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Posts tagged ‘Melbourne’

Tuesday’s Bits and Bobs: Some Time to Work

It is still crazy and I keep hoping for more hours in the day, but no one seems to be listening to me.  I thought this week would be a great catch up time, but alas, things have got in the way again.  I do have more days planned at home, so it should be better. Shall we get started.

Monochrome Madness

sccity-3hpm7145-2I will be spending this afternoon on Monochrome Madness so if you haven’t got yours in yet, you still have a little time.


I had a meeting with with the Council last week about my book on Banyule Flats and we have come up with an idea for it, that we think might just work. It will be a beautiful book I think, and there may be a way that we hope can take the story of the area back to the original inhabitants, which I would very much like. More on that later.


sccathedral-HDR4The newsletter will go out in the next couple of days.  I’m very behind this month, but I plan on working on it in the next couple of days. Again, if you haven’t signed up for it, click here.

Social Snappers

We have two Social Snappers Excursions planned this week, St Kilda on Thursday and then Healesville Sanctuary on Sunday.  I’m looking forward to both and if you would like to join us check out the Social Snappers site for more information.

New York

There isn’t much news about New York I’m afraid, still planning on going in September.  I have my passport all ready, but dates still need to be confirmed and such. I am hoping that I can plan a day in San Francisco and a day in New York where people who follow me can come and meet me if they live in the area and want to.


sccity-6895Todays photos are from about 3 years ago. I took them on a trip into the city with a friend. I was going through a bit of HDR phase, everything I did was HDR. Then slowly that changed and now I find I rarely do them, but slowly I’m starting to see that sometimes they can be good, and am experimenting more with them again.  It turned out I was able to get Photomatix Pro again, and now I can start using it again to do some photos.  I might start trying to do more as well, not every image again, but some images do benefit, I just have to work out how to make it work for me.

I hope you are finding time to breathe.



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.


Weekend Wanderings: Birds at the Melbourne Zoo

Photographing birds is not something I ever thought I would get into, but here I am doing it more and more often.  I started with just trying to photograph the birds in the local swamp, Banyule Flats, and now I am started to go other places, like the zoo.  It surprised me that you could do bird photography at the zoo, but there are a few places there where it is possible. It is all fairly controlled, so perhaps a good way to start if you don’t know what you are doing.  There are some birds there that live in really big aviary’s so they can still fly.  There is a really big one at Melbourne Zoo that you can walk through. Then there are other birds that are free to come and go as they please, and the Zoo will put special food out for them.


Rainbow Lorikeets

Near the entrance you can hear lots of lots of screeching, it is the sound from the Rainbow Lorikeets as they wait for someone to come and fill their bowls with nectar. They are such beautiful birds, but very loud. When the feeding bowls are filled it seems like hundreds come to feed from them. We went to the zoo again yesterday hoping to see the feeding frenzy again, but they didn’t get fed, so we don’t know if it was happening at a different time, or what, we will just have to go back again.


Wattle Bird

This  is a Little Wattle bird that showed up just after the Lorikeets flew away to get some nectar as well.


Glossy Black Cockatoo

Australia has some very unique animals that are not found anywhere else in the world, and I think we also have some rather unique birds as well.  I remember another blogger asking me to photograph some because she had heard that we had some very unusual ones, and colourful ones.  This one is not so colourful, but still beautiful.  It is, I think, a Glossy Black Cockatoo and I just looked up its status on Birdlife and it seems this lovely one is in an endangered species. It would be terrible to see them disappear.  It is happening too much, Australia has had so many species become extinct because of humans and their carelessness, here at the moment the biggest problems for wildlife at cats and brown foxes.  Cats, both feral and domestic kill so many native animals and birds.  We have a cat, but because of the reasons just stated he isn’t allowed to go outside. He can sit at the window and watch the birds, but he will never be responsible for killing one.

Apparently this is a Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, I got it wrong, still very pretty.


Blue Billed Duck

The blue billed duck is pretty, the colour of the bill is so amazing.  Very tricky to photograph and get all that colour.  It kept coming out white.  This is another endangered bird.


Royal Spoon Bill

The Royal Spoon Bill, it really stops you in your path.  I have only ever seen these at the zoo until very recently.  I’m starting to wonder what birds are endangered now, as I read that these are as well.  I think the zoo does try to help them, and from what I can gather they get many species because they are hurt or something like that, and then often try to get them to a stage where they can be released back into the wild.


Blue Winged Kookaburra

This is another bird I’ve never seen in the wild.  Unfortunately it is hard to get a good photo of them through the cage.  The camera hates focusing through mess or wire like this.  It will work if you use manual focusing, which I tried for something else, but my eyes are not what they used to be.

It was interesting seeing what birds they had there.  I have more birds for you tomorrow, but the photos will be from a wetlands where I was able to take some photos last weekend, but more about that tomorrow. For today, I leave you with a gallery, where if I have been able I have put the name of the bird.  I don’t know that I got all the names correct, but have done my best.  A couple I couldn’t work out, I will have to get my friend onto it.  It is raining here, lots of rain in the last 12 hours, which is nice, though apparently won’t get rid of the heat, so horrible hot humid weekend ahead for us.



Weekend Wanderings: More from Melbourne Zoo

As I said yesterday I’ve been to the Melbourne Zoo a couple of times recently, once for Social Snappers, and then again just for the morning to get a few more images.  The membership is going to be great for that I think, just being able to pop in and out whenever I like.  Of course the other benefit is that Melbourne Zoo is part of a bigger group, and there are actually three zoos here in Melbourne.  This is the main one, but there is also Healesville Sanctuary, and then the Werribee Open Range Zoo.  They each work together to help the animals.


One of the first places we headed was to the new lion enclosure.  I hadn’t seen it before, so I thought it would be good to go and take a look at it. This is all we could see of the lions. Which supports that notion that the enclosure is there so the animals can see us if they want, and if they don’t, they can hide.


The first time we went past the tiger he was pacing up and down past a doorway, I think he was waiting for food. As we walking out of this area the tiger was sitting on the rocks near the front and was just staring back at the crowds.  Perhaps trying to decide which person it could have for dinner.


The second time I went we went into the Lemur enclosure.  Very high tech to get into it as you are in the enclosure with them.  You can get very close to them, though there are still people there to make sure you don’t touch or do anything to them.  You will see a bigger picture of this guy in the gallery, he was just sitting on the fence, in a very relaxed manner watching us go by.


This was something I was happy with, seeing the gorilla going to sleep on the ground.  I had to take the photograph through the glass, so I was happy that I didn’t seem to get any reflections.


The giraffes are always great to watch.  We weren’t quite sure what was happening here, but it was still fun.  You could look at the animals here and feel sorry for them, but after my trip to Werribee Zoo last year I realise that many of the animals, like the giraffes and zebras are on kept at this zoo for a short time before they are transported back to Werribee Zoo where they can roam around in conditions much like the Savannah. I don’t know how often they rotate them, but it is done, so it is good to know they get a break.


I don’t go into the Australian animal enclosure often, I see animals like what is in there around my home all the time, but we decided to go in and take a look. There are signs saying stick to the path and we came across another volunteer, and she said that we could pat one of the kangaroos because she was lying under the rope.  Apparently these kangaroos had been somewhere else where they got quite used to humans before going to the zoo so didn’t mind people patting them.  She loved being scratched around the ears.

I only have to go one more time to the zoo and I will have paid for the membership, meaning that the membership costs $88 but a visit to the zoo is $30 each time, so it works out well. The membership also means I get free entry to the Werribee Open Range Zoo and the Healesville Sanctuary, which I will be going to in a few weeks for Social Snappers.

I took all these photos with a very cheap Nikon lens that I have, it is a 70-300mm lens, that I bought for $165, and the more I use it the more surprised I am.  I know if I spent a lot more money on a faster lens I would get really clear shots, but I am finding this one alright, I don’t mind it at all.

I have a gallery for you now.  Sunday, so far is quiet here.  Yesterday was hot and apparently today is not meant to be so hot, though it feels very warm already. I hope you are having a great weekend.

Weekend Wanderings: Seals at the Melbourne Zoo

The title probably isn’t real for this post, while the zoo has many seals, this post is really only about one. Last week I had a Social Snappers Photography Excursion to the Zoo, and while I was there I decided to become a member.  I know many people are against zoos, but I really like what the Melbourne Zoo does and how they treat the animals in their care.  People visiting them comes second to the care of them and ensuring they are treated well.

When I first started to prepare the photos for this post I was going to show lots of the animals, but the thing we did that we enjoyed the most was watching the Seal show or talk.  We watched Tarwin and I took so many photos that I decided to share the show with you in images, I hope you don’t mind.


She was very entertaining, and she came to the zoo with a very interesting story, and I’m not going to tell you her story, as the zoo has included it on their website, Meet our Seals: Tarwin.


It was a very challenging thing to photograph and yesterday’s post was very important and things I will have to think about next time.  I know this is quite different to the wild, but it was still difficult and things like patience can be just as important, as well as being quick, it is so easy to miss things.


While part of the show is for fun too, it is also meant to be educational.  They make Tarwin do things to help people understand how important it is to be careful about throwing things away in the ocean. So many seals are injured because of fishing and the irresponsible disposal of fishing line and nets.  So there is quite a bit about helping the seals.


There are lots of trick too, which delight the crowds and also help people understand the message more.  I have to say she moves so fast, that I was surprised I got anything.  Now that I have my membership I can go back again and again, so I can practice doing this sort of photography, would be good to get better at it.  I did remember to turn up my ISO so I could get a fast shutter speed, I opened up the aperture too to help with the speed.  I think my ISO was on 800, but I could have gone higher, next time I think I will.


Then there is the reward at the end, well the rewards happen all the way through it.  It was a little tricky trying to photograph it, but that’s okay, I can practice another time.

I have quite a few photos for you now, they are all of Tarwin, except the first photo, which was another seal in the pool when we got there, then it was removed so Tarwin could do her thing.  They aren’t great photos, but hopefully you get an idea of what the show was like.  It is getting hot here again, going to be very hot today, so I wouldn’t mind climbing into that pool with Tarwin.  I hope you are warm or cool where ever you are.

Quiet Thursday’s: Taking it Easy

This week I have been home a lot more and taking it easy, or rather catching on some work.  I got a new computer the other day, so I am also trying to download all my software again, trying to remember what I had on it.  I am also trying to set up things like Lightroom properly, which I really didn’t do the first time.  It will be good to have it set up right, from the beginning.  I know so much more about it now, which is fantastic.  It is going to be a slow process, I’m sure, there are things I am not looking forward to.  I won’t be able to use Photomatix anymore unless I want to buy it again, as they won’t let me download it again.  Oh well, maybe it is time to start using and trying some other software.

Last night I was in at the Royal Exhibition Building trying to get some early evening shots. I haven’t really had a chance to work on many, but I did a couple for you to see.  They are long exposures, a couple of minutes each.  I didn’t use any filters, it was just the night and light determining how long they should be. It is so much fun doing this.  The clouds were moving so quickly, so they looked fantastic.

I will leave you today with two images.  I hope you can enjoy some quiet time today.


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