Photoessay: Interpretations of ‘the tree’

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Today’s subject is a series of aerial interpretations of a tidal formation known as ‘The Tree’ by locals. It is formed of sandbars and the action between the high tide lagoon draining. Due to the nature of fluid dynamics, the current magnifies any irregularities in the channel creating a self-reinforcing turbulent flow which in turn digs certain channels deeper than others. Over time, this creates ever deeper channels – but also channels that may land up shifting when the various flows deposit runoff material and interact with each other in unexpected ways. The upshot of all this is the creation of a pattern that can only really be appreciated from the air both due to accessibility and scale (and there would be no vantage point from the ground). The rate of change is much faster than you might think, too: these images were shot at the opposite ends of the same day, yet there are formations that are visibly different over the course of barely twelve hours. MT

This series was shot over Francois Peron National Park in Western Australia, with a Hasselblad H5D-50c and processed with Photoshop and Lightroom Workflow III.

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Photoessay: Estuary

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One more set of images from the ‘Over Australia’ series. These areas were not actually the primary focus of the trip, but rather something interesting overflown en-route – and when you’re chartering a plane, you want to squeeze out every single photographic opportunity possible. What caught my eye here was two things – the rather painterly patterns created by the typically Australian orange sand and water interspersing with oceanic sand, and the way the transparency of the water changed with the angle of the sun relative to our position – everything from milky to glassy to almost nonexistent (the water wasn’t very deep). There were also semi-evaporated pools that became isolated at low tide, both leaving interesting rim patterns and interesting colors from concentrated sediment suspensions. These were shot at low altitudes (1000-1500ft) from a light aircraft with the doors removed. (A helicopter both wasn’t available or possible because of the distances required.) It’s somewhat more challenging than working from a helicopter because the aircraft never stops; you need to have a high enough shutter speed and good panning technique to prevent any sort of camera shake ruining the transparency of the images – worse as the resolution increases.

This series was shot with a Hasselblad H5D-50c and processed with Photoshop and Lightroom Workflow III.

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Photoessay: Aerial aquatic studies

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Today’s photoessay continues the series over Australia – specifically, the westernmost patch of the vast continent about halfway north. Most of these images were shot over the bit of water between Francois Peron National Park and Dirk Hartog Island; they weren’t the primary objective of the shoot, but still – when you’ve got this kind of variation in the water, there’s just no way you can not shoot. I’ve always been amazed by just how much the texture and feel of water changes with light direction and incremental amounts of breeze; what’s under the surface is hidden or revealed, almost regardless of depth. (The black patches are seaweed and seagrass.) I suppose it’s one of those fractal subjects that once again has the power to hold your attention for a significant amount of time because there are never two identical instants. I’ve printed several of these at 24″, and I feel that’s just the beginning of the ‘right size’ to allow the images to breathe – of course, being shot on the Hasselblad there’s plenty of scope for enlargement…enjoy! MT

This was shot with a Hasselblad H5D-50c and various lenses, and post processed with Photoshop and Lightroom Workflow III and techniques in the Weekly Workflow.

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Photoessay: The boats of Venice

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Endless repetition

Venice is a city of water. Perhaps the city of water. And in such a city, a boat is a necessity, not a luxury – today’s photoessay is a little celebration of the the Riva, a tribute to the workhorse vaporetto, a nod to the cruise liner that dwarfs the city it arrives at, and a grudging acknowledgement of the ubiquitous gondola. They’re so ubiquitous that it’s near impossible to make an image of Venice that doesn’t have one in it somewhere, in some form – whether literal or represented only – and even more difficult to have that image not turn into a cliche. Enjoy! MT

This series was shot with a Pentax 645Z and Ricoh GR.

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The attraction of clouds, water, fireworks, trees…

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Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed that there are a few subjects that tend to be universally attractive to a wide audience – and I’m not referring to cats, bikinis or brick walls (or strange combinations of all three). They tend to be of the type clouds, water, trees, fireworks etc. I’d like to explore that a bit more in today’s article.

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POTD: Surreal portraiture

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Floating head. Olympus E-PM1 Pen Mini and kit lens.

Sometimes, the atmospheric conditions – early morning haze resulting in a vanishing horizon – and perfectly calm seas make for interesting photography; the kind where you don’t mind risking a camera in chest-deep water. MT

POTD x3: The kind of sequence that kills cameras, and a quick reminder

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The kind of sequence that kills a camera: or, advancing waves at 14mm. Olympus E-PM1 Pen Mini, 14-42 kit lens.

Let’s just say there was a reason I was using this and not, say, an M9. Also, I was moving out of the way rather quickly!

I’ve been experimenting with sequences/ sets a bit lately; it’s something that I thought might be interesting to build off the contact sheet idea – any not make the contact sheet and thinking process part of the desired end output? But then I suppose it would require us to think about the individual frames in the context of their own contact sheet, which would be rather meta and confusing…or perhaps the right way to approach this would be thinking of the sequence in itself, much like a video clip – except we just capture key frames. I have a sneaky feeling that pursuing this path of development will eventually lead me back into experimenting with cinematography again (which will be the subject of a future article).

A quick reminder: My Singapore reader meet up will happen tonight, at 7pm, outside Ion Orchard near the red floor installation and the ‘bubble’ MRT entrance. You’ll find me because of the M9-P hanging around my neck, and I’ll be wearing a red t-shirt. (For some odd inexplicable reason, this is beginning to feel like a blind internet date. Oh well, at least we know we all have one thing in common!) We’ll wander around from there and find something to eat. Looking forward to meeting you all! MT

POTD: If you’re not getting wet, you’re probably not close enough.

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Wave action. Olympus E-PM1 Pen Mini, 14-42 kit lens…at 14mm.

Sometimes risks are necessary for experimentation. Just don’t do it with any gear that would be critical if dead, unless you absolutely have to get the shot. MT

POTD: Sunset clouds over the sea

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Sunset clouds over the sea. Over Hat Yai, Gulf of Thailand. Leica M9-P, 35/1.4 ASPH FLE