LANDSCAPE CHALLENGE

I studied photgraphy fulltime for a year at Weltech, and it was going to be my career of choice. While that path never eventuated, I still have a keen interest in it as a creative activity other than drawing. My preference was fashion, and journalism, and I find architectural, and landscapes - anything without people, the most difficult. To me, photography is about telling a story or capturing an emotion. I found people much easier, as there is a lot more control over the setting, story and composition. There is so much about landscapes that are out of my control, including the weather, lighting and unwanted obstacles - Getting a good image which doesn't look like a post card or just a pretty scene is always something I struggle with.


We are social creatures that respond more to emotions expressed in a another person than inanimate objects or pretty vistas. A photo of a person captures a moment in time, it's unlikely that I, or anyone else would be able to recreate that moment. So even a photo that is technically poor - can still be special. Photo's of objects, buildings and landscapes aren't usually unique, anyone could take them, often years apart with little difference. Most of the time there is little point to the image other than, "I was here". This doesn't mean a landscape can't have meaning or be unique, it's just that it's so much harder to tell it's story.


Good landscape photographers seem to be blessed with a keen eye to spot something unordinary in the ordinary, an ungodly amount of patience and the ability to constantly get up at insanely early hours of the morning to hunt (and hunt is exactly what it feels like) for that perfect shot. But I guess that's a challenge, which is why I still try.



The Sydney Opera House

This must be the most photographed building in the Southern Hemisphere. I had two hours before my flight back to New Zealand and it was midday - so no stunning sunrise or sunset. Most of my time was spent wandering around trying to work out how to capture an image that was at least remotely interesting. I really wanted to come away with something that didn't look like it was purchased from a souvenir shop.



There were two that I took that I was happy with. The Opera House really is an architectural masterpiece. Which why at any given time of day there's hundreds of people pointing cameras at it. This one was a close up using a 200mm lens.



I was fascinated with lamps that surround the Opera house. It was mid-day and the sunlight, which was quite intense, was reflecting in the lamps, making them look like they were turned on. It was okay in colour but the contrast I think suited a black and white image. Both photos of the Opera House were taken with a Fujifilm X-T3


Church in the Desert

Silverton, just out of Broken Hill, Australia. Usually I like a feeling of depth in images, but this image is very two dimensional. It's simple, and unclutered. I took a number of shots of this church from 3/4 views, but none had the impact that this one had. 100 ISO film, Olympus OM1, 50mm lems

The Golden Gate Bridge, San Fransisco

When I'm traveling and end up waiting for a connecting flight with more than a few hours to spare. I always catch a taxi, or train, to the nearest bike shop, and rent a bike to go exploring. Usually with the goal of coming away with some interesting photos. I found the Golden Gate bridge harder to photograph than the Sydney Opera House. Everything I took looked like a postcard. I gave up, and instead took a photo of waves crashing against the rocks on the shoreline... the Golden Gate Bridge just happened to be in the background.


I liked the symmetrical shape formed by the rocks and the blue sky, opening out to the right of the photo and the industrial structure of the bridge sandwiched between the two white organic textures of the clouds and water.


This was taken with a Canon 5D Mark IV - which is far to heavy to carry in a backpack riding up the hills in San Fransico.


Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

Sadly the Basilica in Christchurch was severely damaged in the Christchurch Earthquakes and still remains, behind fences, waiting to be repaired. This photo was taken long before the earthquakes. I took this with my Olympus OM1, using ISO 100 film. I was disappointed with the light cast onto the brick wall through a stained glass window. It wasn't as vibrant in print as it was when I took the photo. It just looked flat.


But the ability of imaging software to enhance photos is constantly improving. Using Capture One, I was able bring out the colours, and match the scene to how I remember it.


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