PODAS Photography Workshops

Phase One Digital Artist Series Blog – News & Updates

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Our Final Day – What A Great Time We Had

For days now I have been trying to post this last entry for the PODAS Australia blog but there just has been no internet. It’s funny what we take for granted and presume would be so common place.

The final day like all others on our adventure started out with an early sunrise shoot at Ayers Rock. Once again our fantastic bus driver – Mick, has set up a refreshment table for us. After arriving in the parking lot all of us headed out various spots to shoot the rock as the sun rises and lights it up. An amazing sight to see. There were attendees doing long lens and wide angle shots as well as we did a bunch of Achromatic BW shots. Upon arriving back to the parking area we indulged in conversation, coffee, tea and biscuits. A very civilized sunrise shoot.

After returning to the resort the day was getting hot. We enjoyed a breakfast and headed to the meeting room where Jeff Schewe showed us his photography and a number of tricks with Photoshop especially a very cool way to handle pano images as smart objects. Today was a good day for doing classroom stuff as it was 42 degrees equal to about 105 for those Fahrenheit fans. Definitely a stay in the classroom day. In the afternoon our program was an interesting panel discussion with all the instructors about presenting and displaying images. This was great discussion with good interaction from the attendees.

After a bit of free time we gathered for cocktails at what has been traditionally now our closing ceremonies. The cocktails were served on the terrace and as we were enjoying our drinks we were treated to a very rare yet spectacular double rainbow. All of us wishing we were catching this rainbow and the rock. The dinner we had was excellent with a number of toast to new friends and the good times we had. This was followed by a multi-media sow with music with around 400 images candids and landscapes shots from our week together. Then Ken Duncan showed us a very special presentation of a project he did on America.

We finished up and headed off to bed. Tomorrow it is off to the airport for many. In the coming days I’ll post a summary look and comments about the workshop. This was a true adventure. The instructors and attendees gave it their all. We saw a lot of Australia, took great images, had a lot of laughs and made new friends. Mission accomplished.

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The PODAS Australia Outback Experience Group Photo

The Official PODAS Group Photo - Australia 2010

The other morning while in Ellery Creek we did a group photo. All attendees will receive a copy of the file of this image for their use. This is one of those perfect group shots and will bring back memories for a long time. We have attendees from Belgium, USA, Singapore, Philippines, and Australia. This has been a great trip in so many ways.

Tomorrow will be the post for the last day. We will start out the day with sunrise at Ayers Rock and then end the day with a special evening dinner.

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So Sur-Real Yet So Real

Ayers Rock - Sunset

Today is a moving day. We packed the support vehicles and boarded the bus for a two hour trip to Alice Springs where we enjoyed a breakfast and some shopping time. It was nice to see civilization, make cell phone calls and check emails. Then it was back on the bus with the final destination of Uluru. This would be a four hour ride but we did have a stop planned along the way.

We took a lunch break at the Stuart Wells Road House, home of the  world famous  Dinki the singing Dingo.  This is another one of those true outback experiences. The owner Bill offers us lunch and while lunch is being prepared he brings out Dinki who is a dingo which is an Australian wild dog. Jim begins this long monologue telling us all about his Dingo – Dinki and how he has become world famous because he sings. Eventually he gets around to asking for a volunteer or more appropriately volunteering someone and he select Elizabeth one of our attendees. Elizabeth is asked to play some keys on the piano and that immediately launches Dinki into a howling (singing) fit. The next thing you know Dinki jumps up on the piano and is banging on keys and howling with Elizabeth. The pictures don’t do it justice but suffice to say the experience was just so sur-real. Everyone enjoyed it though, all of us got some good photos and enjoyed an good lunch.

We were soon back on the road again and arrived at the Ayers Rock Resort where we had a few hours for rest before heading out to shoot the Ayers Rock. After being in the outback for several days we were used to roughing it and the resort is very nice. In addition when we headed over to sunset, we find that there is a table with food and wine and beer set up for us. Now I have to say there is something really civilized about shooting sunset of this beautiful landscape with 20 fellow Phase One shooters enjoying wine and friendship. Ken Duncan being all so resourceful asked some of the local Aboriginal folks that were there to pose for some photos with the rock as a background. These images are just tremendous when viewing the P65 files. All in all it was a great day and many happy attendees.  We headed back to a lovely dinner, and a lot of sharing about and good conversation about our adventure so far.

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PODAS – Full Days Are A Norm

Ellery Creek Dawn

Our third day began like others. Get up early (real early) and be ready to hit the road by 4:15 AM. Our bus ride took us to another unique gorge called Ellery Creek. A lovely large area with a small river and a lake with large cliff like walls. The group quickly spread out to capture their own images. We worked here for several hours before assembling for a group shot. See next blog entry for the group photo.

A breakfast back at Glen Helen was followed by an exceptional program by Peter Eastway. Peter, like Ken is from Australia and does magnificent photography. Peter presented several inspiring slide shows with music of images he has taken around the world. This was followed with presentations on how he has made these images. Peter’s talk was inspirational and set the bar higher for all of us in regards to what we can accomplish with our images.

We are in Australia in the mid summer. Mid-day is very bright and contrasty, not to mention very hot, so during this time we do classroom sessions. So after lunch and a short break we reconvened for a program on the use of medium format technical cameras. On this trip we have a full kit from APLA with gear and lenses. So, we spent sometime going over how this kind of system could be used.  After this everyone had time to work on their images with help from instructors.

We are going to depart for an evening session at Ormiston Gorge but we were delayed for about half and hour while a very large thunderstorm passed over. Torrential rains and winds lashed at us for about half an hour. After the storm passed we left or Ormiston and had a wonderful time shooting the many areas the gorge has to offer. It was dark before we left to return to the hotel. On our return we enjoyed an outdoor bar-b-q dinner.

The images you have been seeing in the blog are small resolution images made just so we can get quick posts to our blog and share our workshop with everyone. Once the workshop is over each attendee contributes images for their 30×40 prints and we will then make these images into a web gallery and post it here on our blog as we had done with the Iceland PODAS workshop.

Day four of PODAS will be on the road as we move to the next location.



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The Second Great Day . . . PODAS Australia

Sunset At Mt. Sonder

The alarm went off at 3:45 AM and by 4:15 we were on our way to Ormiston Gorge for sunrise photography. The gorge is where a creek runs through a mountain pass. It could be thought of as an oasis or watering hole. Tall gum trees, tall canyon like cliffs rich in red color and splendid light. Everyone found their own special spots to shoot this great location. We also did a panorama segment where everyone got to shoot a pano of this scene. This was another great morning of photography.  We returned to the Glen Helen Resort for breakfast and much needed coffee.

By 10:00 we were in the classroom for an extended introduction to Capture One 6 and the NEW power tools and features. Capture One is the perfect RAW processor for landscape shooters. With the new local adjustment tools all us were making small and local adjustments to make the images taken the 1st day and during the morning to new levels.  The keystone correction tool allowed us to correct perspective in out images. Walking around the room and looking at each others laptops all of us were seeing new ways to work on our images.

After an outdoor lunch in beautiful balmy weather we returned to the seminar room and were treated to an afternoon of Ken Duncan. Ken is one of the worlds most successful landscape photographers. Not only does Ken have numerous galleries around Australia, he also has published a number of books. His photography is astounding, his passion for sharing is truly unique. Ken shared his images, his stories and philosophies. Truly an enjoyable and educational afternoon. Ken’s instruction in the field was outstanding. He would take groups to his favorite spots and help attendees compose the perfect picture.

During the afternoon we offered an optional 45 minute helicopter tour of the area. Nine attendees of the workshop opted for this aerial adventure and had the opportunity to shoot the landscape out of a helicopter with the doors off. They all came back wide eyed with stunning images.

After a small break we headed to an overlook to shoot Mt. Sonder.  This was an interesting shoot as the vista was gigantic and there were storms moving across the plane. This location begged to be shot as a pano. We even got rained on a bit.  After we exhausted all the light we returned for a dinner and great conversation sharing the adventure of the last few days. Many stayed on after dinner to work on their images of day and others headed to bed to prepare for a 4:15 AM departure to Ellory Creek for morning sunrise photography.

What an adventure this is shaping up to be. Check back soon for another update.

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PODAS Australia Day One

Morning Sunrise Day One - Haasts Bluff

PODAS is off and running. Everyone met at the Sydney airport. After a 3-hour flight from Sydney and an adventure checking in for our flight we all arrived in Alice Springs. We boarded our 4 Wheel Drive bus and headed out to Glen Helen resort. This was our first chance to be together as a group and we clicked very quickly.

The First Full Day Begins . . .

The first day is over and what a day it was. After opening ceremonies and handing out cameras last night, everyone headed to an early night of bed. Why? Because we boarded our bus at 3:45AM to head to an area called Haasts Bluff for a sunrise shoot. We arrived after driving on the worlds roughest road at night in time for sunrise at 5:30 and oh how gorgeous it was. The group was excited and the instructors were busy and the light just evolved.  We were shooting a small mountain and arranging in the foreground these beautiful white barked gum trees. As you can see by the gallery images, the shoot was just fantastic. We also explored infa-red photography with the Phase One Achromatic back.

We enjoyed a simple breakfast with the bluff in our background. We had a good chance to discuss photography as well as using medium format cameras for landscape photography. One of our instructors Ken Duncan, then lead a group to the top of another small bluff where they shot the elements for some Pano stitching that we will do in classroom sessions a few days from now.

We then headed down the road to another area where our goal was to shoot gum trees with the blue and cloudy sky that would be converted to B&W in Capture One. It was back on the bus at an hour or so here and we were off to the Haasts Bluff Aboriginal community. Not too many people get to visit these communities. Not only are they very far out in the outback, but you also need to be invited. Ken Duncan works a lot with this community and they welcomed us with open arms.

Our first stop was the Art Center where the original Aboriginal Art of the community was available for purchase and a number of attendees purchased art.  We then got a chance to photograph some of the artist working as well as some local residents who came in and posed. It was a lot of fun and a bit of a change from shooting landscapes. Allison the community elder and owner of the land arranged for us then to photograph some of the kids. This was a blast and we even let the kids shoot some shots with the P65+. Overall it was a unique and enjoyable visit.

As we headed back we did an outdoor lunch. Then it was along ride back to the Glen Helen Resort. Just about the whole bus was sound asleep as we drove back.  Even with the bumpy dirt roads we were driving on. The rest of the day was a chance to catch up on sleep and work on images. We were out shooting for close to 12 hours and that makes for a very busy first day. We enjoyed a BBQ dinner outside at the resort followed by our first intro to Capture One 6.

Tomorrow will be an early morning but not as early as today.  We still have a lot of workshop left to go.

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PODAS Australia Quick Update

We are now into Day 3 of our PODAS Australia Outback workshop. We are really in the outback of Australia where we are. I am writing this as a text update as I have had to use a connection that I found that is slower than a dial up connection. I have blog posts ready to go with lots of images for each day and as soon as we get to a location with a high speed connection I’ll update this blog with the daily updates I have been doing.

The Readers Digest update is – we are safe, healthy and having a great time exploring and photographing our way through the Outback.  After a flight flight from Sydney to Alice Springs (3 hours) and a drive from Alice Springs to Glen Helen (2 hours) we arrived and set up shop. The Phase One crew prepped the cameras and in a few hours after arriving we began the workshop. The gear was distributed and everyone was introduced to basic operations of the P65+ and DF camera system. A few hours after that we were shooting our first sunset.

The next day we headed to Haasts Bluff for a sunrise shoot and a visit to an Aboriginal Community. This was a most fantastic day. The full blog entry will cover this day in detail. It was full of great photography and experiences. We have been up early each day to catch the best light and have visited several locations. In between we have had some great classroom seminars by our instructors. The work being turned out by the attendees is amazing. So far Ken Duncan and Peter Eastway have had presentations as well as a workshop on Capture One 6.  Capture One now has tools that are perfect for landscape shooters and we are using these tools – like the local adjustments to take our images to a new level.

Tomorrow Monday we will move from Glen Helen to Ulhuru – Ayers Rock area. This will be a bit of a journey and we have a few stops to make along the way. Once I have a good connection I’ll post the blogs with photos that have been made for each day of the workshop.

For now we are all doing real good. Weather has been co-operating and conditions are superb. It is a great group of people and we are all making new friends and sharing our interests in photography. And, the photos we are taking – absolutely great.