Skip to content

Weekend Wanderings – Kinglake Reminds Us

In Australia Summer starts on the 1st of December, and while we tend to think of summer as hot weather, beaches, sand, barbecues, water, flies and snakes there is something else that usually happens that none of us want to think about, bushfires.  There are always fires here,  somewhere.  It is the unfortunate reality of a country like Australia, there will be fires, and we just hope they aren’t anywhere near us and that the loss of life will be nil or close to that. The other day I was back up in Kinglake taking another look at how the bush area there is growing and I also went to some areas that I hadn’t been to before.


In February it will be 6 six years since the worse bushfires in Australian history, the Black Saturday fires.  It all happened, pretty much, in one day, 173 people lost their lives and 2100 homes were destroyed, and it is something that none of us ever want repeated.  Now, 6 years later the communities are still rebuilding and the only place where you can still be reminded of the fires is the bushland.  The new trees are growing, but the dead wood of the burned trees still dominant over the landscape.


Kinglake was one of the worst affected areas with the fires decimating the surrounding area.  The bushland around Kinglake, the national park, was completely destroyed,  most homes around it were as well.

I love going back and watching how the area is slowly growing back, one day you will hardly be able to see the dead trees sticking up out of the canopy.


There are already areas that have regenerated enough that it is almost impossible to tell that the fires went through there.

So I thought I would dedicate this post to the bushfires and the victims as a reminder to all of us that we need to be vigilant and that we need to be very careful, especially anywhere where a fire could start.  The black Saturday fires were close to home for me, they stopped less that 30 kms from my home, and if the wind hadn’t changed when it did, well, a lot more people would have been homeless.

This is what summer in Australia can be, it is part of what happens here and we have to be prepared for it.  I should apologise, I didn’t mean it to be a morbid post, but more a reminder of what was and what is now.

I’ve seen some photos of the snow storm that has hit part of the states, and I hope everyone there is safe and sound. I also hope the snow has stopped.  Take care if you live there, Amy if you are reading this, I mean you.  So I will leave you with a gallery now, my reminder of what can happen, but also how much we recover and move on.

Up for Discussion – Critiquing

This is a topic I’ve been thinking about doing for a while.  I’ve also heard other people complaining about it, so I thought it is something that should be addressed and this forum seemed like the perfect place to do it. I am going to do it in two parts, asking for your images to be critiqued, then critiquing other peoples images when not invited to do so.

Asking to Have Your Images Critiqued

From time to time, well, maybe more often than that I get asked by various people if I will take a look at their photos, tell them what I think.  I always politely refuse, and try to find a good reason to not do it.  One of the main reasons is that I am very uncomfortable doing it.  I am not an expert on photos, and I don’t think I have the right to give my opinion just like that.

The other thing that people don’t seem to realise is the time it really takes to give a good critique.  It can take me an hour or two when I am doing it for other people, if I do it, I want to do it well.  I do offer critiquing as a service and it is often part of my online scschool-hpm5544-8courses, but it does take time.  You have to look at the images, and then seriously evaluate them, and sometimes write a report.

It is important to be careful about who you ask too.  I am kind, well I hope I am, but others may not be.  Your photography, anyone’s photography is something that is very personal, and people are attached to it.  The last thing you want is someone to critique your work that makes you want to give up photography altogether.  Positive sandwich, a term I heard recently and it is something I’ve always tried to follow.

There are lots of ways of getting your work critiqued without directly having someone do it.  Enter competitions, see how your work goes.  Find groups on Facebook and Google+ where you can put your images and see how many people like or +1 it.  There are lots of places like that.  Though you need to work out why you are taking photos too, if it is just for yourself, scschool-hpm5459-7then what does it matter what other people think?

Learn to be more critical yourself. I look at other peoples work and wonder what I like it about it, why I like it, and then how I can apply that to my own work.

Giving Critique When Not Ask to

This is one that I hear people complaining a lot about.  That they will put up photos and then someone else will go through their photos and tell them everything that is wrong with them.  This is unwanted criticism.

I have been the victim of it in the past, and sometimes it really upsets me, so I know why others get upset with it as well.  Often my first thought is, who the hell are you to be criticising my images, then I have to think of ways to get around it.  I don’t like upsetting people.  I tend to just respond with, but I like it like this, this is how I wanted it.

scschool-hpm4033-6It is hard to know what to say to people who do this and to get them to stop.  I have a couple of people that I love and trust, and if I really want an opinion on something I ask them. I know they will be honest with me and let me know.  It is good to have people in your life that are like that.  I had a friend from Uni and one of the things she used to say was, it’s good, but it’s not the best you’ve done.  I hated it at the time, but her opinion was valuable.

I also go by the old saying, “if you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all”.  I’ve had people saying things about my images and they have had nothing nice to say, and they are just being nasty, for whatever reason.

So what is my point, if you are critiquing peoples photos and telling them what you think they should do to them, then don’t.  Think about what your constant criticism of their work is doing to them, and I can tell you, the people aren’t sitting back and being happy about it, they may be too polite to tell you to just stop it. I can tell you they don’t like it.

scschool-hpm5434-5If you really want to help someone, ask first.  Ask them if they would mind you giving some advice.  One of the ways I’ve had people doing it to me is to suggest what they would do if the images was theirs.

I often see images and I think, oh I wish they had done this, or done that, but then I think, it isn’t my image, and I have to respect how the person has done it.  You can tell if someone is really happy with what they have done, if they are, then it is best to not say anything.

I think the best policy is don’t critique, unless invited to, and if you are invited and accept, then you still need to tread carefully, remember the positive sandwich, always put positives around negatives.  I had an art teacher once who was great, she would say what she liked about what you were doing, and then say what she thought you could work on to make the image better, or better next time.  I loved it and I have always tried to follow that way of doing it.

Wow, this has turned out far longer than I had expected.  I hope it all makes sense. Critiquing is a very personal thing, as are images, and whether critiquing or getting wanted critique there should always be a massive dose of respect.

The photos for today’s post were taken and processed a couple of years ago.  There were taken in an old school that has now been pulled down, apparently to make way for more houses.


Quiet Thursday’s – AB Fridays

For today’s post I thought I might highlight another challenge that has been going on, some of you know about it, others not, but the challenge is being held over on Stacy’s blog, Visual Venturing.  The challenge is called After-Before Friday, the idea being you show a before image and then the after.  The results can be great.  You put the images on your blog, and send them to Stacy where she puts them up in a post on Fridays. I’ve done it a few times, but over on my other blog.  I thought it would be nice to show some support and do it here this time.


This is my before photo, it is one I took last Sunday at the Docklands.  I see this building all the time when I catch the train, and I’ve tried photographing it before, with mixed results.  I love how it sits, the layers of the floors and the vertical lines in the glass.  It is an interesting building.  So I wanted to take some images of it, especially with the crane reflected in the glass, there is always new things going up around Melbourne.

I never have any idea what I will do to an image until I start playing with it. So I started playing and a couple of hours later I had this.


I put in a new sky and gave it some blur.  I tried to bring out the glass in the building.  I darkened parts and lit some up more. I saturated some parts, and desaturated others.  I tried to bring the focus to where I wanted it to be.  I hope you can see the difference, according to my daughter there isn’t much difference.  I like the change, I like how the building comes out.

If you are interested in being involved in Stacy’s challenge, then check out the After-Before Friday Forum where you can find a list of other weeks, and more importantly you can find out how to participate and what you need to do.  I hope you will read them better than me, sorry Stacy, I should have read it more closely.

The next AB Friday is tomorrow, well it is Friday here, and if you want to see what is happening you can go to Stacy’s blog, Visual Venturing.  For now the link is just to her blog, but as soon as I know it is published on Friday I will change the link. Here is the link to the actual page, After-Before Friday Week 27

Thanks Stacy for another great challenge.


MM38 – Monochrome Madness 38

Here we are at Week 38 of Monochrome Madness.  Christmas is coming around soon so I was thinking maybe we should do something for Christmas, well the week before Christmas or rather Christmas Day is a Thursday, so maybe the Wednesday before, the 24th of December we could do a  special Monochrome Madness.  One idea would be to do a monochrome image and maybe leaving one thing in colour, like an image of a Christmas tree and leave one red bauble.  Let me know what you think! For those that don’t know how to do it I could do a tutorial on how.


Someone suggested that the water tower in Warracknabeal would make a good monochrome image, and though they meant another image of it, this is the one I liked the most.  I spent a bit of time on it and am really pleased with the way it has come out. I have also done the reverse processing and you can see the result of that on my other blog,


Laura Macky  has been playing around with the same image as last week, and if you want to find out more information about it then take a look at her blog and her post, Coneflower Twirl – 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 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 More About Snapping

I thought today for Tuesday’s Bits and Bobs More about snapping for the title could mean that really this post is going to be mainly about Social Snappers.  I have to get things ready for Christmas and also next year.

Social Snappers Photography Excursion

One of the biggest things I’ve been trying to do is organise dates and places to go for Social Snappers.  I have a couple of people who have been to many of them and so I find out what they would be interested in as well.

Sunday Excursions

australia-murray-sunset-nationalpark-pinklakes-1971st of February – Bourke Street, one end to the other

15th of February – Hanging Rock

1st of March – Healesville Sanctuary

15th of March – Cape Schanck

29th of March – Fitzroy Gardens

For Thursday’s Excursions

29th of January – Melbourne Zoo

australia-murray-sunset-nationalpark-pinklakes-20712th of February – Sorrento

26th of February – St Kilda

12th of March – Swantston Street, one end to the other

26th of March – Kyneton

Now that the dates and places have been sorted I need to get things ready on the website for Social Snappers and I also want to get some gift vouchers made up so people can buy vouchers for Christmas.  I will do the same with my One on One Photography Lessons, the perfect Christmas present for someone who wants to learn photography.

Tamron 90mm Macro Lens

australia-murray-sunset-nationalpark-pinklakes-202The lens is being returned this week to Maxwell International Australia and I have to say I am very sad to see it go.  I have loved having it and loved using it.  Though I will be getting a new macro lens myself in a couple of weeks, when my money for the grant comes through.  I am looking forward to trying out more Tamron lenses in the future, thank you to Maxwell International Australia for giving me this opportunity.

Welcome to New York

Another thing I have been busy doing is tying down my dates for New York.  It is going to come around fast.  Looks like I will be around San Francisco for about 10 days, then Pennsylvania for 3 days, and onto New York.  I will get to meet a few bloggers I hope.  It is going to be so exciting.  Looks like it is all set for around mid April to early May, so I will be away for around 3 weeks.

In New York we thought we might plan a day where anyone who knows me through the blog can come, meet me and we could have a photo walk, or just go out and take photos together.  So if you live around New York, keep tuned, we will let you know when we have a day organised.

australia-murray-sunset-nationalpark-pinklakes-198I called this welcome to New York because my daughter is obsessed with Taylor Swift, and when I asked her what present she wanted from New York, she told me that she wanted me to bring Taylor Swift home.

Robyn’s One Four Challenge

I’ve done another image for Robyn’s Challenge and you can see it on my post, One Four Challenge November Week 3 and if you want to see more posts from others doing it as well, check out the pingbacks and Robyn’s photo in her post, ONE FOUR CHALLENGE – NOV WK 3.

That is about it this week.  I am incredibly busy, but it seems not doing a lot.  I am making lots of plans for classes and such next year too, so I better get back to it,  The photos in this post are from my recent trip to the Pink Lakes in the Murray Sunset National Park.  We went there the same day we went to Patchewollock, so it was getting late in the day for taking photos, but I like the fact that the sun is beating down, really that is exactly how it is there.  The lakes have dried up so the lakes aren’t really pink anymore, but you can see some pink.


Influencing Me – Albert Bierstadt

A while back someone said I should take a look at Albert Bierstadt from the Hudson River School of Artists.  I am so sorry, but I can’t remember who told me about him, but I am glad they did, what an incredible painter.  I have to admit I don’t know a lot about the Hudson River School, but I am always willing to look and see what I can find out.  However, upon looking up Albert Bierstadt I was more than pleasantly surprised to see a painter doing big landscapes.


One of the things that really caught my attention is the way he showed light.  Unlike many painters of today, he wouldn’t have used photographs to give him an idea of the landscape as he was painting it.  I know photography was around, but nothing like what we have now.  I have been out to take photos and a scene like the one above would be rare, so I think if he saw it, he must have painted it from his memory, which I think is truly extraordinary and wonderful.  It is a great scene, I would love to capture something like that through the lens of my camera.


The level of detail in his work is amazing.  I know painters paint the sea and waterfalls, but I was so taken with what he has done.  I love the water paintings.  I love how you can almost see every little drop of water.


There are some paintings that he had done that I think are a wonderful record of history, and I am sure it is pretty much how it was back then.  I found this on Wikipedia about him:

A German-American painter best known for his large, detailed landscapes of the American West. In obtaining the subject matter for these works, Bierstadt joined several journeys of the Westward Expansion. Though not the first artist to record these sites, Bierstadt was the foremost painter of these scenes for the remainder of the 19th century.

That explains why there are paintings like the one above.


I imagine this is what Autumn in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere are really like.  The colours must be so amazing.  I hope one day to travel to these areas and see this for myself.  We don’t get autumn like many other parts of the world.  Most of the trees in Australia are evergreens, so they don’t change their colours.  I love the colours in this painting, it is so vibrant, and calming in a way.


Another big landscape painting.  It is such a shame that paintings like this are not valued so much anymore.  The detail and the incredible talent that an artist must have to do work like this is amazing, but when you look at the world of art these days, you won’t find many artists doing paintings like this anymore.

I find it fascinating to look at artists who were painting the type of thing that I want to photograph.  I love big landscapes, and looking to see what I can bring to images of them.


He looks like a nice man, though you can’t really tell from a photo, but he was a great artist and I can tell that from his work. Wikipedia has information on  Albert Bierstadt if you would like more information.  There is also a list of the massive number of paintings that he did in his lifetime here. I do have a gallery for you now of his work, some paintings that I just loved.

Weekend Wanderings – Patchewollock

The other day I showed you a photo of the Mallee Fowl sculptures in Patchewollock and quite a few of you said that you would like to see more photos of them, and I said I would on the weekend, so here we are it is the weekend and I have more photos of them, plus of Patchewollock.


I just love these, they are so big, and so well made.  Of course they are not the same size as the real ones, but they are, apparently quite large birds, so even though these are oversized, they give you the impression the birds are big.


This is an old goods shed that is next to the train line, or near where the train line used to be.  If you dig down you can find the tracks, but they really aren’t used now, obviously.  The shed is quite old and apparently they are going to be restoring it, so it was nice to get some photos of that before it happened.  I don’t know when the restoration will happen, but it was nice to get some before shots.


The local pub is a great art deco pub, not at all what you would expect in a country town like Patche, a lovely surprise.  Not so sure about the seat in front of it, but still, the pub is a great building.

LC3_3843 as Smart Object-1

This is a fairly typical scene in most country towns, they are big spaces, and the silos are often the most dominant thing in the town.  The building on the right is the local shop.


I was taken into the local hall to see the patchwork mural that was made locally and put up on display in the hall.  Great quilt.

After a few of you said you liked seeing where I was or had been with the map I have worked out how to embed a map into a post, so I  hope you can work out where Patchewollock is on the map.

I am going to put up a gallery for you now of more photos, I  hope you enjoy a quick look around Patchewollock.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 30,312 other followers