Darran Leal, Nikon School Sydney Workshop lecturer and Nikon School Tasmanian Tour tutor, agrees with people when they say he has the best job in the world. Having spent years honing his craft and building a strong portfolio of clients, he now travels to, and takes photos in, amazing locations every year.
I love to challenge myself and the customers who join me, to explore new facets of photography that they might never have tried before. Why lock yourself in as a ‘landscape photographer’, or nature photographer’ when similar, simple techniques can be applied to all forms of photography. Here are a few of my personal favourite images from my 2010 photo adventures.
Norfolk Island is an old haunt for me as I started my professional career on the island. After a week of shooting, I was especially excited to find nesting boobies. What a beautiful scene! 200ISO 35mm focal length, f6.7 250th of a second, Program mode.
It was my first time to Bhutan and what a stunning photo destination. This day was very overcast and wet, so I suggested to everyone to ‘up the ISO’ and look for unique opportunities. I spotted a monk running out of a door way at a distance. I moved up to the best location I could judge and waited about 15 minutes for a unique sequence of images as anther monk ran out, trying to stay dry. Visualisation is an important facet to shooting unique images.
50mm focal length, at 3200ISO, f5.6 and 180th of a second Aperture Priority mode.
The San People of Namibia still live traditionally, as they have for thousands of years. Our shoot with a family group was amazing as they showed us hunting techniques, bush survival and how they relax, dancing around a fire. It was a very harsh light day. I visualised on location, that B&W conversion might offer the best creative look for most of the series. I return this year to shoot more San People images – can’t wait!
200ISO 460mm focal length, f6.7 180th of a second Aperture Priority mode.
I rely on my Nikon equipment to focus on tough subjects in tough environments. This Eastern-yellow Robin was shoot in the rainforest at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, a favourite spot of mine. The D700 handled the low light very well. To go one creative step further, I processed the image in Photoshop and Pixel Bender. I love the effect!
400ISO 500mm focal length, f6.3 60th of a second Program mode and fill-flash.
Dove Lake is especially beautiful in morning glow. It can get very cold, about minus 5 this particular morning. Getting up early and staying out late is a key to shooting great landscape images. However, I have also shot others landscapes in the middle of the day. Keep your mind open to opportunities, linked with processing. Seven vertical images stitched together in Photoshop.
200ISO 22mm focal length, f11 half a second shutter speed, Manual mode.
Are you inspired by Darran’s images and keen to improve or refresh your knowledge about photography?
You can hear more from Darran at the Nikon School Sydney Workshop where he will be joined by Clare Oliver and David Oliver as they share their knowledge and photographic advice. Choose from one or two days filled with tips and techniques from these world leading Nikon professionals. The next workshop will be held 12 &/or 13 March 2011 at the Pittwater North and West Rooms in Sydney.