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Weekend Wanderings: More Birds from the Wetlands

The last two three weeks have been crazy around here and a private matter has distracted me quite a bit from photography, however, good news and we got a very positive outcome.  Things should go back to normal now, well as much as they can.

So today I thought I would show you more of the birds from the Western Wetlands that I went to a couple of weeks ago with Chris from the blog, sv-takeiteasy. I showed you quite a few last week, but I have some more today, different birds.  I am not going to do a post like usual as all the information about the place was given last week.  I am just going to show you a gallery, and where I can, put the names of the birds as captions.  If I don’t know the name of the bird I will do my best to find out and put it there. If you know what it is, or can see I named one wrong, please let me know and I will fix it.

I hope you have a great Sunday, and relax by taking some photos, it is going to be 36 here again, with the possibility of thunder storms later today, might have to go and take some photos.

Weekend Wanderings: Sorrento, Summer by the Sea

There was a fairly late start to summer here, we actually thought perhaps it had skipped us this year, not that I minded, it is probably the season I like the least, but alas it has found us and it is making up for lost time. It is going to be very hot today and tomorrow and forever, if you ask me. It has been very hot here the last week or so as well.  I don’t like the heat and it is terrible for photos.

I did get a chance to go to Sorrento and Blairgowrie recently for Social Snappers and the weather, while warm was really perfect for the day.  First we headed to one of the back beaches at Blairgowrie.



There are some small cliffs there and the waves hit them and the water sprays everywhere.  This is a series of photos put together so I could make the wave look much bigger than it actually was.  I think it is about 15 to 18 photos.  Gives it a great effect.


I tried doing this for MM, but in the end decided against it.  I put a ND8 on the lens to slow the shutter speed down so I could get lines instead of the usual water spray.  I like how it looks with a slower shutter speed.  There will be more in the gallery.


After lunch we headed to the bay side of Sorrento to take some photos along a beach.  The water is very different on this side, much calmer, that would be because it is inside the bay as well. The colour of the sky and the colour of the water was just stunning. I think the water was very cold though, judging by the people trying to swim in it.


The clouds in the sky were amazing too, they looked like they had been struck by the soft wind that was blowing.  Perhaps I should have tried some long exposures.


These all say summer and what most people think about when they think of summer in Australia. Though it is rarely this idyllic, it is hot and the sun just burns.  Hats, sunscreen and covering up is what we should be doing. Getting burned is not ideal, beside the pain that comes with it, there is also the added threat of skin cancer every time it happens.  I got burned so many times growing up that I try to minimise it happening now.  Besides, red really isn’t my colour.

I have a map for you, you can see the shape, so the bottom part is what they call the back beach, it can get pretty wild there.  The top part is the bay area, so it is always much calmer there, you don’t get the big waves in that area.

I wouldn’t be going anywhere near the beach today, it is going to be 36°C here today, think I will stay indoors and try to keep myself cool.  I hope the weather is nicer where you are, though I hope people in Queensland weren’t too badly affected by the cyclones that just hit them, thinking of them.  More photos now, enjoy your day.


Up for Discussion: Finding Places to Wander Around

The Weekend Wanderings posts are something that I really enjoy doing and I’ve been doing them for almost two years now.  For me they created a challenge of having to get photos for the posts, so I had to go out and take photos in places that I thought would be of interest to me and to you. I started them to show what a great place Melbourne and the state of Victoria are for taking photos.

sckyneton-hbw6297Finding places to photograph is the next thing. Sometimes it just happens, where I might be going somewhere for something else and I pack the camera just in case I see something, or there are opportunities to take photos.

The other thing I do is plan trips.  I have tended to go to places that I knew about, places I’ve driven through or heard about.  I also learn about some from people I know or talk to.  I love having places recommended to me.  I went to a gorgeous place yesterday on the recommendation of some friends, but you will have to wait for those photos.

I don’t tend to do a lot of research before hand, other than looking the place up on Google maps to see what I can find and to make sure I know where to go. I like to just wander when I arrive.  I find somewhere to park the car and I just walk around.  Usually walking around the streets scsr-h20120512-1377and wandering into shops and talking to locals can help find places that are interesting there as well.  I find being social really helpful.

I think wandering around is best, discover things for yourself and see what you can find.  I nearly always approach the first visit somewhere as a scouting trip and like to think I will go back.  Doesn’t always happen, but it means there isn’t a lot of pressure that first time.

When going to these places it is all about enjoying the atmosphere so I don’t tend to use a tripod unless these is something that I really want to get.  I just walk around with my camera and have my 24-70mm lens, which has become my go to lens.  I guess I am like a tourist, but I am often there to find the things that would look good in a photo.  Often that first trip gives me ideas of what would be the best time of day to be there to get the best photos, even what would be the best time of year.

I have seen so many places and been to many, with many more to see you.  The Weekend Wandering posts have been amazing for me in that respect.

sccreswick-hpm5666bSo how do you find places to take photos?  What do you do before you go and then when you are there? Do you do lots of photography trips?

Today I went through some of the places I’ve been to, but from a while back to show you. Sorry about the short post, hopefully next week won’t be as crazy.

Please remember if you are interested in doing a guest blog, I’m interested to hear what you would like doing.  Just send me an email, my contact information is in the contact section, and I will send you my guidelines. 

Quiet Thursdays: Out Bush

Yesterday I had to come to Wodonga, not for photography but for my daughter.  She is at University and because of some recent events had to miss some classes and was told that she would need to come to the Wodonga campus to catch up.  Luckily we only had to stay one night.  The internet here, where we are staying is shocking, and I’m having trouble doing anything I want to, so I am keeping this quick.  Hopefully it will publish.

I thought today I would show you the the reverse colour of my Monochrome Madness image yesterday.  It is something I nearly always try and I enjoy seeing what I come up with. Sometimes it doesn’t look that strange or different and other times I get really amazing results, then again sometimes the results are so weird I know I can’t use them.   This one wasn’t bad, kind of in the first category.

I’m just going to leave you with the image, hope the internet will work enough for me to publish, and hope you all have a calm restful day.


MM50: Monochrome Madness 50

Oh wow, 50 already, only two weeks to go until 52 and a year of Monochrome Madness, how amazing.  I would like to say the votes are in, but since no one really voted, I have to say the general feeling is that we should all post our favourite image that we have submitted in the last year.  On your own blog that day, it has been suggested that you all put a gallery of some of your images from the last year.  Sounds like a nice idea. I think that sounds good.

The other thing that is has been suggested is that we do some theme monochromes, not every week, but maybe once a month, maybe the first Wednesday each month, what do you think? I know some people won’t want to do it, but it could be fun. I also want to apologise again for not responding to all your emails, it has been two of the hardest weeks of my life, but hopefully everything will be fine now.


My image was taken a couple of weeks ago when I went into the city to take some photos of the Royal Exhibition Building at night.  This man reeking of alcohol came past and stopped to chat, he suggested coming back when it was dark and then going to the spot, where this image was taken, with the big spot light behind it and taking a photo.  He took off, then came back to show us a photo he had on his phone.  It looked like it would be worth coming back for, and I think it was.  The light behind the fountain was fantastic.


Here is Laura Macky’s image and if you would like to know more about it them check out her post, Butterfly Minus – 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.


Tuesdays Bits and Bobs: Sorting Through it All

It has been a complete surprise to me how busy the start of the year has been.  The last couple of years it has been so slow at the start and taken a couple of months to get going, but this year I feel like I have started the year running.  There always seems to be something that needs to be done.  I keep forgetting things I have to do, and then I remember later on.  It does feel like there isn’t enough time in the day.  I just need to start being more productive with my time.  Of course, being busy doesn’t mean I don’t love it.  I do, and most of what I’ve been busy with has to do with taking photos, and there has been a lot of that.


It is coming together.  I have to do some videos for it, well tutorial ones, but should get those done in the next couple of days.  I was having a hard time trying to work out if I should do Lightroom, Photoshop, or Elements, but then decided maybe I can do all three.  If I can work out how to get GIMP onto my new scmont-4869machine, then I might do one for it as well.  I thought I would start with some basic things.  So that should happen soon.

Hopefully it will come out at the end of the week or early next week. Don’t forget if you haven’t signed up for it yet, there is a button in the side panel that allows you to do that.


I think I have found somewhere down here to teach some photo editing classes, I just need to work out when I will start and hopefully find enough people who want to do them as well.  I find it hard to really put myself out there, as it is so difficult to find the people to do scmont-hpm4971bwthese things.  People keep telling me they want to do them, but when push comes to shove and they have to fork out money, you never see them again.  I know that people think I shouldn’t charge money, but it has cost me a lot of money to learn as well, so that doesn’t seem fair either.

Social Snappers

I have been advertising Social Snappers on Melbourne Meetups and I had my first person from there the other day.  It was great having her along and I really hope she decides she wants to come back.

We had our biggest group yet.  We went to Hanging Rock, a rather weird looking rock formation just out of the city. It was a great place for photos, but it was so hot, and I think we all struggled with the heat a bit too.  We did it, and I have the photos to prove it.

The next outing is to Healesville Sanctuary on the first of March. I went there when my girls are little and I remember seeing a great live presentation of the raptors, so I hope they still do that.scmont-hpm4965


I’m off to Wadonga for a couple of days with my daughter.  She has to go up there a two day course.  I don’t know what I will do while she is there, take my camera I think.  If anyone has any great ideas of  what to photograph up there please let me know.

Camera Bags

scmont-4814I got a new bag recently, the LowePro Flip side 15L I think it is.  I think I am in love with this bag.  It can carry enough gear for me to use, that I still have choices.  My tripod, I mean my big tripod will fit on it, and it has a place for a bladder to carry water.  I got a Camel Bak insulted bladder and used it for the first time at Hanging Rock, it was perfect.  You have the end right near  your head so you can just drink anytime you want.  The other thing is that the bag might be heavy, but it doesn’t feel heavy on, it sits really well on my back.

If I had any problems with it, I think my biggest issue is that there is no where really in it for a wallet and phone.  I don’t always have pockets for those, well I never put my wallet in a pocket, so it would be good to have somewhere for that, and somewhere where it was easy to get to. I sometimes wonder if they think scmont-hpm5038of women when they are designing these things.

Photos Today

Time to leave it for today.  I have some photos for you, they were taken almost three years ago at Montsalvat. I love taking photos of Montsalvat, but I really dislike how much they charge people to take photos there.  You get charged an hourly rate, something like $20 an hour, and then you can’t do anything with the photos.  It is so outrageous.  No where else in Melbourne, not that I have found, will do that.  Anyway, I thought I would show these again.  I hope you are busy too and have lots of photography going on.  I better start working on Monochrome Madness.

Introductions: sv-takeiteasy

Today’s blog is a bit of a different introduction for me, while I am introducing you to a photographer whose work I enjoy, I am also introducing you to a friend.  I knew the blog sv-takeiteasy, though I don’t quite remember how our paths crossed, I suspect it was Monochrome Madness, but Chris might tell you different.  We soon realised that we both lived in Melbourne and a plan was hatched to meet.  I have met many people through my blog, and this has been a wonderful side effect.  We met, and then, as you would know from yesterday’s blog, we went out to the wetlands last weekend to take photos.  I am sure the first of many trips. I do love what she shows on her blog and it is quite a unique perspective, that many of us will never get to see.

egret (1)

I do enjoy her blog as well, the adventures that her and her partner go on in their boat the takeiteasy, is wonderful.  They recently went away for 2 months and it was fantastic following their trip virtually.  Chris takes photos everywhere they go, and the photos are great as well.  It is like a well rounded package.

I asked Chris where in the world they are, though I think I already told you that.

I am based in Melbourne, Australia.  The state of Victoria is a varied, a scenic region of coasts, mountains and dry plains with a temperate climate, which makes it a wonderful place for photography.

But Melbourne is where I work, really.  My partner Wade and I escape at every opportunity, typically down the West Coast or on our boat Take It Easy (for those who wonder what SV means at the start of the name, it’s short for Sailing Vessel).  We spend a lot of time on board, which gives us a different range of locations:  Islands in Bass Strait, Tasmania, Islands in the Tasman Sea…   Cruising the coast is where we want to be, which will become our full-time occupation in a couple of years.


Here is their boat, the Take It Easy. I like seeing all the different places they go to.  You get a different view of the coastline because, while we can go and visit most places from land, they get to see them from out at sea, and it is often very different.  Though, living on it, I don’t know, there just doesn’t seem enough room.

How long have you been taking photos and why do you was the second question.

I got my first SLR about 5 years ago.  It coincided with our sailing getting more serious.  We were going to amazing places and seeing seascapes and scenery few people have a chance to discover.  It was all about taking photos to share our experiences with friends and family.  I got more serious in the last two years, really trying to capture some special images of the wilderness we find ourselves in, as well as the ‘holiday’ snaps.  But what really got me going a lot more on this photographic adventure has been starting our website 8 months ago.  It gave me a focus: seascapes and bird photography.  Now I don’t go anywhere without my camera and an increasing collection of lenses.  It’s a bit obsessive!


Chris is very keen on photographing birds, which made her the perfect person for me to go and shoot birds with. She had the permit when we went out last week and more importantly the knowledge about the birds.  She knew what a lot of them were, and the ones she didn’t, she knew how to find out.  I really enjoy looking at her bird photos, and now that I have been out with her, there is a greater appreciation of them.

I love hearing what inspires people, so I asked Chris about her inspirations.

Nature, nature, nature!  We get to see such breathtaking places in our sailing.  You don’t have to go far to be impressed by stunning landscapes, coast line, the ocean, the wildlife.

Birds have a special appeal.  I was introduced to bird watching by two dear friends – Sue and Lorraine, and now I have the added pleasure of being able to “capture” them in my images.  They are a challenge though.  They are either small, skittish, elusive, or moving way too fast!

And now that I have a macro lens, I am also discovering the secret world of plants and insects – the details you can’t see with the naked eye…  It’s fascinating!

My other source of inspiration are the photographers I follow.  Leanne Cole for a start, who has been central to the development of my network.  There are so many inspiring, creative, talented people.  The One Four Challenge hosted by Robyn Gosby at Captivate Me has done just that too: captivate me and challenge me.

I think surrounding myself with people who are so much more skilled than me has to rub off somehow! :) I learn a lot, it motivates me and keeps stretching me!


She has a macro lens now and it is the beginning of new work for her as well. I am sure we will start seeing lots of images like this.  The macro world of the coastlines she and Wade visit. It is a new part of her photography and I am looking forward to seeing what she does with it over the next year or so.

I asked her if there was anything special about the way she worked.

With bird photography, my idea of a great image is one showing the bird doing “something interesting” to display its beautiful plumage and graceful shape.  An egret on log just doesn’t do it, but an egret stalking or in flight, now we’re talking – and snapping away madly! It helps to be patient, but if like me you lack a good dose of this, knowing about your subject helps.  So I research their habitat, their feeding habits, what they do just before taking flight, etc…

As for seascapes and coastal images, these are a bit of a challenge too as most of them are taken from the moving ‘platform’ that is Take It Easy.


I can imagine a moving platform would be a great challenge, being on the boat she must see some amazing sunsets and sunrises, but a tripod isn’t going to do much good on a moving boat.  I think what she gets is fantastic.

I like how there is a variety on her blog as well, her sites reminds me of mine a little, the different things she tries.  I like having a go at most sorts of photography when I can and I think Chris might be the same.

I asked her about her gear.

I currently have a Canon 60D, soon to move to a 7D Mark II.  I am happy with a cropped sensor and will stick to this.  My lenses are:

  • Tamron 18-270, a multi-purpose lens which is great for travelling and is my ‘default’ lens.
  • Canon EF100-400 L IS for bird photography
  • Canon EFS 10-22 USM wide angle for landscapes
  • Canon 100 L IS USM macro for botanical work
  • I rarely use my tripod, a Gitzo GT2541 and Gitzo Bubble Ball head, although as I am starting to learn about long exposure and astral photography, I will increasingly get it out of the bag!


I had to show one more photo, Bengie, their cat, who goes everywhere with them, she is their cat on a cat.  I think it is amazing to see a cat who loves to sail.  I’ve also met Bengie and she is a gorgeous one.

This has been an interesting introduction for me, it isn’t often I have met the people I introduce, actually I think this might be the first time.  I feel like I have more insight into her photography.  Quite interesting.  I would like to thank Chris for giving me permission to feature her blog here.  I am sure you will all go and visit her site, sv-takeiteasy, and see more of the amazing photos she has. You will see some great images of the Australian coastline, in good weather and bad.  Here is a gallery of images that I really liked.



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