Fleeing India, Luminar 4 and shooting flowers (and potatoes).

This post is being writing from New Zealand whilst under ‘supervised lockdown’. This comes from the NZ Government’s superbly planned emergency exit from India. Supervised lockdown is turning out to be a life of luxury in a very nice hotel in Christchurch. The meals are so good I am considering taking up food photography. Freedom is limited for the next two weeks, putting street and travel photography well out of reach, so brace yourself for photos of an empty carpark!

On fleeing India, I did manage to take a few snaps of the airport, deserted streets, and Covid 19 signs. I also managed to bust the focus joystick on my Sony A7iii. This trip is going to be expensive.

An Empty Airport
Mumbai Street Signs…
Only One Plane Leaving Mumbai…

Luminar 4

If you look carefully at the photo of the Covid 19 sign, you may see something is not quite right. The photo is a ‘cheat’ as I changed the sky. I have also done this in the photo below. Changing the sky is a difficult task in Photoshop, and something I am unlikely to try. But this task is a breeze when using Luminar 4. Doing this feels like cheating, and is not something I intend to make part of my everyday workflow. For the two photos included in this post (the second image is posted below), the skies used are not even my photos. I guess for travel photography I may start collecting fantastic images of skies for use with Luminar 4, we will see. However, I can’t see this practice as something that can be undertaken for Street Photography. At the moment the juries out on how I feel about replacing skies. But it is a fun tool to play with whilst under lockdown!

Bus ride to Mumbai. Sky replaced in Luminar 4! You will probably see this sky in many other photos that are posted online.. I think the software loses something around the electricity pylon.

Nothing But Flowers (and Potatoes)

Well to round of this extremely exciting blog post I will fill you in with my current project. Flowers. Not normally a flowers guy, but I’m walking round a garden everyday and that is what I see, so that is what I will shoot. There are people, but there is an odd atmosphere around the place and I have not yet become courageous enough to ask the people guarding the facility for a snapshot!

One competition that has caught my eye is the Potato Photographer of the Year Award. This is judged by non-other than Magnum’s Martin Parr. The competition raises money for the Trussell Trust Charity and costs a fiver to enter, so a bit of a bargain. There is also a chance to win a camera, which would be useful since I bust mine on the journey to NZ!

A Flower on PagesPics?! Don’t get used to it. Here I am playing with some Lightroom Presets, curtesy of Trey Ratcliff.

Well that may well be the first and last photo of a flower you will see on this blog, but who knows, everything is changing at the moment! Next week I may have a photo of a potato to share. While you are here, please take the opportunity to support this blog through ‘buy me a coffee‘, a platform that helps support artists and bloggers. Details at the end of this post.

That is all for now folks, now I’m off to find a potato.

Keep Clicking, Chris

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Photography and Covid-19

Wow – what a click-bait title, obviously designed to create panic purchases of memory cards and lens cleaning wipes. Like it or not, the Corona Virus is now having an impact on many people, and it may be time to think about keeping yourself safe when out taking photos. Obviously, I am not writing as a medical expert, so don’t take anything too seriously!

I’m avoiding this for a while!

My home in Bangalore is now affected and primary schools have been closed. India is obviously not immune and new cases are popping up daily. Looking further afield, Sony has reported that it is struggling to make new sensors. Fujifilm are having issues manufacturing parts for its new camera line up, and Canon are unable to fulfil orders for some of their latest lenses. Finally, numerous photography conventions have been cancelled. It looks like 2020 could be a year not to purchase new gear.

On a personal note

I was due a trip to Bangkok for a convention this month. This has now been cancelled. My plan was to photograph the iconic Central Train Station, which would have been a progression from the Bruce Gilden style of photography I usually practice along Soi Cowboy and the like (getting over that phase now…). At home, the advice has been to avoid crowds, so I will not be heading to the downtown markets for the foreseeable future.

Budha @ Nana Plaza/ Bangkok

Covid-19 is no reason to quash our passion for photography, so without final ado, here are 5 ways we can survive the Corona Virus.

5 Alternative Photography Ideas

  • Work on a home studio.

If you already have a flash for your camera, then it does not cost much to build a home studio. A simple backdrop, light stand, softbox and umbrella will cost less than $100. Stay at home and work on getting photos of your family. The photo below was created using one speedlight and a softbox. When I finish with my studio it all packs away and fits under the bed.

Taeko Page – One of my first home studio family portraits.
  • Head out of town, not into town.

This is my current plan. Heading out of town means less crowds and more space. In Bangalore there are 100’s of locations within an hour drive. My market project is now on hold. The image below is of a Holy Bull Walker. The bull was born in a temple, it will be dressed and decorated, then used to collect offerings.

Rural life has less people and may be a safer location for photography
  • Product and Macro Photography

This has never been on high on my list of priorities. One exception is the classic photo of a piece of fruit splashing into water. I may go for a strawberry splashing into milk if I get quarantined for long enough. This option is for when boredom seriously sets in. I also need to create a new selfie for my social media sites.

  • Enter competitions.

Every cloud has a silver lining, and not going out is going to save lots of money. This money could be spent on competition entries. Is this an opportunity to focus on winning an award or photography grant? F Stop magazine features a comprehensive list of available challenges for various photographic genres.

  • Work on a blog site

I cannot help but notice my own blog site is starting to look dated. In the next few weeks I may get time to delete older, and out of date posts. There are photos in my project collections which need to be re-sized. I still need to move my site from wordpress.com to wordrpess.org (which I tried with Bluehost, who were a huge pain in the bum). Blogging is a rewarding experience, and something I believe all photographers should try. Most sites will have a free, or very cheap option to get you started.

Bonus Idea – Read Books!

Stuck for reading? Here are three books that may get your photographic juices flowing…

  • Photography Masterclass. Creative Techniques of 100 Great Photographers, Paul Lowe, Thames & Hudson
  • Fifty Paths to Creative Photography, Michael Freeman, Octopus Publishing Group
  • Larry Fink, On Composition and Improvisation, Larry Fink, aperture

Are you affected by the Covid-19, and if so, how are you keeping sane? Feel free to drop me a note below.

Take care and keep clicking, Chris

If you enjoy following this blog, then please feel free to head over and buy me a coffee! Blogs take time and money, and your continued support is appreciated.