Journey through pictures

By @thethreeshot. You can support him through the RAW event, Sydney.

A little over a year ago, I laid out my photography process on this post. My approach was simple; when I run into moments, I whip out my iPhone and take the shot. As far as post-processing goes, I would simply apply an Instagram filter and share.

I can no longer live by that process.

I now look to run into moments and not just wait for them. I now also have a mirrorless camera and post process with gusto.

The change in process and gear has pushed me to explore more and has given me confidence to collaborate with a few people.

The results are better than before:

 

The BIG difference between iPhone and a serious camera

Quality is the obvious difference. But I found that psychology is just as important. Let me explain.

When I take the Fujifilm with me, I tend to look for the big headline grabbing shots. In stark contrast, when I don’t have it with me, I tend to take simpler life moments with the iPhone as it’s always with me.

On the flip side, having the mirrorless has made me explore more. I can now go out and shoot during low light situations for example and have the confidence that the shot will turn out fine.

I have also been able to collaborate more with my mirrorless as the other person will tend to take you more seriously. Admittedly, I felt a little bit embarrassed when I first went for a shoot with someone with just the iPhone.

iPhone

Phone

iPhone 7+ 

Karlee and crown.jpg

Camera

Fujifilm X-A3 on 18mm

 

Perception is a killer and although I was fine with the iPhone, I really felt that others did not share my view. I know I shouldn’t have given in to peer pressure, but at the same time, I really haven’t looked back.

Post processing

I approximately take 15–30 mins to post process a photo, which isn’t that bad considering some of my peers can take days.

I use a combination of Affinity photo and apps to post-process as follows.

Affinity

I take the shots straight from the camera and do minor tweaks with white balance, highlights, curves and the other usual suspects. On the odd occasion, I would completely change the colour of an object.

After the edits, I export the result and do a few more edits with a few apps.

Total time spent: 5 mins.

Prime

Prime is my go to for applying styles. Like other applications, Prime allows me to select my style/preset and adjust it even more to my taste, then I am able to save that style as a fave.

There is a plethora of great styles to choose from and selecting one is an easy process.

Total time spent: ~1 minute.

Retouch

This app is my go to for getting rid of unwanted objects. There are several apps that do this, including Affinity and Snapseed, but Retouch makes the process easy.

I find the results to be more accurate than its peers which saves a lot of time.

Total time spent: ~1 minute.

Snapseed

This is my go-to post processing app. It is feature-rich from the Selective feature (adjust specific area), to Lens Blur and to other more generic tools like alignment, curve adjustment and more.

It’s an all-in-one app that mirrors the essentials of big post applications like Affinity and Lightroom, with simplicity which like most of the above, saves time.

Total time spent: 10 minutes.

After post processing the apps, I send the final image to the Mac for that final check before posting the shot.

Collaborating with others

I started off taking shots of my surroundings and myself. Pretty soon I realised that I really wanted to capture portraits of other people to grow as a photographer.

And I really got bored of myself.

Approach

Finding people to collaborate with is tough to begin with particularly when I had no portrait shots of others in my portfolio.

I started off taking self-portraits and graduated by asking a few friends to do photoshoots. Then I asked my friends to see if they had any other contacts who were interested.

image.JPEG

 

Reaching out to the active and local Instagram community was easier once I had a few shots of others. The response rate increased and the portfolio started to grow.

Vibe

Capturing others is a big challenge and to help make it easier, I try to ensure that I capture their raw energy and overall vibe.

Before going on a photoshoot, I scan the Instagram profile of the individual and determine their ‘type’. Are they an outdoor individual? Do they like street/urban feel? Are they a hipster and so on.

It’s then a process of letting the other person know what you have in mind in terms of location, outfit and accessories — always keeping in mind that the shoot had to remain consistent with the individual’s vibe. This achieves 2 things: (1) it makes sure that the other person is comfortable and as a result (2) it makes the shoot easier.

The only exception to this process is when the person comes forward and says that they have a particular idea (mood, location) in mind, in which case I mix it up.

Equipment

Now for some boring small details:

  • Fujifilm X-A3 and X-T20. I absolutely adore my Fujis. These days, I’m using the T20 but the good thing about both is that the end result makes the post process easy (whereas others can spend hours on a photo, I generally take minutes).
  • 23mm f2 and 18–55mm f2.8–4 lens. The 23mm is my go-to when taking portraits and mid-range street shots. The quality is superb even during low light situations. The 18–55mm is one that I pull out when I know in advance that Ill be taking shots from a distance, like taking shots of other from a far away cliff (as I do).
  • iPhone 7+. I still use the iPhone simply because it’s always with me. Although the quality is not as good as a mirrorless, they still look great particularly after edits.
  • Joby stick. I rely heavily on my Joby when doing self portraits or when I want a part of myself in the scene (along with the Fujifilm app for control). No branch is tricky enough for the Joby to wrap it’s tentacles around!
  • iPhone tripod. I use the tripod like the Joby and together with remote control, I use the tripod when I want to get myself in the scene somewhere.
  • Other accessories. I have a slew of other accessories ranging from lights (sparkle, torches) to smoke bombs and masks among others. I even have my GoPro Hero 4 in my bag at all times. Admittedly, these only come out when the location and mood calls which unfortunately is not often enough, but they’re there.

RAW Sydney

After 300 photo’s, I’ve been approached by the guys at Raw to take part in their exhibition on Nov 30.

I’ll be the first to admit that I had no idea who they were. But after having a look at their site and the diverse collection of participating artists, I am glad to state that there is a match!

If you’re a Sydney local, or if you so happen to be around town in Nov 30, come down and support this local Raw artist.

You can grab the tickets from this link. I’m always open and happy to exchange more details of my journey so far.

And you can always follow me on Instagram here.


EndNote

Photography and being a creative feels quite natural to me. The process of designing a product and imagining the next shot triggers the same creative juices.

The only difference being, developing software takes a wee bit more time.

Upcoming photo exhibition on 9th Nov

We're thrilled to be holding our first photography exhibition in the inner west of Sydney, Australia at the Blacksheep Bar in Newtown.

We’re thrilled to be holding our first photography exhibition in the inner west of Sydney, Australia at the Blacksheep Bar in Newtown.

Blacksheep isn’t simply the name of the venue but also a fair descriptor of the show itself: four individuals, distinct from their native flocks, coming together as a collective to showcase their idiosyncratic styles, unified in purpose by that which makes them stand apart.

Most people tend to think of exhibitions as genteel daylight affairs confined to lofty galleries and other quarantined art-spaces. We choose to see it differently. We believe that photography exhibitions are a perfect and natural fit for multiuse places like bars, where conversation flows and people can just kick back and relax.

Moreover, we love Newtown - our equivalent of Williamsburg in New York or Shoreditch in London - where the streets are vibrant, the people are diverse and open-minded, and the bars are hip cool, none more than the Blacksheep. We'll see you there.

So who are the featured photographers?

@patches_mcgee

@patches_mcgee

@aiddy81

@aiddy81

@helloperryc

@helloperryc

@in_cog

@in_cog

And what kind of photos should we expect to see?

Screen Shot 2016-10-21 at 4.58.22 AM.png

What are the specifics?

The exhibition opens on Wednesday the 9th of November and will be running until sometime in December. 

The bar itself is quite easy to find. It’s a licensed bar in the evening which means no kids allowed – sorry. 

Anything else we need to know?

Spread the word, we’d love to see as many people as possible down there.

Just drop us a line if you have any Q's.

 

Festival Magic

This is a personal account by PC of his experience at Splendour in the Grass, a music festival in Byron Bay, Australia.


It’s been over a month since the festival rocked my foundations and gave my soul a musical awakening. Now is as good a time as any to diarise the events.

I went to Splendour with my work bumchum KC. It’s fair enough to say that he is not as big a music groupie as I am, but he is big on trying new things and exploring Byron — and that’s the kind of spirit that makes for a great partner on a weekend like this.

Let me begin.

Our stay at Mullumbimby

AirBnB

I was skeptical about AirBnB.

The only other time I did a B&B arrangement was with my larger family way back when. I always felt that I had to tiptoe my way around the house. Perhaps I felt that way because of my mum and all the early morning break-ins I used to do coming back home during my younger years.

Whatever the reason is, this first AirBnB experience was any BUT uncomfortable. Our host Paul was a recently retired, cordial South Australian man who, along with his wife, were used to having people around (they shared their 5 bedroom home with family friends).

Life around this part of the world was a lot slower than Sydney. We had nice morning conversation during breakfast with our host and crew, talking about the big country, the festival, art and every random topic that came up naturally.

I couldn’t have been more wrong about my preconceived notion.

That first morning

That first morning was something that I will always remember.

This is the view that I saw as soon as I ducked outside for some fresh air.

Morning

I stood there stunned for a few minutes. This was absolutely alien coming from a place where people live on top of each other.

The cool morning mist, the valley, the old paddocks, the imposing mountain range which outlined the landscape. This was just so picturesque.

To accentuate the perfect morning, I encountered a wallaby as soon as I turned around. The little guy looked at me bemused as we both had our Stand by Me moment.

Stand by me

I had a nice wander around while looking for a place to do my morning exercise.

I can’t even begin to describe what it feels like being out in the magic. It sure makes for a nice change from my usual gym.

Here are some shots of the around the country..

 

There isn’t a lot of things happening around. And that’s just perfect if you want to chillax and still be within arm’s reach of Byron Bay.

If you ever get a chance to go to this part of the world, I would strongly recommend staying at the charming little town of Mullumbimby.

And if you’re really lucky, you might even draw Paul. Check him out in AirBnB.

The Festival

Being a Sydney-sider, the only thing I really knew about Splendour was that it was our biggest festival around winter (if not the only one).

I also knew that it attracted huge names like Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes and Kanye West. I end up kicking myself year-after-year and think “Well there’s goes another great lineup down the drain.

But I really had no idea what actually goes down during the event itself.

Atmosphere

I had zero expectations and no baseline.

The closest comparable event I’ve been to was the Big Day Out in Sydney, which during my time, was held over a day. Splendour is a 3-day event.

Looking back, Splendour had a few distinct advantages: it’s held during winter, the lineup is lighter than the heavy BDO, it’s an all ages event and it’s in Byron Bay.

Winter means less alcohol. The BDO was held in the middle of summer.

BDO acts included heavy sounds of Metallica, Rammstein and System of a Down. The heaviest act in Splendour was Violent Soho, which is more punk-rock Green Day-ish than Rammstein industrial death.

All ages meant that you’re just as likely to be moshing with them youngunswith Santigold as you’d be singing along with the grey-haired brigade over The Cure. There were a fair few children around too. That cross-section was refreshing.

And what can I say about Byron except that it feels like Newtown* with a beach.

*Newtown is hip like Williamsburg in NYC or Shoreditch in London (or so I’m told).

The grounds

Splendour is set over a huge area in the North Byron Parklands (at least for this year). Like most events, it had a few stages for the music acts.

In addition, it also had a few other quirkier spaces like the Tipi forest, the global village, a comedy tent and an Amish area.

And there were a LOT of shops ranging from food trucks, to official Splendour event apparel, licensed alcohol grounds and hippy odds & ends.

All of the areas were spaced out adequately and came together nicely.

The Music

Discovering new music has got to be the best thing about these events.

My targets going into the festival were the more established acts of The Strokes, At the Drive In, The Avalanches, The Cure, Santigold and Gang of Youths.

While I was impressed by those guys, I walked away galvanized by a few local acts that I haven’t paid a lot of attention to.

The following bands grabbed the crowd by the nuts, a sign of not only their current popularity, but their wildly entertaining live energy.

Friendly Violence

Violent Soho are cool, loud and enjoyed large local support.

I saw these guys by accident as I was jockeying for position to watch The Avalanches. I then witnessed the dudes from Brisbane whip the crowd into a frenzy with their take-no-prisoners Australian alternative rock.

Here’s a vid that captures the feeling of what it felt like during the moment.

Happy to report that their WACO album is the shiz too.

The Psychedelic Kings

I didn’t expect much from King Gizzard & the White Lizard. They played in the late afternoon and therefore weren’t a headline.

I followed a large crowd make their way to stage. And I was pleasantly delighted with what I saw — an avid mosh made up of rockers, hippies, dads and all other types.

I had to give it to these guys: they had the most crowd-surfers during the event. No mean feat for a psychedelic rock act.

That SWAG though!

Sticky Fingers are outrageous. These alt-rock-reggae inner-westies* wound the ardent crowd up as soon as they strutted their way on stage with all their rock god “I rule the roost” swagger and attitude.

They walked it, they sang and they delivered the good vibes!

I felt downright awful for being the last to know.

Here’s a sneak peak of the guys.

Interesting tidbitGold Snafu live was one of the few magical gems I have ever come across. Random strangers grabbed me — i.e. put their arms around me — for the la-la-la sing along as I moved through the crowd.

There was some kind of happy magic happening here.

*Inner-westie are residents of Sydney’s inner west area.

The music in pictures

STIFI: That cheetah print and that shirtless guy at the back

STIFI: That cheetah print and that shirtless guy at the back

Festival gotcha

Here’s a gotcha: the parking.

The further away you park from the venue, the better. If you park too close to the venue, the chances are you’ll be stuck there forever and a day trying to get out after the event.

We had a tough time getting out on Saturday night, and I’m taking about an hour and a half tough here. And apparently it happened last year too!

If the opportunity presents itself, the further you park, the better.

Byron Bay

Double B is my favourite spot downunder. It’s got magical beaches, kick-rear walks, a dramatic lighthouse and a chilled out vibe.

The beach

We had a chance to wander around on a sunny winter Sunday. The temperature hit a chilly 25 degrees (it hit 26 the day before). Although the water was a tad bit cool, the sun kept the swim just right.

And just to keep things interesting, a dolphin appeared a metre in front of me (and yes it scared the bejesus out of me at first).

It’s whale season time apparently and it was not uncommon to see dolphins during this time too.

Bonus!

The shops

There are enough shops and cafes along the town centre to keep the curious tourist occupied.

Byron has a big surf and hippy slant to it — you’ll be in a surf/skate shop one moment and walk out of a cafe with your chia pudding the next.

There’s a lively pub at the main beach which looks like the place to be in the evenings.

But we opted for the very Bali-looking night time food hub around the corner. Lots of choices to satisfy the wandering hunger.

The lighthouse walk

You can’t be a tourist in Byron without doing the lighthouse and the walk leading up to it.

Depending on where you start, it is easy to get sidetracked by the stunning beaches (Clarkes and The Pass). The walk is a lazy 20-minute ascent with magnificent coastal views.

And then you get to the lighthouse.

There’s not much else I can say about the lighthouse other than it is the icing on the cake and that it is all that it is hyped up to be.

Fun fact: the lighthouse is the most eastern point in Australia.

And here’s the magic.

Endless

What more can I say?

About

I’m big music fan and I’ll give anything a go.

My attention span is as quick as a flick up of Instagram pics, which is where I house my memories. But when it became clear that wanted to rap around more words to the memories, I decided to start writing it down.

Check out my Instagram for more festival highlights.

Here’s to next year!

n.b. We also have this post in Medium.

Old fashioned viral

We hopefully will stand up a physical shop in the local markets to meet as many passers-by as we can, in a bid to present, and hopefully, sell a few of our products. Going online viral is one thing — and it takes a considerable amount of effort to convert the casual visitor into sales.

But our strength in the CN community means that we can greet people with the good old fashioned handshake with a “hello, how are you”. This will hopefully be the difference in connecting with people; we want to grow viral locally first — then branch out.

Here’s what we’ll have.

Them Pups

Top of the list will be our dog design range of shirts, hoodies and caps. These adorable pups will not only make you feel comfortable and make you look hip, but they will also make you feel good knowing that sale proceeds will go to RSPCA NSW (yes, we are accredited).

We’ll have stock on site but we’ll also have a sign-up form to capture orders just in case.

CN Range

On the side we also have our own range of CN shirts and cap. Now the proceeds of these will go to the blood, sweat and tears of our own designers to fund any future initiatives.

 

What future initiatives? We have 2 of them already in development.

Photo exhibition

Our creative group actually started as an Instagram meetup and there are a few of us who enjoy taking pictures (some professionally).

Here’s a range of what we do:

 

We plan to have some of these snaps on display in the markets with a signup form, so we can alert everyone to our upcoming exhibition.

Startup Ipsum

Building software is no joke. It takes a ton of time and numerous iterations to find and work around all those kinks around the software. It makes it even harder when life takes majority of your time.

With all said, we are progressing through our Startup Ipsum initiative — which allows users to create their own content (copy and design) for their future website.

Tech

 

Note: We’ve redesigned the application. More details to follow.

We’ll also use the markets to spread the news by word of mouth, with alerts sent by email to those that have signed up.

Say hello to the crew

If you’re in Newtown area this Saturday, come down and say hello to the Collective Network crew. We’ll be more than happy to give you a high five and have a chat.

 

n.b. we’ll hopefully be receiving confirmation that we’re good to go for this Saturday by Wednesday. We’re excited!

#letsgo #helloworld #homeofcreatives