Sad Day For Photographers – Dicky Wreck Removal

SS Dicky Beach Removal

Today, the removal process of the SS Dicky Wreck on Dicky Beach (the only recreational beach in the world to be named after a shipwreck) has begun after a council task force deemed the wreck a public safety risk for swimmers a couple of years back.

At 30 metres in length, Steamer SS Dicky was shipwrecked on a Caloundra beack way back in February, 1893, and the beach was then named in her honour. More recently the skeletal remains of the Dicky wreck had become a popular spot for Australian landscape photographers, and international visitors alike. It was a great subject to photograph during the right conditions, depending on the tide, and rarely would a sunrise or sunset go by without the wreck being photographed. The wreck has found a place amongst some of Australia’s finest landscape photographers.

I have shot the wreck on a number of occasions during my time living in Queensland, in a variety of conditions. Below are a couple of my favourite photographs of the wreck from the past few years.

SS Dicky Lighting Storm

SS Dicky Wreck, Sunset

Photo of the Week: Port Willunga Pylons

Port Willunga, SA

Port Willunga is located on South Australia’s lovely Fleurieu Peninsula approximately one hour drive south of Adelaide. The Port Willunga jetty is a well known destination among Australian landscape photographers.

I took this photo in March last year during a South Australian road trip with my good buddy Simon Beedle. Port Willunga was one of our last shoot locations after driving through the Flinders Ranges, Burra, Adelaide, and Kangaroo Island. The overcast weather we had on the day was perfect for some slow shutter, moody black and white photos.

I really like the way this particular photo turned out. I waited for the water in the foreground to flow back in towards the pylons and create a solid leading line into the photo. Due to the overcast sky diffusing the light, the colour wasn’t overly attractive so I opted for a black and white post-process and increased the contrast significantly.

Later on we experienced a nice lightning storm on the horizon behind the pylons in which I got another nice photo which I will post at some point.

Photo of the Week: Dettifoss, Iceland

Dettifoss-Iceland-photo

This weeks photo of the week comes to you from the landscape photographers heaven, Iceland. This is one of my photographs of Dettifoss, a waterfall in Vatnajökull National Park in Northeast Iceland. Detifoss is reputed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe.

I spent 2 weeks road-tripping around Iceland with my buddy Anj Semark and another friend, Dan.

We had camped nearby and set our alarms the night before for sunrise. Stepping out of the warmth of the sleeping bag when the alarm buzzed, I realized it was one of the coldest mornings I have experienced in my lifetime! There was snow covering certain sections of the path on the way to the falls, and there was a fair bit of wind chill. The thermostat in the car was telling me it was 3ºC. However, we hadn’t woken up at this hour for nothing. We made the short drive to the parking lot at Detifoss and unpacked our gear for the hike in (only a few hundred metres). We could hear the roar of the falls from quite a distance.

We were the only 3 photographers there besides one man who turned up just as we were leaving.

The photograph I chose this week was one of the first I shot on that morning from further away from the falls. Once you got closer to the falls it was incredibly loud and you were shrouded in the mist being whipped around by the wind. I managed to get a few photos from closer up, including a panoramic one which I will release at a later date, but I enjoy this one which, in my opinion, sums up our morning at Dettifoss. Notice Andrew standing further up the ridge for a sense of scale to the shot.

Tips: Correcting Lens Distortion

Lens distortion is something that has always bothered me in my own photography work, yet early on in my development it was something I always simply put up with due to the fact I didn’t realize how quick and easy it was to correct. Lens distortion isn’t always blatantly obvious (depending on the photograph) and you might get away with not correcting it, however it can be a subtle way to improve upon a final image where you have straight lines that don’t quite look straight.

There are different types of distortion: pincushion distortion, barrel distortion, complex distortion, and perspective distortion, for example.

lens distortion illustration

Due to my interest being mainly in natural landscape photography and using wide-angle lenses, I usually have to deal with barrel/complex distortion It is barrel distortion that affects most of my natural landscape photographs straight out of the camera when using a 17-40mm or 24-70mm lens at their widest zooms. Of course, wide angle lenses are very susceptible to perspective distortion also, particularly when photographing buildings and structures with long straight lines, but I will leave that for another article. Telephoto lenses are more prone to pincushion distortion.

Before & After

Here is a simple image of a sunset at Mandurah, Western Australia, that demonstrates barrel distortion. To the left is the before photo, and to the right is the corrected photo after following the instructions below (you can drag the line to the left and right to see the difference). You may also notice the vignette has also been removed by the software.

Ahh, I love a straight horizon line!

wide-angle lens barrel distortion before
wide-angle lens barrel distortion after

Simple guides on how to correct lens distortion

Adobe Camera Raw (ACR)

adobe camera raw lens correction

My personal workflow involves opening up my photographs in ACR and making RAW adjustments in the software before transferring my photos across to Photoshop for more complex adjustments and edits. In ACR there is a tab aptly named ‘Lens Corrections’ where you can check the ‘Enable Lens Profile Corrections’ option and then select which lens you have used (depending on the camera/lens combination the software may automatically select the lens for you). Voilà. The distortion is corrected! You can then fine-tune the correction, however I’m usually pretty happy with the default settings.

While you’re at it you might as well go ahead and click on the ‘Color’ tab besides the lens profile tab and check ‘Remove Chromatic Aberration’ which is another issue that affects wide angle lenses that is very simple to correct.

LightRoom

lightroom lens correction

The Lightroom workflow is similar to the ACR workflow. You will find a tab named ‘Lens Corrections’ in the Develop section of the software where you can check the ‘Enable Profile Corrections’ option and once again, voilà, the distortion is corrected!

Once again, while you’re at it you might as well go ahead and click on the ‘Color’ tab besides the lens profile tab and check ‘Remove Chromatic Aberration’ which is another issue that affects wide angle lenses that is very simple to correct.

SKRWT (iPhone app) [link]

skrwt - iPhone app

I enjoy posting my photos to Instagram, however I had the same issue with barrel distortion in my iPhone photographs and images sent directly to my iPhone from my Sony a7R via wifi. In the past I would hesitate to post any photos to Instagram where the lines in buildings or horizons weren’t straight. That was until I downloaded the SKRWT app, which allows you to correct lens distortion (and also perspective distortion) in a very user-friendly interface. You can visit their website via the link above for a in-depth tutorial on how to use the app and what sort of features are included.

The app is US$1.99 at the time of me writing this.

If you have any questions or suggestions, or if you know of a different way to correct distortion, let us know in the comments section below.

A Byron Bay Sunset

It has been a while, I know! I haven’t completely fallen off the face of the Earth. I’ve still be working hard on my photography.

Earlier this month my girlfriend, Allanah, and I were fortunate enough to spend a little over a week visiting various locations around South-East Queensland. For the first 4 days we were based on the Gold Coast staying in the amazing Q1 Resort and Spa, and for the remainder of the trip a good photographer friend of mine, Simon Beedle, was kind enough to let us crash on his sofa in his apartment at Dicky Beach on the Sunshine Coast.

We kept busy during our quick trip to the East Coast and managed to visit a heap of locations around the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. One of the first evenings of the trip we shot down to Byron Bay and managed to capture some nice light from The Pass at sunset which you can see in the photo below.

The Pass, Byron Bay, NSW, Australian Landscape Photography

I will be posting more regularly here from now on, hopefully including some tutorials, hints and tips style blogs, and also sharing more of my new photographs with you all.

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All Photos © 2012-2015 Beau Mitchell Photography | ABN 69 266 229 617