Vatican Afternoon

Vatican Afternoon by Des Paroz on 500px.com

Rome, the eternal city, is an amazing place for photography. The thing about the capital city of Italy is that it a beautiful mix of the old and the new. Buildings that are hundreds, even thousands, of years old are still in daily use in a city that is also a modern world capital.

There are so many landmarks in Rome, but a great starting point for photography has to be the Vatican view along the Tiber River from Ponte Umberto I.

This magic view allows a composition with the Vatican on one of the ‘rule of thirds’ intersections, the Tiber River as a strong foreground feature and the Ponte Sant’Angelo and the sky framing the Vatican. In the evening the sun sets at the rear of the image, and the autumnal colours in this image really provide a balance to the greys of the architecture.

After our week on the Amalfi Coast, Ponte Umberto I was our first stop for sunset photography in Rome. This image was made before the sunset and contrasts well with a blue hour image made from the same position.

View this image on 500px or Flickr

Bringing Life to Still Images on iPad Pro with Plotagraph+

My passion is still photography – capturing wonderful landscapes, seascape, underwater and travel scenes is what inspires my photography. I have put together some short videos (mostly timelapse), but the truth of it is that still images grab me, and the challenge of creating an image that tells a story in the sort time a shutter is open is motivating.

Movement, however, catches the eye, and although a good still image can imply movement there are a number of emerging methods of bringing life to still images.

Since the middle of last year I have been Playing around with Plotagraph Pro as a way of bringing some animation to still images. I like the results, and Plotagraph Pro in that time has come out of beta, introduced new pricing tiers (including a free one) and started to rollout social sharing features.

The Plotagraphs website features some very impressive examples of Plotagraphs (Plotagraphy??) by some very talented image makers.

Recently the Plotagraph team, with the support of image makers like Trey Ratcliff, has released an iOS app called Plotagraph + which brings the functionality to mobile devices[1]. Alongside Affinity Photo for iPad this app is truly positioning the iPad Pro at the core of my on-the-go photo workflow.

I created this Plotagraph in a few short minutes on the iPad on Sunday afternoon.

Red Sky Blue Pools from Des Paroz on Vimeo.

The image below shows the edits I made to the original image

Plotagraph+ edits in progress on iPad
Plotagraph+ edits in progress on iPad

Essentially the green-dots-leading-to-red-dashed-lines-to-blue-arrowheads are what I set for the direction and speed of movement, and the red dots near the horizon are anchor points that prevent movement beyond them.

Plotagraph+ Pros

  • Easy (very easy) to use.
  • Easy output to video and animated PNG formats.
  • Price effective.

Plotagraph+ Cons

  • No output to animated GIF for simple sharing[2].
  • App crashes if you try to load a RAW file[3].
  • Only sharing option is through Photos. I'd love to be able to share to Dropbox or other galleries (such as Plotagraphs.com) more directly.

Final Thoughts

I love this app, and the promise it provides for a fun and easy way to give life to images. Like HDR[4] Plotagraphs will likely allow image makers to express their worldview in their own art, and of course beauty will be in the eye of the beholder. A lot of Plotagraphs will be good, some will be great and some will have faces that only the owner could love.

For me, a relatively small portion of my images will be Plotagraphs, but I will have fun creating and sharing some when it suits the image and the story I am trying to tell with it.

For more info on Plotagraph+ take a look at this video by Trey Ratcliff

Links to Sunrise

Links to Sunrise

Sunrise at Mahon Pool, near Maroubra in Sydney’s east.

The chain fence around the pool was the key feature for this image, and I used it to form the basis for the composition. The chain fence is a leading line through the photo, and the key linking feature—the link between the pool and the ocean, the link between night and day (sunrise), etc.

The ‘golden hour’ before sunrise is generally a magic time for photography. A site like Mahon Pool is magic on a slightly cloudy day at sunrise, with the intense redness being reflected into both the sea and the pool.

Not only is Mahon Pool a great spot for sunrise photography, it is also one of Sydney’s best shore dive spots, but only in a calm sea, due to the rather exposed entry and exit point.

View Links to Sunrise on 500px
View Links to Sunrise on Flickr

A Morning at the Opera

Sydney Harbour is one of the most scenic harbours in the world, at least in part due to some of the world famous landmarks like the Sydney Opera House.

The image was made from Milsons Point using a Nikon 18–200mm telephoto zoom. Finding the right position was challenging because I had to shoot under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

With the sun coming up somewhat behind the Opera House, I exposed three images and tone mapped them using HDR. A little bit of sharpening was also applied.

Sydney Harbour is a beautiful waterway, and I enjoy exploring different parts of it for sunrise and sunset.

See A Morning at the Opera on 500px
See A Morning at the Opera on Flickr

Cronulla Pools at Sunrise

Cronulla Pool at Sunrise

The pools around the beaches on the NSW coastline are stunning locations for photography—especially with the east coast sunrise.

There are dozens of these pools along the Sydney coast, with several picturesque ones at the southern suburb of Cronulla.

This image was made in April 2014 and really brought out the sunrise colours, and the contrast of the smooth waters in the pool with those of the ocean.

This was one of the first sunrise expedition with my Panasonic Lumix GX–7, with the one lens I am currently using—the 20mm non-zoom. I decided to learn the camera first before jumping into a variety of zooms.

View Cronulla Pool at Sunrise on Flickr

View Cronulla Pool at Sunrise on Google+

Early Light

The Australian War Memorial in Canberra is a wonderful celebration of the contributions and sacrifices by the Nation’s sailors, soldiers and airmen at home and abroad. Whilst war should not be celebrated, we should never forget the hardship and loss suffered in the name of our national interests.

The War Memorial has a spectacular straight line view to Parliament House. From the War Memorial visitors can see what was fought for – democracy and freedom. From Parliament House the government of the day can see the reminder of the sacrifices made for that.

This image was made pre-dawn on a cool Winter’s morning.

This is my first post using the new Flickr web embed functionality. Let me your thoughts on how it looks.

Welcome to Uepi

Welcome to Uepi by DesParoz
Welcome to Uepi, a photo by DesParoz on Flickr.

Getting to Uepi Island Resort is an adventure in itself – it is one of the most hidden away places you can imagine. First you must fly to Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands. Then a domestic flight to Seghe. Then a short walk through bush to the water’s edge where you board a "motorised canoe" for the 40 minute ride to the very edge of Marovo Lagoon where Uepi is situated.

Marovo Lagoon is the world’s largest natural lagoon, and Uepi is on its very edge, near where it meets a deep ocean area called "The Slot".

This is the Welcome Jetty at Uepi.

Uepi is isolated, wonderful and spectacular. I think it would be my single favourite diving destination.