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Weekend Wanderings: Autumn Mornings in Banyule Flats

Yesterday morning I took another trip back to Banyule Flats.  I have to return the Tamron 150-600mm next week to Maxwell International Australia and I want to get lots of use out of it before it has to go back.

It was a gorgeous morning, the perfect autumn morning. I started at the swamp taking some photos of the birds with the Tamron lens.


There was a white faced heron feeding there, that was a treat for me.  I’ve been enjoying watching the herons. There were also lots of ducks, lots of Pacific Black Ducks, I think they were.  banyule-flats-autumn-birds-macro-1050

I loved this, I think these are Eurasian coots walking on the water, quite funny.


I really like it when the moon is out during the day. It is quite surreal this view of the moon, it almost looks like it is blending into the background.


Once I was done with the birds I put the macro lens on and went for a walk around.  As I said the light was just stunning, it was a perfect autumn day.

banyule-flats-autumn-birds-macro-1101The walking path, the bike path, the way we all go when we go to the park.  Great park to visit, especially on a day like yesterday.  I was cold at the beginning but by the time I got back to the car I was feeling very warm.

I’m going to leave you with a gallery now.  I did take a lot of photos of the autumn leaves and other macro type images, but I will leave those for Sunday I think.  I’m off to Healesville today, back to the sanctuary/zoo and then lunch at a winery. Of course I am planning on taking my camera and a couple of lenses. I hope you have a great Saturday planned, and hopefully some opportunities for some photos.

Up for Discussion: Camera Bags

Each one of us who is into photography is looking for a camera bag, be it a small one, or a large one. I got my first bag about 22 years ago and I still have it, though all I use it for these days is to store things. Still the decision about what to buy and what you need to put in it is still a big thing. Since buying that first one I’ve had a number of bags, all good in different ways.  So today I thought I would go through what bags I have purchased and why I got the ones I did.

The first bag was a Lowepro and not a bad buy, but it was a normal bag and I realised fairly quickly that I wanted something else.

Lowepro Mini Trekker

At least I think that is what it was. I got it about 18 or 19 years ago.  I really wanted a backpack, something I thought would be easy to carry around.  I have to say after going the backpack route, I’ve never looked back.  I loved this bag and I used it up until a couple of years ago and the only reason I replaced it was because I wore it out.

When I was photographing the cycling I was carrying a lot of gear in it.  Two camera bodies, two lens, two flash units and all the stuff that goes with it.  No wonder it started to fall apart.

I decided I needed a new bag and I thought I needed one that I could carry everything in.

Tamrac Expedition 7x

What a bag, it was big, actually it still is.  I can fit almost everything in it, though I have a few too many lenses now, but still, it carries a lot.  The biggest issue is can I carry it all and my knees find it hard to cope with the weight.  It is a backpack and incredibly well made, a solid bag.

I can fit a lot of stuff in it and one thing I really wanted was to be able to carry my tripod on it, and it does fit, though I find it very top heavy when the tripod is attached and I have to be careful bending over or getting up when I’ve knelt down or I almost lose my balance.

One issue I have, and I will mention this again later, is the lack of room or consideration given to women using the bag and having to carry wallets/purses and mobile phones. I don’t tend to have pockets that will fit those things, so I need to carry them in my bag and there is no where for them.  Obviously designed for men to use.


A few months after getting the Expedition 7x I decided it was too big for many of my outings, especially if I was just going to be walking around and didn’t need to take too much gear with me.

It is a split bag, so there is space at the top for whatever you want to put into it, and the bottom half for your photography gear.  It is nice that I could carry my wallet, phone and sunglasses in it

The amount of space at the bottom meant I could only carry the camera with a lens on it and one other lens.  I think you are meant to be able to carry at least one more, but the camera I have is large and my lenses are too, so I couldn’t take anymore with me than one spare lens.

One other thing was a problem and that was no way to carry my tripod, so if I was doing some photography in the city where I needed a tripod, then I had to carry it the whole time.

Lowepro Flipside Sport 15L AW

Finally I decided I needed another bag, something in the middle of the two.  I asked a person at Maxwell International Australia if he could recommend a bag.  His recommendation was this bag, but the 10L one.  I decided that I wanted something slightly larger and went for the 15L.

I have to say I love this bag, I am so happy with it.  I can carry my camera with a lens on it, and two to three other lenses.  The Tamron 150-600mm fits in it as well.  There is space for a spare battery and extra memory cards.  I have room in it for ND filters when I am taking them with me also.

There is space on the side to carry my tripod and my big one at that.  When it is on I don’t feel off balance and I forget it is there until I go to sit down.  It is easy to get on and off, so I use it, and I am happy to take it with me.

There is a spot in the side where you can put a bladder for water, this was especially appealing to me.  I got a Camelbak to fit in it for when I am going to be hiking or walking a lot.

Again, my biggest disappointment with the bag is the lack of consideration given to women who want to use it and there is nowhere for my wallet, phone or sunglasses.  When I aren’t using the bladder I use that pocket for those things.

One of the things that I thought would be annoying is the flipside aspect of it.  You basically need to take it off to get access to the inside.  Putting it on the ground can be annoying, but since you put the side that faces out on the ground, it is fantastic, whatever is on the ground doesn’t go on  your back when you put the bag back on. I dump it all over the place now.

It is, I think the best bag I’ve bought so far and I am so happy with it.  Besides that other thing, everything about the bag is great.


So what do you look for in a camera bag? If you were helping someone to choose one what sort of advice would you give them?  What is the best bag you have purchased?

Quiet Thursday: Looking to the Moon

Here we are again and it is Thursday again.  It has been a good week so far and I have got lots of work done.  On my facebook page and in my email box are lots of suggestions for names for the new magazine.  When I get a big list I am going to do a poll so you can vote.  I don’t want to make the decision on my own.

On another note last Saturday night was another Blood Moon or lunar eclipse. I actually got this one this time as the sky was clear for the whole period here.  It was fantastic, especially after the last one.  We didn’t get a full eclipse here, but I’m not complaining.

I took lots of photos with the Tamron 150-600mm lens that I have at the moment from Maxwell International Australia and it was great for this.  I had it set up on my tripod.  I took photos from the start, so the full moon and then right through to when the eclipse was on the other side, then I went to bed.  This time I just set the tripod up out my front door and did it there.

Then the next morning I spent the morning and much of the afternoon with a good friend who was in town.  We had breakfast out and then we went into Banyule Flats to take photos with my macro and her 35mm lens. It was great wandering around.  She also had another camera with her.  I don’t know what it was, some Fuji Instax camera.  It was like a Polaroid camera. I only took three shots, but I thought I would share them with you.

I like the effect and as I was looking at them I got thinking. Could I imitate them.  I still have to figure some things out, but I did have a go with one of the photos I took with the 35mm lens.


So I guess the question is would you really be able to tell the difference if I didn’t tell you.  As I said, it isn’t quite there, but I am pretty happy with it.  I will have to keep trying.  I will let you know what I did when I work out what to do.

I’m leaving it there now for today.  I have a busy day ahead, have to go to the city.  I hope you get to have a quiet day.

MM 2-5: Monochrome Madness 2-5

This week has gone so fast, and I am a day behind in my mind, but here we are and it is time for me to get MM ready again.  There has been some confusion, but please remember that the monochrome madness themes are only happening the first week of each month.

Let take a look at this week.


This is an image I took last weekend in the city when I was taking some photos with a friend early in the morning.  It was one of the last images I took before we left the city.

Don’t forget all the instructions on how to enter your own images are at the bottom of the post.  If you have entered an image then please remember to check your image in the gallery, scroll down and see if anyone has left you any comments.

Now, Monochrome Madness will continue next week and if you wish to participate and submit an image here is how you do it:-

  • You must email me the image you want to include and if you have a blog or website, or somewhere else, please include the link. My email address is
  • The image size should be low res, so the largest side should be 1000 pixels or less.
  • Please insert either your name or your blogs name in the file name.
  • Remember I am on Australian time, so with GMT I am +11 hours at the moment, I publish my post on Wednesday morning.
  • If you need more help with sending images, and get confused about time zones, etc, well, there is a great website called The World Clock, if you go to that and look at Melbourne time, if it’s before 6pm on Tuesday evening, then you can still send me images.  If it’s after that time, you can send me an image, but it will be set aside for the following week.
  • Remember to include a link to your blog or website.
  • Please remember to resize your images, it is fairly simply, you just need to go into any editing software and usually under Image you will find, resize, scale, or image size, something like that and you can resize your image there. Change the dimensions to pixels and make the longest side 1000 pixels or smaller, hit return, and for most types of software that should change the other side automatically as well. Just remember to save it with a different name so you know it is the smaller version.  If you have any problems, please contact me, I don’t mind helping out.

Please note you don’t have to be a WordPress blogger to be in this challenge, you can have a link to a Facebook page, a Flickr page, anywhere really, or no link.  We just want to encourage people to do monochrome images, just for the madness of it. Just to let you know also, that as soon as the challenge is published, all emails and images you have sent me are deleted from my computer.  I respect your copyright and would never keep any of the images.

Tuesday’s Bits and Bobs: Time of Reflection

Easter has been a great time to sit around and not do much.  I’ve been planning some things, and going out with friends taking some photos.  It has been nice, but it’s time to settle down and get serious about what I am doing.

Social Snappers

I have updated the website for Social Snappers and announced the outings for the term.  As said previously they are now free, and hopefully some more people will want to do them.  It is hard to be enthusiastic about doing them when sc20110910-0093-7the same people are doing them all the time, which is lovely that they do, but I could just organise outings with them as they are friends.  Still, I will continue trying.  Onwards.

Monochrome Madness Themes

There does seem to be some confusion about how often we will be doing them.  Basically they will happen the first Wednesday of each month.  Wednesday in Australia, which is pretty much Tuesday for the rest of the world.  So if you LeanneCole-capeschanck-7690are wondering when to send your themed MM image, I will make an announcement here.

Don’t forget the next theme is fences.

Women Photographers

I have a bone to pick.  It is something that I’ve been realizing for awhile.  The photographing industry don’t think women can do landscape photography, or architectural photography, or anything that doesn’t have the word portrait attached to it.

I was keeping an eye on an online magazine, two issues, and neither one had anything in it written by women, or any articles on women photographers.  Seriously.

When I asked them about it, they reckon it was just a coincidence and they do feature women.  My question is, if as many women as men are buying cameras then why isn’t half the magazine representing the women out there taking photos.

Even when you look at places online where you can learn photography, they have women teaching portrait photography, like babies, pets, weddings, but when it comes to landscape photography or, say, architecture all the instructors are men. I know women are doing landscape photography, I see their photos everywhere, and there are a lot of them.

So while I was out with a friend she said I should start my own magazine.  I thought the idea was bonkers to start with, then I got to thinking, why not.  I could do something like a newsletter, but fancier.  I could get a few people to write for it, women of course.

LeanneCole-capeschanck-7460A photography magazine written by women for women photographers.  It is still an idea in progress, but there are three of us so far who are going to write for it, so I am hoping to find at least another three. Still need to work out what we will do, but I just want to get it out there that women do photography as well and we photograph more than just portraits.

We are going to need a name, so if you have any ideas would love to hear them.  I am also hoping that those of you who have signed up for the newsletter won’t mind if I use your email addresses for the online magazine.


Today the photos are from a couple of trips to Cape Schanck, landscape photos, if you can believe it, apparently I’m a woman and I’m taking some landscape things.  Okay just a little joke.

Introductions: One Day | One Image

It seems like we have been doing a bit of stuff with monochrome this last week, and completely by coincidence my introduction to you is someone that does a lot of black and white.  Melinda from One Day | One Image is a regular contributor to Monochrome Madness and it is through that that I’ve got to know Melinda’s work and I thought it would be great to showcase her work here for you.


Her work has a very western feel to it, like old western movies.  There is a sense of history in her work, of abandonment.  I like that decay and oldness.

I asked Melinda where in the world she was.

I live in Lubbock, Texas, which is at the southern end of the Texas Panhandle and most of my images are made in that vicinity. My job involves some travel, and I always take my camera, so there are photos from other locations on my blog.


I really enjoy her subject matter and the monochrome ages it and some of the images look like they could be quite old, I like that. Images like the one above look as though time stood still.

As usual I asked Melinda how long she had been taking photos for and why.

I’ll start with the second part of the question: I make photos because I can’t NOT take them! What I see through my lens shapes my world, gives it meaning, and helps me understand it.

That being said, I have to add that I arrived late, and have been a serious photographer for only a few years. I started a photo-a-day blog in 2009; the images from that year are pretty bad, even though at the time I thought otherwise. Somewhere along the line, maybe two or three years in to the blog, I began to see that photography was something that was crucial for me to do and that I enjoyed.

040115While nearly all her work is monochrome, there are the odd images that she has left in colour.  The colour is soft and very desaturated, much like the above shirts on the hangers.  The colours are muted, either through time or through processing, I don’t know, but it is rather effective.

I asked Melinda about inspiration.

The horizon. I live on the plains and every vista is dominated by a virtually unbroken horizon.

Much of my work features images of small West Texas towns that are declining, many past the point of being saved. I find great beauty in the decay: I like the textures, the devolution of building materials, the vast evidence of lives lived on an unforgiving land.

My friend, the photographer Brett Erickson, is also an inspiration to me. (We met through our blogs.) He also works in a part of the United States that is in decline; his deep affection for his part of the country is readily apparent in his work, and I try to learn from his excellent examples. (His blog is here

I’ve just finished a week-long workshop with former National Geographic magazine photographer Sam Abell, whose work is also inspirational. I hope that my images will soon begin to reflect some of the many valuable lessons he shared with us.


I didn’t think you would get an image like this in Texas. I always picture Texas as hot and dusty and nothing freezing. There is a lot of texture in this image.

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

I don’t think I can be objective about this! But, if I try to step back and look and my overall body of work, I’d say my architecture degree (which I don’t use otherwise) has helped me understand my subject matter.


I like the details in her work too.  What she sees and what she finds.  It is nice to see the bigger picture, but it is also very nice to see the small things that have been left behind as well.  I love the detail in this old car, it looks like something I would have played in when I was a child.

My last question was about gear.

I use a Nikon D7000 and either a 17-200mm lens or a 28mm one. (I have other lenses, but don’t use them enough to mention.) I have a small array of other usual things like a tripod and a light meter and filters. Other than that, because I live in an area with a lot of dust, a crucial bit of gear is my sensor-cleaning kit, which is always in my bag.

I am trying to remember to use my iPhone camera more often.

I use Photoshop and Lightroom, along with plug-ins from Topaz and NIK.

I do hope you will all go and visit Melinda’s blog, One Day | One Image, and take a look at all the other photos that she has. There is so much to look at there. I am going to show you a gallery of the images I have chosen, but first I would like to thank Melinda for giving me permission to feature her and her wonderful work here on my blog.  I am sure you will all love it.

Weekend Wanderings: More Early Mornings at Banyule Flats

Recently I went back to Banyule Flats to try and get some more early sunrise shots.  It wasn’t the best morning for a sunrise, but I still had fun there.  We got to see some white faced herons sitting on some fence posts near us.

I hope you don’t get sick of the places, but I have to keep taking photos down there as I try to get the best shots for the book on the area.

As I am writing this I am trying to get photos of the lunar eclipse, so I am going to make this a quick one today. I am catching up with a friend tomorrow morning.  I don’t get to see her very often and then we are going to go and play with the macro lens.  The autumn colours are all appearing so it will be nice to get some of that.

It will be Easter Sunday, make sure you don’t get too sick on the chocolate eggs.  Have a great day.  Here are the photos.


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