I just returned from a major trip to Australia and New Zealand. Lots of photos and stories. No time for a travelogue-style blog post. I'll have to contain all of what I have to say to captions. Here goes...
(As with all blog posts, click on any image to make it larger. And sharper.)
|Rape plants, from which we get canola oil. Very colorful!
|I love environmental portraits. Here's the manager of the Minus 5 degree Ice bar in Queenstown, New Zealand. Everything here is made of ice - even the glasses! Had to use wireless flash on her because otherwise the light was too drab.
|A stock shot in Wellington. Everyone who's ever visited has this exact same shot. Other than sheer megapixels mine's not any better. Sometimes you have to just cover your bases.
|New Zealand is beautiful and covered in green. Sheep are as plentiful as mass shootings in the U.S.
|On the ferry from North Island to South Island. The surrounding land is beautiful but in order to impress someone who wasn't there you still need a subject. In this case the contrasting color of the lifeboat.
|You can do anything in Queenstown, from parasailing to bungee jumping.
|The top of "The Remarkables" mountain ranges.
|[Yawn] More natural beauty.
|[Yawn] Another picture-perfect landscape.
|The ocean water is freezing... however a part of Hot Water Beach sits atop a geothermal vent. Bring a shovel and dig in the right place and hot water fills the hole. Instant spa!
|Token shot of the Sydney Opera House. There are lots of shots like these, but few are 42 megapixels capable of giant enlargements. This composition has lots of space to accommodate text in a 2-page magazine layout.
|Token shot of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. A blurred ferry was used to try to make it a little more interesting.
|Cockatoos in a tree. A flash helped make them stand out.
|Inukshuk heaven. (There were thousands of these in the one area... I wasn't able to get one shot which showed the enormity. But this isn't too bad.)
|Another beautiful coast on the Great Ocean Road
|All my life I had wondered where mint-flavored marshmallows were grown...
|A pier in Lorne
|The Great Barrier Reef was magnificent in terms of vastness and biological diversity, but visually it was a disappointment. Lesson #1: The key to happiness is low expectations. Lesson #2: Photoshop can only do so much.
|Trick of Trade - signage usually contains highly directional reflective coating. If your subject doesn't "pop" then even using a small flash can illuminate it quite strongly. Now I can license this.
|A wild King Parrot. Not in a zoo. :-)
|Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef and petting a Maori Wrasse.
|Participants in the seminar in Melbourne... two other seminars also took place in Sydney, and near Auckland. Everyone had a great time!
More about this trip (including stories and what equipment I used, since everyone always seems to want to know that) can be found in the upcoming issue of f2 Cameracraft.
In the Pipeline
The A7r II ebook is out! I'm hoping to have the .epub and .mobi conversions done before Christmas. If you purchased the ebook via my website, you'll be automatically notified of the new versions when they become available.
The Spanish translation of the A6000 Ebook will be out in the same time frame. Email me if you'd like to know when it becomes available.
Great Gifts: I would be derelict in my duties if I didn't point out that both f2 Cameracraft magazine and the streaming version of The Friedman Archives Seminars make great holiday gifts for the photographically inclined folks in your life! :-)
The Published Photographer's Perpetual Nightmare
Let's go back to that photo of the Ice Bar for just a second. It took a long time to get that shot, for as impressive as the frozen room was, the ever-changing light just wasn't great for the camera.
|Flash (held by an assistant) but auto white balance
|Flash and white balance set to "Daylight"
|Once I nailed the light, I waited about 2 minutes for the ambient light to change color to this (great color contrast can draw your eye to the shot).
Problem over, right? Nope. If you're going to have the image printed in a magazine (as this will be in the next issue of f2 Cameracraft), you have to take into account that if you convert this image to CMYK mode (the four colors used in offset printing) the image will look NOTHING like it did on the screen! The screen creates its colors using additive light (combining different amounts of red, green, and blue), whereas the printing press by necessity uses the opposite of these colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and then black for extra contrast). Not all methods can represent all colors, and this picture, as luck would have it, has lots of colors that just fall "out of gamut":
That beautiful blue which makes the shot is all muddy!!! Yuk! Most print houses would just print the version above, and the client would then be furious at the bad repro. David Kilpatrick, publisher of f2 Cameracraft and king of all things printing, cares about the output so much that he spent 10 minutes tweaking the image in Photoshop in CMYK mode (something most print houses would simply never do) to make it look close to the original. Here's what he did, in his own words:
"To get the big shifts needed in each colour channel, I use the ‘Camera Raw’ filter option first for processing the opened JPEG and changing the camera calibration - I had to make the blue a lot less purple and the reds more orange less magenta. Highlights and contrast needed adjustment too. I created an adjustment brush (in Camera Raw filter) which lifted the highlights and deepened shadows and also added exposure, and painted this over the ice without going over the bar attendant, until I felt that the ICEBAR logo and the texture of the ice was going to reproduce well. I worked on the image in RGB, but used the ‘Proof Colors’ options in Photoshop to see how it would print in CMYK, and returned to this between adjustments.
I find the Camera Raw filter very useful for working on JPEGs and prefer it to using layers. It’s actually the same as using some very complex layers, but much faster. It’s even better if you start with a 16-bit JPEG or TIFF, as these are nearly as good as an original raw file."
Below is the result which prints the same way it appears on screen:
THIS is why professionals care about color matching between screen and print! Had David not corrected this I would have been a bit miffed.
Footnote: In case you'd like to visit the Ice Bar yourself, their address is:
Minus 5 degrees Ice Bar
88 Beach St.
Queenstown 9300 NZ
That's it! Next month I'm going to have some kickstarter ideas for you. :-)
Yours Truly, Gary Friedman