Exposure: Chris Jones

With a background in IT, Chris Jones brings a unique spin on photography for this month's Exposure. Check out his amazing HDR, automotive and fractal work.

Lexy Savvides
Lexy is an on-air presenter and award-winning producer who covers consumer tech, including the latest smartphones, wearables and emerging trends like assistive robotics. She's won two Gold Telly Awards for her video series Beta Test. Prior to her career at CNET, she was a magazine editor, radio announcer and DJ. Lexy is based in San Francisco.
Lexy Savvides
1 of 18 Chris Jones


Chris Jones

(Credit: Chris Jones)

Photographer: Chris Jones

Speciality: landscapes, HDR, automotive

Biography: Chris hails from North Wales, but now lives in Brisbane, and has been working in IT since he left school. Over the years, he's managed to keep the right-hand side of his brain alive through various creative activities, like drumming in a rock band, becoming a published novelist and short fiction author and having an ardent interest in photography. Working so closely with technology, Chris is not exactly a photographic purist, and is quite comfortable exposure-blending, tonemapping, digitally manipulating or otherwise post-processing his images to get the final result that he's after.

Chris often targets things rather than people or events, with images ranging from macro to wide-angle, and in-your-face styles to landscapes. He is drawn to vibrant colours, organic curves, shiny metal and just about anything with an engine in it. When these combine, it often means super shiny hot rods.

Equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF 16-35 f/2.8L, EF 24-105 f/4L, EF 50 f/1.4, EF 70-300 f/4.5 DO, Manfrotto 190MF4 tripod and 498RC2 head, 430EX II Speedlight, remote cable release, Datacolor Spyder3, Wacom Tablet, iPhone (for light meter, exposure timers), Apple iMac, ACR, Photoshop CS5, Photomatix, Neat Image Pro, VM Ware Fusion, Photoshop Elements and Fractalius.

Video interview

More of Chris's work can be seen on his online gallery or on Flickr.

I took this at the 2010 Gold Coast Hot Rod Show. As is always the case at these kinds of shows, there are a lot of background distractions which need to be removed with such a wide-angle shot. In this case, I mirrored and overlaid the background car onto the left side of the image to remove a lot of visual distractions. I like the vibrancy of the car in this image, which I've brought out through the HDR tonemapping process, and keeping the background colouring fairly neutral and consistent.

Exposure: Canon 5D Mk II, EF 16-35mm @ 16mm, f/16, 1/90 sec + 1/20 sec + 1/6 sec, ISO 50

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Afon Peris

The cold rain and snow run-off was flowing in Afon Peris, down Llanberis Pass in Snowdonia, North Wales, on a damp and overcast winter's day. I took this photo just upstream from Cromlech Bridge before the clouds really descended and the rain bucketed down. I had to be quick to get this without rain getting all over the lens; even despite the lens hood, I still ended up having to clone out a few drops. It cost me a cold and wet right foot in the stream setting the tripod, but I think it was worth the effort. This shot really encapsulates the dark, foreboding dragon territory of North Wales for me.

Exposure: Canon 5D Mk II, EF 16-35mm @ 16mm, f/16, 1/6 sec, ISO 50

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At a hot rod show, I came across this little blue Ford T-Bucket parked outside the main display hall that housed the super-shiny chromed show cars. She wasn't all pampered and prissy like them, and she certainly wasn't too proud to wear some dirt and flies in her radiator grille. This little blue bucket was a true street rod, and it seemed like she was proud of it. I just had to get a shot. This is a three-shot HDR layer masked and de-saturated in Photoshop to keep the focus on the little T-Bucket, where it should be. I think this car, more than any other, sparked my love of photographing hot rods.

Exposure: Canon 450D, EF-S 10-22mm @ 10mm (16mm), f/22, 1/4 sec + 1/2 sec + 1 sec, ISO 100

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Cedar Creek

A nice relaxed location at Cedar Creek near Closeburn and Mount Glorious, Queensland, was the perfect spot to get some silky, flowing water shots with an ND fader filter that I was trying out. I like the way this turned out — not too milky, but enough flow from the left to right in the composition to give it some feeling. The HDR tonemapping really helped give it some depth, which I accentuated in Photoshop without giving it that overcooked HDR look.

Exposure: Canon 7D, EF-S 10-22mm @ 22mm (35mm), f/8, 7 secs + 15 secs + 30 secs, ISO 100, ND Filter

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Coral Sea sunrise

I got up early to catch the sunrise on a family holiday on the Queensland Sunshine Coast. I'm glad I did, as it was even more spectacular than I'd expected or hoped for, as the weather had been pretty dreary up until then. The location I'd scouted the day before, north of the Maroochy River, turned out to be even better at low tide, too. This photo was on the rocks at Pincushion Island on the North Shore of the Maroochy River, looking out to the Coral Sea. I processed the RAW file for this image twice; once for the sky, and once for the foreground. Processing for the sky retained the lovely warm tones, whilst processing for the foreground revealed more highlight details there. I guess I could achieve a better in-camera result with an ND grad filter, but this seemed a good compromise at the time without a filter.

Exposure: Canon 5D Mk II, EF 16-35mm @ 16mm, f/22, 1/3 sec, ISO 50

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Fractal apple

This is a bit of a mixture of experimentation. Firstly, I took the original shot of the apple by hollowing it out and inserting a remotely triggered speedlight (reducing light leaks with duct tape). That gave a nicely illuminated apple on a dark background, which I then fed into the Redfield Fractalius plug-in, as the base image for manipulation. The end result is, I think, quite unique.

Exposure: Canon 7D, EF-S 60mm Macro @ 60mm (96mm), f/2.8, 1/250 sec, ISO 100, Speedlight

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Fractal hot rod

Similar to the fractal apple shot, I had a shot of a hot rod that looked like it would respond well to the Redfield Fractalius Photoshop plug-in. The original hot rod image I'd taken already had a de-saturated background, and the blue hot rod stood out pretty nicely. I think it really comes alive after being processed with the fractal algorithm.

Exposure: Canon 450D, EF-S 10-22mm @ 10mm (16mm), f/4, Unknown, ISO 100

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Into the darkness

Another fractal shot, this time on a base image of a red striped fish I took at Underwater World on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. The base image was quite challenging to get: handheld, low-light and lots of reflections — but it came out very nicely. I really like the original baseline image of the fish, but the simplification and primary tones of the fractal conversion work brilliantly with this image. This is one of my favourite images; simple yet striking.

Exposure: Canon 5D Mk II, EF 16-35mm @ 35mm, f2.8, 1/30 sec, ISO 2000

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This fractal conversion of a photograph of a lionfish I took at Underwater World on Queensland's Sunshine Coast always scores high on my Flickr "Interestingness" ratings. There is a lot of fractal detail here, but the fish is easily recognisable and the conversion works well.

Exposure: Canon 5D Mk II, EF 16-35mm @ 16mm, f/2.8 , 1/60 sec, ISO 200

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This HDR image of a Morgan Plus 8 really shows the flowing, almost organic, form of the vehicle. I love the way the colours and reflections work well together. Look closely, and you'll see the reflection of the front bumper I cloned out from the final image, as I felt it detracted from the overall flow and colouring of the car itself.

Exposure: Canon 450D, EF-S 10-22mm @ 10mm (16mm), f/4, unknown exposures, ISO 100

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Milky Way

I took this shot of the Milky Way (and the Southern Cross) on a night when I was supposed to be taking star-trails photographs. The sheer beauty of the scene, and the enormity of the cosmos unfolded before me, meant that I had to capture a non-star-trail version of the night sky that evening, too. I'm glad I did, as I really like this image and the night sky it depicts. One of these nights, I'm going to try this again with my (now) full-frame sensor and better glass.

Exposure: Canon 7D, EF-S 10-22mm @ 11mm (17mm), f/3.5, 60 secs, ISO 100

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Mill window

This three-shot HDR image was taken out of the window of a coffee shop as I was leaving the premises, so it was a bit of a grab-bag of taking what I could before being asked to leave. As it turned out, the exposures were pretty close, and I'm pleased with how this turned out between the exposure of the flower/plant in the shop to the flowing waters of the River Dee outside the window.

Exposure: Canon 5D Mk II, EF 16-35mm @ 16mm, f/19, 1 sec + 2 secs + 4 secs, ISO 50

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Old red

This photo of a great-looking FJ Holden Ute is another of my favourites. I love the colours and curves of this shot, and the HDR tonemapping gives the scene some drama as an afternoon storm approaches. I like the composition and framing here, although, like most public car shows, this required quite bit of Photoshop cloning to remove distracting background elements to get it in the shape that it is here.

Exposure: Canon 450D, EF-S 10-22mm @ 16mm (25mm), f/4, Unknown, ISO 100

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SS Dicky

One of the most (if not the most) photographed wrecks in South East Queensland, the hulk of the SS Dicky makes a great sunrise scene. In this image of the SS Dicky, I exposure-blended a one-second and two-second shot of the scene to smooth the waters a little, yet still retain the highlights. I like the colouration in the image, and put a fair amount of thought and effort into the final cropping and composition in the frame.

Exposure: Canon 450D, EF-S 10-22mm @ 16mm (25mm), f/4, 1 sec + 2 secs, ISO 100

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Storm coming

This shot of the iconic Story Bridge in Brisbane was taken at the end of a very long drought, just as the storm clouds were about to burst back in 2009. This was a five-shot HDR image, which needed that breadth of exposures to cover the full dynamic range in the scene at the time. I got soaked to the skin shortly after this, but the rains were very welcome at the time.

Exposure: Canon 7D, EF-S 10-22mm @ 10mm (16mm), f/16, 1/250 sec + 1/125 sec + 1/60 sec + 1/30 sec + 1/15 sec, ISO 100

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This sad-looking Lockheed Ventura looks like it's dreaming of days long gone as it awaits restoration at the Queensland Air Museum in Caloundra. The skies were very heavy with rain, and the HDR tonemapping process really brought this out in this image, which I think suits the sadness of the old plane looking skywards. This was a hand-held three-image HDR stack processed in Photomatix and post-processed in Photoshop.

Exposure: Canon 450D, EF-S 10-22mm @ 10mm (16mm), f/3.5, Unknown, ISO 100

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Traffic light

For this image, I took separate photographs of the green, yellow and red capsicum. I hollowed out each of the fruits and inserted a remote-triggered speedlight into the cavity, sealing any gaps (and light leaks) with duct tape. These gave nicely illuminated images of all three fruit on a similarly dark background. I positioned and combined these images in Photoshop to arrange the traffic light image presented here.

Exposure: Canon 7D, EF-S 60mm Macro @ 60mm (96mm), f/16, 1/50, ISO 100, Speedlight

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Ute reflection

Minimising and controlling unwanted reflections is a large part of automotive photography, but sometimes you've just got to admit defeat and go with the flow. No matter what I tried with the red FJ Holden Ute, it was so super shiny I couldn't get a clean shot without major reflections. As the cars were packed in like sardines, I managed to get an angle that showed not only the red FJ, but its blue stable mate, too. I used the tonemapping process to accentuate and clarify the reflection in the red car's paintwork.

Exposure: Canon 7D, EF-S 10-22mm @ 22mm (35mm), f/4.5, 1/500 + 1/60 + 1/8, ISO 100

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