Friday, 30 June 2017

Learn High Dynamic Range Photography at UDEMY

Here's a link to my latest UDEMY class - Mastering High Dynamic Range Picture Making.

Icebergs off the coast of Amassalik, Greenland
 As the course name suggests this is all about the High Dynamic Range process and includes topics such as:
- How to create truly impressive HDR images from a single shot (JPG and RAW)
- The best HDR software to try, some free, some paid 
- Working with multiple RAW files
- Batch processing files to make HDR video

Old, fifties American car on blocks in a back street of Havana

- How to set up shooting exposure brackets for the HDR process
- Controlling the results - working with Tone Compression methods
Burj Khalifa 'glimpse', Dubai

PLUS: How to troubleshoot files when they don't come out quite as good as you'd hoped for. 
This includes videos on:
- Removing sensor spots (Photoshop and Photoshop Elements tutorials)
- Removing chromatic aberration
- Effective4 frame alignment techniques to get your hand-held shot to line up and produce sharper results
- Removing ugly haloes using a retouching brush and selected Blend Modes
- Getting started tutorials using Photomatix Pro and Aurora HDR Pro software plus many others

Three hours of video tutorials, 35 lectures/tutorials, no time limit, cost a mere $55 (or $20 when discounted). Check this link as my class is frequently discounted!

Mastering HDR Picture Making from Robin Nichols on Vimeo.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Sri Lanka Small Group Photo Tour 2018

Here's a short promo video showing some of the places, locations and experiences you can expect on my upcoming small group photo tour of Sri Lanka in March 2018...
Sri Lanka Small Group Photo Tour Promo from Robin Nichols on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

MCP, a New Three-day Photo Course at CCE

If you want to develop more from your photography, try this new class I'm running at the Centre for Continuing Education: Mastering Creative Photography.

It's really designed as a follow up to my two-day Essentials class - but you don't have to complete this to take on the MCP class. We deal with the business of creative photography - ways to make your images look different from everyday, run of the mill stuff we see around the 'net. There is some emphasis on using neat software apps such as Jixi Pix or products from Nik, but there's equal emphasis placed on the ability to see an avenue, a theme in any set landscape - whether it's just at the park or on a trip overseas.

We spend half a day looking at how photography has developed over time, from Henry Fox Talbot to Henri Cartier-Bresson, to modern day sports and newspaper photojournalists, advertising photography, wedding and portrait photographers and much more. Everything has been 'done' in photography, but there's still plenty of room to make a statement.

Next Mastering Creative Photography class is on September 1, 8 and 15

Two and a half days are spent shooting on location, plus students get three assignments to upload and get assessed on.

As a bonus, I also offer an ongoing feedback session, four times a year, as a way of encouraging those that like shooting to have a bit of a goal to work towards.

Here's a glimpse of some of the great images created by students on the first session of this class:

The 3rd quarantine cemetery by Clayton Maxwell - no special effects - just a nice juxtaposition between a great city skyline and a headstone. It begs the question: why? Is this an omen? Is this symbolic of city life - a good picture should generate a response in the viewer - even if it is a simple "I like what I see..." response. To generate multiple questions, I think, is better because it insists that the viewer be immersed in the shot.
This is a very effective miniature effect - also called tilt-shift - created by radically blurring the top and bottom of the frame. It works very well in this example - because the composition is accurately divided in to three clear sections: foreground, mid-ground and background.
The post-production de-focussing by Eshan Abab effectively splits the scene into three parts and makes everyone on Bondi beach appear to be tiny.
A very effective creative effect.
Fantastic olde-worlde 'look' applied to this recent shot of Quarantine Beach, near Manly
Photo by Sophie Almin

Bamboo signatures from Phil Young
This is an HDR processed image - the software really helps ramp up textures and detail that might otherwise be lost.
With an eye on both composition and content, Phil Blackford produced a series of effects like this. Shot in-camera with some post-processing to add the distressed look to the final image.
This is a good example of where having a vision before you start out really helps the execution and finalisation of the creative process.

A very dramatic representation from times past.
This headstone, shot by Jane Jewel in North Head's third quarantine cemetery, marks a darker part of Australia's history. Most of the people buried here are quite young, teenagers, kids under ten, some coming from overseas or from the inland areas - on those days there was little anyone could do to prevent fatalities other then quarantining them from the general population.  I think the low angle, the dramatic sky and the black and white treatment really lends itself to the subject matter.
Shot from one of the most dramatic lookouts in Sydney, Vinnie Nguyen's panorama captures something of the massive vista afforded form the North Head National Park.
Very often 'one shot' is just not enough for a 'big' scene, so a five-frame panorama manages nicely to capture some of the grandure of the view.
Vinnie also added an FX filter with a heavy vignette that goes a long way to emphasise the nature of the subject.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Two Exciting New Photo Tours for 2018

I have just posted the final details about two new and exciting photo tours for next year: Sri Lanka in March and Madagascar in May 2018.

Sri Lanka is one of my all-time favourite destinations because it's such a diverse country with a long and fascinating history, terrific cuisine, fabulous wildlife, impressive scenery, plus it's relatively inexpensive and easy to get there.

The mood of this trip is to experience some of the antiquities of the country, as well as its wonderful cuisine, while journeying through some of its best wildlife parks. And did I mention tea?

To  make a reservation on the Sri Lanka trip, call Frederick Steyn at Academy Travel (02) 9235 0023 or 1800 639 699, or email him directly: 

Madagascar is a different destination completely - this trip is really all about the amazing flora and fauna to be found in this unique habitat.

Travel in Madagascar is more of a challenge than many other locations I have been to in the past but you are guaranteed to see some of the world's most endearing and endangered animals on this two-week trip across the island...

If you are interested in either or both, please contact me (details in the downloadable PDFs online.