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Last week I spent a wonderful day at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, there is something special about looking at flowers through a macro lens. One of the things I love about going is the range of flowers that are there that you can photograph. The day was perfect for taking photos. The sun was shining and there wasn’t too much wind, sadly the weather didn’t stay that way.

Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show

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No one looks at you weirdly as if you are ripping them off because  you are taking photos. It is a comfortable environment to do it, and I think it is almost expected.

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I can take as many as I like. There are so many people there doing exactly the same thing. Everywhere you look there are people with cameras around their necks. Some are there to get shots like me, and others just to record what they are seeing.

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I love doing macro flowers but if you don’t have a great garden then opportunities to take some of these flowers is incredibly hard. I don’t have one, I don’t have the patience to look after one, so events like this are perfect for me.

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It is great getting lots of photos and then coming home putting them on the computer to see what I can do to them. I love the opportunity to play with them. I sometimes feel I don’t do it enough.

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Looking at Flowers through a Macro Lens

I don’t think I did a great job of getting the flowers this year. I thought I would an opportunity to go back so I didn’t spend as much time as I should have. Unfortunately, I didn’t get back. Still there is always next year. I did make contact with a nursery and there might be the possibility of going there to get some more macro photos. We will see.

These images were all taken with the Tamron 90mm macro lens.

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It is almost time for the book to be finished that I’ve been doing on Banyule Flats for the last year and a bit. It was meant to have been completed last December, but I was given an extension to the end of April.

As the book is about the seasons I didn’t have many photos for the season of High Summer, which is why I was granted the extension.  This last week, while not technically high summer anymore, it is close to it and with the very warm weather we’ve been having, I thought it would do, I took my last photos for the book. So now all the photos are done. It is a relief to get to this stage.

I started photographing this area two years ago. I had no thoughts of grants or books at the time, but I was worried about the talk of a freeway going through the area. I thought if I get others engaged in the beauty of the area that I could help save it. When I started the swamp or wetland part of it was dry and now here we are two years later and it is dry again.

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Where this image was taken would normally be underwater and the only time you can take photos of the dead trees like this is when it is dry.  I knew that I wanted to get some long exposures of the trees and I’m really happy with this one and some others I got.

Now one of the things that made this area very special that morning was the sunrise. I knew a thunderstorm was predicted for the morning, so I started going outside at 5.30am to check the clouds. If there were too many clouds, there would be no sunrise, but as luck would have it I could see stars. Still, I waited at home and then just after 6.30 I could see colour appearing in the sky, so I quickly grabbed what I needed and headed down then. It is less than a five minute drive. What I got was so spectacular.

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It truly was the best sunrise I’ve taken down there. I never really got a good sunset, but I was very fortunate to get many wonderful dawns. This, the best. The colours were so rich and really goes towards being like the Aboriginal Flag.

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While I’m using the Wurundjeri seasons for the book, I don’t want to take their culture and use it for my own purposes. There has to be a line. I was thinking of using the flag on the cover, but with the above photo, or one very similar to it, I can have the colours, without the obvious flag. I would like the flag in the book somewhere though.

The aboriginal flag has great meaning, and I hope I’m correct when I say the black represents the Aboriginal people, the yellow is the sun and the red is the earth. It is very recognisable here in Australia.

I have the photo for the cover, but I’m keeping it under wraps under the book is published.  It is a great shot, well I think it is.

You won’t have to wait too much longer for the book, it is almost there.

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The other day I went out with a friend and we had a whole day planned of what we were going to do. Then once we got there we found that the waterfall we had planned on photographing had almost no water. We have had a very dry summer and with little water the waterfalls are drying up.

We had to come up with another plan quickly. It was overcast, very much so, and not far from the waterfall was the Lorne Pier. We had our filters with us, so it seemed the logical place to go, head there for some long exposures.

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It was a good spot for about 15 minutes and then the clouds parts and the sun came out. Just our luck. I tried to do more, but it wasn’t long before I knew I wouldn’t get anything else.

We headed back inland, but you will have to wait for the photos from there.

After a massive walk we went for lunch at one of our favourite places in Lorne, The Bottle of Milk. They do great burgers and the most amazing chips (fries), I know Martha would love them.  We decided to try Dog Rocks. We had been there once before, but it was on a clear hot day, so not good for photography. It was getting to the end of the day and on the way home.

When we got there the sun was going down and then the most amazing sun rays appeared.

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This is quite a famous tree around Geelong and you can pretty much bet every photographer around there has photographed it. It is hard to take an image that everyone else hasn’t, but when I saw those rays, I knew I could get something that would be more unique. I tried to do it so the rays appeared to be coming out of the tree.

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This was actually taken before the other one. The rays weren’t as prominent, but still there. I processed this image a little differently. I also took out much of the colour.  I like that look more.

For a day that didn’t seem to go to plan, I was really happy with what I got. It was lots of surprises and some gems.

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One of the things that I have really been enjoying has been looking at photos that were done a while ago. Being fairly new to Instagram, or should I say being more serious about it has meant that I am always looking for images, and going through old ones has been great. I get to revisit and show them again.

This last week I’ve been looking at some of my long exposures.

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The Pinnacles on Phillip Island

This image I took over a year ago, but have only just got around to processing this one. I did it in monochrome as I thought it would work better. I think it was a good choice.

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Pier at Davey’s Bay down near Frankston

This is one that I did and I’ve just re shown it. I was okay with the way I processed it the first time.

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Pier at Davey’s Bay down near Frankston

This is one I showed previously, but I reworked it. I wanted to do more to the sky.

Thanks to Instagram I am getting to see lots of photos again.  If you want to follow my Instagram account, click here.

Dockands at Sunset

In the last week I’ve spent several hours at Docklands here in Melbourne, on separate days teaching people how to do long exposure photography. It has been quite interesting showing people how to do it and use the filters. It is not something that I ever considered that people would want from me, or want me to teach them.

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A long exposure of docklands taken in the middle of the day.

Long exposure photography is very popular and it seems that lots of people want to learn how to do it. There is something very surreal about the images that you get. It is a lovely type of photography and one that I am totally in love with. It can completely transform the scene in front of you and for the work that I find myself wanting to do, it is perfect.

I am now in the position where I have enough gear that I can teach people how to do long exposures.  I have two brackets and quite a few filters. The next question is do people want to pay me to learn.

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A long exposure taken at sunset.

There are so many places around Melbourne to do long exposures and I think teaching people how would be great.

I have some thoughts on time, maybe a two hour class for $250.  The other option is a three hour class for $350.

You would need a camera that you can use on manual with a bulb setting, a tripod, and remote shutter release. I have everything else you would need to experiment and try out taking photos.

I guess the next question is how do I find the people who want to learn how to do it. I will have to start using my Instagram account, see if that actually works.

I’ve also noticed that there is another one of those, supposedly great deals on at the moment, pay $87 for $1900 worth of stuff. All to do with business marketing for the photographer. Could be worth it. I am contemplating getting it. If you are interested here is the link, 5DayDeal.

If you are in Melbourne and do want to learn long exposure photography from me then send me an email.

As I usually do with long exposures images I started by making the image of the Eureka Tower monochrome, then I wondered what it would be like with a touch of colour. The gold windows at the top of the tower make it such a distinctive building and every time you see them you know which building you are looking at.

As I said, it was a long exposure. Taken with the Formatt Hitech Firecrest 16 Nd Filter. It was a six minute exposure that I did last weekend.

1st State

Here is the monochrome version.

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I don’t think there is necessarily anything wrong with this image, but it does tend to look like a lot of other images done the same way.

2nd State

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In the end I decided that while I didn’t mind the majority of the image being monochrome, I did want the top bit to show the gold and the little strip of red. I like the touch of colour and think it makes the image more interesting.

Being Featured

On another note, but along the same lines, I wanted to let you know that I am now a featured artist on the Formatt Hitech website. It has been such an honour to be featured and I feel in very good company when I see the work of others there. You can check out my page here, Leanne Cole.

I do love their filters and I never have a problem promoting them. I keep hearing from others how much they love them too. I find I am using them more and more as well, and now I’m starting to get asked to teach people as well, that’s nice.

Long exposure photography seems to be becoming something I am doing a lot. I know it is important for my art work and you will be seeing a lot more of it in the future.

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It is Monochrome Madness over on my other blog and I thought I would do another image where I process it in monochrome and then switch it back to colour.  Here is the black and white version, or monochrome really.

I was in the city the other day and we were trying to get the sunrise from Princes Bridge in Melbourne. It was a strange one, so after a while we decided to head over to the other side of the bridge and watch the city waking up along the river. As we were there taking photos a couple of balloons came along, then there were three, and then we realized another two were coming, so five all up. It certainly added to the scene.

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It was dawn, but facing the other way. Even thought there wasn’t much of a sunrise that morning, there was some colour in the sky, a pinkish sort of colour. I thought the whole image might be nice with a pink tone, give it the look of early morning. It couldn’t be too strong, but I don’t mind how it came out.

Then I wondered what would happen if I put the colour back into the image, my reverse processing. I haven’t done it for a while.

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I haven’t taken out any of the colour in this, but I did have to tone down the pink tone a bit more. I like the look of it. It is different from the monochrome one, which is nice.  There is something very graphic about it, I can’t explain it, and I don’t know if it is the buildings or what, but there is.

I don’t know which one I prefer. I like them both for different reasons.

If you want to see more great monochrome images head over to my other blog and the post, MM 2-45: Monochrome Madness.  There are some wonderful images there.

It has been a very crazy week and most of it has been taken up with trying to get this magazine out and get people to buy it, support it.

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The main problem has been the products page and it not displaying the images correctly. I am sure many have gone to the page and been confused about what to do. I’ve put a note to help, but I know that many people, me included, don’t always read instructions.

We have decided that the best way to do this is to try using a different ecommerce plugin. There is now a shop page at the top, you can click here for it.

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It seems to work okay, except you have to give it a lot of information. I don’t have access to this information, but I will try and find out how to stop it.  Though I suspect you only have to do it once. I’m not sure, we are still trying to work it out. It would be great if people could try it out and see how they go.

This is still all new and I’m so glad that many of you have supported us and continued to buy the magazine.

So now taking some advice from Melissa and her article on Marketing in the latest issue:

BUY  YOUR COPY NOW

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Sometimes you really are in the right place at the right time. It doesn’t happen to me very often, but last night, well, I was so happy to see the light that was shining onto and reflecting onto Flinders Street Station. It was soft, almost diffused light.

We had been down to Docklands to take photos, but the late afternoon sun was hot and too bright. We decided after awhile that we should head down to Federation Square and maybe do some sunset and early evening shots down there.

We jumped on a tram down Flinders Street from Spencer Street. I love it that trams are now free in the CBD. Still, it was incredibly busy and not a lot of them. We were jammed on one with lots of other people.

When we got off at Flinders Street Station I could see the late afternoon sun coming from the direction we had just come from. It was shining on the side of the station, but the front, which should have been in shade, also had light on it. It was being reflected off something else and gave the front a beautiful soft diffused light. It was stunning.

There were no trams coming so I could stand on the tracks and take photos before the lights changed. I was also very happy that I had my 14-24mm lens on.

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Once the image was opened in Adobe Photoshop CC I had to do a bit of work to get rid of the distortions that the lens creates, but I think this works. The front part was full of people, so I tried to darken that area, so while they are still there, they don’t stand out. I also did a little more work to make the front of the station station stand out more, but not a lot.

For me this was incredible. I had never seen the light on the station like this before. I love the effect of it.

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In Melbourne there are many bridges that allow you to cross the river. Some are for cars, and many for pedestrians and bicycles. One bridge that is one of my favourites to photograph is the Seafarers Bridge where it goes over the Yarra.

One Viewseafarers-bridge-yarra-river-melbourneThe things that go over are like ribs of a ship or a sail. It is like our mini opera house. There are so many angles to experiment with. This image is also a long exposure. I’ve really only done long exposures here once, but it is definitely a place I want to do more.

Another View

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This is from the other side. I’ve began to realize that I need to explore the angles a lot more.

One of the downsides with this bridge is how popular it is and there are always people on it, or so it seems at times. This is where the advantage of doing a long exposure comes in. If you can get a long enough time then you can get photos so that the people don’t show up. It is something that really interests me with long exposures.

I’ve been using the Formatt Hitech Filters, and the one I especially love is the Firecrest 16. I’ve now got several of their filters, and the full ND filters are the ones I like the most. I have the 6 , the 10 and the 16 stop, I just need to get the 13 and I will have the full set. I really like their filters.

The next thing to get is the filter holder and maybe the 10 stop to start with for my Nikon 14-24mm. I would love to be able to do some long exposure photography with that lens. That is next on the list.

I just keep wanting to go into the city and take photos these days. I find it so satisfying. The more I do it the more I can understand what sort of scenes I want to shoot. I have a purpose in mind and I can see that it is becoming a reality, if that is the right way of putting it.