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Last week I was given an opportunity to spend a night down at St Leonards. I’m teaching a woman there and she kindly offered to let me stay overnight with her.

St Leonards is a great place to visit in the Bellarine Peninsula and close to may other places. I haven’t been there much, but I hope to change that in the near future.

In the morning we got up early and headed down to the pier to see if there was a sunrise. We were greeted with some lovely colours.

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While it wasn’t overly cloudy we did get some gorgeous colours. I’m learning enough in Adobe Photoshop these days that I can enhance what I get.

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I was reading somewhere recently that sunrises and sunsets are lovely, but you need to have something else in them to make them interesting. Piers at beaches can be so perfect for providing that interest.

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Turning away from the sunset can also provide some intriguing images. Just the mood that is set by the sunrise can give great photos. The light is darker, but you can get some very moody images.  I love that light and so do many photographers.

The sunset or sunrise is not the be all and end all, just think about how many other photographers are out there photographing it as well.

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This was a little shop on the pier. It is at the start of it, and you can see it is called the Sirens Boathouse Kiosk. I don’t know that it is still open, but it made a great subject for the image. I like how the colours of dawn are reflected on the building as well.

I much prefer sunrise to sunset, though both can be beautiful, but there is something very peaceful about the early hours of the morning.

When you go out to those lovely ends of the day remember to look around and see what else you can photograph.

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A couple of weeks ago I was invited by a group to go into the city and do some night photography in the lanes. A couple of the guys brought along some steel wool to burn and then spin around. I have seen so many photos of it in the past, only tried it once, so I was quite excited to try it again. It wasn’t as easy as I thought, but lots of fun.

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We went to Hosier Lane and did some with the graffiti as a backdrop. It worked out really well.

I put this image on Instagram and it did so well. Can’t believe how many likes it got, my most successful image ever really.

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They were making use of the doorways and spinning in those. It was quite amazing. I didn’t frame mine very well for this one, but it is all a learning experience.

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We went down to another lane which wasn’t so well lit up. The lights in adjacent buildings can create too much light in the lanes. This one was quite dark. They did an orb sort of thing in it. Quite weird, sparks went flying and you had to be careful. I had to walk away from my camera because I was getting sprayed.

I used my 14-24mm for these, but I think if I were doing it again I wouldn’t go so wide. I had to get so close to be able to get anything. It wasn’t always a problem, but it meant I could get in the way of others there. I think next time I would use the 24-70mm, or something similar.

It was a lot of fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I would do it again, but only for fun. I can’t see myself trying to get a body of work doing this. I know there are people out there that doing it all the time, and that’s great, but I love doing other stuff more. I do hope I will get to do it again one day, you never know.

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It is interesting how you can process one image in two different ways and give it two completely different looks.

I took the following image of Point Lonsdale Pier at sunrise last year. It wasn’t an especially inspiring one, but it was very early. There really were too many clouds for it to be a good one.

Initially, I thought I would try the image in monochrome and see what I could get.

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The water is very light, and seems like there is light on it when it was very dark.

Then I wondered what it would be like if I made it colour again.

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It seems almost like this one is a different image and taken later in the morning, but I assure you they are the same image.

In the end I couldn’t decide which one I liked more. I asked my husband which one I should put on Instagram and he said the colour one. I did and people have seemed to like it. I don’t know, which would you choose?

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Last week I was doing some long exposures in the city and when I went to process one of them I converted it to black and white first. This is what I ended up with.

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I decided to use this image for Monochrome Madness over on my other blog today. I like how it came out in monochrome.

As I usually do I converted it back to colour to see how it would look.

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I lost some of the detail in the sky, but the blues in it are quite nice. It is going to be personal choice I think as to which one is better. I don’t think I have a preference.

 

When I went to the US last year I was loaned some gear from Nikon Australia and part of the deal was that I would allow them to interview me when I returned. The interview was published this month and if you have an iPad or iPhone you can access it via iTunes, but if you are one of the many 80% of people who don’t have those and instead have android, I thought I would give you a link to the interview of me.

You can click on my name here LeanneCole or the image below to get access to the interview.

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It is interesting reading it now, as the interview was done very soon after my return. It is almost like a nice reminder of it and how I felt when I got back.

Though I have to say that it isn’t edited very well and I had nothing to do with that. The interview was done on the phone. There are links to things in it and unforunately you can’t click on those.

I only have android so I haven’t been able to see the magazine it was in, or click on the links, which is a shame.  Anyway I hope you enjoy it.

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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.