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Posts tagged ‘photography’

Weekend Wanderings – Apollo Bay Part 1

The last few days have been very chaotic with this blog, and to start this post I wanted to apologise.  I’ve been away, and while I had good internet access where I was staying, I hardly seemed to be there.  I have been to Apollo Bay many times before, and even taken photos there, but not for a long time, I think the last time I was there was almost 15 years ago.  So this time we did lots of exploring.  I have so many photos from the two days and really didn’t know where to start, but after the fantastic post from Emily yesterday, I thought I could share some wildlife photos with you.


It is a Koala.  I have seen Koala’s before, but I have never seen them in the wild, so on Thursday we had decided to go to Cape Otway and the parks there.  Most people go to Cape Otway for the lighthouse, which we did, but will talk about that in another post.  We told some friends how we were going there and they showed us some drives and walks to go where we would be able to see some Koalas.  They are very cute indeed, like life like teddy bears, of course you can’t approach them, they are wild animals, so you should give them respect.

This Koala was the first we saw and he was low on a branch, he just sat there and posed for us, then he climbed down, and walked towards us, heading over the road to climb another tree. He was the best one we saw all day.  It was nice to see him both in the tree, and walking across the road.


I can never quite tell the difference between wallabys and Kangaroos, but I am fairly certain this is a Wallaby. It was near the side of the road and then it stopped and looked up when we pulled up beside it and let us take its photo.  We didn’t get out of the car, but wound down the windows and took some photos that way.


There is one place that you drive through that is full of dead trees, we think they are dead.  They don’t look like deciduous trees, but we couldn’t work out why.  I have just done some research and this article by the Conservation Ecology Centre at Cape Otway helps explain the problem. So while they are a concern, for photographers they were fantastic. We had people stopping and walking around us when we were taking photos, and it took us a while to realise that people thought we had found Koalas.


We saw this in front of us, and really you just have to stop don’t you? It was beautiful late afternoon light coming through the trees onto the gravel road.


Not something we expected to see along the side of the road, but fun.  There are farms on Cape Otway and we came across some cows, very heavily pregnant cows being moved.

It was a great afternoon, and I did get a lot more photos, but will leave it there.  I am putting other Koala photos into the gallery.  We were excited about all our Koala sightings.  It was fun to see them in their natural habitat. Take care this weekend, maybe see what wildlife you can find around you.

Up for Discussion – Nature and Wildlife Photography

Today I would like to introduce you to Emily Carter Mitchell who has kindly done a guest blog for  you on Nature and Wildlife Photography.  Emily is perhaps more widely known as Bella Remy Photography and her blog, Hoof Beats and Foot Prints.  So please enjoy what she has prepared for you.

Nature and Wildlife Photographer Emily Carter Mitchell of Bella Remy Photography


Being a nature and wildlife photographer is an expression of the true spirit within oneself. There is something about the solitude and communing with the natural world around you that brings a sense of serenity within.

What brought me to become a nature and wildlife photographer? Well, you can blame it on the Bald Eagles at Conowingo Dam in Darlington, Maryland. It is here where large numbers of nature photographer’s line up along a fence line in the winter months, with their big fancy lenses and hot rod cameras. Only to stand waiting for hours to capture the perfect moment.


It means getting up at four in the morning to arrive at a National Wildlife Refuge pre-dawn to be able to capture first light and the most wildlife activity. It’s standing and waiting in strange places like tall fields of grass or deep in the woods with the mosquitoes.

But capturing the perfect moment is the payoff.


Capturing birds and wildlife takes character. It takes someone with patience and the desire to discover the beauty nature has to offer. It takes field preparation, the right equipment and technical know-how.

Field Preparation

There are a number of tools available to the nature and wildlife photographer in preparation of a photographic outing. Starting with several smart phone applications such as the “Photographer’s Epheris” which provides sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset locations for any location at any time.


Then there are bird identification and additional nature identification apps such as the Audubon series. (link:

Finally, each park or natural refuge offers plentiful information online about their location with trail maps and things you need to know.

Now that you know what you’re looking for, and where you’re going to look for it, the next thing to consider are the weather and insect conditions on the outing.

In wintertime, I’ve seen many people come out for a three hour bird photography workshop clearly underdressed. In spite of advance warning, they neglect proper footwear, wind or rain jackets and layered clothing. In the summertime, many are unprotected from mosquitoes and ticks which are known to carry illnesses and diseases.

Protect yourself, inform yourself, pack your kit well.

Camera Equipment

The basic tools for a nature and wildlife photographer is a high quality DLSR, a Telephoto lens, and most importantly, a sturdy tripod. This being said, I’ve seen excellent bird images captured with a Canon SX50 from someone who knows her camera well. It has an equivalent 800-1000mm reach and is lightweight, portable and affordable.

For the ‘big dogs’ like you see spending time at Conowingo Dam, both Canon and Nikon are represented with telephotos with at least a 400mm reach. Both Sigma and Tamron offer more affordable super telephoto lenses, although the prime lenses with Canon and Nikon have superior image quality.

The longer you go, the more sensitive the camera is to motion. A tripod is essential for those crisps and in-focus shots. It is the one thing any photographer can do to instantly improve their images.


Technical Basics

Understanding your camera well and being able to change your settings quickly is essential for field success. Many wildlife photographers I meet prefer to shoot in Aperture Priority mode. They then set their ISO based on lighting conditions and let the camera decide the shutter speeds.

Chasing birds through the bush can create changing lighting conditions from one frame to the next. A quick hand on the dials helps you get the shot.

Getting Close

Knowing where to go and what you’re looking for is only the start on the great nature and wildlife photography hunt. It’s the thrill of the chase and learning the nature’s behavior and how to not disrupt their activity with your presence.

Calm quiet and patience is what gets the shot. I’ve had to learn how to be patient and wait for the birds to come to me. Stand long enough and they get used to your presence and go back to their ordinary business.

I’ve also had to learn how to slowly walk towards the bird while pretending that I’m not interested in him at all.

More recently I’ve been known to hide behind a blind and wait for an hour before I was able to capture the perfect moment.




Truly successful nature and wildlife photographer extend beyond the ‘bird on a stick’ image. They invoke some type of emotion, an expression, a life moment or scene setting. It is these images that practice and thousands of images gets the shot.

Many days my memory card has been full and nearly all of the shots were throw-aways. It is part of the learning process and nothing is better than frequent field practice to capture the images that you want.

Nearly all of the time, the bird is just but a small part within the frame and cropping is necessary to create a compelling image.

The standard Rules of Thirds applies, along with leading lines, clean backgrounds and complementary scenery around the bird.

Post Processing

LIghtroom 5 is my preferred post processing software. I can quickly go through a filmstrip of 800 images and pick out the best images and work on them. I keep the best, and throw away the rest.

Shooting exclusively in RAW, I’m able to adjust white balance as necessary and continue down the sliders and adjust contrast, highlights, shadows, whites, blacks, clarity, vibrance, sharpening and noise reduction.

Also selecting the lowest ISO possible in the field helps with image quality, and knowing my camera’s ISO threshold sensitivity ensures a better quality image.

Final Thoughts

When I started photography four years ago, little did I know that I would grow into a nature and wildlife photographer. It’s passion that is ever challenging and the people that you meet out in the field are as interested in nature as you are.

I’m looking forward to hear from you and if you enjoy nature as much as I do.

A grand thank you is extended to Leanne Cole in allowing me to share my story.


I would like to take this opportunity to thanks Emily for a fantastic post on Nature and Wildlife Photography.  I got so much out of it and hope that I can get some better shots around here, though I am sure nothing will compare with what she has done.  Don’t forget to go and visit here blog, Hoof Beats and Foot Prints. Thank you Emily and I hope you don’t mind if I put your beautiful images in a gallery for people to enjoy on their own.


Quiet Thursdays – Night at Banyule Flats

It has been the New Moon this last week and I’ve been trying to get out to get some photos, but we seem be having endless overcast days, always, right when you don’t want them.  I was hopeful the other night when I convinced my husband to come out with me to Banyule Flats, to see if I could get the milky way from there.

I don’t know if it is possible, but you can see the city lights in one direction and just black towards the east, so I wondered if I could get it from there.  I tried once before, I showed you last week, but it was during the full moon, I thought with no moon, it could be interesting to see what I could get.

As we were walking outside we could see that it was getting cloudy, but I hoped that it would hold off until I got what I wanted.  Well it didn’t work, by the time we got to the spot, there were clouds everywhere. Though it was surprising to see how light it actually was, so, while I was there, I took some photos.


I don’t know about you, but I think it is so cool when you can take photos at night.  I love how this comes up at night.  You can also see the clouds, it was a thick covering.

I was also hoping to see if I could get some star trails, and I think it might be possible, but it wasn’t that night.  I will go back some time and try again, but I might wait until we have better weather and I can be fairly sure that I won’t lose the sky to cloud cover. I could see movement in the stars in these images, so I am fairly certain I can get something, I will try.  Looking forward to it.

I hope you are having a quiet day. I’m away, and sure I am taking lots of photos around Apollo Bay, if you see me there, be sure to say hello.

MM26 – Six Month Anniversary of Monochrome Madness

Wow, we did it, we made it to six months, well done every one, for those that have been here from the beginning and those we have picked up along the way.  It has been such a priviledge to do this post each week and for so many of you to trust me with your images.  I have got to know so many new people and from what I can gather many of you have found the same thing.  It has been an incredible journey and through this I have done at least 26 black and white or monochrome images that I may not have otherwise down, that is the best part.

We did set a theme for this week, to present colour images that look like monochrome.  Some people have done this and others haven’t.  No big deal.  So I am going to put all the images into a gallery and you can work out which are the colour images and which aren’t.

So on with the Madness.

melbourne-centrl-tower-city-buildingI took this image last Sunday when out with the Social Snappers.  I was out on the road to get this one.  I thought I didn’t have anything for this challenge, then when I went through my images I realised how this one looks monochrome, but it is a colour image. I have played with it quite a bit, but I haven’t changed the colours at all.

getwell8Laura has joined us again, welcome back and glad you are recovering well from your surgery.  If you would like to find out more about Laura’s image, than go yo her post “Paper” Flowers – Monochrome Madness.

Don’t forget all the instructions on how to enter your own images are at the bottom of the post.  If you have entered an image then please remember to check your image in the gallery, scroll down and see if anyone has left you any comments.  

Now, if you wish to participate and submit an image here is how you do it:-

  • You must email me the image you want to include and if you have a blog or website, or somewhere else, please include the link. My email address is
  • The image size should be as small as it can be, so the largest side should be 1000 pixels or less.
  • Please insert either your name or your blogs name in the file name.
  • Remember I am on Australian time, so with GMT I am +11 hours at the moment, I publish my post on Wednesday morning.
  • If you need more help with sending images, and get confused about time zones, etc, well, there is a great website called The World Clock, if you go to that and look at Melbourne time, if it’s before 6pm on Tuesday evening, then you can still send me images.  If it’s after that time, you can send me an image, but it will be set aside for the following week.
  • Remember to include a link to your blog or website.
  • Please remember to resize your images, it is fairly simply, you just need to go into any editing software and usually under Image you will find, resize, scale, or image size, something like that and you can resize your image there. Change the dimensions to pixels and make the longest side 1000 pixels or smaller, hit return, and for most types of software that should change the other side automatically as well. Just remember to save it with a different name so you know it is the smaller version.  If you have any problems, please contact me, I don’t mind helping out.

Please note you don’t have to be a WordPress blogger to be in this challenge, you can have a link to a Facebook page, a Flickr page, anywhere really, or no link.  We just want to encourage people to do monochrome images, just for the madness of it. Just to let you know also, that as soon as the challenge is published, all emails and images you have sent me are deleted from my computer.  I respect your copyright and would never keep any of the images.

Tuesday’s Bits and Bobs

The day change has happened and from now on I will tell you want I am up to on Tuesday’s now, instead of Fridays.  Though with only a few days since my last post like this, I don’t have a lot of news, but there are some things that I have to say.


I have finally started a Flickr account, yet another form of social media.  I was convinced from someone recently that it could be a good idea.  I’m not totally sure, but it is worth a go.  I’ve heard quite a few people talk about how they have got work through their Flickr account, so it can’t hurt.  If you are interested in checking me out, then here is the link, Leanne Cole Flickr. I tried to add the widget for Flickr, but I couldn’t get the address right.

flowerdale-countryside-water-hills-green-2One thing I wanted to point out too is that I have so many images right now and I am trying new things all the time, so I have too many images for this blog. I am putting extra images on Flickr, my Facebook page and Google+ that you may not see here.  I am also going to be using the blog on my website to show things that I am working on and experimenting with.

Social Snappers

The end of term is coming, and planning has started for next term.  The Tuesday session really didn’t work out, so I have decided that I am going to change that to a Thursday for next term. That would be more convenient for me too.  I am also changing the price, so they will be $40 each, or if you sign up for all 5 you will get a 20% discount and you will get them for $160.  There can be no more than 10 in each group.  I don’t want them to be so big that people feel they don’t get a chance to take photos.

I haven’t worked out where we will be going exactly, but some thoughts are Fitzroy Gardens, Collins Street – one end to the other, Heide Gallery and gardens, maybe a walk around the back streets of flowerdale-countryside-water-hills-green-5Collingwood,  and I would love to finish the year off with doing a Social Snappers trip into the city photographing some of the Christmas decorations that the City of Melbourne puts up.

I also want to stress that it doesn’t matter what camera you have.  These groups are not only for people with DSLRs, they are for anyone who loves to take photos.  The excursions are social and are just about taking photos with other people.  You can use a phone camera if you like, as long as you just want to take photos, that is the only requirement really.

For more information about Social Snappers, click here.


I wanted to have a small whinge.  I don’t know about you, but these day with the only way of contacting companies being through email, why are they so rude and never return those emails.  I have sent emails to so many companies, like Sigma, asking about lenses, to Singh Ray, tryinflowerdale-countryside-water-hills-green-9g to find out about their filters. Part of the reason I hate talking about Creative Live is because they often don’t respond to emails as well.  I know that they can’t always help me with my questions, but is it really that hard to return an email and say sorry we can’t help.  That would be much better than the silence you get.  I don’t like talking about companies here who do that.

There is never any excuse for being rude.

Apollo Bay

I am going away for a couple of days at the end of this week.  I am off to Apollo Bay to see what images I can get there.  I will only be there for two nights, so basically 2 days, but we are hoping to get lots of photos during that time, though we are being realistic enough and trying not to fit in too much. I don’t know how much access to the internet I will have, so please be patient with me in responding to your comments.

Monochrome Madness

flowerdale-countryside-water-hills-green-1Tomorrow is Monochrome Madness again, so if you haven’t got your image in, this is your reminder, you have about 8 hours to do from the time this post is published. Don’t forget to resize your images, NO big images, and always include a link to your blog.

The photos today were taken last week in Flowerdale.  I went for a lovely afternoon drive there with my photography buddy.  We didn’t see much we wanted to photograph, but it was beautiful just driving around.  I took a couple of shots using my new ND400 filter, and the rest using my polariser.

Influencing Me – Bryn Forbes

Today I thought I would show you the work of a photographer that I have only recently come to know, Bryn Forbes. I first saw Bryn on a Creative Live show that he was doing with Jack Davis.  They were talking about underwater photography, I’m not into that sort of photography, but then they followed it up on one about night photography and the stars, well, you all know I’m into that. I really liked the work he was showing, and have been looking at it a lot since then so I approached Bryn and asked if I could show you his work.


I really enjoy seeing how he approaches different types of photography and there seems to be a fairly simple approach, I could be wrong, but I do like the way he approaches what he is going to photograph. It makes me feel, in most situations that I could do the same.


Then there are images that I don’t know if I would ever be able to get.  It is great to look at the work of another photographer and think, “wow, I would love to be able to get an image this”.  I say that, but deep down I’m think, it would just be my luck that I would miss it, or it wouldn’t happen in front of me.  This is such an incredible image.  I just sit here in awe of it.

bryn-forbes-wildlife-7Then you get an image like this and I know I would never get a shot like this.  I’m not good with water, and I don’t think I could get a photo like this.  I would never be prepared to go underwater to do photography.  I think it is a fantastic shot, and that whale is incredible.  It is another shot that I can’t stop looking at, the detail, that eye, the reflections from the light above.  Whales are such beautiful creatures, I really don’t understand how anyone would want to kill them.


On his website he has a gallery called Solace, great concept.  The idea of being alone somewhere.  You really get that feeling looking at the images.  I have tried getting images like this when I go up to the Mallee, the quiet landscape image.  I have spoken before how I like quiet images, and these ones of Bryn’s definitely show what I mean about quiet. This is such a wonderful image, the texture in the sands, the little bit of life growing from it.  Amazing how resilient some things are.


He also has some images of waves, but they are blurred.  I’m not sure what he has done to get them like that, but the effect is really amazing.  I spoke the other day about how important I think it is to experiment and try different things.  It is great to watch and observe another photographer who also does that.  I love looking at work and then trying to figure out what they did, then seeing if I can do the same thing.


Bryn also does stunning landscape shots.  I really want to be able to do stunning landscape shots.  I will have to keep working on the idea I think.  I’m grateful for the area I live in, means I can go out and get some fantastic landscapes to practice on.  It amazes me what people can do with what they see at times.  I just sit, look and feel very envious.

I have more images for you to look at in a gallery.  I hope you will, along with me, thank Bryn Forbes for giving me permission to feature his work here on my blog, so thank you Bryn.  I would also invite you all to go and take a look at his website and blog, Bryn Forbes Gallery, there is a lot more work there to look at and enjoy.

Weekend Wanderings- A Wide View of Banyule Flats

Yesterday I showed you some photos of the birds that you can see around Banyule Flats.  The following day after taking those I went out again with my camera, but this time I had the Nikon 24-70mm lens on the camera and I walked around taking photos.  As I learn more about the history of the area, I am finding a lot of it makes more sense to me, what I mean is what I see when I look around.  It has opened my eyes up again, and it is like I am viewing this place for the first time all over again.

1-banyule-flats-morning-parksI walked around some new areas of the swamp, places I knew about, but hadn’t really tried taking photos from before.  I was using my new Circular Polariser and it has made all the images very saturated.  Not sure I like it, but will give it go first.  Though, the grass is really green like that.


For a long time this was farming country and there are parts of it, that still look very much like that.  I love those trees, the gum trees, I don’t know the names of trees either, sorry, I’m not very good at the names of things, but I do want to get better at it.


There are little flowers everywhere, all different sorts.  Probably weeds, but I thought they were pretty.  If I had a macro lens I would be able to get better images of the flora in this area.  I am hoping I won’t have to wait to long for it.


I have seen this windmill many times over the years, but never realised what it was for.  There is a billabong close to it, and the windmill was used to pump water into it for the cows that were there.  It doesn’t do that anymore, and the billabong is often empty now, which is unfortunate.

Just in case people don’t know what a billabong is, or are unsure, here is the definition of one from Wikipedia.

Billabong is an oxbow lake, an isolated pond left behind after a river changes course. Billabongs are usually formed when the path of a creek or river changes, leaving the former branch with a dead end. Billabongs, reflecting the arid Australian climate in which these “dead rivers” are found, fill with water seasonally and are dry for a greater part of the year.


I liked the way the fence was there.  There are fences all over the place, but most of them are in disrepair, and you can see they are no longer used.  The morning sun was also giving some lovely shadows.  It was also very wet, wet from dew on the ground.  I have some hiking shoes, but think I might need to get waterproof ones, my feet keep getting wet.

tawny-frogmouth-two-banyule-flatsI saw the two Tawny Frogmouths that we couldn’t find the day before.  I came from a different angle.  They knew I was there, and they were doing their, “I am a tree branch” thing, which is really interesting.  I had the wrong lens on for doing this, and I had to crop the photo a lot.  They were tiny in the middle of the original one.  I will have to go back some time with the other lens.

I have a lot more photos for you, more of the swamp, and some from other parts of the area.  I did the walk in a hour, so that should give you an idea of how close everything is.  Part of it belongs to the Banyule City Council, and some to Park Victoria.  It is unfortunate that the area that is maintained by Parks Victoria isn’t cared for as well as the Banyule City Council space.  The parks in Parks Victoria do look very untidy, and not well cared for.  The weeds, foreign ones that have been introduced, are just running rampant.  I don’t think Parks Victoria do a good job of involving the community so they will help. I don’t know, It is something that I am really only just becoming aware of.

I will put them into a gallery for you, I hope you enjoy the virtual walk in my local park.  The weather has turned now, but it was beautiful while it lasted.  I hope you get to do some lovely photographic walks in your parks this weekend.


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