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Roving-Eye Gallery update and newsletter #17 for May 2022


Hello to everyone and thank you to the new subscribers.. welcome aboard!

With the latest update just uploaded head to What's New - May 2022 | and you can scroll back month by month for an easy catch up for previous months too!


If last month was a jump up in image count then this month was way more than that again with an amazing total of 191 images posted up!


The main reason for that was that the first 3 weeks of May were spent on a road trip in the SW corner of WA gathering a ton of new material for the portfolio followed by some amazing waves and clouds at home that all deserved a decent set of images too!


The road trip was designed to sample the broadest possible cross-section of the region and covered everything from the wheatbelt and salt pan country to magnificent mountains to the intriguing coast and the soaring timbers of Karri country.


On such a trip you are entirely subject to the weather on each day since you are committed to an itinerary with all accommodation pre-booked but it played fair most of the time and in fact out of the foulest weather one day up sprung the most amazing gem of an image which just goes to show.. just keep going even when it looks bad!


On that day on the south coast of WA there were massive winds coming straight off the southern ocean along with the horizontal rain from unending squalls sweeping in.. not the stuff of dreams from a typical photography perspective I can tell you!


I had driven to this isolated beach in the hope of finding *something* at least because each day I was thinking what can I get today? Even standing up was an effort as it tried to bowl you over at the overlook at the beach and it was going to be a strict no-drone-fly day that’s for sure and for a moment I was tempted to head back to the warmth and comfort of the car as I could see little out there I could possibly do.. a steady tripod shot would be almost as impossible as a drone shot let alone finding an actual subject in the bleak conditions!

Nevertheless the thought of all the time and cost of travelling to the other side of the country nagged at me and I didn’t want to walk away empty handed so I made my way down to the beach with the full storm jacket and hood pulled in tight to help combat the driven stinging sand and aiming for a small cave for shelter at the end of the beach before the next rain squall which was already blanking out the horizon and was headed this way fast and so from that new viewpoint I was hoping for some inspiration along the way!

I had just got to the shelter when the most amazing thing happened, a hole opened up in the clouds behind me which lined up the ideal late afternoon low sun angle with all the rain sweeping across in front so it was the perfect combination for a rainbow to form and boy did it ever! An incredible double rainbow in fact!

As I had just lugged my 10+kg backpack of gear here I had everything I needed at my fingertips to jump in for whatever seconds or maybe few minutes it may remain open for so I quickly put together the ideal camera body and ultra wide lens combo and sprinted down the beach towards the sea pausing only to take a “must get at all costs” shot in case it shut down before I got to my chosen spot which was the edge of the surf zone.

Why the edge of the surf zone? To get the best full reflection I could manage to double the rainbow’s impact and just-wet sand is great for that sort of thing! This brings home how, over time and learning from past mistakes and experiences, you learn to think quickly, almost reflexively, to cover all bases.. if you do something a LOT of times it just gets easier and smoother with time.

On the spot there is a whole stream of thoughts going through your mind.. Where is the best place and composition to capture this particular scenario? What gear do I have in hand and what are it’s limitations and abilities? Where am I focusing? Should I bias towards shutter speed or should it be best depth of field? How do I best time the incoming and receding waves and wet sand and where do I stand for the best reflective effect taking into account the beach slope and level of wave activity? Have I brought the lens cloth down with me for cleaning between EVERY shot to combat all the fine mist of swirling rain drops? What is a good overall exposure for this scene given the wildly varying light to dark range? Should I shoot one of the auto modes and add in some exposure compensation, if so then how much.. or should I shoot manual? Taking into account the lens focal length what is my minimum shutter speed to ensure sharpness no matter what exposure mode I choose? What is a good height for the shot to get a well balanced image with impact? Down low? Standing? Have I checked my point of focus again? Did I clean the lens again before shooting etc etc.. and all the while the clock-of-opportunity is winding down tick..tick..tick.. don’t think about that.. think about are you doing it right. Have you forgotten anything? Look back at the hole in the cloud and look at the speed of it closing. how much time is left? tick..tick..tick.. do I risk a chance to vary my shot style or should I stick with what I’m doing? are thinking a LOT but there is little time for thinking overly consciously.. you must DO.

All of the above considerations were for a single image.. if I had chosen to do a panorama I would also add: How big do I want the panorama to be? Is the main subject at a good focal point for the final image? How many images horizontally and vertically will I need for the lens in use to achieve that? Where should I start the panorama to get what I want? What additional margins do I need to allow for image stitching and final cropping so I cover the subject fully to get the result I have in mind? Given the scene how much overlap should I aim for to make the stitching process proceed without additional control point editing? ..and if I was doing an on the spot shot without the use of my tripod based calibrated panoramic head then: Is my horizon consistent and level as I can make it? Are my image to image shots consistent and complete with no gaps but also with enough overlap? Am I doing a good job to rotate the camera around the ideal point of no parallax which lies along the axis of the lens to get distortion free final image stitching? Given it will be a panorama an identical exposure is needed for each component shot so am I SURE I’m shooting manual and the settings selected take into account the brightest part of the overall scene correctly to avoid unrecoverable overexposure? Tick..tick..tick.. you get the idea!

This is one of the great pleasures of outdoors photography for me I have to say.. so many important variables are outside your control.. so that puts pressure on you to think the best you can to deal with it and come away with the best possible results.. sometimes that might involve detailed planning well ahead of time.. tide height, moon phase, time of day, logistics etc.. or sometimes that might be shooting straight from the hip when something opens up right in front of you with no warning whatsoever like that rainbow! You need, and should aim, to be able to cover both extremes equally well.

The trip generated 11,800 image files and along with lugging gear around, once up a 600m ascent, then you can see why, along with a strict nightly regime of image review, memory card copying using a systematic renaming convention to stay organised no matter how many different cameras were in use for the day, duplicate backing up and verifying, multiple battery recharging, lens cleaning, filter cleaning, camera cleaning for any fine sand and salt spray, memory card formatting and camera readiness check to start fresh all over again in the morning that a day in the life of an outdoors photographer can sure help you flop into bed exhausted at the end of it!

With the big infusion into the portfolio this month it also gave more material to add to my newly created “fine art” product line so I can offer new products for sale beyond the typical monthly market level which have been the bread and butter all the while.

I had already commissioned a set of 4 large framed prints last month to be done but I want to offer other mediums too and so I have sent off 2 initial images from this trip to be produced in a high end canvas style. With high quality wooden shadow frames and timber picked to match the images and museum grade canvas with a protective coating these will definitely stand out as quality products that would grace any setting where finish, longevity and image impact are the priorities!

I have some exciting major commercial opportunities on the boil in the wings which I won’t detail here until they are confirmed by clients and done and delivered but there is a great vibe that after a solid couple of years of effort in particular, and much more before that really, things are shaping up well with the unceasing attention that has been given to it to get to this point.

I look forward to establishing this new range of finishes and embarking on even more and increasingly ambitious trips to leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of unique images to celebrate and showcase the incredible beauty and diversity of the Australian land and seascape!

Take care and thank you for reading this far and sharing the journey!

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