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Exposure: Jason Ruth

A specialist in HDR and landscape photography, Jason Ruth talks about his technique and the stories behind his favourite photographs.

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Lexy Savvides
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1 of 18 Jason Ruth

Jetstream Sunrise

Jason Ruth

(Credit: Jason Ruth)

Photographer: Jason Ruth

Speciality: landscapes

Biography: Jason is an electrical draftsman by trade and didn't get involved in photography until he met his wife. She had grown up with photography, so Jason had his very own personal full-time tutor who turned his interest into a passion — along with a lovely wife. Due to an unfortunate car accident — no one was injured, but the car was a write off — and a fortunate career change that included a company car, there was now some extra money in the bank that was used to buy his first digital camera.

Jason's background in drafting meant that he was quick to learn all about the art of post-processing his images. From there, he moved into HDR photography, absorbed tutorials and purchased dedicated software. With his love of landscapes along the coast to country and outback scenes, Jason captures anything that catches his eye.

Equipment: Nikon D300, Nikon 50mm f/1.8, Nikon 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR, Nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 VRII. When his wife is feeling generous Jason uses a 12-24mm f/4 and 60mm f/1.8 Micro. Cokin P and X-Pro series Neutral Density Filters, Manfrotto 190 ProBX tripod with 322RC2 Head, remote release, Photomatix Pro, NIK software (Dfine2, Viveza2, HDR Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro 4, Silver Efex Pro 2, Sharpener Pro 3), Noiseware, Photoshop CS4, Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch tablet.

Video interview

More of Jason's work can be seen on his RedBubble page, 500px profile and Flickr page.

The start of the day is always amazing to watch, some days more so than others. I had done sunrise shoots before, but this was my first time bracketing images with the specific task of doing HDR processing. When I first started shooting there was no jet stream, but as I watched it happen, I was watching the sunrise at the same time, hoping to get both together.

Exposure and equipment: D300; 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens; tripod; multiple exposures of 1/20, 1/10, 1/5, 2/5, 4/5, 1.6, 3 seconds; f/22, ISO 100

Processing: RAW to Photomatix, tone mapped, Black/Grey/White point, mild contrast curve

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2 of 18 Jason Ruth

Pool Horizons

Having seen some amazing HDR panorama images, I decided to attempt this myself. This time I was at North Curl Curl for sunrise.

Exposure and equipment: Nikon D300; 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens; tripod; circular polariser; graduated ND filter; six set of seven images at 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2, 4, 8, 15 seconds; f/14; ISO 200

Processing: each set of RAW files processed first in Photomatix, merged for panorama in Photoshop, cropped, Black/Grey/White point, mild contrast curve

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3 of 18 Jason Ruth

Who Pays the Ferryman?

This was taken during the annual family reunion weekend for my in-laws at Wisemans Ferry. Getting up before the sunrise was a great chance to get out with the camera. On the back road from Webbs Creek to Portland I came across the Lower Portland Ferry, fog and a street light casting an eerie glow.

Exposure and equipment: Nikon D300; 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens; tripod; multiple exposures of 1.3, 2.5, 5, 10, 20 seconds; f/14; ISO 400

Processing: RAW to Photomatix, tone mapped, Noiseware, Black/Grey/White point, mild contrast curve

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4 of 18 Jason Ruth

Bygone Era

Cockatoo Island is a photographer's paradise, especially if you enjoy some modern history, old machinery and industrial images, all of which lend itself beautifully to HDR. This was a family day out with my wife and her parents, all of us toting camera equipment — our very own and very exclusive camera club. I still recall how lucky I was to get this; as I tried to re-shoot, the wind had risen and the water was no longer still. Lucky the first set of exposures was OK.

Exposure and equipment: Nikon D300; 12-24mm f/4 lens; tripod; multiple exposures of 1/1600, 1/800, 1/400, 1/200, 1/100 second; f/10; ISO 200

Processing: RAW to TIFF conversion, Noiseware, Photomatix, tone mapped, Noiseware, Black/Grey/White point, mild contrast curve

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5 of 18 Jason Ruth

After the Storm

Taken during an afternoon spent storm chasing, hoping to catch images of an approaching storm front that we missed. However, some unexpected results came about after the storm.

Exposure and equipment: Nikon D300, 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR, 1/500 second, f/11, ISO 200

Processing: RAW conversion and level adjustment

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6 of 18 Jason Ruth

Dawn at Mona Vale

I arranged to catch up with a high school friend who I hadn't seen in over 20 years, just so we could take photos of a sunrise. Well, the dawn light blew both of us away, from light cloud cover and some stunning colours.

Exposure and equipment: Nikon D300; 12-24mm f/4 lens; tripod; multiple exposures of 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2, 4 seconds; f/22; ISO 100

Processing: RAW to TIFF conversion, Noiseware, Photomatix, tone mapped, Noiseware, Black/Grey/White point, mild contrast curve

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7 of 18 Jason Ruth

Must be Sydney

Like every Sydney-based photographer, you must have a shot of the Harbour Bridge.

Exposure and equipment: Nikon D300, 12-24mm f/4 lens, tripod, 120 seconds, f/16, ISO 200

Processing: convert RAW into Photoshop, Noiseware, Black/Grey/White point, mild contrast curve

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8 of 18 Jason Ruth

Steam Tractor

Returning from a holiday in the Goldfields region of Victoria, the drive home took a leisurely two days that allowed us time to play as tourists, stopping in at the Port of Echuca for several hours.

Exposure and equipment: Nikon D300; 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens; multiple exposures of 1/640, 1/320, 1/160, 1/80, 1/40 second; f/8; ISO 400

Processing: RAW to Photomatix, tone mapped, Noiseware, Black/Grey/White point, mild contrast curve

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9 of 18 Jason Ruth

Lifting the Veil

On the way into Sydney to spend the day checking out buildings that are open as part of Sydney Open Day, a lifting fog was seen and we took a detour down to Kirribilli.

Exposure and equipment: Nikon D300; 12-24mm f/4 lens; tripod; multiple exposures of 1/800, 1/400, 1/200, 1/100, 1/50, 1/25, 1/13 second; f/16; ISO 200

Processing: RAW to TIFF, Noiseware, Photomatix, tone mapped, Noiseware, Black/Grey/White point, mild contrast curve

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10 of 18 Jason Ruth

Teenage Memories

A Christmas spent at home, I finished off 2010 with a sunrise shoot at the beach, which is at the end of the street.

Exposure and equipment: Nikon D300; 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens; tripod; multiple exposures of 0.5, 1.3, 5 second; f/20; ISO 100

Processing: RAW to Photomatix, tone mapped, Black/Grey/White point, mild contrast curve, mask applied to get 0.5 second exposure of water movement

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11 of 18 Jason Ruth

Under the Boardwalk

A day out at La Perouse isn't complete without a walk across to Bare Island.

Exposure and equipment: Nikon D300; 50mm f/1.8D lens; multiple exposures of 1/4000, 1/2000, 1/1000, 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60 second; f/5.6; ISO 400

Processing: RAW to Photomatix, tone mapped, Noiseware, Black/Grey/White point, mild contrast curve

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12 of 18 Jason Ruth

Benched at DY

I had spent the morning at Long Reef capturing the alignment of Mercury, Venus and Mars. What better way to finish that off than breakfast at Dee Why Beach.

Exposure and equipment: Nikon D300; 50mm f/1.8D lens; multiple exposures of 1/3200, 1/1600, 1/800, 1/400, 1/200, 1/100, 1/50 second; f/10; ISO 200

Processing: RAW to Photomatix, tone mapped, Noiseware, Black/Grey/White point, mild contrast curve

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13 of 18 Jason Ruth

High and Dry at Patonga

A weekend spent camping at Patonga.

Exposure and equipment: Nikon D300, 50mm f/1.8D lens, 1/640, f/6.3, ISO 400

Processing: RAW conversion, mono conversion using Silver Efex Pro 2

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14 of 18 Jason Ruth

Calm at Coal Point

Returning from a 40th birthday in Newcastle, we were in no rush to get back to Sydney — a great excuse to check out the western side of Lake Macquarie, this being Coal Point.

Exposure and equipment: Nikon D300; 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens; tripod; multiple exposures of 1/2500, 1/1250, 1/640, 1/320, 1/160, 1/80, 1/40 second; f/10; ISO 200

Processing: RAW to Photomatix, tone mapped, Noiseware, Black/Grey/White point, mild contrast curve

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15 of 18 Jason Ruth

Vase

Some fellow photographers had organised a day out at the Australian Pioneer Village.

Exposure and equipment: Nikon D300; 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens; tripod; multiple exposures of 1/400, 1/50, 1/13 second; f/4.5; ISO 200

Processing: RAW conversion, layer one image over the other, apply masks and desaturate

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16 of 18 Jason Ruth

Mona Vale Pool Sunrise

Chasing the sunrise (again) at Mona Vale (again), all in the name of testing out the latest addition to my photography kit.

Exposure and equipment: Nikon D300; 12-24mm f/4 lens; tripod; Cokin X-Pro Graduated Neutral Density Filters; multiple exposures of 1/60, 1/8 second; f/22; ISO 200

Processing: RAW conversion, layer one image over the other, apply masks, contrast adjustments

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17 of 18 Jason Ruth

Take a Walk

The result of a mid-week bush walk after work.

Exposure and equipment: Nikon D300, 50mm f/1.8D lens, tripod, 1/40, f/18, ISO 200

Processing: RAW conversion, mono conversion using Silver Efex Pro 2

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18 of 18 Jason Ruth

Somersby Falls

A late Saturday afternoon drive up the F3 to Brisbane Waters National Park and Somersby Falls (great spot for a picnic).

Exposure and equipment: Nikon D300, 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens, tripod, Hoya NDX400 filter, 120 seconds, f/22, ISO 100

Processing: RAW conversion

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