Welcome Welcome to my inaugural newsletter. I will keep you updated regularly on all things photographic. Content will range from photography techniq

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Mark Issue 5

Welcome

Welcome to my inaugural newsletter. I will keep you updated regularly on all things photographic. Content will range from photography techniques, post processing tips and just plain old news about what I have been up to. I'll keep you informed about what is going on in the world of Trekabout Photography Workshops, run jointly by Michael Snedic and myself and provide updates on important developments in equipment and software.

If you like what you see please let me know and feel free to forward to your friends. If you do not wish to receive the newsletter simply unsubscribe at the end of this email.

So welcome aboard and hang on, here we go.

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Adobe CS5 Update

You may have heard that Adobe have released a new upgrade called CS5.5.

Don't Panic!!

It doesn't affect you (if you're a Photoshop user). It is not an upgrade to Photoshop, but rather, to the other components of the CS (Creative Suite) family. It basically addresses the growing need for developers to create content suitable for mobile devices such as iPad etc.

If you have Photoshop CS5 you won't be affected. It is, however, important to regularly check for updates (click HELP, UPDATES) to Photoshop. Updates, as opposed to upgrades, are free and are released on a regular basis. They address issues such as new camera releases (which may have different Camera RAW requirements), bug fixes and sometimes just add a nice new feature which improves your post processing experience.

If your are using Lightroom, you also need to update regularly as the updates to Camera Raw in Photoshop generally run hand in hand with updates to Lightroom.

For more information visit the Adobe website here.

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The Red Centre - 2011

I recently returned from a fantastic week in the Red Centre. Michael and I hosted our Red Centre Experience for a wonderful group who joined us for an amazing week with incredible weather. The Red Centre is not so red at present, having received unusually high rainfall. The flora is in abundance and, as a result, the bird life has to be seen to be believed.

Up in the Air

Before the workshop started Michael and I headed out to the West MacDonnell Ranges to check out Ormiston Gorge for potential for a future workshop. It was another beautiful spot to visit. The scenic helicopter ride sign caught my eye and, well, we just had to do it. The chopper flight was awesome. Doors off, hanging out thousands of feet up shooting magnificent countryside was a treat not easily explained in words. Suffice to say, if you get the chance then do it.

Scaly Things

This year we built on the success of 2010 with a new session at the Alice Springs Reptile Centre. We were treated to a private opening with special access to many amazing creatures. Rex Neindorf and his assistants were on hand to remove the glass panels from the displays to provide the perfect photographic opportunities. The Thorny Devils were the big hit with their quaint movement and behaviour. It was truly a smorgasbord of reptilian subjects and everyone had a ball. A big thank you to Rex for making this fantastic experience available.

Alice Springs Desert Park

We again visited the Alice Springs Desert Park on a number of occasions. The captive birds on display are remarkable and the park always sets up their habitats to reflect their natural environment. The photo opportunities are endless and I was also able to take advantage of some free time and add to my avian photo collection. The park is easily one of my favorite places to photograph and although I have spent many days there I still want to come back for more. As usual the birds in flight display was a big hit and I have seen some stunning results from our participants. The Boobook Owl was again hugely popular. How could you resist those big round eyes?

Starry, Starry Night

We expanded the Uluru / Kata Tjuta visit this year to include a visit to King's Canyon. This entailed an overnight stop at Erldunga where a small group joined me to brave the cold and take advantage of the outback's clear skys for some star trail photography. Although not officially part of the itinerary, the clear skys right outside our motel rooms were too good to pass up and we had an interesting and fun session.

No Heart Attacks

The Kings Canyon visit was a worthwhile addition to the trip. To give us more time for photography, our guide suggested that we commence the walk in reverse, avoiding the notorious "Heart Attack Hill". This enabled our group to achieve some superb results with time to really think about their composition, exposure, depth of field etc. rather than racing around the entire walk and snapping off a few shots along the way. A great suggestion from John, our driver and guide. The sandstone domes are an outstanding feature, very reminiscent of the Bungle Bungles, but the view into the canyon itself is awe inspiring.

Blue Skies

Of course a visit to the Red Centre wouldn't be complete without a visit to "The Rock". As usual Uluru did not disappoint. Amazing blue skys contrasting against the red rock of Uluru made for some spectacular photography. Many people look at photos of the centre and make comment that the sky can't be that blue or that it has been enhanced in Photoshop. Trust me, the sky really is as blue as the photos depict. There were many comments from the group over the week about the richness of the sky and the wonderful contrasts of colour. Until you experience it for yourself you will just have to take my word for it :-)

Keep an eye on the Trekabout website over the coming weeks as I will be adding a gallery of 2011 photos from our workshop participants for your viewing pleasure.

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The Photographer's Process

You may be wondering about the title of my newsletter, "The Photographer's Process".
No it's not about the "Post" process, it's about the entire process of photography. I aim to discuss all aspects of photography from camera selection through to preparing your images for printing or sharing on the web. Hopefully this will help guide you when you decide to part with hard earned cash and make the correct choices for your needs.
Do you need FX, DX ,APS-C, APS-H, Full Frame, X3, M8, Four Thirds? Should you spend up big on "fast glass" or are there other cost effective lenses available that will suit your requirements. Do you need Photoshop or will Lightroom or Paintshop or Picasa meet your needs? Confused yet?
Keep reading and I'll try and start to clear up the first bit in this issue.

Which Camera Should I Buy?

I probably get asked this question more than any other. A lot of the time it comes down to personal preference based on previous experience with a particular brand. Brand loyalty is important and often, if you own an older film camera, some lenses from your film SLR camera will be compatible with a new DSLR from the same manufacturer.
Obviously your budget comes into the equation. Full frame or FX cameras are more expensive than a crop sensor or APS-C, DX, Four Thirds camera. You will want to examine your needs. Are you after a camera to take travelling or do you want to be able to photograph tiny elusive birds and wildlife. If you are travelling by air the requirements will be totally different than a road trip and so on.
I'm not going to tell you which camera to buy. Ultimately that's up to you but the first thing you will want to consider is sensor size and the related issues that sensor size brings along.
As I stated above the bigger the sensor, the bigger the price.
A full frame sensor will give outstanding and superior low light performance but a camera with a full frame sensor is bigger, bulkier and heavier than it's crop sensor counterpart. If weight is going to a factor than you may prefer to forego the performance and choose a lighter more compact crop sensor camera. Now that I have started writing this article it has become clear to me that I could spend the entire newsletter on this subject alone so I am going simply list the pros and cons of each format to kick off and discuss in greater detail in a future article.

Advantages of a Crop Sensor (DX, APS-C, 4/3 etc.)

1. Price - Due to the smaller size the sensor is much cheaper to manufacture.
2. Price again - Since the edges are cut off for the crop sensor format, manufacturers started offering smaller and more compact lenses only suitable for crop sensors. They are much cheaper to produce than regular lenses for full-frame sensors.
3. Lens sharpness and vignetting – as crop sensors use the center of the lens and discard the corners, many professional lenses will perform extremely well on a crop sensor camera, because the center of the lens is always optimised for sharpness. Vignetting is also typically much less pronounced on crop sensor bodies than on full frame, again due to corners not being used.
4. Focal length and reach – due to the size of the sensor and its crop factor, crop sensors provide a better reach than full-frame sensors. For example a 200mm lens behaves like a 300mm lens when used on a Nikon DX sensor, 320mm on a Canon APS-C sensor and 400mm on an Olympus or Panasonic 4/3 sensor.
5. Size and weight – cameras with crop sensors are smaller and lighter than cameras with full frame sensors. Compare a Panasonic DMC-GF2 to a Nikon D3s and you'll get the idea.

Disadvantages of a Crop Sensor

1. Noise in high ISO levels – the biggest disadvantage of a crop sensor is the small size of pixels, which results in noisy pictures and much less sharpness and detail in higher sensitivity levels.
2. Smaller dynamic range – compared to full frame, crop sensors cameras have a smaller dynamic range, largely due to pixel size and density.
3. Problems with wide-angle lenses – due to a difference in the field of view, wide-angle lenses are not so wide on a crop sensor body. A 14mm ultra wide-angle lens is more like a 21mm lens when compared to a full-frame camera, which means that you can fit a lot less in your frame.
4. Crop sensor specific lens incompatibility with full frame – if you have crop sensor specific lenses and one day decide to switch over to full frame you will have to purchase full frame specific lenses to utilize the full resolution of a full-frame camera. Crop sensor lenses do work on some full frame cameras but force a crop to the image.
5. Lens diffraction – crop sensors cause more lens diffraction when small apertures such as f/13 and above are used.
6. Smaller viewfinder size – due to a smaller mirror and pentaprism/pentamirror used on crop sensor cameras, the viewfinder are generally smaller and not as bright when compared full frame.

Advantages of Full Frame

1. Higher sensitivity and lower noise – pixel size plays a significant role in sensitivity levels of the camera, along with controlling noise levels at high ISOs. For example, Nikon D700 full frame camera has a similar number of pixels as Nikon D300s crop sensor and yet the pixels on the D700 are much bigger in size than on D300s. If you were to compare ISO 1600 on these cameras, the Nikon D700 image would look much cleaner compared to Nikon D300s.
2. Large dynamic range – again, bigger pixel size allows collecting more light particles, which results in larger dynamic range when compared to crop sensors.
3. Lens compatibility – Most full frame lenses (depending on brand) are backwards compatible with crop sensor bodies, meaning that they will work perfectly on crop sensor bodies as well. The reverse, however, is not true.
4. Lens diffraction – compared to crop sensors, lens diffraction is less and more typical to 35mm film and starting to affect image sharpness at f/16 and above.
5. Wide is truly wide – an ultra wide-angle lens such as a Nikon 14-24 f/2.8 is not really that wide on a DX body, because of the crop factor. On a full frame body you get the true 14mm field of view as you would if you were using 35mm film.
6. Larger and brighter viewfinder – large sensor means large mirror and pentaprism, which means a large and brighter viewfinder. Focusing with a large viewfinder is much easier, because you see more details.

Disadvantages of Full Frame

1. High cost – large sensors are more expensive to manufacture than smaller crop sensors and are only found the high end professional grade cameras.
2. Lens sharpness and vignetting – because full frame utilizes a much larger area than crop sensor, corner performance on some lenses might become an issue.
3. Size and weight – larger internal components, rugged body and professional electronics all add up to the weight, making full frame cameras the heaviest of DSLRs.
4. Reach - A crop sensor camera can utilise a 200mm lens to get close to the action. A full frame sensor will require a 300mm lens to achieve the same reach. The cost between a quality 200mm prime lens and a 300mm prime lens is quite significant.

So there you go. Plenty of food for thought and that's only the beginning!
Below are a few images courtesy of Nikon which show off the differences between their FX (Full Frame) and DX (crop) sensor cameras. The example shows a photograph taken from the same spot of the same scene with the same focal length lens (35mm) on both formats.

Dx v FX
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 MPR8674 Girraween Rock Pools

The Girraween Experience

Michael and I are pleased to announce a brand new Trekabout workshop for spring 2011. The research is finished, the permits are in. We are ready to provide you with the "Girraween Experience", a wildflower and landscape extravaganza in the amazing Granite Belt near Stanthorpe.

Girraween National Park will play host to a new three day workshop where we have the opportunity to photograph an amazing array of wildflowers. Unique orchids are in abundance, but we won't stop there. The scenery is stunning, so naturally, landscape photography will also be on the agenda. The area is a favorite for Michael and I. I have had many memorable times at Girraween and the surrounding areas and can't wait to present the area to our workshop participants.

Michael recently spent a number of days re-visiting the area to develop a viable workshop program to ensure that you, not only improve your photography skills, but are presented with the best locations and opportunities to take home some fantastic images. Please check out the details here.

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Post Processing and Workflow

My next Post Processing and Workflow Experience kicks off next month on Wednesday 13 July. Held over four nights the workshop covers a multitude of issues designed to improve your post processing workflow and expertise.
Topics covered will include but not be limited to:
* Importing and opening images
* Image resolution
* Selections and masks
* Colour and white balance adjustments
* Retouching
* Histograms
* File formats
* Filters
* Actions
* Scripts
* Plug-ins
* HDR
* Metadata
* Batch processing
* Presets
* Keyboard shortcuts
* Exporting and saving
* Automating tasks
* Re-sizing
* Sharpening
* Noise reduction

I will also be introducing new sessions on integrating Lightroom into your Photoshop workflow.
Spaces are still available but limited to a maximum of 8 participants to ensure quality of learning.
To find out more have a look on the Trekabout website here.

The price is $240.00 for the entire 4 night (12 hour) workshop. Loyalty discounts are available for returning clients.

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Boyds Rainforest Dragon

Macro Experience and Reptile and Frog Experience

The next Macro Experience and Reptile and Frog Experience workshops are fast approaching.

These two very popular workshops are to held consecutively on Saturday 2nd July and Sunday 3rd July 2011. Why not take this great opportunity to make a weekend of it and hone your macro skills on Saturday, and then come along Sunday to take advantage of your new found skills to capture unique images of amazing creatures.

Being a cool time of year the reptiles and frogs will be naturally quiet and inclined to simply laze around and pose for you. Check out the details here.

Special offer

If you wish to take advantage of attending both workshops over the weekend we have a special offer available.
Both workshops for a very attractive $229.00.
If you have already booked one or the other of these workshops and wish to take up this offer, the difference between what you have already paid and the double-offer will apply.
If you wish to take advantage of this offer please email me with your details and I'll let you know how to book.
Email: admin@trekaboutphotography.com

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Fancy an Island Escape?

Lord Howe Experience

We have two island experiences coming soon. Guest tutor Darren Jew will join Michael to present a fantastic workshop with the Lord Howe Experience. Commencing on Sunday 9th October you be treated to a wondrous week of tuition (including an underwater session with equipment supplied) in stunning surrounds.
At the southern end of the island, the often cloud-covered twin peaks of Mt Gower and Mt Lidgebird rise perpendicular form the sea. To the north, the sheltered coral lagoon (one of the most southerly coral reefs in the world) arcs around the tiny settlement of Lord Howe. Ancient rainforests cover the slopes, and kilometre after kilometre of white sandy beaches and rocky shores await exploration by you and your camera. Check out more details here.
Lord Howe Experience Gallery.

Norfolk Island Experience

The following month we head back to Norfolk Island, a photographer’s paradise. The island is only 8km x 5kms and is situated in the midst of the Pacific Ocean, half way between Australia and New Zealand. The air is crisp and clean, the scenery superb and the people are delightful. Photographic opportunities are endless and include stunning landscapes/seascapes, sunrises/sunsets over rocky cliffs, birds galore(including shots of birds in flight), convict ruins, cattle/ducks/geese roaming over the fields and macro, to name but some. The Norfolk Island Experience commences on Sunday 30 October 2011.
Norfolk Island Experience Gallery.

Lord Howe
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So that about wraps it up.
I hope you enjoyed this first edition and will continue to enjoy many new issues into the future.

If you do not wish to receive future newsletters, don't worry I wont be offended or upset. Simply unsubscribe at the bottom of this newsletter.

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