christmas gift inspiration #1

As promised, here’s the first instalment of our Christmas Gift Inspiration series.

Not every instalment will be about things we sell, but this first one is.

You probably already know that I teach a photography course. If you didn’t, there’s a heap of information about it over here.

Anyway, if you know someone who would love to learn more about photography (perhaps someone who is getting a digital SLR for Christmas?), we’re running a special on early registrations for our February course: $110 off if you book in by midnight on Monday 21 December. We’ll even post out a pretty gift certificate so you have something to hand over on Christmas Day.

If our February course books out fast, we’ll consider adding another.

Here’s what previous students have said about the course (let’s hope they don’t mind me quoting them):

The course is fantastic and I don’t think I ever told you how life-changing it has been for me. I really was not a very happy person before I did the course, because my work took up all of my time and I had no life. The course gave me a hobby and it’s been fantastic to be able to throw myself into it. I just wanted to thank you!!!

 

I liked learning the exposure and light concepts FINALLY! Also the treasure hunt on the field trip allowed me to think outside the square. Also, the forums are excellent for feedback and comparing work with others.

 

I liked the informal, relaxed way the material was presented. Although the information was all quite technical, Luke managed to present it clearly in a way everyone could understand and relate to. I have learnt so much and been inspired.

The field trips were great. They really emphasised how ordinary objects can be interesting subject matter for photographs. Really great exercise seeing how other people interpreted the same subject matter once photos were posted on the forum.

 

Luke was happy to answer any questions I asked and has a wealth of knowledge. I’m very happy and would recommend the course to friends/family interested in improving their photography.

Interested? Click here for all the details, or click here to register. πŸ™‚

fun with christmas lights … [workshop wednesday]

This week’s workshop wednesday is brought to you by our Christmas tree.

Michelle talked herself into setting it up yesterday. Cleverly, she Josiah-proofed the decorations (they start halfway up the tree). Just as cleverly, Josiah noticed vulnerabilities in our new lounge room layout, and promptly found no less than three ways to climb onto the top of our coffee table. Impressive!

Anyway, in response to a question on our Facebook page, here are some tips on getting creative with photos of Christmas lights this December.

For starters, here’s our Christmas tree (shot on my Olympus E-P1):

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There’s nothing particularly special about this photo, but I’m hoping it demonstrates that taking out-of-focus photos of light sources can be a lot of fun! You don’t need a fancy camera, either.

There are a few tricks to bear in mind:

  • To get circles of light, use your camera’s manual controls and set your lens to its widest aperture (the smallest aperture/f-stop number available). Smaller apertures (bigger numbers) will give you polygons of light.
  • For the most dramatic effects, use a lens with a wide aperture (e.g. a 50mm f/1.8, if you own one), or the longest optical zoom your camera offers.
  • If you have a foreground subject you’d like to keep in focus, put as much distance as possible between your subject and the lights, and as little distance as possible between you and your subject. It’s all about getting maximum blur out of the lights. Also, you might want to try using flash to illuminate your foreground subject.
  • If you don’t have a foreground subject, you’ll need to use manual focus to get maximum blur. Focus as close to the camera as possible. If your camera doesn’t allow manual focus, hold your hand in front of the lens and press the button halfway until your hand is in focus. Then remove your hand and push the button the rest of the way.
  • Experiment with focussing at different distances from the camera. The circles of light will change size.
  • For best results, shoot at night and use a tripod πŸ˜‰

Have fun!

’tis the season

Hello, world. πŸ™‚

Some of you have been worried about us. Don’t worry, we’re alive and well. I’ve just been too busy to blog!

Shooting three months of back-to-back weddings can really take it out of you. Add a bunch of projects we’ve been working on for 2011, and not even the Pomodoro Technique is much help!

Happily, we have Jess starting to help look after our clients, which has been awesome. And over the last couple of months I’ve been making good progress with those issues I blogged about six months ago. Yay for therapy πŸ˜‰

Meanwhile: Josiah is 16 months old and Christmas is less than a month away! Does anyone else find either of those facts shocking?!

Later this week, I’ll reluctantly accept the imminent passing of 2010 and post some Christmas gift inspiration. Check back if you’re running short on ideas!

Until then, enjoy some cuteness from Joey. He’s not walking yet. Why walk when you can climb?

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2 December 2010 - 7.22am

skye - love the close up of Josiah with the cup! Looking forward to catching up with you guys later on πŸ™‚

the cutler family … [portrait session]

Today is Communication Shutdown day. The aim: to raise funds and awareness for autism by taking 24 hours off Facebook and Twitter.

I don’t think silence does much to help any cause, so I’m not participating. Instead, I’m using today to talk about autism. I’m not alone, either πŸ™‚

My knowledge of autism isn’t particularly extensive. It’s based almost exclusively on watching The Black Balloon, and spending an hour with the Cutler family.

That said, I learned more from an hour with this beautiful family than they might have realised.

I learned that autism can be hilarious. Example: every time I turned my camera from horizontal to vertical orientation, Matthew turned his head to match! It was logical, hilarious and impossible, all at once πŸ˜€

I learned that children can be selfless. Zachary and Emma already make sacrifices to accommodate their big brother’s needs, and many more will be required of them. I’m sure they find it hard sometimes, and they’ll struggle even more in future years. But there’s a lot of love between these three, and it shows.

I also learned that courage can be chosen. Matthew was about 2 years old when Nicole and Craig found out that he had autism. I can’t imagine how profound the impact of that news must have been, nor how difficult their journey has been since, but the courage and resolve with which they’ve continued to build their family is inspiring.

Thanks, Nicole, for allowing me to share these πŸ™‚

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3 November 2010 - 11.23am

Lachlan Wetherall - I have a child with autism (age 8). Your description
“It was logical, hilarious and impossible, all at once.”
is so on the mark.

Thanks

2 November 2010 - 6.59am

Kelly B - What a beautiful tribute!

1 November 2010 - 6.28pm

Doug Hall - Great story and moving images. 😎

1 November 2010 - 1.21pm

Robyn - Beautiful, Luke. Thank you for talking about Autism today πŸ™‚

gabi and ema … [engagement]

Working with a fashion designer who lives and works in Milan (you know, in Italy) is right up there with photographing a photographer: it’s an honour, but your legs can get a little wobbly.

Gabi grew up near Newcastle, but study took her to Milan. That’s where she met Ema, started her fashion consultancy, and learned to speak Italian!

In a couple of months, Gabi and Ema will be getting married. Here are their engagement photos, taken around Honeysuckle and Civic during a fleeting visit to Newcastle. They’ll be here for a little longer in December!

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16 October 2010 - 3.37pm

Ange Jones - What beautiful shots Luke. The last one is amazing.

15 October 2010 - 11.24pm

Gabi - Thanks Luke, they are amazing! Can’t to see the ones with the white dress!!