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Posts tagged ‘Australia’

Weekend Wanderings: Photographing Bays in a Bay

Melbourne is in Port Phillip Bay, I’m sure I’ve told you that before.  It is a large bay, and the city itself is around an hour and a half to two hours to the coast.  In some ways we are very protected in our bay.  Though lots of ships do come in and go out through it.  However, because it is so large there are so many different little bays inside the main bay.  Last Tuesday I got to visit two of them, which I was excited about, as it was also the first chance I had to use my new Formatt Hitech Firecrest 16 filter.


The first bay we went to was Davey’s Bay.  There is a little pier there and not much else.  It is quite secluded and very nice. I am glad I went with others as I’m not sure I wouldn’t have found it by myself.

It was a great little spot and perfect to try out the Firecrest 16.  This is  ND Filter, or a Neutral Density filter. The idea of the filter is that it is dark in colour and it stops some of the light going through to the sensor so you can get different exposure times, or rather longer ones.  The darker they are, the longer the exposure.

They are called neutral because they are meant to be neutral in colour, so supposedly they don’t effect the colour of the image when it’s taken.  If you buy cheap ones you will often find they have a colour cast. Though some of the good ones also have them as well, I’ve noticed that my Lee Big Stopper can give a blue cast.

The Firecrest 16 is a 16 stop ND filter, so if my camera says for a normal exposure you will need a shutter speed of 1/250 of a second, then with this filter you could get an exposure of around four minutes.  It means you can get that smooth water and blurry clouds. Most of these images were done with a six minute exposure.

I decided to convert many of the images into monochrome, but to do this I used Silver Efex which is part of the Nik Collection by Google.

I took a lot of images around this area with that filter and got lots of long exposures, before we went to the next bay, Watkins Bay.


This area had a few piers, some good, some not.  The bay was so still here, and there really wasn’t any need for the 16 stop ND Filter.  I think I took one photo with it, but then it was getting too dark and the exposure times were getting too long. I did start using the the new ND graduated filters, but used them as full ones rather than as graduated.

I have a gallery for you now, I really like the effect of the filters, and I will be trying some more this weekend.  I hope you have lots of plans for photos this weekend.

Weekend Wanderings: Early Morning in the City

A couple of weeks ago I joined some other lovely ladies and we spent the morning taking photos along the Yarra River in Melbourne. The river was calm and clear.  It wasn’t mirror like, but still very nice and we managed to get some lovely reflections in the water along with some great colours.  It was a very peaceful morning.

It was meant to be a Social Snappers Event, but many didn’t show up, so here is what they missed.

It is a busy weekend for me, so I am just going to leave you with the photos today.  My weekend includes lots of photography, and I hope you are going to have a similar weekend.

Weekend Wanderings: Autumn Afternoon Along the Yarra River

Autumn has to be one of the most stunning times to see Melbourne.  The weather is often just beautiful, lots of sunny days, cool evenings and mornings.  Then you have the landscape doted with trees changing colours as they get ready for winter. Unlike many other countries, most of our indigenous trees don’t lose their leaves for winter, so we don’t get the vibrant colours that other places get, but it is nice to see some of it.


In the city there are trees everywhere that have been planted and are in the process of changing colours.  Well, they were last weekend when I spent the afternoon doing a One on One Photography session and taking photos along the Yarra River.


The weather was stunning that day, and we haven’t had much weather like it since.  You can see in the sky there that there isn’t a cloud any where.


This was a typical scene, look at the contrast of the autumn trees against the background buildings.


One of the walking bridges over the Yarra River has been converted to a lock bridge and there are hundreds of locks on it.  I thought this one was really interesting.


We headed down to the Seafarers Bridge to see if we could photograph the sunset, and we did. It wasn’t a brilliant sunset, but good enough.


Of course we had to turn around to look back at the city.  This was one of the last images I took. The city lights were coming on and the clouds were moving by.  I should have tried a long exposure, but I didn’t think it was an appropriate thing to do with a student, the excursion was for them not me.

I had a lovely afternoon and think I got some wonderful photos to show how beautiful Melbourne can be in autumn.  I am fairly certain my student also got some great photos, some very similar to mine as well.

I hope your weekend is going well. It is Mothers Day here in Australia and I’m hoping my daughters are going to do french toast with strawberries for breakfast, but who knows.  I hope you have a lovely Sunday, we will be staying it, the weather is going to be horrible.

Quiet Thursdays: Grey Outside and Not Much Else

The weather here is very unpredictable at the moment and the forecast for the next week is shower or two every day.  So we are going to be getting wet a lot. It is frustrating, but it has also been windy, so I should get some great opportunities to get out with my ND filters to do some long exposures.  I don’t have the Formatt Hitech ones yet, but I can still take my Lee Big Stopper out and see what I can do with it.  I have some plans.

I’ve been out a few times to take photos, which is always good and I’ve been putting some photos up on Social Media sites like my Facebook Page and Google+.  Some are from Instragram and others I took with my Nikon D800.  I have one of the full moon that I took the other night with the Tamron SP 150-600mm lens, I think I am getting better at doing them.


There are three images of the same bridge, the Seafarers Bridge in the city. One taken with my phone and the other two with my Nikon D800.  Two taken at sunset, and one taken very early in the morning.

There is a photo of a cattle egret that I got at Banyule Flats. It was just sitting on top of one of the dead trees just looking around. I did have to crop it quite a bit. Again taken with the Tamron SP 150-600mm lens that I have on loan from Maxwell International Australia.


There are a couple of other sunrise shots, taken with my phone, one morning earlier this week.  I knew there was a very good chance for a sunrise, but well, I slept in and these photos I got around my house.

I spent the whole day regretting I didn’t make more of an effort to get to Banyule Flats. It would have been amazing.  We haven’t had another beautiful sunrise since.  The skies have been too overcast or not the right conditions.

I’m off on another trip today, I think.  It is going to rain, so I don’t know how we will go, but hopefully it will be good enough for it.  Going to a park or sanctuary up in the Dandenongs, but you will have to wait and see.  I am going with my friend, so it should be lots of fun.  I will put all the above photos into a big gallery for you now.  I hope you have a good relaxing day.

Introductions: Mel Sinclair

This last month or so I’ve started to realise that I live too much in my own little world of Social Media and I need to start looking for photographers elsewhere.  A friend of mine is always asking me if I know this photographer or that photographer, and I never do.  Today’s introduction is one of those photographers that my friend said I should look up. To say I was inspired and in awe of her work is an understatement.  I’m sure you will feel the same way, so please let me introduce you to Mel Sinclair.


Mel has been to Iceland and her images are quite different to most of the images you see from there.  I think they are, I like the compositions.  I still find ice like this so incredible, the way it just lands on the beach.  The colours in this image are amazing too.

I asked Mel where in the world she was.

Physically, I live in Brisbane, Queensland, it serves as a pretty good base for my travel, but I’m starting to want to be further south (Sydney or Melbourne), where my new friends are and where some new landscapes exist that I’m yet to shoot.

Mentally, I think it’s important that as photographers we think global. I know this sounds like a heap of buzzwords thrown into a sentence, but the very people influencing the landscape styles, are all around the world- and same for every other genre.

We’re in this age where we can see what they’re doing in real time, we can see their styles and read their comments and feed off that.

I think it’s silly to just think Australia-wide, so I live in the internet headspace, kind of like an international airport!


This is such an amazing image to me and similar to something I would love to achieve.  It is such a quiet landscape, in fact I think most of Mel’s landscape images are silent, there is a serenity to them. Perhaps that is why I love the work, I like the same sort of landscapes.

Next, as usual, the questions how long have you been taking photos for and why were asked.

I’ve been at this photography-thing for 8 years. It started as a creative outlet that didn’t cost the earth and was relatively easy to begin, compared to my love of painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpting (of which I have a diploma and degree in). Since then, the paths have changed somewhat, but not the original intention. It started out as something for me, to appease my need to create when I am stuck in an analytical job.

 It changed into something where I really love what I am doing, where I hope to inspire others and make them challenge their thoughts on certain subjects through my writing. The blogs I write, I feel, have formed an important place in the practice, I’m not just content with creating pretty pictures or competing in competitions (though I do love them) the writing has taken a life of its’ own and I’m still finding my feet with that. I am an Accredited Professional Photographer with the AIPP, pretty new to it all- still finding my feet, but loving the different level of thinking that comes with putting together a submission for states or nationals.

 I hope to drive into teenagers struggling to find their way in the world, that once school is over, you can be or do anything you want, you’ve just got to put the effort in. This resonates strongly within me as I grew up feeling the same – the ultimate success in high school was measured on how well you passed maths or science. If you could draw, paint or create, you just hadn’t grown up properly, it was like it didn’t matter.

 I now take photos because I just can’t bear to sit still. I love exploring new worlds, new types of landscape imagery and new things to do with it. My curiosity has been piqued and I’m so eager to see what’s up the next mountain, around the hill or buried in the valleys. It’s become a sort of therapy, a cathartic exercise deeply rooted in escapism.


Landscapes are not the only thing she does and you will discover when you go to her website that there are also lots of other images, like this one above.  As I am starting to come to expect they aren’t photographed in the usual way and they are also quite stunning and make a statement.  I quite like the warm tones of the image, and it would seem that many of her images are taken during those golden hours of the day.

We all get inspiration from somewhere, and I asked Mel about where she gets her inspiration from.

I’ve often been asked this question and it still stumps me. It’s everywhere, it’s through friends passing statements, it’s during my days in an idle moment- an idle thought, through 500px and through my friends  and colleagues who I’ve met through photography. I never seem to really be able to switch off my brain, never content unless I’m busy with something. I draw in ideas from everywhere. I’ve figured out that I love trees, so at the moment I’m studying a lot of tree imagery and seeing what can be done, and how, to make it the best possible.

 I find inspiration in the weather, the fog, the sunrise and sunset, the way the light filters through tall trees and the way that the water laps at the sand on a beach.

 Inspiration is never a static thing, it changes day by day, month to month. When I was studying my Diploma of Fine Art, I had some very inspired teachers. I was told to create an inspiration-wall – snippets, printouts, postcards, words – anything that could drive the creative process, or jog the mind when it is feeling flat, to create. I had one of those walls going for a few years and it helped me immensely. These days my wall exists on my computer in the form of downloads in a folder. We are all shaped by the images that we see prior to creating our work, whether you realise it or not!


While Mel travels all over the world to take photographs, it is good to see that she also finds inspiration where she lives as well.  An almost typical Australian landscape, though the colour is something unusual and I think she said it was because there was smoke around.  In Australia if there is a bushfire and lots of smoke at sunset you get this very weird red glow caused by the smoke.  It is beautiful, but also devastating because of what caused it.

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

Honestly, when it all boils down to it, not all of my images are special. Those that are – they are examples of the amazing things that mother nature can throw at us when we least expect it. These images have defined my portfolio and they are also the ones that I am “known” for. I have a few images which are special to me, which I will defend vehemently if stolen or misappropriated, others, I’m happy to let free on the internet.

 I’ve often been told that my work is rather “isolating” that the subjects are on their own or there is a certain feel to the imagery that gives that feeling of peace. I don’t know whether this is as obvious now, I’m trying to go for more zen.


When I saw the above image on her site, I had to include it, one from my home town of Melbourne.  I know this place, but have only been once, and must make sure I get down there again.

The last question, as always, is about gear.

The easiest one to answer!

I’ve been a Nikon girl since the very beginning, never wavered, never convinced by anything else. I’ve had a fair few in my time, (I’m on my 7th Nikon now).

  • Nikon D810
  • Sigma DP2 Quattro (backup, fixed focal 30mm)
  • Nikon 16-35mm f4
  • Nikon 70-200 2.8
  • Nikon 50mm 1.8
  • Sirui N2204X Carbon Fiber tripod
  • Packed into a F-Stop Tilopa BC camera hiking backpack.

I would like to thank Mel for giving me permission to feature her work and for answering my questions.  I would invite you all to go and take a look at her work, I am only you a small fraction of what is available.  Her website is Mel Sinclair Photography and take a look at her blog there as well. She is also on 500px, the link is Mel Sinclair / 500px. I have gone through the images on her site, well not all, but I have found many that I love and will put them into a gallery for you now.

Quiet Thursdays: The Tamron 150-600mm Lens

It is meant to be my quiet day, and it is, really, but I thought I would start sharing you with you some of my thoughts on the Tamron SP 150-600mm lens that I have on loan from Maxwell International Australia. I have been using it a lot and am still constantly impressed with the images.  I recently went to the zoo again to take photos and it is a good place to test it out.


When you have it all the way to 600mm and trying to get something large the weight of the lens can make it hard, especially if you are hand holding.  I found my tripod wasn’t great for it and I was getting too much movement from it.  I seem to do better if I’m holding it.  Though I do get sore arms after a while.  I think I should start taking a monopod with me, help take some of the weight.  I’m planning on doing that this weekend.


Taking photos in cramped or enclosed areas I have found hard.  Though part of it I’m sure is getting used to it.  When what you are photographing is moving very fast it is difficult to keep up with it.  I’m getting better at the seals because I’ve watched the show a few times now and I can almost predict what is going to happen, like the shot above.


It is slower than say a Nikon 600mm lens and sometimes the focusing takes a bit of time to get there, but I think that is to be expected.  The Nikon lens would cost you around 10 to 12 thousand dollars, the Tamron around $1400.


Someone asked me if I thought it was sharp, and I have to say I do.  sometimes it takes a few shots to get that sharp image, but I do get them.

I have to say on the whole I think it is a great lens. I think it will be my next lens purchase.  Not sure when that will happen, but I know now that I definitely want one.  I enjoy using it and I enjoy that extra length I can get.  I also know that I would never be able to afford the Nikon equivalent, and for me, this one would be fine.

One a side note: yesterday someone told me that I shouldn’t photograph animals in zoos because it was exploitation of the animals.  I was quite disappointed to get a comment like that, and obviously from someone who hasn’t really looked into the great work that many zoos do now.

Melbourne Zoos is trying its best to help the survival of many species who might have been extinct now if it wasn’t for them.  A lot of care and attention goes into helping to make sure that their environments are close to what their natural habitats would be.  One of the best things that zoos do is to educate people, and show people what they can do to help these animals in the wild.  People also start feeling a connection with the animals and in turn, want to help them.

Melbourne zoo also only keeps animals that are endangered, and if they aren’t then the only ones you will see there are ones that cannot be returned to the wild.  The seal, Tarwin, in the above images, they tried to return and she ended up in trouble, so now she is there permanently. She is helping to educate the public on how to protect other seals in the wild.  I think that is fantastic.

Enough from me, here are some more images, all taken with the Tamron SP 150-600mm lens.

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.



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