Weekend Wanderings – Werribee Mansion Part 1

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This last week I had an opportunity to go to the Werribee Mansion.  I went with a client, it was her last One on One Photography lesson with me and  the outing was her choice.  I haven’t been to Werribee Mansion for many years, probably over 20, actually I think I went there when I first started doing photography, I might have negs of the outside.  The Mansion is part of Werribee Park, and the Werribee Zoo is the same precinct.  You go past the zoo to get to the mansion.

LeanneCole-werribee-20140415--5287As you walk up to the house, you walk through some beautiful landscaped gardens.  The house entry is through the main gates with the gate house.  It is nice seeing this kind of thing here in Australia.  We don’t have a lot of homes that have this kind of grandeur.

LeanneCole-werribee-20140415--5288This is from the Park Victoria website, “Werribee Mansion was completed by wealthy pastoralists, the Chirnside family in 1877. Built in the Italianate architecture style, Werribee Mansion boasts 60 rooms in several wings. Following extensive restoration, many of the Chirnside family’s items, including clothing, furniture remain on display.”

The building in the first image is actually the hotel that was built beside the original mansion.  The image above is the mansion as it is today.  Beautiful sandstone house.  No expense was spared here, though surprising, it wasn’t as large inside as you would expect, but I have those photos for you tomorrow.

LeanneCole-werribee-20140415--5445Wonderful balcony off the first floor that you can stroll around on.  It was really large.

LeanneCole-werribee-20140415--5552When you head out the back there is a sculpture garden with some interesting sculptures.  I think I found my accommodation for my next trip, you will know what I mean when you look through the gallery images.

LeanneCole-werribee-20140415--5628When you head out the back there is an assortment of out buildings, like the stables, the smithies hut, and the old mens hut has been restored.

LeanneCole-werribee-20140415--5600I love this, the “Ha Ha Wall”, which was basically a ditch with a wall on the other side, you can see the wall behind the sign.  The idea is animals would graze and then go down the ditch and realise they couldn’t go any further.  It was a way to keep animals in paddocks, but not have the view obstructed by fences, so it really was ha ha to the animals.

I am going to put the images into a gallery for you now.  Tomorrow I will show you the photos I got from inside the Mansion.

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Looking High Above

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I have a confession, I haven’t told you about it yet, but I’ve decided to start trying something new.  I love photographing architecture and people, doing my fine art stuff, but I want more.  So I have decided I want to learn how to photograph the stars.  I’ve been planning it for awhile and I’ve being doing some reading.  The other night with the lunar eclipse I had my chance.

LeanneCole-moon-5676This was my first attempt at the moon, well not the first shot, but my first time going out to take photos.  I know some of you know that I was going and what a hassle the whole thing was.  We had planned on travelling out of the city, about an hour, but there had been a major accident on the freeway and it meant the traffic was the worse I’ve ever seen.  We basically missed it.  We had to put up with the sun hitting it again.  Oh well, there is another one in October, so we will make sure we don’t miss that one.

I had read and watched some online things on how to photograph it, one on KelbyOne was very useful.  I think I know what I did wrong and I think I will change some things next time.   I think I will practice on some full moons as well.

While we were out there, we thought we might try some star shots as well.

LeanneCole-stars_5674It wasn’t too bad, but the moon was really too bright, and there was too much light pollution from the city.  We were also on a road that was a lot busier than I thought it would be.  We will make sure where we go next time doesn’t have as much traffic.  We moved to the other side of the milky way after this.

I have to say that one thing I am so pleased about with doing this kind of photography is that I have the right gear for it, I only have to get one thing, a head lamp with a red light.  I have one now so I am all set.

LeanneCole-stars-5692This was a little better, but still not great.  I really want to do more of this, and I am going to see if I can do some up in the Mallee, there shouldn’t be any problems with light pollution up there.  It is quite exciting, next comes the star trails.  I might have to see if I can some of that too.

I like where I started and I am excited about doing more.  You can get some great shots of the stars.  Here are the images in a gallery for you to check out.

The Ones that Didn’t Make It

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Wow, yesterday was a great day for the Monochrome Madness and with so many entries it was fantastic to see how many different images there were.  The MMC has been great for me, I am looking for black and white images everywhere.  I even go out to see if I can shoot one, rather than wondering what I have that I could convert.  This last week, I did more than one image.  I could leave them and show one each week, but then that would take away the challenge of doing an image each week.  So, I thought, I would show you the other images that I had prepared.

LeanneCole-city-5224-bwThis is one of the images I took last Saturday morning when I was the city.  I like the dark sky against the white building.  I did make the sky that dark, it was actually a beautiful blue colour.  It was a pretty gorgeous morning for photos.  You really couldn’t have asked for more.  I do need to head into the city for more early morning photography and with winter coming it should get interesting.

LeanneCole-gerbera-5264With all the talk about Macros and such recently I was reminded that I had a close-up filter for doing this sort of thing.  It is only a +2, but I thought it might be fun to try it on the 70-300mm that I have and see what I came up with.  It was harder to use than I remember and trying to get a shot that was in focus was a lot harder.  I will have to try it on some other lenses as well.

Recently I bought some Gerberas to take photos of, but never did, now they are pretty much dead, so I photographed them.  I like the way flowers go when they die and you get some interesting photos, and they are perfect for black and white.  I like the textures that you get.

LeanneCole-flower-5260I had some other flowers mixed in there as well, they weren’t gerberas, no idea what they are, sorry.  They were the flowers that I photographed with the macro lens when I first got the loaner from Nikon.  They have also died, but I really like the way they just droop like little lanterns.  Something very delicate about them.  I tried to bring out that delicateness while I was processing them.

Some fun, I am enjoying playing with black and white images.  It isn’t as straight forward as I thought, and you can do a lot to them.

I’m going away for the weekend with my girls, back up to the Mallee, so I am hoping to get a lot of images from there that will look great as monochrome images.  I will put the images into a gallery so you can see them individually.

Monochrome Madness Week 7

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It is time once again for Monochrome Madness.  It is a bigger week this time and I have had a lot more entries.  It has been fastastic. For the guidelines of submitting your image, the details will be at the end of the post. LeanneCole-city-5083-10hpm-2My image this week is one I put up on my blog on Sunday, I showed the colour version of it, and when I did it I wondered if it would look better in monochrome.  I think it does.  I do think I played with it a lot more once I changed it.

Laura is all moved and has her images for this week ready as well.

flower-web1Another great image from Laura, and if you want to read about the image, then please check out her blog post Sepia Dream.

We have had over 40 submissions this week, so it is almost time to really consider some alternatives.  The one I like the most is showing the first 40 images, and then just putting links to the others, also I am thinking a deadline of Monday so I have plenty of time to work on the post.

Here is the gallery for the images and the links will be underneath as usual.

Now, if you wish to participate and submit an image here is how you do it:-

  • You must email me the image you want to include and if you have a blog or website, or somewhere else, please include the link. My email address is leanne@leannecole.com.au
  • The image size should be as small as it can be, so the largest side should be 1000 pixels or less.
  • You have until the following Tuesday morning to get your entries to me.  Remember I am on Australian time, so with GMT I am +11 hours at the moment, I publish my post on Wednesday morning.
  • Remember to include a link to your blog or website.

Just to let you know also, that as soon as the challenge is published, all emails and images you have sent me are deleted from my computer.  I respect your copyright and would never keep any of the images.

Up for Discussion – How to Choose a Camera

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A couple of weeks I was asked by someone about buying cameras.  They wanted to get a new camera but had no idea what to choose.  I told the person I had written a post on how to work out what camera is right for you, What you want in a Camera, and they said it was very helpful.  I wrote that post over a year ago and I know that people could contribute more to this discussion.  This is not a discussion on which is better, Nikon or Canon, the reality is they’re both good, end of that.  I don’t mind you talking about why you choose one over the other, I will do that too, but in the end it probably doesn’t matter what you choose.  I will go first.

747px-Pentax_K1000I started taking photos over 20 years ago, that is with a SLR.  I’ve spoken about this before, my husband asked me what I wanted one year for my birthday and that is what I said.  The Pentax K1000 was not something I choose, it was chosen for me.  It was a good choice, but as I started having children, well I only had two, I wanted a camera that could capture them, and the all manual K1000 wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I thought I could make it my black and white film camera.  So I started doing research on cameras.

I had joined a camera club and did their beginners photography course, I thought I was ready for a better camera.  I wanted something that could be totally automatic, or totally manual.  Of course most SLR’s were like that back then.  I knew it would be either a Canon or a Nikon.  Another woman who did the course had bought a good Canon, no idea what it was, but all I remember is that she had so much trouble working it out.  Trying to lc2_6689figure out how the aperture worked, I think, was the issue.  I wanted a camera that I could just pick up and use. So I went with Nikon, because to me, that is exactly what they were like, I could just pick it up and use it.  I knew how to change the aperture, and everything just fell into place.  I got the Nikon F90X.  I was so happy with it.  Also, at that time, I think Peter Eastway was also using Nikon, so how could I go wrong right?

I stopped taking photos for a while and the world of digital photography took over.  When I got back into it, I needed a new camera.  This time there were other considerations.  I had to have a camera that took lots of photos quickly.  I was doing sport, so I needed a camera that could take lots of frames a second.  That was really the only thing I needed the camera to have really.  I also knew that I went for a more expensive one my old Nikon lenses would fit onto it and would work. I thought the scsc0011autofocus may not, but I would still have those lenses, at least for a short time.  I bought the Nikon D300s, and to my surprise my old lenses worked exactly the same as digital lenses.  There was no issue with them at all.  So my new kit was made of old and new.

When it was time to upgrade my camera, I knew it would have to be another Nikon, as I had all the Nikon lenses.  This time, sport wasn’t a consideration.  I was no longer doing any sport, so how many frames a second wasn’t that much of a consideration.  I wanted full frame, a camera that could be knocked around a bit, I am a bit rough with my stuff, and good ISO.  The D300s higher ISO’s is horrible.  I have other lenses now as well, and I really like the kit I have.

Have I ever been disappointed with the Nikon, of course, there are things I don’t like.  Have I considered going to Canon?  Again, of course, but it would be such a major thing to do now, sell everything and buy a whole new kit.  I am sure if I had a Canon I would be saying the same things about it as well.

At the end of the day we all just want a camera we can use well, and easily, that will take images that we want and images we can be proud of.

When you were buying your first SLR or DSLR what were you looking for?  What made you decide to get what you have?  What advice would you give someone who wants to buy their first DSLR? If you have another brand would love to hear why you choose that and the camera?

These posts are a great way to share knowledge, so please contribute.

I will approve them, as long as they are nice and not nasty in any way.  I am out all day, so I won’t be able to respond to them.

Feel free to respond or reply to other comments.  It would be good to generate some discussion.

Finally, don’t forget to get your images to me for the MMC tomorrow.

Intoductions – Livonne

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Livonne first came to my attention when she started commenting on some of my posts.  We got to know each other a little and then I started watching what images she was doing.  I really enjoy her work.  I have been keeping an eye on it for a while with the hope that I would be able to feature her in one of these Introductions posts, and this seemed like the perfect time. I’m afraid it was short notice, and she didn’t get much warning, but she agreed to let me show you some of her images today.

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One of the first things I noticed was how very Australian some of her images are.  I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, just that I am always attracted to images that are from Australia, especially if they are places that I recognise.  LIke this one above, I knew as soon as I saw it that it was Southern Cross Station.  I’ve been there and taken photos there.

I asked Livonne why she takes photos.

I’ve always loved photographs, especially the old beautiful portraits that our grandparents had.  I’d always taken a lot of photos but never had a good camera.  When my daughter died at age 10, I realised that I didn’t have enough photos of her, let alone good ones.  It made me very determined to get as many good photos of my sons as I could.  I got given a Kodak digital camera for my 40th birthday and I became a bit obsessed.

When I started making slideshows for birthdays and other celebrations, I began to really curse the instamatic and polaroid cameras that robbed whole generations of their right to beautiful photos.  I started writing a blog nearly 2 years ago and as I wanted photos to go with what I’d written, I felt I could either feel guilty about “borrowing” google images or I could learn to take something decent of my own.

I enrolled in a Certificate IV of Photoimaging at Nepean TAFE and became completely hooked.  As soon as I completed that I started at Diploma level and am now only 2 months away from finishing that.

dsc_0594When you go through her blogs, she has two very similar ones, you can a large variety of images.  You never quite know what you are going to get, like this one, abandoned silos.  She does a lot of the challenges and I think this one was in response to the theme of Abandoned.  I hope I got that right, I’ve been looking at so many images.

Inspiration always comes next.

My inspiration changes daily.  When I started I was positive I’d be a portrait photographer as I love people. I love the style of Australia’s Peter Adams who takes everyday people and brings out a bit of whimsy in them.    It is certainly a style of photography that I aspire to.  I used to find landscape photography rather boring to be honest, but since learning to use a DSLR, I’m thrilled with what I see everyday.  I live in the Blue Mountains of NSW, so am blessed to be surrounded by absolute beauty everywhere I look.  I love capturing the beauty that we’re surrounded by.  I also love urban landscapes and the work of Trent Parke.   I think photography has changed the way I see the world as I used to worry a lot and look for bad stuff.. Now I am always framing the next photo so am looking for beauty everywhere.

dsc_0256There are also lots of photos of places she has visited from overseas.  After seeing what her inspiration is or what inspires her, I can see a lot of that in the images that she takes.  The images she seems to like a lot are really the images I enjoy too, lots of buildings.  Not always pretty, but still there is something about humans and our architecture.

I asked Livonne if there was anything special about the way she works.

I don’t know that I have anything special about the way I work.  I do love color so I don’t usually do black and white photography but will occasionally do some selective color.  I like a touch of fantasy or romance in my photos which I guess takes me away from the reality of an often harsh world. 

021There is something about her work too, the world around her, how she sees the world.  I see some of her images and wish I had taken them, or wish I had been in the same spot to take them.  There is a moodiness to her images that I really enjoy as well.  Many of them are dark, and everyone knows how I find dark images.

I asked about her gear, which was interesting when she told us what she started with.

I started the photography course with a Nikon D80 with just one lens which I bought second hand on ebay.  I have since progressed to the Nikon D610 and am slowly building up my lenses.  I have a 50 mm prime and a 70-300 mm.  I still have the 18-55mm that came with the D80 which I use too but am looking to buy a more versatile lens soon.

As I said, Livonne has two blogs, Livonne is her main blog and she also has one that she used for particular subjects, Livonne Photography.  Both are great and I would encourage you to go and take a look at either or both of them.  I would like to thank Livonne for giving me permission to feature her blog here and also for answering my questions so quickly, I really appreciated that.  I am glad I showed her blog and I am sure you will all love her work as well.  Here is a gallery of some images from her blog.  I need to go and starting working on my image for the MMC this week.

Weekend Wanderings – From One End to the Other

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Last weekend I went into the city to do some night photography shots, most of you know this already, as I took my class in for a night photography class.  It was the final class in the course and it was a great way to finish it off.  There were 10 of us with our tripods and camera gear going along the Yarra River for our night shots.  Each week we approached something new to help them learn how to use their cameras.  My classes are very practical, I always think you “Learn by Doing”, so taking photos is an important aspect of what I teach.  I haven’t seen what they got when they went out, but I have been working on the images that I took.

LeanneCole-citylight-1404054981_5HDR-2You have seen a few of them already, and there aren’t that many more of them.  I am happy with what I got.  One thing I did with my class was to let them know they should do more on their own.  I would set up my image and then do 5 exposures for HDR and if they needed help my camera would be fine taking its photos while I helped them.  It worked really well.  I felt more like the person who was keeping them together and moving them along when the time was right than the teacher.  It was a lovely relaxed class.

We started down at Docklands and ended up near Flinders Street Station, not quite to it. We ran out of time and then had to rush to get the train.  I don’t think anyone minded.

Then yesterday morning I went into the city very early in the morning.  The sun was coming up, but thought I would take some photos along the Yarra River again, only daylight ones.

LeanneCole-city_5013-10hpmWe have had so much rain, and I was hoping that if it had stopped raining that maybe, fingers crossed maybe, the Yarra River would be still, and look at that, it was.  I have seen it much calmer, but this wasn’t bad.  Unfortunately the rowers started coming up and down, with their coaches in motor boats and that stillness disappeared.  It was lovely while it lasted.  I love seeing all the buildings reflected in the water.

Nearly all the night photography images are HDR images.  They were all done using the Nik Collection HDR Efex.  It seemed to work much better for the night shots than Photomatix.  Most of the morning shots are straight images, except for two, the above one and one of the bridge.  I used Photomatix for these two, as it seemed to be better for the day ones, softer.  All images were taken with the 14-24mm wide angle lens.

The gallery will have all the night images I have processed, the image I used for the MMC is here too, but the colour version.  I will also put the morning images.   Some of the morning images that I have done were taken at the same spots I did the night shots.  I should have done that more, it would have been interesting comparing them.  If you are interested in my classes then please go to my website, www.leannecole.com.au.  Enjoy your Sunday.

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