The Magic of the Ocean

There is something extra special about the ocean, it is the salt air, the sound of the waves crashing against the shore, the feeling of sand in your toes, the clear blue water or a combination of these things?

It’s a place that is good for your soul, it’s where your spirits fly.  You can chose to walk along the waters edge collecting shells as you go or just find a warm place to sit down and just watch the world go by.  It’s a place to find inspiration, to escape, to run and play, it’s the perfect quick getaway.

Normally when I want to take time out I head to Currumbin, which is my favourite Gold Coast beach location.  Not this time, today I decide to stop at Burleigh.  Heading up to the point with camera in hand (yes, my camera is never far from me) I take the pathway along the National Park down to the beach break where the surfers navigate over the rocks to paddle out.

It’s the perfect time of day, late afternoon and the tide is coming in.  I position my tripod at the start of the rocks.  Using my 9 stop ND filter on my camera lens I set up to do some long exposures.  I’m in that kind of mood, I want to capture the surface of the ocean looking as smooth as silk.  Photos that emote calm and peaceful thoughts whilst your eye focus’s on the mist rising as the waves cascades over the rocks.  It is the right kind of photo to relax the body, mind and soul.

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For the next hour and a half I just sit back on the rocks holding my shutter cable experimenting with different settings and scene’s all the while enjoying the serene atmosphere around me.   Each time the waves crash around me I unwind and let go of the negative (or my worries) until I am feeling free and revitalised.  Life at the beach, it’s the best therapy.

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Day is turning to dusk and it’s time to pack up and head back to the car.   Just as I take my camera off the tripod I catch the afternoon light over the high-rise buildings and can’t resist but to grab a few more images before I go.

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Is the beach your special place, the place you know is good for your soul?  If there is a more special place for you please share with me I would love your thoughts.

Until next week,

Kassy.

Smoke and Mirrors

It’s Sunday morning as I look out the window I discover it’s overcast, humid and storms are forecast to roll in within the hour – Another typical weekend during spring storm season.  There go the plans to get out into the sunshine and enjoy a walk in nature with my camera.

I have two choices in front of me, I can curl up in my favourite chair in the family room with a good book, a cup of tea and a tim tam or I could head into the studio for a little rainy day fun play.

As enticing as curling up with a book is I am itching for a little camera time.  So heading into the studio wins, time to have some fun with smoke photography.  You don’t need much equipment to play with this type of photography, all you need is incense burner tray, some incense, lighter, camera, macro lens, 1 or 2 flash units and some triggers.

In the studio I set up a black table with a black fabric backdrop behind the table.  Placing the incense in the burner tray and setting 2 flashes with their triggers (one on each side of the burner) making sure they are close but far enough away so the flash won’t be in the frame within the photo.

Now let’s have some fun – I grab my camera, light the incense and start taking some photos.  (Photo Tip – Make sure that you focus on the tip of the stick of incense as the camera will not focus on the smoke.)   With smoke photography, in my opinion, there is no right or wrong photos – each photo is unique is dependent how the smoke reacts.   You will see so many patterns form depending on what you do.

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To add some variety and to see what happens with the smoke, I added a fan on the floor to create a wind effect, I also tried the “whack it” approach (I was taught this special technique from some very experienced tutors).  For clarification and a safety warning – you whack the table whilst at the same time being careful not to knock anything over or send your flash flying, it really is an art form you need to master.

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At the end of the day it is amazing what you capture just by the movement of smoke.  Why don’t you give it a go yourself this weekend.  (Another quick tip – I have found it much more fun to have a couple of friends around whilst playing, you may end up laughing more than taking photos – a great way to spend a rainy day  🙂 )

Until next week.

Kassy

Having a Swell time

You always know when it’s September on the Gold Coast.  No, I am not talking about the change in the weather from Winter to Spring, I am talking about the interesting and amazing sculptures that appear on and around the Currumbin Beachfront.  It must be the annual Swell Festival (now in it’s 14th year).

Heading down late on Saturday afternoon, I grab my camera bag, packed with filters and lens as well as my tripod.  The weather is perfect; it’s warm, the sun is shining and the festival is sure to be busy.   Arriving at Currumbin, I start my exploration of Swell down at southern end, near the Surf Club.

With my Nikon in hand I start to wander and check out this years 50 plus sculptures that are on display built by local, national and international artists.   There are so many innovative, artistically challenging  pieces on display that it is so easy to get caught up at each piece for hours, taking pictures and admiring the talent of each artist.

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Like each year before, I try to get unique and interesting perspective shots of the sculptures I love the most.  Walking along at this time of day I am blessed with a little colour starting to show up in the sky as the day turns to dusk.  These colours just enhance the sculptures and in some cases add that wow factor.

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By the time I reach Currumbin Rock, day has turned into night and now the sculptures are lit up and take on a life of their own as I make my way back down the beach towards the surf club, and the car. I am still trying to take photos of the sculptures, even in the dark.  As I am walking the music fills the air and I come across what has to be my favourite sculpture of this year’s Swell Festival, John Cox’s See Life.  I settle down in the sand with camera on tripod as this sculpture lights up in set sequences and colour combinations. I am swept away by the beauty of the sculpture before me and at that moment I am at peace with the universe.

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At the end of the night I am relaxed and fulfilled as I pack up the car and head home, closing the door on another year of Swell.

Until next week.

Kassy

A Model Story

Recently I was contacted by an up and coming model to shoot her portfolio.  The lovely Breannen had made it through the internet submission for Australia’s Next Top Model and was due to submit a portfolio for the face to face interview.  We chose to do this shoot on location at Mt Tamborine Botanical Gardens.  The Botanical Gardens are such a beautiful place with loads of different scenic areas at your figure tips, it is the perfect place for a shoot like this.

On meeting Brea (as she prefers to be known) I was struck by her warm and inviting smile, she looks and acts a little bit of a tomboy but it didn’t take me long to discover her “girly” side.  The day was overcast and the light was just magic for these photos.  As we start Brea has a fresh face (little to no makeup) for her profile pics needed for her upcoming submission.     The green garden backdrop at the front of the Gardens was just perfect against her white tshirt and jeans.

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After a clothing change and make up (applied by Ebony),  Brea was set to go to our next location within the Botanical Gardens, we wandered down the garden path with the lakefront gazebo in our sights.   The aqua dress Brea is wearing compliments perfectly her lovely skin and long dark hair, which is apparent in the photos I am capturing.

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Our last outfit for the morning was a striking red gown with a red beaded headpiece, she looked like Xena, a warrior princess, naturally we found a location to bring out the best in Brea and the dress.

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As I am photographing I am getting to know a little about Brea.  Brea had a difficult childhood, coming from a broke home, a father who was interested in things other than Brea.  Brea was lucky enough she had a mum who was always there for her and loved her greatly.   Brea’s difficulties didn’t stop there, unfortunately she was also bullied at School, for being one of the boys.  Brea dreamed of being a model, she had a passion for being in front of the camera, with all the troubles within her life it was hard for her to believe that she could achieve her goals.

When watching the last season of Australia’s Next Top Model Brea found herself relating to one contestant, she was one of the boys, lacked social skills and confidence in herself.  Brea saw so much of herself in this person and watched as she grew and succeeded, Brea knew deep down it was the right time to follow her dream.

Since our shoot Brea has heard back from the selection team at Australia’s Next Top Model, unfortunately due to her height she hasn’t made it to the next step.   Irrespective of the decision of the selection team Brea will continue to push forward and pursue her dream into the modelling industry.  I wish her all the best, I know my camera and I love her and I see big things in her future.

Until next week.

Kassy

RAW is BOLD, RAW is ME

What a whirlwind the last 4 weeks have been (I guess this is another way of saying to my loyal readers that it has been so busy and that’s why the blog has been very silent”.

In July this year I was asked to become a RAW artist and showcase at their September event called BOLD.  I was honoured to be given this opportunity and couldn’t wait for September to officially be part of the world wide RAW family.   At first when you decide to “put yourself out there” it is all exciting and you get stuck into the preparation, ticking things off the to do list you feel you are cruising along and on track.  Then comes the photo selection and that part of the experience hit me like a tonne of bricks, what do I include in the selection?, what photos are “good enough”? after all I am putting it all out there, to be judged by both the public and fellow photography peers.

After some sleepless nights, endless photo folders, culling, regrouping and many test prints later my final prints were chosen.   I must add that during this lead up process I could not made it to the night without my husband (Ben), my mentor (Sheryn) and the team at INK FX who not only had to deal with the many phone calls and questions but asked to rush prints.  I do recall my husband at some time mumbling under his breath, “that he couldn’t wait till Thursday 24th”, forget bridezilla I guess me being me I wanted perfection and almost drove all persons around my crazy.

Before I knew it the day was here, this occasion called for a special outfit and very special hair do (from my wonderful friend of over 20 years and amazing hairdresser, Michelle Red) we head off to the venue to get everything set up.  On arriving we unload and “check in” and find my wall space.  Just after arriving the event photographer introduced herself and off I went to get my official headshots done (now I’m feeling like an artist on the red carpet).  It took us about an hour to set up my display and tweek a few things.  I am now ready to greet the world and present, Kassy Solomon and Solo Images Photography at RAW.

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During the RAW event I met and spoke with some wonderful people including my local Mudgeeraba Councillor, Glenn Tozer and his stunning wife Melissa, they were so warm and friendly and we chatted for some time, Melissa was taken with my Love photo and gave me a few alternative creative ideas to try.  As the night went on I was humbled to see many of my friends who took time out of their schedule to come, show their support and say hi.  I really can’t properly express in words just how much all this support means to me, apart from family it is these moments within your life that you know you are truly grateful and blessed to be alive.   To top of the evening and a surprise was my brother came from the Sunshine Coast to the event to show his love and support, I know now he is without doubt of just how talented his little sis is 🙂

In summary there was a huge positive reaction from all guests who stopped by and admired my work.  I believe the most talked about and liked photos were  “Love”, “Wetland Wonders” and “Purple Sunrise”.  During the night one person commented to me standing in front of my “Purple Sunrise” and asked who was the artist, they mistook this canvas for a painting – it was almost to hard to believe it was a photo.  That was the icing on the cake.

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RAW, a magical experience, well worth it.  You never know I might be back for a second time 🙂

PS there is a few limited edition canvases still available to purchase please email me at info@soloimages.com.au for further details.

Until next week.

Kassy.

ND Filter Play

It’s a nice warm Saturday morning and after some time in the office it was time to get out and enjoy the sun.  A perfect opportunity to grab the camera bag and finally try out my new (well I have had it since April) ND Filter.  I have a specific photo in mind that I am wanting to capture so it’s a trip to the beach, somewhere with rocks.  I know just the place, time to head south.

Arriving at Hastings Point around 11.30 I find the tide is on the way out, a little further out than I was hoping but why let that get in the way.  So I head off down the track to the beach from the point lookout scouting the location for a good spot to set up.

Now most people who understand photography would be screaming that it is the wrong time of day to get great photos, the sun is high and harsh – balancing light is a real challenge.  This is where my new ND Filter comes into play.  It’s a Hoya ND 500 (for the tech heads that’s 9 stops of light loss).  I can still achieve that slow silky water look by adding this filter on my lens.

Finding a somewhat good location I proceed to set up my tripod keeping it quite low, almost dangerously close to the water should a good wave come in.  After setting up and turning on the live view option on my camera (thinking that it will be easier to see what I am about to photograph) right you may think – wrong.  The sun is streaming down restricting my view of the screen, the tripod is so low that unless I am going to become a mermaid I can’t see through the viewfinder.

Plan B, pick a focus point, put camera back on tripod, switch to manual mode, screw on ND, dial in settings, push button on cable release and hope for the best 🙂 (yes, that’s right – hope for the best).  On first attempt I used a shutter speed of 30 seconds, image looked a little over cooked (over exposed or blown out), so I dial it back to 15 seconds and go again.  Now to see if I am actually capturing anything decent, I pick up the camera (tripod and all) and head over to my bag, using my tshirt and hat I cover the screen to see how my photo looks.  YES – success of some sort, now my horizon is completely falling off the universe (sorry Aug 🙂 ) so will have to fix that in processing (note – not a good habit to get into).

Ok 2 photos down now to try again in a slightly different position.  So I start the process all over again.  This goes on for just about 1/2 an hour and then I decide I must get a photo from another angle, problem is there is a rock in the way and the water is coming in the area I want to put my camera.  So another plan B – I use the rock to hold the tripod from going into the water.  Just to make sure whilst taking the photo I have one hand very close to holding the tripod just in case the water takes the tripod and camera.  Very happy I made that decision as just before I go to take the next shot the wave comes in, drenches my jeans but missing the tripod and camera.  Time to pack up and head home.

After downloading my photos I am pleasantly surprised with the results but as with all things in life, mastering the techniques required is a work in progress and I can’t wait for the next opportunity to play again.

Close to my vision Black & White mist with rocks and water

Close to my vision
Black & White mist with rocks and water

Colour Versions  Left side - Abstract Pastels Right side - Colours of Sunshine

Colour Versions
Left side – Abstract Pastels
Right side – Colours of Sunshine

A few things I learned from today –  Looking at the RAW images I could have pushed the shutter speed to around 20 seconds and got a little better exposure straight out of camera.  I need a back up plan for viewing images and less clothing 😉 .  A few more tips when doing this type of photography, make sure when your camera is on a tripod you turn off any image stabilization on your lens and most importantly clean all your equipment when you get home from the beach – that includes giving your tripod a good long shower (yes, you heard right) as salt water and sand will damage and seize up your equipment real fast.

Until next week.

Kassy

Twirling – A Photoshop Craze

Welcome to another blog, my name is Kassy and whilst organising this weeks blog I must admit to you all, I was totally distracted (in a good way) by my mentor and Tutor, Sheryn of Photography Workshops and Retreats.  Sheryn shared an image she had created using the latest new craze in photoshop fun – it’s called Twirls or Twirling.  She then shared this link from SLR Lounge with a group of us and talked us through the tips she had picked up by trying it for herself.  I must warn you, it is seriously addictive (don’t say I didn’t warn you) – creating endless variations of abstract imagery – what’s not to love about that!

Well that was it, for the last 48 + hours we have all been totally addicted to Twirling – this technique actually makes you want to go out and shoot images specifically with this technique in your mind.

It is amazing how quickly you pick up the technique , there are really only 10 steps involved to achieve a final image but I can say after playing with 3 photos I have it stored to memory and I am just enjoying this creative play time.

Here are some of my efforts so far

Twirling such beautiful colours On the right is the starting image, total transformation

Twirling such beautiful colours
On the right is the starting image, total transformation

 

This is one of my favourites  A flower at the beach Twirl

This is one of my favourites
A flower at the beach Twirl

 

This is what happens when you Twirl a Portrait of Jaz

This is what happens when you Twirl a Portrait of Jaz

 

A shell Twirled

A shell Twirled

 

An abstract image already now apply the Twirl technique - amazing

An abstract image already
now apply the Twirl technique – amazing

Now, on a more serious note, I am currently working hard to bring my next creative, personal project to fruition all whilst organising the many things I need to have ready for RAW.

Having a mentor does keep me focused and on track, especially when preparing for an event like RAW.

Until next week.

Kassy