Blog

arcade-city-empty-melbourne-leannecole

Empty Environments

Recently, since my return from the US, I’ve been doing a lot more work on my photos. I used excuses before, but I am starting to see that it is something I have to do, even if just for myself. Of course, the added benefit is that I can share the photos with you as well.

This last week I’ve worked on two photos. They are very different photos, but I think both convey a sense of isolation and emptiness.

saltpans-deadtrees-enironment-nyahwest-australia

I took this image up in the Mallee last week. There are salt pans up in the north of the state of Victoria. The salt up there is a real problem, but they do make great subjects for photos. Not all of them have the dead trees in them and fences, so when you find one that does you make the most of it.

The sky was so blue in this image and it helped to make the decision that it should be a black and white photo. Sometimes stripping an image of colour means the viewer isn’t distracted by the colour. The image is all about the salt on the ground and how it has impacted the environment. I wanted the fence and that main tree to show that. It is a bit brighter in some ways to my usual images, but I think it still has the same meaning, the harshness of our world.

arcade-city-empty-melbourne-leannecole

A very different image, but still has that closed, empty feeling. A scene we don’t see a lot in the city. I took this image earlier this year while on a wander along Bourke Street. It was in the business area which would explain why everything was closed.

It isn’t all the time that you get somewhere and find that place is perfect for what you want. I just tried to emphasize the emptiness and give it more of a closed look. I wanted it to look like it had been closed for a while. Obviously there are other things I could have done to it, but I don’t have the right sort of images yet, something I will have to work on.

I did take out quite a bit of the colour, and added textures to the ground in a hope to make it look less maintained. I probably should have added more to other parts, but this is something I am working on. Using textures can be tricky and should be used with care. I like how the image has ended up, but no doubt in a year or two will cringe at it.

I’m looking forward to working on more. I need to remember that I have folders full of photos that I have taken before really and not done anything with. It is time I started searching through the archives again.

It is that time of the week again and it has been a good week as I look back on what I’ve done. I’ve been away up in the Mallee again to visit my mother, but, as always, I managed to get out to take photos while I was there. It is such a different landscape up there, and I really enjoy getting out, though, it was rather hot and humid one of the days and it wasn’t so nice.

As I usually do I have some photos for you that I have had on Social Media this week, specifically Instagram. Some are from the city and some from up in the Mallee.

city-storm-bridge-building-clouds-melbourne

I’ve shown this image before, I did it last weekend. I like the image and had to put it up on Instagram.

fishing-boats-water-docked-phillipisland

I took this photo almost five years ago. I really didn’t like the way I processed them back then, so I thought I would try it again. It is something I think I might have to try doing some more.

cape-schanck-pulpitrock-long-exposure

I processed this image earlier in the year. It was a long exposure taken during the day. I manipulated it a lot to get the look I was after.

redrocks-anglesea-greatoceanroad-victoria-australia-3528

Another image from earlier in the year. The red rocks give such a gorgeous tone to the image. I like the creaminess of the water as well. This was taken down near Jan Juc on Victoria’s coastline.

carnation-macro-garden-art-

I love my mum’s garden and it is great to get up there to take photos of the flowers and other things I find it in. I also like playing with the images to see what I can do with them.

desk-lamp-typewriter-antique-swanhill

This was in the last post that I did, so you don’t need me to talk about it again.

23624287565_a112442587_o

The landscape up there can be very stark. It can also be quite sad. Salt is a major problem and I like trying to capture the starkness of it.

dead-carnation-flower-garden

Some more carnations that were in my mother’s garden only these ones were dead. They were definitely past their bloom. Dead flowers can make beautiful subjects for photos.

I think Instagram has been really good for me. Besides giving me more exposure, it is giving me a real push to start producing more fine art images. I have really enjoyed getting back to doing them and showing them to you.

desk-lamp-typewriter-antique-swanhill

Today it has been really hot here. To say that our visit to Swan Hill and the Pioneer Settlement was silly is an understatement. Really not a great place to be when it is so hot. I did take some photos, but I don’t know if they will be any good. I did get one that I couldn’t wait to process.

desk-lamp-typewriter-antique-swanhill

This was in one of the shops, I think it was the stock and station agents, but to be honest, I can’t really remember. The interior was quite dark and all you could see was the light on the desk. I really like the way the camera saw it.

When I got home and started to play with it I wanted to keep that low light and tried to emphasis it a bit more. I also wanted a more sepia look to it, without it being a true sepia image. It is still colour, but has that tone. I tried to make it look like a memory, perhaps a moment gone.

Swan Hill wasn’t really successful for us, but I should have known better. I grew up around the area and I know what the heat is like. There will be other visits I’m sure, perhaps in the winter.

river-bridge-railway-sandridge-melbourne

Yesterday I posted a blog post on my other site showing some images from my venture in the city of Melbourne the other day. It is my intention to continue working on a few images for this post. Ones that I do a lot more processing too. It is nice to have this blog to show my fine art photos more.

steps-federationsquare-raining-patterns

One of the really nice things about Federation Square is how it looks when it is wet. I love how the sandstone goes a beautiful golden and pink colour. It is such a textured and patterned place. These steps are around the back, sort of, near the river. I haven’t really taken many photos around there, but I must make sure I change that. When I processed this image I really wanted to emphasize the steps and the colours of them.  There was someone sitting up the top but I decided to get rid of them.

river-bridge-railway-sandridge-melbourneUnderneath the old railway bridge, the Sandridge Bridge, there are lots of patterns and shapes there as well. A strong steel structure. It has lots of arches and pylons. I think the long exposure of the water helps to highlight that steel. The water almost disappears. When I processed it I concentrated on the steel structure.

southbank-river-longexposure-clouds-nightI like the clouds in this one, but out of the three I think this is the weakest. There are too many things in it that I don’t really like. The clouds were moving very fast so it was easy to get the movement in a 30 second exposure. I think the whole image is too glitzy for what I usually look for. I really dislike the lights on the bridge as well. It is a scene I must go back to again, maybe after Christmas.

The trip into the city really was great and I still have a lot more photos to process, if I choose to. I am really enjoying exploring architecture again. I think I have missed it. I’m looking forward to seeing where my work goes in the future.

boat-harbour-mordialloc-sunrise

There is no doubt that you can get really caught up in Social Media. You can spend hours on it, but you do have to find a balance. We know that we have to use it to promote ourselves, so where is that balance? The more you use it the more promotion you get, but then you get stuck on it and you don’t get any other work done. I don’t have an answer for this, but I’m working on one and I may have some suggestions.

sunset-pier-stkilda-boats-people-1756

A trip to St Kilda Pier at sunset.

It has been suggested that you need to work out which platforms will get you the best benefits. There is no way anyone can maintain them all. You have to select which ones will be best for you and which ones will you be able to use. I use Instagram, Flickr, Facebook and do a little on Twitter.

bee-flower-macro-pollen-heide

A bee captured in the kitchen garden at Heide.

My favourite at the moment is Instagram. I’m trying to build up my following there and at the moment it is where I am spending most of my time. I’m looking at lots of work and seeing how others use it. I’m also trying to use it for our magazine, Dynamic Range. The number of followers is slowly increasing. If you want to follow the Instagram page here is the link: Dynamic Range Magazine.

bridge-river-crowncasino-sunset-melbourne

The other day I went to the city around sunset and captured this.

One thing that has been good about it is getting me to process a lot more images. Though, not just for Instagram, but also for Flickr and even more so for this site and blog. I used to do photos for my other blog and then talk about what I did to them, or the thoughts behind the process. I really want to start doing that again, but here.

lorne-waterfalls-macro-mushrooms-rainforest-2103

A bug carcass that I saw while looking at waterfalls near Lorne.

Instagram also means that I can go through old photos and use them again. It has been nice to have another outlet for them. I post everyday, sometimes twice, but that is rare. There is a philosophy about how often you work and that you shouldn’t post too much. People do get annoyed if you post too much and will stop following you.

I keep hearing that you have to allocate time to do it. Set aside an hour a day or something like that to spend on it. Limit the time or the whole day will go and you won’t get anything else done.

boat-harbour-mordialloc-sunrise

A boat moored at the Mordialloc marina at sunrise.

There are other sorts of Social Media, but Instagram seems to be the one at the moment. All the things I’ve been looking at are saying we should use it. I’ve increased how many followers I have, and that’s been great, but I haven’t seen a lot of benefits from it yet. When I do, I will let you know.

The downside is also that it is all about numbers. People take notice of how many followers you have. They even take notice of how many you follow. If you follow too many it doesn’t look good, apparently. Then there are the people that will only follow you if you follow them. Strange game. Good luck if you decide to go that way.

The photos today are ones that have been on social media this week. If you want to follow me, here is the link to my Instagram page, leannecolephotography.

graffiti-lane-door-opening-melbourne

Over on my other blog it is Monochrome Madness MM 2-35 and for the month of December it is all about Christmas with a different theme each week.  This week it was bells.

I wasn’t sure what to do and while I don’t think they had to be Christmas Bells I did have an image I took a couple of years ago of lights in the shape of bells and thought that it might be appropriate for this one.

bells-christmas-night-laneway-hardware

While it is not a great image, night time photos like this can be hard, there is something honest about it I think. The idea that Christmas is happening, but people are still carrying on. I think it is also very Australian, in that it is summer here when Christmas happens and that means that people are still eating outdoors, walking around because it is warm.

When processing it I realized I wasn’t going to be able to do a lot to it, but thought I could show a little red on top of the bells. It isn’t strong, just a touch of colour.

I didn’t know what to do with that image, but I have working on some others a lot more.

graffiti-lane-door-opening-melbourne

This is an image that I got yesterday when I was teaching a student in the city. We went down some lanes because she wanted to photograph some graffiti. When I looked at this image on my computer I realized that there was a different light at the end of the lane. It seemed like an obvious thing to play with and see where it would lead me.

Lanes can be mysterious and dangerous places, especially at night. We are told that terrible things happen in them and I wanted to try to see if I could emphasis that fear in some way. The lighting was key and making the most of it. Your imagination should tell you the story. How you react to it will be the emotion that goes with that story. I hope you have a story that goes with it.

Thanks for stopping by and supporting this blog, I really appreciate it.

riversidepark-piers-skyline-newyork-river

On my trip to the US I didn’t have a lot of time to really spend on my images and doing things to them the way I really wanted to. I also didn’t have the right computer or gear to do it either. I love my Wacom Tablet, but it wasn’t sensible to take it with me. Now that I am home and have sorted some things out I’ve really been enjoying getting immersed in the possibilities of what you can do to an image.

Over on my other blog I have done a post on Riverside Park in New York, but the images have only been processed quickly in Lightroom. For those that are following me here I have some extra images. They are ones that I have played with.  I’m not really sure where I am going with them, but I like to change what is there and see what I can do with them. Maybe change the mood or the lighting, make it feel as it didn’t before.

buildings-sunlight-bright-skyline-newyork

This was the first one. It is the buildings along the edge of the park. The sun was bright and I liked that, but at the same time I wanted that apocalyptic feel to it. Of course there are people there, but I didn’t want them to stand out. These massive giants overshadowing everything.

riversidepark-piers-skyline-newyork-river

This one is a similar scene. This time taken from a pier looking back towards the Upper Westside and those giants again. They could represent so many things. The problem with our society today, the greed, the consumerism, capitalism at its best. The society of look at me, aren’t I amazing. Of course, I could just be ranting as well.

brown-stone-home-new-york

Then there are the brownstones. Lovely buildings from an era gone I suspect. I love seeing them and wished I had spent more time uptown than down and seen more of these beauties. I think I am a fan of older architecture.

If you click on any of the images you will get a gallery as well so you can look at them individually.

 

Social Media is time consuming.

It takes time to learn how to use it, and then even more time to use it effectively. Just when you think you know how to use one of them something else pops us and you have start learning something new.

One thing I have learned is that if you want to be successful in photography, or anything, you need to use Social Media. So if you want to get your work out there you have learn how it works.

railway-bridge-newstead-victoria-colour

Facebook

I don’t know how it all works, and there are still things I can’t work out, like Facebook, or more specifically how to get people to look at your page. Recently I heard that it had something to do with engageability, I believe they call it, you need to put up enough stuff to get people to engage with it, but not too much that they turn away. Apparently three times a day is enough, but more could be too much. It is hard to work it out.

pillars-flood-water-view-steps

Instagram

I’ve been using that a lot more recently. Again another one of those sites that everyone is saying you have to be on. Yet it isn’t simple. You have to do a lot of work to get people to look at your photos and to follow you.

I was asked recently why do you need so many followers? The simple answer is Credibility.

That is the same with all social media. People seem to like you more the more followers you have. It is weird. Though there is also an annoying thing that if someone starts to follow you, then you are expected to follow them back. If you don’t then they unfollow you. I won’t be forced to follow people like that. I want people to follow me because they like my photos, and if I like theirs, then I will follow them back, but only for that reason.

pier-crooked-shellybeach-longexposure-bay

Flickr

This is another social media site that I’ve been using a lot more too. I  use it to help me load my photos onto Instagram. I like how you can see all the photos together, a good folio. I try to only put photos up that I think show me off the best, it is the same with Instagram. I want people to go to those sites and only see work that I am proud of.

My blog is a bit all over the place, so it is nice to have somewhere where it is like a portfolio. Though, I am going to be doing some major work on this site and there to be some nice folios of my work here too.

lorne-waterfalls-macro-mushrooms-rainforest-2073

 

Using Social Media

One of the main drives to learn how to use Social Media is to promote the magazine that I have started, Dynamic Range. I keep getting told that I need to use Social Media to promote it, but then the next question is how?

I’ve started an Instagram account for Dynamic Range Magazine, a Facebook page, and we now have an account on Twitter. Now to come up with a plan on how to use them is next. I have a new member on the team that is going to help me with that.

If you use Instagram then please use the hashtag dynamicrangemagazine (#dynamicrangemagazine) and we will see it, you might even get your image featured on the page.  It is small now, but it will get better, I know it will.

I will have to continue researching and seeing what I can learn about using Social Media. I will be an expert when I am finished.

royalexhibition-building-fountain-melbourne-colour

Photos

Each Friday when I post on this blog I will always include the images that have been on my Social Media sites during the previous week. It is nice to see them here as well. I hope you enjoy seeing them.

city-skyline-cloudy-moody-river skyline-buildings-skyscrapers-river-newyork-colour daveys-watkins-bay-melbourne-longexposures1052 marysville-fungi-mushrooms-macro-rainforest-1028

 

skyline-buildings-skyscrapers-river-newyork-colour

On my recent trip to the United States of America I spent ten days in New York. On one of those days we took the Staten Island ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. We got off at the other end, but got back on the next one we could. As we were approaching Manhattan I took some photos of the skyline. Such a mixture of buildings along the edge of the river. For monochrome madness today I decided that it would be a good image to try and use.

skyline-buildings-skyscrapers-river-newyork-mono

I tried several things on it when I was processing it. As always I changed the image to monochrome in Adobe Camera Raw. I made the usual adjustments before opening it up into Photoshop.

I used High Pass to bring some more detail to the buildings. I applied motion blur on the water in the river to make it disappear a bit. I used some curves to darken the background and the foreground. I wanted the buildings to stand out more. Finally I got the dodging tool and added some whiteness to some parts of building to make them stand out.

Once I had the image the way I wanted it, I decided to see what it would like in colour again, so I switched it back. This is my reverse processing. You can get some interesting resulting doing it. Sometimes it works, and other times it is shocking and I don’t go any further.

skyline-buildings-skyscrapers-river-newyork-colour

The colours were a bit too saturated so I had to tone them down. I toned down the blues and yellows to give it an almost monotone look.

Out of the two I like the second version more. I think it shines more. My husband said it looked metallic. I like that description.

There are a lot more Monochrome images over on my other blog for MM 2-34: Monochrome Madness.

mewhale22jul13-5298

Normally I will have people to Introduce to you, or find something else, but I was thinking that maybe I could re-post one I did on my other blog a couple of years ago. I decided to re-post this Introduction on Bella Remy Photography, from Hoof Beats and Foot Prints because Emily writes for Dynamic Range and I thought it would be nice to show you some work from one of the contributors. I hope you enjoy it.

Hoof Beats and Foot Prints

Today’s featured photography blog is from Emily, or Bella Remy Photography and her blog Hoof Beats and Foot Prints.  I have been following her work for quite some time and was happy when she agreed to let me feature her on my blog for my Introductions post.  I am sure many of you know her work and I hope those that don’t will enjoy the introduction.

img_43511When I think of her work, I think birds, but not only birds.  She does many things, but I do love her bird imagery.  I am not a bird person, I rarely photograph them, and the only time I do is if it is a bird that is rare or unusual to see.  So, to see someone else really dedicated to it is wonderful.

paxnrth30jun13-1469

I have some words by Emily, but will include them at the end for you.  In them she talks about the patience that is needed, I can imagine how patient you would need to be.  Patience is not something I have, so it is another reason to really admire what she does.  I can remember posts where she talks about crawling on her stomach to get shots of birds, now that is dedication.

gettysburg05jul13-2928-editOne of the things I really enjoy is the colour, I love how colourful her images are, but they aren’t oversaturated or in your face that you see coming from a lot of photographers.  The colours always seem to be true to what you are looking at, or what she is representing.

sunsetmm16may13-2480-editThe colour that I just talked about is present in much of her work.  She doesn’t do just birds, but also does flowers, a lot of nature and landscapes.  I chose not to do the flowers because I felt I had done enough of those the last few weeks, and since Emily’s work is very varied I thought it would be a good chance to focus on other things.  Though you should take a look at her blog, she does beautiful close up work as well.

mewhale22jul13-5769

She describes herself as a nature photographer, and I think when you look at her work you can understand why.

I have put together a gallery of some of my favourite images from her blog.

As I said, Emily has put together some words to describe why she photographs and what inspires her.  Once you have finished, please go and visit Hoof Beats and Foot Prints to see all her amazing work.  I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Emily for allowing me permission to do this.

“As a child, I was always interested in photography. As a teenager, I remember borrowing my father’s Pentax K1000 in the Andes mountains of Bolivia. Having only 36 shots, one had to make each image count. Even back then I gravitated to landscape, nature and travel photography. There is something about adventure and discovering the world through a lens that makes it special.

The sense of exploring and discovering new things was bred into me. I have always been inquisitive and like learning. Each moment in every new place, and new experience should be treasured. Photography provides a venue to being able to capture the moment and share it with others. The world has always been a place of wonderment for me and walking with a camera causes me to slow down and really appreciate the experience.

When reentering the photography world three years ago, my first idea was to try to get into the stock photography market. Little did I know that the market is over saturated and requires a lot of discipline. Not only in creating a portfolio, but also in the creation of a stock image. I quickly found out that stock wasn’t for me. I’m too creative to work well in a rigid craft.

Starting with a photo walk with a professional photographer and photo coach, I learned that it takes time to find out where one’s true passion lies in photography. Vowing to try different types of photography, I spent two years taking a variety of classes that ranged from sports photography to food photography. Portrait photography was never something I was interested in. I quickly learned that there are three aspects to photography. Composition, the camera’s technical aspects, and the post-processing and editing of the images.

In addition to the several photo classes I attended, I also took field trips with a friend to a variety of venues, with most of them gravitating to travel or nature interests. In the second year, I upgraded my camera and continued my effort in improving my craft. There were many things that were “user error” and had nothing to do with the camera itself. Developing an eye for strong composition, knowing how to hold the camera steady for sharp images and learning how to use the camera settings for proper exposure was the focus.

That fall, I had heard about a place called Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River between Delaware and Maryland. In the winter, over 100 American Bald Eagles are known to gather at the dam for several months. Renting a large 400mm telephoto zoom lens, and a tripod, I went on my first visit the dam to capture the eagles. Instantly I was hooked. Seeing the fence lined up with serious photographers with their huge telephoto zoom lens, waiting for the perfect moment to capture a bald eagle in action was inspiring.

Bird and nature photography requires special skills. The first and foremost is being willing to deal with harsh conditions. Whether it’s hot or cold, wet or dry, the wildlife is there. These bald eagle photographers would go to the dam on numerous occasions, beginning at dawn and spending hours standing and waiting for some action to occur. Then observing the behavior of the eagles helped to know when something was worth capturing. I left that first day with a 1000 images. Most of them out of focus, many of them bad. So the challenge was set, I became determined to master the art of bird and nature photography.

The second year of capturing the eagles went much better. I rented a longer 500mm lens, and spent three days standing in the cold waiting for up to eight hours to get that ‘gallery shot.’ Meeting more bald eagle photographers, they shared with me several trade secrets that improved the success rate of my images. The 500mm lens was incredible, and I quickly fell in love with the lens. I was able to add it to my arsenal of photography equipment and this year has been mostly focused on bird photography.

One of the most crucial skills I had to learn was to slow down and wait. And wait, and wait. I remember trying to capture some kinglet birds in a bush at home, and I stood there for about an hour and a half. That’s when I finally understood how those wildlife and bird photographers get their beautiful photos. They spend an enormous amount of time waiting. The next skill was learning how to be quick on the draw. Having a good eye to capture some slight movement and be ready to shoot is essential. Combine these skills with the technical knowledge of how to freeze motion, and it all began to come together.

These days, when I return to landscape and travel photography, I find this style of photography to be quite easy. After trying to capture birds in motion, something that is still is easy to photograph. I’ve learned to take my time and really think through the shot. Both with the composition, as well as the camera settings. It’s better to have two excellent shots, then 20 not so great ones.

To complete the triangle of photography: composition, camera technical aspects, then post processing/editing, this year has been concentrated on learning the software available to post process my images. I shoot exclusively in RAW format, and have a digital image that can be processed in multiple ways. Using Adobe Lightroom allows me to try different styles for the same image without affecting the original file. My next goal for the upcoming year is to delve into the world of Photoshop CS6.

The camera gets me out exploring the world around me far more than I ever would have if I hadn’t gotten back into photography. I’ve learned how to slow down and relax and to really enjoy the moment. Photography opens doors that you never knew existed. Happy shooting!”