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Posts tagged ‘camera’

Just a Couple of Bits and Bobs

It is a very hot Friday here in Melbourne. We are on day 2 of a 4 day heatwave. It is currently 39°C and tomorrow is predicted to be 41°C, with Sunday hot too, but a cool change to come as well. We are always on very high alert when it gets like this, it can often mean lots of fires. We don’t want that.

It has been a slow week and I have to confess I haven’t been doing a lot. A couple of things to report.

My Camera

My camera has been sent away to be repaired. I feel so lost without it. They melbourne-christmas-festival-2014-106told me it would only be a few days, but I’m starting to get worried now. I don’t think I will have it for the weekend. It hope to get back before Christmas.

Tamron Lenses

It is time for the loan lenses to be returned to Tamron Australia. I am really going to miss the 28-300mm lens. I have used it so much and it became my go to lens. I might have to look into getting one of my own.

I would like to thank Tamron Australia for loaning me the lenses for my trip.

Some of you may remember this site. I used to write for it a couple of years melbourne-christmas-festival-2014-108ago. The site fell silent for a while, but it is under new management, so to speak. I’ve been asked to write for the blog on it again and I agreed.

My first article, Finding a Photographer, was published the other day. The link is there if you want to take a look. Funny doing an article on portrait photography.


It is almost here, a week away. I’m planning on taking things easy, at least while it is hot. Things will get very busy, very quickly afterwards. Especially with another edition of the magazine melbourne-christmas-festival-2014-101to get out.

Apparently they are predicting a white Christmas here, a white hot Christmas. So guess we will be doing a lot of melting this summer.

I have Christmas photos for you. I like the way they show how Christmas is here, it is hot, and horrible at times.


A Thank You to My Sponsors

For my trip to the USA I was loaned and given many wonderful things. It was fantastic to get so much support. I think it is time to go through what I was given and talk about how I found them.

Private Sponsor

Of course the first person I need to thank is the wonderful person who made the whole trip possible. I know they want to remain anonymous, but I can’t do a post like this and not say thank


Tamron 15-30mm

you with all my heart. I was given such an amazing gift and experience that no words will ever be able to say enough. I hope they felt that I took the most of it and enjoyed the photos that I took a long the way.

Tamron Australia

I have had a lot of support from Tamron over the last year and when I told them about my trip it was no different. I was asked what lenses would I like to borrow and was allowed to use both. I chose the 15-30mm 2.8 lens and the 28-300mm lens.

The 15-30mm is an incredible lens and so good for doing architecture. I know that I would not have been able to get the image of the ‘Freedom Tower’ like this one if I had not had it. The wide new-york-city-tourist-7696angle makes it perfect for architecture. I didn’t use it a lot, but when the situation arose where it would be good I was very happy that I had it with me.

The 28-300mm was my go to lens for the whole trip. If I was heading out the door and only wanted to take the camera with one lens it was the one that was put on the D750. I loved the versatility of it. How I could do a bit of wide angle, but also so I could zoom in. It was with me everywhere. Without a doubt the best focal length lens I had for the trip. Now I’m starting to wonder if I shouldn’t get the lens for myself.

If there was one thing I didn’t like about it, that would have been that you got vignetting at the 300mm end. It wasn’t bad, but noticeable. I just learned to work with it, or crop it out.

So my thanks go to Tamron for allowing me to use their lenses on my trip. It was a great experience and I never felt that I wasn’t covered with the lenses.


I was given a Lowepro Pro Runner II AW 350. When I first got it I thought it was small. How was I going to fit what I needed into it? However once I started packing it I seemed to find space for


Tamron 28-300mm, JOBY GorillaPod

everything, with some left over. I took two camera bodies, 4 lenses, my laptop, and various smaller items with me. It all went in that bag.

I weighed it just before I left and it hit the scales at around 8 kilos. It was heavy, but when I was wearing the bag it didn’t feel like that. It was such a comfortable bag to have on your back, that the weight didn’t seem an issue. It certainly was the right bag for my trip.

Thank you Lowepro for allowing me to use one of your bags for my adventure.


I was loaned a gorrillapod from JOBY and I loved the flexibility of it, what I could use it for and where. You really can use them anywhere. I had it wrapped around the top of rail to take photos


Tamron 28-300mm

of a sunset one night. I had the camera on it for the Flatiron building. You can put it anywhere. I started just taking it with me, just in case. It is something that I want to have permanently in my kit now. I can’t believe I have been doing photography for all this time and haven’t had one before.

I also used a UltraFit Sling Strap while I was away. It was fantastic. I’ve never used a strap like this and it was so easy to swing the camera around to take photos. Very simple and I didn’t lose any hair while using it. The current strap on my D800 often pulls my hair out when I’m trying to take photos.

Great products and I want to thank JOBY for making me aware of them and I know I will be looking for future items.


My Merrell Moab Hiking shoes were just fantastic. They were great in California and I think they saved my feet in New York. I had an idea that I would be walking a lot in NYC, but I don’t really think I had any clue on how big the city really was. It is so big and you walk a long way all the


Tamron 15-30mm

time. My feet just weren’t used to it, I wasn’t used to it. If I had had any other shoes I know my ankles, knees and my whole legs would have really suffered, so I was so grateful that I had very good hiking shoes for the trip.

I love Merrell shoes now, and have just purchased another pair for summer. I think there will always be Merrells in my wardrobe now. Thank you Merrell for looking after my feet while I was away.

Nikon Australia

The last sponsor I need to thank is Nikon Australia. It was a last minute sponsorship, but we got there. They loaned me the Nikon D750 camera and a 35mm lens.

The D750 was fantastic to have. I really enjoyed how easy it was to adjust to and use. It is a little smaller and lighter than the D800 so it was nice to carry around. I love a camera that feels good in your hand and it certainly was.

There were two things I really liked about it, one was the tilt screen. It was nice to be able to adjust the screen in some situations so you could see what you were getting. Like holding the


Nikon 24-70mm

camera up high to take photos of something. It was great for using the camera in positions where you couldn’t see through the viewfinder.

I loved, loved, loved the WiFi on the camera. Being able to connect the camera to my phone so I could use those photos for Social Media was a such an advantage. It took a while to get it to work, I have an android phone, but once it was sorted out, I never had another problem. Most of the photos from New York that I put on Social Media were taken with the D750.

I didn’t use the 35mm lens as much as I thought I would. I liked it, but I think I am a zoom girl. I like lenses that have more choice. I know a prime or fixed lens has superior quality, but in the end I didn’t like that I couldn’t use it for many things. It has a lot more limits.

It was a surprise that Nikon would lend me the camera and I was so grateful to them for it. I really enjoyed using it, so much so that my D800 was used very rarely. It was a great camera, and definitely something to consider if I decide to get another one. Thank you Nikon Australia with letting me borrow the camera.


As I said, such an amazing experience. It was fantastic to do it with so many people wanting to sponsor me and support me while I was there.  Fantastic really. All the photos I’ve shown before, they were all taken with the Nikon D750 with the lens at the caption.

USA Wanderings: Looking at Big Mountains in Yosemite

This trip has been one of the most amazing adventures of my life. I had initially thought that I would get to see a little of California and a lot of New York, but my friends have outdone themselves. I’ve seen things that I only ever dreamed about and Yosemite National Park is a place I never thought I would ever see.yosemite-california-national-park-9284

The sign as we came in.

I didn’t have any real expectations and, again, was happy to go with the flow and just enjoy it. We were there for such a short time, and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do everything, so some things were better than nothing. For me it was just so exciting to go and be able to say that I had been, that was enough for me.


My first view of Half Dome. You hear so much about this particular one and I was so happy to see it for the first time. Though seriously everywhere you look you will see an amazing scene, so much so that many of the photos I have for you today were taken out the car window. I couldn’t stop.


On the way there we could see plumes of smoke and there was a fire somewhere, but also signs saying it was under control. The smoke provided some interesting effects, especially with the North Dome above. We think the fire was on the other side of this.

We were staying almost across the road from here, and to the right was Half Dome, we couldn’t believe how well we picked the place to stay in, Curry Village. ThoughI have to say that I had the worst meal I’ve had since being here there, and the cabins are so basic and not that great, but you pay so much for them. The place really was set up to take as much money as they could from the tourists. We also had no internet for over a day which was a shock. It was only for one night, so it was bearable.


Since we were so close we did some night shots as well. Mine didn’t turn out that well as the there is movement in the stars. Not sure what I did, but it gives you an idea.


The next morning we went out early to see what we could get. We were on foot, but we didn’t mind. I think what we got was great. Then we went back for breakfast and hit the road.  We stopped a few times on the way out to look at more mountains. Really a fantastic experience, and now I’ve been there.

I was shooting with every lens I had, the two Tamron ones and the Nikon ones. I used the D750 and the D800. I made the most of them all. They all performed well. I am really liking the kit I have with me. The Lowepro Pro Runner II AW has been fantastic. I can’t believe how small it looks, but how much I can fit into it. Shh don’t let the airlines know that it weighs a ton.

I am going to leave you with a gallery now of my photos. Again there is a lot. I’ve had a lovely day today just sitting around and playing with my photos. It has been really nice.

UfD: Why that Camera

From time to time I get asked what camera I use.  I also get asked to give advice on what camera people should buy and then there is always the question of what brand.  So today I thought I might discuss with you why I ended up with the camera that I have.

The First Camera

It is sort of a long story and really started about 15 years ago.  If you’ve read my about page you know my first SLR camera was a Pentax K1000. It was all manual and I really had to learn how to take photos and quickly. It was a big learning curve, but as I learned more and more I started to realize I wanted a more sophisticated camera, something with auto focus.

Looking for a New Camera

The research begun.  I was in a camera club at the time and got to see what cameras other people had, which cameras people found easy to use, and which ones were hard to work out. It was great place to look. Of course the internet wasn’t really around and I couldn’t do the research that we do now.  I also spent time looking through magazines.

Nikon_F90xThe big decision for me was whether to go Nikon or Canon.  There was a woman at the club at that time that had bought a Canon EOS camera, I don’t know which one, but what I remember the most is that she had so much trouble working it out. The aperture seemed to work in a strange way and she kept bringing it to the camera club to get help.

I looked at the Nikon cameras and to me they were all logical to use. I didn’t have any trouble working out what was what. The aperture was done on the lens, so no hassles with that. It was a no brainer in the end, it had to be a Nikon.

In the end I went for the Nikon F90X. It was in the middle of the range SLRs, but the thing I liked, at that time was that it took AA batteries.  There was a lot of talk about rechargeable batteries and their reliability wasn’t always great, so having normal batteries seemed like a good idea. I have to say it was, the batteries lasted a long time and it was never much of a problem.

I used that camera for a long time. I still have it, though because it uses film I use it more to demonstrate how a camera works.

Going Digital

Nikon_D300s_-_Front_Mk2_editWhen I decided that I needed a digital SLR, or DSLR it seemed sensible to stick with Nikon. Money was going to be an issue, so I had to work within a tighter budget than before.  I was fairly certain that the D300s would take my old lenses, though I wasn’t sure the autofocus would work, I had tried one of my old lenses on a D200, and aperture and things like that worked but not autofocus.  So being able to use my older lenses meant I could keep the costs down.  One of the things that was also appealing about the D300s was that it was fast, it did 6 or 7 frames a second, and that was appealing because I knew what I would be photographing the most at that time was sports, cycling and netball. When it arrived I was so happy to discover that when I put my old lenses on it the autofocus worked, major relief.

Funny too because what I paid for the D300s was almost the same as what I paid for the F90X.

Moving Up

A couple of years ago Nikon came out with the D800 and I think it is safe to say I wanted it. It was full frame, and I wasn’t doing sport anymore so it would be fine for the type of work that I wanted to do. My husband wasn’t convinced that I needed it, though he never thinks I need anything. In the end I got a job that was going to pay me quite a bit of money, and I was worried that the ISO with the D300s wouldn’t be good enough for the job. It was very noisy, and you didn’t have to go up the ISO 91Xo7IJcj3L._SL1500_very much to encounter that. My husband could see that it made sense to get the better camera for the job.  So the D800 was ordered.

I’ve had that for just over 18  months and it is such a beautiful camera.  I love using it. I’m trying to think if there was anything I would change about it if Nikon were to ask me, and right now I can’t think of anything.  I’m sure there are things, but can’t think of them now.  It is so versatile and there isn’t much I can’t do with it. I love it so much I wouldn’t mind a second one, well maybe the D810, but I suspect I might have a tougher battle on my hands to justify that to my husband.

In the End

After teaching people to use their cameras I am always happier when people have a Nikon camera. I find them so much easier to work out, and there are a lot of similarities between the models, so it doesn’t take much to work out how to do something on one and then work it out for another one.

So why did you buy the camera that you have? Are you really happy with it? If you could have any camera that you wanted, what would you get?

I have a selection of photos for you and I will put underneath each one what camera was used to take them. I should point out that all the images taken with the F90X were film and I’ve scanned the negatives.


UfD: 10 Things I Can’t Live Without in My Kit

If your photography kit is anything like mine, you have a bit, but there will be pieces that you can’t live without.  So today I thought I would share with you my top 10 things that I couldn’t live without.

1/ My Camera

What would a photographer be without their camera.  I don’t think I am alone in my feelings towards it.  I have a Nikon D800 and it has been the most spectacular camera I’ve ever had. I couldn’t be happier with it.  It is something we all have to do is to get a camera that we love using and one that will do what you want it to do.

2/ My 24-70mm LensLeanneCole-banyuleflats-20140525-9353

I first got the Nikon 24-70mm lens because I thought it would be a good portrait lens and that sort of thing for doing cycling.  I did have plans for doing some portrait work, but didn’t do much. When I got it I was using my Nikon D300s and I was a bit disappointed with it.  I found it wasn’t as wide as I had hoped, so I thought I had made a massive mistake.

Then I got the D800 and it was perfect for that camera.  Now I use it all the time and I am so glad that I got it. It is my go to lens.

3/ My Macro Lens

This is a new lens foflower-garden-show-macro-edit-1042r me.  I got the Nikon 105mm Micro lens at the end of last year.  I was lucky with having an opportunity to try out some other macro lenses during the year, most notably the Tamron 90mm macro.  So when it came time for me to get my own macro I had a very good idea about what I wanted.  I did get the grant for the book, so I was able to get the Nikon macro. I have used it a lot and I am enjoying where my macro images are going.

4/ My Tripod

I got my first tripod over 20 years ago and it served me well.  It was a Manfrotto and while it wasn’t fancy, it did well. The aireysinlet-milkyway-lighthouse-stars-astrophotographyonly reason I decided to replace it was because the screws that I had to use to tighten the legs weren’t working too well and the legs would sink.  So it became time to get a new one.  Who doesn’t want a Gitzo tripod, but it was too expensive for me, so I decided I would stick with Manfrotto. I got a carbon fibre one with a ball head.  I have used it so much and it has fabulous. I couldn’t live without it.

5/ My Remote Shutter Release

It is an underrated item, but I am glad I got it.  It has been so useful in so many situations.  I was also delighted to find out last year that it was also an intervalometer.  That has been fantastic for doing long exposures and astrophotography.

6/ My Computer

emu-flat-church-colourA couple of months ago I upgraded my PC and have been so happy with it.  I think any photographer these days understands how important having a computer that can keep up with you and what you are doing is an absolute must.

7/ Adobe Photoshop

There are so many different types of software for working on photos out there.  I don’t know them all and some I will never use, but I do love Photoshop.  I love what I can do with it and what it can do to my images.  There isn’t anything I don’t like.  It is great to experiment and find out new tools and see what else I can do.  The learning never stops.

8/ The Lee Big Stopper Filterpinnacles-phillip-island-victoria-578

I have a few filters, and a few more on order, so I don’t know if this will remain my favourite filter, but right now it is.  I enjoy doing long exposures and I know I haven’t experimented enough with them, so will be working on that in the next few months.  If the weather of late is anything to go by there will be lots of opportunities to practice.

9/ The Lowepro Flipside 15L Bag

I have three bags, but the Lowepro is by far my favourite and the one I use the most.  It doesn’t stop me from changing lenses and it isn’t too big to carry around.  My tripod fits on it nicely and well, I think it is so comfortable, so I am never tJonesy-camp-night-sky-milkyway-105ired of wearing it, well almost.

10/ My 80-200mm Lens

I have lots of stuff, and this last one was hard to work out.  It was a toss up between this lens and my really wide, the 14-28mm, but in the end I thought, what would I want if I could only have one of them, and in the end I decided I wanted the 80-200mm.  It is a good option and I can also use it for long exposures as my adaptor ring for the Lee Filter holder will also fit it.

So there are my Top 10 pieces of photography kit that I really couldn’t live without.  So what are you favourite items and what couldn’t you live without?

The photos today reflect the images that I was able to get because of my top 10 favourite pieces of kit.

Weekend Wanderings: Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child

This last week I had an opportunity to go into the city and take photos of the Christmas decorations.  I wasn’t alone, there is a woman who does Social Snappers and her 5 year old daughter who keeps wanting to come with her camera and take photos as well.  I love to encourage anyone who wants to take photos, so I sent her a special invitation and last Wednesday I want into the city with Lola and her mum.

We had a great time wandering around taking photos of everything that we saw.  She was using a small Crayola camera that her parents had given her, one that could handle dropping.  I was so impressed with how she took photos, she would compose them carefully before taking them. It was obvious that she knew what she wanted to take.  Her mother has given me permission to show you her photos,

Lola’s images of Melbourne.

Didn’t I say she was good, when you consider the camera she was using and being five years old, the photos blew me away.  Certainly someone that I hope doesn’t stop taking them.  It was great fun seeing the Christmas Festival through the eyes of a five year old.  My daughter came as well, my eldest Briony, but she has grown out of this sort of thing.  It is always nice to see things like Christmas through the eyes of a child.

I took lots of photos as well, but no where near as many as Lola, mine are pretty boring compared to hers, but I will show them to you anyway. Christmas is very close now and we have a tree up and there are presents under it, so I guess Christmas is going to happen here this year, whether we are ready for it or not.  Here are my photos, I have kept a couple to myself for the MM splash of colour, is yours ready?

Up for Discussion – Instagram

When I put the call out for guest bloggers David from Blinded by Light put up his hand and suggested doing one on Instagram.  I thought it was a great idea.  It is a form of social media and one that many of us use.  I love playing with, but after looking at his post, I can see I don’t use it well, or nearly enough.  So take a look and see if you do.

To Instagram or Not To Instagram?

Let me just start this off with a short story, so lend me an ear (or two).  A couple of months ago, I showed the photos on my blog to one of my friends, who replied with, “Dude, I bet you’d have a really sick Instagram”.  Questionable language aside, I instinctively mentally scoffed and recoiled.  All I said was “oh, I don’t use Instagram”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat I was actually thinking in my head was “Instagram?? Of course I don’t use Instagram, as if it was some sort of bizarre insult.  I realise that I’m quite stubborn with my views on some things, but I am quite aware of it and I like to think that usually I have a reason for them.  In this case, I guess that for a long time, I’d neatly pigeonholed Instagram into the category of ‘casual photography’.  I thought that it was a place only for photos of cats and dogs and food, all taken with smartphones.

In a way, I think at some point I considered that Instagram and its filters somehow cheapened the art of photography.  This is absolute pretentious rubbish, obviously, but I do have my “back on my day” moments, despite not being that old.  I have been called a 1000-year old man before… Besides, I thought that anyone who’s a serious photographer (and has serious equipment) uses Flickr, right?  Well, and 500px if you’re really good, I guess.  I’d already been using Flickr for my old film/toycam photos on-and-off for years, so Instagram didn’t factor into the general scheme of OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthings.

As I said, I’m a stubborn, stubborn man, so I held that view for a very, very, very long time.  Not until my partner Tiff started using it did I even think about using it again and even then it took a lot of convincing.  She picked up Instagram as an adjunct to her knitting/sewing/craft/life blog, so it didn’t seem super relevant to me initially, since I neither knit, sew nor craft.  I guess I do partake in a bit of living on a day-to-day basis, though.

The point is, one day Tiff was telling me that Instagram is super fun and that I should post my photos on there too.  I raised the above points to her, thinking I was making very valid points, but then she proceeded to show me a series of amazing photos on Instagram.  That sure showed me!  I was genuinely surprised to see photos taken using everything ranging up to 5D Mark III.  I started to use it, slowly, but I wasn’t really sure how to use it properly, alongside my blog.  Since then, I’ve OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbeen Instagramming my old photos, along with ones I don’t think are quite good enough for blogging purposes.  Turns out Tiff was right – Instagram is a hoot.

Instagram didn’t invent the hashtag system (as far as I know, anyway), but it really does make it easier for you to find specific themes, as well as making it easier for others to find your photos.  I haven’t been using Instagram for that long, but I’ve already had the local museum and university alumni contact me and repost my photos on their own Instagram and Facebook pages.  I’m not making any money from them (I’m not looking to), but it’s great validation that people actually like my photos.

Don’t forget about Flickr

I do still very much like to use Flickr, but it was never really the same after Yahoo bought them out way all those years ago.  It might be just me, but I find the site irritatingly difficult to navigate.  It’s not that it’s actually challenging, but it just feels like it’s harder than it should be to find whatOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA E-P5you want to look at.  For example, I still haven’t figured out how to browse a list of the groups without typing in a search term.  In saying that, I’m nowhere near a professional level and I’m taking photos purely for fun.  I know that the pros are able to leverage Flickr to find work, so I know that the Flickr community is alive and thriving.  It’s become a place where I occasionally bulk upload my photos, not all of which end up making it onto my blog.

Other social media networks:

I’ve focussed on Flickr and Instagram so far for obvious reasons, but we shouldn’t forget about the other heavyweight social media sites: Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

In my mind, Facebook was the first of the big-hitting social media sites.  While I don’t use it for photography, it’s easy to see how it could be a staple for anyone serious about their photography.  It’s an easy way to interact with your fans, secret admirers, clients, what-have-you.  Plus, most OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApeople use Facebook in some form already anyway.

Twitter is one service I’ve never quite figured out, so I can’t really help you here.  I guess tweeting links to your posts could work as an easy way to reach out to more people

Google+ is an interesting one.  I was one of the first to jump on the Google+ bandwagon, though I wasn’t hopeful that it would ever get anywhere.  Since then, it seems Google has bet big on it, rolling it into a lot of their services.  Some might say they’ve integrated it a bit too much, but that’s a discussion for a different article.  It seems to have carved a niche for itself though, lying somewhere between Twitter and Facebook.  It seems like its become a nice way to follow sites/brands/people you like, while still maintaining a way to interact with them.  Additionally, by setting up your own Google Plus page might also have the possible additional benefit of search engine optimisation.  No-one knows the search algorithms employed by the servers at Google, but it can’t hurt to have more hits to your name.

At the end of the day, social media sites should be viewed as additional avenues for us to reach out to more people.  My initial reaction to Instagram was just my stubbornness and arrogance showing through, more than anything else.  What I love about photography is that it doesn’t discriminate and it breaks down barriers.  A powerful image can convey a range of themes and feelings, without a single word, and that’s something that can be achieved with any equipment and through any outlet.


Blog: Blinded By Light
Flickr: Blinded By Light
Instagram: @blinded_by_light

David has given us all his links above, I will have to make sure I am following him.  My Instagram is in the side panel, but I may have to see if I can start using it for other photos besides what I take with my phone.  

I hope you will all thank David for me, I think this a great post.  I think he is answering the comments, so any questions, David will answer them.  Thanks David.  I also have a gallery with some more images.