Friday, February 22, 2008

Dark Vader

Yes, There's Beauty In A Moody Sky

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


One of the challenges of outdoor photography is that you have to use the existing conditions as they are. You can't change anything. You can't control anything. You can't modify anything as you would in a studio. You can't alter the light. You can't get a landscape to move. You shoot objects as they are. That's part of the joy of photography. You work the angles, you use the light, you choose your viewpoint. And yes, even when there's thick cloud cover, you can find a shot or two.

The first shot (above) in this sequence was taken from Princes Bridge here in Melbourne, looking out over the giant ferris wheel, the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Yarra River. It was taken about seven months ago, on a bracing, cold winter morning. I took it at 1/15 sec, F4, ISO 800 and at a focal length of 125mm.


Then I took this second shot (above) with the same settings but with the focal length at 78mm. I'm sure you'll agree that even though it's the same scene, the entire ambience is different because I shifted from horizontal to vertical. I composed this shot to make the most of the sky, and to use the single shaft of golden light reflected across the river.


Finally, I shot this third frame (above) to get the whole scene in, with the focal length at only 18mm. I often get asked if I shoot in a set ratio, say, 10 frames for every one frame that I retain. No, I only shoot the frames I need. On this occasion, I shot only three frames and these are the three that I've posted here.

56 comments:

Lizzy in the Burbs said...

Your photographs are really beautiful, David! I find it fascinating how just changing an angle, a lens, zooming in or out, can completely change the way a photo looks. You're very talented!

Lizzy

Kathryn said...

Wow. You are so talented! Those are amazing photos. The first pic absolutely blows me away!

lynn said...

Really great shots. The colours... fab.

David grab yourself a coffee break and get over to my Things UK blog where i've penned some new short fiction!

Seamus said...

You are so right David that the photographer's challenge is to use what exists to the best advantage of the shot! These are great captures!

Sandi McBride said...

Great pictures. I tried to get a shot of the eclipse...it looks like a mud pie that someone stuck their finger in.
Sandi

Craver Vii said...

I don't know what to say, David. The sunrise is glorious, but I never cease to be amazed at your discerning eye and photographic skill. It would be so cool to follow you around for a day and try to gain a better understanding of your perspective. Or if such a thing was filmed as a documentary, I'd definitely watch it!

BarnGoddess said...

great photos.

I missed the eclipse due to the ice storm....I was all ready with my camera too.

daryl e said...

You are so good ...

starnitesky said...

Beautiful photos. I tend to think I need sunshine for good photographs, but I am learning that I do not. my latest assignment is landscape, a subject I thought would be very easy but I have been finding it quite a challenge to take a really good landscape photograph.

Anna said...

Wow these photos have so much character. You are absolutely right about not being able to change anything, and sometimes you also will photograph the unexpected. Thanks for sharing useful info and nice set of photographs. Anna :)

joan said...

Wow, those are all so wonderful. Okay I can't help but LOL at Sandi's comment either. That one just made my day here in cold dreary Ohio.

GoneBackSouth said...

You and your camera are inseparable aren't you?

katydidnot said...

that 3rd shot is fantastic, what a perspective!

Old Wom Tigley said...

Stunning series of pictures and very interesting information..

Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

Oh, stunning - love the colour combination and what you've done with it....!!!

Lisa Milton said...

The yellow sky is breathtaking.

velvetginger said...

Pretty sky pics....

Lee said...

Ooh! I love that top one. The yellow and orange against the black makes me think of melted crayons. I like the bottom one too. It's perspective make the sky look like a long tunnel of dusk! Really nice. Both of those would make nice to focus on images for a wall. :)

Joy!

Tammy said...

The first picture is my favorite! It's an amazing photo.

dot said...

These are absolutely wonderful shots! It pays to know what you are doing.

Gawdess said...

bruised sky! fantastic!

Sandy Carlson said...

Thanks for the lesson, David. I was just out trying to capture the rising moon. I will think of all you have said here when I try again later or tomorrow night. Your colors are wonderful. This was a marvelous lesson in perspective as a sumptuous view of where you are. I do appreciate it!

Kostas said...

Really made very good work, splendid the post, marvellous comment and beautiful your photographs!

ellen b said...

Beautiful photographs as usual! enjoy your talent and thanks for sharing it with us...

Charles Gramlich said...

Love that yellow. Intense.

Yolanda said...

Really enjoyed these especially the ferris wheel against the night sky.

DeeMom said...

Exceptional

pictures, the colors are so exciting

Andrea said...

Wow, these are beautiful. Great shots.

Bing said...

Well done and well said....love your photos and lessons that you shared! Happy skywatch!

Andrée said...

I love them. We call those first dark dark clouds "cold clouds" and they signal cold weather / autumn coming. I like your discussion of the how-to: when my new camera comes in April, I'm going to need that. Now, David, I know you came to my Sky Watch already and I thank you so much! But I was wondering if you could take a look at this shameless promotion of mine . . . My eclipse pic is here.

Dottie said...

You know... you really take awesome photos. I love these!

~Miss Nelson said...

Beautiful pictures! There is nothing better then the sky in all its glory

picturing of life said...

You have very good talent, indeed. It is beautiful pic.

My first SWF

Juliana RW said...

Excellent. I love the color.

My SWF #4

Paulie said...

Very interesting information -- I think I like each in their own way. That ferris wheel really added to the photos.

Misty Dawn said...

I love these shots.... but, gosh David, it seems as if I'm always leaving you the same comment! "Love the shot - it's inspiring" blah blah blah. Would you stop being so gosh darn fantastic for a moment? Give me time to come up with something more creative to say in my comment, at least!

All joking aside - I'll say it yet again - you inspire me and I love these shots (the first and third are my favorites).

Lana G! said...

Love them all! Great pictures.

evlahos said...

excellent sky watch again

Ida said...

Beautiful sky. It looks yellow in the horizon. Lovely! :)

Garden Angel said...

Wow!!!
These photos were GREAT!!!
Wonderful! Good job!!!
Have a nice weekend:)

Daniel J Santos said...

Amazing colors, amazing photos, well done.

quintarantino said...

Very nice photos but I must say the first one is really amazing. That's what I think. It's a perfect work.

gaz said...

rgeat shots - i love the contrasting colours.
do you know what the cheapest wideangle lens in the world is?...
2 steps back!

Dirty Knees said...

Great photography lesson, David. You have an amazing eye for taking effective photos.

alicesg said...

They are indeed beautiful. Love the different colours of the sky. Oh yes, I remember Yarra River, been there in 2005, loved to watch the different activities along the river.

Mike said...

Very unusual yellows there.
This I Do...

HildeS. said...

Beautiful and dramatic photos:)

marcia said...

awesome w/ the ferris wheel kinda sad it means it is time to go home:<

Anonymous said...

Really Fantastic Beautiful Photos!

Have a Fun Happy Blessed
Creative Healthy Year!!!

Flassie

Alan said...

Nice photos from a beautiful spot.

nitebyrd said...

Gorgeous pictures.

Anemone said...

Hallo again handsome man...

Beautiful pictures as usual in your blog :-)

Nice weekend to you.
Love from Norway.

Meggie said...

All I can say is WOW ! I don't think I've ever seen a golden sky like that. Spectacular! Isn't nature beautiful?

Eduardo P.L. said...

Great pictures.

RuneE said...

Photography in a nutshell. I do much the same with bridges. Lots and lots of pictures of the same bridge, but not two alike.

Anna K. said...

Wow, you have a lot of comments on here!! I get excited about 3, much less 55.
Anyhoo, I came across your blog via Gathering Grace today. Your photographs really caught my eye! I've recently developed an interest in photography and am slowly, but surely learning as I go.
I look forward to seeing more.