AustralianLight - Landscape Photography AustralianLight - Landscape Photography

AustralianLight - Landscape Photography is my new site with my good mate Bernie. If you have found my blog posts useful over the years, then how about giving us a hand to promote AustralianLight.

We are doing everything we can to get our australian landscape photography out there and guess what..... it's bloody hard work!! So please visit the gallery and if you like what see, share it with your friends.

Thanks, we really do appreciate your help. - Russell

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Image Showcase #1:

I thought that it might be a good idea to share some images and talk a little about them....

So for my very first "Image Showcase" I would like to present....

"Fire Fighter"

This image is one of my faves, because it is much, MUCH more dramatic than what was really going on at the time.

The fire was a small.... "very" small, grass fire down the road from my place here in the Gold Coast Hinterland. I noticed the smoke from my home and thought that it may offer some photo ops.

When I arrived the Rural Fire Brigade boys were already on scene after travelling a long and tiresome 10 meters from their station. Yep! 10 meters! This fire was in the paddock right next door. ;-)

Fuelling the flames was grass and since it was located in a horse paddock, there were no additional fuel sources.... so this fire was always going to be short lived and unspectacular.

Pretty much it was "all over red rover" and by this stage the fire fighter pictured was not battling flames, but just wetting down already burnt areas where small pockets of grass & ash were still glowing.

So with not much excitement, my shot was going to rely on interesting lighting, as the fire fighter was backlit by soft, warm, smoke diffused light. While the background of unburned dry grass, was lit by a patch of direct light that had found it's way through the smoke.

After shooting a couple of frames, I noticed that one of the only remaining clumps of grass (that was quite high thanks to it being located around a fence post) was about to catch fire. To capture these flames I needed only to take a couple of steps to the left, so my overall composition was not effected much at all.

Fearing that my auto-focus may be drawn to the flames rather than stay with the fire fighter (who was some 10-15 meters behind the flames), I switched to manual and managed only a couple of frames before the fuel was exhausted and the flames vanished.

I was shooting from some distance (using 200mm), but the heat generated by the flames was quite astounding and it was this heat that created the distortion effect that you see in this image. There have been no post process enhancements or Photoshop techniques applied to this image at all.

This heat effect is commonly seen while driving on a hot summer's day, as the heat generated from the sunburnt road will often make the distant horizon shimmer and distort.... sometimes the road even looks wet up ahead.

This distortion is simply the light refracting through the heated air, while the wet effect is created when the light from above is reflected back towards you, just as if the super heated air above the road was a mirror.

The following image is a good example of both distortion and reflection created by heat....

It can be real fun to play with this natural effect, so if you have access to a commercial runway or a safe highway location you may want to give this a go. ;-)

BTW... Long tele lenses make the most of this effect, as getting close to this is like chasing a rainbow, it just can't be done.


My Gallery:
Australian Digital Photo Of The Day:

Photography help for beginners - Film & Digital Camera Techniques - Post Processing - Photography tips and tricks - Heat Haze Image Showcase

1 comment:

  1. At first glance, the firefighter looks quite good, but I don't think it stands up to a second look.

    Here the guy is, surrounded by fire, and he's standing, quite casually, looking down, and brandishing a hose so weak that he can hold it overhand, and in one hand. It's clear he's not dealing with an inferno. There is no sense of urgency that someone in that situation would have.

    It's a great technique though. I think given a more dramatic pose it could be a very special shot indeed.

    I hope you'll take this criticism in the well meaning spirit in which it is intended. Thanks for the blog.