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Posts by Leanne Cole

Quiet Thursday’s – Laurent Building

Every time I walk past this building I think of Harry Potter.  I can’t explain it, whether it is the curve on the corner, or the fact that it is at the entrance of a lane. I took this photo during a Social Snappers excursion, and we stayed here for a while as we took lots of photos from different places.


I know a lot of you have already seen this image.  I’ve had it on Facebook, Google+ and Flickr, so I thought it might be time to show it here.

I like how the image has come out, and it was one of the first that I did in this sort of style.  I quite like it, but wished I’d used a tripod, which I didn’t have with me.  I feel like I’m always saying I will have to go back and do it again, and I am sure that for many of them I will, at some point.  I don’t know about this one, if it would be worth it or not. Listen to me, I’m rambling, sorry.

I will just leave it there today, take care and I hope you have a quiet day too.

MM29 – Monochrome Madness 29

Another week of madness in monochrome is here.  Lots of great entries again, and I want to start the post this week with an apology.  I haven’t responded to the emails as they have come in this week, I hope you don’t mind, but with our internet being so slow, though back now, it has been crazy on the internet.  Though I think I might stop emailing people back, if you are uncertain of something, then please ask, but for majority of submissions, I will just put them in the MM folder.  Anyway, on with MM29.


I know it isn’t a great image, but sometimes, well, you just have to laugh, and the nose of the Pygmy Hippo definitely makes me laugh.  It was taken at the zoo when I was there for a Social Snappers excursion, and you have to photograph this guy from behind glass.  So you get the distortions of the glass too.  How would you like to smooch with this guy?


Laura Macky has joined us again this week with this fantastic image, remember if you would like to know more about her image, then go to her blog, Laura Macky.

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 low res, 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.

Tuesday’s Bits and Bobs

Another Tuesday, and again, not a lot to talk about.  Well, not work wise.  I have been doing some things, planning stuff, and working out things about my work.

Social Snappers

I have started getting ready for Term 4, I think I said that last week.  I have lots of great excursions planned, though I still suspect that people think they need to be really good or have a DSLR or something like that to be able to do the excursions.  I don’t know how to stress to people that it doesn’t matter.  I know I have told you how I went out with a friend the other day to take photos and she was using her phone.  It didn’t diminish the experience for either melbourne-zoo-butterfly-house-9of us.

The other thing I have done is start a new website for the Social Snappers, I got the domain and made a blog for it. Here is the link:

Social Snappers Photography Excursions

So please check it out. On the site you can see where we will be going for Term 4.  I have excursions planned for Sundays and Thursdays.

melbourne-zoo-butterfly-house-2I also realise that there are many photography groups around, where you don’t have to pay to attend, but there are differences.  I don’t want these to be about me teaching, but that doesn’t mean if you want to learn to do something that I won’t show you how.  If you have trouble working out something on your camera then I will help you.  I am there to assist.

The other aspect is that the numbers will be kept down, so there is no more than 10 in a group, with the idea being that everyone gets a chance to take photos.  I also know that many of the free groups can have a lot of people attending, so it is a competition to try and get images at times.  Small is good and isn’t overwhelming, especially for new people. I also know that I can get around 10 people and make sure melbourne-zoo-butterfly-house-7they are fine.

Environmental Photography

I am still trying to work this one out.  I love the idea of doing this, but when I look up what it is I keep getting definitions for nature photography or landscape photography.  So now I am confused.  I know that what I want to do is more than nature photography.  I also don’t want to be limited with the amount of post processing I do.

I want my images to evoke emotions, to make people want to care about the environment and what we have left.  I want to help people build a connection with it. I know photos can do that.  We have seen it happen before, we are visual beings, and it is a good way to do it. So, I think I am slowly melbourne-zoo-butterfly-house-1starting to understand the direction I want to go.

It should be an interesting journey.  No idea where it will take me, or what I will end up doing, but if I can help people make that connection and make them want to save our environment, especially from unnecessary development, then it is a direction I definitely want to go in.

The Mallee

I have another trip planned for the Mallee and will be going up next week.  I will be staying for almost a week this time.  I have some trips planned and hopefully will be going back to some places and seeing some new ones.  I am going up on my own this time, and so my mum is going to get annoyed with me having to come out with me a lot.  I am hoping to do some star trails this time.  I have a place worked out, I just hope it works okay.

I am also going to be teaching a Landscape and Photography Workshop in Swan Hill, well, out at Nyah West, which should be great.  We will be going to some salt lakes or pans, not sure what they are called.  I am so excited about melbourne-zoo-butterfly-house-6going there.  Should be great.  Hopefully we won’t get the bad weather that spoiled the trip last time.

I think that is about it for this week.  The photos in this post were taken on a Social Snappers outing when we went to the zoo. The butterfly house is a great place to get photos, well if you can put up with the kids trying to catch them, and their stupid parents for not stopping them. It amazed me how no one thought it was a bad idea to catch the butterflies.


Influencing Me – Looking at Paintings for Inspiration

The other day I was having a conversation with Laura Macky and she was saying how she wants to start looking at paintings and artists from other times, or something to that effect.  When I was doing my fine art degree it was just something we had to do, Art History.  It was an important part of learning, to look at the work of other artists, and not just in the medium you were working in.  They were all important, painters, photographers, sculptors, printmakers, drawers, all of them.  Everytime I would start working on something new, one of my tutors would tell me about another artists to go and look at.  It was an interesting process, looking at the work of those would give you ideas for your own work, and sometimes reading about them would help you understand what it was that you were trying to do. It is something I miss about Uni, having someone to introduce new artists to you.

Since then I’ve heard other artists saying the same thing.  I was listening to something on Joel Grimes one day and he said how in art school it was something that you did, and how much you could learn from it. It is something that I still do today, and it is still important.  We can learn so much looking at paintings from other times.

It is good to know what sort of work you are interested in, for me, I’ve always been drawn to work that tells a story.  Work that draws you into the image.


Edward Hopper, for me, was one of the biggest influences. He told stories with his paintings.  I know they were all set up, and he could do things that we as photographers couldn’t, unless we really set the scene up.  It was something that made me stop loving photography for a few years until digital came in.  I liked how painters could invent their realities, in a way you couldn’t with film photography.  Of course, now, digital has changed that a lot and it is possible to to do it so much more now.  Artists have been creating their own realities for centuries.

Anyway, getting back to the story telling.  I have started realising that it is something I want in my images, I like the idea of story, or giving a place something.  Perhaps that was part of the reason why I disliked landscape photography for so long, because I couldn’t find the story in it, not like the painters did. Recently I was watching Ian Shive, an American National Parks photographer and he was saying that you have to find the story.  Work out what you want to say with the image.  That makes sense to me.  I have started noticing the way I approach landscapes has changed after hearing that.


Rembrandt was a master of painting scenes, painting what he saw.  His images tell you something about the way people lived, good or bad.

the_geographer - Vermeer

Vermeer did the same, setting up scenes that were about every day life.  Though, many paintings do depict people in everyday situations, there were others painting and adding different stories and different types of drama into their work.


George Stubbs painting  of the horse being attacked by a lion, is so powerful. I think all of us have seen different depictions of this.  Our National Gallery of Victoria also has a sculpture of it.  This is theatre in paintings.  We don’t need to see the moving image, we know what happens, and the emotions are still there.


You have to mention Turner and he landscapes, seascapes and the intense drama that pulls you into the image.


Of course, putting drama into his landscapes was Ansel Adams, a master of the landscape.  He used darkroom techniques to turn something ordinary into some extraordinary.  Someone many of us look up to.

So, by looking at paintings you can see how the artists manipulated scenes through their brushes and paint to create something very powerful.  They did have the artistic talent to put there what wasn’t there, to invent the lighting, and to remove what they didn’t like.  It is something, that seems very frowned upon in the world of photography.  I don’t listen to that, I do what the masters did, when I can, I create the reality in my image that I want to create, send the message that I think is important.  You often don’t see the reality in my images, I play with it, change the lighting and make the reality the one I want you to see.  For inspiration I look at paintings and study what they have done.

Getting to galleries and seeing paintings is a great thing to do, but one place I have always enjoyed visiting is Art cyclopedia, an online gallery of sorts.  Whenever I hear of a new artist, it is one of the first places I go to.  It will give me information about the artist, and where you can find their work.  I also like how you can look at movements.  Unfortunately I don’t think the site is being kept up to date anymore and a lot of the links no longer work, but if you are interested in a particular styles it can be a good place to start.  I was looking at landscapes yesterday and found a couple of new artists, and I have some of their work here for you.

I am going to put some paintings, and photographs from artists that have been massive influences on me, and who I often turn to when I need inspiration. Do you find inspiration in paintings?  Which artists are you drawn too?  What type of artwork draws you in?


Weekend Wanderings – A Close Look at Kinglake National Park

When we were wandering around Kinglake National Park the other day, my friend was taking photos with her phone, and one of the things she likes too do is to take photos close up, therefore she is really good at spotting the little things. I’ve spoken on many occasions how the details and small things is not something I am good at, so it is great going somewhere like this with her, because then I see them too, through her.


These flowers were everywhere, I couldn’t get any closer to them than this with my D800, I spent the whole day wishing I had a macro lens.


I realised after awhile that I had in my back pack a x2 Cokin Close up filter, so I put it on my lens and I was able to get much closer to many things, still not as good as it would have been with a macro lens, but not bad.  Actually turned out to be quite handy, once the bracket was on it was easy to swap between filters.


By far my favourite thing to photograph was these tiny little things growing in moss that was on trees and logs, in all sorts of places.  I loved the colours, it is something wonderful in the dark depths of forests, is that green, almost bright, but so lush.  It is a beautiful colour.  When I was a kid I wanted some Derwent colouring pencils, and the colour I wanted the most was the lime green pencil.


Here is a close up of the red sap that was coming out of the blackwood trees. It really does look like blood. I thought it was so weird.


I think this is my favourite image, by far.  I like the idea of the forest inside a forest.  It is like a little ecosystem that is part of something much larger, it is all connected, I like that.  I have no idea the names of any of these things, but if you know, let me know, I wouldn’t mind some clues.

I have a few more images for you, I hope you enjoy the close look at the forest floor.  I also hope you have a great weekend, mine has been lazy, a good way sometimes, especially without much internet, full strength soon, I’m looking forward to that.


Weekend Wanderings – Kinglake National Park

Yesterday I went for a drive to an area that I haven’t been to before.  It is close to where I live, only an hours drive, and I have been past it many times, but never realised it was there. I am talking about the Kinglake National Park and Masons Falls. Before we went we were talking to the staff at the Flying Tarts, a Bakery in Pheasant Creek, and they were saying that before the fires you couldn’t really see the waterfall, and I think once the trees all grow back, you won’t be able to see them again.


I went there with a friend, and time was limited so we didn’t hang around long, just went to the falls and then took photos along the track back to the carpark.  You can’t get really close to the waterfall, and there are fences everywhere to stop you. The above photo was taken from a viewing platform that Parks Victoria have built for people to look at the falls from.  They are quite large, and it would be great to see them with lots of water coming down after a big storm.

I just want to add that my friend who came with me, was using her phone to take photos today.  It was really interesting and made me remember to take some with my own.


The area was devastated by the 2009 Black Saturday fires, and it is wonderful to see it five and half years later. You can still see all the bare trees, and they stick up tall above the others, but underneath there is lots of new growth.


It is like they stand above the new trees daring them to consume the old dead ones.


This is an old dry creek bed, and it looks like it would run sometimes, but only when there is a large amount of rain, yet another reason to go back after a big down pour.


There are parts were you can get near the water and see little waterfalls, which can be really nice.  I used my Cokin Neutral Density filter on this, just the 8+ one.


Near the carpark you can see lots of very tall blackwood trees.  They look beautiful again the bright green of the forest area. They are really amazing trees, and you will see more in the gallery.  I love the way the sap is red, it makes it look like the trees are bleeding.  It is so weird.

As I said I have more photos for you in the gallery, and tomorrow I have another post for you on the same place, but looking at some of the details, the close ups.  I hope you enjoy seeing these photos and hope you get to do some weekend wandering of your own.


Up for Discussion – Photographing With a Friend

Today I have another guest blogger, Dee, from the blog Dee Gee’s Photography, and the subject today is about photographing with friends, or finding someone to go out and take photos with. It can be a hard thing to do or find, you have to be able to work together in some way. It has to be an equal relationship so that it works for both of you.  Dee has some great ideas of how it should work and how to make it good for both.

Photographing With a Friend

One of the best things about being part of a pair of photographers is that you always get to go out shooting with a friend. There are a lot of pros and a few cons to this, plus a few things to bear in mind. It also proves the point that it’s not the camera that makes thWM Built For Twoe difference, it’s the person behind the lens that makes an image. We’ve come back, time and time again with such different images from the same locations at the same times.

On the plus side, it’s great to have someone to motivate you to get up in the dark, on cold mornings, when bed and sleep are so wonderfully attractive, to make the most of the dawn twilight and golden hour. In a way it’s like having a buddy to do morning jogs with- when someone else is relying on you to be WM As the Tide Rolls Inthere, you are much less likely to find a reason not to go. No matter what time of day, you are more likely to get out there and just do it when you have someone to do it with.

You get instant feedback when you take a friend, especially one who can see what you are trying to achieve. In a way you also get to see the scene in front of you from someone else’s eyes because you’ll both frame the scene WM Jettydifferently. Different things will stand out as focal points for you and you get moments of “oh I never thought of that!” all of which feeds into a richer experience and a wider range of images than you might have shot on your own. From our experience, we still surprise each other with our different points of view and we’ve been WM Solstice Reflectionphotographing together for years.

Another good thing about photographing with a friend is you learn so much faster. It is nice to be able to double check with someone else about technical points because we are all good at remembering some things better than others and your friend probably has different strengths to you. In our case, Gee is far more knowledgeable about landscapes and I’ve got more experience with portraits and detail images. We swap that knowledge back and forth all the time and improve our skills constantly.

If there are any negatives to watch out for it’s being careful that one of you doesn’t dominate the session without allowing the other any input. This can sometimes happen when one photographer is WM Leatherbarrel Creekmuch more experienced than the other or because of personality type. At its worst, this sort of session just turns into an opportunity for the dominant photographer to lord it over the other.

Here are some hints and tips to bear in mind when you are photographing with a friend.

Say “Yes”- unless your friend is suggesting you scale a cliff in the dark or something ridiculously dangerous, just say ‘yes’ and give their ideas a go. The worst WM Platypus Countrythat could happen is you’ll get bad images and you’ll have learnt something. It may be that the only thing you’ll learn is that you can’t take that particular shot that particular way, but that’s still a step closer to working out how you can take that image you have in mind. Saying ‘yes’ also helps spark new and exciting ideas, just like brainstorming. Creatively, that brainstorming, positive vibe works wonders for your images.

Work with constructive feedback- this means find something positive about your friends work and making helpful suggestions for them to try. Nobody wins if you simply shut your friend down and tell them they are doing it wrong without giving them any hints or clues about how to do it right. If you are much more experienced than your friend cut them some slack WM Top Lake Sunset Postcardand remember what it was like when you were a learner. It doesn’t help if you overwhelm your less experienced friend with too much information at once, but let them learn at their own pace and go with what they are comfortable with. At the end of the day, this is supposed to be enjoyable and it won’t be for your less experienced friend if you make them feel inadequate.

Be open to suggestion- if you aren’t willing to learn then there’s no point photographing with a friend. You have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and try new things. It’s how we all learn and it’s the best way to be surprised by your own ingenuity. If you have someone with a lot of experience willing to show the ropes then soak in as much as you can and do what they suggest. Push WM Waiting for Sunsetyourself and be willing to make mistakes. We all make them and we all end up better photographers for learning how to fix them.

Gee and I have both been keen photographers for years, but we decided a year ago to get really serious about it and push ourselves to be the best we could be. We happen to have complementary skills that have served us well in teaching each other. Gee is naturally a technical thinker. He knows how to use the camera to its fullest and has taught me a lot about the relationships between the f stops, shutter speeds and ISO. My strengths have always been in the emotional connection with the image and the story it tells. I don’t think either of us would have enjoyed this journey half as much if we didn’t have each other to bounce off.

WM Lift OffIn the end, images capture a moment in time. There’s something special about having someone with you when you capture that moment because, between you and your friend, that image will always tell a thousand words.

You can find us on our Facebook page, 500px or follow us at Dee Gee’s Photography.


I hope you will all help me thank Dee for the wonderful post, thank you Dee.  Here is a gallery with lots of photos from Dee and Gee.


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