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Posts from the ‘Art’ Category

Weekend Wanderings – Up Close to Rippon Lea

Rippon Lea is part of the National Trust.  I joined the National Trust for two reason really, one, so I wouldn’t have to pay entry into place like Rippon Lea and secondly, to support them.  It is great that we have places like Rippon Lea that we can go and visit.  We no longer have to “apply to the housekeeper” and anyone can go. Back on track, I went there the other day with my friend so we could try out our macro lenses.  She has just purchased one, and I had the one that Nikon had lent me, the 40mm Micro DX lens.

LeanneCole-ripponlea-20140325-9279One of the best things about going to Rippon Lea are the gardens.  It seemed like the perfect place to try out the macro.  So every shot in this post is done with the macro.  A macro can be used for normal images too.  I took my Nikon D300s with me this time because I didn’t want the cropped frame of the DX to keep confusing me.  It was also nice to use the D300s again, I haven’t used them since I got the D800.

Just quickly the above image is a HDR done with Photomatix Pro.  I don’t know if I told you that I accidentally deleted it from my computer, so I had to get a new copy.  I was very happy to find that there is a new version out, I don’t know how long it has been out for, but regardless, so I thought I would try it with this image. Not a great image, but I don’t know if it was the image, the software or the lens.  I suspect it might really have been the photographer.

When we were coming in we were asked if we would like to do a tour of the place, inside, and since it was in ten minutes we decided why not.

LeanneCole-ripponlea-20140325-9243The inside is very nice and decorated extravagantly, the biggest problem was the light, there wasn’t much of it.  I didn’t want to turn the ISO up too much on the D300s, too much noise, so I end up with a lot of blurry images.  A tripod would have been nice, but it wasn’t allowed, I assume, so I settled for the small things.

LeanneCole-ripponlea-20140325-9246There were little things set up every where and I just concentrated on some of those.  Wasn’t always easy because of the light, but you do what you can.  It is nice to have a lens that can go right up to things, but I am still struggling with the macro.  I did what people said, closed the aperture down, used manual focusing, but it was still very hard.

LeanneCole-ripponlea-20140325-9254After the tour we headed out to the gardens and explored with our cameras.  I didn’t think I would be able to get bees with this lens, because of how close I had to be, but it was nice to find one that didn’t seem to care that I was hovering around.

LeanneCole-ripponlea-20140325-9271I did manage to get some images that I liked, but it was a struggle.  I found the auto focus very hard, my eyesight is not great, and so I turned the auto focus back on.  I like that the with Nikon D300s and the D800 that I can move the spot around in the viewfinder for focusing, and so I found it much easier to move the spot to what I wanted focused and doing it that way.  I seemed to get a lot more hits when I did that.

Last weekend my students were trying out the macro, it was great for them to see how the macro works, and it has been great for me too.  I really thought, oh I will get one and then done, lots of macro shot.  I see some images on the internet that are so good, and I wonder how they did it.  Maybe macro photography isn’t for me after all.  I am going to have another shot at it before it goes back this week, but in all seriousness, I am not sure that I want to get one now.  I am thinking of trying the extension tubes on my 50mm and seeing how I go with that, but I can’t justify spending so much money on something that would probably be just for fun.

Rippon Lea was the perfect spot for testing out the lens, it was a warm day, but they had plenty of flowers out.  So I am going to share what I got with you now in a gallery.  I better get ready for my class, portraits today, always a great class.  Enjoy your weekend.  I have visited Rippon Lea before, click here if you want to see the Weekend Wandering post I did on it.

Introductions – FATman Photos

Great name for a blog, reminds me of the movie Pitch Perfect when Rebel Wilson’s character tells people her name is Fat Amy, so people won’t call her that behind her back.  Sorry, I am digressing.  FATman Photos is the blog that is run by Adrian Lewis and he is in the United Kingdom (UK).  I’ve known Adrian for a while now, and he was a big help in helping me decide that I wanted the D800.

mnbv_284antiqueportraitx1When you go to Adrian’s blog, well when I go I am struck by a lot of black and white.  There is a lot of monochrome images there, which probably explains why I like it so much right now.  As I try and work out images for my own challenge, it is great to see a great variety of images and subjects on Adrian’s blog, it helps to see what is possible.

I did ask Adrian my standard questions, the first being why do you take photos.

I take photos because I have a deep-seated enjoyment for creating images.  I have been like this for all of my life, I have always seen beautiful things all around.  I inherited these tendencies and abilities from an artistic grandmother – myself and my cousin have both inherited her traits.  After a life in science and analysis, it was only in 2003 that I started what I call “conscious photography”, i.e. consciously trying to make striking an/or beautiful images, rather than just relying on my built in, inherited instincts.  Digital photography has greatly aided my endeavours.

adl378dxI think part of that thing that drives me to like images is when there is something in them “that talks to me”, or perhaps something that I am really drawn to, and in this case it is how moody many of Adrian’s images are.  I like images that are emotive, and there are many of those on his blog and site.  I really like how he processes them to draw that out of them.

Inspiration is different for everyone, so I asked that question.

My inspiration is in the beauty that lies all around, if we take the time to look for and see it.  Its a case of really seeing, rather than just looking or glancing at things

img_0999xOne of things that I enjoy is the different perspective.  You never quite know how Adrian will photograph something.  It would be interesting walking around taking photos with him.  It is something that I try to do as well. I always try to look for that different perspective and try different things, but after looking at Adrian’s work, I can see that maybe I don’t do it enough.

We all work differently, so I asked Adrian if there was anything special about how he worked.

When I’m taking photographs I try to remain totally receptive, always open to my surroundings.  I don’t hunt frantically for images, but rather just wait for them to appear.  I like to cover a range of genres – anything that makes an interesting image really.  My compositions are often graphic, and I strongly believe that lack of focus in images can be just as valuable as having everything in focus and sharp.  But other than that there’s nothing special about the way I work.

sbgr_451filmnoir1_newxI also like how some photographers can make the mundane looks fabulous. I have spoken about this before, and it is something that I think Adrian is really good at and something I would like to get better at.

The final questions was about kit, we all like to know what one another has.

I use Nikon D700 and D800 DSLRs, with a range of mainly Nikon lenses from 12mm to 400mm, and a Canon G11 PowerShot compact camera too.

I am going to put the images I have chosen from FATman Photos into a gallery now.  I usually try to get a selection over time, but sometimes when you go to some blogs, it is like being a kid in a lolly shop, I’ll have one of those, and one of those and one of those.  I kept finding images that I liked, too many.  I would like to thank Adrian at this time for allowing me to showcase his blog FATman Photos and for the use of his images.  I appreciate this Adrian, and I hope everyone will go and take a look at his work.  I know many of you are concerned that you can’t always follow the blogs I show you, I understand that, but I do hope that doesn’t stop you from going to have a look at their work.

Introductions – Anja Matko

Anja Matko is a new artist for me, I came across her work very recently and I was blown away by it.  It is very similar to work that I have tried to do myself, but she does it so much better.  I have seen other artists doing similar also, but there is a raw element to Anja’s work that the others don’t have.  Perhaps the darkness of the images is also what draws me in.

img_1975_cop1y_copy1_by_crazygirl44-d6qp4f2There is something about entrapment to her work, a need to escape, I can’t quite explain it.  I look at her work and I want to know what she is thinking.  Many of the images, I think all, feature her and are self portraits.

When I emailed her for permission to use her work, I ask if she would answer the questions I ask everyone.  The first, as always, why do you take photos.

Well, since I remember I liked to express myself through art. First, in high school I was drawing. Now that I remember, I always had a little darker imagination.:) In that time I didn’t really think about expressing it through photography.
I loved capturing moments, though. Wherever I went I had my camera with me, and photographing everything. I remember, when there was still film, I used an entire film just to photograph my cat, from every angle possible. I guess she was my first model.:)
I started to look photography differently when I started college. I don’t know what changed in me. I just fell in love with it. And now, I can’t stop. I can’t go to a concert without my camera, because I love catching the light and the moments on the stage. I can’t go in nature without it. I’m addicted.:)
And then, last year, when I graduated, I decided to take a step further in my photography. I wanted to learn more. So I started a 365 project of self-portraits. I’m so happy that I decided that, because I learned so much, and I think I finally found my style. I love to express myself through photographs, to create this dark atmospheres, situations and different surreal worlds.

img_5746_copy1_by_crazygirl44-d749x4eSo impressive that she is producing one of these everyday.  There is so much thought, and I would have thought planning that would go into them.  It is an amazing challenge for anyone.  I just can’t help wanting to know more.  These images really grab my attention.

Inspiration is something that is really important to artists, we need it, so I asked Anja about hers.

I find inspiration everywhere. Sometimes I just see some objects and the idea for a photo pops in my head. Sometimes is the location. Some locations are just calling to take a photo there.
A big inspirations for me are also movies, some tv shows, books.

We have similar inspirations.

img_9525d_copy1_by_crazygirl44-d6p66u8When I was going through her work, I was really surprised to see this, so much colour.  Most of her images are very dark, or have almost no colour, so to find one, that has some was really interesting, or almost out of place in a way.  The only colour, though, that you tend to see in her work is red.

There are many ways for an artist to work so I asked Anja if there was anything special about how she worked.

For my self-portraits, first I usually think about the story I want to tell with the image. Then, what kind of dress I will wear and why. Next I choose the location. Sometimes I shoot outside, sometimes I simply do it in front of a white wall and create a story there. I use my white wall like a blank canvas.:)
Then, when I start shooting, I first make a test shoot, so that I can adjust the settings on my camera. Then I try few poses (I don’t always know what will work the best for the story I want to create until I see it in camera, so I keep a open mind about that) and when I get the one that i’m happy with, I make a few shots of just the background around me, because I expand my frame into a square later in photoshop. I always use a tripod. Sometimes I do everything alone, for some photos I have helpers –  usually my boyfriend or my mom.:)
When the shooting is done I process my work in Photoshop CS5.

img_6112_copy1_cop1y_copy1_by_crazygirl44-d6uyvcwI find it amazing when people photograph themselves, not something I am comfortable with, photographing me, not the concept of others doing it.  I guess it is a great way of always having a model.

I find myself almost speechless with the images, I really like them, but am not always good at saying why.  They really appeal to me and perhaps is it that isolation and desolation that I see in them, that I also try to get in my own work.

Kit with any photographer is so important and she told she uses the following.

My camera is a Canon EOS 5D, mark II; Canon 50mm, f/1.4 lens, Manfrotto tripod and wireless remote control Canon RC-6.

Anja has given me three links where you can find her and her work.  She has a blog called Anja Matko Photography, she is on Deviant Art, she is CrazyGirl44 and she is on 500px under her name Anja Matko.  There are a lot more self portraits on those sites and you can learn a lot more about her, so I hope you will go and take a lot at her work.

I am going to include a gallery with a selection of images, ones that I really liked.  I would also like to thank Anja for giving me permission to show her work here.

Introductions – Fine Arts Journal

Robyn from Fine Arts Journal has a different sort of blog to the ones I normally introduce. She is like me in the reverse, I started putting up art things and slowly my blog became all about photography, whereas her blog seemed to be more about photography and now there is a lot more art on it.  She has been spending a lot of time learning to paint sculpt, I hope that is right Robyn.

crystal-chaos-4a_smlThese images with the frost and the effect of it on things are something that really got my attention and I remember so vividly these images when she was doing them.  She is also Australian, though in a different state, further north than me, but I couldn’t work out how she was getting great images of frost.  We were not getting them down here, frost that is.

You know I asked her why she takes photos.

I think I need to.

As a young person and as soon as I had access to a camera, I took photos. Of course

I had no idea what I was doing and my photos were technically terrible, but I loved
taking photos!

My first camera was a 110mm cartridge film camera and I would use money I earned to have my films developed.

As a visual person, I love to record things I see.

I still have albums from those early days and look back over them sometimes.

The memories that these images bring are still alive today!

Moving forward to today.

In 2011, I undertook a year long Dark Room photography module as part of an Art

I wasn’t really looking to do Dark Room photography and I knew nothing about it!

But… this course took an interest in ‘taking photos’ and turned it into something I
have become very passionate about.

Photography satisfies the technical and artistic sides of my brain and it’s constantly a challenge for me to take a great photo… One I enjoy very much!

Recording places is important to me.

I want to record places (especially historical) for future generations in the hope that
my images and information, may be of use to someone at some time.

I enjoy seeing a place and then investigating it’s story.. and not necessarily in this
I ‘see’ with my camera.

pincushion-flower-smlShe also does quite a few close up images, something that I seem to be really drawn to.

I haven’t met Robyn, but I have spoken to her a couple of times on the phone, yet another WordPress friend.  The list is growing everyday.

I asked Robyn about her inspirations.

How do I work and what are my inspirations?

Sometimes for me, taking photos is a deliberate action – like taking a trip to a
specific place – but quite often a lot of my photography is spontaneous and is
inspired by something I see. I love to wander with my camera in hand.

I am particularly inspired by light and texture and really do love to look closer –
much closer – until I can ‘really see’ an object’s surface, texture and detail on a
minute level. It’s so inspiring!!

Sometimes an image will be, hopefully a great image and other times it will be the
spark that starts an idea for a painting. There are also many that are ‘just photos’ – part of my learning experience😀

I have a great love for Black and White photography after a year in the Dark Room.
I enjoy capturing Man-made objects – especially in Black and White – such as old
trucks and run down buildings.

I am very inspired by Max Dupain’s photography.

While I’m not currently practicing Dark Room photography ( I would definitely like to again in the future), the skills I’ve learned have carried across into my Digital

These days I use a few programs to ‘be my Dark Room’ and depending on what I
want my end result to be, this will determine which software I use.

I usually work between Paint Shop Pro and PhotoShop for processing… and
occasionally (but not too often these days), GIMP.

I enjoy experimenting in my Photography and Art and it’s only been the beginning of this year, that I’ve really decided that Photography and Painting are the mediums of choice for me and my Art Practice.

For me, these mediums work together and I’m very passionate about both!!

I love to learn and have much to learn and I do consider that a privilege.

My hope for the future is that I will continue to grow in my artistic endeavours… and always… that somebody else will be inspired along the way!!


There is a great variety of images on Robyn’s blog and you will see many things, though close ups and views like this are very popular.  I like that she tries different things and will process them in different ways as well.

Her camera “I mainly use a Nikon D90 DSLR, but also have a small Panasonic Lumix LX3 that is very handy.”

pidgeons_600_sigThere are quite a few paintings, sculptures and jewellery on her blog and it is worth going to take a look and see what she is up.  It is always interesting to see someone who paints and does photography, what informs what?

A message from Robyn “My many thanks to Leanne for Introducing my blog, photography and art on her wonderful blog.”  My response is, you are very welcome Robyn, thank you for allowing me to show your work like this.

I am going to put some images into a gallery now for you to take a look at.  I would encourage you all to go and take a look at Robyn’s blog Fine Arts Journal, maybe say hello.

Introductions – Leanne Cole

Yes, it is about me today.  For a few of reasons really, and I hope you don’t think I am being too egocentric here.  The first reason was that some of the people I have introduced have spoken about how hard it can be to answer the questions, so I thought perhaps I should have a go.  The second reason, well, I’ve been a bit slack and hadn’t organised myself and had no one, so you got me.  The third reason was because recently when I showed all the photos of Melbourne and then the river, a lovely friend wanted to know where some of the other images were, but I told her I considered them my art images, so today I thought we could look back on all my art images.

sccity-hpm6648-5I thought it might be fun to revisit some of my earlier attempts at what I call art images, and some of the things I’ve experimented with over the last couple of years.

So the first question I always send to people is why do they take photos.  It is a hard question, and there are so many answers.  So why do I?  I think it is something I have to do, not necessarily taking photos, but making images.  It is something I have always felt a need to do.  As a child I drew, and drew.  I had no one to help me, so I copied things and tried to learn that way.  My school had no art teacher, so I was on my own.  As I got older I realised that I could go and learn, and I did that.

I got my first SLR just over 20 years ago, and I started making images that way.  However, over time I got frustrated with film and the limitations.  I couldn’t get rid of things from images, I didn’t like the dark room, so I couldn’t add the drama that I wanted.  I thought what I needed was to concentrate on drawing, painting, create my own images.

I did study photography for a year at NMIT, then started a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Victorian College of the Arts, (VCA).  I did printmaking there, but through that process I learned how to observe, and as a friend said recently, spent 3 years learning what makes a good composition.

Then about 4 years ago I got my first DSLR, and well, I haven’t looked back.  Along with that and Photoshop, I was finally able to start doing more things to my images.  It is all about the image, and what I want you to see.  So that is why I take photos.

scmallee-hpm8680-3I have been trying so many different things over the last couple of years, and some things I still do, some I’ve toned down, and some I don’t do at all any more.  I like the way the blurring can make you focus where I want, but I was a bit heavy handed with it in the beginning.

Inspiration comes from so many places.  It can be a hard question to answer.  I know there are some things that really did/do have an influence. One is Chernobyl and the nuclear disaster that happened there, not so much the disaster but the town of Pripyat.  It has been deserted since 1986, and it is amazing what happens as humans leave.  I like to explore that theme of abandon in my work.  I can’t get there myself at this, so I have to make do with what is around me.  I think I said recently how I like to make a place that isn’t abandoned, look as though it is.  Abandonment is a big theme for me.

I also find theatre, movies, TV a great source of inspiration, I like drama and I like adding drama to my images.  I try to get that as much as possible.  Some movies are very inspirational, and I watch them over and over.  Artists that I love are usually always those that get some sense of drama into their images as well.


Photographing the now and making it look more unique is also different, the idea that I am in control of the image.  One of the best pieces of advice that one teacher gave me once was, “it is your image, do what you please”.

The other question I ask is about process and how they work.  It is an interesting question, we all work differently.  I tend to take lots of photos.  I am constantly thinking about how I can photograph something that is different to other people.  I try all angles, and I will go back and photograph the same place over and over again, until I get what I am looking for, or I get bored.  I also take lots of images, it is nothing for me to come home after shooting for the day with around 500 images.  Now before you gasp at that, if you do, I also bracket my shots, so every time I am taking a photo, I am also taking either taking 3 or 5 bracketed images.  I never know what I will do with the images until I get them on the computer, so I like to be prepared.

sccitysheep-hpm2471-3Experimentation is key and I’m always trying new things out.  Some things work, some don’t, but you have to try and that is how we learn.  I will like some things, and then that might lead to something else.  I love learning new techniques, so experimentation is key to that.

I don’t have a lot of gear, but I am very happy with what I have.  I am sure you all know I am now using the Nikon D800.  All my lenses are Nikon, and I have spent a lot of money over the last couple of years on top lenses to take images with.  I have lenses from 14mm to 200mm.  They are 3 lenses and they are all 2.8, so fast lenses. The glass is phenomenal and I love the images I get with them.  I love my kit and on my wish list are only two more lenses, and that will be enough. I would like the 105mm Micro lens, and a 35mm prime lens.  I hope my husband isn’t reading this.

So I am going to put my images in a gallery for you now.  These are what I refer to as my art images.  They have all had hours of work on them, and I have tried to make them a lot more than a straight image from the camera.  I hope they make you feel something else, not necessarily a good feeling, but you know what I mean.  I usually put a link to the persons website or blog here, but might just give you one to my website.  Thank you for letting me indulge myself here.

The Challenge of Black and White

Recently I have been doing a lot of black and white.  Challenging myself, trying to see what works and what doesn’t.  I have never been a believer that every image is better in black and white.  I always felt that you should take it image by image, however, that doesn’t mean that some images don’t just cry out to be black and white.

I was talking to Laura Macky the other day and we were both talking about how we don’t do it enough.  That we really should push ourselves to attempt more.  I have always found this blog to be great for pushing me.  So we thought, let’s challenge ourselves. So today’s post is our first.  Of course the biggest hurdle to overcome was the time difference, she is in the US, so she will do her posts on Tuesdays, and I will do mine early on Wednesday morning.

LeanneCole-rialto-1This is my image for our first challenge, the building is the Rialto Towers.  For many years this building was the tallest in Melbourne, it has been surpassed now, but it is still an amazing landmark.  There was an observation deck up there as well, but I think it is has closed now.  Possibly due to the one now on Eureka Tower.

I did this image as a HDR initially, but I have also added other parts back in, then made it black and white.  I do have two versions of it, as there was something in the colour one that I really liked, so maybe I will show that another time.  The image was taken the same morning as the train ones, I have to say that the high ISO was annoying, so I might try going back.

Laura has sent me her image as well, and if you want to read the post on it, then you can go here Lines and Patterns and Cars, Oh My.

lines-web3Different images from each of us, but they both have very similar themes, lines and shapes.

We thought we wouldn’t restrict this challenge to just ourselves, and invite you all along to join us.  If you like you can email me a link to your post, or email me the image, I will feature your image with a link to your page.  I will do this unless I get 100’s, then I might have to rethink.

If you want to participate you must email me, or I will lose your comments on the blog or forget where they are.

Remember the time difference, in Australia we are 10+ hours GMT, or it might be 11 at the moment as we have daylight savings.  So for most of you, if you do your posts on Tuesday, then mine will come out first thing Wednesday morning, my time.  It is so confusing, we will work it out.

Here is a gallery with the images so you can see them a little better.

Influencing Me – Trey Ratcliff

If you have ever attempted doing HDR photography, then you will almost definitely have heard of Trey Ratcliff and his website Stuck in Customs.When I started doing them I was told to go to the website to get information about doing HDR images. There is so much there to look at and check out. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and when you do a HDR image it allows you to do images that have very bright areas and very dark areas, so you can get an image that covers both.  It is good because you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other.

Exploring the French Prison-XLThere is something quite amazing about his HDR photography.  I could never get mine to be quite the same, but I did see a course run by him on KelbyOne and I am ready to give them another try.  Doing some things the way he does them, and using some techniques I’ve learned from other instructors there.  I have to tell you, his voice is not at all what I expected, I suppose like many of you have said about mine.

The Oldtown-XL The colours are gorgeous in his work.  He travels around the world taking photos, who wouldn’t want that. I think when it comes to HDR photography, he is the guru and the most famous HDR photographer out there.  I am sure so many of you have heard of him.

Trey Ratcliff - New York - Inception-X3There is such a level of detail in his images, that I find so attractive.  Did I mention the colours?  I think the images are hyper-realistic, but I don’t think that matters. Yesterday at the train station I took so many bracketed shots, and I want to see if I can make that train station look amazing using some of Trey’s techiques.

I have some more images for you to look at, but there are so many on his website Stuck in Customs.  He is also on Flickr and if you click on the images in his Portfolio on website then it will take you to his SmugMug account. If you are interested in learning HDR, then it is the place to go.  You can also find Trey on most Social Media sites, I follow him on Google+.


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