April 7, 2013

Looking Down the Yarra towards the Old Brewery

by William Dawson

Melbourne has been experiencing odd weather lately. We are five weeks into Autumn yet today the mercury is set to tip 27 degrees Celsius (80.6°F), that’s seven degrees above the average maximum temperature for April. Yesterday was no exception. Blue skies and a top of 28 degrees; a perfect day to take photographs along the Yarra River.

This photo is a 5-bracketed HDR processed in Photomatix Pro. In the distance you can see the Richmond Maltings. Construction at the site commenced in 1880 with initial developments as a brewery and malting site. Not many people seem to be familiar with the name ‘Richmond Maltings,’ instead they refer to the silos by the name of the iconic neon sign that sits atop the silos, reading “Nylex Plastics”.

Yarra

March 3, 2013

The East End of Melbourne

by William Dawson

Just before Christmas I returned to the same bridge featured in this post, ‘Old Railway Yard‘. The footbridge, called William Barak Bridge, spans 525 metres from Birrarung Marr to the MCG. As you can see in the photo below it provides a rather good view of the east end of Melbourne’s CBD. The sky, plus the way it reflects on the glass-panelled building, is my favourite aspect of this image.

City from Bridge

Camera: Nikon D3100
Lens: 18-55VR
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 18mm
Aperture: f/5.6
3 image HDR, bracketed from -1 EV to +1 EV

February 17, 2013

Down the Beach Path

by William Dawson

Two weeks ago I travelled down to Black Rock, a Bayside suburb located 18km south-east of Melbourne’s CBD. Following this narrow path brings you to a small bend followed by a ramp that travels down to the sea wall. I went in the evening just as the sun was setting. The view of the ocean and the sun setting watched from behind the sea wall was quite spectacular.

Just make sure you don’t get your camera wet.

Down the Beach Path

Camera: Nikon D3100
Lens: 18-55VR
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 18mm
Aperture: f/5.6
3 image HDR, bracketed from -1 EV to +1 EV

February 2, 2013

Photo Essay: NYC Cabs II

by William Dawson

Cabs_traffic

Cab_speed

I was in love with New York… the way you love the first person who ever touches you and never love anyone quite that way again.

-Joan Didion

Cab_TimesSquare

Cab_street

The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding.

-John Updike

Location: Manhattan, New York City, NY

Camera: Nikon D3100

Lens: Nikkor 18-55

Date: 25/12/2012

Photo Essay: NYC Cabs (Part 1)

January 18, 2013

The Building on the Esplanade

by William Dawson

The other day I went to Docklands to take some photos with my new Nikon D3100 DSLR. The D3100 is my first encounter with a DSLR, my previous camera being a simple Olympus point-and-shoot. The biggest learning curve for me is the power you have over the camera, such as the ability to choose the aperture and shutter speed you desire (a big step forward from my previous camera where you could only change the ISO…).

I took this photo while walking back to the car. The vibrant building houses the headquarters of NAB. I honestly don’t know the reason behind the colours on the building; perhaps it has something to do with catching one’s eye. It worked on me.

Harbour Esplanade

Download a water-mark free version of this image for use as a wallpaper.

New Bag

Tamrac Evo 6

For the past two months I have scoured websites and camera stores in search of a suitable camera bag for my DSLR. The two biggest deciding factors were the price and size of the bag. A decent sized camera bag is generally priced well over $100. As for size, I didn’t want something small but I didn’t want something too big either. The Tamrac Evolution 6 fit the bill and an order was placed late last week with a store who source their products directly from C.R. Kennedy and Co. (importer and distributor of photographic equipment in Australia).

My bag arrived on Monday and the day I took the photo above, Wednesday, was the first time I tried it out. I think the bag is great. A big plus for me is the ability to access the camera through side pockets. I was carrying it for a number of hours that day and not once did I feel uncomfortable with it on in the 25°C/77°F weather. If you’re looking for a camera bag, I highly recommend looking at Tamrac’s range.

December 19, 2012

CityScapes – Flinders Street Station, Melbourne

by William Dawson

Flinders Street at Night

Flinders Street station is the busiest railway station in the southern hemisphere, serving well over 1,500 trains daily and Melbourne’s entire metropolitan rail network. The station is located in the heart of the city on the corner of Flinders Street and Swanston Street.

  • Click on image to view full size

Location: Flinders Street, Melbourne, VIC

Camera: Olympus FE-20

3 bracketed HDR image processed in Photomatix Pro

November 17, 2012

Selective Colour in Word 2010

by William Dawson

The following article is an updated version of the one published earlier this year.

Following on from my NYC Cabs Photo Essay and the use of selective colour, I have had several requests asking for a tutorial about selective colour in Microsoft Word.  In the first of my “How To” guides, I will be showing you how you can create your own selective colour photographs.

NB: This does not work on versions prior to Microsoft Word 2010.

First thing to do is open up a blank Word document and insert your picture.Then, open up another document and insert the same picture again as shown below.

Click on the left photo. It will help if you have set both pictures to Tight, which can be found under Wrap Text (circled below). Also make sure to select Send to Back, but only for this photo. Under the Picture Tools/Format tab click on Colour and select Grayscale.

Leave the black and white photo for now and go onto the other document. Again, go to the Picture Tools/Format tab but this time select Remove Background, on the far left. Once clicked a large portion of the photo should turn purple. Using the tools  (marked by the red box) you can mark areas to keep, remove and – should you make a mistake – a tool to delete a mark.

As you can see I didn’t have to add any marks to keep the flower; it was done automatically. However I did wish to keep the stem, so by using the Mark Areas to Keep tool I was able to successfully keep the stem, as shown below.

Once you have marked out the areas to keep, click Keep Changes and now, in my case, you are left with just the flower and the stem. Copy the picture and paste it in the other document, the one with the black and white photo. Carefully align the coloured image with the black and white photo.

Here is the end result:

I will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Also, feel free to provide a link to your efforts in the comment section below.

November 10, 2012

Across the River

by William Dawson

Remember in my most recent post, Early Risers, the photos of the bridge crossing the Yarra River? On Tuesday I went back to the banks of the Yarra River with my camera, albeit later in the morning and further up from the bridge. Without the bridge in the way it gave me a clear view of the city.

Although I intended it to be a high dynamic range (HDR) image made up of three bracketed shots, the sloped ground was no good for my mini tripod and resulted in a horrible ghosting. So instead I only used two of the photos. Like all of my previous HDR attempts, I used Photomatix Pro to process the image. I also used GIMP, an image editing program, to remove the people by using the clone tool (stamp icon).

I also passed through Southbank and managed to get another three bracketed shots. This time I had no ghosting issues when I began to process the image. This is the original HDR image.

For the one below I played around with the different effects. I like the grungy feel and the dark, gloomy sky.

And finally, a black and white version of the above. I have used selective colour to bring out the few colourful elements in the image. If you look again at the previous image everything is mundane in colour, with plenty of browns and greys.

Do you have a favourite? Tell me below.

October 27, 2012

Early Risers

by William Dawson

Earlier this month I went into the city early in the morning. The air was quite cool, and as you can tell in the photo below the sun was having trouble peaking through the clouds.

Above is Swan Street bridge, that spans over the Yarra River. The blue flags on the opposite bank of the river are advertising the Australian Open in January next year.

Here is Swan Street bridge again, but looking towards Melbourne’s CBD. I really like this shot. It is a HDR image made up of four bracketed photos processed in Photomatix Pro. The same goes for this photo below:

This one was taken further away from the bridge, and looking the opposite direction. This was one of the first photos I took, when the sun was still rising which meant the original HDR image had a blue tinge to it. I upped the temperature to about 5.5 and ended up with this. What do you think?

September 29, 2012

Remembering the Fallen

by William Dawson

Today is a significant day for many. For sport fans, Hawthorn and Sydney go head-to-head in the AFL Grand Final at the MCG. But today is also National Police Remembrance Day –a time to honour the officers who have been killed in the line of duty.

Earlier this week while walking around the city, I stopped by the Victoria Police Memorial and took some photos. This one is a HDR image made up of seven bracketed shots (ranging from -3 to +3 EV) later merged and tone mapped using Photomatix Pro. Being taken on a beautiful sunny day, the cars between the entrances were reflecting the sunlight. The burn tool in Gimp soon fixed this problem.

The brightness and saturation of the memorial was turned down to reflect a gloomy and perhaps dark setting, but the small patch of bright blue sky at the top right of the photo proves otherwise.

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