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James & Sumi’s swan valley portraits

Swan Valley portraits for a couple planning their wedding

We met with James and Sumi for some swan valley portraits as they were in the process of preparing for their upcoming Swan Valley Wedding. This lovely couple joined us for an afternoon at Bells Rapids in the Swan Valley.

The spring weather is finally here, get your camera out

With the spring weather finally hitting, we found that we were not the only ones there this particular day. The beautiful native bushland was swamped with people, hiking through the bush and some even paddling down the river and through the rapids.

With the spring weather finally hitting, we found that we were not the only ones there this particular day. The beautiful native bushland was swamped with people, hiking through the bush and some even paddling down the river and through the rapids.

Bells rapids is a wonderful spot for portraits in the Swan Valley

Taking photographs at Bells rapids is one of my favourite things to do. Whether it be a Pre-wedding portrait like this or perhaps some personal landscapes, I love it just the same.


Being natural with couple at a pre-wedding photo shoot

When I am blessed with a lovely couple to join me there and enjoy the views together , I tend to become really motivated to make creative images. I love how couples can be really natural with each other and they always seem really happy when we are surrounded by natural settings.

Pre wedding couple getting some Swan Valley portraits

James and Sumi enjoying a spring day in the swan valley

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Wedding portraits for a camera shy couple

I heard from the grapevine that Tom is a little camera shy, while the bubbly personality of Renee loves to shine. Well after spending the day with them on their Wedding I discovered that only 50% of this was correct. You can look at the photos for yourself and tell me what part you think is correct.

It was only a few weeks ago that Tom & Renee met me early one morning for some customary pre wedding portraits. That particular morning we braved the cool fresh wind and hiked up to Stathams quarry to watch the sun rise. Well to keep the story short, the sun didn’t rise that morning, but we did get some amazing pre wedding portraits which you can find at this link. Tom and Renee are definitely in love, and after a little while they began to love my camera. Lets skip forward a little bit

So the day finally arrived and what a beauty it was. The Wedding was the day before April fools day but there was no joke about it at all. The only funny thing, if you want to call it that is the fact that poor old Tom had suffered a fracture in his knee and would have to hobble around on his Wedding day, eventually finding a walking cane in our adventure in the pine forrest.

Tom & Renee celebrated their Wedding with family and friends making the large journey from far and wide including Sydney and New Zealand, and the weather turned on a treat. Now its not everyday that a Bride and Groom chooses a Thursday for their Wedding. From a professional photographers point of view its actually pretty good, it free up a day from the usually busy weekend and the only thing you really have to deal with is the weekday traffic. Now this was a small problem as we ventured to our Photographic locations while busy commuters picked up children from school and drove home from work, while a convoy of 4 vehicles containing bridal party made their way to our secret spots.

Tom and Renee were sealed in a private ceremony at the LDS Temple in Yokine. In this sacred ceremony they were sealed together as Husband and Wife for time and all eternity. The sacredness of this ceremony has a strong significants to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints, and photographs are only permitted outside of the holy temple.

The family enjoyed some snapshots with the Bride and Groom as they exited the Temple and then we made our way to a quiet spot in the Gnangara Pine forest for some Bridal party photographs before enjoying cracking a bottle of non-alcoholic bubbly at Kafarela’s Vineyard in the Swan valley. Finally things wrapped up with a lovely warm reception in the hall of the Warwick LDS chapel.

Now by the way if you want to know, it takes at least 6 goes at jumping to get the bridal party to jump in sequence.1 12 13 14 15

Anzac Day

Anzac day – from a Photographers viewpoint

Anzac day is one of those special occasions, you know the ones. The ones that bring a smile and a tear to your eye at the same time, where silence for a small moment feels like eternity and can help bring back countless memories and emotions in the blink of an eye.

The Dawn service scramble

For the past few years we have been getting up early in the morning to attend the dawn service at Blackboy hill. This site was once a training camp for the early Anzacs, and holds a special place in history. Our kids have ben eager although very tired to get up and go to the dawn service, and we see many of our family and friends there. There is also a fantastic group of volunteers that put on hot drinks, scones and Anzac cookies for the people braving the cold mornings.

Well this morning wasn’t that cold, but due to baby having a rough night, we had a bit of a sleep in. In fact Baby, Kembry and Mesha didn’t get up at all, While Cumoram and I scrambled for the door to get there before it finished. This year seemed to be even more packed than previous years, but it was great to see such wonderful support.

Marching with pride

After attending the Dawn Service, the family and I caught the train into the city to watch the Marching Parade. This was an event that we would attend regularly when we were younger, especially when my Grandpop was alive and would March with the other returned soldiers. We would march with him often, which was a great delight to us. Dad really got into it too and so Anzac day has always been a special day for us as a family.

One year I went to March and took my younger cousin Paddy out with me to be alongside our Grandpop. Well the West Australian newspaper thought that would be a great shot and so they snapped a picture of us to be published in the paper.

A portrait of my Grandparents

Another great memory is of a very early portrait I did of my Grandpop and my Grandma sitting together at Langley reserve  after the march and while we waited for the main service to begin. I loved that moment and still have the photo I took of them those many years ago. I had given them a framed picture of it as a gift and it was the one thing I asked to have back from them when they passed away. It holds a very special meaning to me.

This year we found a spot to watch the parade down by the Bell tower. We met with friends Tim and Jess Batten and took in with us Jessy Fallon. Jessy and Cumoram road their scooters around most of the time, but Kembry and Jairom had great joy sitting and watching the soldiers and marching bands in full motion. I snapped a few pictures of the day and processed them as Black & White images. I love black and white photography especially on days like Anzac day. Its a great way to show expression without the colour distraction.

As I saw these men and women march, I saw many things in their faces. Many carried scarring of what they had been through or what they had seen. They also had a look of dignity and pride. As I looked at their expressions I wondered what they thought now. I hope they have a place in their heart of peace and joy, knowing that what they did those many years ago has been of great benefit to us and our kids. Because it has. We live in a land of peace and plenty, where we have liberty to choose. Our freedom is our greatest blessing. Sometimes we moan and groan of our circumstances, but we are so blessed and have so much. And we OWE so much to those who have fought for our freedom and prosperity. To all those ANZACS and all those affected by the sacrifices of their family in the past, I would like to say THANK YOU….. LEST WE FORGET.

I hope these black and white photographs tell a story and find meaning in your heart

Just a quick preview of some pics from Anzac day 2012. A full blog of images  soon. LEST WE FORGET!!!

Bunbury Family Photography

Bunbury Family Photography – Incredible session prices

Bunbury family photography sessions are available for south west families. Do you live in the Bunbury region and are you looking at getting that next special family portrait on the wall?

Book your 2015 family portrait with one of Western Australia’s most prolific and evolving family portrait photography studios.

Dezire Studios is renowned for their high quality presentations and family photograph collections.Your family portraits are not just pictures; they are a story of life, love and laughter.

 South West home

For many years Dezire Studios was primarily based in Bunbury and serviced the South West region of Western Australia. Each year we offer a little something back to our old South West home.

Portrait photography sessions are normally an hour-and-a-half adventure. They are a very intimate and special experience. Your portrait will be candid and natural and will capture your lifestyle and personality.

Let Western Australia’s premier on location portrait specialist tell your story with a set of beautiful family photographs that you will treasure for your family heritage.

Big Promotion

As a special for Bunbury and surrounding areas, Dezire Studios will be running a special promotion in the beautiful month of April.

Family Portrait session fees will only be $50 (a huge saving from the standard $175 fee). Plus families will receive 30% of our wall print range. Your only commitment is the purchase of either a wall print or family lifestyle album

Book Now

The session fee includes an on location family portrait session and a same week viewing session to choose images for your wall.

Family portrait sessions will be held between the 15th – 17th April 2015. There are 5 sessions available only so book now to avoid disappointment.


bunbury family photography





Judging digital entries

Preparing Digital entries for Photography competitions –

Judging digital entries for photography awards can be a complex process. The main reason is for the diversity of art and the subjective viewpoint that can be taken for each an every photograph.

Since being involved in judging photography award I have seen a variety of different elements that can influence the way in which a photograph is judged.

Film V Digital

Early on I saw may film produced photographs presented as a print for judging. This meant that the final presentation including printing choices of paper, colour and even size came into consideration.

The art of printing

Printing is an art in itself and always has been. In this day and age printing has taken on a whole different meaning with so much control moved from the darkroom to the digital darkroom.

Each year when preparing for the professional photography award, countless hours are consumed on fine tuning the final print. Test printing is not just a thing of the past.

Paul Dowe of Paul Dowe Galleries, my close business associate would tirelessly in producing magical print results to match our photography skills. In some way I believe this is the complete photographic process.

A Digital world

Apart from professional photography awards, where most of the entries are printed, most photography competitions call for digital entries. This encourages more entries from participants because of the low overhead cost of producing the final image.

We use digital cameras now and work in a digital darkroom, so it makes sense in many ways for the final presentation to digital too.

Challenges in Judging digital entries.

My personal opinion is that there are some challenges with judging digital images. The first being, that as a judge there is just so many more entries to judge.

Often I am finding that entrants are presenting not only their best work but also images they are not sure of hat they want critiqued for personal feedback. It’s a great way to broaden you skills.

The other challenge for digital entries in photography competitions is the viewing platform.

Photography in a new direction

In professional photography circles, photographic prints are presented under a specific and constant light setting. Photographers work hard to reproduce the most please results to be viewed under those lighting conditions.

Photographs are carefully printed and prepared so that the judge and other viewers can enjoy the image that has been created and compare the image evenly against other entries.

Getting it right for the screen

With digital entries it becomes more difficult to reproduce the image on the viewing screen identically as seen on your screen when editing.

As a Photography judge it becomes more difficult to determine what is correctly exposed, how much detail is actually within the black and whether an image has good tonal range. ( I will share another post on these elements soon).

Keeping with the rules

These elements are an important consideration when judging photographic quality and are just as important as rule of thirds, leading lines and generally good exposures. In it is in the final control and detail that we are able to micro adjust and lift the quality of the photographs we take.

Tools for finer results

Professional photographers and accomplished amateur photographers alike are taking correctly exposed photographs with sound compositions and refining those more precise techniques to present beautifully crafted photographs.

Learning the secrets

Tools like Photoshop are important in the final process. Dezire Studios and Paul Dowe Galleries combine to teach people the finer tips in photography and image making, including the important printing process and preparing digital files for photography competitions (and facebook album galleries too).

You can check out some of our photography workshops and the accompanying critique and training sessions here at Wildlight tours.

digital entries



The good in closing remote communities?

The good in closing remote communities?

What good is there in the West Australian government closing remote communities? Absolutely none!! Closing remote communities is wrong.

What I have come to believe, through my experiences, as a professional travel photographer is that culture is important and difference is ok. My journey through remote communities in outback Australia is no exception.

Photography in remote communities

I’ve got to admit, I have witnessed some wonderful things. I love photography, and I love documenting events and occasions. My lens and camera sensor are the tools that allow me to document and illustrate people’s life stories.

For the most part my camera is used to photograph couples getting married or families having portraits taken for their family history. But often I find myself telling the story of everyday people and their every day life.


Remote communities

Turtle hunters search for food in remote communites



Protesting the foreclosure

In light of this week’s protests against the foreclosure of remote communities, I have decided to share a series of experiences that have led me to personally believe that this is a terrible mistake.

I want to share more of my stories and experiences from my time living in remote communities. I was fortunate enough to document with my camera the lifestyles of these amazing people and this amazing culture that we are still privileged to see living here in Australia.

Photography Exhibition

The photographs I was able to produce from this exploration were exhibited as a body of work at the Australian Professional Photography awards. The reception for the exhibited portfolio was overwhelming. The series of images and photographs were judged and awarded national runner-up photographic album of the year.

Remote communities

Closing remote communities destroys the oldest living culture


Living off the land

For 9 weeks we lived in one of these remote communities in Arnhem Land Northern Territory, which is very similar to the remote communities being closed in Western Australia . Ramingining is about 8 hours from Darwin.

This was a rich and memorable experience for our family, one that we will treasure for many years to come. For me personally it was exposure to the oldest living culture.

My family and I arrived in this remote community with many life experiences. We had previously travelled to countries all over the world and had spent 7 months exploring outback Australia, living in our camper trailer.

Nothing could prepare us for the once in a lifetime experience of living with Yolngu people in East Arnhem Land.

Although we came as complete strangers to this community we were warmly welcomed. The first thing we noticed is that things were different. Remote communities operate completely differently from the mainstream living conditions we had ever lived in or visited.

Was this a bad thing? NO, certainly not! And yes, there were things that we were not prepared for at all.

Remote communities

Families living on remote communities have much to teach modern culture about resourcefulness and hard work


Cultural differences

My personal curiosity really set in and I became determined to discover more about this land and the people that dwelt here. One of the first things we noticed is that our languages were different. However, rather than me making efforts to communicate in their language while in their land, the people graciously made efforts to speak to me in English.

From this point on I made an effort to try to learn some of the basics of their language, and I wanted to experience living the way they did. Of course, I know I wouldn’t be able to fully accomplish this during my short stay, but I wanted to make an authentic and genuine effort towards it.

The more effort I made, the more receptive the people became to me. They were already so happy, friendly and kind, but now they viewed this as an effort to educate me on their culture and their way of living.

Nothing wasted, Nothing taken for granted.

Within the first few days I gained an appreciation for their culture and lifestyle. Here, I discovered a community that were truly grateful for every breath of life they had. Nothing was taken for granted.

Just like my city suburban community, there were problems, some similar and some different. But what was completely different was the people of these remote communities live for life, they all contributed in some way to their family, people and community. They were resourceful and showed gratitude. Gratitude for their land, for their food and for life in general.

Another stolen generation

Why is this radical step being taken in this day and age and with all these years of disastrous failed policies as evidence? What good do we think we are doing for these people in the remote communities? What other problems are we going to open ourselves up for in the future when hindsight proves these policies to be a failure again?

After all, isn’t it owed to the people of these remote communities that they can abide in their original lands according to their tradition, as their forefathers have?

If we refuse to call it an invasion over 200 years ago, what do we call this now?

One thing is for sure, I know that the people making these decisions have never set foot in these remote communities personally. And if they have, their eyes were blindfolded so they have yet to experience the rich and rewarding experience that can await them. No one who has experienced this would ever dream of closing these communities down.

Swan valley Wedding

The Swan valley Wedding of Jarom & Remy

Jarom & Remy are finally getting married (so all their family and friends say) and we are the lucky professional photographers . This lovely couples wedding day has crept up so quickly, and now it is only a day away.

Weddings in the month of march are spectacular. The heat is normally just about over and the light is stunning. Its definitely a popular month for brides and grooms to get married.

The Bride and Groom are having a beautiful Swan valley Wedding ceremony and reception at Sandalford Winery (we love shooting swan valley weddings). The boys will get all dressed up in Butler while the girls will doll up in Sorrento. Can’t wait to share some of their beautiful swan valley wedding.

For now here is a fresh look at the images we photographed in the pine forrest for their pre wedding ‘Love Bird shoot’.

Now the big question for tomorrows big wedding day. Will it rain during their outdoor ceremony?

Swan valley Wedding

Jarom & Remy’s Love Bird shoot

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Award winning professional photographer

Breaking news Brook Desmond becomes Award winning professional photographer.

28th April 2013 – Brook has recently become an award winning professional photographer at the WAPPA’s (Western Australian Professional Photography Awards. Earlier this Month at the state Professional Photography awards, Brook tasted sweet success for the studio by collection a handful of prestigious photography awards.

The Photography awards – The awards are part of the Australian Institute of Professional photographers annual calendar and include entries from all professional photographers all over WA including regional and internationally residing photographers.

The West Australian Professional Photography awards is open only to practicing professional photographers who attain the highest standard of work and maintain ethical business standards and moral conduct (see the award winning entries here).

The judging process – The intense judging process was completed over a week long process with acclaimed national and international judges carefully selecting the winning images. Success was tasted early in the week, with Brook awarded 2 silvers for his wedding prints, 1 silver for his family portraiture print, and 2 silvers  and 1 gold for his travel prints .  He was also awarded a silver for his wedding album.

Winners announced – As the week concluded the Australian professional photography institute hosted an overall awards night where Brook revived awards for best overall print in travel, runner up travel photographer of the year, runner up Wedding album of the year and was then awarded the John Whitfield King memorial award which is the highest and most prestigious individual award for a professional photographer for excellence in portraiture. This award was given for a depiction of indigenous youth playing in the dream-time dusts of an Arnhem Land community. To see all of Brooks winning entries click this link

Exhibitions – This image will feature in an exhibition later in the year in which Brook documents the life of the Yolgnu people in a remote indigenous community in coastal Arnhem Land.
Brook is planning a full traveling exhibition from his travel images and teamed up with his associate Paul are running photography workshops in Western Australia and Bali later this year.
Award Winning travel print, award winning professional photographer

Winner of the John-Whitfield King memorial award for excellence in Portraiture

Love Bird shoot

Love Bird shoot

Known as our “Love Bird” shoot, our complimentary  pre wedding portrait is a great way to become comfortable with your photographer and as a couple in front of the camera before having us professionally photograph your Wedding day. The beautiful images created in this session are perfect for engagement displays, wedding invitations and wedding guest books. Please speak to us about your Wedding and engagement requirements. You can find some great ideas for this shoot on Pinterest and have a look at some of our favourites for inspiration before your session.

Follow Brook’s board Pre Wedding portraits on Pinterest.

Love bird session

Lovebird session

family photo shoot locations

Family photo shoot locations

A Safe Location:

If you are planning a family photo shoot at an outdoors location, it pays to pick a good location that is safe and suitable. It is also very important that the location is friendly to the family in the portraits and that right lighting can be achieved for you photo shoot.

Backdrops that compliment:

Our family photo shoots are held in an outdoor environment. One that has a natural and pleasant background – a backdrop that compliments you as the subject but does not dominate the portrait. One that creates a happy and fun environment. A good location is important to the way your portrait is lit and how it looks overall.

Good light and no distractions:

Dezire Studios brings many years experience photographing in outdoor locations for family photo shoots. Our team will guide you to a suitable location for your family portrait. Beautiful locations are not always suitable for a family photo shoot or portrait session. Distractions such as crowds, bad light and working distance may impact the look and feel of you family photo shoot.

Follow these guideline when choosing a location for a family photo shoot.

  • Beachscape: A beach,lake or river location that usually offers a bank and water in the vicinity. Perfect for natural, playful portraits. Best time is late afternoons just before sunset or twilight sessions.
  • Bushscape: A location with natural rocks, logs, trees and scrubs. Great all-round location for playful, natural, and traditional portraits. Suitable for morning and afternoon sessions
  • Parkscape: Similar to Bushscape but generally has manicured grass, gardens and trees. As long as there is lots of shade, this can be good for early morning and late afternoon sessions. Preferably not with swings or playground equipment
  • Ruralscape: On a property that has old barns, sheds, horse stables,tractors, vineyards or long fields. For farming families its ideal to have it on your own property. The best times for these sessions are early morning, late afternoon or twilight.
  • Urbanscape: This location usually has  architecturally strong buildings or structures, Can be modern or vintage and could include stairways, arches, graffiti walls or alleyways. For more creative, expressive and abstract portraits. Great for late afternoon and twilight sessions.


Click here to see some examples of these location types





presentation collections

Products and Presentation collections from your family portrait session

There are many options and presentation collections available from our product range. When booking a family portrait with Dezire Studios, please take into consideration how you wish to have your finished images presented.

Not just a disc

Our specialty is producing beautiful wall portraiture and “one of a kind” fine art collections. We suggest you measure up wall spaces for where you would like your images mounted and consider gifts for family members before coming to our viewing session, as this is the time for you to place your order and decide on the Presentation & collections. Our presentation collections includes the following:




We offer a range of specially crafted images on archival papers. Our wall display prints begin from 14×11 inches up to 60×40 inches. Images can be printed on Matte, Glossy or Metallic papers. Also available in custom collages with full framing options available. Our wall prints are a more traditional method of presentation, colour accuracy is of the finest standard and will maintain fade free for 75+ years.

Wall Canvases 

Our canvases provide that artistic and yet still classical look. Our canvases are printed on Gallery quality canvas with the archival Giclee inks and coated with a protective UV coating to protect them while they hang.

Acrylics & Aluminum’s

For that WOW factor have us print your favourite images directly onto Aluminum. These images are printed right to the edge and come ready to hang. For that modern contemporary look, nothing can beat the aurora of a metallic print mounted in between high glossy acrylic.

Coffee table books

These are perfect for the coffee table or even as a gift for that special someone. Printed on press quality paper and with a variety of album covers, our coffee table collection includes custom design and personalization when you have more than a few favourite images.

Handcrafted albums

Our Handcrafted albums are perfect for displaying your cherished images.The quality of the albums and prints will be unsurpassed.Your album can be personalized with our huge range of other cover materials, e.g. leather, metal, wood, acrylic etc.Your favourite images are printed on archival photographic paper and mounted in an classy presentation album. Our stunning and elegant a designs will capture your imagination.All albums can include personalized design layouts, panoramic pages and full page spreads. Our professional and sleek designs will capture your imagination.

Our specialty is producing beautiful wall portraiture and “one of a kind” fine art presentation collections




Perth & regional family portrait locations

A Guide for the best Portrait locations

Mothers day love is devotion

Mothers day love is devotion

What is a Good family portrait location

One of the most common questions our professional family photography studio gets asked is  “What are some good family portrait locations?”

As a family portrait photographer, offering family portrait sessions not only in Perth but in country regions of Western Australia, I spend many hours trying to find out what people would like their printed portraits to look like on their walls.

Natural Light

Apart from a discussion family portrait locations, our family portrait clients usually ask about clothing to wear during family photos, and how we can achieve the best natural light to give the best results for their family photographs.

Of course, lighting and timing for your family portrait session are ultimately important. In Western Australia, we have beautiful quality natural light. Choosing the right family portrait locations to become one of the key choices for successful family portraits.

Family portrait locations that are comfortable

The right family portrait locations will engage any couple, family or children being photographed during the portrait session. Good family portrait locations will help them feel natural and comfortable in the environment.

Here is a quick visual guide to finding the right family portrait locations for your next photographic session.

Another guide would be to make a Pinboard on Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/  and look for family portrait location ideas and share it with your professional photographer.

Brook Desmond the lead Family photographer at Perth based Dezire Studios, has been shooting professional outdoor location family portraits for over 15 years. The following visual portrait gallery has been mastered during that time as is a wonderful resource for families looking for professional outdoor family photographs.

Location styles Location styles2 Location styles3 Location styles4 Location styles5 Location styles6 Location styles7 Location styles8 Location styles9 Location styles10 Location styles11 Location styles12 Location styles13 Location styles14 Location styles15 Location styles16 Location styles17 Location styles18 Location styles19 Location styles20 Location styles21 Location styles22 Location styles23 Location styles24 family portrait locations Location styles26


Africa – for the Wildlife photographers in you

Africa – for the Wildlife photographers in you

The Call for the Wildlife Photographers is out. Are you joining us on our next African Photographic Safari? Join myself and fellow Professional Photographer Paul Dowe ( http://www.pauldowe.com.au/) as we team up to bring you WILD LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY TOURS on our next Safari to the Africa. If you are interested in Photography or adventure or believe you take a decent photograph then you must be part of our next group in July this year. We promise the most amazing experience and guarantee you will come back with some amazing wildlife photography and a whole lot more. Plus your Photography skills will increase off the scale. Learn from two of the best Professional Photographers currently in the game with over 40 years experience and get your hands on some real cameras and lenses that will not let you down. Keep in touch as we post some amazing images from our last adventure to this amazing frontier and keep an eye out for the latest workshops and tours from WILD LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY TOURS.

Wildlife Photographers

Our last group of Wildlife Photographers


Living off the land – Arnhem land photographic adventures

Arnhem land photographic adventures

I’m grateful for the experiences I have and the photographic adventures that I’m apart of. Often the work I do as a photographer opens the door to see and partake in a world we don’t often see. It is during these experiences that I gain a great understanding for the way in which different cultures and peoples live. My mind is further enlightened, my respect for others increases and my understanding of others develops. I really love and search for opportunities to abide with and document people in their own way of life and environment.

On this occasion I was invited to a remote Indigenous community in Far East Arnhem Land. The community called Ramingining is very isolated from everything. The closest city Darwin is over 600km away on rough rugged roads and is inaccessible by vehicle during the heavy raining wet seasons, where roads become impassable. The community has approximately 800 people living in and around the area, many of the people have no knowledge of life outside of the community, yet they live in a loving and welcoming place.

To get to this place far from easy. Not only do you have to live in a different standard of living, but you must also gain permission and grants from the elders of the community. I was lucky enough to do this and take with me my family. In the end we spent a good 6 weeks there and gained a wealth of experiences we could not even imagine. This was a fantastic opportunity for me, and especially my children to learn a different way of lifestyle and interact with people of a totally different culture.

On arriving I discovered that there was little in the way of supplies. There is a tiny shop that stocks food and every day living items from Darwin. They are brought in by a Barge via the ocean and waterways and come in every 2 weeks, so taking careful stock take of what you have is essential. Having our 8-month-old baby with us did catch us out. There simply wasn’t a way of just going down to the local shops for his supplies of baby food and nappies. We actually did get caught short, and luckily enough a surprise flight to the mainland allowed us to stock up on the things we needed.

For the majority of the time we discovered that for every day living it was easier and way more fun to hunt and gather our food. Thanks to our friends and the loving hospitality of the local people we were taken to the best places to find our every day food supplies of mud crab, barramundi, magpie geese, buffalo and turtle. Each day we set off on an amazing adventure to catch what we wanted to eat and at the same time become educated on how to accomplice this.

I remember vividly my 6-year-old son learning how to make spears from scratch using stones and trees. In saying this we preferred using the trusty shotgun and fishing rods for most hunts, although we did also use sticks and made hooks for catching turtles and mud crabs.

The local people became very friendly with us and shared with us many things. As we opened ourselves up to their way of life, they began to share more and more, and our kids began to catch on to the basics of their native language. At times I wondered if I could teach the people more about my modern lifestyle and way of doing things. When reflecting on it I thought maybe their way is primitive and needs some serious upgrading, however when comparing simply ways of life I discovered sometimes our way of living in the western European way can seem primitive or complex anyway.

In the community when hungry we would go shoot some geese, pluck them, start a fire, cook the food, eat then relax. This became a very simple exercise in comparison to spending a few hours down the grocery store, time preparing the meal, setting up the table, eating and then more time doing dishes. Sometimes it just seemed easier to do away with some of those steps and seemed much easier and less complicated.

I found the food although prepared and presented a little differently to be delicious and wholesome, and of course the whole adventure of hunting for it ourselves was amazing. There are many stories that I will tell about what we did there and how we did it, but for now I will leave this blog post here by saying it was an amazing experience like none other.

If you have heard of Yolngu people that was where we were and this is where the film 10 Canoes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Canoes was filmed see the trailer here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vzf9BAVGZc. For info on where we were and who we were with visit this site http://www.yolnguboy.com/directory/htm/frameset3.htm


Photoshop Smart Object.

Quick control with Photoshop Smart Object.

One way of working with your images to create that something special with your images is in photoshop using photoshop smart object. The follow tutorial explains a little about this process and using smart objects. This process is effective when working with raw images or raw data. This is definitely the preferred format for me as a photographer wanting total control on the final result and output.

In short when you shoot jpeg, the camera as smart as it is makes a final decision about what data to include and disregard. Although it can give good results most of the time, by shooting in raw much more precision details can be reached. The raw format allows the extraction of detail that the camera may have disregarded but that you as the photographer and creator of the image may find very important. Shooting raw has its difficulties with file size being one and then time in postproduction another (This can be less of an issue with a great workflow and I will touch on this and a few other tips in a further blog).

Now back to photoshop smart object and how to get a grasp of it. In the first case I will show this image of an image straight out of camera (SOOC).

i.IMAGE STRAIGHT from Camera is a little cold

ii. THIS IMAGE has been colour corrected and makes that small but important modification

iii. The top image also needs a white balance adjustment. Spot the difference only minor but signifcant on the bottom image tweaked in Camera Raw.

Already I see things that need correcting or Photo shopping as many people term it. This is done in camera raw and apart from these corrections there are many stylized effects that can be created. The ones that I like I save as Raw presets. And thats something else I will discuss further.

This image shows the basic corrections for a technically sound image, but from there the alternatives are many and the creativity can flow. Most of the time if I as the photographer have done a good job there is very minimal adjustments to make, sometimes just the colour balance, brightness and a little contrast. If I underexpose, the exposure tool is good and if the highlights are too bright the recovery works good. There are so many other things that raw processing allows and some of my workshops really hone in on this and how to master it.

I will run through it step by step and you can see how the image transforms very easily using smart objects as your tool.

1.     After making some adjustments I hold down the shift key, which turns the OPEN tab into an OPEN OBJECTS tab then, I click this or press return (enter on PC). This will open the images as smart objects in Photoshop and this is where the fun can begin. Don’t worry if its a bit slow objects tends to do this and you may look at optimizing Photoshop’s speed to counter this.

2.     Now you have the images open, if you have worked with layers in Photoshop before you will notice that it’s not locked to the background as a normal non-smart object image is. The beauty of photoshop smart objects is that you can double click the icon in the layers tab and it will reopen in camera raw so you can make further adjustments.

3.     Now for creativity we might try something and to do this we simply duplicate the photoshop smart object by right clicking on the image number in the layers tab. This will bring up a list of options and then we will go to new smart objects via copy. We now have a copy of the original object

4.     Double click on the top layer or object to alter it in camera raw. Slide the sliders where you want or add a preset. My first thought with this image is to change it to a high contrast black and white and this will become like a layer effect over the top of the image. When you are happy with what you are after click OK to commit the changes, but don’t worry you can always refine it or go for a totally different look by simply double clicking on it again.

5.     Now that this image is on top to have the bottom layer show through you will need to select a blending mode from the layers palette. In his case I have changed from normal to soft light. But there are many options to choose and this includes changing the opacity and flow too. Like I said before the best thing about objects is you can reopen the image to access all its raw data simply by clicking on the image again. If you want to learn a bit more about why to use photoshop smart objects check out this video

6.     Lastly if you want a bit more control you can do this by creating a layer mask and making isolated adjustments to certain areas only. (Another day another blog post for that.)

Here are the final images to compare to the original

Now look at the original and the finished image. And here is a couple more that I did all from images I took at our recent family vacation.