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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

When you have no time!

I was in Melbourne for an awards night and AGM for the Australian Society of Travel Writers a little while back.

When you have a whole bunch of travel writers together in the one place the various tourism bodies tend to organise trips for people to get a feel for the venue.

I signed up for a city sports tour that ended with a trip to the amazing Eureka tower with its spectacular views out over the city.

At least the writers were able to write about the fantastic views. As a photographer a pretty cloudy day, with a fair dash of smog meant that I couldn't really do justice to it at all. I tried a couple of snaps through the thick glass but the time of day, combined with the crappy light meant that there was nothing much I could do.

How many times have you been there? Whenever we travel on an itinerary that doesn't have photography as its main objection we end up having to compromise. To resign ourselves to the fact that we might not be able to get the shot we want. The one we saw in the postcard.

So that leaves us to find other compositions. It's really important to not put your camera away until you're well and truly finished. As I found out here. We had our views and were heading back to the elevator when I turned around and saw how the beautiful afternoon light was shining in and silhouetting people, while creating long shadows.

I already had a wide-angle lens on, so I took an exposure reading outside the window so that you could see the city beyond without it being a white blur and let the shadows fall to black. Then I walked around with the camera to my eye while I composed the scene until I liked the look of the shadows and quickly took the shot before heading off.

It isn't a stand-alone photograph that says Melbourne, or even the Eureka tower for that matter. But I like it as a piece of photographic art and it could certainly make it into a photographic story about Melbourne if you combined it with other images.

Remember that postcards are always taken under the optimum conditions - in terms of lighting, time of day and season. Your chances of being there under similar conditions are pretty slim so you need to keep your eyes open for new, unexplored angles and compositions.


angus said...

Great shot paul. I was there Christmas 2007 (with camera of course) but I didn't get a pic like that.

Paul Dymond said...

Thanks Angus, and that's exactly what I mean about we can't expect to get photos like we see published in other places. Mainly because we won't have the same lighting conditions, be there at the same time of day etc etc. We just have to try and get great photos with the conditions that Murphy and his law throws at us and hope for the best!