Daughters of the Northern Coast

model,australia,mp,greenscreen

The purpose of this post is about exploring how to build an image to tell a story.

We’ve all heard the expression “a picture tells a thousand words” – it’s actually an average 83 (that I read in some research somewhere) but the number doesn’t really matter.  The facts are most of us are primarily visual and some pics communicate more effectively than others, that there are photos that speak millions and others little.

Ideally as a photographer you want to get as much as possible shot in the camera so to cut down post production time but that is not always possible or practical.

Below is a photo composite of three different photos – our model, the landscape and the old car.  On their own each image is OK but not a thousand words worth –  the elements joined to create a story that hopefully resonates with your audience and worth much more.

  • The model shot in a green screen studio in Sydney,
  • The car located on the highway near Sawtell on the North Coast and
  • The background landscape around Boorowa  NSW.

There is a caveat – the time to create a composite image is about ten fold  –

With every piece of communication you need to ask what message do you want to convey?

James Reyne is playing at our local club in a few weeks time -as teenagers during the 80’s we grew up listening, dancing and singing to Aussie Crawl on our surf trips up to the Northern Coast of NSW.  Sons of Beaches and Daughters of the Northern Coast.  Music an inspiration.

Sunset Over a Golden Sea Sunset Over a Golden Sea Photo by Scott Maxworthy maxymedia

We were down at Boorowa in mid south west NSW yesterday to do some filming for Ottoboca (my foodie project) with the Sam’s from Sam’s Paddock Butcher – simply beautiful tasting, high quality, pasture fed Angus beef.

This pic yet another example of the stunning beauty of our country – the late afternoon sun creeping through the clouds and washing the fields, gum trees and an old abandoned building (look closely) in golden light.

Boys toys

A Day In The Studio

Back In Bali – looking with new eyes

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This short blog post is about our recent trip back to Bali. We (my loving partner Kim and I), try and get up to Bali at least once a year – it’s close (about a 5 1/2 flight from Sydney), cheap (roughly a third the cost of Sydney living), warm, safe, comfortable and familiar – which is what you want for a pure R&R break.

From a photography point of view this annual trip gives me a chance to see if my photographic style and technique has improved – to try and shoot many of the same things but with different eyes.

As you’ll see some of the shots of done some pretty heavy processing, others I’ve just converted to black and white and some I haven’t had to do a thing.

Bali Accommodation

This time we’re staying in a villa up at Legian, Pondok Ernita – we arrive at around 10PM – the last hour and a bit at the brand new airport they’ve rushed to have ready for the APEC conference.  There’s still a few bugs at the airport to work out!

The villa is nice, big, private and we’re close to the beach, restaurants, bars and shops (important for my Kim).  The cost difference is neglible when you consider the savings of not having to eat and drink out every day. There are basically two villas with a shared pool. My only complaint would be the small television – which is just a minor complaint – honestly I’d be just as happy without a TV on holidays but there are also times when you just want to relax and watch tele after a day of too much sun.  The lovely Marti is our house keeper and keeps everything ship shape while her husband Wyan the gardens and pool beautiful.   We’ve also good wi-fi which is probably the most critical requirement in today’s tech mad world – sad but true.

Bali Beach Dogs

The Bali beach dogs are still here and they are a lot healthier than they were thirty years ago.  Dog lovers like Franci from I Love Bali Dogs feed the pups each day (with the kind support of donations), find them homes (sometimes overseas) and work with sympathetic beach boys and local vets.  The Government is cracking down on beach dogs making sure they have rabies shots.

Surf

For many the Bali experience is about the beach, golden sunsets and a cold Bintang. It was the long big tubes of Uluwatu/ Padang Padang that started the initial Aussie surfer invasion way back in the late sixties and seventies.  Today surfing is as much mainstream as is Bali – from the young Aussie grommets on their first overseas surf trip; g-string wearing Euro blokes and babes at “Surf Schools” to grandpa hippies in search of the lost years.

Change

Shooting iconic landmark Tanah Lot is like photographing the Sydney Opera House, Bondi Beach or The Bridge.  The challenge is how do you shoot so it’s different and striking.  I opted for some long exposures and HDR’s (which nearly got me washed away by a large rogue wave).

 

Development

The new 12.5 km tollway connects Nusa Dua with the new airport and Sanur cutting travel time my more than 70%

Man time and Women Shopping

I’d drop Kim off at a street full of shops then head down to the nearest beach bar to write.  Several hours later she’d call to be picked up.

Note: If you ever need a bike, car or driver in Bali then highly recommend my friend Forrest at Bali Sriti Car Rental (Facebook link)

 

Funky Soul – some Tips on Live Band Photography

An email enquiry through – I was asked to shoot some live band shots in an inner City pub. I mentioned to Anthony – one of the guys in the band, as a part-time muso myself I know how hard it is to get good band shots (as I’m usually playing and also our band photographer) and would be keen to do the job.  

A couple of days later the booking was made and gig details provided.  The venue was the Sly Fox Hotel in Enmore on Thursday night – the band “King For A Day” would be on from 8:30PM-10:30PM.  Actually at first I thought the band was called “Underground Bingo” because a search on the web revealed that as the nights listed entertainment event.  


A further search on the Sly Fox says it’s a gay and lesbian bar – OK, this WILL be something different I thought to myself – I had visions of Priscilla Queen of The Desert

Pre preparation:

Like all new photography challenges I like to research to get some best practice tips.   

My most important tip –

  • Get some ear plugs – you’ll be shooting right up the front and often in front of the speaker stack.

  • Camera Ready – before any gig double check all your equipment – lens and cameras checked and cleaned; cards formatted; all batteries charged.  Yes, I was once through a shoot and my spare was completely battery was flat.  

  • Backup – I now take two camera bodies with me for all event shoots – with event gigs (wedding; sports; corporate; band) there’s only one chance to grab the shots and you’re completely stuffed if your camera packs it in mid gig.

  • A good, easy to access, waist camera bag would be great.

The Event

I arrive at the venue at 8PM as the band is setting up and introduce myself.  The room reminds me of the good old Aussie pub stages we had in the 80’s and 90’s.  I use this time to do some test shots to get an idea of exposure.  “Underground Bingo” is the main event – a heavy tattooed, sunnies wearing, terrets afflicted but, often humourous beatboxing bingo caller and a skinny dude in a flash 70’s suit.   The bingo prizes are equally different – a couple of nurf guns, a plant terrarium and an original native indian dinner plate.

While bingo is in full swing we grab some late notice cover shots in the poster spattered alley way behind the pub.  Time is short and I choose a street light as my key light.

M - 2Photo by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

Technical:

  • I nearly always shoot in Manual mode – I spot meter the available light; shoot some tests and constantly check shots during the gig  – there’s just too many things that can throw out the camera’s auto functions.  Use your viewer and histogram. Remember the “more light to the right” of your histogram contains the most photo data.

  • Dump the flash and shoot high ISO – it’ll add grain but your flash won’t wash out the stage lights.  You can reduce the noise in post production.

  • Also big apertures – more light but a shallower depth of field. I shot most of the following images at ISO 6400 f/2.8 and 1/90 sec.

  • Shoot RAW.  Warning.  I went a bit crazy and shot nearly a thousand images for this gig – that’s a lot of hard disk space.  Are the shots just going onto the web or will prints be made?  

  • Lens – I’ve my trusty f/2.8 17-35mm wide (on a full frame) and my f/4.0 24-105mm portrait lens.  I’d love a good fast prime lens.

We’re back before the first half of bingo ends “33 – tit’s and arse” says Bingo beat box man.  “Bingo!” cries the young hipster and goes straight for the nerf gun prize.


Now time to shoot.

Sponsor Activitation- “Instagram Pro” and A Studio In A Box

In the old days you’d shoot a polaroid and give it to the customer.  Today – we shoot; tag and share.

Studio in a box (and a bag)

Saturday – I’m shooting a corporate marketing event gig today (I’ve had three days notice) – the shoot requires me to setup a mobile photography studio at the end of a red carpet to create a “media event” like customer experience.

The photos will be branded with the sponsors message and sent to the guest (via MMS) – before they’re seated – well that’s the theory!

I don’t want to talk about my experience with Telstra over the last few days trying to get this sorted but just to say – that it was much faster to deal with Telstra through Twitter than their website and phone.

We’re at WIN Stadium down at Wollongong.  Parking is 200m from the venue; access is limited and setup time is less than an hour so I have to get everything into into one case (and a bag) for rapid deployment.  

Far out – the case weighs about 60kgs – there’s about 10kgs in sandbags; six light stands; two LED 18′ lights; four strobes; batteries; a strong tripod; power leads and clips.  The LED’s will give me some rim lighting but they’re really just there for “red carpet” effect. 

My camera bag is packed with two cameras (one for safety); four batteries; laptop; lens and cables – there’s about 15 kgs in there as well.

Fingers crossed it all works.

Post Event

The corporate guests were photographed with one of the team’s brand ambassadors (Wendell Sailor; Dean Young, Ben Craig; Shaun Timmins; Mark Gasnier) and the sponsor mascot. These photos then branded with the sponsor message and sent ASAP to the guest’s mobile via MMS with a phone number and hyperlink. In the majority of cases we were able to send these before they sat down at their table.

My Iphone personal hotspot died 1/2 way through the gig but I was able to quickly tap into the venues media WiFi network.

Guests then shared on social media.

 

book Page 1-Edit.jpgPhoto by Scott Maxworthymaxymedia

 

We could have probably shot the whole thing on a Iphone/ Ipad but we wanted professional shots (lighting; resolution; glass) and not tie up the camera while editing and sending the shots.

With more time/ budget I’d do some smarter things with URL’s for tracking purposes and maybe tie in an intergrated Facebook Fan Page campaign element.

 

Client: Always Co / St George Illawarra Dragons

Agency: Creative Stars