Category: Photography

Playing around with Plotagraph Pro.

Plotagraph Pro is a new tool that adds movement to still images.

I love the art and process of still photography, but can’t deny that movement draws the eye and the ability to add movement to an image presents an exciting opportunity to add a new dimension to the still photographer’s toolkit.

I first heard about Plotagraph Pro from a tweet or newsletter by Trey Ratcliff (can’t remember which), and have seen a small number of other photographers posting images they have enhanced with the tool.

Plotagraph Pro is a web based tool that works on all modern web browsers1, thus making it a tool that works on both macOS and Windows. On the flip side, this means that you can only use the tool when online, something that the travelling photographer can’t always achieve.

So far I’ve played around with a couple of my images, and I am quite happy with the potential.

The above image (The Surface from Below) was a single RAW image created on my Nikon D200 during a trip to Papua New Guinea. It is thus not a new image. It took a bit of playing around to get just the surface water to move, but once I worked out how to achieve this, I think the result is quite good.

This image was created last year near the spectacular Mont Saint-Michel in France. This took a bit of work to get just the clouds to move, and while I like this image, I want to get a bit more smoothness in the cloud movement.

Plotagraph Pro is currently in beta, and I am certainly impressed with the quality of the output. I will look forward to seeing some fine tuning of the user interface to get to the end result.

Personally I am very interested to see how Plotagraph develops, and how it spurns a new generation of photo editing applications. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll stick with this tool in this incarnation – it is very expensive2 for a tool that effectively performs one trick, especially when it is a trick that you might use on a small percentage of your images.

Trey Ratcliff has posted a good tutorial about using Plotagraph on his YouTube channel.

As an aside this is the first post I’ve made using Ulysses posting directly to my WordPress site. I’ve used Byword in the past, but there is a lot to love about Ulysses.

  1. I have found that Plotagraph Pro works much better in Chrome than in Safari.
  2. US$299 as a special offer for the beta program. For us in Australia this means software that costs over $400.

Istanbul Street Car

Istanbul Street Car

Istanbul Street Car

I had a wonderful opportunity to travel around the world last year, and one of the interesting cities we visited was Istanbul.

Unfortunately Istanbul has been in the news for all the wrong reasons recently – terrorism and attempted coups.

There were many aspects of Istanbul I found to be spectacular, not the least of which was the main street with the tramline running straight down the middle.

It was a great city for street photography.

Trey’s Peak And Lightroom Mobile goes RAW

There have been a couple of pretty interesting photography related things happening in the last week.

Trey’s Peak

Earlier this week photographer Trey Ratcliff and photography accessory designer Peak Designs launched a kickstarter campaign for four new photography bag designs – two backpacks, a ‘tote’ bag and a sling bag.

Their goal was to achieve $500,000 to get the Kickstarter campaign off the ground, and the campaign is set to run for 60 days.

This is Peak Design’s sixth Kickstarter (and their second with Trey Ratcliff), and they smashed the records with over $1 million in committed backers in under 24 hours.

Peak Designs have developed a range of wonderful photo accessories, and have basically funded product development through Kickstarters. I believe they have never taken external investors. They are a massive example of how crowd funding can provide a different funding model.

But the lesson is that it’s not easy or automatic. Peak Designs have set about building quality products for photographers, and have gained customer loyalty by delivering a great customer experience through those products. Along the way they have gained the attention and partnership of key photographic mavens like Trey who bring their audience together with Peak’s.

An overnight sensation, five plus years in the making.

Lightroom Mobile (iOS) gets RAW

I am pretty excited about this. The iPad Pro is my tool of choice for on the go computing (and has been for years, but making it work with my photo workflow has been a big gap.

That’s changing with Adobe announcing that Version 2.4 of Lightroom Mobile supports RAW, along with other enhancements such as local adjustment tools.

Location independent photographer Elia Locardi was part of the beta testing of Lightroom Mobile version 2.4.

When I was asked to test out the new Adobe Lightroom Mobile for iOS–to see how it would hold up to my on-the-road raw processing workflow–I decided there was only one logical thing to be done to ensure success. Take the project to Greece!

Elia’s experience seems to back up the idea that this is the start of something interesting in the iOS RAW photo workflow space.

While Adobe Lightroom Mobile doesn’t contain all of the editing features of Lightroom Desktop yet, all of the most important editing features are present.

Be sure to take a look at Elia’s post where he discusses those important editing features . Also, take a look at the Lightroom Mobile for iOS video he produced on location in Greece.

Blue Jetty

Blue Jetty

Blue Jetty by Des Paroz on 500px.com

With the sun set for the day, the crowds along Darwin’s shoreline had begun to go home, but some people stayed to enjoy the ‘blue hour’, a time when the sky provides some magical colour – if you keep an eye open for it. Or a lens….

This image is a composite of three images made while the camera was on a stable tripod, with each image being quite a long exposure, and then processed in Aurora HDR software.

The effect of the long exposures is to render a silky smoothness to what was actually a slightly choppy sea.

The blue hour is a great time for photography – different that the golden hour that occurs on the other side of the sun rise/set, and shooting both can provide some interesting variety in the space of a couple of hours.

As a matter of interest, compare this to ‘Red Jetty’, an image which was captured at the same location just as the sun was setting.

View this image on 500px or Flickr

A lesson re-learned

I sometimes wonder how often we have to re-learn a lesson we’ve previously learned. It can be an especially intriguing conundrum when we make a mistake that not only have we previously learned, but one for which measures have been put in place to minimise associated risks.

Recently I went out for some sunrise photography at Cullen Bay in Darwin, a picturesque bayside suburb with a marina and even a lock to allow the bay and marina to stay. It is a stunning location for sunrise photography, especially with an aspect that features the sun rising over the picturesque marina.

Cullen Bay

My preferred vantage point for such photos is on the corner of a boardwalk that extends out over the bay. The boardwalk is constructed of wooden boards that have a 3–5cm gap between them, so I tend to take care when fitting filters, lenses and other accessories to my rig.

In an effort to ensure I have what I need whenever I go for a shoot, and to ensure each piece is secured properly I have a standard way that I stow my gear, firstly in an inner bag, which then goes into a messenger bag or backpack, depending on the shoot. Stowing stuff is important to make sure I can find things quickly, and that it doesn’t fall out.

This time I took along a spare battery that I took out of the charger, and literally three into a top compartment of my backpack – not in the normal pocket I put batteries in on the insert bag. The top compartment is where I stow things like a flash unit and filter kits[1].

I carefully laid my backpack down on a table, setup my tripod and camera, and decided to add a graduated neutral density filter. With the backpack laid down I opened the top compartment, and straight away the spare battery fell out, bounced onto the boardwalk below, and then straight through a gap and into the water.

So the spare battery, not a cheap accessory, was quickly lost into Cullen Bay.

The lessons learned:

  1. Have a set way to stow gear for securing and quick retrieval.
  2. Use it consistently.

The lesson could have been more expensive. And it is a cheap lesson if I re-learn it, and apply the lessons consistently.


  1. I am actually looking for a better set up for stowing my filter kits, so will hopefully have a better approach sooner than later.  ↩

Chapel by the Sea

Chapel by the Sea by Des Paroz on 500px.com

The fishing village of Georgiopoulos in Crete was an interesting short photo adventure sortie from Souda Bay, one of our stops on Northern Trident 2015.

About an hour by taxi from Souda Bay, we went to Geogiopoulos for a single reason – to get sunset and blue hour photos of this little chapel that is literally on a little island in the bay, connected by a causeway that apparently can be all but underwater at high tide.

The chapel is the most famous feature of the town, and the night we visited there were a handful of others that made the trek out to the island.

The chapel was certainly a stunning photographic subject, and it was well worth the adventure to get there.

View this image on 500px or Flickr

Phare du Petit Minou

Phare du Petit Minou by Des Paroz on 500px.com

One of the landmarks clearly seen on entering the magnificent port of Brest in France is the lighthouse known as the Phare du Petit Minou.

For mariners of today and days past, lighthouses guide the way to safety around hidden dangers. A lighthouse seen from an appropriate distance can provide comfort, but a lighthouse seen from up close, too late, can bring sheer terror.

The symbolism of lighthouses cuts across many parts of life. There are few paths which have not been trodden by others before us, and in many cases those people left clues about dangers on the path, and routes of best passage. The clues are there for us, and by paying attention we can avoid dangers that others have faced.

This image was created at sunset, which was very late in the evening – around 10:30pm. The image was shot at f/16 with a shutter speed of 2 seconds on ISO 200. Obviously a tripod was the critical piece of equipment to ensure a good, sharp image.

My equipment for this image was my Panasonic Lumix GX–7 with the Olympus 12–40mm f/2.8 PRO lens and my trusty Really Right Stuff tripod.

View this image on 500px or Flickr

The Back Streets of Crete

During our visit to Crete in Greece, I had the opportunity to spend some time walking around the old city of Chania – a city which has been a part of both Greece and the Ottoman Empire over the centuries, although in the modern era it is firmly Greek.

I was really taken by the colourful meandering back streets, with the eclectic architecture, cobblestones, and the evident pride the people take in keeping the streets looking good.

I have to admit that I had few expectations for Crete, and was looking forward to visits to places like Istanbul. Chania was charming and pretty, and made for a great first stopover in our journey.

I would recommend it as a lovely, laid back place to visit, with a rich history and a beautiful cityscape and seascape.

View this image on 500px or Flickr

Valletta by Night

Valletta in Malta has to be one of the most stunning cities I’ve ever had the luck to visit.

Sailing into Valletta seemed a lot like arriving on a Game of Thrones set. It is a spectacular city in a beautiful nation, with a people that was very inviting.

I will add more images from Malta over time, but I would certainly recommend it as a place to visit.

View this image on 500px or Flickr

Trojan Odeum

Trojan Odeum

This odium (a smaller version of an amphitheatre) is part of the ruins excavated at the ancient city of Troy (Troia or Troya), located near Canakkale in Turkey.

Troy has multiple ‘layers’ of ancient cities, dating back to 3,000 BC, with this odium being in the relativelly recent ancient Roman ruins.

Canakkale was a great surprise for me. I expected it to be a logistics stop, and a stepping off point for a battlefields visit to Gallipoli, but found it to be so much more.

Apart from Troy, the Gallipoli visit was brilliant, and sobering, and the city of Canakkale was a pleasant place to wander around and explore.

Canakkale was also interesting in that it straddles two continents, with the main township on Asia, while just across the Dardanelles lies the European side of the city.

View this image on 500px, Ello or Flickr