A Moment I Had Longed To See

The charging bull elephant stampeded into the murky water, thrusting his long trunk high into the air.

The sound of splashing ringed in my ears. Blackened water erupted, upsetting the surface and its rival wake, each heaving step pounded in an effortless hustle.

My vision was drawn to the elephant’s emotive eye, its hazy reflection stared back at me, filling my finder.

I watched the backlight silhouette his age showing nothing but moving muscle and wrinkled hide.

His victory song could be heard for miles, the loud trumpeting signifying for his young family to follow.

Witnessing this experience was surely the heart of Africa. A moment I had longed to see.

African Elephant 011

Photographed in the Kruger National Park, South Africa




Let Loose In Photoshop

See what happens when I play with paint and brushes? I think all the finger painting in my childhood paid off!

Picture of model against clouds

Until Next Time – Happy Shooting!


I’m A Photographer – No Bull

Is photography art? What about if you change a photo can you still call yourself a photographer?

These are some really big questions that will always split a room.

For me, my definition of a photographer is someone who captures a photo and then develops it into picture.

Looking through history this is exactly what a photographer would do. The process hasn’t changed a bit. The film was loaded into the camera and the photographer would set out and capture the images of life.  Back in the darkroom the film was processed and projected by an enlarger to be made into a photo using various techniques.

Today, photography is no different. Digital has changed the way we shoot but hasn’t changed the photographer. For me I still shoot like I have a film camera. I ensure my composition, exposure and focus are all set correctly in camera before I take the photo and the only difference is I don’t to have to bother with chemicals to process my image – its instant. I simply import my images into my favourite software and process them the way I interpreted the scene. The reason I do this is because I have found no camera will ever capture the scene the way I saw it.  I take the image and make it into a picture. So this makes me a photographer.

At this point you may be agreeing or disagreeing with me. Let me put it in perspective for you before we start bubbling over.

I will acknowledge there are many different types of photography out there. Not every type is the same.  Some forms of photography require specific processes whereas some require no processing at all.  Let me give you an example – photo journalism and documentary style photographers certainly don’t require much or in some cases any editing as the scene they present needs to show real life – how it happened. This wouldn’t be the case for a fine art photographer or digital artist. Just as the real life photographer capture the scene so does the creative photographer. The only difference is the creative photographer uses their imagination and art form to bring emotion and styling to the scene. The photo journalist will rely on the realism of the scene to bring an emotional reaction to the viewer. So really both sides can call themselves photographers, the only difference is the way they try to create emotion through their medium.

If you look through history, artists came in all forms. Painters, sculptors and even photographers would use their industry tools to create a piece of art which in most cases they would present to the world, hoping for some sort of emotional reaction. Today, photo journalists, documentary or fine art photographers are no different. Each still use their own industry tools to create emotion through their pieces of art. They simply use their tools differently.

For me I would call myself a fine art photographer as my main medium is photography. Photoshop is my studio and light is my canvas. I capture and frequently use textures and tones to create emotion within my scenes. I want to portray the way I perceive the scene to be.

Let me give you an example. In the scene below I saw a gritty, dusty bull. I wanted to portray the strong, steadfast masculinity of the bull against the soft background fog, floating precariously in the background. I used strong salty textures and extreme sharpness with black and white tones to separate the bull from the background.

I'm a Photographer - No Bull


I'm A Photographer - No Bull


If I didn’t process this image in my digital darkroom (Photoshop) I feel the story wouldn’t have been as strong. Sure, the original looks good but why stay with good when I can make it great and tell a better story? Isn’t that limiting my creative abilities? Would the world be dumbing me down saying “that’s not a photo?!” I hope my explanation on a photographer will change that.  What are your thoughts?

This is my view, I can’t really speak for all photographers out there but I would like to say I am an artist. I’m a photographer – no bull!


Photographed using the Fujifilm X-Pro 1

Until Next Time – Happy Shooting.

The Golden Elephant

Photographed in the Kruger National Park, South Africa

African Elephant

I really didn’t want to get any closer than this. This guy was huge!

Until Next Time – Happy Shooting

How To Blend Multiple Exposures Together

These days digital SLRs and new compact pro cameras are getting better at averaging high contrast scenes. Some cameras like the new Fujifilm X-E1 even offer AE Bracketing (Auto Exposure Bracketing) in camera. I will be testing this feature out as soon as my X-E1 arrives.

Achieving the correct exposure in a single photo can be quite challenging in difficult lighting situations. I have seen quite a few landscape photos with the most common problem being blown out skies where the photographer has exposed for the foreground and hasn’t taken an additional photo exposing for the sky. Gradient filters work to a certain degree but for the best exposure result I would recommend bracketing.

Bracketing means to take three separate photos of the same scene; one exposing for the highlights and the other two exposing for mid-tones and shadow areas. The result should look something like these images a friend took:

Bracketing Exposures TutorialExposing for the shadows

Bracketing Multiple Exposures TutorialExposing for the mid-tones

Bracketing Multiple Exposures TutorialExposing for the highlights

So now that the photos have been taken the big question is how do you go about merging the photos together into one high dynamic range photo? My answer….Photoshop.
Watch and learn as I take these photos  (taken by a friend) through a quick lesson in Photoshop. The end result of the 2 part tutorial can be seen below (Part 2 will be out tomorrow).

Bracketing Multiple Exposures Tutorial

If you have any questions on bracketing let me know by submitting a comment below.

Until next time – Happy Shooting

Instashop – Pine Forest

After editing more wedding photos I thought I would put together an Instagram inspired photo in photoshop before I call it a night/morning. I call it Instashop!

Instashop – I highly recommend giving this a go. Simply open your photo in Photoshop, crop to a square and play. Let me know what results you come up with by sending me a link on the blog or Facebook. I look forward to see some crazy results!

A road between the woods in a pine forest

Until next time – Happy Shooting!