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Melbourne City Night photography

Night photography in Melbourne City has been something I have wanted to get started for a while. These are just the beginning of a series of night photography shot in Melbourne City CBD. Shot as 22 MegaPixel High Dynamic Range. Here are a few images from what may be a new series that shows the lanes and historic buildings in CBD of Melbourne.

For sale now online is an image of Young and Jacksons (Princes Arms Hotel) and Flinders Street Station on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets.


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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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Just like Ken Duncan only less expensive

During a recent phone call from a client ordering a photograph I heard this comment, “you are just like Ken Duncan, only less expensive”. Not sure I appreciate that or not. I think the name Ken Duncan has become a generic recognisable name for Australian landscape photography. While Ken’s work is well known and much loved, it is marketing and promotion that has driven that notoriety.
Pricing photographic images as increasing limited edition is a stroke of marketing genius making everyone in the food chain extremely happy. Not so the customer however.
By assuming an increase in price every time an image is sold, a guarantee almost of investment potential seems assured. I assert that investment in any art form is a long term affair and one that the artist should not be interfering with.
The pricing of my work is based on open edition, high quality reproduction, and a margin over output cost. Crazy for me in some ways but in the long run I am happy seeing the work hang on thousands of walls. Any artist strives for acceptance and ultimately to have their images hung and displayed.
This also suits the customer looking for a photographic print to own and decorate with. It seems I am against the approach that suggests the wealthiest get the best in what looks like an artificial product constraint.
Anyway thanks for the compliment as I understand it to be, I am in no way like Ken Duncan in most ways however.