Deep Purple

Category: Newsletters 13 January 2016

Hutt Lagoon, Port Gregory, Western Australia. Canon 5DS R, 17mm TS-E lens, 1/5 sec @ f11, polarising and 0.6 ND grad filter.

0530: The wind has dropped overnight, and there's a dramatic sky hanging over the lagoon which yesterday looked pink, due to the algae, but now in the dawn light appears deep purple, stretching as far as the eye can see, assaulting our conception of reality. Is this what an LSD trip is like? The water is like glass, with perfect reflections and occasional lightning flickering to the north. This is looking good; I get to work on a minimal composition. It's a whole lot of nothing really, but simplicity rarely fails me.

Bolted on my Canon 5DS R this morning I now have the 17mm TS-E with a circular polariser, plus a 0.6 ND grad (hard). I don't need any of the TS-E's movements; I'm just using it as a wide angle lens, and a damn good one it is too, super sharp and high contrast; just as well on this high resolution camera. In my wide field of view, I have just 3 colours, all saturated, all at full throttle, and all primary; red in the waters of the lagoon, green in the bush and blue in heavy sky. I'm concerned this image will look a touch too surreal. Then again this place is surreal, but will anybody believe these colours are real?

Wendy with appropriate anti-fly head gear on the shore of the pink lagoon.

It's a relief to be out of the wind for a change, but as the sun rises the inevitable flies buzz around our heads, desperate to crawl into our nostrils, eyes, mouths or ears, if they can. I hate them. Bring back the wind. We don our head nets, which quickly become stifling; one maddeningly persistent fly always manages to get in. It's a hard, harsh country north western Australia, but this solitary morning is serenely beautiful, apart from the flies. Once again I'm struck by the contrast between our initial impressions and what we have since witnessed here, both yesterday evening and this morning.


1200: We walk down to the beach via the General Store. The Big City of Port Gregory is, shall we say, a functional settlement. Hmmm, well, we didn't expect the old world charm of a village in the Périgord. I think even Wendy will struggle to go on a shopping spree here.

The Troopy; our home for 3 weeks in Western Australia. Photo: Wendy Noton

That was last month on our Outback Adventure in Western Australia. It was an epic, another one; you'll be able to get the full story and watch the accompanying video blogs in the next couple of issues of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine. Two issues have gone Live since my last newsletter; apologies for that lapse, we were pretty much incommunicado in the Outback. That was quite frankly a blessing, and an opportunity to just get on with being a photographer. So, catching up with what is there for you f11 Members now in both the December 2015 and January 2016 Issues are Behind the Lens features from the Dolomites (with Video Blog) and Exmoor, a Low Down on IT issues for photographers, 4 Fundamentals of Post Production Video Tutorials, Stepping Back features from the Great Wall of China and Stonehenge, the first of a new Low Down series on Inspirations, Guest Features by David Köster on Kazakhstan and Eric Gendron on New England with features by our regular f11 columnists Ross Hoddinott, Bas Meelker, Jeremy Horner and Ben Pipe and more, plus the usual f11 Member's Gallery.

An image from The Low Down: Inspirations feature in this month's issue of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine layers of some of the oldest rocks on the planet in Hamersley Gorge, Karajini National Park, Pilbara region, Western Australia. Canon 5DSr, EF 24-70mm f2.8 L II lens.

The January issue of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine, is the 48th. Yes, we're now celebrating the Fourth Anniversary of the f11 project. All f11 members can access all 48 back issues of the Online Magazine plus download for free my two eBooks (each worth £9.99) on Composition and Light. To all our new f11 Members who received Gift Certificates in their Christmas stockings, welcome onboard; to the rest who have yet to board it's pretty clear now you're missing out. Just to reiterate the Chasing the Light Online Magazine is published monthly exclusively for our registered f11 Members. OK, it's not free; the annual subscription costs £39.00, but no one can claim it's not great value. If you're still unsure what it's all about there's a video explaining it all.








The closing date for the f11 Member's Your Vision Competition 2016 is fast approaching. Waves breaking on the beach looking west from Dyrhólaey at dusk, Iceland. Canon 5D MK III, EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.5 L IS II lens.

But the Chasing the Light Online Magazine is not all about my and our professional columnist's photography; it's about your images, which we see monthly in the f11 Member's Gallery and annually in the f11 Member's Your Vision Competition. We all know that the most important equipment needed for our craft is a Photographer's Eye; indeed, the ability to see strong pictures in a multitude of situations is a fundamental skill to be nurtured. This is what the f11 Member's Your Vision Competition 2016 is all about: celebrating the process that gives birth to a picture, from the conception of an idea through to the point the shutter opens. The Judges will be looking for f11 Members' pictures that display the most imaginative and perceptive photographic Vision - it's as simple as that. The Winners will receive a day of One-to-One Tuition with myself, arranged at a mutually convenient time and location, and there will also be Highly Commended Prizes kindly donated by Canon Europe, Adobe, Lee Filters, Manfrotto and Páramo amongst others. Full details are here; the closing date for entries has been put back and is now the 1 March 2016. We'll look forward to seeing your pictures.

Join us the autumn on Exmoor.

My Christmas was largely spent in Lightroom catching up on the mountain of editing and pro-cessing from Australia and as far back as autumn on Exmoor. We had a superb mini-workshop there based at Edgcott House in Exford blessed with gorgeous weather and light, so much so that we'll be doing it again next autumn (29 October - 1 November 2016). We're now Live and open for bookings for this appealing small-group Photo-Explorer Course.

Next up; Madeira, then next month I'll be leading our Winter in Iceland Photo-Adventures. Beyond that The Photography Show, 19-22 March looms; I'll be there at the NEC Birmingham all four days, for my sins. Watch this space for details of my speaker schedule. See you there?

We'll certainly hope to see you at one of our two Chasing the Light Road Shows coming up in the Spring; firstly as guests of Droitwich Camera Club on 9 April and then in Holland at the Hague on 23 April as guests of PhotographySchool.NL. Follow the links for tickets. I'll have to find a way to fit in some of the latest images from Down Under, and the tales behind their creation, like this one:

1930: The Pinnacles, Nambung National Park, near Cervantes, Western Australia. The wait for complete darkness seems long but should actually be shorter then I'm used to; we are in a sub-tropical latitude. An hour passes, all the other tourists have now gone. I can already see stars twinkling but still the last twilight is lingering. I do a few test exposures and realise a white glow is becoming apparent on the horizon to the south east; that'll be the moon. It's not due to rise for another hour but already it's reflected light is starting to contaminate the purity of the night sky, and it will only get brighter. For now though it contributes an ethereal element to the picture; moonrise over the Pinnacles. This then is my Decisive Moment. I shoot, sticking with the technique honed under night skies in Burma, Utah, the Yukon, Argentina and Iceland; ISO 12800, 20 secs @ f4, it never fails.

The Pinnacles at night. Canon EOS 5D MK III, 17mm TS-E lens.

Pause; check focus, check composition, shift back a little to incorporate my old friend Orion on his side rising over the most prominent rock, and shoot again. Wendy is beside me, we're revelling in the experience of being here, all by ourselves in the Pinnacles Desert under the night sky; it's a very special moment. One well worth travelling over 9000 miles for.

Keep exposing. 

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