I've decided to not do a "Top 10" or "Top 5" pics for 2017. Instead I'd like share just one of my favorite shots for 2017, and I'll explain why …
At the start of the year, my son Mitch and I started planning for a Road Trip in Winter, with our main goal being to attempt to shoot the Milky Way over Uluru. Winter in Oz is prime time for Milky Way shots, and our clear outback skies just lend themselves to this. I'd only tried Astro photography a couple of times before, with very limited success.
Since those attempts, I've moved on to a full-frame camera, the Sony A7Rll, and purchased the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 Manual lens to use at night. Mitch had cut over to the Sony Alpha system a while before me, and I'd had a 'play' a couple of times with his new Sony and been very impressed with it's capabilities. The dynamic range was very impressive, which for landscape photography is important … I was keen to see what the Sony (and I!) could do!
The image below is one of my all-time faves, taken on the Road Trip Mitch and I had planned - it's a single image, shot in RAW format, with the RAW image processed in Adobe Lightroom.
On the right is the RAW file, unprocessed, straight out of the camera, below is the processed image.
At our local camera club, two "topics/questions/discussions" still occur a few times each year -
- Why do you shoot in RAW? and
- Why do you process your photos?
I've seen fantastic shots from our members that are shot using the default JPEG format, "processed" in-camera, with little or no post-processing. I'm never going to rubbish anyone for not shooting in RAW. I'm just really happy that they are our shooting and enjoying this great hobby we share. To me this image is a great example of what a RAW image can capture and produce. There may be cameras that can produce just as good results with JPEG … I don't know of them.
I actually enjoy taking control of the processing of the data captured in a RAW file. I want to control how to represent the image that my eyes and mind have seen, and then share that with other enthusiasts. RAW + Lightroom give me that.
The other reason I've chosen this image is that not only was I able to share the image with other enthusiasts, I was able to share the entire experience with Mitch. We both love camping, bushwalking, road trips, music, banana bread and photography, and a couple of times a year we get together and combine all of that - very special.
Having a photo-buddy is special too. I'll often go out for sunrise or sunset alone - it's enjoyable, the solitude can provide a lot of clarity of thought. However, being on a shoot with a few friends from our camera club is great … they say "A joy that is shared Is a joy made double" :) It's true, even if the brilliant sky doesn't arrive, just being out with friends, catching up and then sharing a coffee later is a great positive experience.
Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed the images I have shared with you this year. I've thoroughly enjoyed every moment I've been able to get out and shoot - whether that has been a Road Trip, Camera Club shoot, solo sunrise shoot at the beach or just setting up along our country lane!
May this Festive Season give you the opportunity to reach out to those you love, and to those that love you, so that the good times and treasures of today become your treasured memories of tomorrow.
Hoping you have Merry Christmas, and a Safe and Happy New Year.
Best Wishes, Craig