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Friday’s Bits and Bobs

It has been a relatively quiet week here, though the weather has been a lot better and I think many of us are hoping that might mean the end of the rain, well so much of it.  We never want the rain to completely disappear, but it would be nice if we had a week or two of no rain, unfortunately I don’t think that is going to happen any time soon. All the images in this post were taken the other day when I went to Lorne to get some photos with a friend.


lorne-rocks-waves-waterThe first image in this post is one that was taken on the rocks near Lorne.  Recently John Holding told me about a neutral density filter that was 400+ and I thought it sounded fantastic.  I thought I might try and get one.  I had no idea how much they were, or what brand he had, so I went searching on the internet.  I found one that was a 3-in-1 filter, so apparently covered a few different types of neutral density filter. Okay it did only cost $12, so I didn’t have high expectations, but you never aireys-inlet-lighthouse-milkwayknow, right.  Well it was exactly as I thought it would be, crap.  It gave the images a weird sort of lighting, though for fun and trying some stuff it could be interesting.

I have always used the Cokin Filter system, the one that has a bracket that you screw onto the end of your lens and you slide the filter you want to use into that. However, I’m discovering that it isn’t very good for wide angle lenses, you end up with bit of the bracket in the corners of your photos.  I also find that I don’t end up using the filters much because you can’t just put it on the lens and then wander around with it, or put the camera in and out of your camera bag. So, I’ve been thinking that since I do have a favourite lens that I seem to use most of the time when I am going out, maybe I should get some filters specifically for that one.

lorne-fishing-pier-sunset-peopleI have done my research and I have decided that I want to use Hoya filters.  They seem to be good value for money and it seems I can get them fairly easily here in Australia.  So, I thought I might get a polariser than can almost live on the end of my lens, some neutral density filters, especially the 400+, and there is one that Justin Avery was telling me about, a HD Filter Protector, that I think would be a great addition as well.  I am not sure when I will get these, but I will keep you up to date, and tell you how I find them.

Social Snappers

This Sunday is the first of the Sunday Social Snappers Excursions, and I am excited about this one.  We are going to the Museum and the Royal Exhibition Building, and it looks like we will be able to do a tour inside the Exhibition building. I have wanted to go in there when there was nothing on for so long.  It will be so good to see the building on its own with no other distractions on.  It is such a beautiful building, and I know I will take lots of photos of it.

lorne-sunset-pier-man-fishingPractical Photography

There are still places available for my six week Practical Photography Course that I do in Eltham, so if you are interested in learning to use your camera and take photos in different situations, then please check out the Practical Photography Course at Living & Learning Nillumbik.

Photographing the Stars


Seal playing in the water.

There is another New Moon this weekend, so it is the perfect time for getting out and photographing the Milky Way, or doing some star trails.  I tried doing some in Aireys Inlet the other night on the way back from Lorne, but there were too many clouds in the sky.  I am hoping that this weekend the clouds will go away and and I can get some clear nights.  Now remember, John did a post on Astrophotography for those of you who would like to try it out.  Just remember to focus your lens on infinity before you go out, or do it during the day, and turn off your autofocus.  Good luck.

That’s about it from me this week.  Hope your week hasn’t been as quiet as mine, though busy weekend planned ahead.


Quiet Thursday – Up in the Air

It is getting late in the day, and it is one of those days that I like to take things easy, so for today I have a photo for you that I did earlier in the week.  I know writers like images that give them inspiration for poems or short stories, so I have another photo for that.  It is a composite and you can interpret it as you will.


The same applies as in previous posts like these, you can leave links in the comments sections.  Pingbacks don’t really work the way they used to, so it is best to leave links in the comments section.  Feel free to put the image on your blog, just please give me credit for the image, if that is okay.  So over to you.

Monochrome Madness Week 21

As someone pointed out the other day we have been doing this for almost six months, maybe when we get to week 26 we should think of something special.  So if you have any ideas let me know. It is time for another week of Monochrome Madness, I hope you enjoy all the entries this week. banyule-flats-fog-morning-monochrome

For those of you who follow my blog, especially my Weekend Wanderings posts will know that I have been upset with the weather here, but I am so happy that I finally got a change to photograph some foggy scenes.  We have had a few mornings of fog, but I haven’t been able to get out, but this is about the 5th or 6th morning, so we haven’t had many.  I went all over the place, well to a few places that I thought would be good for fog.  This is one I took of Banyule Flats.  I really like the isolated, or desolate look (thanks for the word Jackie).  I thought this would be a great entry for today. For the link today I am sending you to my other blog where I did a post on the weekend, and I have put all the photos that I have done for MM, it was nice seeing them altogether, all 21 of them.


Laura Macky has done something completely different and sent a portrait.  If you want to find out more information on the portrait then please visit her blog post Birthday Boy in B&W – Monochrome Madness.

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 as small as it can be, 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.

Up for Discussion – Street Photography

Street photography is a very popular style of photography and there are people all over the world taking to the streets to see what they can capture.  I don’t do it a lot of it, but I do follow some people that do, so I asked Shane Francescut from The Weekly Minute if he would write a post for you on Street Photography.

If you can smell the street by looking at the photo, it’s a street photograph. - Bruce Gilden

Street photography is a photographic style that many people enjoy viewing, but tend to shy away from attempting it themselves. And, from my experience the number one reason for not trying it is a concern for the privacy of others. I see street photography as a way of documenting a moment in time or telling a story about life in a certain place, at a specific point in history. There are many subsets to street photography – candid shots, street portraits, and architectural images, so I think the genre can appeal to a wide range of people.

In this article, I’ll attempt to ease your discomforts and relax your hesitations about street photography with a few tips and examples that I’ve picked up along the way. Photography is about experimentation and pushing your creative limits, and if you choose to ignore any one style of photography simply because of discomfort, then you may not discover your true potential.

Street photography has helped me learn a lot about myself as a photographer, and it has greatly helped me improve every facet of photography. Through street photography, I have become much more comfortable and confident when shooting studio portraits, I have learned to identify the key elements and angles that produce strong imagery, and I have learned to pay attention to smaller details that would have escaped me in the past. And with that, here are my seven tips to help you make stronger images on the street.

1 - stop moving

1. Stop moving

Our first instinct when street shooting is to wander the streets at a torrid pace, frantically searching for that decisive moment to capture and share. It is always helpful to casually walk about the streets, but pause at busy intersections during rush hour or let a few trains or busses pass while waiting on the platform, taking a few minutes to see what might unfold. Alternatively, find an interesting background and let the scene find you. I find that this is difficult to do because the urge to keep your feet moving is strong, however this technique can produce an excellent image, if not a whole series that you’d be proud to share.

2 - plan a route

2. Plan a route

Many people think that street photographers have a knack for capturing moments anywhere they venture. The truth is prolific street photographers take time before a photo session to plan the routes that they know will give them the best chances at capturing quality images. Plan a photo walk through a market, or an area with several outdoor patios, or shoot from an overpass such as a bridge or balcony above a busy plaza. I learned the hard way that aimlessly walking and shooting is a waste of time and most often results in nothing to show for it.

3 - ditch the zoom

3. Ditch the zoom and use a wide-angle prime

I don’t necessarily agree that you should only use prime lenses while doing street photography, but I do agree that wide angle lenses help to tell better stories. Many of the images on my blog are captured with a focal length of 24mm-30mm, and I find that by getting more of the scene in a frame, the viewer gains a better sense and feeling of the moment. The other advantage to using a single prime lens is that you develop a consistent point of view, thus making it easier to visualize what an image will look like before you raise the camera to your eye. Many people struggle with photography because they use too many different lenses and focal lengths, and they never gain the opportunity to really learn how to use what they have.

4 - always carry camera

4. Always carry your camera with you

Always, always, always take your camera with you when you leave the house. There will be times when you don’t pull it out of your bag, but if you have your camera handy you are far more likely to return home with some great images. I found that once I took this advice, I captured far more images, and the quality of my images greatly improved. This also speaks to owning a camera that is compact and light weight, but I’ll speak to that later in this post.

5 - smile and be courteous

5. Smile often, be respectful, ask for permission

Friendliness, respectfulness, and permission have made it possible for me to branch into street portraiture. Granted, street portraits might not be the ultimate goal of everyone who tries street photography, but by being friendly with strangers it can help to calm your nerves and make the whole shooting experience a pleasant one. If your aim is to capture candid images and someone notices that you’ve taken their picture, feel free to complement an article of clothing or some other feature about them, and be on your way. People tend to respond very well when randomly complemented.

6 - capture movement

6. Capture movement

We see movement everywhere we look, but when captured in a photograph, movement adds excitement and wonder to a scene that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. Movement can be captured through techniques such as panning, adding blur, or freezing action. Leanne has written on the topic of panning before, but that is difficult to do and takes practice. I tend to capture movement by combining a blurred object with a still object, but you can also freeze movement, such as in sports photography which lets our eyes take in a scene that may have otherwise happened too quickly to see in real life.

7 - shoot from the hip

7. Shoot from the hip

When starting out with street photography, nerves and fear can easily get the better of us. To combat this, spend your first few sessions shooting with your camera dangling around your waste. You’ll be surprised with the results. Shooting from the hip achieves two things; first, it helps you train your eye to look for those decisive moments that make for great street photographs while disguising the fact that you’re taking someone’s picture. Second, it allows you to capture images from a different vantage point that is different from what we’re used to seeing which instantly provides a different point of interest.


I’m not a big fan of gear talk, but I’ll touch on it briefly here. You can read hundreds of articles about what people say is the right gear for street photography, however my simple take on the subject is this, use what you have, and if you’re in the market for something new then look for a compact and light weight camera such as one of the many new mirrorless offerings on the market. Fuji and Sony make several mirrorless models that are inexpensive and produce tremendous image quality, and there is a growing list of lenses available for all brands. As mentioned earlier, a wide angle lens allows you to capture more of a scene; however you have to use what you’re comfortable with. If you’d prefer to stand two hundred yards away from someone when you’re taking their picture, then by all means, use a long zoom. It ultimately depends on your style and taste.


As with anything in life, I suspect there might be dangers, however, Toronto is a very safe city and I have only been confronted on one occasion. The funny thing is that I wasn’t taking his picture, I was taking a picture of a colourful flower that happened to be lying next to his car and he was briefly concerned until he found out what I was doing.

While taking photos on the street I always recommend that you think smart, don’t put yourself in vulnerable positions, and don’t walk around dodgy neighbourhoods alone late at night. With that in mind, as long as your convey confidence and courteousness, you should be fine.

I am honoured, and thankful to Leanne for inviting me to share my knowledge of street photography with her blogging community. Leanne is one of the finest photographers I know, and she has done so much to help me and the rest of her readership become better photographers through her blog.

Thank you Shane for that great post, I certainly picked up some ideas and I might even have a go at this one day.  Don’t forget you can go and see more of Shane’s images on his blog, The Weekly Minute, but for now, enjoy the above images in a gallery, and some more that Shane sent for the post.  Shane will answer any questions you have, but remember we are all in different time zones, so it might take a while to get an answer.  

Influencing Me – J.M.W. Turner

In my own art practice lately I’ve noticed that I have been doing a lot more landscape images than ever before.  Landscape images were something I detested doing, I wouldn’t plan trips where that is what I would have to take, but slowly over time that has changed.  I think one of the greatest landscape artists of all time was Joseph Mallord William Turner. He was a painter that did the most amazing landscapes. I have seen a couple of his paintings and the thing that I remember the most about them was the incredible detail in some of them, but also the emotion that came from them.  His work was hard to walk about from.


Turner was born in 1775, but the date of his birth is unknown, and this is what Wikipedia had to say about him:

Joseph Mallord William Turner (baptised 14 May 1775 – 19 December 1851) was a British Romantic landscape painter water-colourist printmaker. Turner was considered a controversial figure in his day, but is now regarded as the artist who elevated landscape painting to an eminence rivalling history painting. Although renowned for his oil paintings, Turner is also one of the greatest masters of British watercolour landscape painting. He is commonly known as “the painter of light” and his work is regarded as a Romantic preface to Impressionism. Some of his works are cited as examples of abstract art prior to its recognition in the early twentieth century.



He was such a major influence on landscape painting of the day.  I don’t know all the reasons, why he changed landscape painting, though I suspect it was because of his style, he was very different to anyone else painting at that time.

Turner’s talent was recognised early in his life. Financial independence allowed Turner to innovate freely; his mature work is characterised by a chromatic palette and broadly applied atmospheric washes of paint. According to David Piper’s The Illustrated History of Art, his later pictures were called “fantastic puzzles.” However, Turner was recognised as an artistic genius: the influential English art critic John Ruskin described him as the artist who could most “stirringly and truthfully measure the moods of Nature.”


There are paintings that Turner did that resemble what many of the artists of that time were doing, though I think he will always be remembered for others scenes.


His use of colour was extraordinary.  When I think of painters of that time, a dark palette comes to mind.  They often painted dark scenes, but Turner changed so much of that.  He used so much yellow, with touches of oranges and reds.  It is like he wanted to include the sunset in many of his paintings.


I can certainly understand why he is considered a major influence for the Impression movement and there is a lot of that impressionist style in his work.

Most of us have heard of Turner and I am sure many of you have seen his paintings.  I love the drama in them and the emotions that you feel when you look at them.  They aren’t just pretty pictures.  It is something I would dearly love to get into my photographs.  We can learn so much looking at paintings.  There is something in them that image makers today can appreciate.  I was listening to Nature Photographer Art Wolfe the other day and he was talking about how important it is to look at the masters, and to see what they did.

If you want to read more about Turner Wikipedia have a good page on him, J.M.W. Turner, and to see more of his paintings, then Wikipedia Commons has a great page of his paintings. I have more to show you and will put them into a gallery for you.


Weekend Wanderings – Banyule Morning

This morning I got up a little bit earlier to go out with a friend to see if we could photograph the sunrise over Banyule Flats.  Well, we got there and we saw a little orange, but it was too overcast to get anything really.  It was so disappointing.


It always seems to be the way when I go, I so rarely get a good sunrise or sunset.  The above image was the best we got.  I will just have to keep trying.  I think the time of the year might be against me somewhat.


I took the big lens with me, with the intention of doing some birds as well, but the light was horrible and the birds move so fast, so the ISO had to be up so far, and even then, it wasn’t great.  I will have to try again some other time when the sun actually comes up and shines. So I apologise for the bird photos, but I had to show them, hopefully I will get better at doing them.


We ended up leaving and going to another part of the park and just walked around, tried to take some winter shots.


Winter has definitely arrived here, about time, though many trees are still losing their leaves.  The bare trees do look nice, a different sky would have been nice.


Glimpses of spring are around though, with the wattle or acacia trees flowers.  It is nice to see a different kind of colour.

I am going to put the above and some other images into a gallery for you.  How is the area around where you live at the moment?  Are you enjoying what it is offering?


Weekend Wanderings – Collingwood Part 2

A few weeks ago I did the first part of this, though at that time I just showed graffiti around the streets, and today I thought I would show you more of the buildings. Collingwood is one of the oldest parts of Melbourne.  In earlier times it was part of the industrial area, and you can still see what used to be old factories there, but it was also where the workers lived.  It was a very working class part of Melbourne, though you need to be a lot further up the socio-economic scale to be able to buy a house there now.  Funny that working class cottages are now sort by the middle and upper classes to live in.


Here is an example of an old factory, I think this was a wool mill, and now it has been converted to office buildings, I think, or maybe being converted to apartments.  In Melbourne everything is being converted to homes, a city can’t have too many people living in it.  That is the goal of our state members, to get more people living here.  Of course, no infrastructure or that sort of thing, but more people.


You can see homes in some lanes that were factories and they have used elements of the factory as features for the new homes, like how these balconies have been made.


One of the things that surprised me about Collingwood is how you are never quite sure what you are going to get.  We walked around a corner and saw half a church.  Not sure what they are doing, but looks like this old blue stone building is being rebuilt, must have had some problems.  It is right next door to an old blue stone school as well.


Terrace houses are everywhere in Collingwood.  If you want to see some great examples it is a great place to go and find them.  Melbourne is known for the terrace houses, you can see them everywhere in the inner city.  I don’t know why they stopped building them really, people like living in them, and pay good money for them, perhaps they aren’t big enough anymore.


Wandering around Collingwood was such an eye opener.  I thought it would be boring and I would find nothing to photograph, but now I want to go back and see if I missed anything.  You can’t go with a plan, you just have to start in one place and wander, see where you end up.

The above image is where we had a very late breakfast.  It was a great breakfast, though you need to get there early or you have to wait.  The place was called Lemon Middle and Orange, no idea where it was, but I am sure you could look it up, I had one of the best breakfasts ever there, very different to what you normally get at places for breakfast.

I am just going to leave you with a gallery now.  This is a place I really want to go back to and take some images with the intention of doing some art images of.  There is something about the area that really appeals to me.




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