Saturday, February 9, 2013


For me 'Depression' is like cancer an insidious disease that must be thwarted but there are days such as this where I find it difficult to beat it down. My usual waking prayer, the beautiful sound of the local birds going about their early morning ablutions in the tree tops as I meditate on all the good in this wonderful world. Finally after 30-60 minutes of preparation I spring out of bed with a purposeful heart full of thanksgiving..... only today my spring was more of a stumble.

Thursday I had decided to increase my fitness regime since I was feeling quite normal, a lot like the old me... hmmm too much confidence is not a good thing. I went for a jog 300 metres, at an even pace followed by a double dose of my cardio vascular workout, most of you will laugh at these figures as they appear ridiculously low however 2 years ago I couldn't walk 5 metres unaided after my 15th heart attack so I was feeling especially pleased with myself.... again anything in excess is not a good thing.

Yesterday I was a little stiff, sore and sorry for myself but is was all physical whereas today I'm fighting my state of mind, emotions and the physical aches and pains. Why am I writing this down, because I often do to get it out of my system then I simply delete it and write about something positive. But today I think I'll share this. Why? I'm asking myself, ... don't know but I feel I should.

The last 7 years have been exceptionally stressful for a variety of reasons and whilst every one of them has been out of my control, the decision to fight our way back thus prolonging this agony, has been mine and mine alone. Finally I have capitulated and allowed our company and trust 'Rhodesia Holdings Pty Ltd ATF Rhodesia Holdings Trust' to be placed in liquidation and wound up. This was decided last June and we had worked to eliminate all debt especially those small businesses that could be effected by our demise to ensure that our departure would be no more than a ripple to any creditor. Immediately we made that known to our creditors every man and his dog appeared to become carrion, all looking to see what they could strip away and get away with. Leased and Chattel Mortgaged equipment was returned to the respective creditors for auction or sale and that was an eye opener when 12 month old $80K equipment was sold for $500 and I was presented with a bill for the balance. Funny how no matter how hard I looked I could never find second hand equipment for under 80% of it's RRP. For the most part I have been able to remain fairly positive by concentrating on the things in life that have real value such as family, friends and art, my main passion. What I love most about art, I don't have to be good at it to enjoy it.... I can be free. This thought usually helps lift my spirit to dizzying heights.

Each Friday for the last 3 weeks however I have received a letter from my accountant advising that solicitors appointed by the ATO to wind up the company and trust have sought a High Court continuance for another week. Liquidators were appointed 4 weeks ago so I don't understand the delay. No I don't want to follow up with anyone as this would mean I have to get into it again and if I do that I will want to fight for it again and that I know that I know I will not survive!

So today I am pretty depressed but I will continue to look at everything with gratitude for the privilege of being here. My God is an awesome God and he has a plan for me, I have no idea what it is but I do know that it is a good plan.

Now I must go and help someone, tis the only way to beat this depression down today.

Till next time, Take care and God Bless.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Soul - Self Portrait

Still playing with some of the composition techniques available in photoshop as I explore the possibilities with this application. I decided to have a play with the texture wrapped around an object technique and so after emulating a number of the exercises that various tutors have put forward I decided to step out on my own a little with this self portrait entitled; Soul

In order to convey my story which is my love of this country I attempted to show the land from within me and I used the object wrap technique (which is usually a geometric object wrapped by a texture) to capture this mood. 

I recently spent time with my daughter and son in law on a small holding just outside of a country town here in Queensland and the waterhole or rather, dam is on their property. The fence is old and rusted, it has some recent repair additions which stand out as new in contrast. With posts that have been weathered by insect, storm and cacti. To the left is a beautiful (relatively) young  gum tree which has almost completed shedding it's old bark. Laying on the ground beneath the tree is an old branch that the gum no longer has use for and so has shed it too. The sky is a little overcast with some sunlight filtering through the clouds of white with shades of grey. The clouds display evidence of moisture building, they would later become heavily pregnant, dark and ominous before giving birth to the storm. At the time of the photo, the water in the dam is still and calm making for a very tranquil setting.

I'm blessed with looks that are conducive to a grunge effect and believe that I have made good use of this strength. I took a recent self portrait in strong light, clipped the face, desaturated it, adjusted the levels to remove as much of the mid tone as I could before creating a gaussian blurred distortion map. I then wrapped my original desaturated image in the landscape using the distortion map, applied another (slight) gaussian blur to the image before placing it onto a duplicate of the original landscape. Finally I adjusted the opacity of each element to achieve the finished product.

I repeated the above process with a recent portrait of my beautiful daughter, however her appearance is definitely not conducive to any grunge effect so I thought about her childhood and recalled her love of having her face painted so with this thought I used a free Shutterstock image from EVA105 to achieve the following effect.

I believe that I have conveyed the story I see in my daughters soul and so I have not touched the (windows) eye's or lips. She is my little girl, delicate and fragile to me but she is woman to the world, strong and self assured. What you see is what you get, and for me that will always be that innocent, fragile, delicate, "Tickle me Daddy" little girl.

Till next time, take care and God Bless!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Photo Composition's

I'm now fairly comfortable with my Mac and I'm slowly but surely starting to get my head around photoshop. I'm still not too happy with my masking. Deke makes it look so easy and I must admit I tend to agree with his comment that feathering is a great technique to hide a poorly masked image, better to perfect the mask.

Now there are a lot of awesome professional photographers out there who will use Lightroom to bring out the best in their photo's as do I but they are against photoshop because it can be used to enhance the original photo to a ridiculous degree. These people are the purists among us and they do have great talent but there are a great many of us who are Artists first and Photographers second and we want to use photography and photoshop to express ourselves.

David Hockney (renowned english photographer) believes that chemical processing of photographs has been replaced by photoshop and I tend to agree. Digital photography is evolving very quickly, mind you so did chemical photography a hundred years ago - for it's time.  A lot of the processing has been taken up with advances in technology even back when SLR camera's started employing different modes and filters. The latest DSLR and DSLT Camera's even go so far as to offer three stop photo merging in camera and of course the filters in camera are mind blowing. There is still however the need for processing to make good photo's great, hence applications such as Lightroom and Photoshop RAW.

Personally I am enjoying the use of various filters both on camera and in photoshop. I really love the fact that one can exercise one's creative curiosity and explore different compositions of light, colour and various subject elements. Can you just imagine what Picasso, Leanardo da Vinci or Michelangelo could have done with the tools at our disposal today, the mind boggles.

I've included a few of my compositions here and you won't have to look too closely to find my mistakes. These samples are not available in high resolution unless of course someone specifically asks for them.

My first attempt, I have a few photo's of Bonnie Ronnie and I on our 1600 Kwaka Nomad (No the bike is not a Harley or a Harley look-alike since it is an Indian look-alike but shaft driven with a radiator to prevent heat seizures) 

I was getting a little more adventurous here and wanted to somehow incorporate a technique provided by Gavin Hoey, the 'Magazine Page'. I am well pleased with the magazine page look and the mistakes with my masking are not as visible due to the perspective distortion that I have used. I did however really struggle with the masking of the Motorcycle windshield.

In this photo I was able to crate a great mask of the Truck (I've posted this Truck once before in the original photo). I struggled with the Moon's mask for some reason and the more I tried to correct the problem, the worse it became. The look is not too bad in soft photo above but I was after some serious contrast and detail which I did achieve in the photo below but the masking mistakes are pretty obvious.

To get the golden effect I switched to Black and White, except the Moon, flattened the image then removed Blue from an added RGB layer and tinkered with the detail and blur to enhance the contrast whilst keeping the photo dark.

Till next time, take care.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Automotive Art

I have been wanting to try my hand at Automotive photography, mainly classic cars and motorcycles but not limited to these two forms of automation.

I'm not sure if anyone else experiences this but it seems to always be one thing or another that encroaches on my plans, almost like a conspiracy to prevent me from doing what I like. Of course this is just nonsense but the idea still plays it's games inside my head. Sound like a fruit loop now! Don't have to be crazy but it helps get the creative juices flowing... or something like that.

As I was saying I have had the desire to photograph some classic automobiles and I managed to finally get there this last week. I'll include a couple here but if you are interested in the photographs, the really good quality pictures can be found in the shop where they are for sale or the lesser quality ones are in my photo library's in my Facebook art page.

I live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, Queensland Australia where we have a saying; "Beautiful one day and perfect the next" this is usually right on the money but for every rule there are exceptions and December 2012 and January 2013 certainly saw to that. We have had a heat wave, drought, bush fires, cyclones, tornadoes and floods. In January 2011 we had a once in 100 year flood which devastated Queensland and saw 75% of the state effected and that's a heck of a lot of water considering that the state is larger than most country's. It's only been 2 years not 100, someone's math is a bit off methinks.

We are a rather resilient bunch and will bounce back to once again boast of weather that is beautiful one day and perfect the next. I mean the Great Barrier Reef just off perfect pristine beaches not to mention my little neck of the woods with the Sunshine Coast 30 minutes up the road and Gold Coast 90 min down the road, seriously what more could one want.

Now of course my technique is not everyone's cup of tea and if I was to try and please everyone I really would lose my marble's so I simply try to tell a story my way with my photographs. When I saw the green Rat Rod I thought of the Rat's of Tobruk a tough outfit of WWII so I processed the photograph with that toughness in mind but hanging onto the classic auto design and style. The lower photograph reminded me of that classic movie 'American Graffiti' and I wanted to capture a little of the sky and the colour's surrounding the subject to enhance that Rockabilly mood. 

I would greatly appreciate some comments and feedback with a few suggestions on subject matter photographic style. What would you the reader like to see me write about or share with you? Do you have a favourite photographic topic you would like me to explore? Let me know, after all life is a two way street.

Till next time, take care.