Sunday, 27 January 2013

Parramatta Road, Inner West

A few months ago I was on a bus heading towards Strathfield. It stopped at a bus stop right outside the Olympia Milk Bar in Stanmore. I couldn't believe that such an ancient-looking milk bar could still exist is this day and age. Its cracked windows are stapled up, taped together with sticky masking tape and its interior appears to be stuck in the fifties. Other shops surrounding the Olympia in this area of Stanmore appeared to be in a similar shabby state so we spent half a day in late December shooting in and around the area surrounding the milk bar. It has some great old shops, plenty of decrepit shop houses, peeling paint and a unique feel that the world has passed much of it by...

Parramatta road shop, Petersham, HDR by Natalie Hitchens
Here are some of our (mostly HDR, high dynamic range) results. If you are not sure what HDR means, it's three exposures, shot using the camera's Auto Exposure Bracketing function and assembled into one super-wide tonal range picture. HDR images are typically very characterful, detailed and 'gritty'. The three (or more) images are exposed differently (i.e. 'plus' two f-stops, 'minus' two f-stops and one 'normal' exposure) then 'assembled' using special HDR software such as Adobe Photoshop or Photomatix Pro (

Chinese medicine shop, Parramatta road, Petersham, HDR by Natalie Hitchens
Old house off Parramatta road, Leichhardt. HDR by Natalie Hitchens
Olympia milk bar, Parramatta road.  HDR by Natalie Hitchens
Olympia salon detail. HDR by Natalie Hitchens

For rent: Parramatta road, Petersham, HDR by Robin Nichols

Posters on posters, Parramatta road. HDR by Robin Nichols

For rent. HDR by Robin Nichols

Factory outlet. HDR by Robin Nichols

In a foreign language. Pic by Robin Nichols

Meat, meat, meat. Italian butcher near Norton St, Parramatta road. HDR by Robin Nichols

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Learning Photography Online

Here's a new class I'm running through CCE called Learning Photography Online: The Complete Guide to Photography Basics.
4 March to Aug 1st, 2013
Here's a link to my latest online class held through the Centre for Continuing Education (CCE)

The Complete Guide to Photography Basics

4 Mar 2013 - 1 Aug 2013 5 sessions + assignments all online
Tutor: Robin Nichols
Cost: $450 inc GST

Learn all about the capabilities of your camera online. Learn its features, how to master the controls, discover how to unlock and exploit the creative potential offered by the technology at hand.
This photo class is 100% online. Working online allows any student access to a wide range of specific training videos on subjects ranging from; shutter speed, the effect of aperture, camera metering modes, scene modes, ISO sensitivity, colour control, White Balance and sharpness, to composition, focussing, troubleshooting, and more.
Learning online provides students with the luxury of studying the materials without the limits of a regular classroom. Online learning also opens the door for students living away from the city, allowing anyone to mix work, family and even holidays with the online class assignment schedule.
The tutor provides in-depth video resources of the topics, plus multimedia feedback on all the completed assignments.

Here's a sample from one of my online video tutorials:



Course Content

The Basics
  • Anatomy of a camera, features, image stabilisation, and more
  • Camera parts, device terminology, accessories
  • Understanding exposure
  • Shutter speeds, Aperture and ISO
  • Shooting Modes
  • Scene Modes – when and where to use them
  • Using shutter speed creatively
  • Using aperture creatively
  • Handling ISO
  • Focussing techniques
  • Colour control
  • Problem solving:
  • Techniques for getting your shots pin sharp
  • Resolving high ISO noise problems
  • Setting up customised colour settings
  • Downloading images to a computer
  • Basic photo processing overview
Several assignments are set for each monthly session and are uploaded to the tutor’s personal site for critiquing. Multimedia feedback is then posted at and students are given the option of private feedback, or leaving tutor comments open to the other students on the course. Looking at the work of the other students is also a good way to learn.

Resources needed: DSLR or advanced point-and-shoot camera with Program, Aperture, Shutter and Manual exposure control
Software required: Software is not essential to the course but it would be useful to have some software available on your PC. I’d recommend Picasa (free) or Photoshop Elements (approx $140).