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Swampy’s World Episode ONE – The Western Front

Leo Dale, Ross Daniels and I do a little video series about Footscray and the Doggies, and Swampy.
Swampy – Ross Daniels
Camera – Leo Dale
Script – Ross Daniels
Editing – Leo Dale
Technical assistant – Phil Greenwood

Music – Leo Dale
Backing Vocals on theme – Nichaud Fitzgibbon
Accordion – Dave Evans
Fart sound – Mike Koenig

Thanks to the Westographer

Supported by Maribyrnong City Council
Community Grant Program

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CFA uses HDR image for Powerline illustration


The Country Fire Authority has chosen an image I shot a while ago to illustrate the dangers involved in letting trees grow near powerlines.

Just a quick shot whist on assignment and a single frame HDR conversion. Photomatix normally does very odd things to power lines against a sky and this is no exception.

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HD video up a tree


I have been working with Treelogic for quite a few years now producing images for their website and yearly printed calendar. Recently in an effort to raise awareness for their new service branded Logical Tree Management I shot a little HD video with the DSLR.

It describes the process of getting up a tree and the methods employed to asses the safety of a 40 m tall Mahogany Gum. During the shoot I figured one of the guys should pull the camera up by a rope and shoot some from the height of the job. So I didn’t explain that the DSLR would need to be focused manually when pointed away from the close detail focus I had preset it to but still it was at an impressive height and a dramatic angle overlooking the fairway.

Shot in 1080p Full High Definition on the Canon 5D Mk II the clarity is a pleasant change. Audio was a little difficult with on-camera Rhode Video Mic but I am experimenting with a boom mic for our next assignment.

I have to say Mick Tracy did a great job with a wide angle lens stuck very close to his face even if I had to edit out his occasional stumble. Future work along these lines may be advanced visually through the use of a Jib of some sort and I am currently trying to choose between the Kessler Pocket Jib and their KC Lite.

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Churchyard in Tasmania revisited

HDR has taken me on a journey and now I have been messing around with some textured layering in Photoshop. I have always liked that “Old Master” canvas look where old oil goes a sort of crackled sheen. I recently started uploading some images at RedBubble just to give some other options for reproduction and I found a few images from some local photographers. I was inspired to go ahead with some test.

Thanks go to Heather Hartkamp in Geelong. Have a look at some of her work from around Geelong. This image of a tree “Dog Rocks” got me started and although I am not up to Heathers standard with Photoshop yet I thought I might post an image I have attempted.

This is a little church graveyard on the road to St Marys in Tasmania. I was looking at these clouds whilst driving and stopped at every possible building as it grew and changed. Finally I came across this old place with a bit of foreground. This was shot in three bracketed exposures and a 16 bit HDR made with Photomatix Aperture plugin. Then with 4 layers in photoshop with overly complex settings I arrived at this result. The good thing is it prints up just as I wanted.

Time to start all over and shoot some more work with this effect in mind.

This print available from RedBubble.

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HDR Before and After image processing

A lot of people ask if the color in my images is real. Is it created with Photoshop or filters or some magic formula? The answer will vary depending on the image but over the last few years I have been refining a method using High Dynamic Range image processing as Tone Mapped images.

I use an application plugin for this purpose, Photomatix plugin for Aperture. The idea is to create a 32bit image from a bracket of separate exposures so that all details in a scene are captured at best exposure. The controls in the plugin allow you to re map the tones so that an 8bit or 16bit file can be created with all areas of the scene showing best exposure.
There is a tendency for HDR images to look oversaturated and unreal. This is due to tones being all in the midrange and can be controlled to a large degree.

When shooting a sunset such as the one at Kilcunda above I wanted to show just how the original colors looked. All photographic reproduction calls for some remapping of tones so that very high dynamic range original scenery reproduces on the target media. For me this is a digital reproduction to photo paper for framing. HDR processing gives a much better capacity to achieve this.

In the example above the before image is auto exposure and color balance showing very little detail of the bridge itself or much density in the sunset. This is due to the image sensor not having the capacity to expose across such a large exposure range. The after image shows the result of combining 3 exposures two stops apart.

Most people are so used to seeing photographic aberrations such as low dynamic range as normal and so their impression of HDR is that there is some form of enhancement going on. While this is an enhancement HDR is as valid as any form of photographic manipulation. Everything from asking people to smile to waiting for the light to improve or selecting a specific exposure is an enhancement of sorts.

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HD video system near complete

I have been sorting out the Canon 5D Mk11 so that I can get it to work for video that I want to shoot.
At the moment it is nearly there but the look if the image is interesting to say the least. The Zacuto Z-Finder helps a lot as does the new Firmware that allows 24 / 25 fps. Also a follow focus has given some hope that this will eventually be a terrific camera.
Just need a good tripod that works well for this rig.