Winter In The Wheatbelt

Yenyenning Lake by Paul Amyes on
Dead trees on a winters misty morning in Yenyenning Lake. Beverley, Western Australia. Sony A7r with Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS lens, and Cokin 3 stop graduated neutral density filter and a circular polarizing filter. Exposure: 0.3 sec, F16, ISO 100.


Old Skool

Mary is the tree spirit that lives in the wandoo forest outside of York, Western Australia. Canon EOS300d, Canon EF18-55 lens, 550EX speedlite.

The other day I was rootling around in the darker recesses of my photo files when I came upon this image. I remember taking it very clearly, this painted tree is visible from  the York road and as I set up my camera on its tripod people driving thought I must have been operating a speed camera and slowed down as they passed. The shot was taken on my first dSLR, a Canon EOS300d with its kit lens and a 550EX speedlite. Prehistoric equipment in today’s terms. Only 6Mp, a sensor that should be used above 400 ISO, and features that were serious crippled so as not to steal sales from the Canon EOS10d. Why did I buy the camera? Well it was the first sub $2000 AUD dSLR in Australia. Now you can get so much more for $500. Technology marches on at a relentless pace. Seeing this shot made me get the camera out again, and just for old times sake I shot the photos of the cameras in last weeks blog entry with it. Processing them in Lightroom was a revelation, they came up looking quite good. So I went back to the original RAW file for Mary and processed it Lightroom and finished off in Snapseed. The result was much better than when I first processed it using Canon RAW processor and Photoshop Elements 4. It just goes to show that newer software can breathe new life into older images. I’ve decided to keep the 300d out for a while longer and shoot stuff for the web with it.

As always clicking on the photo will take you through to my gallery.

The best camera….

…is the one you have got with you. It’s an old saying but it is a truism.  I’ve always been a proponent of having a high quality pocket camera for those times when you don’t want to carry a camera. In the days of film it was my Olympus XA or XA4 (see the picture in the heading of the blog), but now it is Panasonic LX-5. The make or model is immaterial, really the main criteria is that it has to fit in my pocket and be able to produce a good quality A4 sized print.  The irony is that most of my best-selling pictures have been taken with such cameras.

Yesterday was one of those beautiful winter days that makes living in the south-west of Western Australia so worthwhile. It had been a cold clear night and we woke to a crisp morning with temperature expected to rise to 23℃ – better than some country’s summer. So my partner and I decided to walking in the Darling Range just above Perth and we walked along Piesse Brook to a place called Rocky Pool which is a picturesque little spot. Once we got there my partner decided to sit and cool off her feet in the water and I decided to take a couple of shots for the relatives such as this one:

It’s fine as a family snap shot and it records a nice moment in our lives that we can share with family members living in the UK, but pocket cameras are so good these days they are capable of so much more. I turned 180º and looked at the pool at the bottom of the small water fall. It was a pretty vista and I wanted to record it but knew that the dynamic range of the camera’s sensor was not up to recording the huge subject brightness range of the scene. Hmm! What to do? I had no graduated filters, no tripod, no cable release, just my pocket camera. So I set  exposure bracketing dialling in +/- 2 stops and handholding the camera just above the water took a series of shots while crossing my fingers. When I got home I fired up the computer and imported the pictures into Lightroom and then chose to merge them into a HDR using PhotoShop. After a bit of jiggery pokery playing around with curves and a couple of plugins I got this:

Not a great work of art but it is a pleasing shot that sums what a great time we had.

It really is a great time to be a photographer.

Just as a gentle plug a while ago I wrote and illustrated a book on walking in Perth, this walk was included. The book can be bought from tourist offices and good bookshops in Western Australia or it cane be ordered online here: