Create Evoke Photography: Blog en-us (C) Create Evoke Photography (Create Evoke Photography) Tue, 06 Oct 2015 03:03:00 GMT Tue, 06 Oct 2015 03:03:00 GMT Create Evoke Photography: Blog 120 80 Photographing Your Pets GhostGhost Photographing your pets

My landscape photography has taken a bit of a back seat over the last few weeks but for a very good reason. I have been lucky enough to meet a number of the Peninsula’s finest fur population. (Actually fur is a bit limiting – there have been feathers and scales too!). I have been shooting (with a camera of course!) the Nhulunbuy PAWS Pets of the Peninsula 2016 fundraiser calendar.

At times it has been challenging but tons of fun and I thought I’d put together some tips for those of you who want to take better photographs of your pets yourself. The reality is that you are best placed to get the best shots because you know your pet and they trust you.

Some of these tips are applicable even if you’re using a smartphone and others are more applicable if you have a camera with some manual settings.

Eliminate distracting backgrounds


You want the focus of your shot to be your pet so you need to consider your backgrounds and eliminate anything that can be distracting. There are a number of ways to do this:

  • Zoom in (either with your camera or your feet!) – getting closer can often cut out of the frame some distracting elements
  • Shift your position
  • Blur the background – you can do this by selecting a wider aperture (e.g. f/2.8 or f/4). The lower the number the wider your aperture and the more blur you can achieve with only the subject you focus on remaining sharp.
  • Go black and white – sometimes colour can be a distraction and if it’s not adding anything to the image then try black and white. Black and white can be good for focusing on the texture of your pet’s fur or feathers too.

Make sure the eyes are in focus

Eyes are the windows to the soul and your pet’s eyes can be very expressive. Make sure they are pin sharp by focusing on them as the most important element in the shot. You can achieve some great effects with a wide aperture but the eyes should absolutely still be in focus. In using a wide aperture if your pet has their head slightly turned one eye may not be perfectly sharp. In this instance the focus should usually be on the eye closest to you.


Get down on their level

Some of the best shots I have taken have been flat on my belly, experiencing the world through the animal’s eyes.

Louise and DamienLouise and Damien

Capture their character


If you have a lazy cat picture them yawning, if your pet has a favourite toy or trick capture them playing that way. You know your pet intimately and this is the reason that with some basic technical camera knowledge you will always take better shots of them than anyone else can.

Natural Light

I personally prefer to use natural light rather than flash which may alarm or distress the animal. This way I can let them do their thing and just capture them as naturally and comfortably as possible. If you can’t get outside try to get close to a window with good light.


Fill the frame and go abstract

You don’t need the whole of your pet in the frame for it to be a great shot. Focus on particular parts of your pet and quite often you can get some terrific detail in the fur or their eyes or paws that make a beautiful abstract shot.


Some tips on settings

As with all photography, there are no magic or ‘best’ settings for capturing your pet. You need to give some thought to the kind of image you want before you settle on your settings.

For example to freeze your pet in action e.g. running towards you on a beach, jumping etc. you need a fast shutter speed (typically 1/200th second or faster). You will also need to use an automatic focus tracking system. See my previous blog for more on that.  


In low light situations you might need to increase your ISO to allow a faster shutter speed without underexposing (ISO refers to how fast your sensor gathers the light available to it). Most of the pets I have photographed this month I have used an ISO of 320 or higher even when shooting outdoors. This will also help you keep the shots sharp. A wider aperture (e.g. f/4 which exposes the sensor to more light) will also help with this as well as blurring distracting backgrounds.


The PAWS fundraising calendar is available for pre-order via their Facebook Page. I’d love to see some of your own shots of your pets and I hope that this has helped.



]]> (Create Evoke Photography) calendar fundraising nhulunbuy pet pets photography Tue, 06 Oct 2015 03:02:51 GMT
GO GO GO! Aperture f2.8, Shutter speed 1/40th second, ISO500 I’ve been asked a couple of times how I got the shots that I took of speedway last weekend. I’ll try to explain the technique I used which is a technique called panning. Firstly here’s the disclaimers!

You need to approach this technique experimentally – it can provide some awesome results but it can be frustrating to master (and I definitely haven't!). Which brings me to my second disclaimer which is more of an admission! I took well over 100 shots on that Saturday night in order to get a handful that I was happy with, where the fence post wasn’t obscuring half the car and the car was actually in focus!

However, it is fun and it’s a great way to show speed in your images – try it on anything that moves from kids, to dogs, to runners and cyclists. I even use it for sunsets occasionally to create a more painterly effect. You probably have seen shots of horse races as well as car races where the technique of blurring the background while keeping the subject in focus has been used to depict speed effectively.

Aperture f4, Shutter Speed 1/6th second, ISO125

The knack

In short you set your camera to an automatic tracking focus setting and use a slower shutter speed whilst tracking your subject as it moves past you.

Which means what???

  • First find and set your focus to the automatic tracking option. This will keep whatever subject you focus on in focus while you track your camera at the same speed as the subject. This setting will be something along the lines of AF-C, continuous or Al Servo in your camera menu depending on your brand of camera.
  • Next select shutter priority (“S” for Nikon users and “Tv” for Canon users) on your mode dial. This means the camera will choose the "correct" aperture for you and it's one less thing to worry about in the moment. 
  • Choose a shutter speed of around 1/30 second. You’ll need to experiment from here – for faster objects (e.g. race cars) you’ll need faster shutter speeds like 1/50th and for slower subjects like someone walking you’ll need something slower like 1/15th. For the sunset image above I used 1/4th second.
  • Position yourself so that your object moves past you. Before it gets to you focus on them or it by pressing your shutter half way. Keep it held down and track the subject with your camera until it is parallel with you, at which point you press the shutter all the way.
  • With the shutter pressed keep tracking the subject with your camera for a second. This creates the background blur whilst keeping your subject in focus but it does take practice!!


At speedway it’s also dark which doesn’t help so bump your ISO up to something like ISO 500 (you’ll have to experiment for your own camera here) and try to position yourself so that you are pressing the shutter all the way as the car comes past you in one of the more well lit sections of the track. I also found it useful to zoom out more than you might like for this technique and then crop your image later.

Aperture f20, Shutter Speed 1/4th second, ISO100 Don’t forget to share your images to the Facebook Group

]]> (Create Evoke Photography) camera panning photography racing technique Wed, 26 Aug 2015 06:45:32 GMT
Chiaroscuro “Chiaroscuro” was the word frequently springing to mind during a recent short trip to Queenstown, New Zealand.


Light seemed to be kinder from a photographer’s perspective in Queenstown by comparison to home in many ways and offered me longer hours of interest due to the chiaroscuric interplay of light and shadows on mountain ridges and in the valleys. Clouds that partially veiled peaks and summits created unique images wherever I looked causing me to lament on several occasions my decision to leave my telephoto lens at home!

Aurorial spiritsAurorial spirits

I had tried to travel light on the equipment front knowing that this was largely a ski holiday (also awesome!)! I recently traded in my wide-angle zoom for a couple of prime lenses and this was my first opportunity to play with them. I LOVE them by the way! I discovered that the Nikkor 20mm wide angle gives an amazing starburst effect and the 14mm Rokinon was terrific for the small amount of astrophotography that I managed to do along the road that heads towards Milford Sound.


The contrast of temperatures between the terrain that receives sun and that facing away from its favour was remarkable and clearly delineated by the boundaries of snowfields. (I’m talking t-shirt versus hoody and duck-down jacket combo remarkable!)You can see quite markedly where the shadows trap the landscape relentlessly from the reaches of the sun.

The photographic possibilities resulting from this theatre of light and dark, warmth and cold was very arresting. That aside, Queenstown also has the most amazing array of jetties, submerged rocks, beaches and foregrounds for any visiting (or local) landscape photographers. A couple of these jetties facilitated some very satisfying sunrise and sunset workouts for my wide-angle prime lens, somewhat reducing the pain of my missing telephoto!

Unwavering lightUnwavering light

On the final morning prior to departure we managed to squeeze in a glacier helicopter tour, which at last gave me the opportunity to shoot some of the peaks in isolation. These images were shot through the chopper window. With some serious sub zero appropriate clothing it would be amazing to shoot with the door off!

ChiaroscuroChiaroscuro AreteArete Seraphic SpotlightSeraphic Spotlight Winter in Queenstown is definitely the Ying to Arnhem Land’s Yang in the polysemic world of natural beauty and I can sense that this is more a case of “until next time” than “goodbye”!






]]> (Create Evoke Photography) and black chiaroscuro landscape light mountains new photography queenstown snow white winter zealand Tue, 18 Aug 2015 07:26:36 GMT
Minion's For Life Relay for Life!

On the 14th of August I will be returning from skiing and shooting the beautiful Queenstown, New Zealand in time for the Nhulunbuy Relay For Life event. Our team (dressed as Minion's!!) will be fundraising madly between now and then in order to raise as many funds as we can for the cause. You are highly likely to see us around town in our Minion personas prior to the event so when you see us please dig deep. All the money goes to the Cancer Council to fund much needed research, prevention and support for cancer patients and their families. 


As part of the fundraising effort we are all undertaking personal challenges such as quitting smoking, dry July and possibly the hardest of all not talking about our furry family members!! However if you'd like more personal value for money then check out our auction where I am auctioning off this image of East Woody Beach (Galaru) printed as 40cm x 60cm and beautifully framed by my partners in art, Blackman Gallery. The finished size is approximately 60cm x 80cm. Additionally there are a couple of my cashmere scarves up for grabs also. 

You can bid online and I will be taking paper bids at the Nhulunbuy Corporation Markets. The image will be on display prior to the event (more details to follow on this) and on the night of Relay For Life, with the auction ending at midnight! 

Happy bidding everyone!!

Here's the link to the auction - you need to register first (top right hand corner) and then you can place your bids!






]]> (Create Evoke Photography) auction east for fundraiser gove life nhulunbuy relay woody Sun, 19 Jul 2015 06:17:32 GMT
A Pest Called Nathan

It’s the day after Cape York’s hand-me-down Tropical Cyclone Nathan swept passed Nhulunbuy in Arnhem Land. His wake has left trees down, boats stranded on the causeway, damaged power lines and some flooding.

We are the lucky ones, with only a tree down that managed to miss the cars, the boat and the house as well as saving us the job of chopping it down ourselves which was on the cards!

Whilst I admit that photographically speaking I do get a bit excited at any kind of inclement weather, my thoughts are with the homelands and communities copping the brunt of this brute so soon after Tropical Cyclone Lam and while they are still in recovery mode.

ALPA RJCP are doing a terrific job assisting the recovery efforts post Cyclone Lam as well as keeping people updated with the warnings for Tropical Cyclone Nathan, who will no doubt set the recovery effort back.

If you would like to assist the communities worst affected by this year’s cyclone season ALPA are running a fundraising campaign that you can contribute to here.

Here are a few of my images from the eve of TC Nathan and the day after.  I hope you enjoy and if you do please share with your friends and family! 

Carnage on the causewayCarnage on the causeway

]]> (Create Evoke Photography) NT Nathan TC alpa arnhem land cloud community cyclone fundraiser gove nhulunbuy northern territory weather Tue, 24 Mar 2015 07:45:05 GMT
Holidays in our backyard I love living somewhere where you can totally holiday in your own backyard! 3 weeks off work and many plans for boating, fishing and photoing. Now that I am armed with my new Ikelite Underwater Housing for my old D7000, our three favourite activities combine nicely! 

Boating, fishing, photography

Off we cruised to Truant Island, new waters for us. Yielding waters as it turned out. Gav pulled in a few nice cod and I monopolized the gold band snappers. By mid afternoon we were ready to explore the island and find some calm clear waters for camping and to try out some under-over water shots.

The tragedy of ghost nets

Sadly we came across a number of ghost nets as we lapped the island. Much like icebergs there was not much to see on the surface but underneath the water lies the real beast of them. Gav hooked one up to the back of the boat and we managed to tow it in but the others were much too heavy.

Ghost Net 2Ghost Net 2

It is sad to see these in such magical waters but on a side note I have seen these tragedies turned into beauty by the women at the Gapuwiyak Art Centre where they are creating artwork out of the very tangles that threaten the wildlife in these waters.

Ghost NetGhost Net

After getting side tracked with the ghost nets we found a calm bay with magnificent crystal clear aqua waters so I hopped in with the underwater housing for a play and later we camped here on the boat for the night.

Beach ApproachBeach ApproachFirst attempts at underwater photography.

Aqua waters, a tropical island all to ourselves, nice wine, our boat and great fishing. Sounds like paradise no? Unfortunately all was not well and the next morning we discovered that our starter motor had departed this earth and gone to starter motor heaven. Stranded. 62km from Nhulunbuy.

Eventually the boys in blue made it out to tow us home. 62kms at 8 knots equates to about 5 hours travel / boredom. And not even a chance to drop a line. Never have I been happier to see the refinery appear on the horizon!


Two days of mixed blessings but a new spot discovered, a new toy played with, an SD card full of images and plenty of fish in our freezer. All in all I feel like we won! Is it any wonder that we love Arnhem Land and the Northern Territory?!

]]> (Create Evoke Photography) arnhem land beach boating coastal living conservation environmental fishing ghost nets holidays northern territory seascape split photography under over underwater photography Mon, 29 Dec 2014 01:55:03 GMT
A chance encounter with Manta Rays Boating and fishing in Nhulunbuy

This weekend Gav and I took the boat out for a quick spin intending to do an hour or so of fishing just to check if the new propeller (and other boat bits I don't understand - something about a drive shaft??) were functioning correctly before taking other people out with us. 

It turned out to be one of the best days on the water that we have had since moving to Nhulunbuy! Normally when we head out ocean fishing I don't take my camera with me as there's very little to see and if I do I take my wide angle so that I can capture our catch (with my lens as well as my lure)! For some strange reason a random thought process that I had made me empty out my camera bag so that I could throw in my big bazooka lens (Tamron 150-600mm). 

Manta RaysManta RaysStumbled across about 10 manta rays whilst out fishing one day near West Woody island.

Manta Rays

We putted out past West Woody island and in the distance Gav thought he saw a whale. When we got closer we realised that there were Manta Rays all around us and that our whale was actually a school of rays! Some of them were bigger than our boat. 

So many words sprang to mind watching them floating and gliding around us. Elegant, graceful, agile and yet none quite suffice. At that stage I was so grateful I'd packed the camera and that particular lens! The universe was definitely working in my favour. 

Afterwards I was quite intrigued to know more about them; at the time I didn't even know what there classification is or what a group of them is called. Apparently they are fish, the same as sharks, and therefore a group of them is a school. 

Here's a couple of links I found with some interesting facts about Manta Rays and a couple of my own pics from the day. Enjoy! p.s. we also caught two 1 metre + Jewfish and 4 tuna! Cracking day :)

Manta Ray Links

Manta Ray World

Amazing Facts about Manta Rays

Manta RaysManta RaysGav and I were privileged to witness this school of manta rays whilst out fishing one day. Manta Rays in the wildManta Rays in the wildA school of manta rays dropped past our boat this weekend to say hello. Amazing!

]]> (Create Evoke Photography) NT arnhem land gove manta ray nhulunbuy Mon, 24 Nov 2014 02:45:51 GMT
Beauty and the beast On Friday evening I had the amazing privilege of boarding a chopper and spending the next 45 minutes seeing East Arnhem Land from the air. Aerial photography is something I always loved, particularly abstracts such as those of my friend Nikosono and I was super pumped to have a go. 

The Beast

We actually flew over the refinery for the first part of the trip and normally this alien mother ship of a blip on the horizon annoys me and finds its way into way too many of my shots as a distraction from all the beauty around it. On this occasion I actually found I enjoyed taking a few shots of it, purely based on the lines and patterns and colours it offered up to my Nikon.

Patchwork ControversyThe mud ponds

The Beauty

After that we headed up the coast past some favourite spots - Wallaby Beach, East Woody, Rocky Bay at Yirrkala and further up. I have a thing for mangroves photographically speaking and it was awesome to see the density of some of them around creeks as we flew over the top. This chopper ride really hit home how incredibly lucky we are to live in this relatively untouched part of the world in all it's diversity and just how remote it is up here! In just 45 minutes we flew over mangroves, creeks, coast, beaches and bush! 

Cross SectionThere are an amazing amount of tracks to be seen from the air!

I feel that I may be in danger of getting a bit addicted to aerial photography! Hope you enjoy some of these shots too. These are some of my own favourites from the ride. 

Green VelvetGreen Velvet JourneyJourney

In a hazeIn a haze

]]> (Create Evoke Photography) NT abstract aerial arnhem land gove nhulunbuy Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:58:20 GMT
The Little People Human Inclusion Victim #1The Beachcomber

I tend to get a lot of inspiration from other photographers and artists. It’s one of the main reasons I like social media sites like Flickr and more recently Instagram so much.

Recently I have found myself drawn to landscape images with a human element. Normally I try everything to keep people out of my landscape images so it was strange that images like the selfies Paul Zizka created should appeal to me.

I once attended a workshop in Dunsborough, Western Australia by two photographers that I admire a great deal, Les Walkling and Tony Hewitt.

They discussed at length the importance of self-reflective and probing questions about why you are pressing the shutter to developing your personal style and vision.

They also introduced the concept that to be a more interesting photographer you should first become a more interesting person and surround yourself with fine works of all kinds (e.g. art, literature etc.) but also to apply this questioning theory to artworks that you find yourself admiring. 

The application of this theory to works such as those from Paul Zizka led me to the conclusion that I liked the context, the perspective, the isolation, scale and emotion that a human element can add to an image.

Those of you who have followed me for a while know that I enjoy setting myself challenges and projects within my photography and so I have been keeping an eye out for a good opportunity to practice the finesse of including humans in landscape images.

This opportunity presented itself over the weekend on a 24hour trip to Bawaka in Northeast Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. 10 people, a 4WD bus and some spectacular beaches. Only 1 sunrise and 1 sunset and a bright bright day in between presented a challenge to capture everything in itself! Knowing I could not keep everyone else out of my images I decided to test out the human inclusion theory!

These are my first results. I have lots more ideas too now and it is probably not the last time I’ll try this. 


The Barra HuntersThere's no little person in this one but the lights on the foreground are from head torches as people walked around behind me looking for barra in the shallows. Human Inclusion Victims #2 The Morning Coffee Junkies (9-shot panorama of Bawaka) Human Inclusion Victim #3 The Man that Walks on Water Human Inclusion Victim #4The Budgie Smuggler Human Inclusion Victim #5The Fisherman

]]> (Create Evoke Photography) arnhem land landscape photography northern territory Tue, 21 Oct 2014 04:17:00 GMT
Photowalking Nhulunbuy 107IMG_8314Halloween | October 31, 2016 "Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun." - Mary Lou Cook

I think this is why I enjoy photo walking so much – what better way to do all of those things than with other like minded people? I find that collaborating with other photographers and, for that matter other artists, is incredibly inspiring and fuels my creativity.

So what is photowalking?

Photowalking is basically the act of walking around taking pictures but recently it has become synonymous with a group of people doing this together. And you don’t need the latest whizz bang equipment either, you can join in with just your smart phone!

When I lived in Darwin a number of us used to get together for photowalks and it really helped improve my photography. I learnt from others about not just the photograph in-camera but also postproduction. Furthermore some of the themes for the photowalks really put me out of my comfort zone and made me think differently. A prime example of this was our photowalk at the aviation heritage centre! Not my normal cup of tea but it pushed my limits photographically speaking.

I firmly believe that collaboration is one of the most important elements in a photographic journey towards discovering and refining your personal vision. Collaboration sparks creativity and innovation in your image making. I’ve also discovered amazing new spots to photograph working with other photographers like this.

Now that I’m in Nhulunbuy I’m keen to continue on this journey of photowalking and meet some new photographers, both experienced and new. I have lots of ideas for some themes for photowalks (with a distinct landscape photography flavour to them!) but would love to hear from fellow Goveites on their ideas too in the comments section below.

Some of my photowalking ideas are:

·      Shoot for the sky

·      Timelapse

·      Mangrove Madness

·      All about boats (followed by a cold one at the Boat Club and a debrief / share of images!)

Who’s in??? And don't forget to share this link with your friends using the buttons below!

Useful links and other photogs that I have enjoyed working with!:

Territory Photowalks Facebook Page

Louise Denton Photography

Territory Photography Adventures Facebook Page

My own Facebook page!


]]> (Create Evoke Photography) camera gove nhulunbuy photography course photography lesson photography workshop photowalk Thu, 09 Oct 2014 02:53:24 GMT
It's official! We've moved to Nhulunbuy (Gove)! WirrawuyWirrawuyWirrawuy Beach, Nhulunbuy (Gove) in East Arnhem Land. Some of you may have noticed the way that images from Nhulunbuy (Gove) and surrounding areas have slowly started replacing the photos of Darwin in my Facebook and other social media feeds. This being true I thought I should finally make it official (albeit this announcement is somewhat tardy! Sorry!). I have indeed moved to Nhulunbuy (Gove) in order to make a greater commitment to my job and the communities I’m working with. That said, the decision was certainly not entirely altruistic since the landscapes and fishing, two of our favourite past times are magnificent! Whilst it was pretty sad to say goodbye to Darwin it has been exciting to explore new landscapes in this beautiful Top End that Northern Territorians call home. Besides, it’s more of a Nhama Yalala (Yolngu Matha for “See you later“) to Darwin than goodbye.

Nhulunbuy (Gove) and surrounds

Since I’ve been in Nhulunbuy (Gove) both on a fly in fly out basis and now permanently I have met some fantastic characters and been to some great new spots. Managgaymi (Scout Camp), Gapuwiyak, Drimmie Head, East Woody, Wirrwuy beach and more to name just a few. I’m still privy to amazing sunsets and sunrises, beachscapes and landscapes and more often than not get these spots to myself! Here are some of my favourites days and landscapes from the last few months.

]]> (Create Evoke Photography) arnhem land gove nhulunbuy Tue, 07 Oct 2014 05:55:18 GMT