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.



One day Workshops with Peter MacDonald Arkaroola, Parachilna and now Adelaide

November 19, 2013 at 9:21 am

One Day Workshops With Peter MacDonald

For the inexperienced photographer, de-mystify the way to take control of your camera and get out of the automatic modes.

For the more experienced, I will show ways to simplify the work flow for making good photographs and introduce techniques for getting the best images possible.

Not everyone can take the time for a three day workshop which is why the one day one-on-one workshops will continue at Arkaroola and Parachilna over the coming 12 months.

In addition I will be making the sessions available in Adelaide as well.

Photography Workshops Banner 03

Because of the wide range of topics covered in the three day seminars, the one day events will focus on the more specific needs of each person whether they be basic camera skills or the broader subjects involving composition.

In an era when the number of photographs is exploding to the billions daily, when the “selfie” reigns supreme and the saturation slider is the most over-used tool in photoshop, good photography is sadly in rapid decline.

Taking one of my workshops will guarantee an improvement in the pictures you are taking, and that will happen within the first two hours.

You will also begin to see more clearly the photo opportunities that are before you. Your camera craft will make solid gains.

Contact me here to schedule a One-Day Workshop >

Click here to visit the Workshops main page >

Power In a Picture

November 7, 2013 at 7:37 pm
Matera 4

Fuji X-Pro 1 35 mm prime lens f11, ISO 400, 1/200th sec.
Copyright © Peter MacDonald photography 2013

This picture has a certain power, not just because of the dramatic location  but because of the contrast between the church and the background.

The church of San Pietro Caveoso perches right on the lip of a  ravine in the old part of Matera, a city and a province in southern Italy.

The first rays of the morning sun light the church but not the canyon, creating the dramatic effect.

It’s a good reason to be up and about a little before dawn or again as dusk falls, because it is then you are most likely to find good examples of contrast within scenes.


Statue 3

Fuji X-Pro 1, 35mm prime lens f9, ISO 400 1/150th sec and cropped.
Copyright © Peter MacDonald Photography 2013

Power of a different kind, this time it is the design of an Italian architect Nicola Salvi and sculptor  Pietro Bracci.

The work is part of the world famous Fontana di Trevi in Rome.

I would like a dollar fore every picture that has been taken of the fountain over the Italian summer  - mostly of the whole fountain which is 26 metres high and about 50 metres wide.

However the real power surrounds the central figure, the Roman god Oceanus, riding a shell chariot. Picking the right angle and aspect to capture that power was the job at hand.

Sometimes it is not the big picture that makes the best photograph but a smaller section which may heighten power and drama. This applies to almost any scene you might stand in front of, particularly when it is a well-photographed subject or landmark.

A night time shot of the church from a different angle can be seen here



Take A Different View

October 27, 2013 at 6:33 pm
Sturt Desert pea

The Sturt Desert Pea is often seen in large groups. Photographing a single flower shows just how  unusual the bloom is.           © Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography 2013


Flowers  and animals are like children, best photographed from their level rather than an adult’s view. But sadly this idea is all too often forgotten.

Getting down and dirty with the flowers though is not without its discomforts and miseries.

The Sturt Desert Pea is a beautiful but lowly bloom and in this case ants brought the misery but the result was worth the pain.


Rosie Dock

© Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography 2013

 Burrs, prickles and three cornered jacks are a common discomfort in the Flinders Ranges and Outback and there’s bound to be plenty around when you are flat out on the ground getting a photo of a Rosy Dock.


From above there would be no way to have the sunlight backlighting the beautiful ruby coloured leaves.


Sturt Desert Rose

The exquisite Sturt Desert Rose, a hibiscus as it turns out is a little more elevated but it is still  worth getting a low aspect. Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography 2013


It would be unusual if there wasn’t some kind of breeze blowing when shooting flowers. For that reason it is almost essential to have a fast shutter speed – around 250th of a second or more would be ideal.

This will probably have to be achieved by a low f-stop – maybe around f2.8 if your lens is fast enough and an increase in ISO to at least 400.

That will also mean that much of the background will be out of focus. A nice effect that highlights the flower.


Sleepy Lizard

© Copyright Peter MacDonald photography 2013


Again there’s a challenge trying to eyeball a sleepy lizard, common around the area but generally seen from above. This chap seemed less inclined to display his deep blue tongue  and hiss loudly  when I met him on his terms.


Masked Lapwing

© Copyright Peter MacDonald Photography 2013


Similarly this Masked Lapwing looks so much more interesting down at ground level.

A good rule of thumb for flowers, animals, children, even landscapes is to find an aspect that is not the normal eye level at which we see things every day.


Three Day Photographic Workshop
Arkaroola April 26, 27 & 28 2014
Unlocking an Ancient Landscape

October 18, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Three Day Workshops with Peter MacDonald

An Unforgettable Photographic Experience with photographer Peter MacDonald.

Avail yourself of Peter’s knowledge of the Arkaroola area, its geology, flora and fauna and his proven skills as a landscape photographer.

This workshop is limited to 5 photographers. “This allows me to spend time with everyone individually, he says. I enjoy teaching and I am still excited by the craft of taking photos”.

The Schedule

Pre workshop – get to know session at 5.30 pm with the option of continuing over dinner

Day 1 Shooting from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM including a discussion and demonstration using your first images on the digital darkroom.

Day 2 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 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.

What To Expect

  • Expect to develop your photography and the way you see.
  • Expect to be have clear understanding of composition and how to use different factors to make stronger and more interesting photographs.
  • Expect to find a whole new world of master photographers and artists.
  • You will be able to spend many happy hours exploring their techniques, their lives,their passions and draw inspiration from them.

Most importantly, expect to have an enjoyable experience on this workshop, take in the wonders of the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary and make some images you will be happy to take home.

A Year in the Life of Grange

October 3, 2013 at 4:56 pm



© Copyright Milton Wordley 2013

In New York, taking in the amazing city skyline, sipping a glass of 1953 Grange… I wish

The photo is the front cover of a book that’s just finished being printed in Adelaide.

Its the work of two people who can really tell the story of Grange…a wine that is one of the best in the world.

A friend of mine, master photographer Milton Wordley and well known wine writer Phillip White have been photographing or writing about Grange since its very beginning.

They knew its creator Max Schubert and have followed its progress as it became one of the most sort-after red wines in the world.

Milton showed me one of the leather bound editions of the book and I’ve read it from cover to cover.

finsbury 1000

The book is substantial. 69 pages of wonderful photos and story.
© Copyright Milton Wordley 2013

It’s a big handsome book, and a fascinating story based on how one vintage is produced but the history and the people involved are intertwined throughout.

I was fascinated by the process of how the grapes are selected each year and how the fortunes of the growers is so closely linked to those decisions.

Finsbury 2

© Copyright Milton Wordley 2013

Milton decided to print the book himself and instead of going overseas chose Finsbury Greenhouse printing to do  the work.

The printing of the pages was finished last week and the binding process is underway.

Is is a great collectors book for anyone seriously interested in wine, loves the history and production process of Penfolds Grange or knows someone that it would make a great present for.

It should be available late this month and you can find out more about “A Year in the Life of Grange” by going to Milton’s website here.



Lenses, Light and Composition

September 27, 2013 at 3:43 pm


As buildings go this isn’t as grand or as long lasting at the one in the previous post.

However there’s two reasons for this photo:-

It is one of the first pictures taken with a new zoom lens for the Fuji X-Pro 1. For image quality, sharpness and colour rendition it is outstanding.

I have been using two Fuji prime lens – a 50mm equivalent on the X-Pro 1 and the 35mm equivalent on the Fuji x100s camera for some time, and there has plenty of examples of their value in a lot of previous posts, particularly all the European ones.

This is the XF 55-200mm zoom which fits on a number of the new Fuji cameras. If you are really into the technical side of things, DP Review has an in-depth report of the lens here

Mirrorless cameras are the new innovation in the digital camera world and they have some major advantages over the conventional DSLKR cameras we are all familiar with. They are small, unobtrusive, lightweight and and are producing fine quality images

The second reason for posting the shot is more about composition.

Many visitors to the Flinders Ranges might be familiar with these ruins on the Hawker-Leigh Creek Road on Edieowie Station.

Even though it is much photographed, there is nothing outstanding about this old building as far as ruins go.

However in thinking of composition, the skyline of the mountains in the background makes a nice S-curve of sorts and the highest section of the side walls of the building have a relationship to the peaks of the mountains.

It was just a matter of positioning the tops of the building with the skyline to tie them together. Light is always the prime ingredient for taking a good photo and the contrast between the afternoon sun on the ruins and the background also adds to the composition.

I hope this helps anyone who is interested in composition.

Sunday Service

September 21, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Peter_MacDonald_Photography_Notre Dame_Paris

Sunday seems like an appropriate day to post this photo of one of the world’s most famous and largest churches.

There are literally millions of pictures taken each year of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris and I am not even going to begin to try to illustrate this amazing structure.

Rather this is about the only shot I took while in Paris or Italy using the 14mm wide angle lens for the Fuji X-Pro camera that I took along for the visit.

Despite all the religious grandeur of Notre Dame I could not get over the fact construction of this enormous building began in the 11th Century.

The ceiling is around 200 feet high and any other lens would have been very limiting considering the vasty interior of Notre Dame.

This is the main alter area of the church but what you can’t see is the large number of people walking behind the altar area where there are other smaller chapels. Looking back in the opposite direction and to left and right is equally awesome.

As you can see here, the quality of the image is no less crisp and sharp than any of the other Fuji lens I use. The rendition of colour and the performance in low light is exceptional.

The shot is hand held at 1/30th of a second, Aperture 2.8. ISO 2,500

Cold Beer Please

September 16, 2013 at 7:07 pm


A new owner and a new website for the famous William Creek pub.

I had a bit of fun shooting this shot recently for the webiste.

Norm Simms, manager of Anna Creek Station and head stockman Gordon Warren – that’s him on the horse – heading for a cold beer at the end of a day’s work.

Norm and Gordie are more used to rolling up in a Toyota ute but Gordie, who is a great horseman will always find an excuse to get up in the saddle.

Like the gallery at Arkaroola, the William Creek pub now has a number of my prints hanging on the walls – pictures taken around William Creek and Anna Creek station.

William Creek would be one of the most isolated towns in Australia, a country known for isolation but it is well worth dropping in for a cold beer, a hearty meal and a look at my pictures.

Arkaroola Gallery

September 12, 2013 at 5:03 pm


I have just finished installing the last of the works to go into the new Greenwood Gallery at the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.

Marg and Doug Sprigg who operate Arkaroola have generously turned a large space over to a permanent exhibition of my work which was mostly shot at the time they were fighting to stop the uranium mining project proposed in the pristine Ridgetop area of the sanctuary.

It also includes a small number of photographs from my exhibition – Lake Eyre, The Long Shot, taken last year as the waters in the vast lake slowly dried up.

The gallery space (about half can be seen in this image) has been also set up as an area where people can sit and relax as well as look at the photographs that grace the walls.

The Morning Sun

September 10, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Matera_Italy_Peter _MacDonald_Photography

As day breaks on top of the church, San Pietro Caveoso along the ravine at Matera on the last day of exploring this wonderful town.

The church is remarkably located on the edge of a ravine that is in the background. The night time photo from the opposite direction puts it into perspective.

Matera Moon

September 4, 2013 at 6:17 pm


By the light of the full moon – Matera town, Italy oozing its fabulous historical charm.

Again the little Fuji X100s performs hand held under low light conditions.

A Lack Of Colour

September 2, 2013 at 6:24 pm


Spring Days in the Flinders Ranges can be idyllic or windy and unpleasant.

Dust storms aren’t unusual and days when raised dust leaves a a grey pall hanging in the air aren’t exactly ideal for photography – like the other day.

A full blown rolling dust storm is a spectacular event..

White outs can be moderate like the one above or thicker like the one I photographed during the drought several years ago.

Whatever the intensity, it wipes out almost all colour from the landscape so for the image above I had to rely on the sun which was directly in front of the camera silhouetting the Mt Deception Range near Leigh Creek.

Without the little hillock with the tuft of trees, the composition would have been sadly lacking.

On Photographing Castles

August 30, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Peter_MacDonald_Photography_Panzano_Italy 2

The outer walls of a medieval castle. This got me sucked right in. Where would you find one of these in Parachilna, Hawker or Marree.

Yes, I know, they’ve got some good pubs… but a medieval castle.

The place is Panzano in Chianti, another town, a lot bigger than Lamone from the previous couple of posts where mooching around was just so much fun.

What textures and light. A bloke’s imagination runs hot thinking of life here a millenium ago.

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I had imagined the cold grey walls of a castle would be far from an interesting subject to photograph. In fact the iron doors, the ivy covered walls and the never-ending sets of stairs and alleyways were the perfect place for a picture , if only for a short time each day when the light was just right.

I had not even read the tourist info on Panzano but I have since found in a Google search there’s plenty about this historic town in Tuscany.

I believe the interior of the castle is now apartments.


To put things into perspective, there’s the inevitable vineyards surrounding Panzano but the castle is the highest points around and can be seen for kilometres in all directions.

Castles and fortified villas were the order of the day in medieval times and people didn’t venture too far from home.

Chianti Sunset

August 25, 2013 at 6:00 pm


View from Lamole**, the little village from the previous post.

**Typo alert – The town of Lamole, not Lamone as originally typed in the previous post.

Lamole is between Greve and Panzano, an area south of Florence.


August 23, 2013 at 11:23 pm


I sometimes think the word epiphany is over used and misunderstood

There was no manifestation of god or a sudden insight into the essential meaning of life, so this is about as close as I will ever come to an epiphany.

High up on the slopes of Chianti, there’s a little village called Lamole. which has a superb restaurant, a church and is surrounded by vineyards.

When I pulled up in front of the church one morning and got out of my car I heard beautiful music coming from inside.

I poked my head tentatively through the front door to see where it was coming from, thinking it was a recording.

The scene in this photo tells it all.

Five chaps in T-shirts and jeans, a quintet rehearsing for an upcoming festival playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in an exquisite setting.

There was not another soul around, just me and the players. For an hour I sat listening to them rehearse the four violin concertos.

The dome above the altar made for perfect acoustics and indeed a truly memorable experience for me.

Italy is full of surprises.

From a photographic point of view this is no great shot (I wasn’t about to disturb the moment), but it does illustrate my little story. Taken with available light with a Fuji X100s f4.0. shutter 1/40th sec, ISO 3200

Time Warp

August 21, 2013 at 10:55 pm


You can almost imagine the sound of the Roman legions passing here 18 centuries ago.

A time when Matera in Southern Italy was being settled by the Romans and today the historical aura still remains.

It is no wonder Matera is often looked at by film directors for biblical and historical settings for their movies.

Roman Legions and film directors aside it was a challenging but rewarding location from a photographic viewpoint.