This photo was taken at a local cemetery in Siam Reap, Cambodia, armed with my medium format 6×6 square format camera, I was in for a treat. 6×6 square format is my format and lends to its own unique sort of composition. No longer are you restricted to rules of thirds and now the image in front of the photographer will dictate the best composition for framing. The photo just flows on to the frame. There are landscape or portrait options, freeing your mind. Here I was using slide film, knowing that I would be shooting indoors in low contrast environments. The only challenge was fighting camera shake hand-holding a such a large and heavy camera. As with all spontaneous portraits, you need to be quick off the mark and this fully automatic medium format camera was simply made for the job compared to a relatively slower Hasselblad manual camera. If I was using a manual camera I am sure this image would just remain in my memory and never have made it on to film!
I frequently use many different cameras, both large and small. If it was a planned photo outing, I would always try to bring the best tool for the job and that usually means the camera with the best sensor. But it is the small cameras that shine through and save the day for that impromptu and unplanned shot. I am unlikely to have my Rollei 6008AF with me on my tram ride past Victoria Park on this rainly day and I would have miss this shot if I didn’t have my little Olympus E-P1 with me.
As the tram went pass the park, a thought flashed past my mind. The wet green asphalt of the football grounds in the park would make a wonderful reflective surface and the interesting cloud formation would be spectacular in this otherwise a rather uninteresting scene. I haven’t reached my destination but I jumped out of the tram anyway! Life of a photographer! I was wet from head to toe, but I was able to capture this photo just as the sky was clearing up. I converted the photo to black and white to make the clouds stand out more, and left the color green in the photo to give attention to the reflections in the wet asphalt.
This “macro” was taken during a birding trip in Mai Po, Hong Kong. I had found a good high vantage point from a tree to take photos of a few water fowl swimming past under me and as luck would have it, a helicopter flew overhead and not surprisingly frightened the birds to flight, as always I was the prepared scout as a bunch of feathers were let loose from the fleeing birds. I snapped away as the feather that was floating down into the marsh and this was one of the magical moments that was the result. You could imagine my surprise when I uploaded the photos into the computer. The reflection was pitch black and the reflected fronds went in to a crazy Bokeh with the feather remaining crispy sharp. Rendered by this wonderful prime lens like Photoshop magic, but without the computer. I have this printed up and framed in perspex at home and it is stunning.
In the background the snow capped mountain is Mount Shishma Pangma (also referred to as Mt Xixabangma), with an altitude of 26,286ft. it is the highest mountain solely in Tibet, China. There are 7 other mountains that share boarder between Nepal or Kashmir that are taller. This photo was taken in Autumn where the fir trees and birch trees meet above 3000m, this sub-alpine region is the home of dwarf rhododendrons that are budding in the foreground. The ground has began to warm and the moss ground on rocks is thriving. the clash of colors, the deep blue of the high UV sky and the warm colors of the foliage make for a beautiful display of vibrant colors rarely seen elsewhere in nature apart from coral reefs. Even with the ultra-wide angle lens, I still used hyperfocal distance focusing to ensure sharpness from the foreground all the way to the background. There was a break in the tradition of the rule of thirds here, as I didn’t know what was better, the sky or the ground, both were equally stunning.