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Introductions: Rodney Campbell

Here we are again, it is Monday and I have another photographer to introduce to you, this time it is another person that I have met through Google+.  Rodney Campbell has a massive following on Google+. I love his work and for me it is a real stand out, and I hope you feel the same.


There are many images of the coastline of Australia and especially around Sydney.  Most of you know that I love photographing the coast and I am always on the look out for others who do to help me find inspiration. I find these amazing and would love to be getting images like this, I think I need to spend more time down at the beach.

I asked Rodney where in the world he was.

Where in the world indeed – I could ramble on and talk about my deranged mental state and my mind being out of this world :) but I’m guessing the simple literal answer is Sydney, Australia. Originally I grew up in country NSW but have lived in Sydney since moving here to attend University more than 30 years ago.


One of the things I find really inspiring from his work is the colours.  I don’t know if he does anything to the colours, or enhances them, but I love them.  There are deep rich colours. With the long exposures it really suits them.

I asked him why he was took photos for and for how long.

I’ve been taking photos seriously since I bought my first D-SLR in 2009 and have honed and practised my craft more seriously over the past four years. I had also been interested in photography when I was a child when my parents bought me a film camera (the Olympus OM-10) and my father helped build me a black and white darkroom in our garage. However when I moved to Sydney to attend University my photography took a back seat. When I bought a D-SLR in 2009 it was originally to simply better document the lives and growth of my daughters – I was feeling severely constrained trying to document their lives with a series of mediocre cameras. I had no idea how invested I would become in photography and this initial hobby quickly transformed into a major passion (obsession even). Today my primary love is landscape photography and a few other related genre’s like long exposure and night photography. I do shoot a lot of other things as well including architecture, cityscapes, childrens events, sport, candid portraits, macro, street and anything really :). However photographing seascapes and landscapes with long multi minute exposures before sunrise or after sunset during the twilight hour is such a serene and rewarding time – I love the peace and the spectacular displays nature puts on.


There seems to be something about people who do long exposures of the water that they also do architecture, another one of my favourites.  I’m yet to try this, have to find the right building, but I know there will be one in Melbourne.  I love the angle on this and the way it is photographed.

I asked Rodney where he found inspiration.

Photographically I’m inspired by the sheer beauty and variety of our natural world and at times the man made. I am a highly technical person by nature and for my IT work. I love photography – both because it can be highly technical and there is always more to learn & to master; but it also forces me to exercise the other (creative) side of my brain. This doesn’t come naturally to me and I’ve had to train myself to both see and work creatively. This is possibly also why I like the much slower and measured pace of landscape and night photography – I’m allowed much more time to contemplate and consider each and every shot – to perfect it in my mind before I take it, to show you the beauty in the universe as I felt it at that moment I took it.


It is nice to go through his work and see that there are other things there as well.  It is quite surprising and you never know what you will find when start scrolling down.  I love these birds, the tawny frogmouths, and nice to know quite a few live around near me.

I also asked him if there was anything special about the way he worked.

I’m assuming you’re asking this (and perhaps the previous) question about my own work – or perhaps you’re asking about being inspired by the work of others? I guess it’s a little hard to objectively judge my own work from the outside and make determinations as to whether it is even special. I of course like to think so, but as with all art the response is really in the eye of the beholder. If I was to say a few things about what I might find special about my own… I’d like to say that I have a reasonable eye for composition – both the natural for landscapes as well as the architectural for man made – and I’m completely happy to try every position I can including odd heights and angles. I also see myself as more of a “documenter of what was there” rather than a digital artist. I rely on and aim with my technique to get as much right or complete of the finished image in camera as I can and not excessively process the images later. In part this is simply because of the challenge itself to do so, but also because I’m lazy (post processor) (and I think I prefer the shooting experience more than being on the computer) and finally because it’s generally the look of images that I myself like to look at.

20140628_208-EditI love images like this, something that I definitely want to get back into this year when daylight savings finishes here in a couple of weeks.  This is an amazing star trail, and I like the attention to detail with it as well, meaning the foreground, it is something that I want to make sure I include, and another thing to practice when I start doing this, some light painting.

Here is what gear Rodney uses.

Today I shoot with a Nikon D600 camera with a variety of lenses and gear I’ve accumulated over time for various types of work. For landscape work my most loved and most used lenses would be the Nikon 16-35/4 and 24-70/2.8, tho I also use other lenses for specific cases – e.g. the Rokinon 15/2.8 (great for night, milky way, star trails light painting) and I have a variety of lenses going from fisheye to 500mm which I use at different times when I’m not shooting landscapes.

When shooting landscapes I use the Lee slot in filter system with a variety of filters (including my most used being the Lee 0.6 & 0.9 hard grads, Formatt-Hitech 0.9 reverse grad, Lee little and bigstoppers and Heliopan 105mm circular polariser). I use a Sirui N2204 carbon fibre tripod with a Really Right Stuff BH-40 PCLR ball head and a Phottix wireless intervalometer remote.

You can see a more detailed list of gear for different types of photography here:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rodney for allowing me to showcase him and his work here.  It would be wonderful if you could go and take a look at his Google+ page. He also has a blog, Rodney Campbell’s Blog. You can find him on other social media sites as well, Facebook, Instagram and Flickr.

I have a gallery of some of the images that I really liked, I hope you like them too, don’t forget to go and see many more images with his links.

Weekend Wanderings: Birds at Werribee

The last 24 hours have been so crazy and I almost thought I wouldn’t get a post done.  So I have made the decision to do a quick one today, I hope you don’t mind.  I spent a lot of time yesterday with Wendy Philip and Chris Wilson. Wendy was visiting from Adelaide and we organised a sunrise shoot down at Sorrento. I was up at 4am and then spent the day with those wonderful ladies photographing the ocean around Sorrento.  You will have to wait for those photos, they need too much work at this stage.

Today I am just going to do a gallery for you of some photos I took with Chris from sv-takeiteasy a couple of weeks ago when we went to the wetlands over at Werribee. I was using the Sigma 150-500mm on my old camera, the Nikon D300s, been a while since I used it.  It is so fast.  We saw lots of birds, and I know some are Cape Baron Geese, some spoonbills, lots of different ones.

I hope you are having a good weekend and enjoy your day.  I think I might try sleeping, or I might have to start working on some photos.

Weekend Wanderings: A Couple of Mornings in Banyule Flats

To start with I must make some apologies, WordPress have now changed it so you HAVE to use their new editor.  I really hate it, it is so small on my large screen and it is so hard to read the writing.  So please excuse me if I make mistakes that I can’t see.  We should all complain, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the old editor.  That option is now gone. Before we know it we will be stuck with the new and worse stats page as well.

Anyway, I am going to try and do this, it is killing my eyes because it is so small that everything is going gooey in front of my eyes, but let’s visit Banyule Flats again.


I have some more photos of the sunrise shots I got, not a lot, but some taken in a couple of places.  It was such a lovely morning for photos and my plan is to go back soon, try going back often.  I am bound to get some amazing shots if I keep going back.


Yesterday morning I took the Tamron 150-600mm there to see what I could get.  There weren’t a lot of birds, but it was nice to see an Ibis and a Heron there, I even identified that it was a Heron, I think I might be getting better.  Don’t ask me what sort of heron, no idea about that.  This was taken right across the swamp.  I had to crop it quite a bit.


We went for a wander and saw some wasps on some wood so I thought I would try the lens on them.  Not bad.  Again, I had to crop it quite a bit, but I think the definition is quite good.


This is the cocoon for a swift moth and apparently seeing these on the ground is a good sign, means autumn is on its way. I am glad to hear that, and in fact we could see many trees starting the change, so will be spending quite a bit of time there I think with the wide angle.  This image was taken with the 50mm.


I put the 150-600mm back on to photograph some Tawny Frogmouths.  I thought I was getting nothing, so imagine my surprise when I got home to find that I not only got a good shot, I also got one of it looking straight at me.  They are usually asleep when I go.

I am going to put more photos into a gallery for you now, more shots of the sunrise and more birds.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and have lots of plans.  I will be out shooting with another Blogger today, so that will be a lot of fun.

Up for Discussion: Challenges of Photography While Sailing

Recently I was down the coast with Chris from sv-takeiteasy and we were talking about taking photos on the boat, so I asked her if she would like to do a post on it.  She thought she wouldn’t have anything to say, but I think you will agree with me that there is a lot to consider when you are on a boat and want to take photos.  I hope you enjoy her post on the challenge of sailing and photography.

The special challenges of photography while on a boat…

When Leanne asked me to do a guest post on the special challenges of photography while on a boat, I responded “what am I going to talk about and how is this of interest to most photographers?” But as I thought about it, and talked to my partner Wade, we came up with a list of things that might in fact be useful to more than the sailors amongst us. So here we go!

Movement & Camera Shake

When you are on a boat, movement is constant, even at anchor! A tripod is useless whilst on board. So how else do you minimise camera shake? For any photos taken on a moving platform, you need to shoot at high shutter speed. Slow shutter speeds simply produce blurred shots! Most of my images at sea are taken at shutter speeds in excess of 1/600 sec. I also have the Vibration Control (VC) or Image Stabilization (IS) turned on to reduce camera movement.

Horizon Line

It’s really hard to keep a straight horizon line. Keeping your balance while shooting on a boat is a challenge already, but when you have your eye on the viewfinder, and everything is moving around you, it’s even harder to keep your images level. So I have become very familiar with the “Straightening Tool” in post processing. For me it’s automatic, I check the image in post and when needed, which is often, I straighten it. However sometimes, you do want to convey the lean! For instance in this picture, we felt like we were in a roller coaster, going up and down, leaning sideways… I wanted to convey that movement and did not straighten the horizon line. Here is a photo taken at Point Perpendicular on a rough day… The settings were F9, 1/640 sec, ISO 200, 18mm focal length.



Out in the ocean bright light and reflections are intensified. So on sunny days, I use a circular polarising filter to suppress the bleaching effect of sun and water glare. It’s a bit like putting your polarising sunglasses on. You reduce the glare but get deeper colour tones and definition in the water and sky.

Camera Settings

My default lens on the boat is a Tamron 18-270. I want the flexibility to go from wide angle shots for seascapes to zoom for birds, without needing to change lens!

I take lots of photos of birds from the cockpit or from the deck! So I have learned to pan, but that is not all there is to it. I set my camera on high speed continuous shooting, spot metering, ISO 200 and AI Servo. I have these settings memorised in a Custom Function so when I decide I want to capture birds in flight, I just switch to ‘C’ on my camera and don’t fumble around. I find AI Servo great. For those who don’t use this setting, it is for moving subjects when the focusing distance keeps changing. You hold down the shutter button halfway, and the bird will be focused continuously as you pan. That goes for taking birds or any sports scene on terra firma too!

Taking photos of the sea and waves is a challenge! Not just because the platform you stand on is moving, but also because the ocean always seems to look flat as a tack in photos, even when it is heaving! I find that my wide angle lens stretches perspective, whereas my telephoto lens compresses perspective. Either way, you cannot discern relative distances between distant objects – and the net result is the sea looks flat and the waves are little more than ripples, which is rather disappointing when you are trying to show how impressive the ocean looked! After lots of experimentation, I have found that when I want to convey movement, big swell, or spectacular waves I have to zoom in. This photo was taken at F9, ISO 200, 1/640 sec, 92mm focal length.


Camera & Lens Cleaning

Salt gets everywhere, it coats everything. Cleaning the lenses and camera regularly is a must. On a boat, you are likely to get lots of spray even if you don’t see or feel it. The same goes if you are ashore photographing seascapes on a windy day. Salt water should not be left to dry on your lens especially on the front element. The salt is abrasive and can cause microscopic scratches to the lens when left to dry then cleaned. So I religiously clean my camera and lens. I have a supply a clean cloth and some lens cleaner spray at home or on the boat. I also carry “Mack’s lens wipes” in my camera bag. You can buy a box of these at chemists or optometrists; they are individually wrapped pre-moistened cleaning towelettes. I find these more practical than cloth which can end up smearing things around and damaging your lens unless you wash them regularly. The back element of the lens shouldn’t need cleaning but if it does use a blower to remove dust or a cloth for anything else.

If you shoot near the sea, make sure you pull apart the entire camera removing battery grips, lenses, tripod brackets or any other attachments before cleaning everything with a damp cloth. As I said, salt gets everywhere. I found some corrosion in my flash shoe mount for instance and now pay particular attention to this.

Lens changes & your Sensor

I don’t own multiple camera bodies, so I change lenses quite often. If I need to change lens on board, I make a point of doing this inside the cabin, not out in the cockpit. When on terra firma, I try to avoid changing lenses when it’s windy or dusty. I also always try to shelter my camera and lens when making a swap and make it quick. But over time, it is pretty much unavoidable that dust spots will appear on your sensor and spoil every one of your photos. I can cope with one or two spots, but during our last trip, I collected more than a few! Cloning out dust spots from your images can be time consuming and frustrating!

I now get my camera sensor professionally cleaned after major cruises. Some photographers choose to clean their sensors using special sensor cleaning swabs but I personally don’t trust myself to do this and there are times when manual cleaning isn’t sufficient, so I prefer to leave it to the professionals. Most camera cleaning services have a 24 hour turnaround or less so you don’t have to be without your camera for days on end!

Protection from impact

Everything moves on board, even on a catamaran, and it’s easy for the camera to fall… I once damaged an old camera when a sudden wave rocked the boat and the camera fell off the table, smashing something in the view finder. Although it was the perfect excuse to buy a better camera I wouldn’t like this to happen again! So, having the discipline to put away the camera safely back in its case is important. When on board I use a ‘neoprene’ type cover to give a bit of protection to the camera and lens from impact, moisture and dust. I use Op/Tech USA pouches which come in different sizes, depending on the size of the lens, but there are other brands available.


Dry Bags for transport

Getting ashore in a dinghy can be a risky business… You can get swamped by waves, or fall over as you get out of the dinghy or simply just get splashed. If the camera is in a dry bag, at least you’ll get wet but it won’t! I tend to either put my camera in its neoprene sleeve into a light weight Sea to Summit dry bag, or use a larger dry bag that can take my camera back pack. I never ever hop in the dinghy with the camera unprotected.


Camera Bag

A lightweight bag is essential. I hate carrying a heavy weight on my back, so for me it’s a compromise between protection and portability… The bag I use most often is a 10L Flipside Sport Lowepro. It is light, comfortable and is designed to take my camera with a zoom lens with enough space for another lens or set of filters. It has a spot for my tripod and for a water bag too if I want to.

So there you have it. The challenges of photography at sea, and my ways of coping with them! Even if you don’t get on a boat too often, I hope there are a few aspects in this post that you can apply to your own environment.

I hope you will all join me in thanking Chris from sv-takeiteasy for this wonderful post.  Thanks Chris.  She has included a lot more photos for you to see, all taken on the boat.

Quiet Thursdays: Photos from Social Media

Quiet Thursdays might change.  I have been trying to put up more images on Social Media and seeing what people think of them, so I was thinking that maybe I could start using this day to show them to you.  They often don’t fit into any other posts, and I usually do more work to them.  So today I have 7 images for you that I have put on Facebook and Google+ this last week.  It is interesting to see how they do on those and I’m looking forward to seeing how they go on WordPress.

They are all experimental, meaning I’ve been trying some new things.  Some things I love, some things not so much, but it has been fun to play with some images. I have put where they were taken underneath. I’m off to the zoo again today to see if I can see the new baby gorilla.

MM 2-2: Monochrome Madness 2-2

The second week and great to see so many still wanting to do Monochrome Madness. I think there has been some confusion about the theme.  While there is going to be a theme it will only be once a month, so if you want to get one ready then the theme will be in MM 2-4.  As I explained before, there will be two galleries that week, one for the theme and one for those that don’t want to do it.

MM 2-4 theme will MM.

I thought I should mention, and some of you may have noticed last week, that I’m not featuring Laura Macky’s image anymore. Laura decided that she would leave the second year to me.  She will participate when she can, but just wants to be like everyone else. I hope I said that right.


This image was taken a while ago when I went into the city to take some photos of the Royal Exhibition Building.  While we were walk around it I saw the light on the Museum and because interested in it for a while.  I like the symmetrical nature of it, then I thought all the lines would make an interesting monochrome image.

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, Monochrome Madness will continue next week and 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: Trying New Things

I am trying to get ahead of things this week.  It is good, now that I have decided to write more, I need to make sure I have time for that.

Tamron SP 150-600mm

As I mentioned last week the lens has arrived from Maxwell International Australia.  It is huge, and heavy, but not really that much heavier than the Sigma 150-500mm.  I took it to the zoo the other day to try it out.  I found it good to use, and loved how close I could get to the animals with it. melbourne-zoo-animals-birds-0039When I got the images onto the computer I thought they were so clear.  Whenever I’ve used the Sigma lens I’ve always been a little disappointed.  Though to be fair to Sigma, their lens is older, and could have improved since then.  I also haven’t tried the Sigma 150-600mm.

All the photos in this post were taken with the Tamron lens.  I have processed them a little, not much, and except for the gorillas, I haven’t cropped them as I wanted you to be able to see what I could get. Keep in mind that it is a zoo and you do get quite good access, or get close enough to take photos.

The RRP in Australia for the lens is $1399, so not too bad.  I have no idea how much it costs in other countries, though knowing what things cost here, I am sure it is cheaper overseas.  Maxwell’s sent me a brochure for you to check out, click here to see it. You can also check out the Tamron website for the Tamron SP 150-600mm Lens.

I have the lens for about a month, so I will continue trying it out.  I’m looking forward to trying it out on the birds at Banyule Flats.

Book on Banyule Flats

I am making plans and actually went down to Banyule Flats the other morning to take some photos. It was wonderful.  It was cold and there was a mist over the swamp, so it gave it a lovely atmosphere.  The sunrise wasn’t that impressive, but the mist made up for it.  I melbourne-zoo-gorillas-1033am going to be going down there a lot over the next few months, and the plan is to go down there at least once a week.  Get on with getting lots and lots more images for my book.  I will, of course, be trying them out on your first.

Online Courses or Learning from Me

I have had someone else sign up for some classes online, which is great.  This time it is going to be focused more on photo editing.  So something different again.  I am excited about doing there.  Remember if you would like to learn from me you can get information from my website on Online classes.

I have other things available to, like the One on One photography sessions, so please check them out.

Digital Photography School

I have submitted an article for the Digital Photography School (dps) and if everything goes well then it will be published next week. It still has to be edited, and they might think it isn’t good enough, but I do hope you will all go and look for it if it is published, and maybe leave some comments, well one each would be enough.  I would love to do more of this sort of thing.


melbourne-zoo-animals-birds-0044It seems the problems I was having with doing videos for the newsletter has been sorted out and hopefully this next newsletter I can add more to it than the last one. If you want to get the newsletter then you can sign up here for it here. I want to start doing more instructions and giving advise on how I do my photography.

SITHOM Exhibition

This SITHOM exhibition starts this week.  The exhibition is of Street Photography in Melbourne, though not limited to just photos of people, which is nice.  I have 4 images going into it.

If you would like to see the exhibition it here are the details of when it is on, Thursday, 19 – Monday, 30 March, 2015,Weekdays:  10am – 4pm   Weekends:  1pm – 4pm.

The opening night is Friday at 7pm, so come along and check out the images, should be a great exhibition.

The exhibition is being held at the Victorian Artists Society, 430 Albert Street, East Melbourne VIC 3002.

See you there.

That is enough for this week.  As I said earlier, the photos were all taken with the Tamron lens at the Royal Melbourne Zoo.




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