Exposure: Janko Dragovic

Graphic designer and photographer Janko Dragovic shares some of his magical HDR photos and long exposure landscapes.

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 Janko Dragovic

Suspicious behaviour

Janko Dragovic

(Credit: Janko Dragovic)

Photographer: Janko Dragovic

Speciality: generalist

Biography: Janko is a 28-year-old photographer from Perth. He is also a graphic designer, music producer and DJ. When not running the family design and print business or producing and DJ-ing as part of the Progress Inn duo, he captures images of wide-ranging subjects. From landscapes to long exposures, macro to portraits and anything else in between, his approach is to be open to the world around him and capture it all.

Working as a graphic designer means that Janko's approach to photography is perhaps slightly different than traditional photographers. He is not afraid to use advanced post-processing techniques to get his initial RAW images to look like the photographs he envisages. Sometimes the photos are just the building blocks for something bigger, such as his collages. Even though photography is not his primary career, Janko regularly takes on commercial projects as well, such as real estate/architecture, product photography, events and studio work.

Equipment: Nikon D90, Nikon N80 with battery grip, Panasonic Lumix LX5, Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6, Nikon 50mm f/1.8, Nikon 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro, Tokina 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 fisheye, Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod with 496RC2 head, Nissin Di866 and Yongnuo YN560 flashes, Cactus V4 wireless flash trigger with two receivers, IR remote, cable release, various filters and light diffusing accessories, Lightroom 3, Photoshop CS5, Photomatix Pro 3.

Video interview

More of Janko's work can be seen on his Flickr account.

This was shot from Kings Park in Perth on a brisk winter morning. I was actually there shooting images to stitch into panoramas of the Perth skyline, but when I spotted this building underneath I made sure I got some good angles for this photo as well.

Later I created three 16-bit TIFF files (-2EV, 0EV, +2EV) out of the original RAW file and combined them using Photomatix, which I finished off in Photoshop.

Exposure: 13-sec, f/9, ISO 200, 22mm

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Cross-processed lake

I love the relative simplicity of this image and how the tones suggest a melancholic mood. It was a lovely sunset, so I had nice colours to work with; however, I wanted to really emphasise them so I added split toning in Lightroom to give the image a cross-processed look.

Exposure: 1/160, f/5.6, ISO 200, 105mm

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Lavender lovin' bee

This bee and many of its co-workers regularly visit a lavender patch in my garden. I wanted to capture the symbiotic nature between the two species, so I used a square crop to centre the subjects without leaving too much space on either side.

Exposure: 1/125, f/4.5, ISO 200, 90mm

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This kind of image has been captured many times, but it was just something I had to try myself as I have been fascinated by shots like these since I was a kid. Shot using flash off camera, I used a drops dispenser to squirt water onto a pre-focused area of a shallow water container.

Exposure: 1/200, f/4.5, ISO 200, 66mm

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Spiralling sparkle

I was house-sitting a friend's apartment and they had one of these gas heaters on their balcony. At that period I was looking for objects to try long exposure sparkle trails on so this was perfect! I did around 10 different shots with this gas heater, but I prefer this one the most as you can see my silhouette faintly even though the sparkle trail isn't perfect.

I played around with colour calibration in Lightroom and settled for a strong purple tinge, which I think works great on this shot.

Exposure: 73-sec, f/11, ISO 200, 18mm

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Sunday shopper

I was driving through a car park at a local supermarket store (shortcut!) after closing time and spotted this gentleman by himself. He looked like he had reached nirvana and was oblivious to the world around him. I had my camera with me, as usual, so I immediately stopped, got out of the car and said hi to him because in my mind I saw a beautiful photo that just had to be taken.

It turned out he was Chinese and spoke very little English, so initially I had trouble understanding him (and I'm sure he didn't understand me either), but as soon as I got my camera out of the car he knew what I was on about. I did this single shot, thanked him and was on my way.

Later I created three 16-bit TIFF files (-2EV, 0EV, +2EV) out of the original RAW file and combined them using Photomatix.

Exposure: 1/1250, f/3.5, ISO 200, 128mm

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Majestic rays

At the time when I took this shot I was obsessed with zoom blur! This image was created by slowly zooming the lens (18-105mm) half of the way during a 10-second exposure, while keeping the camera steady on a tripod. The lens was pointed upwards directly under the tree.

I was extremely happy with the result and since it looked very cinematic I added two black stripes on the top and bottom to complete the look.

Exposure: 10-sec, f/4.8, ISO 200, 42mm

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Mini Karrinyup shopping centre

Waiting for my girlfriend at a shopping centre was made more bearable on this occasion, as I was shooting tilt-shift images and the level above the main floor gave me a very good perspective for this effect to look believable.

In Photoshop, I added a gradient layer and used it as a mask for the lens blur effect to simulate the shallow depth of field.

Exposure: 1/15, f/5.6, ISO 200, 18mm

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Dave Frayne

Pictured here is Dave Frayne, an excellent techno DJ out of Perth. I shot the image with a fisheye lens and a flash. I used a relatively slow exposure to give me time to make the rotating movement and get those cool swirls in the image.

Even though most photographers avoid the fisheye lens like the plague (especially when shooting people), I always carry it with me as I love the weird perspective and sharpness you can get from it!

Exposure: 1/4, f/5, ISO 200, 10mm

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East Perth light poles next to bay

It was a beautiful sunset in Perth and I was walking around with my D90, Sigma 10-20mm and tripod shooting HDR (high-dynamic range). The sky and the whole sunset sequence was beautiful and I ended up with quite a few really nice images, but this one is my favourite from that night. I really like the way the light poles bring the viewer into the image and lead towards the crimson/pink sky and city skyline.

The three images were combined in Photomatix and then further processed in Photoshop to boost contrast and sharpness and reduce noise slightly.

Exposure: various, three images (-2EV, 0EV, +2EV), f/6.3, ISO 200, 10mm

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Perth August morning panorama

This is one of my favourite panoramic images I've created. Well worth the almost freezing temperature that morning! Shot from Kings Park overlooking Perth centre and the Swan River. The roads were bustling with human activity as commuters drove to work and enabled me to get those beautiful light trails.

I shot the RAW files in manual mode to keep the same exposure in all the shots and to make the stitching part as easy as possible. Luckily, these days Photoshop's Photomerge function works incredibly well, even for handheld images (if you have a steady hand!). After photo-merging and a few cloning/patching spots, I further refined the image using the powerful Shadows/Highlights tool in Photoshop and finished the image off with the black-and-white strips.

Exposure: eight stitched images, 30-sec, f/14, ISO 200, 25mm

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North Perth Church long exposure

The clouds were moving very fast on the evening I took this shot. As I drove past this church I immediately envisaged a wicked wide-angle shot with the streaming clouds above and the church centre stage.

I was able to get about five images without anyone shooing me off and this is my favourite out of those. I used fill light in Lightroom to bring more detail to the church façade.

Exposure: 105-sec, f/9, ISO 100, 10mm

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Inside St George's Cathedral

Even though I am not religious, I love photographing religious places of congregation. I was always fascinated by architecture and some of the most spectacular architecture in human history has been implemented in churches.

This cathedral is definitely not the most glamorous in the world, but it has a distinct character, largely I think due to the fact that the interior colours are very synchronous. I also really like that there was a lone person in the front sitting next to the choir who was practising for a later service.

I shot only single RAW images from different angles so as not to take too much time inside as they were expecting people to start arriving for the night service. In the end I went with the central framing and created an HDR image with it.

Exposure: 4-sec, f/9, ISO 200, 10mm

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Suspicious circumstances

While out of Perth on a weekend getaway, I stayed at a very basic hostel with my girlfriend at the time. With not much entertainment inside we decided to venture out and see if we can shoot some long exposure light painting photos. We found a pile of logs next to one of the buildings and the whole scene looked very moody and uncertain as it was very dark.

My girlfriend had brought the Soviet civilian gas mask and I brought along my old binoculars, precisely for this kind of shot! As it was pitch dark I used an ordinary torch to light up the scene gradually by sweeping across the scene. I also used the torch to light up some parts more than others to create a bit of directional light, like in the lower left corner.

Exposure: 30-sec, f/8, ISO 200, 10mm

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Traffic pulse

I had wanted to take a long exposure shot of the traffic for a while. One night I happened to go close by it with my camera, tripod and a bit of time to spare. I set the camera up on the pedestrian bridge above the road and started shooting.

I like all the images I did on that occasion, as the angle and perspective work really well, but this was my favourite because of the u-turn a car had made at the moment. A little bit of anticipation with a little bit of luck and I had it!

Exposure: 25-sec, f/16, ISO 200, 18mm

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Floral intimacy

I'm really not sure of the name of this plant, but its flower was beautiful. I shot this indoors next to a nice big window for diffused light. I think the beauty of the flower speaks for itself here...

Exposure: 1/2, f/9, ISO 200, 105mm

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Yallingup beach sunset

This shot almost cost me my camera, wide-angle lens and tripod! I was shooting on a very uneven and slippery rocky surface in Yallingup and was slowly moving towards the little bay to get the best shot possible with my Sigma 10-20mm. During one of the exposures (all of which lasted around half a minute), I turned around for just a couple of seconds only to find that my camera and tripod had disappeared! The strong gust of wind that blew past me then was enough to knock my tripod with camera over. The height of the fall was almost 2 metres, but miraculously the tripod, lens and camera all survived and are still completely functional (bar a few scratches to the tripod, lens hood and camera body).

Even though I almost had a heart attack when that happened, looking at the image now it was well worth it! And I'm planning to return to that same spot very soon!

Exposure: 25-sec, f/16, ISO 200, 10mm

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Moody parking

I was walking around the Perth city centre exploring slightly derelict scenes with my camera when I spotted this undercover garage for a local car hire business. Along with the soft light from the top, it just had that special quality that can't really be described. I went underneath and did a quick shooting-a-photo gesture with my camera to the person at the front desk. They nodded approvingly, I went in and fired three shots and was out of their hair in less than a minute.

Exposure: 1/50, f/4, ISO 100, 18mm

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