Tag: gardens


A few weeks back I told you that one of the main reasons why we were going back to Tasmania was to use our Ticket of Leave cards at the Port Arthur Historic Site. So when we planned our trip we decided that this time we would spend a couple of days down there, and on one, go to the site. We left it for the end of the trip and headed there on a day of variable weather.
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Last weekend I showed you some photos of the grounds at Alowyn Gardens and I said I would show you some of the flowers. I forgot until Julie mentioned it, so thought I should do some. I haven’t done many, if I’m honest a lot of the flowers were past it, and you could tell winter was starting to set in. I do love winter, but it isn’t a good time for flower macro photography.
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This afternoon a friend picked me up so we could go to Alowyn Gardens in Yarra Glen for some macro photography. I am still trying out the Samyang 100mm lens and thought it would be a great opportunity to use it.

There were a lot of flowers out, so it ended up being a quick trip, but that didn’t matter. I still got some lovely shots, have coffee and a catch up with Suzzanna.
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This last week has seen me out and about a bit, and this morning was no different. I went to Alowyn Gardens in Yarra Glen, really for my weekend wanderings. It is a display garden and nursery, plus a great place for photography.

I love going there for macro photography and every time I go, there is something different flowering. It is fantastic, the garden I wish I had.

It is open every day from 10am to 5pm. There is an entry fee of $10 to go into the gardens.

There is also a cafe where you can get a coffee and cake after you have looked around, or before.

Don’t forget to check out the nursery to see what you might bring home for your own garden.

It is a very popular place for weddings and on weekends they are often getting ready for them.

Flowers through the Lens

Macro photography Class

I will be running a macro photography class on 4th of December at Alowyn Gardens. It will be starting at 10am and will go until 2pm and includes lunch. Here are more details.

Where: Alowyn Gardens, 1210 Melba Highway, Yarra Glen

Time: 10am to 2pm

Cost: $150, includes lunch

To Book: Call Alowyn Gardens (03) 9730 2400

The class will demonstrate many of Lensbaby lenses and optics. It will also look at other ways of doing macro photography and you will be given an opportunity to get out into the gardens to take your own photos.


I have some photos from the gardens this morning. I was experimenting with the Lensbaby Velvet 56. I have been taking macro shots with it for a while now, and today I wanted to try some other things. It was nice to do some things where the focus wasn’t totally on the flowers. I’m sure you will love seeing the gardens and what is there.


The weeks are flying by and before we know it Christmas will be here. I have a lot going on and a lot I want to do. I am trying hard to be productive, but I can get distracted quite easily at times, especially when it comes to going out and taking photos. Let’s take a look at my news.

Dynamic Range Magazine

As I’ve stated previously, if things don’t get better with it, meaning sales, then I am going to shut up shop with it. The people who have supported it have been amazing and I truly thank you for that. However, we do sell very few copies cover-finaland the money made certainly doesn’t cover my time, let alone anyone else’s who works on it. We are not giving up just yet, but the writing is on the wall.

To try and improve things for the next issue, which will be out in a couple of weeks, we are taking away the Photography by Women. I don’t know if that makes a difference, but there is this idea that if it is meant for women then it must be pink and frilly. If you knew me you would know that is not me at all. I never wear pink and am far more comfortable in black.

Another thing that I’ve noticed is how many people are surprised when they get it. Surprised at how good it looks and how professional the articles are. So it seems the pink and frilly thing continues, and people are expecting that and finding that it is really nice inside. So to combat this, we have decided to give away a previous Issue so you can see how good it looks. We have decided on Issue 3 to give away.

Here is the link that will let you download it for free,

Issue 3, Dynamic Range Magazine

That should work. We were really finding our feet with this issue and if you were to ask me, was probably the first one that we got right.

The Six Seasons of My Backyard

six-seasons-coverSales for the book have been interesting. I’ve sold almost none overseas, albeit a few, and sold a few here. I suppose I knew that people would be more interested in the book here, but I had thought I would sell more overseas. I guess you just never know.

I’m now getting ready for the book launch. It is going to be on the 24th of November, if you are in Melbourne and interested in going let me know and I can give you the details.

This Blog and Website

I have been talking about changes on this blog for a while and I think it is time I got more serious about it. I want to start being more professional with how I run it. I am figuring out that my writing is okay, certainly better than what it was, and that is where I should concentrate my efforts.

I’ve spoken about doing reviews here, but I also want to start doing some editing posts as well. I’m not keen to show people what I do, I think if I was earning a lot of money from it, yeah, I would be happy to. I just know that if I start sharing what I do then someone who is better at marketing than me will make a lot more money from it, and I don’t think that is fair.

However, what I am prepared to do is share my knowledge of Photoshop and Lightroom, and maybe introduce you to other software editing platforms. I have been given a couple to play with, and I know at least one of them seems quite good and not very expensive, but more on that later.

That is about all for now, but start expecting some changes soon, maybe even next week. I would also be interested in hearing what you thought and if there are posts and such that you would like to see me do.


Today I thought I would show you more photos from my day at Rippon Lea in 2013. This time I have all the photos from the garden there. They are magnificent and if you go on a lovely day the photos can look stunning. I must go back with my Lensbaby gear.

A couple of weeks ago I showed you some photos of the Isle of Dead at Port Arthur. I have been meaning to show you more images from my day there, but I took so many it has been hard to choose which ones to show. I have done a selection and will show them in few lots here, and in separate galleries.


Port Arthur was a convict penitentiary in Tasmania. Most of the convicts that were sent there were re-offenders, meaning that once that got here they committed another crime. It opened in 1830, taking over from other places around Tasmania and ceased operating in 1877. Australia did start as a penal colony and it is great to see places like this that remind us of part of our history.

The Penitentiary

There is no doubt that the big penitentiary building is the most impressive and most recognisable building there. When you go it is basically the first building you see. It sits near the water and even in its ruined state is an impressive building.  I photographed a little plaque that has the history of the building and you can read that.

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The Separate Prison and Asylum

At Port Arthur you will find a building called the separate prison. This building was made up of solitary confinement cells. It was thought that the best way to treat prisoners was not by flogging and hard labour, but to look them away in cells where they had no communication with anyone else. They were not allowed to talk unless a guard asked them a question. The whole place was a quiet zone, and even the guards used sign language between them.

We now know that putting people into solitary confinement sends them mad, but back then the connection wasn’t made. We have learned a lot from places like this, however, at the time they didn’t know so a separate asylum was built for those that went mad, (the last two images in the gallery).

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Surrounding Port Arthur

The gardens are really beautiful around the site. With it being winter there were a lot of trees that had lost their leaves. Still it was very green and perhaps the sunniest day we had while there.  As we stayed for the ghost tour we were there also for the sunset. I have shown you some other photos of it, but here a few more as well.

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Port Arthur Massacre

As much as we like to think of this place as a place for convicts, sadly it is also the place for Australia’s worse gun shooting and massacre. In 1996 Martin Bryant went a shooting rampage and killed 35 people and wounded 23 others. There is a separate memorial there for it. The cafe where he started has been stripped and only the shell of it remains today.


One positive outcome from this was a rethink on our gun laws. An amnesty was set up where people could turn in guns, get paid for them, with no repercussions and they did. Thousands and thousands of guns were turned in at police stations and other sites. We now have very strict gun laws, and to tell the truth most of us are very happy about that. We certainly feel a lot safer. I’ve never seen a gun except those that police carry and even they are starting to look for alternatives.

Before Port Arthur we had, on average, one mass shooting a year, since, we haven’t had one.

Government Cottage and Church Ruins

By the time we had finished the tours we went on we realised that we didn’t have enough time to see all that was there. If you are going to do the tours then you should plan to be there for two days. So after a cup of tea we decided to see what we could before the sun went down and the start of our ghost tour.

We went to the ruins of Government Cottage and the convict Church. Both destroyed in bushfires in the 1890’s so that all that remained where the walls. We don’t see a lot of building in Australia like this, and the Church was incredible.

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Port Arthur

Without a doubt an incredible place and one I can’t wait to go back and finish exploring. Next time, no tours, just spend the day taking photos. See as much as I can. If you are planning a trip there, I suggest doing it over two days, and maybe spread the tours over the two. I didn’t take photos on the ghost tour, I put the camera away and decided to just join in the fun and experience. It was very dark when we did it, so the photos wouldn’t have been great anyway.

If you would like more information at Port Arthur I suggest you visit their website.

Port Arthur Historical Site.

Last weekend I showed you some images that were taken when I went to the Piggery Café a couple of weeks ago, however on the same day we went for a walk through the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens which are right next door. They are the gardens that were part of the Burnham Beeches Mansion which is in the same grounds. They are very extensive and while I went into them, we didn’t spend a lot of time there, I would like to go back and explore it more one day.


There are flowers everywhere. I used the Nikon 28-300mm to take these images, but if I went again I would be sure to pack my macro lens.

alfrednicholas-gardens-flowers-lake-dandenongs-4176There are ponds up near the top.

The gardens are on the side of a hill and as you wander you go further and further down.


At the bottom you will find a small lake with some great wooden arch bridges and a funny boathouse. It was autumn when we went and the trees were beginning to change. They made the lake very beautiful.

They are beautiful gardens and I have a friend that I know will especially want to go there and wander around with me. She loves photographing flowers and we often visit gardens together.

Here are some more images for you. I hope you enjoy them. Winter seems to have finally arrived in my part of the world and it has been cold and wet. Hopefully when I travel to Tasmania next week the weather won’t be wet.

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Last year, I went to a photography event, you know, one of the big shows at the Exhibition Centre here in Melbourne, with a friend, and Canon were selling the Canon IXUS 510 compact cameras for $100.  It was really too cheap to pass up.  We were told that they were worth over $300 and we were given a three year warranty with it.  It isn’t a bad camera, and I have had lots of fun with it, but one thing I have enjoyed using it for is the macro setting on it.


You can get so close.  I can’t get that close with my DSLR, well not until I get a macro lens for it, so until then the phone and this camera will have to do me. I couldn’t stop taking photos with it.  It is such a small camera and so light, so it was so easy.  I would have taken photos for a long time, but then the battery died on me, so that put a stop to it.


Another thing I had fun with was the fisheye setting.  It was hysterical seeing what I could do with it and how distorted I could make things.  I will have to play with this setting a lot more I think.


Sometimes it is good to just take photos when it is easy.  I love my DSLR, but sometimes, taking photos has to be other things as well.  I like taking photos with all sorts of cameras. I still think, no matter what camera you use there are challenges involved. Compact cameras and cameras in phones are all about composition, and phone cameras can be hard to use because you have to have a steady hand, well I find they can be awkward.

I have a gallery of photos for you now.  Remember if you would would like to join us sometime for Social Snappers the excursions for Term 4 are now up, I have Sundays and Thursdays available.