Issue 3 Welcome back. In this issue I'll continue with my "Photographer's Process" series but give you a break from camera and lens selection and mo

Issue 3 Header
Mark Issue 5

Issue 3

Welcome back.

In this issue I'll continue with my "Photographer's Process" series but give you a break from camera and lens selection and move onto the second "Most Asked" question I receive.

What tripod should I buy?

I received fantastic feedback for my " Weekend Beach to Mountain Experience" video. It's was all a bit of fun and I will be putting more videos of the other workshops together as time permits. If you missed the first one here it is again.

Check out the video here.

There are still a few last minute spots available for my "Post Processing and Workflow Experience" which starts this coming Wednesday. It's still not too late if you are interested in joining in.

We also have positions available for Trekabout's most popular workshop. The "Mountain to Beach Experience" is on this coming Sunday 17 July and kicks off at Buderim Forest Park with some fantastic waterfall photography.

Call me on 0459 221678 for a special last minute deal if you would like to join us on Sunday at the Sunshine Coast.

Q & A

This a brand new spot where I will answer your questions.
Please feel free to send me any photography (equipment or technique) or post-processing related questions or concerns and I'll do my best to answer them for you.

Please send your questions to and put "Photographers Process Question" in the subject line.


Post Processing and Workflow - Starts this Wednesday Evening - 13 July 2011 !!

This very informative series starts this coming 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.

20110521 AlexLuke GLAM 413 copy

Alex and Luke

Portrait, Process, Print - Watch this Space - UPDATE ! !

The three Ps.

Planning for the new workshop is well under way. I have sourced the models, negotiated their fee and they are keen to go.

The location is finalised. Newstead Park and the Resource Centre of Newstead House will be our base for the day. Those of you who have attended my "Post Processing and Workflow Experience" will be familiar with the Resource Centre. The site is perfect for studio work and we also have access to old (antique) settees and props which will work in well for the shoot. It is also perfect for the post-processing session after the shoot.

As mentioned previously we'll look at doing a couples / engagement type shoot and some typical set-ups you might use for family portraits.

After lunch we'll process the images, you'll need your laptop or be prepared to share one and then run off some 8" x 12" prints to produce the finished product.

Due to the special requirements for this workshop, numbers will be limited to 8 participants and minimum equipment will be a digital SLR camera and lens.

For the indoors studio shoot I will have radio controlled studio strobes available which will work with all cameras. We will be using a variety of light shaping tools (honeycomb grids, snoots etc.) so with a maximum of 8 participants everyone will have the opportunity to use the lighting gear.

If you have multiple flashes, we will also look at off camera flash use and master / slave setups.

There has been a lot of interest for this workshop and to all of you who have emailed me for details, thank-you. You will be the first to know the final details and have the opportunity to book in before general release.

Drop me a line if you are interested or would like more information.


Adobe Photoshop Quick Tips

Short and sweet this week.

If you are opening an image from Camera Raw to Photoshop and you hold your cursor over the "Open Image" button and click, your image will open up in Photoshop. You then have access to all the normal Photoshop tools.

Open Image

However, if you hold down the "Shift" key you will notice that "Open Image" has now changed to "Open Object". Click your mouse and your image will now open as a "Smart Object" in Photoshop.

open Object

Now you will notice a small section of the thumbnail in the "Layers" panel is different. If you double-click on this, your image will open up in "Camera Raw" where you can carry out any edits (there may be some things you prefer to do in Camera Raw) you wish to do.


When you click done your image pops back to Photoshop. You can repeat this process as many times as you need to.


The Photographer's Process - Part 3

Okay, so enough about cameras and lenses for now.

How do I select a good tripod I hear you ask (quite often). In the end you need to research and decide what to purchase based on your individual needs. I will offer advice on products that I have either used or have had first hand feedback on from other professionals I know and trust.

The key factors to look for are:

Weight - light is nice, but not necessarily sturdy.
Quick adjustments
Quick release mounting plate.
Maximum height
Easily adjustable head.
Size (for travelling)

Now, did I mention that it needs to be sturdy!!!

If you are after effects like this shot below of the headland at Coolum you will need a good solid tripod.

Coolum Headland

Coolum Headland ----Nikon D3 14-24 f/2.8 ---- 3 seconds @ f/16 ISO 200

Selecting your Tripod - (it needs to be sturdy)

The main reason you are going to need a tripod is to stabilise your camera when you are in either, a low light situation, using a long lens (telephoto) or using a macro lens (close-up).

It stands to reason then, that if you are shooting in low light with long shutter speeds, or with lenses where any vibration can cause havoc, that you need a stable platform to work from.

You don't need to spend a lot of money to get a good tripod and head, but skimp too much and you'll soon be tossing your bargain in the bin and buying something better. I see time and time again where participants arrive for a workshop with a 20 year old flimsy, spindly tripod bought at a garage sale. If this was you, please don't be offended. People just don't realise how important a tripod is. When I see these tripods at our workshops and explain to the owner why a good tripod is necessary and the benefits of using something decent that will offer excellent stability and improve their photography enormously, then the penny drops and the cheap old garage sale job goes in the bin.

A good tripod will last you for life. Good brands such as Manfrotto and Gitso have all manner of spare parts available so if something does needs fixing it can be done so easily.

So what to buy?

If you can afford a carbon fibre unit, terrific. They are light and very strong but, expensive.

Manfrotto (and I must point out that I am not affiliated with Manfrotto, Gitso, RRS, Acratech or any other tripod /head manufacturer) offer aluminium and carbon fibre models of the same tripod. For instance the 055CXPRO3 and the 055XPROB are virtually identical to look at (see below) but that's where the similarities end. The carbon fibre 055CXPRO3 weighs only 1.6kg against the aluminium 055XPROB's 2.4kgs. The carbon fibre unit will safely carry an 8kg load whereas the the aluminium 055XPROB can manage only 7kgs.


Manfrotto 055CXPRO3

055 xprob

Manfrotto 055CPROB

Price-wise though, the carbon fibre tripod will cost more than double it's aluminium twin. Move up-market to a Gitso Series 2 Carbon 6X Explorer Tripod - 4 Section G-Lock and you won't get much change from $1000.00 and you still need the head!


Series 2 Carbon 6X Explorer Tripod - 4 Section G-Lock

If you only intend to carry the tripod in the boot of your car and then only short distances to your photo shoot location then you may well be advised to save money on the tripod and put more into a better head because that's where things get even more interesting.

Avoid tripods where the centre column cannot either be rotated to a horizontal position or taken out completely and replaced with a stubby shaft. If you can't do either of the above, then your minimum height will be governed by the length of the centre column. You will be stuck when it comes time to get down on the ground to get that perfect angle.

Bringing Things to a Head

Personally, I prefer a ball-head for ease of use and versatility.

The 3-way adjustable heads are fine, but they are cumbersome and can be annoying to adjust. They come as standard on many tripods, but you can specify to buy your tripod with the head of your choice. If you were to choose one of the Manfrotto tripods mentioned above then a perfect tripod head to match would be the Manfrotto 498RC2. This head supports camera and lens to 8kgs and has a panorama knob adjustment as well as the ball head adjustment.

head unit

Manfrotto Mounting Plate


Manfrotto 498RC2 Ball-head

I use the RRS (Really Right Stuff) BH-55 PCL: Full-sized ball-head with PCL (panning clamp). These units use the universal "Quick Release" (QR) system designed by Arca Swiss. Very strong, and able to hold a whopping 23kgs, they don't come cheap. If you have some big glass and a pro camera body then chances are you will be getting right up there in the weight stakes. A ball-head like the BH-55 wil give you a positive lock that won't creep and give you issues with composing your shot.
Another top brand with some beautifully engineered equipment is Acratech. Their GP-s Ballhead is a beauty and much lighter than the RRS ball-heads. They won't carry the same weight though, but they are an excellent product.


Really Right Stuff - BH-55 PCL: Full-sized ballhead with PCL

GP-s big

Acratech GP-s Ballhead

So, there you have it. Food for thought but hopefully some useful information to point you in the right direction. At the beginning of this article I did say you should do your research so that you can make an informed decision. I've provided links to each of the pieces of equipment shown here but again, that is only a start.
If you get stuck please feel free to give me a call or email me with your questions.

 MPR8674 Girraween Rock Pools

The Girraween Experience

The Girraween Experience - (Michael is there right now!!)

Spots are disappearing fast for our brand new "Girraween Experience". This will be a springtime wildflower and landscape extravaganza in the amazing Granite Belt near Stanthorpe.

As I write this newsletter, Michael is once again braving the elements (well it is winter isn't it) and camping out at Girraween NP. The magnetic appeal of the place draws you back time and again and although it might be a bit chilly at present, I am sure the images he will capture on this trip will make up for any physical discomfit. Come on springtime though and we will all be up there having a ball in more favourable conditions.

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.

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.


So that about wraps it up again.
I hope you enjoyed this 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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