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Tuesday’s Bits and Bobs

This last week has been so crazy, that I am not sure I have a lot to tell you. I suppose there is always going to be weeks like that.  I feel like I am just in a no go zone right now.  It has been so quiet, with no classes and people not wanting to do any classes with me, I’m trying not to take it to heart, and am hoping it is more about the weather and as the weather improves the inquiries will start.

Planning Trips and Workshops

I am planning my next trip to Woomelang and am hoping to run another workshop there on night time photography.  It would be great to actually do a class in Woomelang, perhaps around the shearing shed and silos.  There are so many things around there that would be interesting, and of course we can also try some light painting as well, which would be great fun.  I need to get some details put together and a poster.  At this stage I’m thinking of Wednesday the 24th for the scharrietville-9002workshop. The cost will be $30 per person.

I will also be doing a workshop in Swan Hill, well the lakes between Swan Hill and Kerang.  It is going to start in the afternoon, with some landscape photography, then onto the sunset, hopefully we will get one.  Then off for dinner and back to take photos of the night skies and some more light paintings, should be fun.  Ten places available, so if you live in the area, and want to do some photography with me, let me know.  The cost will be $50 per person.

My Blogs

I love doing this blog, and I love where it has gone just lately and it has been great to hear how much everyone loves some of the posts.  I do enjoy hearing how people are connecting with one scharrietville-9031another through MM, it is fantastic.  However, on the other side of this, I find showing more artistic work is not really possible.  I also find that I would like do more posts on frustrations and me learning what to do or how to do some things.

A decision had to be made and if you are interested in that sort of thing more, then I suggest you keep on eye out on the News Blog on my website, or maybe I should call it my art blog.  I have done various posts on different things, such as today how I found it hard to photograph the rainforests that I visited in Apollo Bay.  If you would like to check it out, here is the link.

Flickr and other Social Media

Last week I told you how I had started a Flickr account and a few of you stated how, though there were too many things, and I thought I might talk about what I do or what I use.

So, why did I start Flickr?  Well because I have had so many scharrietville-9024people telling me how they have got work from it.  It can’t hurt and it means that I also have a nice portfolio of images that I can send people to to look at if they want to see some of my work.  It is one thing about the blog that I find is hard, there are images all over the place, so how do people actually see them?  It seemed like a good way of doing it. So Flickr was started.

There are other sites like it, such at SmugMug where you have to pay to use it.  I decided it wasn’t for me, as I have a photocart which I have already paid for, and I should update it and get it sorted scharrietville-8729to showcase my work as well. Though, the downside is that the only people who will look at it are those that know about my work.

Then there is also 500px, I started using it, but it is designed by photographers for photographers, which is great for showing off your work, but if you are trying to get attention from outside the photographic world, is it really of any use?  There also seems to be something about having to put time in there, you have to like work to get people to like yours. There is only so much time to spend on social media and I am not sure 500px is for me.  I might try it some more, but not right now.

Facebook is something that seems to be a must, I do use my page a lot, and use it to try out images, and make announcements, it is good for that.  I also do Google+, though I have to admit my reasons for G+ is to help with my SEO.  I have scharrietville-8757-2read, several times that putting images on G+ and using it, helps with your rating, so I want to improve that as much as I can.  I actually quite enjoy it and find many of the images on it quite inspiring.

I will leave it there this week, hopefully more happens this coming week.  I’ve been learning some new things and so I thought it would be nice to look at some old photos that I took in Harrietville last year.  If you haven’t seen them before, I hope you enjoy them, and if you have seen them before, then I hope you enjoy seeing them again.

Introductions – Christine Wilson

Sometimes you just never know when you will find a persons work that really appeals to you.  I have known Christine Wilson, or know of her work for a while, but recently when I started my Flickr account, she started following me.  As you do when someone follows you, especially if you know them, you go and take a look at their Flickr page, and as soon as I saw it, I thought, I must see if Christine will give me permission to feature her work here on one of my Introductions posts.  Which, I think you will have gathered she has.


One of the first things you notice about her work, on her blog, on her Flickr page, and various other places, is that it is all black and white.  As I went through much of her work I think I only saw a couple of colour images and they did seem out of place among all the monochrome work.  It is great to find a photographer who works almost completely in B&W.

How long have you been taking photos for?

I’ve always taken photos ever since I can remember, but I guess I got more serious about it in about 1990 when I  bought my first  SLR – a Pentax P30 N which I still have. I was taught by a friend to use the darkroom and did this for a few years before I had children . I did my own black and white prints.

Why do you take photos?

The main reason I take photos is to document our times, which is why I do a lot of street photography as well as landscapes. I also want to leave behind something for the next generation and the generations after that , first for the family and 2nd for anyone else who maybe interested.


When you look at the address for her blog, it looks like it was called Ambient Capture, which I think sums up her work perfectly.  There is a quiet ambiance in it.  I have spoken before how I like quiet work, and Christine’s work is certainly like that for me.  There is a softness about it, something very quiet.

What is your inspiration?

I love the light and how it effects our every day which is why I do black and white mostly, the scene is uncluttered  without colour, and textures and the form of things stands out a lot more.


There is a timeless quality to her work as well.  Even though many of the things might have only been taken recently there is something about the images that gives them a timeless aspect.  Perhaps it is the black and white that does that, but I do find it very appealing.

Is there anything special about the way you work?

Nothing special about the way I work although I often can’t process from a shoot straight away it may take weeks before I am happy with a shot or shots from an excursion or shoot. I use Lightroom first and  then final editing in Photoshop.


For me, one of the inspirational things I am finding is that she is showing me parts of Melbourne I didn’t know about, so I will be asking lots of questions, though there are images from New Zealand as well, she said she was originally from there, but as many images are from around here, it will be nice to talk to another Melbourne based photographer.  Look out Christine, lots of questions coming your way.

What gear do you use?

My eyes glaze over when talking gear, I hate gear talk,   I have very basic equipment Nikon 5100 with 18-55, 55-200 and a prime Nikon 1.8 along with my film SLR which I rarely use and a D40X as a backup camera.  The camera is a tool only.


I also thought many of you, myself included would find her work so inspiration, give you lots of ideas for what you can do for Monochrome Madness each week.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Christine for giving me permission to feature her work here on my blog.  She has provided me with a heap of links where you can also find her work.

Blog – Christine Wilson PhotographyFlickrZenfolioRed Bubble500px, and Google+

I hope you will all go and look at her work, see if you can get some inspiration as well.  I am rethinking my photography and how I should consider doing more black and white, perhaps.

Thank you Christine.  Here is a gallery with more work.




Weekend Wanderings – Apollo Bay Part 2

One of the plans we had had for Apollo Bay was to go to a particular area to take photos of the night skies, but with fog rolling in each day we were there it didn’t seem possible.  Photographing the sunrise also seemed like it would be impossible and so we headed out very early thinking we would photograph the harbour surrounded by fog, but as we got to the harbour we were confronted with something else.


The most glorious sunrise.  It was completely unexpected, and the colours were just amazing.  So it wasn’t quite this brilliant, and there is a fair bit of creative license here.

apollo-bay-sunrise-harbour-boats-1This was more the start of it, but you have to have a good shot to start with don’t you?  It just kept getting better and better.


I also had a play with my neutral density filter.  For those that read my other blog from my website will know how much trouble I have had trying to work that out.  It was good to get it working and to get some shots I could actually use.  I tried not to get too carried away with it.


The following morning we headed out again, hoping for another great sunrise, but it wasn’t too be.  There was one, but there weren’t enough clouds, so we didn’t get those brilliant colours.  We picked an area of beach with lots of rocks, and the water was making some great patterns in the sand.


I just kept looking for them, I really liked them so much, and as I’m sure you have guessed there will be so many more in the gallery, well a few more.

Apollo Bay was great, none of the plans we had really worked out, and we had to rethink some things.  The weather, while fantastic, wasn’t really great for photography, so decided to do what Moose Peterson says to do and we scouted out places that we can go back too.  That doesn’t mean we didn’t take photos, but they weren’t all great.  Apollo Bay is a lot closer to Melbourne than I thought, with it being just over 2 and half hours away, it is a place that I can go to on a fairly regular basis.  The one thing we realised while we were there was that there are so many great places around there to take photos, and instead of trying to work out what to photograph, it became more about what we would leave until the next time. There really was too much to do.

I just want to give a nod to the place we stayed, Beeches by the Sea. The price was great, and we were a bit worried, but it was fantastic, it was so clean, and the sheets on the beds were like silk. I loved the beds. So if you are going to Apollo Bay, give them a call and see if they have any places available.  We had the 2 bedroom unit and it was perfect for us.  The little surprises left for us was a great touch as well, so thank you.

I am going to put some more sunrise photos in a gallery for you.  I still have lots of others, but not sure when I will show those.  It was great to come away from a couple of days away with so many photos.  So many that I don’t know what to do with them all. Hope your weekend is going well.

Weekend Wanderings – Apollo Bay Part 1

The last few days have been very chaotic with this blog, and to start this post I wanted to apologise.  I’ve been away, and while I had good internet access where I was staying, I hardly seemed to be there.  I have been to Apollo Bay many times before, and even taken photos there, but not for a long time, I think the last time I was there was almost 15 years ago.  So this time we did lots of exploring.  I have so many photos from the two days and really didn’t know where to start, but after the fantastic post from Emily yesterday, I thought I could share some wildlife photos with you.


It is a Koala.  I have seen Koala’s before, but I have never seen them in the wild, so on Thursday we had decided to go to Cape Otway and the parks there.  Most people go to Cape Otway for the lighthouse, which we did, but will talk about that in another post.  We told some friends how we were going there and they showed us some drives and walks to go where we would be able to see some Koalas.  They are very cute indeed, like life like teddy bears, of course you can’t approach them, they are wild animals, so you should give them respect.

This Koala was the first we saw and he was low on a branch, he just sat there and posed for us, then he climbed down, and walked towards us, heading over the road to climb another tree. He was the best one we saw all day.  It was nice to see him both in the tree, and walking across the road.


I can never quite tell the difference between wallabys and Kangaroos, but I am fairly certain this is a Wallaby. It was near the side of the road and then it stopped and looked up when we pulled up beside it and let us take its photo.  We didn’t get out of the car, but wound down the windows and took some photos that way.


There is one place that you drive through that is full of dead trees, we think they are dead.  They don’t look like deciduous trees, but we couldn’t work out why.  I have just done some research and this article by the Conservation Ecology Centre at Cape Otway helps explain the problem. So while they are a concern, for photographers they were fantastic. We had people stopping and walking around us when we were taking photos, and it took us a while to realise that people thought we had found Koalas.


We saw this in front of us, and really you just have to stop don’t you? It was beautiful late afternoon light coming through the trees onto the gravel road.


Not something we expected to see along the side of the road, but fun.  There are farms on Cape Otway and we came across some cows, very heavily pregnant cows being moved.

It was a great afternoon, and I did get a lot more photos, but will leave it there.  I am putting other Koala photos into the gallery.  We were excited about all our Koala sightings.  It was fun to see them in their natural habitat. Take care this weekend, maybe see what wildlife you can find around you.

Up for Discussion – Nature and Wildlife Photography

Today I would like to introduce you to Emily Carter Mitchell who has kindly done a guest blog for  you on Nature and Wildlife Photography.  Emily is perhaps more widely known as Bella Remy Photography and her blog, Hoof Beats and Foot Prints.  So please enjoy what she has prepared for you.

Nature and Wildlife Photographer Emily Carter Mitchell of Bella Remy Photography


Being a nature and wildlife photographer is an expression of the true spirit within oneself. There is something about the solitude and communing with the natural world around you that brings a sense of serenity within.

What brought me to become a nature and wildlife photographer? Well, you can blame it on the Bald Eagles at Conowingo Dam in Darlington, Maryland. It is here where large numbers of nature photographer’s line up along a fence line in the winter months, with their big fancy lenses and hot rod cameras. Only to stand waiting for hours to capture the perfect moment.


It means getting up at four in the morning to arrive at a National Wildlife Refuge pre-dawn to be able to capture first light and the most wildlife activity. It’s standing and waiting in strange places like tall fields of grass or deep in the woods with the mosquitoes.

But capturing the perfect moment is the payoff.


Capturing birds and wildlife takes character. It takes someone with patience and the desire to discover the beauty nature has to offer. It takes field preparation, the right equipment and technical know-how.

Field Preparation

There are a number of tools available to the nature and wildlife photographer in preparation of a photographic outing. Starting with several smart phone applications such as the “Photographer’s Epheris” which provides sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset locations for any location at any time.


Then there are bird identification and additional nature identification apps such as the Audubon series. (link:

Finally, each park or natural refuge offers plentiful information online about their location with trail maps and things you need to know.

Now that you know what you’re looking for, and where you’re going to look for it, the next thing to consider are the weather and insect conditions on the outing.

In wintertime, I’ve seen many people come out for a three hour bird photography workshop clearly underdressed. In spite of advance warning, they neglect proper footwear, wind or rain jackets and layered clothing. In the summertime, many are unprotected from mosquitoes and ticks which are known to carry illnesses and diseases.

Protect yourself, inform yourself, pack your kit well.

Camera Equipment

The basic tools for a nature and wildlife photographer is a high quality DLSR, a Telephoto lens, and most importantly, a sturdy tripod. This being said, I’ve seen excellent bird images captured with a Canon SX50 from someone who knows her camera well. It has an equivalent 800-1000mm reach and is lightweight, portable and affordable.

For the ‘big dogs’ like you see spending time at Conowingo Dam, both Canon and Nikon are represented with telephotos with at least a 400mm reach. Both Sigma and Tamron offer more affordable super telephoto lenses, although the prime lenses with Canon and Nikon have superior image quality.

The longer you go, the more sensitive the camera is to motion. A tripod is essential for those crisps and in-focus shots. It is the one thing any photographer can do to instantly improve their images.


Technical Basics

Understanding your camera well and being able to change your settings quickly is essential for field success. Many wildlife photographers I meet prefer to shoot in Aperture Priority mode. They then set their ISO based on lighting conditions and let the camera decide the shutter speeds.

Chasing birds through the bush can create changing lighting conditions from one frame to the next. A quick hand on the dials helps you get the shot.

Getting Close

Knowing where to go and what you’re looking for is only the start on the great nature and wildlife photography hunt. It’s the thrill of the chase and learning the nature’s behavior and how to not disrupt their activity with your presence.

Calm quiet and patience is what gets the shot. I’ve had to learn how to be patient and wait for the birds to come to me. Stand long enough and they get used to your presence and go back to their ordinary business.

I’ve also had to learn how to slowly walk towards the bird while pretending that I’m not interested in him at all.

More recently I’ve been known to hide behind a blind and wait for an hour before I was able to capture the perfect moment.




Truly successful nature and wildlife photographer extend beyond the ‘bird on a stick’ image. They invoke some type of emotion, an expression, a life moment or scene setting. It is these images that practice and thousands of images gets the shot.

Many days my memory card has been full and nearly all of the shots were throw-aways. It is part of the learning process and nothing is better than frequent field practice to capture the images that you want.

Nearly all of the time, the bird is just but a small part within the frame and cropping is necessary to create a compelling image.

The standard Rules of Thirds applies, along with leading lines, clean backgrounds and complementary scenery around the bird.

Post Processing

LIghtroom 5 is my preferred post processing software. I can quickly go through a filmstrip of 800 images and pick out the best images and work on them. I keep the best, and throw away the rest.

Shooting exclusively in RAW, I’m able to adjust white balance as necessary and continue down the sliders and adjust contrast, highlights, shadows, whites, blacks, clarity, vibrance, sharpening and noise reduction.

Also selecting the lowest ISO possible in the field helps with image quality, and knowing my camera’s ISO threshold sensitivity ensures a better quality image.

Final Thoughts

When I started photography four years ago, little did I know that I would grow into a nature and wildlife photographer. It’s passion that is ever challenging and the people that you meet out in the field are as interested in nature as you are.

I’m looking forward to hear from you and if you enjoy nature as much as I do.

A grand thank you is extended to Leanne Cole in allowing me to share my story.


I would like to take this opportunity to thanks Emily for a fantastic post on Nature and Wildlife Photography.  I got so much out of it and hope that I can get some better shots around here, though I am sure nothing will compare with what she has done.  Don’t forget to go and visit here blog, Hoof Beats and Foot Prints. Thank you Emily and I hope you don’t mind if I put your beautiful images in a gallery for people to enjoy on their own.


Quiet Thursdays – Night at Banyule Flats

It has been the New Moon this last week and I’ve been trying to get out to get some photos, but we seem be having endless overcast days, always, right when you don’t want them.  I was hopeful the other night when I convinced my husband to come out with me to Banyule Flats, to see if I could get the milky way from there.

I don’t know if it is possible, but you can see the city lights in one direction and just black towards the east, so I wondered if I could get it from there.  I tried once before, I showed you last week, but it was during the full moon, I thought with no moon, it could be interesting to see what I could get.

As we were walking outside we could see that it was getting cloudy, but I hoped that it would hold off until I got what I wanted.  Well it didn’t work, by the time we got to the spot, there were clouds everywhere. Though it was surprising to see how light it actually was, so, while I was there, I took some photos.


I don’t know about you, but I think it is so cool when you can take photos at night.  I love how this comes up at night.  You can also see the clouds, it was a thick covering.

I was also hoping to see if I could get some star trails, and I think it might be possible, but it wasn’t that night.  I will go back some time and try again, but I might wait until we have better weather and I can be fairly sure that I won’t lose the sky to cloud cover. I could see movement in the stars in these images, so I am fairly certain I can get something, I will try.  Looking forward to it.

I hope you are having a quiet day. I’m away, and sure I am taking lots of photos around Apollo Bay, if you see me there, be sure to say hello.

MM26 – Six Month Anniversary of Monochrome Madness

Wow, we did it, we made it to six months, well done every one, for those that have been here from the beginning and those we have picked up along the way.  It has been such a priviledge to do this post each week and for so many of you to trust me with your images.  I have got to know so many new people and from what I can gather many of you have found the same thing.  It has been an incredible journey and through this I have done at least 26 black and white or monochrome images that I may not have otherwise down, that is the best part.

We did set a theme for this week, to present colour images that look like monochrome.  Some people have done this and others haven’t.  No big deal.  So I am going to put all the images into a gallery and you can work out which are the colour images and which aren’t.

So on with the Madness.

melbourne-centrl-tower-city-buildingI took this image last Sunday when out with the Social Snappers.  I was out on the road to get this one.  I thought I didn’t have anything for this challenge, then when I went through my images I realised how this one looks monochrome, but it is a colour image. I have played with it quite a bit, but I haven’t changed the colours at all.

getwell8Laura has joined us again, welcome back and glad you are recovering well from your surgery.  If you would like to find out more about Laura’s image, than go yo her post “Paper” Flowers – Monochrome Madness.

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, 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 as small as it can be, 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.


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