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Posts tagged ‘summer’

Weekend Wanderings – Kinglake Reminds Us

In Australia Summer starts on the 1st of December, and while we tend to think of summer as hot weather, beaches, sand, barbecues, water, flies and snakes there is something else that usually happens that none of us want to think about, bushfires.  There are always fires here,  somewhere.  It is the unfortunate reality of a country like Australia, there will be fires, and we just hope they aren’t anywhere near us and that the loss of life will be nil or close to that. The other day I was back up in Kinglake taking another look at how the bush area there is growing and I also went to some areas that I hadn’t been to before.


In February it will be 6 six years since the worse bushfires in Australian history, the Black Saturday fires.  It all happened, pretty much, in one day, 173 people lost their lives and 2100 homes were destroyed, and it is something that none of us ever want repeated.  Now, 6 years later the communities are still rebuilding and the only place where you can still be reminded of the fires is the bushland.  The new trees are growing, but the dead wood of the burned trees still dominant over the landscape.


Kinglake was one of the worst affected areas with the fires decimating the surrounding area.  The bushland around Kinglake, the national park, was completely destroyed,  most homes around it were as well.

I love going back and watching how the area is slowly growing back, one day you will hardly be able to see the dead trees sticking up out of the canopy.


There are already areas that have regenerated enough that it is almost impossible to tell that the fires went through there.

So I thought I would dedicate this post to the bushfires and the victims as a reminder to all of us that we need to be vigilant and that we need to be very careful, especially anywhere where a fire could start.  The black Saturday fires were close to home for me, they stopped less that 30 kms from my home, and if the wind hadn’t changed when it did, well, a lot more people would have been homeless.

This is what summer in Australia can be, it is part of what happens here and we have to be prepared for it.  I should apologise, I didn’t mean it to be a morbid post, but more a reminder of what was and what is now.

I’ve seen some photos of the snow storm that has hit part of the states, and I hope everyone there is safe and sound. I also hope the snow has stopped.  Take care if you live there, Amy if you are reading this, I mean you.  So I will leave you with a gallery now, my reminder of what can happen, but also how much we recover and move on.

Up for Discussion – Environmental Photography

This weeks guest post is by me, I won’t introduce myself and I hope you don’t mind me doing one of these posts. I have always had ideas of what to write about, but I have enjoyed letting other people write posts for me, gives me a day off.  I hadn’t organised anyone for today, so I thought I might talk to you about something that I have been thinking about a lot lately.

Environmental Photography


Peter Dombrovskis, Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend, National Library of Australia, Canberra

Those of you that have been with me for almost 4 years will know that my photography has changed a lot over that time.  I am not going to go into how, but more recently I’ve started noticing that I am doing so much more landscape work, which 15 years ago, I would never have considered. I am always looking for places to take photos that I think are interesting. I don’t know that what I want to do falls under the umbrella of nature, though it is sort of like nature, however I don’t really want to photograph the animals or the birds.

So where does that leave me, I have started thinking it leaves me in the world of environmental photography, is that such a thing? I thought first we should explore what environmentalism and what it means to be an environmentalist. I looked up those words in the Wikipedia.

Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental protection and improvement of the health of the environ ment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements. Environmentalism advocates the preservation, restoration and/or improvement of the natural environment, and may be referred to as a movement to control pollution or protect plant and animal diversity. For this reason, concepts such as a land ethic, enviromental ethics, biodiversity, ecology and the biophilia hypothesis figure predominantly.


An environmentalist broadly supports the goals of the environmental movement, “a political and ethical movement that seeks to improve and protect the quality of the natural environment through changes to environmentally harmful human activities”. An environmentalist is engaged in or believes in the philosophy of environmentalism.

LeanneCole-mallee-20140125-7858If that is what an environmentalist is, then can a photographer be one?

This is a question I keep asking myself, especially when you consider that in the past photography has been so harmful to the environment with all the film and chemicals.  It is one thing that I do love about digital, it is so much better for the environment, though I have heard that it is still bad because we keep upgrading our gear. I don’t know about that, I do upgrade, but I always seem to hang onto my old gear, just in case. So now the question is, what or how can we be an environmental photographer?

The most famous photographer I can think of that has been called this is Ansel Adams and how he photographed theLeanneCole-banyule-20140302-0525 world around him.  Did he change things?  I don’t know, but I do know an Australian photographer that stopped a dam. Peter Dombrovskis took the first image in this post and it has been credited with helping to stop the Franklin River dam.  What the photo depicted would have been under the dam if it had happened. How many of us would like to take a photo that could have that much impact?

I have to admit I like the idea, but a check with reality makes me realise that in todays world that is going to be a lot harder. Though I do believe that our climate is changing, and in the years I’ve been here the weather has changed a lot. Our environment is changing constantly and perhaps it would be good to start taking photos of what is here now, and then what is here next year, and the year after.

LeanneCole-mallee-20140125-7864So I find myself asking, can I be a “greenie”, or do I want to be one! I really like the idea of taking more environmental style images.  I like going into my local park to see what I can get, in all sorts of conditions.  I also really like going to the Mallee for the same sorts of reasons. The Mallee is an area that has changed a lot over the last 200 years, and it continues to suffer from what we are doing to the planet. I know since I was child growing up in the area things have changed there, farmers have become a lot more knowledgeable about sustaining the enviroment and things I saw as a child, you no longer see.  Though we haven’t gone far enough.LeanneCole-banyule-20140302-0532

One of the things that I have enjoyed doing is going to the national parks up there and looking around them, then seeing what is happening. They say the desert area in Australia is getting bigger all the time, and when you go up there it isn’t hard to believe.  If the original settlers, well the English ones found what is there now, I don’t know that they would have stuck around.  The land there has been changed so much, and many of the lakes that had water, now have none. It is very different now. Who knows what it will be like in another 100 years, and all I can do is photograph it and show everyone what it is like.  I do hope that my photos help people to lake-albacutya-sand-dunes-1understand what is happening.

I suppose that means that I want to be an environmental photographer, and I think I’m fine with that.  I really look forward to my trips up to the Mallee and to areas around me.  It is fascinating seeing the areas and talking to people about the areas, I love hearing the history of the areas as much as I like taking photos of them. I think for me, the idea would be to make people aware of what is around me and around the country.

If I go and take photos of what is here, and in other places, then I put them up here on my blog, then you and others become aware of those places.  You might make a connection and then help to protect it.  I think there is land worth saving, and worth protecting.

What do you think of when you think of Environment photography?  Do any particular photographers come to mind?

For this post, with the exception of the first image, the photos are mine and they have been taken over the last couple of years, though most of them this year.  I wanted to show the different situations where banyule-flats-fog-parks-trees-9change can happen, one of them being a dry summer, and the other being fire.  When the Black Saturday fires happened here over 5 years ago I was sort of told that I shouldn’t take photos, I wish I had though.  I took photos after the Mallee fires and now have been able to go back and see how the land is regenerating, now I will be able to continue doing that and to show you.  At the end I have included a video that I just did recently of the Pink Lakes from the photos I took there.

I have included a video here that I just did recently of the Pink Lakes from the photos I took there.  This is something else that I want to do more, using my photos to tell stories of areas, and so I am working on getting better at doing these video presentation.

Weekend Wanderings – Early Morning Along the Yarra

On Friday a friend and I decided that we would go into the city and take photos.  We knew that it was going to be 40ºC so we had to get in and out before the heat hit the city.  We got in there at 7am and walked down to the river at the Spencer Street end. The idea was to catch the train into Southern Cross Station, walk to the river, then along it until we got to Flinder Street Station, where we could catch the train back home. Sounded perfect.

LeanneCole-city-20140208-8613My first photo, well one of the first.  The sun was just coming up and it looked so nice as it hit the buildings.

LeanneCole-city-20140208-8615There were lots of rowers on the river.  There are always lots of rowers on the river early in the morning and you can’t avoid them, so I decided it was best to make them work in the images, as much as I could.  So there are lots of photos of rowers.

LeanneCole-city-20140208-8640There were lots of great reflections in the water.  I love the distorted images.

Early morning in the city can be great.  There are always people around, you can’t avoid that, especially now that so many people live in the city, but there far less people in the morning than at other times of the day.

LeanneCole-city-20140208-8652I’ve been using the 24-70mm lens so much more since I got the D800.  It is fast becoming my favourite lens.  Being able to zoom into some things, though not a big zoom, I can zoom, and then get some of the detail.  It was good having that lens as I start to see things that I may not have noticed before, and there were details on the Princes Bridge that I had never seen before.

LeanneCole-city-20140208-8655I never get sick of photographing the city.  I always see things that are different, or do something a little different, not to mention that the weather is always different. The light is continually changing through the year.  The light yesterday morning was going to be very different because it was the start of a very hot day, and I am sure what appealed to me to photograph was because it was starting to warm up. It is different to what I would photograph if it was a freezing cold day.  The water was so inviting, and I just wanted photos of water, and I think you can see that.  There are not many photos without water.  The water is definitely the main subject in these images.

It was good to do this as well as I am getting my One on One Photography Lessons/Tours organised so people can take them, and I could see how long it took to do the walk and what I could add or not add.  Though I don’t want my tours or lessons to be that precise, I like the idea of the client and me organising something that is what they want, something special.  I am excited about that and can’t wait to start taking people on the tours.

I have a gallery for you now to take a look at.  I hope the images are all the same, I tried to make them varied.  Before you got there, I just wanted to go back to that statement I said at the beginning, “sounded perfect”, well, it was, it was really good taking photos there.  Afterwards I came home and stayed indoors and let the Air Conditioner cool me down.

Hot/Cold Timetables

scsunflower-HDR2That is the title for the latest post I have written for  The post is about things we can do when it is too cold or too hot to go outside.  I hope it gives you lots of idea.

Hot/Cold Timetables, please take a look and it would be wonderful if you could leave your comments there as well.

If you have any other ideas, please share them.

Playing Around

Most of you know it hasn’t been a great week, and I’m planning some new stuff and trying to make some things happen for this year.  Summer has hit Melbourne, oh boy has it ever!  It is getting hot, which also means that it is going to get much harder to get out and get some photos.  I might have to do some stuff at home.

Today I have just one image for you.  It is the same image I showed the other day, here is a recap.


I had intended to work on this image to see what I could do with it, but since I was sick, well, it didn’t happen.  So this afternoon I have been playing.  Playing is fun.

LeanneCole-maldon-20130102-6203-3hpmI have been talking to a friend about the idea of photographing summer in Australia, seeing if we can really portray that heat.  I don’t know if it is possible, but it was interesting with this image, in an earlier stage how much it was showing that.

I will leave it up to you to decide which image has worked out better.  I like the second one.  It was great to play around with an image like this,  I miss doing this and think this is something I would really like to get back into.  It does take a long time sometimes, but the results can be worth it.

With 7 Days to Christmas, Some Things Stand Apart

Yesterday I was walking around the Docklands in the sun, yes the sun is shining in Melbourne and Summer has found us.  It was a beautiful day, and I’m not gonna lie, I do think that Christmas lights are great, but one thing that is also great are the colours of Christmas against a beautiful blue sky.  I have never really noticed them too much before, but this year, the days when the sun is shining and there are almost no clouds have produced some of the best photos.  They truly represent Christmas in Australia.

LeanneCole-docklands-20131217-4840I think they look surreal, or something, I don’t quite know what to say, but I love the way they stand out, they make the day even happier.  You know we have been having some really horrible weather, so it is nice to get some sun, and even better to be taking photos of Christmas for the City of Melbourne in this amazing weather.

I usually try to put some context on where things are, but with these, I got rid of anything that did that, I liked them flying on their own.

LeanneCole-docklands-20131217-4848The Christmas Tree at Docklands, I know it is a little weird, but it works and it stands out from such a distance.  I like the contrast of the red and green, against the background of the grey city and the blue sky.

LeanneCole-docklands-20131217-4852Since I was in the neighbourhood I took a photo of our ferris wheel, that one day might actually start working.  I loved the look of it against the blue sky.  I think I need to revisit the concept that I have of not wanting to take photos with blue skies, I think I really need to re-examine it.

I did enjoy my trip around the docklands yesterday, it was the perfect weather for it.  Such a shame that nearly all the restaurants are closed, I think they tried the wrong thing with it there, they need cafes, lots of them.  The views there are so lovely and peaceful, but there is no where to sit, have a coffee, or piece of cake, there is something really lacking.  I also think the other problem is getting there, how do you get there, so this is for the City of Melbourne run a tram from Bourke Street, or Collins Street, like the City Circle, that will take people from the city to the Docklands, I know I would visit a lot more if it was easier to get to.

So after all that, I hope you agree, Christmas can look beautiful in Summer, you don’t believe me, well, I am going to have show you.

Please note the first two images have been taken for the City of Melbourne and they have exclusive use of them.

Influencing Me – Max Dupain

Today’s artist is another photographer, he is Australian and worked mainly in the mid 20th century, a time when Australia still retained a lot of its innocence. 

I am not going to lie, I don’t think Max Dupain has influenced me directly, and I don’t think you see his style or approach in my work, but there is something he did that I think we all aspire to.  He is known as an iconic Australian Photographer.  Let me show you what I am talking about.

The SunbakerIf you are Australian and a photographer, then you would have to know this image.  This is the Sunbaker by Max Dupain.  It is an icon of Australian life, it is an iconic image from one of our own.  It is that perfect image that depicted us and who we were.

dupainAs much as we have tried to show that we are a nation of farmers and that rural pastures are meant to define us, the reality is, that we are a nation that didn’t like the country, and Australia has always been one of the most urbanised countries in the world.  Getting people to go and work in the country has always been a struggle.

00193387Max Dupain photographed us as we actually were, and we have always been those that loved the beach, that loved the water and loved the coast.  He photographed people in summer doing what many do.

We have always referred to ourselves as the Sunburnt country and the beach culture was all part of that.

95224When I think about Australian photography and the history, his name always comes up.

For me he is the Australian photographer or the idea of the photographer that I want to be.  Let me show you that image again.

The SunbakerHow many of us want to be known for a particular image, or a series of images.  I would love one of my images to become an iconic image that inspires future generations of photographers.  That would be the ultimate dream.

I have not taken photos like Dupain, and I haven’t taken photos of life as he did, but as I read some information about him, which you can also read here,  I discovered he loved architectural photography and that was his true passion.  Interesting that he loved that, but is know for a man lying on a beach sunbaking.

Down the Back StragihtFor me summer has been synonymous with cycling for the last few years, and this was a scene I took down at a beach in Geelong this past summer, it is one you have seen before, along with this next one.

Keeping GuardDupain lived in Sydney and the beach culture there is very different to us in the south, but a hot day, regardless of where you are always drives us to the water and he captured that so well.  Photographing beaches now has become a lot harder with issues of copyright and privacy.  It is so much harder to just do what he did.

More research needs to be done and I look forward to learning more about Max Dupain and his photography.  I might have to do a second post on him.


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