My new addition to the family.......100mm macro lens - super cool!

Yeah well its unlikely that I'll be having anymore babies, so lenses are it! Easier to maintain too!

The canon 100mm f2.8 L series lens is a pearler.
Picked this one up a couple of months ago.

So there's no zoom on this, its a prime lens. When shooting macros I find myself manually focusing it, just so I can pinpoint the exact area I am wanting to be in focus. Heaps of fun:)

The lens itself is quite light, compared to my others.
It's also a GREAT lens in low light with f2.8, so will be handy in shooting births so I can get nice close shots without getting too close!

So it has been raining A LOT here in Cairns over the past week or so and generally rain stops play, when it comes to outdoors shoots. Providing it's not pouring down I actually like the rainy days for shooting things you can't normally shoot in the middle of the day in bright sunlight, eg garden macros.

Now, my garden isn't really a garden, its more an "assortment of plants" and tough buggers too, as I am no green thumb. However shooting teeny weeny details, it doesn't matter so much. No one can see how messy my garden is :))))

Here's some snaps to look at, mostly shot from only a few cms away, focusing on one tiny detail.

f2.8 1/160th sec ISO100

f2.8 1/80th sec ISO200 and actually darkened the edges and underneath the dew drops a little using multiply blend mode in PS and because the dew drops were so bright it didn't affect them too much.

f4 1/60th sec ISO 320, had to get right inside this trumpet flower

The colours really come out in mundane objects like tree trunks, in the rain, but I have cheated little on this one and saturated only the oranges and greens in Lightroom.
f2.8 1/60th sec ISO 320

This one almost looks like fur and veins, like on a cats ear.
f4.5, 1/60th sec ISO 1000

This reminds me of Lord of the Rings, my favourite movies of all time!!
f4.5 1/60th sec ISO 1000

f2.8 1/60th sec ISO 640 These brown veins were quite orange and detracted from the section in focus, so selected oranges and desaturated a little in Lightroom.

f2.8 1/60th sec ISO 640

f2.8 1/200th sec ISO 100

f4, 1/100th sec ISO 200

f5 1/80th sec ISO 400, wanted a bit more depth in the focus for this one.

f3.2 1/80th sec ISO 400

#macrophotography #Cairns #100mmCanon #primelens

Dads and Birth Photography

Don't let your partner be the handbrake for your birth story!

Loads of Dads and partners are not so keen on having a birth photographer present for their big day.  There are two main reasons I am discovering: the $, and the whole idea that there will be someone else there, a photographer.

The $ part, I can do nothing about, that is what it is. I do the work before, during and after your birth. I do have registry options where others can contribute  to your birth photography. GREAT idea to give out details of this prior to a baby shower.

The second part I can.
I feel sorry for partners at times, they are unsure what to do, they don't know how to help, and seeing your partner going through labour can be a tough deal on their part as well.
Generally Dad has not had a good experience with photographers in the past. There's a lot of scary ones out there. Whether it was from their wedding or a childhood family portrait shoot that was simply too painful to forget. Photographers in their eyes are ANNOYING!!
Well, this is certainly is the case where they are NOT.

Birth Photographers have to be "there but not there", if you know what I mean.
We are not there to start conversation, but will join in if prompted.
We are there to capture snippets of the event as it unfolds, in all its craziness and beauty. We won't be taking 100 photos of mum in pain, nor asking anyone to pose for ANYTHING!
We will not get in the way, nor disrupt the birth space with lights.

All up, to be a birth photographer you have to be patient, respectful, friendly, caring, quiet, and supporting, NO MATTER WHAT!

FREE you partner from the worries of taking pics, so they can be there for you AND be in the pics too.

An old  favourite image I took many years ago, Dad with his bub.
#birth #birthphotography #cairnsbirthphotography #cairnsbirthphotographer


Prime Lenses - what are they and why are they so good!

Currently, my lens collection is 50% prime lenses.

And possibly my favourite of these is the 50mm prime, a photographers dream lens.

OK, so what is a prime... its a lens that has a set focal length. You cannot zoom.
Generally they are more expensive than zooms because the quality is superior.
So why would you want just a set focal length when you could have multiple?

Because there's no zooming mechanisms, these lenses have less elements to them, so the optics are sharper. If you are a portrait photographer, sharpness is essential, no matter what your style.

The 50mm is a VERY FAST lens with an aperture of f1.2. This is pretty extreme and you have to be super careful to get the correct area in focus at f1.2 but VERY handy in low light situations, so you can still keep your shutter reasonably fast and reduce blurriness from hand held camera shake. I LOOOOOOVE this feature, especially for photographing births, which is always tricky lighting.

The lens itself is much lighter in weight than a zoom within this range. This is important if you are hiking, or just carrying it around your body doing street photography for example.

Generally fine art and portrait photographers will prefer a prime simply due to the sharpness.
If you are on a busy schedule and moving location constantly eg weddings, then the zooms are more preferable to cover a range of situations, as you may not have the time to change lenses.

I took my 50mm out for a play last weekend for some street photography.

The primes also tend to make you work for the shot a bit more, you have to move your body closer or further away to get the frame you want, thus making you look for different angles and you get a bit more creative with your photography.

So heres all the boxes it ticks..
sharper images
lighter weight
generally better in low light
makes you more creative

#cairns #photographer #photography #primelens #50mm

These next few are processed using split toning, for effect.


Lifestyle Photography - what is it and why is it great for families

I LOVE  lifestyle shoots for young families and have started offering a product of short video clips blended with stills of your kids at home.
BECAUSE it is at home, they are comfortable. They know this place and are free to expose their unique personalities.
I spend some time getting to know them and for them to decide that I'm OK to be around. I open the curtains, flood the house with beautiful natural light, and off we go. It's all unplanned, just daily events that normally take place each day.

These events can involve mum and/or dad at times, just popping into the film here and there to give a helping hand where needed, or play or give a quick kiss. It all unfolds naturally which takes the pressure off mum and dad, and makes for a realistic and beautiful short film of how life is, something they can look back on in years to come.
I can also manage to snap some gorgeous candid shots of kids this way as they become oblivious to the camera after a bit.

The whole session can take 2-3 hours. I edit to keep just the highlights of the session, and integrate short bits of film with stills into a 5-6 minute story with licensed music. I keep some audio in parts, where I think warrants leaving it in, and then blend the music back in.

Heres a sample of one I did last month and some images from the shoot.

#lifestyleshoots #cairns #familyphotographer #familyphotography


My own birthing experience - turned off raisin toast for life!!!

My birth do it all myself! How hard can it be? There's no way I'm having that needle thingo in my spine!

Well.... my plan did not go to plan....

#birth #birthphotographer #cairnsbirthphotographer

Birth photography probably wasn't a thing back in 2000, well I certainly hadn't heard of it anyway. In fact I had only just decided to take on the career change of being a wedding photographer, from gold exploration geologist!
Heading out bush, rock licking was no longer an option.

I do have a few pics of my first born at hospital, but the resolution is very low and bad.

I wish I had just one shot of me seeing him for the first time. He looked straight into my eyes and was almost like "ah... so that's mum" .

It was a bit of an ordeal.
27 hours from when waters broke to delivery, which in the end was by emergency c-section as his heart rate slowed down too much.
By then, I really didn't care if they used a shovel. I was OVER it and just wanted my baby safe.

In the beginning, I was doing fine.  I discovered the hot shower THE BEST thing ever, so that is where I stayed until I went to hospital. My friend, who was a midwife, stayed with me. She asked if I wanted anything to eat. I was starving! She brought me raisin toast that I devoured in the shower. Heaps of it! I have tried to eat it once since, but couldn't do it. The associations were still too strong. Sorry raisin toast, nothing personal, but our days together are done.

The majority of the hospital part was a blur. Probably a combination of drugs and natures way.
I had ALL the drugs. Tried them all.

Its all carried out a lot differently now, definitely for the better.
The calmness of the midwives, the almost tranquility of the maternity wards, where you know behind  doors women are getting on with the job.

And I am quite happy now being on the other side of the camera documenting amazing women doing their thing :)


Cairns Graffiti PLUS the latest BIG art murals being painted this week in Cairns

Well the week I decide to shoot all the graffiti around Cairns, the local council are having a graffiti SPLURGE with several  HUGE instalments being painted this week!

That was lucky!

May 2018
#graffiti #cairnsgraffiti #wheretofindgraffitiincairns #tiltshift #tiltshiftphotography
My last blog said I was going to take out a different lens and play with it for a couple of weeks. The current victim being the 24mm Tilt-Shift. Shooting a subject matter would make things easier to target and " graffiti around town" became it. It just so happened that as part of the finale to the Festival 2018, there's some new ones going up right now, as part of Sea Walls Australia project.

With two spare arvos this week, between jobs and rain, I darted out to grab some with the tilt-shift. Now this is a very arty lens and also can be handy for shooting without distortion.
Keeping it simple, this lens has the ability to tilt, shift, and rotate. So you can pretty much put the focal plane ANYWHERE you want. This is GREAT for targeting certain areas of the scene you want in focus, and blur the rest out!
Here's the monster...

This is a manual focus lens. It takes a bit to get used to but can be great fun. 

Heres some shots of local graffiti.

Tafe. Southern side. Here the graffiti is in focus but not the bushes next to it as you would expect with a normal lens. It makes it pop more.

Building next to Badminton Hall,  Mulgrave Rd

Green Ant Cantina restaurant. The next few are from here

Notice you can eliminate/reduce the amount of distortion to buildings with this lens. It is very popular with architectural photographers.

The alleyway opposite Gilligans, Grafton St. The next few are from there.

I love this effect, just the centre is focused.

Opposite Cairns Central east side, McLeod St.

Tanks at Botanical Gardens, one to the far east.

Frame espresso Cafe corner McLeod and Upward street

Vacant block just east and around corner from Florence Street Medical

Here are the beginnings of the murals going up around town for the Festival 2018: Sea Walls Australia. I may return next week to get the finished versions.

Corporate Tower car park east side

East side of Cairns Central near bus shelter

House next door to Florence St Medical Centre

This one wraps around the corner of the south western boundary of the showgrounds.
I couldn't get the whole thing in without getting run over.

The beginnings of another two, north boundary of showgrounds

Eastern boundary of progress

Then I quickly darted out to the water tower at Holloways Beach
This is a HUGE project, two guys working on it at once, operating their own machinery to get where they need to be.

This one shows the brilliance of the TS lens eliminating all distortion of this tower, completely vertical.


Does your CREATIVENESS keep you awake at night?

Where is the off switch? I NEED to get some sleep!!!

April 2018
#creatives #photographers

I don't believe I am the only one with this "problem". 
Believing it is no longer a problem, I now see it as a positive thing. This is usually where ideas come from, some brilliant, some not so, but the days are so full of other things, the brain doesn't really have the time or space to think about new things.

Nights where these ideas are constantly rolling around, I just give into it, roll over and grab the nearest thing to write on (or type into if its the phone) and get it down on paper. Its usually just a scramble of words. The next morning it either gets thrown out or put it in the "to act upon" book. If it makes it to the book, then usually some action will happen over time. Usually once its written down the brain can then turn off and be semi satisfied that the idea won't be lost and the zeds start buzzing. 

Most photographers are creative. We are mostly from an artistic background. Whether its drawing, creative writing, painting, sculpting, we were attracted to photography as another way of expressing ourselves.  
We are always pushing ourselves to get better, but more so..more creative! After all its the creative side that makes us stand out. 

This week I decided I was going to pick a lens, yep just the one (I KNOW it's going to be tricky for me right!) and use just that one lens on a personal project for that week or fortnight, whatever I can fit in. I have 7 lenses. 
So far I've done none, but my lens of choice is the tilt shift. It will make me get out those lenses I don't use very often and see what I can come up with. 

A pic from the tilt shift I did a while ago...
A tilt-shift lens has the ability to allow the user to tilt or shift the focal plane so the focus is not limited to being just perpendicular to the lens.


Why would I want a birth photographer? Won't I look seriously triggered?

April 2018

WHY would you want to have your birth story documented?

Women in labour are much like cats. We like to go somewhere safe, dark, and where we feel comfortable so we can enter our zone and concentrate on the job to be done, undisturbed.

Why then would you want someone present WITH a camera, documenting all this?
Won't you look seriously triggered?? Feel exposed??

Well, there is a way to have this precious event documented, undisturbed and with the respect you need, so you receive a beautiful collection of clear images telling your story. 

But why? …..there are many reasons why.
Modern birth is becoming more and more “normalized”, which is simply brilliant! It needs to be. It is the most natural and beautiful empowering thing. It’s not something that should be kept secret or behind closed doors. By you telling and showing your story through movies and images, you can courageously share this with our future generations, steering them away from any preconceived fear of birth, and help make birth a positive and beautiful life event.

You will be able to look back on these images to see all you missed on the day. Labour can sometimes be a bit of a blur.  You can look back and see the love your partner had for you that day, the way they looked at you with a newly discovered admiration, the way they looked at their brand new son or daughter for the first time, full of emotion. Your eyes are full of tears so you miss all this, you only see snippets of these precious seconds. This love for this tiny bundle you have just made is immediate and a type of love that was completely undiscovered until right now at this moment.  Your support person will be in tears, I will be in tears.  This, to me, is the most important and powerful moment of a birth story.

Another reason is newborn bubs can change so super quickly from the moment they are in our arms.  Their little birthday suits of wrinkled, milky coated, purplish skin will start turning pink often in the first hour.  They can finally reach and stretch out of the fetal position, extend their fingers and see you for the first time.  Your images will bring this back to you.

Finally, and this is purely for you, you can look back on these images and see the strength and determination that you may have never known you had. You can see the protection for your child that you haven’t even met yet is already there.
You are capable of achieving amazing things.


iPhone 7 photo editor vs Lightroom editing

March 2018

Well I have not upgraded my phone to the 8 or the X as yet, basically don't like the big size. What is it with phone design, they start big then get smaller, then get bigger, then a new type comes out and we start the whole process again. iPads are the same.
Anyway, my recent trip to japan 2 months ago, I did not take the big Canon and all its heavy friends with me. I had a true holiday. A holiday from taking photos with my normal gear. Of course it would be an impossibility for me to go ANYWHERE without taking pics so the iPhone sufficed. It was super nice to not lug my gear around for a change, and the iPhone did fine. Once I got the thought out of my head of "oh the wide angle would've been nice or the 70-200 would be handy right now" I enjoyed the simplicity of just a phone to take pics with, in fact it made me get a bit more inventive.

So, I decided to compare the iPhone 7's pic editor with what you can do with using LR to post process some pics. Of course its not the same as using RAW camera files out of a DSLR BUT just for fun here's some comparisons and I am pleasantly surprised with the pic editor options.

Heres a great example of what the editor can do.

AND it's a big file. Matsumoto Castle

Heres a comparison first one is straight out of phone camera

this one is processed with LR

this one is using a warm filter with pics editor. I prefer the LR one here as I could control the highlights a bit more.

First pic is my fav, using pic editor, 2nd raw, 3rd LR. Matsumoto street scene

I think too it depends on how you saw the image when you took the picture, like I remember this image was almost "retro" in hues and the first image recreates how it looked to my eye at the time.

Same with this one, I prefer the colours in the pc edited one (3rd one) but the LR one is better with the highlights. There is a highlights control lever on the pic editor but its not that effective.

ONE of my favourite images from the trip, taken in Nozawa Onsen. I always thought the lone centre figure was looking into the shop but from their feet they are looking towards me, taking shelter from the rain perhaps. I processed the second one in LR using split toning to mimic the pic edited one but reduced highlights from the shop lights and in the shiny road reflections.
This image, to me, sums up Nozawa.

What's Nozawa Onsen without an onsen?
This one is unfit for humans at 72-73 degrees celsius, but is great for cooking veggies and boiling eggs. The safety barriers are pretty much non existent, mental note to self...don't come here after too many sakes!!

 Raw from phone

 Pic editor - think I like this one best, more punch and contrasty

Same with these three, this ones pic edited



Another of my favs, love the cobblestones, pic editor

Straight out of phone, no editing

 Cant pick between these three, first raw, second LR, third pic editor. Definitely more detail in the LR one, but I like the orange sun halo in the third one.

Definitely prefer the second LR one processed with split toning. Typical Nozawa street scene with the rugged up visitors, steaming dumplings on the street, and narrow roads.

Raw. LR. Pic editor, prefer the hues of the pic edited one, keeps it looking steely cold, as it was.

Couple of Niseko, Hokkaido. pic edited

Pic edited and LR, prefer the LR one, processed with split toning

Pic edited

Niseko street scene, not a lot of difference between these 3, second one maybe (LR)

pic edited vs LR, prefer the LR with split toning

Pic edited.
Really the difference isn't much but in most cases the pic editor does a great job. Highlights are a problem, but hey, for the comfort and convenience whilst on holidays, that'll do me just fine!

#lightroom #iphone7 #iphonography

Why pay a professional - can't my friend just take the photos?

I hear this a LOT! Yeah sure you can. YOU GET what you PAY FOR, or not pay for in this instance.

Getting a friend to take photos of ANYTHING that is important, puts not only a lot of pressure on them, but also on your friendship.

Take birth photography, for example, this is one instance where "the friend" typically seems to get given this job.

The friend is there in the first place to be part of your support system, as well as your partners support, to help out when needed, when one of you gets tired etc etc.

Well here's a few more reasons why this is not the best idea.

Firstly, to get good coverage and to tell a great birth story, professional birth photographers ( I'm going to call them BP's) need to be present at the right times. Usually from active birth right through to an hour or so after birth. This means they need to be ON CALL and available at this time. This could be at 2am and go all day!! They would have to be a pretty good friend to do this. A professional won't be caught snoozing at the critical time.

Secondly, a professional BP will be concentrating on just this one important job. They have the experience in knowing when to take a shot, when to do a short video, when to leave the room. They will only speak when spoken to and be respectful of your space. They also know where to BE at the moment of birth, so this complies with your wishes of what you do and do not want captured.

Another reason is simply a technical one. BP's will have awesome gear. They won't be dancing around the room flicking on light switches so they have enough light. They won't be shooting off flashlights in your face. They have the gear that can perform in low light without you having blurry, grainy, dark images. At the other end of the scale, they know how to cope with bright harsh hospital fluros.

Lastly, a good friend may get caught up in the drama going on and may even forget that they are meant to be capturing all this, and as they are usually close friends they may be too emotional to do the job. You are doing them a favour by not asking them to take this on.

I have heard people say that one of their most treasured photos is the one of their just born baby being handed to them, taken on someones phone camera, it's the only pic they have. The emotion that this simple image conveys is so super powerful.
Beautiful clear images of this special day that you become a family are priceless.

#birth #birthphotography #birthphotographers

Heres some cool pics of some AMAZING birth images captured by Lielani Rogers.