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Weekend Wanderings – Getting Dark in the City

Yesterday I was in the city doing some photos with someone.  We started in the late afternoon and took photos until just after 9pm, it was really getting dark in the city then, so I thought I would do some of those photos as my Weekend Wandering post today.


Melbourne Town Hall, it is looking rather ordinary at the moment, but in a month or two I’m sure it will be decorated for Christmas.  I like photographing the same buildings over, they are always different, whether it is the light, or what they have on them.  I would like do a great fine art architectural shot of this building.  I realised yesterday that I will need to use my wide angle, otherwise I can’t fit in the tower.


Stopping at the Hopetoun Tea Rooms in the Block Arcade is almost something I can’t stop doing.  I didn’t get many photos as by the time we got there they were clearing the window.  I might have to try getting a shot of that one day.  I did ask some questions about the window, so will try some more photos soon.


Can you see the bright lights in the water, something reflecting off the bridge.  It was really strange, but we had fund trying to get photos of it.

These two photos look the same, well they are really. except one has a blue sky and the other one is browner.  Maxwell International Australia has let me keep the filters a little longer so I could experiment a little more.  The sunset we got in the city was terrible, really, not much colour, so I thought it would be interesting to try the tobacco graduated filter.  It really warms the image up.  I have been playing around more and on Tuesday will show more photos and talk about the kit a little more.


We saw the gas going off outside the Casino.  We got there hoping it would happen at 8pm, but then some other people who were there looked it up and said that it wouldn’t be on until 9.  We thought, oh well, and just kept taking photos of other things, and then all of a sudden, on they came.  I hope the people who thought it came on later still saw them.  Unfortunately for us, we didn’t think it was going to happen, and so weren’t really prepared, still we got some shots, I just wish I had got a little more of the reflection.


Then it was time to do some night photos of the city.  I love photographing the city at night.  I love seeing how it looks.  So I love it when people say they want to do it. I especially love doing One on One Photography Lessons for people who want to learn night photography. I don’t know that I will ever tire of it, there are always different places along the river to go.

I am going to leave you with a gallery now, I need to start planning a driving trip today for my daughter to get in some more driving hours, but also so I can go somewhere to try out the filters again.  Have a couple of ideas, but you will have to wait and see.  I hope you have somethings planned for the weekend.  I am back into the city tomorrow for Social Snappers, we are doing architecture along Collins Street, should be great.


Weekend Wanderings – Snapping the City in the Dark

Last Sunday I went into the city for another Social Snappers Photography Excursion for a night photography session. We met at the MCG at 6pm, ended up at Flinders Street Station, and finished around 9.30. The idea was that we would start on the bridge that goes over the train lines, photograph the city from there, then slowly make our way along Birrarung Marr and end up at Flinders Street Station, or near there, to photograph car trails. I knew the area from riding a bike a few years ago, but I had never tried to photograph it, so it was new for me too.


The plan had been to try and get the sunset, but by the time we got there it was pretty much over, I think it was because there were no clouds.  One day, I will get it.  It was a beautiful clear night so we couldn’t complain about that.  Being a Sunday night also meant that there weren’t many trains.


So from there we started walking to the city.  There are paths and they are quite well lit, so it wasn’t hard to find our way. I think the most curious thing was that so many people wanted to know what we were shooting, or why we were taking photos.  I think seeing a group of women out taking photos is not something people see every day, it is something that I hope to change.


This is the Birrarung Marr bridge.  It helps link the city with the MCG.  The MCG is one of our major sports arenas, possibly Melbourne’s oldest.  If you know about Melbourne, you would know how sports mad this city is.  The photos we got from here were wonderful, but it was an area that drove us insane. They have speakers on this bridge that play music, like folk ditties and stuff, and they have more than one going at a time.  It is horrible.  You can’t hear anything, and, well, you just want to enjoy the sounds of the area, but no, you have to listen to a whole bunch of songs and music playing at the same time.  Please Melbourne, turn off the music.


This is a massive sculptural piece that is by the river.  It used to be in front of the National Gallery of Victoria, but was moved a few years ago. Not an easy piece to photograph.  There are too many things in the way, rubbish bins, bright lights.


Finally, we went back into the city, where we all had fun taking photos of the car trails.  This is an iconic image and most people want to get it.  Every time I go and take photos here there are always lots of other photographers there as well. It wasn’t as busy as it normally is. Sunday night probably had a lot to do with it, but it was nice to get more photos.  The above photo is another stacked image, I can’t remember how many, I think around 20.

It was a very good evening.  One of the women that came along has said that she was feeling a bit shy, and was worried about doing this sort of thing, but she said that I gave her lots of information and that she learned a lot.  Her tripod broke and we had to share mine, which was fine.  She started using a lunch box to support her camera which, surprisingly, worked rather well.  I had so much fun, and I can’t wait to do more of these excursions.  I really think Social Snappers is such a great idea, it is good to go out with a group of women and just enjoy taking photos.

I’m running behind today, I was out all afternoon photographing Lake Albacutya, and then last night doing the milky way at Jonesy’s Bush Retreat.  Today, I’m off to Nyah West for my workshop on landscape and night photography, that should also be really good.  So for now, I have a gallery of images from last Sunday.  I hope your weekend is good and you get lots of chances to take photos.


Weekend Wandering – Melbourne Indoors

About a month ago I had a Social Snappers Excursion in the city, we went around the arcades, and today I thought I would show you some of those photos. I wasn’t sure about showing them as I have shown so many photos of the arcades I was worried you might be getting bored seeing them again,  however we did go to some places that I haven’t photographed much, so I am going to show those.  It’s really only two places.


One of the first places we went to was the Cathedral Arcade in the Nicholas Building.  It is a beautiful arcade, but very, sadly, run down.  It could really do with some TLC.  I would love to have seen it in it prime.


For no other reason, than because I like it.  I took this in the Royal Arcade, it was on the stand for the Macarons.  I love how they have things like this just sitting there.  They also don’t seem to mind you take photos.


We went to Myer to take photos of the interior.  I am not sure what their policy is on people taking photos in there, but it is such a great building and I love photographing it.  There are so many angles and shapes.  There is glass everywhere so the reflections are amazing as well.  You just never know what you will be looking at.  I do know that woman standing in the middle of the image, I am pretty sure, was watching us.


If you go all the way to the top there is a big window where you can see all the buildings in the city. Well not all of them, but it does give you a good view of the city.

We had planned on doing more, well we did do more, but we were going to head outside, but just as we started it started raining, so it was back inside.  I love going through the arcades, always trying to get something different, makes it challenging that way.  I think the others enjoyed it as well.

I have a gallery for you with a few more images.  Not too many.  I hope you are having a good weekend.

Weekend Wanderings – Eureka Skydeck 88

On Friday night I had a chance to go up to the Eureka Skydeck 88 to see the city.  The Eureka Tower is the tallest building in Melbourne and they turned floor 88 into an observation deck.  It is a great place to see the city from above and it seems like you are the tallest thing there.  My first reaction when I walked out onto the observation deck and saw the view was “wow”, it was incredible.

eureka-tower-skydeck-observation-melbourne-1We got there just before sunset, just in case there was a nice one. There is always a sunset, but whether it looks good or not is another thing.  We had high expectations.  Though we did get rather distracted by trying to get photos that we probably didn’t take in the views as much as we should have.  The observation deck is double glazed, so while you can stop reflections on the first pane of glass it was a lot harder to stop them on the one on the outside.


I do like this one of the city with the afternoon sun shining on it. I live out in that direction, way behind the high rises.

eureka-tower-skydeck-observation-melbourne-4Can you see that strange thing on the cloud.  It was the weirdest thing. It isn’t the sun, as the sun was further over on the right.  It was like a cloud rainbow, or something.  So if anyone has any idea what it is and how it happens would love to hear.

eureka-tower-skydeck-observation-melbourne-7I have made that sunset look a lot better than it actually was.  Creative license I believe they call it.  It was really a rather pathetic sunset actually.  Just my luck.

eureka-tower-skydeck-observation-melbourne-16I loved the view at night, it was stunning.  Though, they were the hardest images to get and I had to spend time on nearly all of them getting rid of reflections.  I took some black cloth with me to help with the reflections, but it didn’t stop them all.  I think if I went back I would try something a little different.  Might have to see if I can try it again.

eureka-tower-skydeck-observation-melbourne-19After we left we down to the Flinders Street and tried getting car light trails in front of Flinders Street Station.  It was quite busy and there were lots of cars around.  I have tried doing some stacking with these, gave me lots more lights, something I might have to do some more of.

The Eureka Skydeck 88 is a great place to see Melbourne from above, you get 360 degree views all around the city and out to the bay.  The floor is shaped oddly so you can see different things in different places.  I would like to go back sometime and try some different things, as I said, maybe plan what I want to take more.  Really on Friday night I was just seeing what I could do.

I have a gallery for you today.  I have a Social Snappers Excursion planned for this afternoon for the Melbourne Zoo.  The forecast isn’t looking good, so I don’t know how how we will go.  Could be fun.  Have a great Sunday.


Quiet Thursday – Up in the Air

It is getting late in the day, and it is one of those days that I like to take things easy, so for today I have a photo for you that I did earlier in the week.  I know writers like images that give them inspiration for poems or short stories, so I have another photo for that.  It is a composite and you can interpret it as you will.


The same applies as in previous posts like these, you can leave links in the comments sections.  Pingbacks don’t really work the way they used to, so it is best to leave links in the comments section.  Feel free to put the image on your blog, just please give me credit for the image, if that is okay.  So over to you.

Weekend Wanderings – Melbourne from across the Bay

Many years ago I saw something while I was in Williamstown and I tried taking a photo of it.  I was so excited, but after I got the film back the image was out of focus, I should’ve used a tripod.  So I have been trying to get that image again and last night I had my chance.

LeanneCole-melbourne-williamstown-20140531-9797The image I had got previously was one at sunset and the sunset was reflected in all the buildings in the city.  We pretty much knew we wouldn’t get a good sunset, the forecast for today was all about rain, so there wouldn’t be one really, and we were right.  There was a little colour, but not enough really.

We decided it didn’t matter, we can always go back and so the trip would be more of a scouting trip for future photo classes.


We watched as the sun went down and the lights on the city came on.

LeanneCole-melbourne-williamstown-20140531-9884Massive ships went in and out of the Bay, leaving big light trails on our images.

LeanneCole-melbourne-williamstown-20140531-9916For me the magic started after the sun had gone down.  The cloud cover acted like a reflector and light from the city was bounced around everywhere.

I am going to finish here, and leave you with the gallery.  It is raining here, so not much chance of any photography, though I do have a class tonight, night photography in the city, I hope my students remember their umbrellas. After seeing the marks on these images, I better go and clean my sensor before I go out again.


Introductions – Dan Shehan

Normally when I do these posts I pick someone from WordPress and then get images from their blog, but today’s photographer hasn’t been blogging for very long. I wouldn’t usually pick someone like that, and there are a couple of people I know that I am waiting a little bit longer so they have been blogging for more than a couple of months. Dan was one of those, but a wonderful mutual friend, Laura Macky, explained to me that while he has only been blogging for a short time, he has been on Google+ for a lot longer.  I realised there were would so many photos there too, so today’s featured photographer is Dan Shehan,  another WordPress Photographer, but also from Google+.

Blue DawnWhen I try and think back to the images that I first saw of Dan’s I think this one.  I don’t know if it was actually this one, but it was something very similar.  I also don’t know if it was the first one I saw, but it was certainly the first one that made a real impression on me.  I love the water, I love making water go like this.  He has made me realise that sometimes I go to far away to achieve this.

I asked Dan why he took photos.

I take photographs because of the emotions involved while capturing a moment in time.  When I pick up my gear to go out and shoot, I feel a sense of freedom.  The freedom to see the world around me in a way only I can envision.  Photography allows me the freedom to capture an image from this vision.  The freedom to compose an expression of what I see through the lens of a camera, then pushing the button.  I also experience the emotion of surprise.  The surprise of what I see, causing me to take out my camera…the surprise when I get home and say, “omg…I took that picture”.  The surprise that others like my photographs too.

There is also the emotion of intrigue.  I’m intrigued by what I’ve created, compelling me to go out and shoot some more. I think “ooh…what if I try this…or try that”.
And what better feeling is there than to cause an emotion in others with this expression of your own emotions…your passion…your surprise…your intrigue…your freedom?  It’s kind of exciting, isn’t it?

I’m reminded of when all of this started for me.  It was almost 46 years ago when, at the age of 14, my father gave me his old Argus C3 film camera from his days in the Navy as a journalist.  I taught myself the manual settings, then used the camera on a cross country trip across America to visit relatives on the east coast.  After those first rolls were developed, I realized that I had created an unforgettable emotion inside of me by capturing special moments in time.  That was the moment I became hooked!

Today, photography inspires and nourishes my vision to create new emotions. What used to be an enjoyable hobby, has turned in to a full-time passion.  My main focus in photography is shooting landscapes, and in particular waterscapes.  At the same time, I don’t pigeon-hole myself into one specific category either.  I also take many cityscape, nightscape, and gardenscape images.  I’ve even ventured into shooting a few abstract images (mostly involving water, of course).  The bottom line is that if I like what I see, I push the button.

This is why I take photographs.

Clipper Cove at DuskBefore going through all of Dan’s images I hadn’t noticed this one before, now I can’t stop noticing it.  It just seems like an incredibly image to me.  I love the way it is composed and the mood that is set in the image.  I think it’s a fantastic image.

Why inspires you was the next question.

I first get my inspiration by looking out the window of my home.  I have a terrific view of San Francisco Bay and am constantly moved by its charm and beauty.  Nature, in all of its grandeur, has always been my strongest inspiration.  Whether its being on the bay, along the coastline, in the middle of the city, or even backpacking at 10,000 feet high up in the mountains, I am constantly moved by nature and the beauty it provides us.

I’m also inspired by the works of other great photographers and the emotion I feel while viewing their form of expression.

And finally, I’m inspired by the photographer friends I’ve made, the people who follow me online, and certainly the people who have bought my art.  All of whom seem to have the same passion for this expression we call photography.

Night PilingsAs you look through Dan’s blog and his Google+ page you can see that there are things that he loves to photograph.  He does them over and over again.  I don’t mean that in a bad way. I think you get the best photos if you constantly go back somewhere.  Especially different times of the day, different times during the year.  It’s something I wish I did more of.

How a photographer works is important, and so I asked Dan if there was anything special about how he worked.

I’m not sure how “special” my work process is.  Typically before I go out to shoot, I think about what it is I want to capture or create.  I’ll look out my window and observe the sky, the clouds, the weather. Then I go… Sometimes I’ll go out without any plan whatsoever, but still… I just go!

I’ll arrive at a location, hopefully with preconceived ideas of what I want to shoot.  There are many occasions when, before or after I capture what I set out to do in the first place, I perform a simple task of turning around in the opposite direction. Sometimes you can get even more amazing shots this way.  It’s not unusual for me to take 100 images on one of these ventures.  And I always shoot in RAW format.

When I get home, I import all of the images to Lightroom.  I’ll delete those that don’t quite cut it, then organize the rest.  I’ll select one or two and start my “developing” process by moving a few sliders around, removing those pesky dust spots, cropping if necessary, straightening the horizon, etc…  If there are several similar images, then I’ll batch process them using a preset I’ll create from the first image.  

This process usually only takes a minute or so per image.  And believe me, I don’t process every image.  I’ll typically process only those images that I get a good feel for in their RAW form.  That number varies based on the number of subjects I capture during the shoot.

I rarely drop a photo into Photoshop unless I want a special effect added, or a blending of images is warranted.”MY” basic philosophy, however, is to keep the image as “natural” as possible.  My goal is an attempt to display what I’ve created inside the camera.
Oh, and by the way… I have nothing against other photographers who “photoshop” more than I do.  There are some incredible images out there that truly move and inspire me.

I also study!  I study how other photographers work. I study how I can improve my own work.  I study, then I shoot.

Brisbane Harbor SunriseThere is definitely a recurring theme of water through Dan’s work.  Not all images are water, but it does feature quite a lot.  Photos of water are always great.  There is a calmness about the water in Dan’s images and I think when you see water like that you almost automatically breath out.  Ahhh.

Gear and what he uses was the next question.

Currently, I use a Nikon D300 which is a 12.6MP cropped-sensor DSLR.  I have three lenses: a Tamron 17-50mm f2.8, a Nikon 55-300 f4-5.6, and a 25 year old Nikon 50mm f1.8 that I found at a swap meet for $10 (The sharpest lens I own).  I also bring along a few filters: Tiffen ND filters including a .6(2 stop), a .9 (3 stop), a 1.2 (4 stop), and a 3.0 (10 stop).  I also use a polarizing filter.
I carry a Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod when appropriate for my task.  All of which I carry in a Vivitar camera backback.
Software includes Lightroom4 and Photoshop Elements 11.

Blossom SpecklesLike most of us, he does branch out sometimes, and takes photos of other things.  Though when I looked at all the images of his that I have used for this post, there aren’t many that don’t have water.

I have started asking where in the world the photographers are.  It is a question I find so many people don’t put on their blog and the first thing that people wanting to know about them want to know.

After living in Southern California most of my life, I have now retired from my profession as an accountant and have moved to San Francisco where I currently live.  You can usually find me hiking up and down the hills of this incredible world class city. My favorite areas, though, are the beautiful bay and coastline.  Oh… and I’m the guy with the old yellow ball cap and carrying a backpack, lol.  If you see me, please stop and say hi. :-)

I have some photos of Dan’s to show you now, but first, I would like to thank Dan from Dan Shehan Photography for giving me permission to feature photography from his blog Dan Shehan Photography and his Google+ page.  You can also find Dan at his website and on Pinterest.   I hope you will all go and show Dan some support as well.  Comments are great, but today, I am only going to approve them and will only respond to ones that I ask me something directly.  This post is for Dan.  Here is the gallery.


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