Copper Mine Photo Challenge: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace

Copper Mine Photo Challenge: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace

Hi everybody welcome to another episode of Exploring Photography right here on AdoramaTV I’m Mark Wallace in the middle of the Australian outback in a city called Mount Isaac and it is built around a huge copper mine. You can see the smoke stack right here, but we’ll get to that in a second. First I want to tell you about the challenge. The challenge is this, I’m riding across the Australian outback and I want to tell stories for Instagram, for Twitter. I want to update my blog all that kind of stuff, but because I have to travel great distances, I really don’t have a lot of time to stop and set up a big tripod to make sure the lighting is perfect and do all the things I would normally do if I had the luxury of time and if I had the luxury of weather and so I really have to take pictures where I am when I’m there and so I can’t choose the time of day all the time. You can see right now that the light is horrible, I look like a raccoon right now with the Sun coming straight down, so that’s the challenge shoot quickly, without much time and get some images that I can post to social media. So how am I going to do that? Well first thing I have is this tank bag full of goodies, so I have my Leica M 10 ready to go with all my lenses. It’s right here. I also have a Sony cyber-shot, this is rx100 version 5 that I used sometimes it’s you know Leica but in a pinch sometimes it actually works better and I’ve got a few other GoPros and things stashed here and there. So today what I want to do is I want to tell the story of Mount Isa. Mount Isa was built around this giant copper mine. You see the smokestack right behind me it has huge pits dug over years and years and years that is massive, massive and I can see it from satellite photos. I wanted to take some photos of that. I want to take some pictures of the actual line and the smokestacks. The problem is with my 50mm lens on my Leica I really just couldn’t get the compression that I wanted and so that meant that really to make this story work and to get closer much, much closer, so I thought well I need to get inside this mine. Well the mining company said absolutely not, you can’t do that because of insurance reasons, it’s very dangerous, so you can’t actually go in and see that, if you want to do that they said; really what you need is a helicopter. They said that sort of as a joke and you know I don’t have a helicopter but what I do have is my Mavic Pro, so I told them that I said hey what if I shot this with my Mavic Pro can I do that? And they said sure we’ll allow you to fly over two times, that’s it. I got permission to fly it twice and so that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to see if we can tell the story of Mount Isa, the massive copper mine and the city using a Mavic Pro, using only two flights, so I got to get it right, not much time. Let’s see how this works? It’s a photo challenge, alright I got my Mavic, I’ve got everything set up. I checked to make sure that we’re in a safe place to fly. This is a great open area so let’s get this thing off the ground right now. Alright and we’re flying. Alright and our flight was successful. It’s time to get the Mavic back out of the sky, so we’ll do that right now here we go, perfect! Alright, the Mavic Pro touched down. It is time now to put those photos and the videos into post-production, pull some stills from the 4k video and then post that to Instagram and social media. I think this was an awesome challenge and I think it was a success but we won’t know for sure until we look on the computer. The first thing I want to do is to scrub through the video files and find frames that I think would make great images and the question I know that you’re probably asking is why didn’t I just shoot the raw file still images right in the Mavic? The reason is because I was short on time and I really couldn’t see my little screen because it was so bright out. This is sort of a way that you can be a photographer after the fact. I can look and see what I shot and scroll back and forth until I get something that is exactly what I want and then compose based on that timeline. So that’s what I’m doing here. I’m going to go in, I’ve found something that I sort of like. This is this road leading into this giant pit. Now remember we’re not seeing the full size image here. In fact I’m using a proxy which is a little bit smaller than 4k, so I’ll turn the proxy off, you’ll see this gets to be a little bit larger and then if I go in here and say 100%, boom! It’s much larger, so these are really, really large files with lots of detail, lots of stuff that we can play with and so that’s one of the reasons I love to shoot 4k. I’m going to turn back my proxy. If you don’t know how to use proxy files, I’ve made a video about that, I’ve created a link in the description of this video so you can see exactly what that is. It just makes these 4k videos really easy to work with on a laptop. Alright now that I have my frame that I want to use, I need to extract that. Now I can do this in Adobe Premiere Pro by just clicking on this little camera icon or the shift ‘e’ shortcut keys that will export the frame, you can do this in VLC or in Final Cut Pro or any nonlinear editor there’s always a way to export a frame so I’m going to click on that. It’s going to ask me for a name, I’m just going to use the one that it gives me. I can choose a different file format, jpg suits me just fine and it’s also going to allow me to choose where I want to save this? So I’ve already selected a folder called Australia drone stills, so I’ll say okay then I’m just going to zip through here and when I find additional frames that I think will make a good image, I’ll just click this button and do this over and over, in fact I’ve already done that and if we zip over here into my Australia drone stills folder, you can see that I’ve selected a bunch of individual frames that I now want to play with. I want to do that in Lightroom, so what I’m going to do is go over to Lightroom and import these. So I’ll just zip over I’m going to choose this Australia drone stills folder and I’m going to add these so I’m not going to copy these, I’m just going to add these and then I will import them and this is going to be very, very quick because we’re just adding them into the library. Once I have these added in what I’m allowed to do, when I’m able to do is then go in through the develop module and then I can do all of the different things that you would normally do increase my clarity, I maybe I can make this a black and white, I can fool around with these images and with the magic of video editing here are my final results. Well it looks like the DJ Mavic Pro once again got some amazing imagery. I was able to pull some great stills from that 4k video and so it was a bonus they got video and stills that I was able to post on social media. This little guy is worth its weight in gold. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution, so don’t try to over complicate things, when you’re out there shooting on a tight deadline. Thank you so much for joining me. Don’t forget to look at my Instagram account, you can see all the updates and photos and things that I’m posting as I’m riding around the world on my motorcycle. You can see how I put my video tutorials into practical everyday use, also don’t forget to subscribe to AdoramaTV because we’re shooting things in series and so one video leads to another, leads to another and if you don’t subscribe you can miss out if you have a gap in your knowledge so don’t do that. Make sure you click Subscribe right now. Thanks again for joining me and I will see you again next time.


  1. What a cool video today!! Exploring the mine was so awesome. I have a mine like this by my house, however it's not nearly as big, but I would like to explore it. Thank you for posting this today! I look forward to watching your videos every time I get a notification on my phone! 🙂 Have a great rest of your day!!

  2. Awesome Mark I wished I was home in Mt Isa !! I was born and bread there, I have worked in that mine for over 15yrs on and off, currently living on the gold coast, I would have been able to take you to some beautiful Aboriginal Art site around the rugged hills around the Isa, I Have posted this message to you to say thanks as Both you and Gavin Hoey were the ones who got me into photography and gave me a passion for it with your awesome tutorials and advice… thanks and safe journeys around beautiful country never stop making these tutorials

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