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Artists Retreating

The Long Tables

If anyone watches “Masterchef” then they might perhaps recognise this place.

This is where the final six were chosen.  Twelve of them had to cook inside and they were told their fate in the courtyard.

We are, of course, at Montsalvat.  Montsalvat is an artists retreat in Eltham.  Quite an amazing place.  I was there today with a friend.  We had breakfast at the Meeting Pool, the restaurant that is part of the retreat.  After breakfast we collected our camera gear and took off to take photos of the wonderful architecture that can be found here.

The architecture here is very eclectic, is that the right word?  For example, when I turned around this is what I was looking at.

These are studios and what not for the various artists that work here.  I think some people live there, but I don’t know how many, and I don’t know which parts are residences and which aren’t.  Some of them are falling apart somewhat, whilst others look like they are in very good condition.

We didn’t wander around these buildings too much.  We spent most of our time around the Great Hall, which is the building in the first image.  I went inside to take some photos.  I knew the inside would be a challenge because of the enormous windows at the front and the darkness of the inside.  It is very dark, medieval almost, take a look.

Can you see what I was talking about now.  It is very dark inside.  I had to do HDR’s, but I decided to do the bracketing a little different.  I think it worked a little better, I don’t  know.  Maybe I should have tried both to see which looked better, which thinking now would have made a lot more sense.

So what did I do?  Well, I set the image up, locked the autofocusing and then I took a series of images where I exposed each image for different parts of the scene.  I used spot metering, and I moved the spot around to get onto the light and dark areas and some areas in between.  It certainly takes a lot more time to take the images, but I think well worth the extra effort.  I certainly realised today what an advantage it would be to have a full frame camera.  It also wouldn’t be possible to do these images without a tripod.

This is the room where all the cooking took place for Masterchef.  It is also the dining hall.  I know people have weddings here, and the reception, but I don’t know if they use this room or the one above, which is also lovely.  I couldn’t take any photos of it as the room was being used for something else.

So going to Montsalvat to take photos, is it worth it?  I don’t know, to tell you the truth.   Having to pay $22 for entry because I was taking photos, as opposed to the $14 for everyone else is a bit rich.  You don’t get anything special and we found it really frustrating having to wait for people to move on so we could take photos.  We couldn’t go in some places because they were being used by other people.  Also, we are artists, and I don’t understand, when they are there for artists, why they want to change them more.

Also, being limited to the times that they are open is a bit annoying.  I think if they are going to charge more money for amateur photographers then they should make the place available at times when the light is best.

When I first went I considered becoming a member, it is close to my home, I could go any time to take photos, but if I paid membership, I was told I would still have to pay $22 every time I wanted to go, I thought “What the …..”, so I won’t be joining up.  I think it would make it a waste of time for me.

I will probably go back and take photos, though I will go during the week.  Apparently there is far less people then.  I think that would be best.  I probably won’t go very often, because I don’t want to pay all that money, but maybe one more time.  Though I would like to experience it in the morning with the sun out and then again late afternoon, so I might have to pay the $44, which is still cheaper than the $55 they won’t for membership.

I don’t know about Montsalvat, it is a lovely place, but my experience with them has not always been great.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the place and I love taking photos there, it is the bureaucracy that I have trouble with, I always feel like they are ripping me off.  I hope if you go you have a good time.

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17 Comments Post a comment
  1. Loved your shots, Well taken! =)

    May 20, 2012
    • Thank you, and thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

      May 21, 2012
  2. Pretty place. How’s the landscaping?

    May 20, 2012
    • Oh yes the garden, in some places quite pretty. Though not really known for the garden. I’m hoping to go somewhere this week or next which does have a pretty amazing garden.

      May 21, 2012
  3. Tricia's Blogs #

    The Great Hall is indeed great! Too bad their customer service/bureacracy is less than satisfiying. I enjoyed the photos regardless.

    May 21, 2012
    • It is easy to bypass the admin when the place is quite pretty, but how often you can go does matter. I always feel a bit bitter after being there. Oh well.
      The great hall is so amazing, you do really feel like you have stepped back in time when you walk in. It would be a great place to have a medieval party.

      May 21, 2012
  4. Great photos Leanne!!! Can imagine the effort of exposing each shot differently!! :) **

    May 21, 2012
    • Thanks. I think it was worth it, I didn’t take as many, but I think the extra efforts were worth it. Will have to compare one day. :)

      May 21, 2012
  5. Everything was so beautiful during that time period :) Thank you so much for sharing these! I had no idea places charged you more to take pictures!! That’s crazy lol

    May 22, 2012
    • It is a great place. I have never seen that before either. I think if you are going to charge people more money for taking photos then they shouldn’t have to wait for people to get out of shot, you should be able to tell them to go away, you should also have access to the place when the lighting will be at its best.

      May 22, 2012
  6. I love Masterchef, but cannot remember this place. I probably missed this episode. Beautiful place, though, and lovely pictures. :)

    June 11, 2012
    • Do you get Masterchef Australia?
      Montsalvat was in one of the first lot of episodes when they were deciding the top 24.

      June 11, 2012
      • We absolutely do! And of the different Masterchef’s, the Aus one is my favourite. I try not to miss a single episode! We even have a SA Masterchef that’s on at the moment, but it is booooooring… :)

        June 11, 2012
      • That is so funny, we only get to see ours, and we think it is pretty good, who is your favourite contestant? I like Amina and Deb.

        June 11, 2012
      • We are normally a few weeks behind you, so the new series have not started yet, but I cannot wait! (Maybe the are waiting for the SA one to finish first.) Once it starts here, I will let you know who my favourites are, but please don’t give the winner away!!!!!!

        June 11, 2012

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  1. ReWorking the Great Hall « Leanne Cole Photography

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