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Up for Discussion: Photographing Your Backyard

Perhaps not literally, but what about the area you live in.  I have written about this before, but maybe it is time I did it again. Whether we live in one of the most picturesque places on the planet, or somewhere that no one cares about, there are images there to take.

I’ve lived in this area for 21 years and I’ve been doing photography for longer than that, but I’ve always thought that I needed to travel away from the area to take photos.  What on earth could there be to photograph around the Heidelberg area in Melbourne that anyone would be interested in.

Then I started looking at the images that many other people were taking of other parts of the world. These absolutely LeanneCole-heidelberg-20140308-0993spectacular shots of places in the best conditions.  I kept wondering how come every time I go to great places the weather never seems to be on my side.  I never get the sunrise or the sunset.  I don’t get beautiful lighting, I just get blah and often. The reality of the world is that there is more blah than beautiful.

Then about a year ago, maybe a little more, I started realizing that I did live somewhere rather special and that all I had to do was open my eyes to see it.

I live in an area surrounded by city, but here, just 15 or so kilometres from the city, where the Yarra River winds its way to the city, is an amazing area that was initially occupied by the Wurundjeri people before displacement and the “new” owners of the land took over and turned it into farmland.  It was LeanneCole-banyuleflats-20140525-9530farmland until about 20 years ago, and from then it is slowly being allowed to return to what it was when the Wurundjeri lived on it.

It has taken me many years to truly appreciate what we have here, and with that want to help protect it and save it.  Many of you know that I have received a grant to produce a book on this area, and so taking photos of it has become very important.

One of the things that I’ve come to realize is that I can go any time, it is just five minutes down the road. It makes it so much more relaxing.  If I go down there to get a sunrise, and I don’t get one, well there will be others, and there will be other opportunities.  I am still to get a good sunset down there, but I am working on it.

Getting good images of a place isn’t about going somewhere exotic, but knowing intimately the place where you are. banyule-flats-social-snappers-sun-6 Of course you can get to know a place that you have to travel to well, but you have to be prepared to travel there often.

I have decided that the trick to getting good images is to know an area and spending lots of time in it.  For Banyule Flats I am always looking for new things and the more you go there the more you notice.  I am always on the lookout for new things

I am always paying attention to the weather reports and looking out for days I think will give me good sunrises or sunsets.  If it looks good for a sunrise and I get up early, I can go outside and if there are no clouds, or it is overcast I go and have a cuppa.  If it looks like everything is set then I will take a drive down the rheidelberg-banyule-flats-parks-14oad. I don’t know how many times I’ve been disappointed when I’ve driven to somewhere for a sunrise and it has been a nothing morning and nothing has happened.

It is very easy to think that where you live is boring. You see it all the time, you are used to it, and we all know when you see something all the time that it can become boring, who wants to see it?  Well you don’t know, there is beauty everywhere and there is beauty where you live, you just need to find it again.

Start thinking about what if someone, say me, was coming to visit you, where would you take me to take photos, then go there and take some photos. Think about what light would suit that place and maybe try some different times of the day.  Try going in different weather, it is amazing how different weather conditions can give a place a different feel.

I hear so many times from so many people that where they live is boring, so I am challenging you all to pick somewherebanyule-flats-fog-parks-trees-11 that is within 5 kilometres or 3 miles from where you live and see what you can come up with.  Banyule Flats is within that area from me.  See what you can get, I look forward to hearing all about your place. If you do a post on the photos, then send a link, I will get to as many as I can to take a look.

So the photos today are an assortment of the photos I’ve been taking at Banyule Flats and surrounding areas over the last year and in different weather.

Quiet Thursdays: Getting Published

Some of you have already seen it, but for those of you that haven’t, my article for the Digital Photography School has been published.

It’s Your Image Do What you Like to it

That’s it and the link as well.  I would love it if you could all go, share the article, comments would be even better.  I really enjoyed doing it and I hope you all enjoy reading it.

Today I have more images that I have had on Social Media this week.  There aren’t as many, but one was a lot of fun getting.  The one of the gorilla with the baby gorilla.  I got that one at the zoo last week.  The baby was born 5 days before and I got to go to one of the first showings, members only.  It was fantastic, the image was taken with Tamron 150-600mm lens.

There is also a long exposure, and another one that looks like a long exposure but wasn’t.  I will put captions on them so you know.  I’ve been experimenting with taking photos and then turning them into something that looks like a long exposure.  I will share it with you, but I ask that you be patient as I’m still trying to work it out.

I’m home today and looking forward to some quiet time.  I really enjoy being at home.  I hope you get a chance to take it easy today too.

MM 2-3: Monochrome Madness 2-3

To start off I need to make some things clear about the theme next week.  The theme is ‘MM’ and the idea is to use those letters, whether in the title or not.  As someone pointed out last week my image would have been perfect for it “Melbourne Museum”.  I wish I had thought of it and saved the image.  You can do something with the letters MM, or you could do things like “monochrome mop”, “moving moat” I don’t know, but hopefully you get the idea.  I promise the next theme will not be this difficult.

So shall we get on with this weeks Monochrome Madness.


I went back to Banyule Flats on Sunday to get the sunrise.  Well, the sunrise didn’t happen, but as we were getting ready to leave we saw the sun bursting through the trees on the other side, so we rushed to get some photos of it before they went away.  I loved the rays.  The image was pretty much this colour, but I made it monochrome and then copied the tone from the original image and put it back on this image.

Don’t forget all the instructions on how to enter your own images are at the bottom of the post.  If you have entered an image then please remember to check your image in the gallery, scroll down and see if anyone has left you any comments.

Now, Monochrome Madness will continue next week and 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
  • The image size should be low res, so the largest side should be 1000 pixels or less.
  • Please insert either your name or your blogs name in the file name.
  • Remember I am on Australian time, so with GMT I am +11 hours at the moment, I publish my post on Wednesday morning.
  • If you need more help with sending images, and get confused about time zones, etc, well, there is a great website called The World Clock, if you go to that and look at Melbourne time, if it’s before 6pm on Tuesday evening, then you can still send me images.  If it’s after that time, you can send me an image, but it will be set aside for the following week.
  • Remember to include a link to your blog or website.
  • Please remember to resize your images, it is fairly simply, you just need to go into any editing software and usually under Image you will find, resize, scale, or image size, something like that and you can resize your image there. Change the dimensions to pixels and make the longest side 1000 pixels or smaller, hit return, and for most types of software that should change the other side automatically as well. Just remember to save it with a different name so you know it is the smaller version.  If you have any problems, please contact me, I don’t mind helping out.

Please note you don’t have to be a WordPress blogger to be in this challenge, you can have a link to a Facebook page, a Flickr page, anywhere really, or no link.  We just want to encourage people to do monochrome images, just for the madness of it. 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.

Tuesday’s Bit and Bobs: Almost There

This week and next week could be quite busy, but if things go well, then the following week after Easter should be a lot easier.  I’m looking forward to not being so busy.  Still there is more to get through.


The exhibition SITHOM, which is about street photography in Melbourne is still on and if you would like to go and see it the information about the exhibition is here. I know some of you asked to see the images that I have put into the exhibition and I was going to show them here, but there is a link on the page to see all the artists, so for the artists clickscmpLC1_8449 here, you should see my name under the link and my images are there.  Though I would encourage you to look at the work of the others too, there are some fantastic street photographs there.

Other Exhibitions

I’ve had another piece accepted into a exhibition, this is one that is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Gallipoli, which was a campaign, I think they call it that, during the first World War where many Australian soldiers lost their lives.  I took a photo of one of the war memorials here with the sun rising behind it.  Sunrise is a big part of the “Lest We Forget” remembrance of the war.  I think the exhibition is called “Recollections” and will be on at Hatch Gallery in Ivanhoe from the 21st of April to the 30th of May.  I will get back to you with more information when I have it.

Digital Photography School

My article “It’s my image and I will do what I want with it.” or something like that is being published today or tomorrow, not quite sure what time zone it will be published, I was told Tuesday.  I have a link to a page about me, and when the post is published it will appear there, so I believe.  So you can go to Author Profile: Leanne Cole. Keep an eye out for it.  I would be wonderful if I got lots of comments from you all.  I will put a link here to the article when I get it, and will also paste it on my social media sites as well.

Here is the link to it, It’s Your Image Do What you Like to it

Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show

As the title says the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show is on this week, starts on Wednesday, well scmpLC1_9037tomorrow really. I have never been to this before, though have often thought of going, never quite got there. This year I’ve been given a pass so I can attend everyday, if I like.  I know I will be there at least 3 out of the 5 days.  Part of the reason for doing this also is because I was asked to be a judge for a kids photography competition.  It seemed like a good thing to do and I am looking forward to being part of it.

This weekend, I am sure you will see lots of photos of gardens and such.  I am looking forward to doing lots of photos with my macro lens and seeing what I can get with it there. I am hoping there will be lots of exotic flowers there.

Social Snappers

I am still working out dates for Social Snappers next term, but I have decided on the places we will visit, here they are but not necessarily in the order we will see them.

  • Fitzroy Gardens – autumn colours should be spectacularscmpLC1_8419
  • Cranbourne Botanical Gardens – lots of architectural elements with lots of native plants
  • Royal Exhibition Building and Museum – a tour of an empty Exhibition Building, hopefully
  • Werribee Zoo
  • Early Sunday morning shoot along the Yarra River

As I said previously, I am going to do them for free this term and see how we go.  I want to organise some special classes, like astrophotography along the coast, some night photography classes, and maybe some other things.

Meeting Other Bloggers

I said briefly on the weekend how I went out with a couple of other bloggers.  I went with Chris Wilson down to scmpLC1_9042Sorrento. Chris and I go out together quite a bit to take photos.  We were travelling down to Sorrento to meet up with another blogger, Wendy Philip.  Wendy is from Adelaide and was in Melbourne for the weekend.

I’ve spoken before about how much I love that aspect of the blog.  There are millions of bloggers out there, all around the world, and it is quite amazing to meet some of them as well. Wendy was no different, the conversation flowed the whole day and we had a ball going around Sorrento taking photos, seriously what better day could you ask for.

Wendy it was wonderful meeting you the other day, I had a great time with you. Next time you are coming to Melbourne we might have to organize something bigger.

I have chosen images to day of the areas we went, well in similar areas.  They were taken about 2 years ago, down at Sorrento just after I got my first ND filters, you will be able to see that they were cheap ones.  I learned a big lesson here.

Introductions: Rodney Campbell

Here we are again, it is Monday and I have another photographer to introduce to you, this time it is another person that I have met through Google+.  Rodney Campbell has a massive following on Google+. I love his work and for me it is a real stand out, and I hope you feel the same.


There are many images of the coastline of Australia and especially around Sydney.  Most of you know that I love photographing the coast and I am always on the look out for others who do to help me find inspiration. I find these amazing and would love to be getting images like this, I think I need to spend more time down at the beach.

I asked Rodney where in the world he was.

Where in the world indeed – I could ramble on and talk about my deranged mental state and my mind being out of this world :) but I’m guessing the simple literal answer is Sydney, Australia. Originally I grew up in country NSW but have lived in Sydney since moving here to attend University more than 30 years ago.


One of the things I find really inspiring from his work is the colours.  I don’t know if he does anything to the colours, or enhances them, but I love them.  There are deep rich colours. With the long exposures it really suits them.

I asked him why he was took photos for and for how long.

I’ve been taking photos seriously since I bought my first D-SLR in 2009 and have honed and practised my craft more seriously over the past four years. I had also been interested in photography when I was a child when my parents bought me a film camera (the Olympus OM-10) and my father helped build me a black and white darkroom in our garage. However when I moved to Sydney to attend University my photography took a back seat. When I bought a D-SLR in 2009 it was originally to simply better document the lives and growth of my daughters – I was feeling severely constrained trying to document their lives with a series of mediocre cameras. I had no idea how invested I would become in photography and this initial hobby quickly transformed into a major passion (obsession even). Today my primary love is landscape photography and a few other related genre’s like long exposure and night photography. I do shoot a lot of other things as well including architecture, cityscapes, childrens events, sport, candid portraits, macro, street and anything really :). However photographing seascapes and landscapes with long multi minute exposures before sunrise or after sunset during the twilight hour is such a serene and rewarding time – I love the peace and the spectacular displays nature puts on.


There seems to be something about people who do long exposures of the water that they also do architecture, another one of my favourites.  I’m yet to try this, have to find the right building, but I know there will be one in Melbourne.  I love the angle on this and the way it is photographed.

I asked Rodney where he found inspiration.

Photographically I’m inspired by the sheer beauty and variety of our natural world and at times the man made. I am a highly technical person by nature and for my IT work. I love photography – both because it can be highly technical and there is always more to learn & to master; but it also forces me to exercise the other (creative) side of my brain. This doesn’t come naturally to me and I’ve had to train myself to both see and work creatively. This is possibly also why I like the much slower and measured pace of landscape and night photography – I’m allowed much more time to contemplate and consider each and every shot – to perfect it in my mind before I take it, to show you the beauty in the universe as I felt it at that moment I took it.


It is nice to go through his work and see that there are other things there as well.  It is quite surprising and you never know what you will find when start scrolling down.  I love these birds, the tawny frogmouths, and nice to know quite a few live around near me.

I also asked him if there was anything special about the way he worked.

I’m assuming you’re asking this (and perhaps the previous) question about my own work – or perhaps you’re asking about being inspired by the work of others? I guess it’s a little hard to objectively judge my own work from the outside and make determinations as to whether it is even special. I of course like to think so, but as with all art the response is really in the eye of the beholder. If I was to say a few things about what I might find special about my own… I’d like to say that I have a reasonable eye for composition – both the natural for landscapes as well as the architectural for man made – and I’m completely happy to try every position I can including odd heights and angles. I also see myself as more of a “documenter of what was there” rather than a digital artist. I rely on and aim with my technique to get as much right or complete of the finished image in camera as I can and not excessively process the images later. In part this is simply because of the challenge itself to do so, but also because I’m lazy (post processor) (and I think I prefer the shooting experience more than being on the computer) and finally because it’s generally the look of images that I myself like to look at.

20140628_208-EditI love images like this, something that I definitely want to get back into this year when daylight savings finishes here in a couple of weeks.  This is an amazing star trail, and I like the attention to detail with it as well, meaning the foreground, it is something that I want to make sure I include, and another thing to practice when I start doing this, some light painting.

Here is what gear Rodney uses.

Today I shoot with a Nikon D600 camera with a variety of lenses and gear I’ve accumulated over time for various types of work. For landscape work my most loved and most used lenses would be the Nikon 16-35/4 and 24-70/2.8, tho I also use other lenses for specific cases – e.g. the Rokinon 15/2.8 (great for night, milky way, star trails light painting) and I have a variety of lenses going from fisheye to 500mm which I use at different times when I’m not shooting landscapes.

When shooting landscapes I use the Lee slot in filter system with a variety of filters (including my most used being the Lee 0.6 & 0.9 hard grads, Formatt-Hitech 0.9 reverse grad, Lee little and bigstoppers and Heliopan 105mm circular polariser). I use a Sirui N2204 carbon fibre tripod with a Really Right Stuff BH-40 PCLR ball head and a Phottix wireless intervalometer remote.

You can see a more detailed list of gear for different types of photography here:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rodney for allowing me to showcase him and his work here.  It would be wonderful if you could go and take a look at his Google+ page. He also has a blog, Rodney Campbell’s Blog. You can find him on other social media sites as well, Facebook, Instagram and Flickr.

I have a gallery of some of the images that I really liked, I hope you like them too, don’t forget to go and see many more images with his links.

Weekend Wanderings: Birds at Werribee

The last 24 hours have been so crazy and I almost thought I wouldn’t get a post done.  So I have made the decision to do a quick one today, I hope you don’t mind.  I spent a lot of time yesterday with Wendy Philip and Chris Wilson. Wendy was visiting from Adelaide and we organised a sunrise shoot down at Sorrento. I was up at 4am and then spent the day with those wonderful ladies photographing the ocean around Sorrento.  You will have to wait for those photos, they need too much work at this stage.

Today I am just going to do a gallery for you of some photos I took with Chris from sv-takeiteasy a couple of weeks ago when we went to the wetlands over at Werribee. I was using the Sigma 150-500mm on my old camera, the Nikon D300s, been a while since I used it.  It is so fast.  We saw lots of birds, and I know some are Cape Baron Geese, some spoonbills, lots of different ones.

I hope you are having a good weekend and enjoy your day.  I think I might try sleeping, or I might have to start working on some photos.

Weekend Wanderings: A Couple of Mornings in Banyule Flats

To start with I must make some apologies, WordPress have now changed it so you HAVE to use their new editor.  I really hate it, it is so small on my large screen and it is so hard to read the writing.  So please excuse me if I make mistakes that I can’t see.  We should all complain, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the old editor.  That option is now gone. Before we know it we will be stuck with the new and worse stats page as well.

Anyway, I am going to try and do this, it is killing my eyes because it is so small that everything is going gooey in front of my eyes, but let’s visit Banyule Flats again.


I have some more photos of the sunrise shots I got, not a lot, but some taken in a couple of places.  It was such a lovely morning for photos and my plan is to go back soon, try going back often.  I am bound to get some amazing shots if I keep going back.


Yesterday morning I took the Tamron 150-600mm there to see what I could get.  There weren’t a lot of birds, but it was nice to see an Ibis and a Heron there, I even identified that it was a Heron, I think I might be getting better.  Don’t ask me what sort of heron, no idea about that.  This was taken right across the swamp.  I had to crop it quite a bit.


We went for a wander and saw some wasps on some wood so I thought I would try the lens on them.  Not bad.  Again, I had to crop it quite a bit, but I think the definition is quite good.


This is the cocoon for a swift moth and apparently seeing these on the ground is a good sign, means autumn is on its way. I am glad to hear that, and in fact we could see many trees starting the change, so will be spending quite a bit of time there I think with the wide angle.  This image was taken with the 50mm.


I put the 150-600mm back on to photograph some Tawny Frogmouths.  I thought I was getting nothing, so imagine my surprise when I got home to find that I not only got a good shot, I also got one of it looking straight at me.  They are usually asleep when I go.

I am going to put more photos into a gallery for you now, more shots of the sunrise and more birds.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and have lots of plans.  I will be out shooting with another Blogger today, so that will be a lot of fun.


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