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Posts tagged ‘Melbourne’

Weekend Wanderings: Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show

It is that time of the year and the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show is on at the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens.  I’ve never been to it before so it has been fantastic to experience it for the first time. Also, now that I have a macro lens, I knew it was something I really wanted to do.  It started on Wednesday and is on until Sunday.


There is a lot of flower arranging inside the Exhibition building.  There was lots of space, but it was needed. The above image was taken just as the show was opening.  It filled up very quickly.


On Wednesday they had tables set up for people to create floral arrangements, I think they were all students I believe.  It was amazing watching them work. I was back there yesterday and saw how this one ended up, I really liked it.


The inside seemed to be all about flowers.  There were lots of different ways of displaying them inside your home, or office or where ever.  There were some great ideas.


Outside was all about the garden and what you could do with it.  What plants you could plant in it.  It was really nice, so many things for your garden.  There was one shop/stall that had lists of plants for your garden to attrack birds, I think I might take a closer look at that on Sunday when I go back.


I think I’ve said before that the 100th anniversary of the ANZACs is coming up in April and there has been a big thing with people knitting, crocheting red poppies all over Australia and beyond for a display on ANZAC day in Federation Square.  Even my mum made some.  They look amazing and I will have to go and see them at Fed Square when they are there.  They did have some on display at the Flower and Garden Show , and they looked wonderful.  The display is being called 5000 Poppies, but I believe they have over 100,000 of them.

On Wednesday I used my 24-70mm lens.  I had actually gone there for a different reason, but I did get a chance to wander around and take some photos.  Yesterday I went in again, but this time I took my macro and got lots of shots with it. Some of them I absolutely love.  I will show you a selection of them tomorrow.

I have a gallery of more images for you, but remember if you are in Melbourne, it will be on all weekend and if you like photographing flowers, you will have the best time.  So many things to photograph there, too much almost.  Here is the link again if you would like more information on it, Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. I hope you are having as good a weekend as I’m having.

Up for Discussion: Photographing Your Backyard

Perhaps not literally, but what about the area you live in.  I have written about this before, but maybe it is time I did it again. Whether we live in one of the most picturesque places on the planet, or somewhere that no one cares about, there are images there to take.

I’ve lived in this area for 21 years and I’ve been doing photography for longer than that, but I’ve always thought that I needed to travel away from the area to take photos.  What on earth could there be to photograph around the Heidelberg area in Melbourne that anyone would be interested in.

Then I started looking at the images that many other people were taking of other parts of the world. These absolutely LeanneCole-heidelberg-20140308-0993spectacular shots of places in the best conditions.  I kept wondering how come every time I go to great places the weather never seems to be on my side.  I never get the sunrise or the sunset.  I don’t get beautiful lighting, I just get blah and often. The reality of the world is that there is more blah than beautiful.

Then about a year ago, maybe a little more, I started realizing that I did live somewhere rather special and that all I had to do was open my eyes to see it.

I live in an area surrounded by city, but here, just 15 or so kilometres from the city, where the Yarra River winds its way to the city, is an amazing area that was initially occupied by the Wurundjeri people before displacement and the “new” owners of the land took over and turned it into farmland.  It was LeanneCole-banyuleflats-20140525-9530farmland until about 20 years ago, and from then it is slowly being allowed to return to what it was when the Wurundjeri lived on it.

It has taken me many years to truly appreciate what we have here, and with that want to help protect it and save it.  Many of you know that I have received a grant to produce a book on this area, and so taking photos of it has become very important.

One of the things that I’ve come to realize is that I can go any time, it is just five minutes down the road. It makes it so much more relaxing.  If I go down there to get a sunrise, and I don’t get one, well there will be others, and there will be other opportunities.  I am still to get a good sunset down there, but I am working on it.

Getting good images of a place isn’t about going somewhere exotic, but knowing intimately the place where you are. banyule-flats-social-snappers-sun-6 Of course you can get to know a place that you have to travel to well, but you have to be prepared to travel there often.

I have decided that the trick to getting good images is to know an area and spending lots of time in it.  For Banyule Flats I am always looking for new things and the more you go there the more you notice.  I am always on the lookout for new things

I am always paying attention to the weather reports and looking out for days I think will give me good sunrises or sunsets.  If it looks good for a sunrise and I get up early, I can go outside and if there are no clouds, or it is overcast I go and have a cuppa.  If it looks like everything is set then I will take a drive down the rheidelberg-banyule-flats-parks-14oad. I don’t know how many times I’ve been disappointed when I’ve driven to somewhere for a sunrise and it has been a nothing morning and nothing has happened.

It is very easy to think that where you live is boring. You see it all the time, you are used to it, and we all know when you see something all the time that it can become boring, who wants to see it?  Well you don’t know, there is beauty everywhere and there is beauty where you live, you just need to find it again.

Start thinking about what if someone, say me, was coming to visit you, where would you take me to take photos, then go there and take some photos. Think about what light would suit that place and maybe try some different times of the day.  Try going in different weather, it is amazing how different weather conditions can give a place a different feel.

I hear so many times from so many people that where they live is boring, so I am challenging you all to pick somewherebanyule-flats-fog-parks-trees-11 that is within 5 kilometres or 3 miles from where you live and see what you can come up with.  Banyule Flats is within that area from me.  See what you can get, I look forward to hearing all about your place. If you do a post on the photos, then send a link, I will get to as many as I can to take a look.

So the photos today are an assortment of the photos I’ve been taking at Banyule Flats and surrounding areas over the last year and in different weather.

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.


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