Weekend Wanderings – From One End to the Other

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Last weekend I went into the city to do some night photography shots, most of you know this already, as I took my class in for a night photography class.  It was the final class in the course and it was a great way to finish it off.  There were 10 of us with our tripods and camera gear going along the Yarra River for our night shots.  Each week we approached something new to help them learn how to use their cameras.  My classes are very practical, I always think you “Learn by Doing”, so taking photos is an important aspect of what I teach.  I haven’t seen what they got when they went out, but I have been working on the images that I took.

LeanneCole-citylight-1404054981_5HDR-2You have seen a few of them already, and there aren’t that many more of them.  I am happy with what I got.  One thing I did with my class was to let them know they should do more on their own.  I would set up my image and then do 5 exposures for HDR and if they needed help my camera would be fine taking its photos while I helped them.  It worked really well.  I felt more like the person who was keeping them together and moving them along when the time was right than the teacher.  It was a lovely relaxed class.

We started down at Docklands and ended up near Flinders Street Station, not quite to it. We ran out of time and then had to rush to get the train.  I don’t think anyone minded.

Then yesterday morning I went into the city very early in the morning.  The sun was coming up, but thought I would take some photos along the Yarra River again, only daylight ones.

LeanneCole-city_5013-10hpmWe have had so much rain, and I was hoping that if it had stopped raining that maybe, fingers crossed maybe, the Yarra River would be still, and look at that, it was.  I have seen it much calmer, but this wasn’t bad.  Unfortunately the rowers started coming up and down, with their coaches in motor boats and that stillness disappeared.  It was lovely while it lasted.  I love seeing all the buildings reflected in the water.

Nearly all the night photography images are HDR images.  They were all done using the Nik Collection HDR Efex.  It seemed to work much better for the night shots than Photomatix.  Most of the morning shots are straight images, except for two, the above one and one of the bridge.  I used Photomatix for these two, as it seemed to be better for the day ones, softer.  All images were taken with the 14-24mm wide angle lens.

The gallery will have all the night images I have processed, the image I used for the MMC is here too, but the colour version.  I will also put the morning images.   Some of the morning images that I have done were taken at the same spots I did the night shots.  I should have done that more, it would have been interesting comparing them.  If you are interested in my classes then please go to my website, www.leannecole.com.au.  Enjoy your Sunday.

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Weekend Wanderings – Melbourne Zoo Part 2

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A couple of weeks ago I did a Weekend Wanderings post on some photos that I had taken at the Melbourne Zoo.  I had taken so many photos that I saved some to do a second post.  I thought today would be a good time to show those images.

zoo-3567We watched the seal show and I took quite a few photos of this seal, Gordo, I think his name was, being trained.  They showed what seals could do, how they check them out to make sure they are healthy, and even how the keeper gets a kiss from him.  Very cute.  Part of the show is about how to help seals survive in the wild and what we can do to help them.  The thing he has around his neck in this image is part of what fisherman use and Gordo is showing us how it could kill him, so he is playing dead.

zoo-3633The tiger was playing hide and seek, and he/she was hiding up the back in among the bamboo.  We hung around only so we could photograph some of the water and then the next thing we knew the tiger came down, got in the water, had a drink then walked back up into the bamboo.  If we hadn’t stuck around we would have missed it.  What a beautiful tiger, check out that tongue.

zoo-3745Melbourne Zoo is quite well know for their babies and we were so happy to get a look at the baby Elephant.  The other elephants were so protective and you didn’t get to see it much before they circled around and gave protection.

zoo-3763I watched this pelican washing itself for ages.  I loved the way it flapped its wings into the water to wash them.  There was definitely a routine to it.  I loved the splashing, so happy I got the this image.

zoo-3823I know Koalas are perceived as cute, but this is a whole other thing, a Koala very comfortable in its surroundings, it doesn’t even hang on when it is sleeping.

I have a lot more photos for you to see, lots more of the tiger and seal.  I do have to say though, that I did all these photos in Lightroom today and I would like to thank Ben from APERTURE64 PHOTOGRAPHY for his help. He helped me work out how to resize and watermark the images as well.  Here is the gallery for you.  All the images were taken with the 70-300mm lens.

Updates and Such

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Today I don’t really have a clue about a post, so I thought I might just chat to you about some stuff I’ve been up to.  It is all nothing much, but things in my photography life that I want to share.

Camera Bags

The first thing, very exciting, I wanted to talk about something I did for my trip into the city the other night.  Though it goes back longer than that.  I have two camera bags, and really they seem to be light years apart in size and what you can carry in them.  It usually isn’t a problem, but I have to admit, I don’t like carrying around the large bag, and well sometimes I just need to.  When I got it the company I got it from asked if I would like one with wheels or a backpack, I said the latter.  I really have regretted that decision many times.  Since most of my photography is done in the city, or around the city, maybe a camera bag that had wheels would have been better.  The reason I’m not mentioning brand or the name of the company is that they will not respond to my emails anymore, and I refuse to promote companies that can’t even respond to an email.  I don’t mind if they can’t help me, I don’t always expect them too, but at least tell me that.  Okay, back to the other thing.

I had this trip into the city planned for my students, I needed to take the big bag, and then I thought, what if I get a trolley to put it on. So my husband and I went to Bunnings, a big hardware store. He said don’t get a flimsy one, and I was surprised at what was available.  So got one of these.

trolleyIt was a bit heavy, but that didn’t matter, I wouldn’t be carrying it.  I bought a couple of straps and I strapped my large camera to it.  It did take some work because I couldn’t put the straps around the front of the bag or I woudn’t have been able to open it.  My students laughed at me and my granny trolley, but you know what, it worked a treat.  It was fantastic.  I attached my tripod to the bag as well.  It was fantastic not having to carry the bag and I could take everything I needed.  Going up and down the steps was interesting, but still better than hurting my back even more by carrying the bag.  I can’t wait to take it out again.

The thing I really liked too, is that camera bags with wheels, well those wheels make so much noise, this one doesn’t, it is quite quiet.  Perfect.  Really the best thing is that I don’t feel like I need a new bag now.

LeanneCole-citylight-1404054951_5hdr-2

Here is another image that I got on Saturday night.  I am hoping to put them altogether in one post, but am still working on them.  I used some of Trey Ratcliff’s techniques for this one when I watched his tutorial on KelbyOne.  The image is another HDR and done with the Nik Collections HDR Efex.

Software

I decided to bite the bullet and start learning Lightroom by Adobe, they had a special deal going and I couldn’t refuse it, so I now have it and thought I would try it out.  I am hoping that it won’t take me long to use it and then I can start teaching people some editing things with it as well.  I had tried doing some online classes once before but no one seemed interested.  So I might see if I can find some places to teach Editing around here.

LeanneCole-ripponlea-20140325-9245

Macro

The response I got for macro photography was wonderful.  The Macro lens has been sent back to Nikon, and I can’t afford one of my own, so I have ordered some extension tubes.  I was told to get some Polaroid extension tubes, I know many suggested Kenko, but they are still quite expensive and I might not like doing this, so the Polaroid ones were more suitable for me.  They were only $40, so if I don’t like them I haven’t lost a lot.  If I love them and think it is a good way to go, then I might consider getting some good ones, or maybe save up for a Macro lens.  I like finding the alternatives, and showing people that you don’t have to have all the expensive gear.  I will also try to share what I learn as well.  The tubes should arrive in the next week or so.

Computer

Finally, I thought I would let you know what my decision was about the computer.  The response to the Up for Discussion – PC or Mac, was beyond my wildest dreams.  It certainly generated a lot of talk.  It was fantastic, and more so because it didn’t get nasty.  In the end it actually pushed my husband into action.  I told you he hated Apple, and so he spent all that day reinstalling Windows 7 on my laptop and getting rid of a lot stuff on it that I don’t need.  I am banned from doing stuff on the internet on it now.  He also took some advice from a couple of you and now the laptop has a new SSD in it, and can I say, OMG, it is so much faster.  Everything starts so much faster.  So while I need to replace my desktop computer, there is no urgency for it now.  I can wait, though since I love Linux so much, when I get a new machine it will be a PC where Linux will be run most of the time and I will go to Windows only to do work on photos.  I am happy with my decision and want to thank everyone for their thoughts, experiences and opinions.

I think that is about it, I hope I haven’t bored you too much.  Now the cat wants some attention, so please excuse me while I go and feed him, again.  Enjoy your day.

Taking Students Out to Familiar Places

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Last Thursday I showed you two images that had been taken at the same spot, but two years apart.  We talked about how it is can be an interesting thing to to go back to old places and see what you can get.  Last Saturday I had my last class with the term 1 students doing my Practical Photography course, and we had decided that for the last class, instead of doing sports photography, we would go into the city and do Night Photography.  It was clearly a great idea and they all were very keen.

The plan was to catch the train in, where we would start at the Docklands end and continue to Flinders Street Station.  It worked wonderfully.  I told them, it was time for them to work on their own while I was still there, and if they had problems or questions, then they could still ask.  Of course I told them how to do the shots first and gave them the notes to help them in the future, I didn’t leave them to work it out on their own.

As we walked along the river there was a spot where I had taken an image last year.

LeanneCole-scdocklands-3hpm5774It has always been one of my favourite night images, so I told them to try doing one for themselves.  As I was able to photograph this as well, I thought I would have another go at taking it.  This image is a HDR and it was done with 3 images in Photomatix Pro.

LeanneCole-citylight-1404054920_HDRThey have both been taken around the same time of night, but at different times of the year, the first was taken around July last year, and the one above taken last Saturday night.  This one is also a HDR, though processed with HDR Efex from the Nik Collection.  I tried using Photomatix, but they have a new version and it kept blowing out all the highlights.  I need to play with it more.  I like how Efex has done it though.

They are the same image really, there isn’t much difference between them, the second one is a slightly wider angle, and the moon is in it.  I like the reflection of the moon in the water as well. Interesting to get almost identical shots.

The class went really well, and did go overtime a little, but I think they all had a great time.  One student said the course was great, but Saturday was brilliant.  You can’t ask much more than that when you are teaching.  It was also nice to hear quite a few of them say they would like to know of more classes that I will be teaching.  So now I think I have realised the direction that I have to go in, I need to do more teaching. I will have to start planning a variety of courses, some to be taught at Eltham and some that I can do myself.

My next six week course starts on the 26th of April, so if anyone is interested there are still a couple of places available.  If you are interested then the details and how to book are available at Living & Learning Nillumbik, or click here.

Of course people can always do my  One on One Photography session though, I am planning on offering more group things, like Photographing the Architecture in the City, Night Photography Along the Water, and some other ones around the city and near by places.  I thought I would start a mailing list for people who would be interested in doing classes with me and want to know what is going on.  If you are interested and would like to get emails on dates and courses available, then please email me, leanne@leannecole.com.au with Classes as the subject.

A gallery to view the images better.

Monochrome Madness Week 6

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All through the week a steady number of emails have been coming in with some absolutely wonderful work attached.  That is one thing I like about the “moderator” of this challenge, I get to see all the images first.  Of course, it then makes me try even harder to do an image that is worthy to be included.  A great challenge, I am thinking about Black and White so much more.

LeanneCole-citylight-1404054880_HDR-3

I took this image the other night when I took my students into the city to do some night photography.  I wouldn’t normally turn a night photo into black and white as I think the colours of the lights are what makes the images, but this one was taken very early in the evening, and the sun hadn’t really set, though lights were coming on.  I thought making it black and white did help.  I spent about 3 hours on this image and learned a lot of things while doing it.

Laura is taking a break this week.  She is very busy in her non blogging world.  I am sure she will be back next week.

We have had so many entries, and again, a great variety.  I hope you enjoy the submissions this week.  Remember the instructions for submitting your own work will be at the end of the post.

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 leanne@leannecole.com.au
  • The image size should be as small as it can be, so the largest side should be 1000 pixels or less.
  • You have until the following Tuesday morning to get your entries to me.  Remember I am on Australian time, so with GMT I am +11 hours at the moment, I publish my post on Wednesday morning.
  • Remember to include a link to your blog or website.

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 – Social Media

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Whenever I start looking around at how to improve business, so to speak, I keep being told that Social Media is the way to go.  You need to have a profile on it and keep it up to date. The biggest problem is that there are so many options now and they all seem to work slightly differently.  So how do you choose what will work and what won’t?

Facebook2014-04-08 06:37:58There are so many, the main ones seem to be Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, well that is all I can think of.  There are so many more though, there is Tumblr, Flickr, Smugmug, etc.  So now comes the decision of what do you choose?

I am on Facebook, have been for about 4 years.  I have my own personal page there and I have a Leanne Cole Photography page.  I don’t use google+2014-04-08 06:38:28Facebook as much anymore, though I do use my page for posting photos and showing what I have been up to.  Lately I have been trying to use Google+ more. I do like the way it uses images, and think for photography it is much better than Facebook.  I am still trying to work out Google+ but I am getting there.  I have my personal page, and then one for Leanne Cole Photography.  It is the opposite here, and I use the personal one far more than the business one.  I like all the communities.

They are the main two I use.  I try to use Twitter, but I don’t really use it much.  I don’t really know what to do with it.  I will make announcements sometimes, but I usually forget.  I have LinkedIn and I think it is a great platform for business, but I don’t get a lot out of it.  I will only google+page2014-04-08 06:42:24accept people who are usually in Melbourne, or around Melbourne, and people who are in similar industry, or industries that I am trying to break into.  I don’t think of LinkedIn as a social platform, it seems to be more for the professional.

I don’t have any of the others so I can’t talk about them, though you can tell us if you use them, and why you use them.

I thought using social media would help get me work, so far, it hasn’t.  Though,  perhaps I don’t use it properly and I should start looking into that more.  I recently decided that I really do want to teach more, so think I will have to get my social media going with plans for that.

For me the best Social Media platform I use is WordPress and this blog. It has been very twitter2014-04-08 06:43:22successful for me and has helped me get work.  I don’t hear them saying that blogging is social media, but I think it is. It is also the most rewarding one for me.

One of the biggest problems with social media though, seems to be that you get out what you put in.  If you don’t visit other people, comment, or like things, then you can’t build that profile and get the following.  It is very time consuming and you have to wonder if it is really necessary and shouldn’tLInkedin2014-04-08 06:51:27 you be working, or can you only get the work if you put in the time there?

It is an interesting phenomena, Social Media.  Where do you stand with it?  Do you use it, and what platforms do you use?  Do you get anything out of it?  Has it helped your business? Anything else you would like to add?

These posts are a great way to share knowledge, so please contribute.

I will not respond to every comment, if that is okay, it can be very overwhelming.  I will approve them, as long as they are nice and not nasty in any way.

Feel free to respond or reply to other comments.  It would be good to generate some discussion.

Finally, don’t forget to get your images to me for the MMC tomorrow.

 

 

Introductions – The Weekly Minute

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The Weekly Minute is a fairly new blog for me, I haven’t been following it for long, but Shane Francescut started commenting on my blog and he seemed like a nice person, so I went over to see his blog.  I liked what I was seeing, and have continued liking it.  Now Shane often sends me an image for the Monochrome Madness Challenges and I always like what he sends.  He does a lot of architectural images and that is certainly something I always like to look at.

shane-hyatt-bw-013Often when you look at another photographers work, if you like it then there are going to be reasons, I talk about that all the time in these posts, why I like the work of other photographers, however, while I was going through Shane’s blog, one thing really struck me, I kept thinking, I would take that photo like that, or that is the type of thing I would take.  We have very similar taste in subject matter.  It was quite extraordinary to see.

I did ask Shane why he takes photos.

I first got into photography because I wanted to document my children’s lives. As my interests grew, I began carrying my camera around and shooting things that caught my eye. I’m a big fan of collecting candid moments, even in family settings, so street shooting seemed like a natural progression for me. And, one advantage of living in Canada’s largest city, is that there’s always so much going on, and so much to document.

Kobi Street PortraitSince Shane mentioned Street Photography, I thought I would too.  Street photography is a very hard thing to do, and I know many of you have said that to me in the past, how hard you find it.  I couldn’t do it, I would always be worried that someone would punch me.  There are two types, or as it seems to me, of street photography, the street portrait, asking people if you can take a photo of them, or the more candid street photography, capturing them going about their business. Shane does the latter and if you want to see what the streets are like around him then take a look at his blog, which you should do anyway.

Inspiration, was the next question.

Well, I’d be lying if I said that having one of my recent posts Freshly Pressed didn’t give me a boost. The feedback, and more importantly, the tips that people shared in the comments have really motivated me to continue. But generally, I’m inspired to improve on my existing work each time I shoot, to challenge myself in new ways, much like I’m doing by exploring black and white photography. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that I’m inspired by the possibilities that photography presents. I am not one to settle and do what’s comfortable.

farm-picYou get to see lots of different aspects to Shanes life, from the city to the country, the mundane to the wonderful.  It is great to go through and not know what you are going to get next.  From reading his inspiration I can see that he does try lots of things, and that is a great way for us all to learn, just take photos.  I still do that, I am always having a go at something new.

I did ask, as I usually do if there was anything special about the way he worked.

I’m not sure whether there is anything special about how I work, because I don’t really know how other photographers work. I tend to work very systematically, by routine. I was a professional golfer for a number of years, and I think the regimented practice and preparation I did with that might carry over to my photography practice. Basically, I think of a couple of ideas for shooting before I head out. When I get home, I upload the images and process them in Lightroom 5, create blog posts based on what I shoot, download images for the posts, download separate images and format them for Instagram, Facebook, etc. to promote myself elsewhere, and schedule my posts for the week. I shoot five days a week, but I usually create all of my posts in one or two nights… so it doesn’t feel like a job. It’s a system, a formula, but it’s quite effective for me.

img_20130130_131614I thought this image and some of the others had a Instagram feel to them. I understand why now.  That is probably where Shane and I differ, in our processing, I’m not saying anything is wrong with how he processes, not at all, we just approach it differently.  Well really, we all do don’t we?  I do like the colours and the way he does some of his images, the desaturated look is really nice.  I’ve been trying to do that a little more in my images too.

I asked what gear he uses.

I became fascinated with mirrorless systems when they first came out, so I bought a Sony NEX f-3. It’s Sony’s most basic model, but it fits extremely well in my hand, it takes great video, and it has fantastic image quality. It’s perfect for a walk around and travel camera. I’m a big fan of primes, and most often use 19mm and 30mm Sigma lenses. On a crop system they become 27mm and 45mm… perfect focal lengths for street shooting. It’s not the most professional system, but I can shoot in full manual, and I know every setting, and I know exactly how to get the best out of it. I was also just given a Nikon D5100. Again, not a pro camera, but it has solid image quality and is much more responsive than my Sony. It also has a viewfinder, which I have really been missing with the Sony, so I’m having a lot of fun with that right now.

I am going to put a selection of Shane’s images into a gallery now, I really hope you will all go and take a look at his blog The Weekly Minute and say hello.  I would also like to thank Shane for allowing me to showcase his blog and work like this.

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