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Weekend Wanderings – Banyule Flats Bird Life

As I said yesterday the weather here has been really good and it has been nice to be able to get out into the local parks and get some photos where the sun has been shining.  This last week I went out with one of the members from the Warringal Conservation Society, another keen photographer, but also a keen bird watcher.  She knew all the birds that were around, and has been able to identify them for me.  I took the Sigma 150-500mm lens that I am borrowing at the moment to see if I could get some good photos of the birds with that.  We went into Banyule Flats, parkland near Heidelberg, in the cities north east.

6-banyule-flats-morning-parks-birdsBanyule Flats has a very active bird life, and every time I go there, there are birds everywhere in the water.  More and more of the water weeds are growing, so a lot more birds are coming to the swamp.  I never really thought of myself as a bird watcher, but I really enjoy seeing them all down there.  It is like a bird metropolis within another metropolis.


Swan Parents with their Signet

The one thing that everyone is watching down there at the moment are the Black Swans and their babies, not black, but grey.  I was so happy to see the two of them again, the last few times I’ve been down, there has only been one, and I was hoping the other was on the nest.  They are the talk of the Flats, and a lot of people are going down there to see them and make sure they are okay.  Apparently there were 5 signets, but one has been lost, or killed.



The swamp isn’t the only place to see the birds, we also went for a walk along the Yarra River, which is right next to the swamp, and we saw the above Darter swimming in the river and then she got up onto the branches to sun itself.  Beautiful bird.  When I first saw it in the river I thought it was a snake, the way its head stuck out.  Then the woman I was with explained it was often called a snake bird.  Apparently this one is female, because the males are all black.



Everywhere you walk around the parks, all you can hear are the birds, and the ones that stand out are the Kookaburras as they laugh at us, or each other, I don’t now.


Tawny Frogmouth

This was my favourite find, the Tawny Frogmouth.  A native here, and very hard to find, not because there are few of them, there are lots of them, but because they are nocturnal, they hide themselves well.  We had been told where this one was and so were able to find it.  There were two others we were told about, but we couldn’t find them at all.  They make themselves look like limbs on a tree, so that makes them harder to find.

I am going to put together a gallery for you now.  All the photos were taken with the Sigma lens, and I tried to get some shots of other things.  Though I went out again yesterday with a wider lens, and got some images of the area with that, which I will show you tomorrow.  I have tried to get all the birds identified, but I missed out on a couple, so if I find out what they are, I will add them.  I hope the weather is great where you are and you have a splendid weekend taking photos.


Friday’s Bits and Bobs

It has been such a busy week, and I vaguely remember some of it.  It does seem to have gone by so quickly.  The weather has improved a lot, which has been great.  We are seeing the sun a lot more, and while there is still more rain predicted, we can see signs that spring isn’t too far away.


The big thing I have been working on is a grant proposal.  My local council, Banyule City Council often have grants available for people to apply for.  I have put one in for an Environmental Sustainability Grant to produce a book on Banyule Flats.

banyule-flats-morning-reflections-waterI have spoken before about the area that I live in, and shown you so many photos, that I continue to take, and it is an amazing area, or space.  We are only 13 or 15 kilometres from the city centre, yet if you drive around here you would think you were in  a country town a long way from any city.  Unfortunately this area is under threat, and the state government wants to put a freeway through the area.  No one is really sure where, but Banyule Flats is an obvious place for it.

For the last few months I have been going into Banyule Flats and taking photos of it to show you. I thought if I could use this blog to help show the world, or whatever part of the world you are from of seeing what is around me, that I could help protect the area.  I ambanyule-flats-sunrise-reflection-morning still not sure exactly what I am hoping to achieve, but connecting with a larger audience can’t hurt.  Doing books on particular areas is something else that I would like to do, and when I saw that grant applications were open, I thought it could be good to see if could apply for one.

My grant proposal is about the stewardship of this area, hopefully protecting it for future generation.  However, if the freeway does go ahead, then it will also be a record of what we have lost, and what the local community, who have put a lot of work into the area, have also lost. I won’t find out for a couple of months if I have received it.  It has been an interesting experience doing it, and something I might try to do again.

Warringal Conservation Society

Through my grant proposal I have also come into contact with the Warringal Conservation Society.  A group of people who are concebanyule-flats-summer-swampland-dryrned about the conservation of our local area.  It has been wonderful to meet people who care so much about our environment.  I have been out with a couple of members now, and I have learned so much more about the history of the area, and more so about what is there.  It is weird how you can build a connection to a place and the stewardship of that area becomes so very important. I have my membership form filled out and hope to become a member myself soon.

banyule-flats-sunset-waterMoving Days Around

I don’t have much more to say today, but there is something I wanted to discuss with you.  The other day I asked for people to send me proposals for guest posting. The response was great, and I have quite a few lined up. One of the conditions I have is that people who guest post should also respond to the comments, it gives me a day off. Which can be great, but if I don’t have a guest blogger, and I do the post, then I can spend all day responding to comments.  It is also the day I get MM ready, so the day can be a bit hectic.  I would like more distance between the two, and was thinbanyule-flats-night-moonlightking of changing it, so that today’s post would become Tuesday’s Bits and Bobs, and Friday’s post would become the Up for Discussion posts.  I wanted to hear what you thought about it though.  I like to think you are all part of this, so let me know how you would feel about this change.

Just want to finish today by letting you know that the photos in today’s post have all been taken around Banyule Flats this year, at various times.


Quiet Thursdays – Moonlight in Banyule Flats


I took this shot a while back when I was photographing the moonlight in Banyule Flats.  I love the way the light from the moon shows everything. I was also trying to get the stars.  I thought maybe since I was in a valley that maybe I might be able to get the milky way, but there were too many lights from the city.  Also being a full moon I didn’t like my chances.  I might try again when there is a new moon.

I did play with this a little bit, trying to bring more out of the sky, not sure I succeeded much.  It really isn’t a great photo, but it is a trial for something else.  I think experimenting and trying things is so important, you just never know what might work. That is something about digital that I do love, that you can experiment and not have to worry about wasting film.

If the clouds weren’t there I suspect it would be a very boring image, so in this instance I am glad it was there.

I am leaving it there today, I have been out taking photos all day, so I am a bit tired now, I need to be quiet for a while.


MM25 – Monochrome Madness 25

Welcome to another week of Monochrome Madness and I hope you enjoy this weeks photos.

To start with let’s talk about next week, MM26, it seems we are going with the idea of monochrome images that are actually colour images but they look like they are monochrome.  So the images will look like monochrome, but when you look more closely you will see they are colour.  I don’t want to put people off, so we might do two galleries, one for the theme and one for those that don’t want to do it.  I think it will be a great week, but first let’s do this week, also another great week of images.

Waiting for the Rain, Sorrento Back Beach

This isn’t the first time I have shown you this photo, I showed the colour one a couple of weeks ago.  It is also from the Sorrento Back beach, and it was taken just before the rain hit, you can see the rain in the distance.

Laura Macky is taking a few weeks off while she recovers from her surgery, I’m sure I won’t be the only one to miss her images and participation here.  I hope you recover soon Laura.

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 – That’s a Great Camera

Have you ever been out taking photos and someone has looked at your camera and said, “wow, that’s a great camera, it must take great photos”? I’ve had it said to me many times.  Yeah, I do have a great camera, but is that camera going to take great photos for everyone? There is an assumption by many people that it won’t matter what I do, I will get fantastic photos, like it has nothing to do with me.

When people, and by people I mean those that don’t really know about photography, see photographers with cameras, then the assumptions happen.  I was teaching a woman photography one day and she had a bigger camera than mine, and people would say to her, wow I bet you good photos with that?  She had hired me because she didn’t know how to use it.

I try not to be insulted when people say things like that, I know it’s ignorance, but seriously, really, do they not think that I have anything to do with it.  I have spent years and years learning my craft, how to use the camera to LeanneCole-macro-20140530-9927get the best from it.  Composition, figuring out what works and what doesn’t.  Then there is working out how to photograph different things, like landscape photography, or architecture, now stars.  I have spent, oh I don’t know how many hours over the last few years learning to use Photoshop so I can also get the best out of my camera.

I do have a great camera, and it does take great images, but that is because I know how to use it and I know, well most of the time, what I am doing with it.

scpointlonsdale-8809I also think that you don’t have to have a great camera to get good images.  I have seen photos here on WordPress that have blown me away, and then found out they were taken on a compact style camera.  Top cameras do have advantages, and they will do things that are great, but in the end, it doesn’t matter how you got the image, it is all about the image itself.  If you learn how to use your camera, and use it well, then who will know what you are using.  At the end of the day, people don’t look at a photo and say that must have been taken with a great camera.

Have you experience that reaction? Do feel that way when you see someone with a bigger camera than you? When you look at photos that people have taken do sccity-canon8877you wonder what sort of camera they have?

These Posts.

I have received no emails from anyone wanting to do any guest posting, or come up with suggestions for the Up for Discussion posts, and I don’t really know what to do.  I am running out of ideas.  Would love to hear your thoughts.  I’ve asked people to write posts, but I’m sure there are lots more people out there that know things or could write something.  You don’t have to be an expert, sometimes some of the best posts are because someone wanted to know something, or you might have experienced something that you would like to share.  Give it some thought, get back to me.

All the photos in this post were taken with an entry level Canon that I was able to borrow.

Introductions – J.T. Avery Photography

This week I have another WordPress blogger to introduce to you, though if you have been submitting or following the Monochrome Madness you will have noticed Justin, he is a regular contributor to the challenge.  MM is certainly what drew my attention to him.  It has been great being introduced to so many new people through that, and this week I thought I would introduce Justin and his blog, J.T. Avery Photography, to you.

Justin-avery-winter-4Those of you who know me know that I love winter shots, well the type of winter shots that I can’t get here.  We don’t get anything like this here. Justin lives in Wisconsin, so I guess he would get a lot of this sort of thing up there.  I find it so hard to conceive that water can be like this.  I suppose it would be very colder, colder than I have ever experienced.

Question one, why do you take photos, and for how long?

The answer for this question has changed since I first started to take photos. I originally decided that I wanted to start photography at the beginning of 2013 because I wanted to be able to have my own photos to hang on the wall as I like landscape photography wall art. Now I take photos because I like to visit places and want to remember the places I visit through my photos. I also like to share my photos because to me it’s almost like being able to show others a place that they may never be able to visit. When taking photos it gives me a reason to get out and enjoy nature and to visit places I wouldn’t normally visit. I’m always looking for new places, even close to home, that I can explore. It’s also a good way to get my children to enjoy nature as well and to teach them how important it is to preserve nature in order for them to enjoy their future.

DSC_1893I have to say I am quite jealous of the macro lens, I can’t wait to get one of my own. It would be so nice to be able to do more shots like this.  Justin shows some great photos of macro work in nature.

The second question was where do you find inspiration?

Most of my inspiration doesn’t come from one or a couple of photographers and it doesn’t really come from any professional photographers either. Most of my inspiration comes from other photographers just like me. To me it doesn’t matter what camera you use or what your experience level is, if you take photos that catch my attention, it inspires me to learn more and take more photos. I’m the type of person that likes a good challenge and am always wanting to learn new things. I don’t like repetition or becoming stagnant so I’m always looking for new ideas on different types of photography techniques or processing techniques. My most inspirational photographers tend to be landscape photographers though as that is what I like to shoot the most.

I guess in a way my inspiration originally came from wanting to learn how to shoot photos that look professional looking. During this process I first learned each aspect of the camera and how to change the settings to get different effects. Once I learned how to use the camera then I started tackling how to take interesting photos by learning more about composition and what lenses work well for different types of photography.

Justin-avery-waterfall-grassIt is nice looking at photos that give you a different perspective and I find that inspiring.  It can be great to get ideas from one another. I do like the perspective on the one here, getting down low.  I was watching another photographer recently who did a lot of that, and it is something I want to try a lot more.

The third question asked him if he worked in any special way?

I wouldn’t say there’s anything special about the way I work compared to a lot of other photographers as I have adapted many of my techniques from others. I’m always refining my process but basically I’ve been becoming more and more manual with my camera. What I mean by this is that not only do I shoot in manual mode where I control the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture, but I have also been learning how to better focus by using manual focus as well. I now usually always use a tripod as I’ve noticed how much more it improves the quality of my photos. I rarely go out during the day anymore as I tend to get less shots than if I head out in the early morning before the sunrise or make it somewhere for a sunset. Lately my focus has been photographing low and including elements in my photographs that normally aren’t noticed by many people.

Justin-avery-water-treesThere are a lot of long exposures on his blog and his Flickr page, and it is something I really want to do a lot more when I get my ND400 filter, and his photos really make me want to do a lot more of that.

What his gear is was the fourth question.

Right now I consider myself a Nikonian. For my camera body and lenses, they are all Nikon. What I shoot right now is the Nikon D610. My lenses include the 28mm f/1.8, 16-35mm f/4, 105mm f/2.8 macro (new one with auto focus), and 24-120mm f/4. I decided to stick with just a few lenses to use so I don’t have to think as much about what to bring. I tend to use the 105mm and the 16-35mm for most of my work. For a tripod I use the Vanguard Alta+ 204AP with a Vanguard SBH-250 ball head. For filters I use a Hoya ND400 neutral density filter. I plan on getting some of the Hoya HD2 filters when I get the money. I also plan on getting a set of extension tubes in the next month or so to get more specialized shots with my wide angle lens.

Justin-avery-winter-6I have added a new question to the list now, and so I asked Justin where in the world he was.

Right now I reside in Wisconsin. I enjoy living here as it provides plenty of different areas to photograph in the area that I’m living in. I also live close enough to Michigan that I could make a day trip there and be back home with plenty of photos to process.

I hope you will join me in thanking Justin for allowing me to showcase his work here.  It would be great if you could go and visit his blog, J.T. Avery Photography, and take a look around, follow if you like what you see.  Justin also has a Flickr page, too called javery.

I have a gallery here for you, many of the photos are his blog, and his Flickr account, though Justin did also send me some images to that are not on his blog, I am sure you will enjoy them.



Weekend Wanderings – The Other End of Melbourne

On another One on One a few weeks ago we went into the city very early on a Sunday morning and took photos around parts of the city I’ve never really explored before.  I knew that lots of the buildings were there, but I hadn’t bothered to take photos of them, or hadn’t been there with my camera before.  It wasn’t the best day for taking photos, but as I heard Moose Peterson saying recently on a KelbyOne video, if the weather is bad, think of it as a scouting trip, and see what you get, so you can plan further shots.  I like that, and while I don’t think these shots are necessarily fantastic, I did get to take some photos somewhere I hadn’t before, I realised that Sunday morning is a great to get shots at these places and maybe I will plan a trip back sometime.


This is a view of Collins Street you don’t see very often, meaning the footpaths are normally full of people.  This is like the gateway to the business district, and during the week there would be no way you would be able to get a photo like this.  I liked this view, and thought perhaps I would make more of the empty footpath at some stage.  Actually many of the photos in this post I had always thought I would do that with.

Melbourne-city-buildings-old-doorways-7This is the old Stock Exchange Building, I believe.  It is such an incredible building, very gothic.  I had to move some things that were obstructing the view of the building.  I did a video of how I do that over on my other blog, if you are interesting, here is the link, The Before, then the After, and some of the Inbetween.

The amount of detail that was put into these buildings just astounds me, and when I look at the modern counterparts, there really is no comparison.  It is a shame that modern buildings don’t have the same level of detail.

Melbourne-city-buildings-old-doorways-10The sun came out and was shining on the buildings, but I don’t think it translated very well on the photos.

Melbourne-city-buildings-old-doorways-16I had photographed this lane once before, but it was over 10 years ago and I wanted to go back and see if it had changed a lot. It hadn’t.  I did this image in monochrome because I was going to use it for MM one week, but in the end went with something else.

Melbourne-city-buildings-old-doorways-20This the back of a shop in a lane, and I liked that bit of wood sticking out the top.  I think it would have been a lot longer and would have been used to pull things up to get them onto the first floor, it definitely looks like there were doors there at some point.

I have a gallery for you, and sorry for the short post, the “I think I am getting a cold” has turned to, “I definitely have a cold” and it is in my head right now and I have a massive headache.  So I am just leaving you with all these photos today.  A lovely part of the city.  I think I have to go back, and think I will make it a Social Snappers Excursion next term.  I hope you are having a better weekend than me, take some great photos.


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