would have also destroyed the look I was going for with the flowing water at the bottom of the frame.

So I took a long exposure at ISO 100 and a short exposure at ISO 800 (I did not go higher because ISO 800 gave me a shutter speed, I could freeze the action enough without getting too noisy). For the high ISO exposure I also had to open up the aperture to f/4.5.It took me a long time to freeze a wave that I liked. The whole shoot was about half an hour in this spot. Patience is certainly a virtue for photographers.

In photoshop I simply layer-blended the two images using layer masks. I hope you like the resulting image.

4520611350 04f4b58d73 o 600x416 Making of Rushing and Splashing II

4 Comments »

Adobe Photoshop CS5 is hereApril 13th, 2010

If you missed the event, not a problem, just click here to watch the full event.

This is very exciting, and I can’t wait to get my own hands down and dirty with CS5 icon smile Adobe Photoshop CS5 is here

CS5 Master Collection boxshot350 Adobe Photoshop CS5 is here

Make sure you also check out the CS5 learning center. Here is a sneak peak:

2 Comments »

Top of the RocksApril 12th, 2010

top of the rocks21 600x310 Top of the Rocks

Evening panorama on top of the Rockefeller Center (so much better than the top of the Empire State Building – center of the picture).

Processing:

4 image panonrama, white balance setting set to cloudy, then desaturation of the city lights because they were too orange due to the WB adjustment.

You can see Times Square in this shot as well as the Statue of Liberty. Can you point it out (it’s not easy to see).

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In-camera sRGB or Adobe RGB?April 9th, 2010

adb98 srgb gamut In camera sRGB or Adobe RGB?I noticed something interesting the other day and wanted to share it with all of you.

Many of the modern SLR’s give you the choice of shooting in-camera sRGB or Adobe RGB – which one would I use?
Well it depends if you shoot raw or jpeg.
If you shoot jpeg only (god forbid :)), I highly recommend you set your camera to Adobe RGB. Its color space is a lot larger compared to sRGB (image to the left) and you can always convert your image back to sRGB later (e.g. when you want to post it on the net). So why not get the most out of your pixels?
Which brings me to the second point:
Why shoot jpeg at all? I know it’s an old discussion and I won’t go into the merits of shooting raw, however since you are reading this, you are obviously interested in retaining the largest amount of image information your camera can handle. So rather than simply shooting jpeg in Adobe RGB color space, you may as well shoot RAW.

Now here is where it gets interesting for the RAW shooters: I bet some of you were wondering whether to set the camera to sRGB or Adobe RGB?
If your answer is: It does not matter, shooting RAW format allows me to change the color space after the fact (i.e. in your raw processor) anyway. My answer is: Not exactly.

There is one merit to setting your camera to one of the two color spaces and it is the one that you would have suspected least: sRGB.
Here is the reason: Our cameras have a neat little feature called highlight warning. I prefer calling it blinkies (coined by Moose Peterson). It shows you on your display when and where a channel has blown out.
When you set your camera to sRGB color space those highlight warnings will be more sensitive to the blown out colorful highlights.
So since it does not make a difference in post, which color space you set in-camera (when shooting RAW), next time you play around with your camera, set it to sRGB and take a look at those blinkies. Amazing hey?

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More new features in Adobe Photoshop CS5April 4th, 2010

Check out another sneak peak of the capabilities of the latest version of Photoshop CS5 by Russel Brown (maybe some of you know him from the Russel Brown Show). Enjoy!

And this is the official countdown with link to the registration page. Make sure you don’t miss it. This is going to be huge!

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Lightroom 3 public beta 2 has been releasedMarch 26th, 2010

LR3b2 Lightroom 3 public beta 2 has been released

More than 350k photographers downloaded the free public beta 1 of Lightroom 3. Now there are more improvements, based on the feedback Adobe received from the first beta.

Be sure to download your free copy here.

For a very good video on the changes in beta 2, check out this video.

You can find all the details on the blog of the product developer of Lightroom here.

1 Comment »

Adobe Creative Suite 5 is coming soonMarch 26th, 2010

April 12 is the date you want to mark in your calendar. Don’t miss the launch of Adobe Photoshop CS5. Click here to sign up for the launch.

When I was talking to Thomas Knoll (the creator to of Photoshop) in Antarctica, I got a sneak peak of some of the CS5 features.
I was asked not to say anything to the outside world so I kept my mouth shut. Until today!

One of the amazing features I saw was content aware filling. For me as a landscape and panorama photographer this tool is going to be very very helpful.
Just check out the below video for what it can do. It’s almost like magic.

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Painting with light at its bestMarch 11th, 2010

It was about time I got around to processing the following shot. It’s been in my database for several months and on my mind for just as long, so one quiet evening I got to work. Layer-blending 13 different exposures takes time. Esp. when you only use little details from every image.

The whole shoot took about 2 hours, just to take one single image. It’s not like taking pictures on mobile phones where you can do it over and over again. If you don’t like the composition, that’s too bad because there is only one chance. Once you have decided on a location, angle, lens,… there is no changing. No going back. It’s what it is.

Every lighting technique you see in this image has been captured in a separate exposure with the help of either Brent or Gavin.

The image is called ghost. The ghost (being me) to the right of the image – trapped in some psychedelic prison made of light.
Hope you like it!

ghost 600x416 Painting with light at its best

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Model Shooting with off-camera flashMarch 3rd, 2010

It has been a while, but I just never got around to processing the actual shot of the model shooting in the old train shed. I posted the video about it here while back. Here it is again in case you missed it:

Thanks to Brent Pearson who put this video together.



A bit of background information about this shoot. We were almost a dozen photographers crammed camera to camera (with tripods intermingled) in a small side room of a large derelict train shed here in Sydney. It is quite interesting to walk around and admire all the graffiti. Here is a shot I took about a year ago at the same place:



going nowhere 600x276 Model Shooting with off camera flash



Anyway our makeup artist-turned-model Mandy was showing a lot of talent for modelling and she was happy to pose for us.

Brent came up with the idea of a girl wandering home after a horrible party just to find herself not being able to walk anymore and taking a rest at this very place, high heels off, clothes and hair messed up, smeared make-up…you get the picture.

The lighting was simple, yet tricky. We had a large softbox at the top and right of the frame. Triggered with two hot-shoe flahes via pocket wizards (we had 10 of them thanks to Oat from hangingpixels.com). Btw. be sure to check out his lighting workshops, they are fantastic.

The walls were light-painted with torches after Mandy had packed up. My resulting image is a combination of 9 exposures, pretty much one for every part of the image as well as a base image with Mandy in it.

The floor has been lit with very low, horizontal torch light, which gives it the grunchy feel and makes the dust look more prominent.
It’s been lots of fun to shoot with so many skilled and experienced portrait and fashion photographers… even though my passion remains landscapes icon smile Model Shooting with off camera flash

after the party 600x398 Model Shooting with off camera flash

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Sync your Photos with ChronoSyncFebruary 28th, 2010

I am using a lot of hard drives. Lots of Terra Bytes. Usually when I upload my images from my camera to the Macbook, I back them up at the same time to two additional hard drives. Those drives are two 500 GB Mercury on-the-go drives 500 GB Mercury on-the-go drives with FireWire 800 connections. They are lightning fast and can be daisy-chained so you really only need one FW 800 plug at your computer. It is really amazing and the transfer speed of FW800 makes USB 2.0 look very bad. I am really looking forward to the new USB 3.0 to be released. It is supposed to be 10x as fast as USB 2.0 (in theory).


But I digress… what I wanted to tell you about is how I keep track of all those files on several hard drives. It sometimes happens that I forget to backup my photos automatically when I upload them, or I only have one of the two additional hard drives handy. Also due to disk space issues, I only temporarily upload those photos to my main hard drive inside the Macbook Pro. Shooting RAW, you will notice sooner or later that your drive is full of photos, so that’s when I sync all my hard drives to make sure I do not miss any photo, then delete them from my main hard drive as well as from the two Mercury’s. I do this every time those 500 GB have filled up. I then sync them with my two 1 TB drives for permanent storage.
When I go on holidays I also take one of those 1TB drives containing all my photos off site and give it to a person I trust.


Ok this was the short story of my backup plan. Without syncing, you can quickly lose control over all your photos on all those drives. This is where Chronosync comes in. It simply checks two folders against each other and copies left to right, right to left, or both ways.
After several days of research and testing multiple syncing software products, this is the most sophisticated one that I found. After all it is an important task and you would not want to lose any photos, which may happen all too quickly without a good piece of software. It also allows you to analyze the folders and files before giving the go.


Make sure you have a sound system figured out for yourself. This is the one I use and I am very happy with it. Simply using the finder and keeping on top of all those files and folders on multiple hard drives is an almost impossible feat and prone to errors which may result in accidentally deleting photos, you had not yet archived.


Don’t let disaster hit you – use software like ChronoSync and always have at least 2 copies of every photo that you take.



chronosync Sync your Photos with ChronoSync

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Finally a nice sunriseFebruary 23rd, 2010

I was overdue for a cracker sunrise, and although I would have hoped for some more clouds, the colour in the sky was simply amazing. When we arrived at 5.30am, and the sun was still one hour away from rising, there was some pretty pink colour in the sky already.


Processing:


None of the colour in the sky got enhanced. I simply darkened down the sky with the grad tool in Lightroom.

At the time of shooting I used a 2 stop ND grad. The lighting actually required a 3-stop ND which I had in my bag but forgot to clean the day before. With a sunrise like that you cannot afford to lose any time cleaning your gear. I made sure I would not blow out the sky (by checking the histogram on my screen), so I would have no problem later on in LR to bring down the exposure another stop.


I added more detail in the water with some local sharpening and contrast adjustments.

The splashing wave in the frame was pure luck. I had a few shots with splashing waves, but this was the only shot which had most of the elements the way I wanted them to be.
Sometimes I am too lazy to spend one hour in photoshop, to enhance a shot by 5% when I am very close to the result I wanted to achieve in the first place.
I prefer spending less time processing and more time shooting lol

orange palm beach 600x416 Finally a nice sunrise

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New tool: FluidrFebruary 10th, 2010

If you are anything like me and you can not fall asleep occasionally, what I do is turn on the laptop and browse the flickr galleries of my friends, always looking to push my photography and get some inspiration.
However everyone who uses flickr knows, that it can be quite a bright expierence – the white background is not particularly contributing to viewing images well. Especially at night when you are half asleep.


Here is the solution: www.fluidr.com turns flickr’s lights off.
It is a lot of fun to browse flickr via fluidr. It’s free and easy to use. Just let it allow to access your flickr account by loggin in and you’re set.


Give it a try, you may just like it even more than the original flickr icon smile New tool: Fluidr

If you click on the link below you will jump straight to my photostream on fluidr.

Screen shot 2010 02 10 at 11.37.46 PM 600x390 New tool: Fluidr

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Different perspectiveFebruary 9th, 2010


Just wanted to show you Brent’s shot of the same morning. His theme was about the photographer (me) struggling with wild weather conditions to get THE shot.


What I like about shooting with other people is the variety of images that you come home with as well as the different way of processing.


man vs wild Different perspective

Brent Pearson - Man vs. Wild

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Of storms and photographers…February 6th, 2010


The alarm rang at 4.15am. After a very short night, I made my way up to the Northern Beaches – about a 45 min drive from where I live – to meet up with Brent. Our destination was Long Reef (see map below) to get some photography done.
On the way there it was raining cats and dogs and Brent had to take a detour due to a collapsed tree blocking the road.


I was looking forward to some wild conditions – always good for very dramatic photos.
Armed with umbrellas, tripods and cameras we made our way down to the reef. Low tide allowed us to cross to the top end of the reef – always shooting away from the almost horizontal wind to keep the lenses away from potential rainfall.


The waves were huge and crashing on the rocks, splashing high up and, shortly after, hitting Brent and me. And our tripods.
I have a very sturdy tripod – a Gitzo 2540 – usually nothing makes this tripod move. However the surging waves had so much force that I had to hold it down with some of my weight.


We had a blast! Not only is it a good thrill to battle the storm and the waves, you also get rewarded with very special photos.
We could hardly believe our luck – for a full 1.5 hours not one single drop of rain fell down.
How is that for a great start into the weekend icon smile Of storms and photographers...

wild storm 600x416 Of storms and photographers...


And here is a satellite view of this incredible spot:




View Larger Map

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Nature Photography at its bestFebruary 3rd, 2010

Nothing is more rewarding than those very special places on earth which are hard to get to. Antarctica is surely one of them.
Similarly Gosses Bluff in the Northern Territory (West McDonell Range) is one of those special places. Too magnificent to be captured on camera.


140 Million years ago, this massive meteorite crater formed a huge mountain range in an otherwise completely flat area in the Southern Northern Territory. It is almost perfectly circular and well worth the 30 min off-road track (only for serious 4WD’s). Not many visit this spot for the same reason – it is almost impossible (and dangerous) to get there even with 4WD.


Fortunately it was the rainy season when we visited this place and it created a beautifully and lush oasis in the centre of the crater.


The forces that were at work here (100 million times the power of the hiroshima bomb) were most likely enough to have created an ice age on planet earth.


The following shot is an 8 shot Pano stitched in AutoPano Giga.

crater 600x296 Nature Photography at its best



And here is a satellite view of the very same place. Mother Nature is truly incredible!


View Larger Map

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How Photoshop helps with what you sawJanuary 24th, 2010


Sometimes you take photos and get excited what you captured, but then you return home and instantly get disappointed once you look at them on your (calibrated) screen.

One of those moments I had just recently upon returning from a 4WD trip through the Outback of Australia.
We went up north to Northern Queensland to shoot the rainforest.
I waited for the sun to shine through a whole in the canopy of the rainforest and was rewarded with some really nice sun rays (caused by the 100% humidity up there).

However back home these rays were almost invisible when looking at my raw files in Lightroom.

In those instances I need to recreate what I saw. This is when photoshop is really handy.
Some call it cheating – I call it recreating what you saw – or what you felt.
The camera with it’s 5-6 stops of dynamic range is a pretty primitive tool compared to the capabilities of your eyes which have a dynamic range of about 25 stops.

So I have no problem to utilize photoshop in those cases. Maybe eventually photoshop will become obsolete for me, however as long as we deal with cameras which have very little dynamic range, it is a necessary tool for me.

The below photo has been run through photoshop using the following steps:


• copy background layer
• Filter > Blur > Radial Blur
• Amount: 100, Select Zoom, Select Best
• Move centre point into the appropriate place where the gap in the canopy is
• Recreate the same effect one more time by pressing CMD/CTRL + F
• Set Layer Blending mode to Screen
• Create Layer Mask and take out the effect where you think it is overdone


I am quite happy with the end result and it reflects very closely what I saw when I was in this special place far away from civilization.

green ferns1 459x600 How Photoshop helps with what you saw

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Bracketing shots for HDRJanuary 2nd, 2010


Bracketing exposures is important for all of us who do not want to bother, trying to expose the image correctly at the point of shooting (the lazy ones) or for the ones who are really into HDR.
HDR is becoming more and more popular amongst photographers young and old.
Taking several exposures all with at least 1 EV difference, can be tedious on consumer-style cameras, who do not have a bracket button.
However all pro-sumer and professional cameras have a bracketing button. I may be lazy, but I simply could not live without mine although – as you will find out in a minute – even I have to dial in three different exposures sometimes. I am talking about shooting in Manual mode.


When the sun has set and light begins to fade, you may still be inclined to take HDR photos. There is only one problem, your half-automatic program setting (Shutter priority or Aperture priority) displays a Lo sign in your viewfinder. Meaning: There is so little light, that the camera can not figure out the exposure time anymore.
The only way out is shooting Manual Mode. At those times an exposure time of over 30 seconds is usually necessary.
In these cases even I have to resort to manual bracketing, since you can not use the bracketing button in Manual Mode. It does not make sense.

Now you will find yourself looking at your watch and starting the countdown at say 30 seconds, 15 seconds and 1 minute (0 EV, -1 EV, +1 EV).
A tedious job.
I am always on the look for more efficient ways of doing things, and so I came up with the following solution to the bracketing problem:
Rather than having to use your stop watch (or for some of us, their more sophisticated remote releases), we can simply change the aperture or the ISO for that matter and just double it for one shot, half it for the next, and leave it as it was for the third ( e.g. ISO 400, ISO 100, ISO 200) or f/16, f/ 8 and f/11 as an example.

It is easily dialed in and saves you a lot of time too. You may say that this changes the noise or the DOF, true, but from my personal experience – the resulting HDR image has significantly degraded in quality anyway. You will not notice this minor issue, promised icon smile Bracketing shots for HDR


The below shot has been taken from 3 exposures at different ISO’s (the ones mentioned above: ISO 400, 100, 200)

emeral city 600x433 Bracketing shots for HDR

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Model Light PaintingDecember 7th, 2009

I went out the other day with Brent and some friends to try some light painting on actual live models.

We combined flash with torches and got very cool results from it. Brent (http://brentbat.wordpress.com) had pre-visualized the shot and we set it up to what he reckoned was very close to the shot that he had in his head.

Together with Oat (www.hangingpixels.com) who kindly provided the Pocket Wizards, flashes, umbrellas and the model, we had a very capable team on this shot and it was a lot of fun to combine the different aspects of lighting.

Fortunately Brent had a video camera and we all took turns filming.
Thanks to Brent’s video editing skills, this video has become awesome and shows you what it was like.

Click here to watch the video

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More Light Painting FunDecember 1st, 2009

We headed out to Malabar the other weekend to shoot those funky bunker graffitis.
Brought our whole set of light painting tools:
Torches, celophane, more torches, neon lights, electric luminescent lights, hair spray…

Hair Spray…?
Yes, and a lighter.

Makes for a perfect little flame thrower. Every boy knows that, right? icon smile More Light Painting Fun

Brent went inside with it and gave the rusty window a cooking.
This shot is layer-blended out of 8-9 exposures. One for the outside lighting, one for the inside lighting (each floor one exposure), one for the burning window,…

A photography like that can take you 2 hours easily. It is amazing how time consuming night photography is. Especially the kind that we are doing. This is good though, it makes you think about your composition a lot more. The only problem is, when you come home and you really wish you had tilted the camera just a tiny notch more, or zoomed just that little bit more out. Oh well, there is always another day icon smile More Light Painting Fun

colored bunker1 600x424 More Light Painting Fun

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Light Painting is wonderfulNovember 21st, 2009

My friend Brent has been passionate about light painting for a long time, and although we have been out at night countless times to do just that, it was only recently since I added a few of his tricks to my modest repertoire of light painting tools.

The below shot has been taken during the annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition.
Unfortunately it comes with a truckload of tourists. Serious shooting can only be considered at night.
The more serious photography crowd has realized that and I am delighted to see light painting to be used more and more during my nightly excursions.
Pushing the limits of photography is what drives us all!

Processing:

I light painted this sculpture with blue, red and clear cellophane. As well as lighting up the rock in the background to give some depth to the image.
This resulted in a huge file size in photoshop due to all the layers but I recently upgraded to 6GB RAM, so luckily that was no issue.

bent 387x600 Light Painting is wonderful

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Back againNovember 4th, 2009

That’s right, it is high time to update my blog again. I was mostly without internet on my tours through Europe, the US and the Bahamas.
I have shot 6000 images on this trip and there is a lot to process. I will return home very soon and will report on my adventures with lots of photos as well so stay tuned.
Here is a quick one from Times Square (where 7th Ave meets Broadway) to keep you going icon smile Back again

times square limo 600x399 Back again

Ok gotta run catch a plane.
Talk soon.

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Some more PanosAugust 21st, 2009

Recently I have been busy stitching all those panoramas that I took during my trip to paris.

I wanted to share some of the ones I really liked so here goes.


louvre pano1 600x168 Some more Panos


notre dame twilight1 600x342 Some more Panos

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Room with a viewAugust 15th, 2009


I was lucky enough to spend a few weeks in an amazing apartment right next to the Eiffel Tower.

Panoramas are my true passion and I was looking for a great spot with a view to take some panos above the rooftops of Paris.

Every night at midnight, the Eiffel Tower turns of it’s lights. But what many people do not know, is that it starts sparkling one more time at exactly 1 am.

So while everyone has gone home to bed, the most magic moment happens when the Tower is pitch  black, but thousands of tiny flashes light it up for about 10 minutes. They all go off randomly which is purpose, however if you take a long exposure of a few seconds, you will notice that all those flashes will have gone off a few times each. What I love the most about long exposures is that you can record time. Something us humans can not do, so once the 3-6 second exposure was done, you end up with a beautiful Eiffel Tower completely built from those flashes. The whole structure of it is visible on your photo – something that is invisible to the eye.

I was amazed by this and so I stayed up every night til 1am and experiemented with this effect.

I think it is easier to let the photo speak, and you will see what I mean.


paris pano 600x270 Room with a view

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Getting the most from your night shotsAugust 11th, 2009

Doing night photography adds some additional challenges compared to daylight photography.
Being familiar with the camera in manual mode as well as being able to manually focus is essential.
I always focus manually as most of my shots are taken in low light – a time when the camera has difficulties to autofocus.
Some of the lenses that I shoot with are manual only anyway. E.g. the Zeiss 35mm – my favorite lens.

Shooting cityscapes means dealing with large contrasts (head lights from cars, illuminated buildings, street lights,…)
Then there are very dark parts to a night shot. Usually the sky (depending on how late it is), trees, etc.
It is very hard to expose and have both the highlights and the shadows exposed without burning out the highlights or just having black areas where the shadows should be. This is when I like to use HDR. However the shot I am sharing with you today is straight from camera.

arch and champs 474x600 Getting the most from your night shots

“Arch and Champs”


One of the reasons I did not want to use HDR for the above image, is because I wanted to really bring out those stars of the street lights. Many people usually think you need some kind of star filter (they do exist). However you really don’t need one. Just shoot at f/22 and they appear automatically (caution image quality degrades a little at apertures this high). Had I shot a HDR (and thus exposed for the sky with a longer exposure) the overall contrast would have decreased and the street light stars would not be as prominent anymore.

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Eiffel Tower PhotosAugust 4th, 2009


There are exactly two buildings in the world that I love.

One is the Harbour Bridge in Sydney and the other one is the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Those massive hand-bolted steel constructions really do it for me.
I kept the best part of Paris for last. Living in a new apartment right next to the Eiffel Tower, I can get prime shots day and night, without any tourist head sticking in the frame icon smile Eiffel Tower Photos

The first one is quite a famous one and I saw at least two dozen people take the shot while I took it.

The only difference is, that they all shot it handheld (at midnight) and I had my beloved Gitzo tripod and a Nodal Ninja Panorama Head (will post more about it another time). This way I got a nearly perfect vertical shot. The below photo is uncropped, unrotated and unedited. This was straight from camera.

It goes to show, if you want to retain max quality of your image (e.g. by shooting raw), it is also a good idea to try to frame your shot, so that you do not need to crop it in post. This reduces your image dimensions (effectively the megapixel of your image) and thus will prevent you from printing it as large as possible, should you wish to do so (and if not now, maybe at some future point in time).
I am a firm believer of not cropping the image unless really necessary. Try to frame up the shot before you take it, so there is no need for cropping in post.


eiffel symmetry1 600x412 Eiffel Tower Photos

“Eiffel Symmetry”


Here is another one that will get you giggling. Every night at exactly 1am the caretaker of the Eiffel Tower kills all the lights. Just like every other major building in Paris. They all switch off like a clockwork.
However last night, the caretaker must have been drunk or in some other happy condition, he ended up not switching off all the lights. He killed all but the top half of the tower. And so the Eiffel Tower was glowing happily all night long, like a huge Christmas candle. Ergo the title for the next shot icon smile Eiffel Tower Photos


glowing candle 377x600 Eiffel Tower Photos

“Christmas Candle”

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Sturdy Support. It is essential!July 31st, 2009

 Sturdy Support. It is essential!If you ever concidered to do any low light photography, you have to have a tripod.

My first one was a $30 tripod, which was slowly but surely creeping and I got blurrier shots than had I handheld the camera.
I decided the next time I would get something to last for a lifetime. And thus I bought a Gitzo tripod.

They are by far the best tripods out there, carbon-fibre made and pretty light.

Although if you want to use a ballhead, which pretty much is a must if you use a sturdy tripod, the weight reduction is quickly made up by the heavy iron ballheads icon smile Sturdy Support. It is essential!

I will talk about ballheads another time. Today is purely about tripods.

I bought the one you can see on the left. The Gitzo Traveller 2540.
It is a steep investment, but it is the last tripod you will need in your whole life.
You will more than make up for it by never having to replace your tripod again. Eventually it will save you more money in the long run, so do it like me and buy once, not every 2 years.

There are different version and it is a little bit up to you which one to get, I for example prefer the ones that have 3 joints over the ones with 2, because you can collapse them a little bit more, which is valuable if you want to fit it in your luggage. However it is a trade off, because it adds time to set it up.

I usually have to take off the ballhead to make it fit in my luggage but that is ok. The 2 joint version adds a few inches and would have been hard to get into my suitcase, I calculated before purchase. This is an important factor if you ever think about taking your tripod with you overseas.

Here in Paris I see lots of ppl running around with a tripod during the day – in bright daylight. Some ppl swear by shooting every single shot on their tripods. However if you shoot during daylight, you really don’t need it and you will probably regret it. Only take a tripod when you need it, that is my advice. But if you need it, make sure you ALWAYS have it with you. Otherwise just use an R-Strap and enjoy the flexibility you have without having to lug a tripod when you can shoot handheld (i.e. above about 1/60 sec – even slower when you have calm hands).

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HDR to the rescueJuly 23rd, 2009

I get a lot of emails asking me about how I do my HDR shots.
Well firstly, I do not do HDR all that much anymore. Many people process every single shot they take with Photomatix.
Most of the time you can smell a HDR from a mile away, they look too artificial. Also it does not work with just any kind of photo.

You really do need a dynamic range that is above what the camera can capture in order to make a HDR image work.
Also use subtle settings if you use Photomatix (the best software for HDR).

The below image was a HDR vertorama (3 shots for the ground, 3 shots for the sky). First I created one HDR image of the 3 ground images, then a HDR from the 3 sky shots. I then went into photoshop to stitch the resulting two images.

The reason I used HDR here (-1, 0, +1 EV) is because no matter what I did, one thing was always over- or underexposed. Either foreground or the sky.

jardin luxembourg3 405x600 HDR to the rescue

Jardin du Luxembourg

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A Travel Photographers DreamJuly 21st, 2009

d200 18 200 A Travel Photographers DreamThere is one lens you just do not want to miss when you travel. A lens that covers 95% of your needs in any situation while overseas.
The Nikon 18-200. Some love it, some hate it. I was always somewhere in the middle, I was annoyed about the unsharpness but delighted about the huge zoom range (11x !).
However I have come to love this lens, although it may be considered an amateur lens…a superzoom.
I don’t care. I love the versatility it gives me. No other lens can do that. Full stop.

Have you ever been in one of those situations when all the elements just come together, you know you will get an amazing shot in the next few seconds, but what the… wrong lens. Stress comes up, quickly trying to change lenses, or even worse – not having brought the right lens.
And there the moment passes, and you were only able to watch – having the mental picture, but nothing to permanently save this little piece of memory.
I have been in that situation – a lot of times. This is when I decided to buy a 18-200.
Now don’t get me wrong – I love sharp lenses. My Zeiss 35mm is one of the sharpest lenses ever built and I thoroughly enjoy the results.
However for travel photography there are a lot of additional issues you have to fight with – weight restrictions on aircrafts are a big problem. Also I do not want to take my whole kit to a country where it may attract more attention than I like. You need to make compromises, retaining max. flexibility. The 18-200 gives me exactly this flexibility. That’s why I love it.
Now many will say: Hang on Kajo, the 18-200 does not give you the sharpest images.
Well that’s true, but I will come home with more keepers from my holiday than any eager lens-changer.
Bottom line, I will miss less of those great opportunities – 18mm is wide enough for a landscape shot (although admittedly, I sometimes have to shoot a 2 shot pano to get to my beloved 10-12mm range) and 200mm is more than enough to isolate objects, with nice bokeh et al (aperture is f/5.6 at 200mm, but 200mm creates such a compression of 3rd dimension that backgrounds are reasonably out of focus anyway).
Also if you shoot the lens at it’s sweet spot, that is around f/8-f/11, I doubt you will see sharpness differences between it and the higher quality glass in the Nikon lineup.

Let me show you two example shots taken just a few minutes apart from one another – with this lens.
It shows you some decent shots, one at the wide end (18mm) and one at the telephoto end (170mm):

invalides canons A Travel Photographers DreamInvalide Canons


angels A Travel Photographers Dream

Golden Angels

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Of Fireworks and French mannersJuly 15th, 2009

Life as a photographer can be challanging at times – to say the least. Not only regarding subject matter, composition, timing, etc.

Also, sometimes we have to deal with rather grumpy and unfriendly citizens who feel annoyed by our presence.
Being a seascape and landscape photographer, I ususally do not have to deal with this much, as I am mostly on my own or with fellow photographers.

However once other people are involved it can become tricky and it is good to know how to deal with situations like that.

Shooting a public event with hundreds of thousands of specators can be challenging enough – finding a vantage point that offers uninterrupted views is almost impossible.
However I got lucky and found a small hill overlooking the crowds. This is where I put my tripod down and not long after, I was being shouted at, splashed with water and I slightly feared, that my camera would not survive the evening.
I prayed that once the fireworks would start, people’s attention would focus on something else, but for over an hour I had to fight for my right to take photos, push back people that became too pushy, trying to calm heated moods. Usually playing the apologetic one pays off. Trying to work with people instead of insisting on your right to be there. In a heated situation with slightly boozed up people, there is no right way to deal with things, but I certainly would not move off the field without any shots on my card.

Once the fireworks at the Eiffel tower started, I knew I was safe.

So with a little bit of  pride for not backing away from the little hill I conquered, I present you some of the shots I took last night.
The fireworks were – of course – absolutely amazing and it was well worth fighting for my spot in the crowd.

3723675728 6812b832ba Of Fireworks and French manners

Before the Fireworks



3722901653 0e5375b1ba Of Fireworks and French manners

Warming up for the finale

3723712860 9e9ce98580 Of Fireworks and French manners

The grande bouquet

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R-Strap’s are so cool!July 15th, 2009

Sorry for the long wait for an update. Internet in Italy is rather slow and I was not around the computer much.
Lots of exploring to do here.
I have now arrived in Paris to spend some time and shoot it extensively.
Today was the famous French Bastille day. The military parade was amazing. Photos to come soon.
 R Straps are so cool!

Having the right camera strap is – for us photographers – like the search for the holy grail. Most of them truly suck.
However I believe I have found it so read on.

I have had it for a while, but usually I do not do street photography, and my camera is mounted on my Gitzo tripod most of the time.
So I never really used it much. A guy on my Antarctica trip had one, and told me about it and I have to tell you, after using it for a day I have come to love it!

You wear it diagonally across and the camera sort of hangs to your side…attached to a screw and some sort of hook. Sounds flimsy, but works perfectly. No chance of losing the camera or having it ripped off your shoulder.
When you then pull it up to your face, it sort of runs along the cord it is attached to, which is so cool.
It is the quickest way to draw your camera, promised. When you are done, just let it hang down at your side again and this is where it stays.
The mechanism is so simple, it is hard to imagine, that no one thought of it a long time ago.
Price is rather high (and I believe the increased it recently). You have to fork up $54 for it plus shipping, however I really believe it is worth it. If you are still looking for the right camera strap – and I know you do icon wink R Straps are so cool! –  look no further.

Will post a few shots from here soon.

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Viva Italia!July 6th, 2009

Howdy from Italy!
It has been a while since I updated my blog but internet is not that reliable in Amore country icon smile Viva Italia!

I have taken my LX3 for a good work-out in Rome – lots of SLR shooters here and I am feeling somewhat circumsized without long lens and big bodies…
I mainly tried to focus on panoramas down here. Rome is a maze of narrow streets and it is hard to frame something without lots of tourist heads peaking in the frame. So it is either close ups or the wide vistas from up high. I shot mainly the latter one, partly because the LX3 really lacks a proper zoom (only 2.5x) and it is hard to isolate anything.

The below shot has been taken from the top level of the famous Colosseum. It is a three image panorama, stitched in PS CS4, taken handheld.

3691317547 72dd081dd1 Viva Italia!

I am amazed by the quality of the raws, this little camera produces. I gave it a basic touch up in Lightroom (opened up the shadows a little to lower the overal contrast which was too high). Looking at it at 100% you can certainly see the difference between it and my D300, but I seriously doubt that you could see it in print.

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LX3 vs. G10June 30th, 2009

sc0012 LX3 vs. G10

It was time again for a point and shoot camera. Which one? I was going forth and back between the Canon G10 and the Panasonic Lumix LX3.
They are similar in many ways and I would consider them both top of their class.
Here are my reasons for choosing the Panasonic LX3 over the G10. The most important feature to me was the capability to shoot raw as well as a full manual mode. Both can do that, same with video, however the LX3 offers a few additional features that – to me – mattered a lot:

  • The LX3 can shoot HD Video – important to me for this blog
  • a max. exposure time of 60 seconds – the G10 just offers 15 secs. Not enough for long exposure nocturnal photography, such as city shots at night
  • a full stop faster lens (f/2) which is amazing for such a little camera – in low light situations it will make the difference between shooting ISO 200 and ISO 400 for example (and noise is a big problem with those little sensors)
  • 24mm wide angle. Does not sound much different to a 28mm lens. But in the world of a landscape or architecture photographer this is a huge difference
  • High quality Leica lens – as good as it gets

Initially I was really missing a viewfinder. However it seems the the viewfinder of the G10 is pretty much unusable.
So there you have it. On a trip to Italy I will test this little camera extensively and I am quite happy to leave my big guns at home for a change.

Will write about my experiences once I am back.

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Sunrise shoot at Whale BeachJune 22nd, 2009

Brent and I went out early in the morning to shoot a wonderful place, that Brent named “Devils Cauldron”…and devilish it is!
We had a very lovely sunrise, and I was overdue for a nice one after so many crappy ones in a row icon smile Sunrise shoot at Whale Beach
This is going to be my last shoot here in Sydney before venturing overseas and creating a different body of work. I will keep you posted.

For now please enjoy the video, I took this morning. I also describe what gear I use and you can see it up close in the video. I hope you enjoy it.

And here is the resulting shot:

 Sunrise shoot at Whale Beach

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Turimetta the 2ndJune 19th, 2009

As promised, here is the 2nd shot of that morning in Turimetta.

Lets take a look first and I will then explain again, how I tried to line up the elements for the final composition.

3631947942 8707d6fbe6 Turimetta the 2nd

- Exposure time about 1.5 mins
– Aperture f/11 (was just enough DOF – although if you see the cliff edge in the b/g at 100% you would notice it is OOF.)
Foreground is more important as this is where the eye goes around, checking out the textures in the rocks.
I decided to rather shoot the lens at it’s sweet spot with the down side of having the b/g slightly out of focus rather than having an overall slightly less sharp image.


First take a close lookt at it, think about what I tought you yesterday about leading lines and convergence of them. See if you can find them yourself.

Ok, lets take a look at the 2nd image

t2 Turimetta the 2nd

This was an easy one, right? Now go and practice it yourself, it is not that hard and take your photography to the next level.

It also needs to be noted, that I wanted to include the reflection on the rock at the bottom as well as the beautiful colors of the other rocks. I wanted to make sure that they frame the shot nicely. If you play around with your composition long enough, eventually all the elements will fall into place.

A tripod really helps you to achieve that, not only does it make your images sharper, but more importantly, it slows you down and makes you think more about your composition. Thus a a tripod is a really valuable compangnion.

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Sunrise shoot at TurimettaJune 17th, 2009

I would like to share some of my thoughts about how I take photos and what made me compose them the way I did.
Lets take a look at the first one – it was shot at Sydney’s Northern Beaches in Turimetta.

3627586668 918d34caff Sunrise shoot at Turimetta

Geometrical Greens – by Kajo Merkert

I was obviously drawn to those beautiful geometrical lines of those wonderful rocks, as well as the fluroescent greens just before sunrise when the first light hits them. There are several rocks that form lines that seem to almost meet in one point at the horizon. This is an old artist’s trick, called vanishing point.

It gives a lot of depth to the image and makes it look more 3-dimensional.

Can you find the leading lines?

Take a look at the below photo:

test1 Sunrise shoot at Turimetta

See how they all converge and almost meet in one point at the horizon?

It really helps to previsualize this and then just drop your camera (and tripod) in the right spot where it all lines up nicely.

Try to train your eye to see things like that before you take the shot, it simply takes some training.

I will post the next shot of that morning tomorrow, so check back then.

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Color Space: Part 1 – a simple approachJune 15th, 2009

horseshoe Color Space: Part 1   a simple approachI have been asked this question on many occasions and realized that color space and color management are two difficult subjects to get your head around. So I will try to answer many of those hot questions in a Q&A-style format. We will focus mainly on color spaces in this blog post.

The following assumes that you know what a color space is therefore so we will dive right into it:

Q: Which color space should I use?
A: If you are serious about your photography, convert your files into either AdobeRGB or even better ProPhoto RGB (it is the widest color space available. I religiously convert my raw files into ProPhoto RGB. No exceptions.

Q: Which color space should my camera be set to?
A: If you have a high end model, there are two choices: sRGB or Adobe RGB. The simple answer is: If you shoot RAW, it does not matter.
Set it to either one, a RAW file receives its color space after it has been exported and been converted into the destination file format (tif, psd,…). In case you shoot jpg (which I hope you don’t – more on this another time) please choose Adobe RGB. It is the wider color space of the two.

Q: Which color space does LR or Bridge use?
A: None. LR and BR are RAW converters, they assign color spaces upon exporting the RAW files, therefore they don’t work in a particular color space themselves.

Q: Which color space do I need to use for the web?
A: Many people do not know that; you need to convert into sRGB for web presentation. If you work in photoshop you do not need to convert to sRGB right before you save the file, if you use “save for web”, it converts the photo to sRGB for you automatically.

Q: Which color space should I set up in photoshop?
A: Check which colour space you currently work in PS under Edit > Colour Settings and assign the one you decide to work in from now on and save it.

Say for print you want to use one of the ICC profiles of the printer/paper combination that you chose as your output color space.
Or if you export it into photoshop you set your color space in the export section of LR. Make sure your color space in photoshop is set to the same color space that you assign to the photo, so that you do not get mismatches. It makes things unnecessarily more complicated.

Q: Which color space do I use for printing?
A: The colour space you will work in is wider than what your printer can print. You assign an ICC profile (downloadable on the respective website of the paper manufacturer) when you softproof (that term will have to be content of a future blog post) your image straight before you print and on the print screen of your printer dialog box. You will also have to choose between relative and perceptual (forget the other two) rendering intend. Relative and Perceptual redering intent are two different ways to compress the wider colour space of your monitor (the one that you assigned in photoshop for example) into the smaller colour space of your printer, just see which one you like better – it is depending on the photo, so you need to make this choice on a per print basis, just try both and see which one makes you more happy.
So now you know that the colour space that you print in is sort of out of your hands, it depends on the paper and should be selected in regards to which paper you use. No other one. You select the ICC profile in the printer dialog.
The mismatch only happens when you have setup PS with a different colour space than the file that you are trying to import.

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Nikon D300 or D700 – what do I use?May 26th, 2009

d700 d300 comparison Nikon D300 or D700   what do I use?The latest two Nikon prosumer cameras: The older D300 and the newer D700 are some of Nikon’s finest and most affordable cameras, with the D700 offering 95% of the features of the D3.
As many readers know, I have been to Antarctica at the beginning of this year. In my luggage was a D300, a D700 and even the good ol’ D2h.
Spending a few days in Buenos Aires before and after the trip, I did not want to risk flashing around my two high end cameras and surprisingly the D2h resulted in wonderful images from this place (although I would not dare to shoot above ISO200).

But I digress… I was thinking about upgrading my D300 to the D700 and the trip to Antarctica was supposed to solve my question: Is it worth the extra money to buy the D700?

In my opinion a clear no! Don’t get me wrong – the D700 is an outstanding camera and in many aspects slightly superior to the D300.
An objective answer is: It depends. My shooting style is low light landscapes. I rarely shoot above ISO200. Most of my shots are at least 1-2 seconds of exposure time and can go up to several minutes (10 minutes was my longest exposure so far).

I always shoot with Nikon’s 14 bit option, on the D300 this results in slower frame rates. For many this is a real downer. Not for me – I do not need to rip shots as a landscape photographer. Different story for wildlife – the more frames you can rip, the better.

A landscape photographer composes the shot. The decision what goes in the frame is most important. Which brings us to the next point why I prefer the D300 over the D700: It has a 100% viewfinder. This is underestimated by many, but is very important when it comes to composition. What you see in your viewfinder is what you get on your monitor back home. No adding, no subtracting and – if you are careful and really know what you want to include in the frame – no cropping in post.

Lastly I have to say I love the Nikon 14-24mm and shot with it in Antarctica. However I have an equivalent lens on my DX sensor: The Sigma 10-20mm. Almost as wide as the 14-24 and it accepts filters which is very important for my type of shooting style. Not to mention that the Sigma is about 5 times cheaper and I can not really see sharpness differences around the sweet spot (f/8-f11) either.
If you know how to handle the Sigma, I doubt you will see any differences between the two lenses.

So in summary, the reasons why I decided to sell my D700 and keep my D300 are the following:

  • D700 offers about 1 more usable stop in ISO performance which does not matter to my shooting style
  • D300 offers a 100% viewfinder unlike the D700 (only a 95%vf)
  • I do not mind the frame rate restriction on the D300 when shooting in 14 bit mode
  • Last but not least the price difference between the two cameras

I hope my approach may help you in deciding which camera to get.

Should you upgrade from a D200 and you don’t mind a 95% viewfinder, I would definitely pick the D700.

Upgrading from a D300 to a D700 is trickier. For me as a landscape shooter it was an easy pick – the D300. For a wildlife shooter, the D700 has a clear advantage.

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Canyon X – wow what a find!May 22nd, 2009

Together with Brent and Gavin, I had an exciting Monday morning at a place Brent named Canyon X.

It is virtually impossible to find and even harder to get to, so the three of us had the honor to shoot this place most likely for the very first time ever.

It really is a thrill to get down there, a steep almost vertical cliff and the roaring ocean 60 ft below; only accessible via a few ropes that some bold fishermen put up there. Those ropes had certainly seen better days, but of course that could not stop three uber-eager photographers

Seeing that place in the dark for the first time, I initially thought Brent was kidding us when he took us to the edge of the cliff where the rope started.

It seemed to go right down into blackness – this is truly exciting stuff. You can read more about it on Brent’s blog – after all, he found this magnificent spot.

I am sorry to be so vague about the location, but the three of us agreed to keep it a secret until we are tired of shooting it and then reveal it’s location to anyone who is daredevil enough to let their camera hang over a 60ft drop while struggling to hang on to a rope icon smile Canyon X   wow what a find!

The video is a must watch though – feel free to guess the location.

Images to follow soon.

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Sony World Photography AwardsMay 19th, 2009

One of the biggest awards and highest achievements for any photographer is to be part of the annual exhibition of the World Photography Awards. I can consider myself lucky enough to have made it into the final selection.
I received a highly commended and my shot has been exhibited in their gallery in Cannes for the annual festival of photography.
The book with all winning shots can be ordered on worldphotographyawards.org.
It is very inspirational to browse it and makes for the perfect coffee table book icon smile Sony World Photography Awards

Here is the shot I entered:

 Sony World Photography Awards
It was taken on Maui/Hawaii.
I used a 3 stop grad ND to darken the rainy clouds, camera on tripod, remote release and exposure time of about 2 seonds at f/16.
I usually shoot below f/16 to achieve sharper images, however I needed the extra stop down to create a longer exposure for the water.

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Forresters – one of my fav’sMay 18th, 2009

Us seascape photogrpahers are always scouting for a new location. Going up to the Central Coast a few weeks ago, I was finally introduced to beautiful Forresters Beach by my friend Brent.

He has done a whole study of Forresters Beach and thus was the perfect guide for me.

 Forresters   one of my favs

This shot was taken with my beloved Nikon D300 and a Sigma 10-20mm.
I wanted to achieve the effect of blurring the rushing water and freezing the wave smashing against the rock at the same time. I used a technique called shutter blending: Two separate photos on separate layers merged in photoshop via layer blending. Processing was done in Capture NX2 – my favorite raw processor.


3434318848 b6e7cea517 Forresters   one of my favs

- 2 exposures, one for the f/g one for the rock in the background (light painted with my head torch
– You can clearly see that my surefire torch was not really the right tool for the job. the middle-ground is not really covered by it. Something more powerful (like Brent’s torch) would have been perfect.


3433748426 48a2556493 Forresters   one of my favs

- This is a 2 shot vertorama.
– The bottom panel consists of 3 separate shots that have been layerblended together.
– The top panel is a single shot to capture the rapid cloud movement (4 min exposure).


If you want to know how I did this shot. It is easy: Just buy this book about Light Painting and you will boost your light painting skills to a whole new level. It is worth every cent especially if you want to find out, how to build the perfect torch for light painting!

We had a spectacular evening and went over to Terrigal afterwards for some specatacular light painting.

Here is a fun video to watch if you would like to learn more about the location (and see me wading through knee-deep water – waiting for something to happen ;))


Patience is a virtue – particularly for any landscape photographer. You can never have enough of it.

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Antarctica – what a trip!May 18th, 2009

Probably the ultimate photographic destination. I could consider myself lucky enough to have had the opportunity to go there!

I am very excited to announce that my ebook about Antarctica is almost finished and is going to be for sale on this website.

I hope it will encourage you to take the trip yourself one day – it is nothing short of spectacular.

Here is a shot of the front page of my book.

picture 2 300x253 Antarctica   what a trip!

You will also be able to order it as a real book for your coffee table – a guaranteed distraction for those rainy Sunday afternoons with strawberry tarts and a good cap. icon smile Antarctica   what a trip!

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