Landscapes, Melbourne, Photography, Teaching

Landscaping with a Class

Yesterday I taught my second class for the year at Living & Learning Nillumbik.  The class was full and they were all there for landscape photography.  I haven’t been sure about this teaching thing, but I decided with yesterday’s class that I was just going to wing it.  Writing out a plan and that sort of thing just wasn’t working for me, so yesterday I just talked to them and told them what I know.  I thought it went well, and I hope they did as well.  I actually really enjoyed the class and found the time went so quickly, unlike other classes I have taught.

I don’t know if I am  meant to be taking photos while out with them, but I did take a few.  I am hoping that if some of them find my blog, they might like to see what I have done with the images that I took.

Side Gates from the LeftThe Eltham centre where I teach is close to some parkland  so we went into it so they could practice their landscape photography.  These gates were beside one of the paths.  They are quite old and have been here for quite some time.  Such an ornate find in such green surroundings.  I had to get the camera out and take a few shots.  It is hard, I just wanted to be taking photos as well, but that isn’t why I was there.

They look lovely here with the green behind the gates, almost looks Eden like, but I wondered, you know, if I played with it a little.

Side Gates from the Left - Black and WhiteI think the whole mood of the image has changed here.  Though, I have lost some of the work and detail in the gates.  I processed this with Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro 2.  It seems like ages since I used it.  I discovered a few new things, that is always good.

With all the images today, they have been given very little processing, other than a quick trip through camera raw and then onto Silver Efex.

Side Gates from the RightThese are the same gates, but taken from the other side.  It makes a big difference.  With that path behind the gates and the break in the trees makes the gates stand out so much more.  Closed gates always gives a feeling of being shut out, like you are being left out.

Side Gates from the Right - Black and WhiteThe processing with Silver Efex has given it that spooky feeling, I think.  I like the way it has given it a creepiness that the bright green leaves of the colour one just can’t give you.

Gate DetailA close up of the locks on the gate.  I am afraid this is not really in focus, I took it very quickly with my new lens, and I think I got too close.  Still, you get an idea of how it looked.  I do like all the colour of the rust on it and I added more saturation to those parts to bring it out more.

Gate Detail - Black and WhiteI have added some sepia to this, and I like the feeling it conveys.  I think this image is probably my favourite out of all of them.  I used Silver Efex to draw out a lot of detail in the image.  There is something very heavy and creepy about this locked gate.

Black and White Work BenchYou don’t get to see the colour version of this, I didn’t like it.  Too many odd colours everywhere and the black and white representation works so much better.  Sometimes, often really, black and white just works.  When it is black and white you focus on the shapes and textures.  I also like the way this version makes the home behind it almost disappear, it stood out too much before.

These were all taken in an area that I know I am going to have to go back and visit again, but when I am not teaching a class and can just take my time.  It is quite an interesting place.

The people in the class took some great photos and I hope they were pleased with their efforts.  At the end of the class I used my new Google Nexus 10 tablet to look at their photos and too critique them for them.  I don’t like doing that too much, but I know it has to be done and they seem to appreciate it as well.

Next class is next month, so that will be great.  Think I will follow the same plan as this one, have no plan.  Just talk about what I do and what I know.


  1. The gate looks like door to magical world. Immediately movie “Beautiful Creatures” comes to my mind.

  2. Maan, I’m kind of jealous. Those are awesome. Question: this can be landscape photography? I always that landscape photography was just photography of scenic places, but then I’ve been of a mind landscape photography could be anything outside, pretty much. Is that right or wrong, or am I just confusing things?

    All the same, great photos!

    • I would define landscape as the landscape in front of you, what you see, it takes in the natural and the man made. That is my definition, someone else might say something different.

      • Well, I like your definition. Your definition fits my world view. I was curious as to whether or not that would be the case. Hey, thanks for that! :)

  3. Those shots are wonderful! I am sitting here writing a story in my head, they are so evocative.

  4. I like it. Now I’m wondering if there’s a free version of Silver Efex! But at least there is a free 15 day trial.

    I like the thoughts about closed gates. It’s a good symbol.

  5. Love the photos.
    Someone famous once said that if you want to learn something, teach it to someone else. I have found this to be true and it is the reason I got into photography in the first place……… I was teaching a multi age group classroom of years 4,5 and 6 and I wanted to teach them photography, but first I had to learn the basics. We kind of learned along together. Children are amazing and they listen. If you want to have a heap of fun teach a bunch of kids.


  6. Tricia's Blogs says

    Ooh, I like these! The color images make me feel like I am entering a fairy tale fantasy world. The black and white images give it a dark mysterious feeling. That’s how my imagination works anyway! ~tricia

  7. I don’t see any issue you taking photos along with the class. Every workshop pro I know is shooting right along with their clients.

  8. What a mood changer that black/white affect has with those images. It definitely gave them a spooky feel. Like still images from a scary movie.

  9. Hanno Phenn says

    The Gate to a Secret I love them .They are tempting to want to open them.

  10. What’s in a gate? But you have very effectively turned it into an object which makes the viewer imagine. Excellent and thanks for sharing.

  11. I loved the different perspectives of the gate – new to your blog but great stuff!

  12. It looks like you have a very versatile lens. The photos captured beautifully. What lens did you choose for these? Have you tried using a dedicated macro lens instead? I find it great when I have a busy background.

  13. What fascinates me is that the black&white versions have a bit more sinister feel. It’s in the way you handled the light; the vignetting; the contrast, and the details. Also in the subject: gates make curious. (And I watched a lot of B&W Frankenstein; Dracula; and Hitchcock-movies when I was younger)

  14. Hi Leanne, Having at last worked out how to follow you on the blog and unfollow the other I can ‘like’ and ‘comment’ again. I think it would have been good to see some of your students’ pictures; we know you can produce good stuff – you’re the teacher – but it would be interesting to see how they ‘progress’ week by week. Of course they’d have to agree but I think most would.

  15. The edited images look like pencil etchings. Reminds me a bit of the drawings you see in the novels by Dickens.

  16. These are very nice I ages, Leanne. You might consider getting the students to self-critique first, too.

  17. your students are so fortunate to be able to take a class with you as the instructor!!! I’m envious Leanne… :) wonderful photos…my favourites are the third one…an interesting perspective of the gate…showing a path way. and the last two black and whites…I love the gate lock especially, I can almost feel the detail and grittiness of the old metal…

  18. I found that black and white is more forgiving if the photo is out of focus. Love your examples here!

  19. What a story could go with these pictures! Personally, I like the black and white best, but the sepia/antique looks good also if it isn’t too dark. (I don’t know why I haven’t been getting notifications of your postings Leanne. sorry to have missed so many. I will check on that as your blog has always been a favorite of mine!)

  20. Very cool! I love seeing how you changed the photos, and it’s interesting to hear your descriptions of why you chose to do certain things.

  21. Wonderful and magical photos … but I prefer the colored once … because it makes the place inviting … black & white make the place scary. My favorite photo is the chain and lock.

  22. I hope to have a gate likh that one day. I’ve always been a fan of those homes that have gates like that. There’s a certain detail about the closeup of the lock that I really like. Can’t put my finger on it– I just dig it.

  23. Congratulations on your new adventure as a photo coach. You are such a pro already and your students are so fortunate to be able to learn from you. These photos are wonderful Leanne.

  24. I absolutely love your post-prod on all the images, and the close up on that chain us the best.

    I totally agree with your redo on the gate from the opposite direction, showing off the path. Beautiful work as always.

  25. Wow, the transformation of the gate photos is awesome – a vision from Charles Addams or something. Just thinking about opening the locked gate says “This will not end well.”

  26. You have visited my blog many times and I have stopped by yours as well, but this is my first comment. Your photos are just so original. I relate to your subject matter in this post especially. Love the old gate and rusty chain. I also appreciate your willingness to share such valuable information with other photographers. I really need that advice. Thanks so much!

  27. Hi Leanne, I really enjoy your photography. I so relate to your subject matter because it’s some of what I like to photograph. I especially like the old gate and rusty chain in this post. Also, thank you for being generous enough to share your knowledge with us. Very generous.

  28. Sounds like you’ve found your mojo with the teaching – from the heart. Love the shots – the colour ones of the gates are superb. And I love the bench.

  29. hutchphotography2020 says

    Beautiful shots. The processing is so nice. Thanks, Leanne.

  30. I don’t usually like B&W but I just love the ones you have here! Of course, they’re all great in color too. God bless!

  31. Great shots, I love the gates and the general atmosphere that these photos convey almost of another world, it is exactluy the kind of thing I’m drawn to when I’m out walking around, thanks for sharing

  32. Pingback: Paying Forward the Joy of Blogger Award Nomination | myamazingoutdoors

  33. outdoorcanvas says

    I like the close up Sepia shot of the gate the best. Nicely done!

  34. What very lucky students to have you Leanne as a tutor *jealous* ;-)
    I love these types of images you take with an underlying meaning, aura , interpretation , what you will .. gives the imagination a work out on all levels and some ideas to try out !

  35. I don’t often get into black and white photos, but I really like how the vignetting with black and white focuses the eye on the light and textures which adds to the foreboding feel of the closed gate.

  36. Rachael says

    Hi Leanne
    I was lucky enough to be in your class that day and I have finally looked you up online.
    Teaching suits you I think, I got a great deal out of the class. It has made me look alot closer and think more before I shoot.
    Love you shots of the gate and handle.
    Funny When I looked up you blog you had just been to Benalla, I have family there and was there this week also taking photos of the bridge and gallery.
    Hopefully I will see you in another class one day

    • Hi Rachel, how wonderful you found me. I am so glad you found the class good and it has made you think more about your images.
      I think that is so funny we have both been taking photos in Benalla. it is a lovely spot. Would be great to see you in another class.

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