Mallee, Photography


Still at the house. One of the first things we noticed was the front door and horse shoe nailed on it.

Can you see the horse shoe, it is nailed upside down, all the luck has run out of this house.  No one will ever live here again.  I don’t know if you could ever use it for anything again.  Can buildings like this ever find life again?  It is a shame, in some respects that they are just left to rot.  Though, it is good for me, I love that it has been left, bet you couldn’t have guessed that.

This is a HDR image, you will understand why it worked best as a HDR when you see the original, well the first image in the bracketed shots, the one that is supposed to be the correct exposure, let me just put it here  now.

Hopefully the reason for wanting to do a HDR is fairly obvious now.  One of the things that HDR’s are really good for is when you have a lot of light and a lot of dark.  It was too hard to get a correct exposure when the indoor of the cottage was so dark, and it was bright outside.

I have processed this image in pretty much the same way.  The point of focus had to be that bench inside.  I wanted your eye to land nicely on that.  Though the door is important, I think the inside is needed to bring you into the cottage past the door.


On another note I had another meeting today at Living & Learning Nillumbik with Karyn and decisions were made.  I will be teaching some classes in Eltham, so I am so excited at that.  I will be doing 4, one off classes.  They will be practical, and people will be taking photos in them.  They will be similar to my field trips, but there will be more theory, or rather more technical information.

My first class will be on the 25th of August and it will be about photographing Architecture.  The second class will be on landscape with a trip to a inner city farm.  The third class will be in the classroom and we will look at photographing still life images.  The final class in November will be portraits, and we are going to explore taking photos inside and then how to take photos outside.

I was so happy that Karyn liked my ideas and can’t wait to get started.  If you are interested in any of the classes with me then you can book at Living & Learning Nillumbik.

I have had to change a couple of dates for field trips, but I hope that won’t upset anyone.


  1. Great photo and very cool to see one of the originals; perfect example where the dynamic range of the camera needs some help with HDR! thanks for sharing, Ron

    • Thanks Ron, you are right, it is the perfect example of when it is good. I must admit I do them all the time no matter what, but for me it is just the first step, the first step in many.

  2. This is a great shot! I love what you did from the original to the finished product. Very nice!

  3. Cher says

    Congratulations Leanne! My dream is to teach photography someday:-)

  4. Wonderful processing! I see a big pile of firewood in that structure. Better take the horse shoe off though.

    • Thanks John, I think I might leave it, haha, It would be interesting to go in a few years to see how it is fairing.

  5. glasmannschaefer says

    Great work. I rarely see an image where HDR is used properly like it is used here. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. Great work once again!
    I can only aspire to doing work close to what you are doing

    • Thanks Paul, what a lovely thing to say. Of course you can do work like this, maybe not exactly but do your own thing and do it really well.

  7. Super-super job with this image, Leanne!!! Abandonment came to mind immediately, then visions of vermin doing their ‘vermin thing’…!

    Wishing you all the best with the four seminars (she says with great envy in her tone of voice)!

    • I am very pleased to say I saw no vermin, probably because it is winter. Thanks.
      Thanks for that, I hope it does go well, I really hope I can teach. I guess I will soon find out. What are you envious about? Why couldn’t you teach?

  8. Tricia's Blogs says

    Seeing your before and after on this one is just incredible. What you did with the wood is really impressive. And good luck on your classes!

    • I think I cheated a little, the hdr was done with 4 images, but still I don’t know how well it would have turned out if I had only the single image, I might not have even tried. Thanks Tricia, I am looking forward to the classes.

  9. Beautiful photo, Leanne…love the effect…even though it is derelict, you have given it a certain timeless dignity.

  10. How you’ve taken the first image to the second is my favourite (so far) ever of this series. You’ve given it the dignity of history and a story, tied in with the wrong way horseshoe :) Excellent news about the classes – those lucky photogrpahy students :)

    • Thank you EllaDee, it can be a really interesting process. Wow, your favourite so far, that is great. Yeah, I hope the classes are, I am excited and nervous. :)

  11. Pingback: Old door revisited | mothergrogan

  12. Great, great image – it’s funny the first thing I noticed was that the horseshoe was upside down. That just about sums it up. :)

    • The horseshoe does doesn’t it, It was almost the first discussion we had on the house. Thanks Richard.

    • I hope that means you think I used it correctly? Though I use HDR all the time, though I hope you can’t really tell most of the time. Thank you.

      • Oh definitely..I also use it all the time for my landscapes and urbex shots, and try where possible to keep it as subtle as possible, while still reaping the benefits of it..

  13. Love it! Old houses make such fantastic photography subjects – and how symbolic is that upside down horseshoe!

    • Yes, the horseshoe really says it all doesn’t it? I agree, old houses are fantastic, and the more derelict the better. Thank you Laura

  14. Hi Leanne, Congratulations on initiating some photography classes. An opportunity to apply your fabulous skills which I’m sure you will find both rewarding and challenging. This is a great photo. You are finding some magical places to show us.

    • Thank you John, I hope so, I have taught before but only children, so this will be a new challenge and I hope it will be rewarding. I was very lucky on my last trip and I still have plenty of shots. I hope you don’t get bored. :)

      • Bored…… don’t be daft…….. your work is always interesting…… often beautiful…… and always skillful.

  15. Love these HDR studies on forgotten and neglected areas. I am reminded of a photo essay done in 3d about ten years ago of the “behind-the-scenes” areas at Ellis Island, the portions of the buildings that have still never been restored and are therefore off-limits to the general public. Seeing a place with so much history still bearing the corrosive stamp of time and decay was fascinating. Nice work.

    • Thanks Michael, that photo essay on Ellis Island sounds really fascinating. I love things like that. It must have made an impression on you if you are still thinking of it now. I want to see it now.

  16. We’ve watched our old homestead in Oklahoma fall down over the years. When no one lives there the house ceases to live. It dies without company, without people living and breathing and sharing their dreams inside it. The next to the last time we were there cows were going in and resting for a while. The next time the floor was too unstable even for the cows. Thanks for the photos that remind me of things I never experienced other than through talk around the kitchen table.

    • You are so right. It really amazes me how quickly a house deteriorates when no one no longer lives in it. I am told it is because the house doesn’t get heated anymore and the moisture doesn’t leave, I don’t know, but I like your description better. I hope you have been taking photos of your homestead. Thank you.

      • We have, but not with great cameras. We do have a piece of siding from the house where old fruit crates were used and the nails to hold the tar paper on for weather proofing. It’s hanging up well preserved.

  17. This post was so interesting. I know I like HDR photography, but I’m not sure why I like the look so much. You explained it so it made sense to me. Beautiful picture and thoughts.


    • Thank you Elisa, I like HDR, though I think there is a lot of HDR out there that is overdone, but maybe that is because it isn’t my taste. I am glad you learned something from my post.

  18. Brilliant photo! The HDR really brought out the details on the photo, and yes I can see that it is starting to rot. It is pretty sad, but I think you gave it some life by capturing and sharing it for everyone to admire.

    • I think that HDR was necessary, it would have been a lot harder to it otherwise. It is great also to capture it so it will never be forgotten, not while I have the photos that is. Thanks Gracie.

  19. You take beautiful photos! The editing you do on them really lets them shine. Many times, you see people over-edit their photos and it takes away from the beauty. You, my friend, have your editing down to a T. Looks great!

    • Thank you, I am so glad you like my editing. I am really happy with what I am doing, though I know it doesn’t appeal to everyone. Thanks again.

  20. Ana Martin says

    Wow! I love this one. What a great work. Amazing textures and atmosphere!

    • Doors are always poplular, haha. Great to hear that you love it, makes me very happy, thanks Ana

  21. “Can buildings like this ever find life again?” … I think so, as parts of new houses. Reclaiming this fine wood as part of a new or remodeled home would be a good way to put the soul of the old building back into the lives of new people. Perhaps somewhere to hang that horseshoe right side up. :)

    • It is a nice idea, though I don’t see it happening, there are other houses, new ones that are being abandoned as well. I think when a house had no electricity, no plumbing and no where near anyone else, then there isn’t much hope. It is sad, but now it can become a photographers destination, and it will find new life and a new purpose. :)

  22. Dude, is awesome how it ends after seeing the picture unedited
    Great work !!

    • Thank you, I am getting better at doing these, still a lot to learn, but great to hear comments like this, thanks.

  23. WOW. I am happy to see the original image. It’s astounding to me that you could end up with that perfectly exposed and composed final image. For the very first time, I understand the real value of HDR. Thanks so much! I love the result here.

    • I think HDR was an essential start in this one. It is a great thing, though often over-used, meaning some process too far, I have a lot of those myself, when I look back, some of my shots from a few months back, well I can’t believe how bad they are. Thanks George.

    • I think that because it was a HDR helped a lot. Great to know you liked it Amanda, thank you.

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