March 19, 2014 at 6:00 pm
FlInders Rock

©Copyright 2014 Peter MacDonald Photography. All rights reserved.

With about four weeks on the road coming up, there will be a number of pictures posted that don’t require much of an explanation.

They are pictures that I have been hanging on to, looking for a reason to use them. Now is the time.

A fair chunk of rock sitting on a slope in the Munyalana Valley which is on Wooltana station, closely bordering the Gammon Ranges National Park near Balcanoona and Arkaroola in the northern Flinders Ranges.

Smoke from bushfires down south are forming the haze on the mountain in the background.




March 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Fuji X-Pro 1 and Fuji 35mm lens f8, 1/900sec, ISO 200
©Copyright 2014 Peter MacDonald Photography. All rights reserved.

Wonder where the arabesque ( basically an S curve) was in the photo on the previous post?

There is an arabesque in the picture above running along the outside of the two leaves.

The more you look at the picture you will see how it strongly links to the two leaves.


More On Composition

March 14, 2014 at 1:49 pm
Arkaroola Ridges

Shot with Fuji X-Pro 1. f8, 1/105sec ISO 200. Hand held.
©Copyright 2014 Peter MacDonald Photography. All rights reserved

Spectacular,rugged ridges, always a feature of the landscape at probably my favourite location for photography

But first to the image in the last post and the compositional elements I tried to use in the image.

There’s a  beautiful curve formed by the trees. It starts with the Casuarina in the foreground and goes right round to the strong parallel diagonals formed by the hills on the left.
The use of curves, diagonals and parallels are some of the compositional things we discuss in the workshops I conduct.

In the photo above, taken along the Echo Camp Backtrack at Arkaroola in the northern Flinders Ranges, there is an obvious strong baroque diagonal, parallels,curves and even an arabesque…maybe you can see them all.

The colour green is most noticeable at the moment, the result of recent rains.

There’s still spaces available on the 3 day workshop at Arkaroola starting April 26. There’s more information on the workshop here

Component of Classic Design

March 8, 2014 at 10:16 pm
Heysen Range Foothills

Fuji X-Pro 1, 50mm prime lens, shot at f11, 1/4 sec ISO 400 on tripod.
©Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography. All right reserved.

This landscape has two strong elements of design used by the master artists of old to construct their works.

These design elements can be used in making good photos, including landscape photos.

I have been teaching these at the workshops I have been conducting and while at first it might seem difficult to see how this can work in constructing an image, it becomes easier with a little practice.

Can anyone see the two elements in this picture?

Saltbush in the foreground with black sheaok trees  on the slopes  of the foothills of the Heysen Range.

The northern wall of Wilpena Pound and Mt Aleck, two icons of the Flinders Ranges, in the background.

A Gorge-Ous Morning

March 3, 2014 at 7:16 am
Sunrise 4

Fuji X-Pro, 35mm Prime lens f16 @ 1/7th sec. ISO 200
©Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography. All rights reserved.

Hard Day at the office.

The Sun’s first rays lighting up the hills of the Parachilna Gorge in the the central Flinders Ranges.




February 25, 2014 at 4:52 pm
Summer Pond

©Copyright 2014 Peter MacDonald Photography. All right reserved.

A Train of Thought

February 23, 2014 at 5:00 pm


One aspect of bad composition for photography that is often overlooked is having large areas of no interest in the photo.

One of the most  famous  war photographer of the 20th Century, Robert Capa had an often quoted saying ….”If you photos aren’t good enough, you are not close enough.”

Lets use the train that runs coal from the Leigh Creek Mines in northern South Australia to the powers stations in Port Augusta.

Railway tracks


Good  leading lines in this picture. They don’t get much stronger than this.

LEC Coal Train

The mistake with this picture is that there is too much featureless sky. I should have waited another second or two when the locomotive would have been very close……Chicken!!

Leigh Creek Coal Train

I was trying to illustrate the length of the coal train, which is about 3 kilometres long but again there’s too much sky and too much uninteresting foreground. Get closer!

Leigh Creek Train 2


Close enough this time and there are those leading lines again which automatically take your eye from foreground to background.  Trains are good for this but being aware that getting closer is sometimes more important for a good or dramatic picture.

Happy shooting



February 20, 2014 at 5:00 pm
Dune Bush

©Copyright 2014 Peter MacDonald Photography. All right reserved

I wonder sometimes, how life survives on sand dunes.

In Outback South Australia at this time of the year, its blazing hot.

It must be over 50C in the  middle of some days during summer.

The winds are strong  and they suck all the moisture from everything, yet this hardy plant somehow beat the odds.

Because of its size, it most likely got through the last long drought too.

The light on the leaves that also accentuate the ripples in the ever shifting sands give a sense dignity to this defiant fellow.





A Line in the Sand

February 18, 2014 at 5:00 pm


Lines that lead your eyes through a picture are a common tool of both artists and photographers.

The leading lines here are a bit of overkill, but you get the idea.

Two things not evident in the picture are 1. the strong winds blowing from right to left that are forming the ripples on the dune, and 2. the gazillion* flies that are driving me nuts.

*Gazillion must be a real word (news to me). The computer’s spell checker thinks it’s OK.



Electric Light

February 16, 2014 at 7:31 pm
Water Tank 2

©Copyright 2014 Peter MacDonald Photography. All rights reserved.

Electrical storms are good for photographs..either before, during or after the event.

There’s a certain blue colour that not seen at other times that has been caught in this picture.

The colour is quite pronounced. It’s  usually seen in the afternoon on a stinking hot day when the storm clouds are building and there’s a bit of crackle and fizz in the air.

In these conditions, there will often be only a few drops of rain on a land that desperately needs it. Every living thing is in search of water. Birds gather at the bore tanks. Kangaroos, emus,sheep and cattle hang around the water troughs as another scorching sun sinks into the west.

Water Tank

©Copyright 2014 PeterMacDonald Photography. All rights reserved

Virga, the meteorological term for rain that doesn’t reach the ground, at least produces a rainbow to mark the occasion.

Morning Walks and the Sinister Diagonal

February 10, 2014 at 4:49 pm


Early morning shoots seem to be the only way to combat the extended period of daily temperatures in the mid 40s we have been having here recently.

There’s no respite in sight but on the positive side, there’s always plenty of good light and vivid colours during the hot summer months in the Flinders Ranges.

Para Gorge Formation

Copyright 2014 Peter MacDonald Photography

 One of the things we have been working on in  my recent workshops is composition for photographers and the so called Sinister Diagonal has been part of that.

I am a firm believer the Rule of Thirds has just about wiped out the more classical design tools that are available to photographers and the Sinister Diagonal is one of them.

The Sinister Diagonal runs from the lower right corner of the frame to the top left corner, easily illustrated by the above photo.

It can make for powerful images and is something that should be kept in mind for almost any type of photography.

A very simple explanation of this diagonal might be that because we read from left to right it will reinforce the idea of the downhill slope.

If you can visualise the picture in reverse it would be seen as an uphill slope and that is called the Baroque Diagonal.

More on that later.

It should not be forgotten though that without the light this picture, it would be most uninteresting.

Fleeting Moments

February 6, 2014 at 1:18 pm
Morning Moon

Fuji X-Pro with 55-200mm zoom. f16 @ 1/60th sec, ISO 800. Tripod

The golden hour is usually referred to as half an hour before the sun rises, and another half hour after.

This image was taken a few minutes before sunrise. It was very hot and once the sun was over the Flinders Ranges in the background, the softer colours disappeared along with the moon.



Arkaroola Workshop

January 27, 2014 at 10:30 pm



There are still two vacancies available for the the three day workshop in the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary,  northern Flinders Ranges starting April 26.

Participants at any level will get a lot out of this three day event and there’s  still plenty of time to plan your trip to Arkaroola.

It  promises to be a relaxed and inspirational time.

There will be prior  information supplied that will enable all to be at the right level for the start of the workshop.

The Schedule

  • Pre workshop –  April 25, get to know session at 5.30 pm with the option of continuing over dinner
  • Day 1  April 26 Shooting from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM including a discussion and demonstration using your first images on the digital darkroom.
  • Day 2 April 27 Shooting starts from 6am – 3 pm. The day includes an in-depth discussion on composition for photographers. In this session we will look at the work of the masters of photography, why their work has stood the test of time and how you can use these techniques to produce solid and quality images.
  • Day 3  April 28 An all day exploration of the Arkaroola’s world famous Ridgetop tour area. This has got to be the highlight for any aspiring or experienced landscape photographer.
  • There will be daily reviews of your images to assess the improvements you are making with the techniques we cover.

Check out the side bar for all the  information or contact me by email at [email protected]

One Day To The Next

January 22, 2014 at 6:27 pm


Sunrise and Smoke


The heat has been pretty fierce around here the last few weeks. You expect that in summer. There’s been big bushfire further South with loss of homes and other property.

Smoke from those fires has been heavy over the Flinders Ranges resulting in this runrise. Blood red, crimson – the intense colour quite striking, the smoke so thick that it has even filtered out the sun’s so some detail was evident in the foreground.


Storm Approaching


Thirty six hours later welcome relief from the heat, a thunderstorm brewing but sadly no rain. A sky so devoid of colour that a black and white image was the best way to capture a dramatic sky. Summer – a time of great contrasts.


On The Road

January 19, 2014 at 6:01 pm
Summer lane

Country Road south of Jamestown in South Australia’s Mid North.
©Copyright 2014 Peter MacDonald Photography

They say shooting landscapes in the heat of the day is not a good idea. However this road caught my eye for two reasons. 1 , a simple and  interesting composition and 2, it illustrates summer in the country.

It was well over 40C when I took this shot. I think the glare of the road and the sun dried fields illustrate summer pretty well.

Facebook and Night Shooting

January 16, 2014 at 6:17 pm
Research Centre 2

Fuji X100s f2.8 I/30 sec, ISO 3200 hand held.
©Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography 2014

A different aspect to the previous photo of the Research Centre and new Adelaide Hospital complex. When I go to Adelaide next I might try this angle again using a tripod, slower ISO, different aperture and faster shutter speed.

However that wasn’t the intension when I took this picture. The Fuji X 100s again proved its ability as a very mobile camera able to create amazing pictures in low light.

I did not realise when I took the previous picture that there was still a lot of construction work to be done at the Centre. Even more  on the hospital site in the background.



I would rather be concentrating my efforts on this website which has been going for more than three and a half year. I’ve had a few distractions with Facebook in recent times and have decided to let the Sentimental Bloke site be the sole outlet for my pictures on the web.

Facebook friends can go to the Sentimental Bloke site www.thesentimentalbloke.com where they can subscribe and still get all my up-coming pictures of the FlInders Ranges and Outback via email.

Urban Landscape

January 9, 2014 at 3:42 pm


Research Lab

Shot just before 10pm Daylight Saving time with a Fuji X-Pro f 6.4, 1/4 sec, ISO 800 with tripod.
©Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography 2014

The Research Laboratory and the new Adelaide Hospital under construction

The changing Adelaide skyline looking very space age.

The final test for the Fuji…could it produce really high quality images at night?

This will probably end up as a large print on a wall somewhere because the resolution and detail was outstanding.

Morning Walks

December 16, 2013 at 9:24 pm
Para Gorge

©Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography 2013


Morning walks are on the agenda once more, after a too long a break. Best on the track before the sun comes up and the heat of the day kicks in.

The Parachilna Gorge in the Flinders Ranges is always a good place for photos. I liked this little portion of the gorge because it presented the sort of composition I was after.

Apart from the tree living in a precarious  place, the tree and the rock formation also has a kind of bonsai look.





Cattle Work

December 8, 2013 at 5:19 pm
Yardwork 1

Early morning, Nilpena Station, northern Flinders Ranges
©Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography 2013

After taking the photos for an R M Williams Outback magazine story on Anna Creek cattle station last year, I wondered how the smaller properties managed to exist.

I decided to add to my pictures of the cattle industry by looking at smaller operations


YardWork 3

©Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography 2013


The smaller  stations don’t have the resources of empires like the Kidman Company who run Anna Creek.

But while they  still cover what most of us would consider vast areas of land, they are often family affairs, operated by just one or two persons.

There’s little difference between sheep and cattle in this regard, particularly in Outback areas.

It is nice to have neighbors who fall into this category so I was able to shoot part of the story when one of them was about to transport over 150 animals to better southern pastures….not unlike the the strategies of the bigger cattle empires up north.

Yardwork 4

“The Crush”
©Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography 2013


The “Crush” is the contraption that confines the animal while tagging, recording, disease prevention and breeding issues are dealt with. This can usually be done by just one person with a little help from an assistant.

An early start is the norm. It is hot dusty work and these are powerful animals. Having  lived on the free range for some time, they are not predisposed to the confines of the yards.


Yardwork 5

©Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography 2013


The work ticks along at a steady pace. One after the other the beasts go through the process. This work is necessary for the well being of the animals as well as making sure its details and ownership are recorded.


Yardwork 6

Hands at Work
©Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography 2013




Yardwork 7

Out of the Crush
©Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography 2013


The process usually doesn’t take long and when released, the animal is herded off into separate yards depending on their age, sex and destination.

These days, station workers are hard to find. The mining and exploration operations around the Outback are gobbling up just about every available hand so designs of yards, ramps and the Crush  become critical to yard work.



Yardwork 8

©Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography 2013


The day after all processing of the cattle is finished, the trucks roll in to transport the cattle to the new locations – a journey than can take many hours.

One of the things I have learned after working in extremely dusty conditions like this is that cameras will be covered in dust despite every effort to protect them.

It is necessary to keep the lens clean and this has to be done as often as possible. I use a Lens Pen  brush for this – never a cloth, just to keep the dust from the glass.

At home after the shoot, before I remove any lens I use a brush and a hand-held bellows to blow clean the outside of the camera. These both get into any of the little crevices around the outside of the camera under dials and around the base of the lens. There’s a temptation to use a damp cloth or similar. Avoid this.

Once the lens is removed from the camera, the camera cap should be used to keep particles from getting inside. Following the instruction in the camera and lens manuals is the best plan….not necessarily followed by everyone.






Into The Night

November 26, 2013 at 6:27 pm
Flinders Ranges Truck

Fuji X-100s f8, 1/180 sec, ISO 400.
©Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography 2013


Another long distance hauler heading to or from the northern minefields beyond the Flinders Ranges.

For all intents and purposes a landscape photo, demonstrating the versatility and  quality this little Fuji camera can achieve with its fixed 23 mm lens.