Mallee, Photography


There comes a time, well, the thing is, I am running out of images, and I need to make some decisions.  I can’t photograph abandoned buildings in the city, I don’t know any, so I need to start working out what to do in the city while I am here.  I have had to go through some of my photos and I found one that I took when I was on my trip to the Mallee.

This is a street in Hopetoun, definitely showing signs of the times, lots of shops closed.  It is remarkable how busy these towns must have been once.  There are so many shops, and I can’t imagine that they would be have been built if they weren’t going to be used.  I think if you take a look at all the shops, including the closed ones you can get a great idea of how busy these towns actually were.

While I was processing this image, I wanted the harsh light, but I wanted to remove all traces of what could be considered life.  It is not that I want you to think the towns are dead, but I do want you to consider that what the future may be.

I didn’t really do a lot with this image.  I did start by doing a HDR in Photomatix, but the main thing I wanted to do was to bring out the detail in the shops.  I have probably been heavy handed with the vignetting, but I wanted to give it that old time look.  I like vignetting.  I also added some warmth to the image.  The original image is the HDR as it was first processed.


  • Photomatix Pro – 4 images
  • Photoshop Camera Raw
  • A new layer was added, with blur and diffuse
  • Mask added to take away the blur on the shops
  • a new detail layer was added
  • the image was opened in Topaz Adjust and warmth and vignetting was applied
  • a mask applied so that only the shops were given the detail
  • blending mode was used.
  • I highlighted some parts of the shops and used feathering and then applied curves to lighten that part
  • gradient tool used to dark more of the edges.

That was about it, I think.

I heard back from Photomatix and when I get some tutorials done they are going to offer you all a chance to purchase it with a 15% discount, so I might start by doing a tutorial on that, how I do them.  It makes sense, it is where I begin nearly all my images.

I hope you have had a look at the Topaz products.  I was playing with the new fxlab today.  It is fun, reminds me a lot of instagram on the phone, but you can use it for your photos, though it does have some basic editing as well, so it might be a good place for people to start, when they are first looking at editing.

I am hoping to get out tomorrow to take some photos.  So I might have some new stuff for you tomorrow night.  Fingers crossed.


    • Thanks Marie, that is so true and with the way Australia is going, that harsh light will take over.
      I hope you have a good one too. Thinking about where to go now.

  1. Great image, Leanne. Love the eerie sense of abandonment – you’ve really captured a sense of an urban wilderness. Good luck with your stay in the city.

  2. Thank you, Leanne. I like it that you talk about the process. I love abandoned buildings as well, but they’re fairly uncommon, and it’s difficult to get a look inside.

    • Getting inside them can be a problem. It is great when you can. I like to talk about the process because it becomes a great record for me as well. Thanks

  3. Hey Leanne! How about doing a segment on “reflections” or “shadows”? I would love to see how you capture that! I truly love following your blog because I love photography with a passion. I snapped a few great weather sky photo’s yesterday of the storm we had rolling in, turned out great! (Val)

    • I love storms, I would like to photograph some myself one day. I don’t really see them coming where I live, which is a shame. I don’t know what I would do on refections of shadows, what were you after exactly. Thanks

      • Hi Leanne, What I was thinking about is photographing either someone’s reflection in a window, or in a puddle, or their reflection on something shiny. And as for shadows, these would be done probably at a certain time of day where you would see a person’s shadow on the road, or a shadow of something on a building, a tree’s shadow, a dog’s shadow, etc. Hope this helps! (for example: When I took our dog out one morning, I got a shadow photograph of me holding her on her leash on the side of the garage – it was a neat photo to which I printed it out in black and white for better contrast) Valerie

      • I wasn’t quite sure what you meant, I thought you were meaning tutorials on them, I get you now. Maybe.

  4. Very helpful. I’m a beginner to photography, so it’s a case of shoot on auto setting and then upload and auto adjust. I haven’t heard of the various methods you use. I am, however, looking for a decent editing programme. I am experimenting with the basics, like Nero and Windows Live Photogallery, but they dont seem to do very much. So I will certainly be interested in finding out about Photomatix and Topaz. Many thanks for your help. It is very much appreciated. Blessings from Lizzie Joy

    • Hey Lizzie Joy, if I were you I would start with GIMP, it is free and will do most of the basic stuff you want it to do. As for the software I talked about, Photomatix is really only for doing HDR’s, so I wouldn’t worry about that right now. Topaz does have a new program called Photo fxlabs, and it looks like fun and they offer free webinars from time to time. I would take a look a that. I am going to my tutorial on Photomatix, mainly so I can get the discount set up, but you will see what I mean when I do it. Once that is done, I will do some more basic stuff. Hope this helps.

      • Thank you, Leanne, for taking the time to help a beginner. I really appreciate your kindness. I will take your advice to heart, and see how I get on. Blessings from Lizzie Joy

  5. I like looking at your photos and learning what you’ve done with them. I’m usually very interested how you achieve the ~ LOOK! JIm

    • Thanks Jim, that is great to hear. It is good to know that people are interested, though I am sure there are a lot of people who just look at the photos.

  6. The crispness and coloring of the shop windows is quite endearing…though mostly abandoned, your treatment makes them most inviting…the feeling seems to be that the shops are ‘everything’ and all the rest of life outside is a blur…but then, isn’t that the truth? Fine work here, Leanne…again!

    • I think the shops are important, they gave an indication of a towns prosperity. Yes, I think it is the truth. It would have been great to have been able to go in, maybe another time. Thank you so much.

  7. I loved just looking at this photo, I am always traveling to different areas and capturing the best and worst of the city – its great to know how you edited this image to make it look spectacular, if I ever branch out into photography I will have something to look forward too! :] All of your images are spectacular!

    • I like to capture abandonment, sometimes for real, sometimes made up. It is trickier in the city, but I try to capture it when I can. Editing images, gives me as much satisfaction as the actual photo taking. Maybe you will one day branch our. Thanks. :)

  8. Some country communities are “devolving” at the moment and the empty shops are signs of those times, but many find their feet again, and western Victoria has great examples like Camperdown and even Colac (and some of the surrounding smaller towns), where when I first visited 20 years ago were spiralling downward but have picked themselves up. I like the way you process these images, it brings out the essence of abandonment but retains the warmth of their history :)

    • I don’t know about North West Victoria, the communities are really suffering and there isn’t much there. I think the woman I am doing stuff with is hoping to help the tourism up there, it would be great if I could help. Time will tell. Though I think the empty shops is something that will continue happening, seems to be happening everywhere. Glas you liked how I did the image. Thanks. :)

  9. Wonderful. Great lighting. Seems like a zombie should be in this. (that’s a plus)

  10. Aren’t old establishments dangerous? You can catch diseases from unwanted residence living inside. Just saying, be careful. I love the looks all anything rusty and old.
    I like the first one better this time.

    • I hadn’t thought of that. I just go in, make sure I won’t fall through the floor and try not to touch anything. I am the same about old things. Thanks

  11. If I ever get an opportunity to visit Australia, I want to go on a photo shoot with you. It seems like that’s all I do on vacation anymore is go on photo shoots. LOL. I’m in the process of putting an album together and was wondering if you would take a look at it.!i=2018295778&k=LxPqzfQ

    Also, how do I get a watermark or some type of copyright on my pictures? I’m terrified to post them in my blog because it is so easy to copy and download them.

    • The photos look great. I love the colours in them. Great job. Just watch when you are photographing things like this that don’t cut off their feet. It is hard to describe, but when you are photographing people if you get most of their legs, say 80% and you don’t get their feet, then it looks like you weren’t paying a attention. Just remember to always look around the whole frame. I hope you don’t mind me say thing, otherwise they are a great set of photos and you should be really proud of them.
      Watermarks, they are pretty simple to do, and I get asked a lot. Instead of always explaining it, I am going to do a tutorial on it in the next week or so, it is the one thing I get asked about a lot. What software do you use?

      • Thanks for your critique! I really appreciate the help. That’s great advice on the feet. I don’t have any software at the moment so maybe I need to invest in some.

      • When you are ready, talk to me and I will see if I can help you. Glad I didn’t overstep the mark, some people can get upset when you say something.

      • How much would you charge to critique my pictures and give me tips on how I can make them better next time?

      • I don’t charge for that, I am happy to do a few here and there, but if it becomes a regular thing, then we can discuss other arrangements, how does that sound?

  12. I think the high contrast was just right for the effect you were seeking. Nice edit.

  13. Nicely done as always. I have been reading about some photos that bring the 32 bit tiff Photomatix makes back into Lightroom or Photoshop and finishing there. Seems to make for a more realistic image and less noise. Have you tried it?

    • I don’t do any of the editing in Photomatix. I just do the HDR and then save and go back to Photoshop and do the rest, is that what you mean?
      I do the jpeg thing, I know that is a no no, but for the time being jpeg is better for the cycling stuff I do, though when I can I do images as raw images. I don’t use tiff files, my husband has always said to stay away from tiff and giff, something to do with copyright, I don’t know I can’t remember. Must ask him again.

Comments are closed.