Mount Wilson, Blue Mountains NSW Australia

Every falls I go up the mountains for the fall colours. Usually I have to have a few trips to check out the colour. Mount Wilson is probably the best place in the Blue Mountains for Autumn colours. I love to shoot a models or couple up here one day for engagement.

One element that is missing from the photo is some fog. Hopefully this year I have fogs up there and it could add some mystery to the photo. Fingers cross.

With falls colours that is in the photo above, there must be some post-processing work in Photoshop. The natural colours of fall leaves doesn\’t look like that. It is an artist/photographer expression of reality. Some people thinks great photographs just magically falls out of the camera as it is. Usually it\’s not the case, it is the person behind the camera that\’s the most important to an image.

If you look at the great landscape photographer Ansel Adams, he manipulated the negative in the darkroom to fit the artist expression. It is the final print that is the performance of a photo, and the end justify the means in my opinion. I just simply want to be entertained and stimulate by great images. Photoshop and camera equipments are simply tools.

If you want to learn how to create similar photo in Photoshop, Scott Kelby has some create stuff to share. I have embedded the Youtube video where you can learn this specific techniques. It is easy once you know how to use it. Check it out at below at the \”one hour mark\” for the fall colours technique. I highly suggest you watch the entire video if you want to get start in Photoshop. You cannot learn Photoshop in a few months. It takes 2-3 years to have mastery over Photoshop. I once heard another photographer said \”to have mastery over any skills you need to spend 10,000 hours on it.\”

Flower Friday "Garden of Roses"

Just before anyone comment of the blurriness of the photo. It was like that on purpose. Yes this is an impressionist painting not a photograph. Oh that\’s how I feel anyway.

I\’ve done this in camera with no Photoshop. Yeah, I know you could take a sharp photo and use the filters in Photoshop to make a photograph become paintery like. When I first tried out those filters, I said to myself, that was fun. But when I experiment with paintery looks in camera, now that\’s really fun.

With this techniques, you\’re get 1 keeper out of 100 shots. The blurs might not be what you want or it is too much and it\’s become too abstract. Experiment with shutter speed, try it out at 1/30 or 1/15. Shake the camera, warning this might break the mirror in your DSLR and your camera become mirrorless. Another camera movement is \”Z\”, you might not have enough time to do the full \”Z\” so lower you shutter speed even further.

Try it out let me know how you go. You\’ve might get hook on this techniques and never take the flower photograph the same. Please take the sharp photos first and start to experiment with blurs.

Ello and Social Expectations

As I have passed 100 posts on Ello, I was thinking to myself, what are the attractiveness of social media? A simple answer that I could come up is…it is simple. It makes someone voice on the net be heard. I used to have Twitter accounts…yes Twitter accounts. I have about 20 accounts I think. There was a software that I was using to follow people and if they don\’t follow me back within 3 days the software un-follow that particular person. So the game was how many followers you can get.

I am using Facebook and have a fanpage as well. Most of my friends are on Facebook and basically it\’s okay that the quality of the post is not great. But they your friends so it\’s alright. To catch up on what\’s they doing, I simply quickly browse through the posts. Don\’t know how the algorithm work on Facebook and the advertisement? It\’s part of life and you simply cannot get away from it unless you pay.

As for Instagram? I don\’t get it.

Google+ is a great viewing platform to showcase my work. You get tonnes of views for your photos. And some of your post could be search engine optimised, especially on Google search engine. Make Google your friends.

For Ello, I\’ve heard from @thomashawk while watching TWIP. I see great artists in here that is on the same boat as I am. They want somewhere on the net where they could have a voice and Ello and other social network makes it so simple that they have forgotten to do it for themselves.

Ello is still in Beta and invites only to get into the social network. They are fine-tune the technical challenges and makes the social network more enjoyable for the members. But as a business person myself, the Venture Capitalist (VC) will want to ask themselves. When can I get my return on investment (ROI)? What business model is Ello based on? From what I have read online, they want to copy iTune or Ebay business model. Pay to upgrade for extra features or services.

What\’s make Ello unique? Or is it unique at all? The anti-Facebook, no advertisement and community based is \”cute\” and simply a marketing gimmick. The early creator of Ello had a noble idea but I can\’t see myself paying extra features that I can get elsewhere virtually free. The attractions of social media is the instant feedback you get back after a post. An immediate reward either positive or negative, your voice is answered.

What could Ello do and still remains viable business model?

I have done some random research on some of the people active right now on Ello. What I\’ve noticed is about 50% or more don\’t have a personal website. They have other social networks like Google+, Facebook and Twitter account but a personal website…NO. Why is that? The answer is simple, it is easy to have an on-line presents immediately and a community to response to your voices or audiences. Either with friends on Facebook, total strangers on Twitter or Google+.

The backlash from Facebook is not your post is not seen by friends and family. The online voice is restricted by \”Big Brother\”, unless you pay \”Big Brother Facie\” ofcourse. In business we have to talk about exchange of value, what values does social media brings to the table? TRAFFIC either by pay advertisement to drive traffic to sites for other exchange of values, goods or services or ideas.

Ello is not and never allow advertisement on the site? The critics are out pointing to this facts. How else will they survive and grow? They can\’t rely on a few merchandise sales to fund the growth, there must be a long term solutions.

The solution

500px business models for photographs but apply to text, photos,graphics etc. Let me explain myself, currently on 500px, photographers can upload as many photo as they want and they basically can select which photos to be in their portfolio on a personal website, with domain attach, and it instantly go online. Any changes to it can be done instantly. What\’s stop Ello and all the posts to have the same characteristics?

People want to own a personal website, a virtual land on the world wide web. Who ever can make it easiest and pain free own the markets. There\’s online click and drag website builder like Wiz and SquareSpace but they lack the community aspect to it. You want to have a dynamic website that constantly growing and also constantly indexed in search engines. I personally want my work to be discovered by other people outside social network. And I\’m sure other artists on Ello feel the same.

Ello never allow advertisement on Ello website, but I want to have an option to monetized my effort on my personal website host/DNA/engineer by Ello. For adds on, like shopping cart and email list, I am willing to pay for it and it certainly provide great values to me.


Right now Ello is in a great place to make great changes to social network. With a great brand awareness but lack directions in my opinion. Ello don\’t want to be a anti-Facebook but a leading content provider for the people. A voice if you prefer for the information age. Only then Ello can find the right niche and serves some values to the people. Otherwise it is just another \”cute\” friend or social network that I find online.

Sydney\’s CBD Light Trail

When it comes to light trail photography, the best places are the city bridges and/or above footpaths. However, not many places in the city where you could actually put your tripod to get a really long exposure to get the light trail.

A few years back I\’ve came across this bridge which I have link to on Google Map so you can have similar shots. Hopefully by then they don\’t put up any wired/meshed fence to block the view. With this particular spot you can actually put your tripod down and compose the shot. You need to get really close to the fence or let you wide angle lense next to the fence. Get creative with you tripod placement. I have done some creative tripod placement in the past and I know you could do similar things.

The best time is probably just after sunset, depends on where you live it could be 15-30 minutes after sunset. To get the trail your shutter speed must be as least 30 seconds. That\’s mean that your aperture must be low. For most of my night photography, my aperture is set at f.8 but if you want the stars burst effect you want to go f.16.

The benefits of shooting after sunset is the blue hour phenomenon. There\’s only a brief moment where the sky turns to blue and the ambience light from the city matches the sky. My favourites time to shoot the skyline.

There\’s also another secret spot which most photographers missed altogether. It is behind the Art Gallery of NSW and it\’s about 50 meters from this particular spot. You still can get great shots but without the CBD view.

Try it out and leave a comment below if you have tried the spot or the secret spots. I love to see your shots. Happy shooting!

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