PROMETHEAN | photographer | TEACHER | listener

Photography blog

Guest speaking at Eurobodalla Camera Club's September meeting 2018.

This was a very special day! I got the chance to head home to speak to the very audience of photographers that inspired me to pick up a camera many years ago. And I had the very stressful honour of judging some of their work.

Here’s the presentation.

What an honour! Speaking to a crowd of wonderful photographers at the Eurobodalla Camera Club recently.

Ben Eyles
Time management
This here rockpool is one spot Mum used to take me all the time as a kid to splash around in with my brother. You’ll find it in that small stretch of sand between Surf Beach and Denhams Beach, near Batemans Bay, NSW.  (Shot on Samyang 7.5mm fisheye on an Olympus OM-D EM-1, ISO 400, 1/1600s about f5.6 or f8. September 24 at 6.14am.)

This here rockpool is one spot Mum used to take me all the time as a kid to splash around in with my brother. You’ll find it in that small stretch of sand between Surf Beach and Denhams Beach, near Batemans Bay, NSW.

(Shot on Samyang 7.5mm fisheye on an Olympus OM-D EM-1, ISO 400, 1/1600s about f5.6 or f8. September 24 at 6.14am.)

FINALLY  got a minute to take some holiday days last week. It worked out really well as the day before I left I got the nod from the shoulder surgeon that my fracture had healed okay and I’d be right to drive and shoot and make pictures again. 

It was such a relief to hit Batemans Bay. I got down to Surf Beach before sunrise (which wasn’t that hard, Mum and Dad’s house is only a 30-second walk away) with a couple of cameras and shot my way through it.

I cannot remember the last time I did that: shot my favourite camera with my favourite lens on my favourite beach. Which seems really silly. Why don’t I do this more often? What’s stopping me?

I could explain it away with a few practical reasons — work, kid, family, more WORK, — but that’s not really WHY.

Truthfully, I don’t know why ... yet ... but I’m working on it. 

But here’s some things I do know: life is finite and you can run out of road real fast. I was working late on paperwork when our two-year-old kid pointed to a map in a book and said “Australia” for the first time. I wanted a fisheye lens so bad all my 20s and my family gave me one when I turned 30, but it wasn’t until this week — THIS WEEK — as a 33 year old — THREE YEARS LATER, that I got around to getting to my favourite beach literally meters from my Mum’s house to make some pictures with it.

Do you ever feel this way, too?

Do you ever think about what are we doing with our short lives?

Or maybe more importantly, what  aren’t we doing with our lives?

Ben Eyles
Wodonga Anzac Day Parade
P4250079Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm f2.8 PROEDIT.jpg

Took kid Flash to his first every Anzac Day parade. He's usually such a bubbly, happy kid, but as soon as he arrived, he was much more subdued, almost a bit sad. It was like he felt the weight of how serious and special today was.

Turns out he's a happy, bubbly and respectful kid, too. We are really proud of him.

P4250158Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm f2.8 PROEDIT.jpg
P4250219Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm f2.8 PROEDIT.jpg
Ben EylesComment
Making bears (and friends) out of stone (and thin air) ...

 

Was asked recently if I ever get scared or nervous about approaching strangers and asking if I could make a picture of them.

The answer is yes, of course. Approaching a stranger is nearly always a little bit nerve wracking, especially if you want to generate a photoshoot with the stranger out of thin air. It is SCARY STUFF.

But you know what I'm more scared of?

Leaving and NOT asking the stranger for their photograph. Because when you walk away from a potentially ripper portrait with NOTHING in your camera ... well that just feels worse.

So when we witnessed something incredible while we were on holidays in New Zealand, recently, I had to take a deep breath and ask.

We had popped into Oamaru, New Zealand, and found a whole heap of creators crafting sculptures from huge chunks of sandstone. One bloke seemed really interesting. He was carving bears out of the stone.

My head said:

* But what if he says "go away"?
* What if he says "no, thanks"?

My heart said:

* What's the worst that could happen?

So I asked him what he what he was doing, where he learned how to do it and I asked him how long he'd been at it. I asked him where lived and how far he had traveled. I asked him what he liked about Australia, and, if he would ever visit again. I was interested in what he had to say and I listened and responded.

The sculptor we spoke to said he'd be at this creation for days. The sandstone carves quickly BUT the time consuming part was in refining the art. Sandstone carving  sounded similar to photography, in that regard, I said. Fairly quick to grasp, very slow to master.

We had a great chat, and, then, I asked if I could make some pictures.

He said yes and I got to work.

It was a pleasure to meet you, Sir, and wonderful to watch you work. Thank you for the pictures. I'm really glad I asked.

Always talk to strangers,

Ben

Ben Eyles Comments
Tafe Models
tumblr_ovsxtcUWAy1sno69xo1_1280.jpg

Black-and-white or colour?? ⚫️⚪️ or 🌈 🤷‍♂️

Attitude by @lilie_wilcoxx 👊👊 (at Wodonga TAFE)

Mark JesserComment
If it is easy, nobody will pay you to do it
It boils down to this: People don’t want to pay you for something they could do themselves. 

 I’ve had so many chats with photographers over the last week, in  the classroom and in industry, about why are things so damn hard, complex or tiring?    
Yes, lugging a bunch of extra lighting gear around can be hard. 
Yes, Photoshop is complicated to learn and hard to use. 
Yes, that camera technique takes more than a minute to get good at. 

 And that’s a good thing because …   

 “That’s why people pay you to do it.”    
Your skills, your patience, your persistence to learn frequency separation or back-button focus – all of the sweat, strain and hours of practice – that’s why people hire you, because you can do something they can’t. 

 It’s why I pay my hairdresser or my mechanic. They can do stuff I can’t do at home. 

 People pay photographers that are willing to sweat for them. 

 Look at the legends. @chasejarvis. @joemcnallyphoto. @zarias. It’s not just talent. They’re better than most because they outwork most. 

 Photography is great like that. It’s a muscle, not a gift. Flex it often, and you’ll be rewarded. (at Albury, New South Wales, Australia)

It boils down to this: People don’t want to pay you for something they could do themselves.

I’ve had so many chats with photographers over the last week, in the classroom and in industry, about why are things so damn hard, complex or tiring?

Yes, lugging a bunch of extra lighting gear around can be hard.
Yes, Photoshop is complicated to learn and hard to use.
Yes, that camera technique takes more than a minute to get good at.

And that’s a good thing because …

“That’s why people pay you to do it.”

Your skills, your patience, your persistence to learn frequency separation or back-button focus – all of the sweat, strain and hours of practice – that’s why people hire you, because you can do something they can’t.

It’s why I pay my hairdresser or my mechanic. They can do stuff I can’t do at home.

People pay photographers that are willing to sweat for them.

Look at the legends. @chasejarvis. @joemcnallyphoto. @zarias. It’s not just talent. They’re better than most because they outwork most.

Photography is great like that. It’s a muscle, not a gift. Flex it often, and you’ll be rewarded. (at Albury, New South Wales, Australia)

Mark JesserComment
Sydney Light
I don’t want to go all fanboy on a city – BUT SERIOUSLY … how GOOD is the morning light in #Sydney? Where else on the planet can you find these warm tunnels and shafts of light that kiss old concrete and buildings, exposing bodies yet shading and hiding heads at the same time?  DAAAAAMN … Grab your camera and go out and get some good clean fun in your favourite city’s streets.  (Melbourne – You’re pretty sweet … too!)   I was in town for Adobe’s Make It event. I’m literally still buzzing from it. Please give me a couple more days to process it … and I’ll start posting some more meaningful content.

I don’t want to go all fanboy on a city – BUT SERIOUSLY … how GOOD is the morning light in #Sydney?
Where else on the planet can you find these warm tunnels and shafts of light that kiss old concrete and buildings, exposing bodies yet shading and hiding heads at the same time?

DAAAAAMN … Grab your camera and go out and get some good clean fun in your favourite city’s streets.

(Melbourne – You’re pretty sweet … too!)


I was in town for Adobe’s Make It event. I’m literally still buzzing from it. Please give me a couple more days to process it … and I’ll start posting some more meaningful content.

















Grant
What can you learn about someone from their surroundings?    
With @ggtakespics    
ISO 100   
f1.8   
1/13th   
Olympus XZ-1 (a very tiny and quiet camera) (at Burnie, Tasmania)

What can you learn about someone from their surroundings?

With @ggtakespics

ISO 100
f1.8
1/13th
Olympus XZ-1 (a very tiny and quiet camera) (at Burnie, Tasmania)

Mark JesserComment
Nikon D500
FIRST IMPRESSIONS = “Daa-amn!” 

 #Nikon #D500 is an absolute nonstop monster. Super quick autofocus, rips through frames and a HUGE buffer.  

 Almost, folks … almost.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS = “Daa-amn!”

#Nikon #D500 is an absolute nonstop monster. Super quick autofocus, rips through frames and a HUGE buffer.

Almost, folks … almost.

Lucky Leaves
Going over a bunch of work from old, long-ago newspaper assignments. This shot was taking in March 2010. Something to do with a bizarre patch of soil in Tasmania that was absolutely teeming with the usually rare and bonus “lucky leaves”.

According to tradition (and Wikipedia), each leaf is believed to represent something. The first is Faith, the second is Hope, the third is hope, and the fourth is Luck. 

Shot for The Advocate.

Plenty more pix and stories where this came from. Some good. Some bad. Want me to keep sharing them?

Going over a bunch of work from old, long-ago newspaper assignments. This shot was taking in March 2010. Something to do with a bizarre patch of soil in Tasmania that was absolutely teeming with the usually rare and bonus “lucky leaves”. According to tradition (and Wikipedia), each leaf is believed to represent something. The first is Faith, the second is Hope, the third is hope, and the fourth is Luck. Shot for The Advocate. Plenty more pix and stories where this came from. Some good. Some bad. Want me to keep sharing them?

Mark JesserComment
SWEET LINKS: January, 18, 2017

This yarn on PetaPixel really got my attention this morning. It’s by Michael Clark and it tackles the thing that frustrates photographers the most about Instagram – why BRILLIANT photos earn less likes than other shots. Because, as Mr Clark puts it, “Instagram has flipped that script to some degree because it often rewards images that are good but not those that rise to a whole other level of excellence, which is why it is intensely debated and discussed among working pro photographers”.

Here it is: https://petapixel.com/2017/01/17/the-paradox-of-instagram/

Now for something local. This facebook post links to the best work by the photographers at my local newspaper (also my former employer). Eleanor, Jimmy and Mark produce beautiful work under the toughest of circumstances.

Click through and enjoy some mighty fine photojournalism here: https://www.facebook.com/bordermail/photos/a.10150280751455494.556355.95810110493/10158049438285494/?type=3&theater

ALSO – Jimmy and Mark are graduates of Wodonga TAFE. I’m always really proud to mention that.

Ben

Mark JesserComment
@benhasacat also has a DOG :)

This story is about our dog. We adopted him from the pound. He’s great, but both of us never really got the hang of walking with a lead.

Oh, and his name is Benji.

This is the second episode of a regular series of vids. Basically – I’m working my ass off to get better at video this year. Or die trying. Thanks for all the help and support as I get deeper into this video project. After the first vid, an Adobe Premier guru and a sound engineer have offered to help me iron out some kinks. I’m learning that if you put yourself at risk, it’s worth it!

Cheers and thanks,

Ben

(The song is called Life in Slow Motion by the incredible Whatfunk. http://www.whatfunk.com/about)

VideoMark JesserComment
Sweet links: Set your Mac up for speed!

Bam! Here’s why I love Aaron Nace and Phlearn.

Awesome, reliable content that you can trust. I have no problems referring photographers to Mr Nace for further reading and as a place to update their knowledge.

The vid that dropped today shows one way to set up your Mac computer that will hopefully maximise efficiency … especially if you are a photographer.

(Between you and I, I was quietly chuffed to see a couple of things I do and recommend to our photographers echoed here. Score!)
 

Enjoy and share the vid. And thank you again, Mr Nace!

Ben

VideoMark JesserComment