Sunday, 27 January 2008

Perth Skyshow 2008

The Skyworks is a fireworks show that is held over the Swan River in Perth city in Western Australia. It is held every Australia Day on the 26th of January. This year, I went to the Jeff Joseph Reserve with my family and shot some photos of the skyshow from there.

It had been quite an experience shooting the skyshow. It was difficult enough trying to setup my camera in the dark, and having to frame my shot at the start of the firework and in the process got some people annoyed apparently because I was blocking their view. It was good thing that I got it done relatively quickly was able to shoot most of the time using a remote shutter release button.

I shot approximately 40 over shots and here are some of the pictures I took:

Perth Skyshow '08
Perth Skyshow '08 (2)
Rain of fire

Friday, 25 January 2008

Project Dullsville Update - East Perth Powerstation

I went to the old East Perth Power Station to take some photos with a group of photography friends from Flickr. The photowalking was great. The weather was a little warmer than I would have liked but nevertheless, the exploring and the adventure of getting into the power station compound made up for any discomfort. It was an interesting photowalk.

Here's a bit of the history of the power station:
"The East Perth Power Station consists of two buildings containing three power stations each of which retain their equipment and fittings. The buildings themselves are large, economical and stylistically of their time, the second building still embellished with its ‘art deco’ stylistic features. The three power stations, ‘A’ ‘B’ and then ‘C’ stations, were established over a 40 year period from World War One to the mid 1950s so they represent an extraordinarily complete sequence of technological development and provide the opportunity to tell the story of the provision of power to Perth through most of the 20th century. This remarkable heritage will be severely compromised unless arrangements are made for adaptive re-use of the complex that requires the retention and conservation of the machinery and associated fittings within the building. The power station complex represents the pioneering phase of the Western Australian electicity system, and dates from the era when the industry world-wide was in a formative stage. It has historic value for its role in the development of WA and the metropolitan area in particular, for its influence on the standard of living enjoyed by the community throughout the greater part of this centry as the only public power station supplying the metropolitan area from1916-1951, its role as part of the interconnected south-west electricity system. Vacant since 1981, current proposals would ‘gut’ the main power station building, removing plant and equipment, thereby reducing the heritage significance of the plant, and destroying the opportunity to interpret the whole site. Despite the expenditure of over $ 500,000, there has been an alarming lack of public consultation by the East Perth Redevelopment Authority and the site remains unoccupied, its fabric and contents deteriorating, and its future uncertain. The delay by the government in developing solutions for this significant place is inexcusable and has led to its continued decay through exposure to the elements and to vandalism."
Ref: heritage WA, East Perth Powerstation.

Tin shed Tin Shed 2
Rusty gear 8 John
Cobwebbed rusty metal stairs

Monday, 14 January 2008

Free images?

Two days ago, I received a message in Flickr from someone who requested to use my image for free. He would like to use it for his website and unfortunately he "does not have any money to spend on it". Well, my standard response to him was that he is free to use my image from my Flickr stream as long as he links the image back to my flickr page and credits me for the shot. Very typical and standard stuff. I thought he would be happy with that.

Today he responded to my email by asking for a higher res (I had the photo scaled down to 800x600) and he wanted a 800x250 banner crop to go into a small slide show. He continued to explain that he was not trying to freeload but he had no money to spend on the image.

Now this really strikes me. There have been many requests asking to me for permission to use my images from my photostream for free. On one hand, I am happy that some people like my photos to want to use them, and yet, I am uncertain if I should be more apprehensive than happy.

First of all, I would love to recover some cost that I've put into my equipment. Photography is not a cheap hobby. It is always nice if I can derive some passive income to cover even a small portion of my cost. Secondly, we have to take the photography community into account. With the advancement of digital cameras, photography has become a fairly affordable hobby and for some people and start up career for others. There are many people who rely on the income generated from photography. Hobbyists, therefore, must share the responsibility maintaining the photography "market". Giving away high quality images to someone for free is just about destroying the income professional photographers dearly depend on.

As a freelance photographer who has the aspiration of one day setting up a photography business, I do understand how money can also be a tight issue and careful budgeting is a constant struggle for start up businesses. I can also understand hobbyist website designers building their own website requiring high res images can often contribute to this situation whereby they would ask hobbyist photographers for free images and in return offer to give the photographers credits.

Well, this is sure a dilemma for me. I am struggling to come to a stand on this issue. I appreciate all comments and suggestions. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Should we always follow the "Rules of Thirds"?

The rule of thirds is a compositional rule of thumb in photography and other visual arts such as painting. Its application is also essential to the field of design. The rule states that an image can be divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines. The four points formed by the intersections of these lines can be used to align features in the photograph. Proponents of this technique claim that aligning a photograph with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the photo than simply centering the feature would.
-- from Wikipedia.

It is often suggested that the rule ensures that better photographic composition can be achieved if followed. True, I am not going to dispute this at all. However, after shooting thousands of shots of people while applying this rule, I find that my photos are starting to look very similar. I can't really fault anything with this rules except that sticking with this rule rigidly mean that we might end up with shots that are technically correct but not necessary that interesting.

Of course, often people would suggest that breaking this rule is ok. For me, I think that sometimes rules are meant to be broken, but it is necessary to grasp the understanding of the rules before one should venture to break them. As for the Rules of Thirds, yes, they help photographers in capturing balanced, easy-on-the-eye pictures, but they often lead to uninterested, and often identical images.

Fundamentally, I think certain things should almost always remain at the thirds, however, some things should never ever need to be at the thirds. Then again, photography is form of art and all arts are subjective isn't it?

A year of blogging and photography

How time flies. It has been slightly over a year since I decided to blog and to start posting some of my photography works here. It had been an interesting ride I should say.

Looking back, I am glad that I have kept up with my photography. A friend once thought that photography would just be a hobby that would last for, but just a short while. To him, photography was a fad or the latest "toy". Incredibly, not only have I pursued my interest in photography (especially in landscape photography), I am starting to evolve what was originally a hobby into a part time work.

In 2007, I have shot 4 weddings, 2 fashion shows, a couple of portraits for couples, etc. Wow, I've never thought I would be so "into" this. Admittably, I have always had interests in photography, but I wouldn't think about it everyday. I would only really get into the "zone" whenever I travelled overseas or having holidays. However, I am finding myself that there isn't one single day that I would not think about photography or related subjects such as image post processing or about the photography gears.

Hmm, talking about being passionate about something that nearly borderlines obsession. Yea, photography may become an obsession for me if I am not careful.