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Posts tagged ‘landscape’

Something for Friday

It is another wet day here in Melbourne. A good day to stay home and write. I have more articles to write for Digital Photography School and I’ve been asked to write a post for someone else, which is always nice. I may have mentioned that already.

Speaking of Digital Photography School another one of my articles was published today:

10 Tips for Better Landscape Photography

Please take a look and share it on your social media, that would be great.

It seems we live in a world of share share now. Everyone is sharing on Social Media. It is wonderful looking at amazing photos. I get so many ideas.

Today I have some more photos for you that have been on, you guessed it, my Social Media sites, many Instagram and Flickr. I will write captions for them so you can see where they were. I hope the weather is nice where you are.

Weekend Wanderings: Cape Otway Lighthouse

It is hard to visit Apollo Bay and not take a trip to Cape Otway Lighthouse. At first Karen and I were disappointed with the weather as it was raining on and off, but once we got there we realized the white buildings were going to be set off really well against the dark brooding sky.


The lighthouse is the hero there, but unlike other lighthouses I really didn’t want to take photos of it up close. I like the surroundings it was set in and with the wet weather it really set it off.


If you have paid all the money to go in you should go up the lighthouse. It is quite amazing what you can see from it. There is the long path to it and one of the volunteers as they finish their shift in the top.


They turned on the light for us, though it is no long used, there is a newer smaller light in front of the old lighthouse now.


It was quite amazing watching the storm out at sea, you almost couldn’t tell where the horizon was. I love the way the sky morphes into the sea almost. This had just past, but it wasn’t long before more passed over us.

The weather wasn’t great, I think I said that already, but we were thankful that while it did rain, it wasn’t a consistent rain. We knew if we headed indoors when it was raining it wouldn’t be long before we could head out again. I have to say, and I know  you will agree, that the stormy weather really added a lot more drama to the images.

It feels like the weekend is over, but I know it isn’t. The last few days with Karen have been wonderful and now I feel like I could sleep for quite a while. I plan on taking things a little easy today and catch up on few things.  I hope you are having a great time where you are, maybe taking some photos.

Here is a gallery with the above images and some others that I took at Cape Otway Lighthouse. Don’t forget you can click on the individual images to see a bigger version.

Up for Discussion – The Golden Ratio

Today’s post is from Sarah Vercoe, I saw a post she had written on the Golden Ratio and I asked her if she would be interested in doing a post here to explain it to you.  I first heard about this at art school, though it was a little different, but the idea of the Golden Mean, and how some faces are considered more beautiful than others, and how the Golden Mean can be used to demonstrate it.  What Sarah is talking about is a little different and a lot more relevant to photography.

Composition with impact: Using the Golden Ratio in Photography

By Sarah Vercoe

Barn, Grand Teton NP

Composition is one of the most important aspects of photography, one that can make or break a photograph. A strong composition can give an ordinary subject appeal, just as poor composition can leave an otherwise appealing subject with no impact at all. The variety of composition guidelines available to photographers is seemingly endless, with some argued as being better than others. The Golden Ratio is one of those composition guidelines that is said to be just that little bit better for creating a photograph with impact.

The Golden Ratio, a ratio of 1:1.618, is said to have been ‘discovered’ by a mathematician named Leonardo Fibonacci in the 12th century A.D. when he devised a series of numbers to create a composition that is pleasing to the eye. Also known as the Golden Mean, Phi, and Divine Proportion, among others, the Golden Ratio has been used for centuries as a design principle in everything from graphic design, painting, architecture and photography. Regardless of the name attached, or where the idea of using the ratio originated, the Golden Ratio as a composition tool in photography can help us produce photographs with impact.

It is said that humans are naturally drawn to the ratio due to the perfect division of space that is pleasing to the eye, which is perfect for photography. This may be due to the fact that the ratio can be found throughout nature, in flowers, shells, plants, even the human ear is said to be shaped in a way that the Golden Ratio can be seen. Attracting viewers to a photograph through a composition that is based on nature, and naturally drawn to, seems like perfect logic. Creating a photograph that will attract viewers is something almost all photographers strive for in their work. So, how can we compose a photograph using the Golden Ratio to naturally attract viewers? There are a variety of ways in which the Golden Ratio can be applied to photography. Following are just two of the most commonly favoured compositions among photographers who are in-the-know.

The Fibonacci Spiral

The Fibonacci Spiral is formed from a series of squares based on a complex formula using Fibonacci’s numbers. This is achieved by adding together pairs of numbers to create squares, starting at 1×1, repeating 1×1, then 2×2, 3×3, 5×5, 8×8, 13×13, etc., the series of numbers can go on forever. When a point is placed strategically at the diagonal corners of each square and connected by a line, a spiral shape is formed throughout the frame itself as per the diagram below.

Fibonnaci Spiral

These points are considered points of interest in the frame and key focal points in a scene can be positioned to fall on or near them. As you will notice, the most important points of focus fall around a small rectangular area at one of the corners in the frame. This is what I like to call the ‘sweet spot’ and where I like to place the most important elements of a scene. The remaining points on the spiral can then be used as complementing focal points to incorporate other elements into the overall scene. The sweet spot acts as a starting point to lead the eye around the photograph along the spiral.

This version of the Golden Ratio is perhaps the most favoured composition in photography. I like to think this is due to the way the spiral leads the viewer around multiple complementing points in the frame, causing them to linger on the photograph.

Robson Square, Vancouver

The Phi Grid

The Phi Grid is formed when the Golden Ratio is applied so that the frame is divided into sections that are 1:1.618:1 as per the diagram below. The intersecting lines of the grid are concentrated in the centre of the frame resulting in more weight being given to the four outer corners of the frame. Placing key focal points at the intersecting lines of the Phi Grid, the Golden Ratio’s sweet spots, will allow for maximum impact in the photograph. This is due largely to the fact that the intersecting lines are at that point that is considered the perfect division of space in the frame.

Phi Grid

Another way that composing a photograph using the Phi Grid can be beneficial is to use it as a guide for the placement of a horizon line. By using the Phi Grid as a guide for where to place the horizon line will allow the horizon line to be less apparent and offer a good separation of space. You might notice that the Phi Grid looks quite similar to the Rule of Thirds. Although no one knows for sure, and there are a variety of fables that address the history of the Rule of Thirds, one suggestion is that the Rule of Thirds was devised as a simpler version of Golden Ratio.

Sunrise Kailua, Hawaii

The Golden Ratio in my own work

The Golden Ratio is often my go-to guideline when composing a photograph, particularly the Fibonacci Spiral. When I compose for the Golden Ratio I will envision a rectangle in the corner of the frame that places my main subject near the sweet spot. When I can utilise the Fibonacci Spiral I will also look for complementing points of interest that I can try to incorporate in the scene along the other points of interest. This is the reason I prefer to use the Fibonacci Spiral. I am of the belief that incorporating complementary points of interest to the main focal point where possible will draw the viewer in and lead them around the photograph.

As with everything in photography there are no fixed rules and composition choices are unique to both the scene you are photographing and the photographer. The Golden Ratio is a good technique to keep in your mind as a guideline when considering the composition options for a scene, and you may just end up with a photograph that has that little bit more impact.

Following are a series of photographs where I have applied the Golden Ratio in my own work. See if you can pick out which of the Golden Ratio compositions I have used as a guide.

Eagle, Alaska

Granville Island, Vancouver

Lower Falls, Yellowstone NP

Mountain view, Alaska

Surf Festival, Noosa

Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Science World, Vancouver

A big thank you to Leanne for allowing me to discuss the Golden Ratio in today’s Up for Discussion.

Please feel free to reach out to me at if you have any questions about the Golden Ratio. You can view more of my landscape and travel photography on my blog Sarah Vercoe Images

I would also like to thank Sarah for taking the time to write this for us.  Please take a look at her blog, she has some amazing work there.  

Photographing the Landscape When It Really Isn’t Your Thing

LeanneCole-mallee-20140126-8286Today’s post on is about how I find doing landscape photography when it isn’t something that I normally do.  I have written the post on how I do it, or how I approach it.  It would be great if you could take a look, the post is Photographing the Landscape When It Really Isn’t Your Thing.

I have also included a follow up on the post I did When Does it Belong to Me.

Once again, I would really appreciate it if you can leave your comments there.  Thank you.  Not sure I will be writing anymore for them there, but I might do the same sort of posts here.

The post link again, Photographing the Landscape When It Really Isn’t Your Thing.

Weekend Wanderings – Taking a Look Back at the Mallee

It has been another one of those weeks, and not helped by the fact that I stayed up all night the last two nights to watch something on CreativeLive.  It was great to actually watch it live, but I am not functioning properly right now so I thought for this weekend’s post we might just take a look at photos I took of the Mallee in 2011.

I went up a few times that year, and it helped me fall in love with the place again.  Some of the images have been done with different processing, some very simply, but I hope you don’t mind if I show you a gallery of those images.  I do enjoy going back.

I hope you don’t mind these looking back posts.  It is good seeing where I have come from as an artist and a photographer.  Some of them make me cringe, some make me proud.

I need to find someone to do a post on on Monday, so please I would love you help, can you make some suggestions?

One Aspect of the Life of an Artist

Actually it is more my life really.  Sorry I hope that doesn’t disappoint you.  I thought I might talk about one aspect of the life.  I have been surprised lately to read definitions of what an artist is, there is a massive list and while you don’t have to fill every one, one that did surprise was being a teacher.

This is something that is fairly new to me.  I have been teaching for about a year now.  I really didn’t like it when I started, but I have really started enjoying it.  Learning howscclass3006 I need to teach was the hardest thing for me to learn.  I am finding my way around it, and the more I do it the more I enjoy it.  There is something special about realising that people are coming to you to learn.

I have more classes coming up at Living & Learning Nillumbik.

My first class is Saturday the 3rd of August, which is Introduction to your DSLR, unfortunately full, but if there are enough people interested there may be a chance of a second class in the last term.

Landscape Photography is on the 7th of September, also a Saturday.  We do some stuff in the class, then head out and down the road to try some landscape photography.  I try and do some critiquing as well, though it can be hard with how many photos people take.

Architectural Photography is on the 19th of October, and pretty much runs the same way as the landscape one.  All my classes are practical, and you are expected to bring scamelia-1368your camera and take photos.  I learn by doing, so I teach by doing.

The Portrait Class on Saturday the 16th of November.  We get a model for a couple of hours and experiment with taking photos of the model.  I showed you some photos from the last model.

Sports and event photography is on the 30th November.  Again, we will try and find a sport to go and photograph.

There are still places left available in most of the classes above, but they will fill fairly quickly.

I am also going to be teaching some sports photography classes for kids who live on the fringes of the city, so that should be a good experience.  I don’t know how many of those yet.

I am in discussions with the team in Eltham too about structuring the classes a little differently next year.  Instead of doing the individual classes, we are going to do a scclasses-9830-sepcourse, about 6 weeks.  So it will be all the other classes put into one.  It should be good doing it as a short course instead of all the individual ones.  I will be able to build on their knowledge from one week to another without having to continually repeat information that was in the previous class.  It is going to be exciting. It will be well structured and thought out.

I am also hoping to do some workshops, full day ones.  I am in the process of planning a portrait workshop.  It will start with looking at portrait photography, and we will go through the whole process of how to do portraits, from start to finish and at the end of the day you should have some wonderful portraits, and the knowledge of how to do more.

If I can’t run that one at Eltham, if I get people interested, then I might try running it sccity-3hpm2105myself somewhere.  So if you are interested, keep it in mind.

Don’t forget, I also do full day One on One Classes as well, there is information at the top under Learning Photography.  You get to spend a whole day with me and I teach you how to use your camera, if you need that, I show you around the city, or we just go and take photos, with breaks to look at your photos and to critique how you are going.  I also give suggestions on how you can improve.  I also take photos, so you get to see me working as well.  I only charge $330 for that, which is for about 8 hours.  I was told it was too cheap, but I think it is fine.

If you really want to do a class with me and don’t live in Australia, there is always online and we can talk over the internet.  I have done that for a few people now, and it has been fantastic.  That is more for editing and stuff.  Again that information is under Learning Photography above.

I can see teaching creeping in more and more.  I have even considered looking around at other places to teach as well, which surprises me.  I really do enjoy it.

I hope some of you may join me in some of my classes.  It would be so wonderful to see people there who know me through the blog.

In This Direction or That Direction

The Eternal Traveller had one of these on her post the other day and I remembered that I had one of them as well and thought I would show it today.

Any Which Way


I saw this when I went to Lorne a couple of weeks ago.  I have seen many photos of these, but have never seen one before.  The image turned out quite funny, but I think I like more because it did.  I can’t see Melbourne on it, so not sure if we exist.

The sign seemed an appropriate sign, haha, for how I have been feeling a lot lately, not really knowing which direction to go in, though I think I have sorted it out more now and am quite happy with my decisions.  Time will tell if I made a good choice.  Though it might mean me teaching on this blog might not really happen.  As I said, we will see.

Heading In

This is another one of the images from the rocks at Lorne.  I have processed this very differently to the others I did.  Does it work, in some ways yes, others no.  I don’t mind it and maybe there is something there, and maybe it is a start for some experimentation.

Going Some Place

This is the entrance to the train station at Winchelsea, and is still operational.  I don’t know how often the train comes through here, but they do still come.  You enter the platform there on the right.  It is a lovely old building and seem very appropriate for the train.

I loved the trip to Lorne and I really wish I had been there earlier in the morning.  I still really want to go back.  I am planning a trip away at the end of April, but unfortunately not near Lorne.  Looks like I am going to have to do the 3am wake up and do the two hour drive if I really want to get the image.  Mmm, I wonder if I went mid week how much a room would cost.  I might have to look into that.  Thanks.