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Posts tagged ‘nikon’

Introductions: Six Pixx

One of the things I love about Monochrome Madness is that I get to meet lots of new people, but I’m also introduced to lots of new blogs.  Today I am introducing you to someone who participates on a regular basis in Monochrome Madness and it has been wonderful getting to know her through it.  Maxine has the blog Six Pixx, and I am sure many of you are already very familiar with her work.  I’ve been watching what she has been doing for a while and decided it was time I asked her if I could feature her and her blog on my blog.


I’ve noticed that over time her work has been catching my eye more and more and now I’m finding I am starting to recognise her work before I see the name.  There is something that she is doing that is making her work her own.

I asked her what in the world she was.

I’m in Hastings, on the south coast of England. It’s in 1066 country where William the Conqueror landed his invasion. We’re very lucky to have some beautiful historical sites and green scenery (it rains a lot) and yet, be within distance for a day trip to London, Brighton and even Paris with the high speed train.


I like her compositions, she has a good eye, and she also takes images that are a little different.  You can see thought processes and how she is thinking about what to take.  I like that, I like it a lot, it is what I try to do.

The next question, when did you start taking photos and why.

I’ve always taken ‘snaps’ but was never very enthused by them until 18 months ago when my eldest son ‘lent’ me (he never got it back) the digital SLR he received for his 21st birthday present. My long suffering partner and I were heading off for a holiday of a lifetime to Cuba – the poor boy probably thought, if he had to look at a load of holiday snaps when we got back, he’d rather they might be worth looking at – most of them weren’t. That’s when I decided to start looking at how to make a decent photo.I’ve had such an exciting journey in the past 18 months starting at ‘auto’, passing through shooting some film (I must do that again soon) and doing a developing workshop in the darkroom to now, making (semi) conscious decisions about aperture and shutter speeds and editing my raw files in Lightroom and Photoshop. Sometimes, I even produce an image that I’d envisioned at the point I pressed the shutter release.

Very lucky there Maxine, that rarely happens for me.


There is a lot of experimentation happening with her work as well which is really interesting to see. I like experimenting as well and trying different shots, seeing what I can get. It is through experimentation that great discoveries can be made and I think it is wonderful that Maxine is doing lots of it as well.

I asked about inspiration.

My inspiration? Everything! It’s a bit of a problem to me because it makes the learning curve that much steeper. I love landscapes, I really enjoy a good abstract, I admire those who do street photography well, and much to my own detriment…. I love shooting straight into the sun. I think I am most affected by weather (we have quite a lot of grey days which I find difficult in life generally, let alone for photography) and I’m extraordinarily drawn to water. But, more than all of that, it has been having a public platform to post images and look at the wonderful images of so many talented others (especially that Leanne person) that has probably been my biggest inspiration. Becoming part of the blogging community and making connections with like-minded people has been a hugely rewarding part of my photography journey and is probably the main contributing factor to how my photography has progressed.


I love the colours in her work.  they are often soft and I guess reflect that English countryside that I envision it to be like. There are strong colours, but the colour I think is most dominant is the colour of sunrise or sunset, very warm, and something I don’t really associate with England.  I think we Australians have always thought England to be a cold place.  I like seeing the warm colours in the images.

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

Apart from not actually knowing what I’m doing most of the time, I don’t think there is anything particularly special. I love trial and error and I take a lot of images that are doomed to sit, ignored, on my hard drive for the rest of their days. Should I delete them?

No, I wouldn’t delete them, you might go back to them one day and decide they are worthy of some attention. I only delete photos that I know I can’t fix, blurred, too over or under exposed, that sort of thing.



For someone who has been serious about her photography for such a short time it is amazing what she is doing.  Her trial and error is paying off.  I can’t imagine what she will be doing 5 years or 10 years, I am looking forward to seeing her work develop.

My final question, as always was about gear.

I recently upgraded my son’s Nikon D5000 to a D5300 – I could have kicked myself because the intention was to buy a D7000 but I got distracted. Never mind, as they say, it’s the camera you have in your hand. I have a Nikon 18-105mm kit lens (I think that’s what distracted me) and a Sigma 70-200mm lens. I have just invested in a wobbly tripod and some cheap filters because I want, one day, to take some beautiful long exposure shots of the sea. They’re OK – I’m not a professional and I can’t justify spending too much money on kit when I’m not sure what use I will get from it. The next time I have a lump of money burning a hole in my pocket, I think I’d like a fast, prime lens – then those seagulls better look out!

I have to ask Maxine, “did you give your son’s camera back to him”?

I would like to thank Maxine for giving me permission to feature her work here today on my blog.  I’ve really enjoyed getting to know her even more through this process.  For those of you who have never been to her blog, Six Pixx, I would invite you to do so, there are many more great images there, and for those that do know Maxine, I hope you will go and say hello.  I have a gallery of her images now, some of my favourites, though I think I might have done overboard, couldn’t stop picking them.  A big bunch of photos.

Tuesday’s Bits and Bobs

Tuesday is here again and for me, Tuesday usually means getting Monochrome Madness ready for another week.  I tend to spend the afternoon doing it and then I scheduled the post to publish while I am asleep, so I can just wake up to it.  Nice to know when I go to sleep on Tuesday night it is done.  It isn’t a big week again this week, though I expect more emails will arrive today as well.  If you haven’t got yours in yet, there isn’t much time left.

Introductions and Websites

It was great to see how many of you really enjoyed the introductions post last week for Alex Bihlo.  At the time I did the post on Alex he only had his Google+ page, but he and I started talking and he thought it might be good to look into getting something.  I received an email from him the my-garden-macro-flowers-rain-525other day and he told me he has put one together, so I thought I would tell you.  It is a website, ALEX BIHLO PHOTOGRAPHY, and you can find many of Alex’s amazing images there.


I had a wonderful experience this week when I received an email from Julie Powell wanting to know if she could interview me for a project she is working on.  I rarely get interviewed, actually almost never, so it was wonderful to have someone asking me and wanting to showcase my work.  I was emailed a list of questions and I answered them, and then emails went backwards and forwards.  Then I was sent a link to the interview, so I have it here for you as well, An Interview with Leanne Cole, Photographer.  Some of the questions were really interesting and it was quite a comprehensive look at my photography.  I want to thank Julie for thinking I was interesting enough to interview.

New York

My trip dates are starting to get finalised with the hope of buying the tickets soon.  Thanks to everyone for the help on what gear to take, I think I have a better handle on that now.  I am not going to say too much on it now, but I do plan on starting a regular part of these my-garden-macro-flowers-rain-535posts on my lead up to it next year.  I am hoping to meet many of  you that live in those areas when I am there as well.

Social Snappers

We had our last Social Snappers Photography Excursion for the year the other night.  We went back into the city to take photos of the Christmas Decorations.  I love how organic these can be.  I like that there is a rough plan, but if everyone wants to go somewhere else then we do and it isn’t a problem.  Because I had been on Thursday night, I didn’t take a lot of photos, but I did spend time trying to get one ladies camera to cooperate, it wasn’t behaving.  I might need to download the manual and have a proper look.  Another lady forgot her tripod plate, which is the same as mine, so we spent time sharing our plates.  It was a great evening, and that is what it is about really.  I like being asked to help, it was good to feel usual.  I am looking forward to them starting up again next year.


my-garden-macro-flowers-rain-531The weather has been shocking here, we have been getting a bit of rain, and lots of humidity, yuck.  Not what we are used to here in Melbourne.  I haven’t been using the macro lens as much as I would like, but I have plans for some things.  I did go out yesterday just after the rain to take some photos of the flowers in my garden, and they are the photos in this post. I will be trying out the macro a lot more over the next few weeks.  So far, I can’t tell the difference between using the Nikon or the Tamron, except the Nikon is a little heavier.  All the images in this post were hand held, so I can use it like the Tamron as well. I will test it out more and let you know what I think.

One Four Challenge

I have done my image for the week and if you would like to see what i have done, then you will need to go to my other blog,  One Four Challenge for December Week 2.

That’s it for today, remember to get your MM images in straight away. I just wanted to add, if you have a major announcement or something, and I know you, then please let me know, I don’t mind telling others about it.



Weekend Wanderings – Dog Rocks

The other day I was sitting around home and I got a text message with a very interesting invitation.  Christine Wilson had decided at the last minute to go to Dog Rocks and wanted to know if I was interested. My response was where is that, but at the same time, I was thinking new place to take photos.  I loved the spontaneity of the invitation, and hope it happens again.  I was to find out that Dog Rocks a small place near Bateford, and near Geelong.  I googled it before I went, got something about something for dogs, but then I started to see some incredible images. When we go there it was bright and sunny, and our hopes of lots of clouds for some long exposures were dashed, but I was so pleased to have been introduced to this place.


So, what is it?  It seems to be a paddock that is now a park, but the land is very barren.  There are lots of rocks, and big rocks on it, and a few weird shaped trees.  There was a cluster, or group, or what a group of trees is called, just looked up google and maybe a copse.  Our hopes of a cloudy sky disappeared as the clouds all went, so no chance of long exposures.

It was probably the wrong time to be there, and as I looked through my photos I wondered what I would do with them.  There is something I have been pondering on for some time now, about doing images and using the Australian summer light to make my images, to use the harshness of the light.  I don’t quite know how yet, but going to this place gave me some ideas and I played around with them with that idea in mind.


So I played with the colour and actually used some over exposed images.  The summer light here is very very harsh, and it flattens everything and it does seem to take the colour out.  Everything around the country is brown, or golden, so I thought why not emphasis that.


I also thought about trying some in black and white, see if they would come up better.  I was having trouble with the sky, so put in a cloudy sky.  It was interesting as it was obvious where the sun was so I had to be careful which sky I choose.  I hope this is the right one.


Again another replaced sky.  The rock formations were quite incredibly too.  I have no idea what sort of rock it was, but you will see more in the gallery.  Some of the bigger ones had little ponds in them, and even overflows.

I was so happy Christine had invited me.  Of course people go there to photograph the trees, well specially the tree in the black and white image above.  I preferred the tree in the second image.  It wasn’t too bad a drive, so I know I will go back at different times of the year, especially now that I know about it. I have a map of roughly where it is.

I hope that helps you.

I am going to put the rest of the images that I spent yesterday processing into a gallery for you now.  We have a state election here today, it is turning out to be a big thing, a sign of things to come.  I really hate the state of politics here and the cat fights that continue to happen between the two parties, and would really like to see them getting back to making Australia a better country for everyone, rather than a few.  Anyway, no place for a discussion like that here and I think I will be spending a good part of the weekend playing with the new macro lens that arrived here yesterday, my own at last. I hope you have a good weekend, and take care.



Being Very Close to the World Around Me

A few weeks ago you might remember how Nikon lent me a 40mm macro lens.  I played with it, enjoyed it, but knew at the time that there was no way I would be able to afford one, too much money for me to have, just play around with. At that time suggestions were made, but Ben from Aperture64 Photography told me about some extension tubes that he has used by Polaroid, not to expensive and a good price for experimenting.  I looked them up and they arrived last week.

Again they haven’t been as easy to use, which I expected, but I have been experimenting with them.  I didn’t get the ones that would have meant that I could changed the aperture or use autofocus, so if you are contemplating going down this road, I would recommend getting those.  I don’t know how you would tell the difference when buying them, but hopefully someone can leave a comment on that.  Victor from Victor Rakmil Photography suggested that I see if I had a lens that I could change the aperture on the actual lens.  This is where I am so glad I didn’t get rid of my old film photography gear, the lenses I had for my old film Nikon have the aperture on the lens and I can change it there.  So I played around with both of the old lenses yesterday.

LeanneCole-exttubes-9500This was outside in the garden.  I was using my old 35-105mm lens, and I set the aperture on f/16. Focusing was difficult because I had to use manual focus which meant moving into it with the camera as close as I could until the image went into focus.  There was no control over that.  It also meant I had to stay very still to try and get it at that point. That is the part I found the most difficult.

LeanneCole-exttubes-9521These are the dead Gerberas again, spiders I think are starting to live in them, so it might be time to get rid of them.  I put the 70-210mm on the extension tubes, with all the tubes, and just played.  I found if I zoomed the lens in and out it was easier to find that point where the images was really sharp.  I enjoyed using the zoom a lot, and will try it out with the other lens as well.  I am looking forward to getting out on some cold mornings to take photos.

LeanneCole-tiddles-9561While I was taking photos of the dead flowers, our cat, Tiddles, was asleep in the sun on the floor.  I thought it would be good to take some photos of him asleep.  Then he rolled onto his back so the sun could warm up his belly.  I don’t normally show photos of my cat, but sometimes, well sometimes I just have to.  I am sure David from Through the Viewfinder. . . will be able to relate to this.

I haven’t done a very thorough explanation of the Extension tubes, as I really don’t know what I am doing yet, beyond having some fun.  I know there are other photographers out there that do know what they are all about.  Victor wrote a post on using Extension tubes and I would encourage you to go and take a look.  The post and link are Because you can never get enough magnification… (An essay on extension tubes etc.).

One thing I do have to warn you about, if you get the polaroid ones, which is what I got, and you get them for a Nikon, to get the one off your lens, you push the silver screw thing towards the camera body.  I have to tell you, I put it on my 50mm lens and I couldn’t get it off.  I was so scared, thought I would going to have to chuck the lens, but it did come off and I know what to do now, thanks Ben for your help there too.

I am going to put the images in a gallery now, with a couple more.  Enjoy your Friday.

Up for Discussion – Men and Women in Photography

When I was writing posts for that other blog I had wanted to do a post on this subject, but at the time they thought it might not work with what they were doing.  I have been thinking about it for a while and decided that I might do it for one of these posts, open it up for discussion.  This is not a discussion about whether men or women are better photographers, I think we have proven time and time again that gender has nothing to do with it, I am more interested in biggerLeanneCole-kyneton-20131002-8501 picture and how the world perceives Women photographers and Men Photographers.

They have been saying for a very long time it is a mans world, and I thought things had changed, but I keep hearing how women still aren’t paid the same, that women still get treated sctw-9177differently.  I don’t know how true it is, I have always gone through life thinking I can do anything if I really want to, well almost anything.  Of course I can’t be the Queen of England, I will never be a famous movie star, and I will never fly to the moon, they are just not something that is possible.  Instead I concentrate on realistic goals, those for me are being the best photographer I can be and making my blog a great place for people to visit.  I don’t think being a woman stops me from that.

Recently I heard that there are more women doing photography than men, especially new people coming into photography.  Yet, when you look at the world of professional photography it is still very much dominated by men. Part of the thinking behind this post came when I was going through Nikon’s website, as you do and I found a page of Photographers, Professional Insights, and they list a whole heap of photographers, but out of the 20 listed, only 2 of them are women.  I was shocked.  I thought if there are more women doing photography now, then why do Nikon only represent it like it is 10%? Of course, that could just be Nikon and maybe that is how they think about the world.

Then I saw this from Canon and their ambassadors, see if you can spot the women in the big picture.

It seems that there is a perception that men do all the really cool stuff, you know like Landscape photography, architecture, while the women do all the portraits, babies and weddings.  You really don’t scladybath-9282hear of men photographing babies, unless it is their own.  So while I think there is a place for women in photography, have we been pigeon holed as only able to do certain things?

My questions today are more about perceptions.  When you think of Women Photography what sort of photography comes to mind?  Why do you think Professional Organisations still have more men represented than women?  Tell me your gender and what sort of photography you like doing?  Do you find it a struggle to achieve what you want?

These posts are a great way to share knowledge, so please contribute.

I will approve them, as long as they are nice and not nasty in any way.

Feel free to respond or reply to other comments.  It would be good to generate some discussion.

Introductions – Learning to Snap

My introduction today is a first, well it is the first time I have shown someone from New Zealand I believe.  Richard is from there and has been taking photos of New Zealand and then putting them up on his blog Learning to Snap. If you are a landscape photographer then New Zealand has to be one of those places that you would love to go to.  I know since seeing Lord of the Rings, I really want to go their to take photos.  The landscapes always seem big, I don’t know how to describe it really.  I will try.


2013-10-27-MilfordTrip-291-Edit-X3This is sort of what I mean, big mountains, big scenes.  Australia and New Zealand are very close, but yet millions of miles apart with it comes to our landscapes.  Australia is more open, big skies and very dry, whereas I imagine New Zealand with more mountains, and real mountains, with lots of atmosphere and very wet.  New Zealand is further south than us, so I assume that is why it is like that.  I see scenes like the one Richard has taken here and I am envious.  It is a magical shot, and it really makes me want to take that trip there.  Milford Sound is a place I’ve been hearing about for years and Richard has so many amazing images of it, this is just one of them.  I love the colours in the foreground, seems to warm up a cold image, or cold environment.

I asked Richard about why he takes photos.

The short answer is for fun!

I take photographs to let my creativity out. I enjoy being outdoors tramping, skiing or mountain biking and taking my camera allows me share those places and experiences.I have been taking photos since I was a kid with an old Kodak camera and 127 film but started being more serious (if that’s the right word) when I joined the Kaiapoi Photographic Club having moved to New Zealand about 7 years ago. Over 100,000 images later and I still have so much to learn!

2013-07-14-Snow-149-LI had to go back aways to find a image of winter on Richard’s blog, it has been a while since winter was here, but it is certainly making a come back here now.  I know that most of you know it never snows here, not where I am, so if I want to see snow I have to drive a long way, or look at photos of it from other people.  I love how Richard has captured the snow falling here.  I am assuming it is snow, and not rain.

As usual I asked Richard about what inspires him.

I am inspired by the world around me, the landscapes of New Zealand in particular. Great light, textures and shapes make me run for my camera.

I enjoy looking  at images on the web and particularly in books.  I look at the work of lots of photographers, the masters of the craft are so inspiring; from early photographers such as Atget through the work of Man Ray and Ansel Adams to Michael Kenna and Annie Leibovitz. I have enjoyed the ebooks from Craft and Vision particularly the titles on creativity and inspiration by David duChemin.

2013-11-09-PortLevy-13-XLI love it when you see trees like this.  I have never come across one, but I think they make great subjects for photos, and I know the day I finally find one I won’t be leaving it for a long time.  I will want to get every image of it I can.  The foggy/misty conditions really add to this image.  It must get very windy there.

The third question was if there was anything special about how he worked.

Mostly I just start taking images and see where it takes me, I find that once I start making images it gets easier and I get more ideas. Occasionally I plan an image but usually I end up with something different from what I imagined anyway.

For landscapes I tend to be at either extreme, either very wide or telephoto. I really like the compression effect with a long lens.

LeucharsChurch-XLWhile I think of landscapes when I think of Richard’s work, it would be wrong, he does do other sorts of images and architecture is featured there as well.

EliteRace_2014-01-12_11-19-45__DSC7423_©RichardLaing(2014)-X3You will also see that he photographs lots of sports as well.  There is a great variety of sports there, and a great variety of other subjects as well.

I also asked Richard what gear he uses.

I currently use a Nikon D800E having recently upgraded from my much loved (and well worn) Nikon D700. I have a variety of Nikkor lenses 14-24, 24-70, 80-200, 105mm and a nifty 50mm, all fast and sharp. I use polarisers, ND filters and graduated NDs to get the best image I can in camera.

On the computer I use Lightroom or Aperture along with Photoshop CC. To speed things up I use a variety of plugins and particularly like Nik Silver Efex Pro and Nik Color Efex Pro.

With all the hi-tech equipment sometimes it is good to get back to something more organic and I use a Holga with B&W film instead which I develop in my kitchen!

Except for the last part he could almost be describing my gear too, without the E on the end of the camera model.

I think when you go to Richard’s blog, Learning to Snap, you will not have a hard time finding images to like.  As I was going through it, I realised that a lot of the images I was getting for the blog were all from later posts, I had to stop myself from taking everything.  He does help you visualise his homeland and I hope you agree that he his images are of a high standard.  I would also like to thank Richard for allowing me to feature Learning to Snap on my Introductions post today.  Please go and visit, you won’t be disappointed.  Here is a gallery of some of his wonderful images.

Up for Discussion – How to Choose a Camera

A couple of weeks I was asked by someone about buying cameras.  They wanted to get a new camera but had no idea what to choose.  I told the person I had written a post on how to work out what camera is right for you, What you want in a Camera, and they said it was very helpful.  I wrote that post over a year ago and I know that people could contribute more to this discussion.  This is not a discussion on which is better, Nikon or Canon, the reality is they’re both good, end of that.  I don’t mind you talking about why you choose one over the other, I will do that too, but in the end it probably doesn’t matter what you choose.  I will go first.

747px-Pentax_K1000I started taking photos over 20 years ago, that is with a SLR.  I’ve spoken about this before, my husband asked me what I wanted one year for my birthday and that is what I said.  The Pentax K1000 was not something I choose, it was chosen for me.  It was a good choice, but as I started having children, well I only had two, I wanted a camera that could capture them, and the all manual K1000 wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I thought I could make it my black and white film camera.  So I started doing research on cameras.

I had joined a camera club and did their beginners photography course, I thought I was ready for a better camera.  I wanted something that could be totally automatic, or totally manual.  Of course most SLR’s were like that back then.  I knew it would be either a Canon or a Nikon.  Another woman who did the course had bought a good Canon, no idea what it was, but all I remember is that she had so much trouble working it out.  Trying to lc2_6689figure out how the aperture worked, I think, was the issue.  I wanted a camera that I could just pick up and use. So I went with Nikon, because to me, that is exactly what they were like, I could just pick it up and use it.  I knew how to change the aperture, and everything just fell into place.  I got the Nikon F90X.  I was so happy with it.  Also, at that time, I think Peter Eastway was also using Nikon, so how could I go wrong right?

I stopped taking photos for a while and the world of digital photography took over.  When I got back into it, I needed a new camera.  This time there were other considerations.  I had to have a camera that took lots of photos quickly.  I was doing sport, so I needed a camera that could take lots of frames a second.  That was really the only thing I needed the camera to have really.  I also knew that I went for a more expensive one my old Nikon lenses would fit onto it and would work. I thought the scsc0011autofocus may not, but I would still have those lenses, at least for a short time.  I bought the Nikon D300s, and to my surprise my old lenses worked exactly the same as digital lenses.  There was no issue with them at all.  So my new kit was made of old and new.

When it was time to upgrade my camera, I knew it would have to be another Nikon, as I had all the Nikon lenses.  This time, sport wasn’t a consideration.  I was no longer doing any sport, so how many frames a second wasn’t that much of a consideration.  I wanted full frame, a camera that could be knocked around a bit, I am a bit rough with my stuff, and good ISO.  The D300s higher ISO’s is horrible.  I have other lenses now as well, and I really like the kit I have.

Have I ever been disappointed with the Nikon, of course, there are things I don’t like.  Have I considered going to Canon?  Again, of course, but it would be such a major thing to do now, sell everything and buy a whole new kit.  I am sure if I had a Canon I would be saying the same things about it as well.

At the end of the day we all just want a camera we can use well, and easily, that will take images that we want and images we can be proud of.

When you were buying your first SLR or DSLR what were you looking for?  What made you decide to get what you have?  What advice would you give someone who wants to buy their first DSLR? If you have another brand would love to hear why you choose that and the camera?

These posts are a great way to share knowledge, so please contribute.

I will approve them, as long as they are nice and not nasty in any way.  I am out all day, so I won’t be able to respond to them.

Feel free to respond or reply to other comments.  It would be good to generate some discussion.

Finally, don’t forget to get your images to me for the MMC tomorrow.


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