24/01/11Light and Motion Photography is visiting Melbourne, VIC, with our respective families, with a number of photographic goals in mind. We wish to add to our portfolio with some evening and night-time images of Melbourne, as well as to capture some sunset images along Great Ocean Road. In addition, the Australian Open Tennis Championship beckoned, and we were fortunate enough to witness one of the greatest players of our generation, Roger Federer, in action.
On arrival in Melbourne in the evening, I checked into the hotel and then quickly grabbed my camera bag with the intent of walking to the Southbank and capturing some sunset and nighttime city images. I met Andy in the lobby, and started walking. As we approached the Southbank, I noticed he had no camera bag and indeed no camera. His reply to my suggestion that we retrieve his gear, was met with some derision. He had decided to spend the evening previsualising.
We are here for a number of nights, and rather than just go and shoot away candidly at anything and everything, he made the decision to take a leisurely stroll, study the skyline and the Yarra, note the lighting conditions and compose the shots he wanted to take in his mind. He was also looking forward to see what I did with all my gear. In the end, I took his lead and decided to walk around previsualising, and kept the cameras in the bag. Hopefully the results of this will be worth the effort, and we will post these over the coming days.
Previsualising our images is something we should all take the time to do, even though digital photography discourages this. Ansel Adams considered previsualisation a technique vital to the art of photography, and said “Twelve photographs that matter in a year is a good crop for any photographer”
To us, previsualisation isn’t just about composition though important, but the whole photographic process involved in what’s required to produce the image that you have imagined in your mind. This also includes light (available or otherwise), camera settings, filters, the required post processing, and printing methods. Try it, and see if it improves your photography.
The image below “Shimmer” is something I previsualised the evening before I took the shot. I had already taken many of the images of the “Sculptures by the Sea” at Bondi, and these are displayed in the gallery of the same name on this site. The late afternoon light highlighted many of the sculptures, and was quite flattering. However, “Shimmer” had an enticing orange glow to it and was facing due east. I previsualised a rising orange sun in the background to highlight the sculpture. However, I also realized with this shot that the backlighting would be challenging and the sculpture itself would need an additional light source.
As a result, I stayed in a hotel overnight at Bondi, and got up in the predawn. I had also previsualised a long exposure shot to give the water a misty effect, but I also wanted the sun above the horizon.
I used a ND filter to prolong the exposure, a graduated ND filter to balance the sun and the foreground, and a flash to illuminate the sculpture. As the sun peeked over the horizon, I had the shot I had imagined. I hit the remote release button 3 times, each for 30 sec duration and that was it. The sun had risen, the orange glow was lost, and it was time for breakfast.