Fearless Friday – Smartphone Photography Apps

Just for something a little different, in celebration of my new smart phone (it’s so nice to have a non cracked screen and buttons that all work again), I have been playing with my lovely 20.7 mega pixel camera, one of the features that drew me to this phone. Then I decided I need some updated photo apps……you know, the more grown up type ones, not just filters and adding silly hats or making people old, fat, babies etc. Actually add ons that I can use with my photography. It was Sue Judd and her Sketches of Sicily which got me started on this road, I so loved her images, they inspired me to take another look at my quickie snaps, I have a better idea with photography now, lighting, composition, framing etc. I know it’s the artist and not the camera (well in some circumstances), people take amazing shots with their smartphone cameras, so I thought I will too.

It’s funny for so long all I did was take happy snaps on my smart phone (cracked screen and all), but then I got a DSLR to get better pictures and more depth. Now my new phone’s camera is so awesome and I am going back to taking more pics on my phone……well for a little while. It is so much easier than lugging around all the camera gear! However do not fear I still love my Nikon and it will not be forgotten! But now I can use both.

OK so I’m on an Android Device, so I got a few to try out;  SketchGuru, PhotoArt, Color Touch and Background Defocus, as well as a great Editor I have been using to make collages for Instagram etc. . All are freebies from Playstore (so yes that means ads).

sketchSo Sketch guru was fairly easy to work out, I need to take more pics of architecture and stuff, but so far it’s pretty cool, although it does tend to crop some of the image (but that might be me?).


Then there is Background Defocus, which allows you to take defocused background within pictures, essentially it is just a Orton’s Effect type of thing (takes one in focus and then one out of focus and blends them together, you get to pick ‘where’ your focal point is when you take the photo). Don’t get me wrong its still pretty effective. The chair in the background is blurred, and the cup is not………simple but effective. Have to play around with this one a bit more. You can also adjust how much is blurred and how blurry it is.

The other two are a little limited after Lightroom and Photoshop (Color Touch and PhotoArt), however in a pinch they can do some fairly neat stuff.

The last one is for creating photo collages………so if you are one for putting multiple images etc on a Instagram Post? This is a great App,  I had this on my old phone, I still really like it and I still use it.editorwpid-2015-05-19_14.48.23.jpg
You can add text and stickers and arrange the images in so many ways, you can add more than 3 photos, however they do end up square for Instagram. Well that’s about it.

I will post some more pics with the Sketch App in the future, of that I am pretty sure. So until next time…………..

Happy Snapping

– Julz

Cee’s Black and White Challenge – New Photo

This week Cee wanted us to take a new photo for her Black & White Photo Challenge…….I can work with that, so Macro Lens in hand I went exploring the house (inside and out) to find some NEW to photograph.

New-This crazy metal cow sits on my kitchen bench, I have always loved her, since the first moment I laid eyes on her. Doesn’t she look great in B&W Macro?


I am not sure if this next one is just an Aussie thing or not………….Minties, also found on my kitchen bench (Moth’s favorite) they are a mint lollie, or candy.

Until next time………..happy snapping

– Julz

Free Style Writing Challenge: What would you rather be, a vampire or a werewolf? And Why?

A gauntlet has been thrown and I accept Photo Ni Ompong. The challenge is  “The Freestyle Writing” where we write on a given topic for 5 or 10 minutes.

The Freestyle Writing Challenge

1. Open a blank Document
2. Set a stop watch or your mobile phone timer to 5 or 10 minutes, whichever challenge you prefer.
3. Your topic is at the foot of this post BUT DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH YOUR TIMER!!!
4. Once you start writing do not stop until the alarm sounds!
5. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spelling and grammar using spell check (it is only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write with correct spelling and grammar.)
6. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation or capitals.
7. At the end of your post write down ‘No. of words = ____” to give an idea of how much you can write within the time frame.
8. Do not forget to copy paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new topic for your nominees and copy paste these rules with your nomination (at least five (5) bloggers)


The topic I was given … What would you rather be, a vampire or a werewolf? And Why?

I would rather be a vampire than a were wolf, I loathe shaving, I mean really all that hair…….i mean if they were really cute like a pomeranian puppy or siberain husky maybe, but not a were wolf. Plus apparently they can never remeber anything the next day, I mean who wants that? Vampires on the other hand are cool, sexy and don’t age. that could be a good thing, I’m not sure about the whole drinking blood bit, maybe I could just stick the medium raw steaks? I think I could probably cope with being a vampire better than a were wolf. For starters Vampire are more often than not super, uber gorgeous (well apart from Stephen kings version in salem lot!), look at twilight? I mean apart from the movie sucking and edward being a sparkling fairy, the whole bella things was kinda cool, annd then there is the super powers…………do they or don’t they have them? I guess having no reflection would suck, if you are suddenly drop dead gorgeous but can’t see yourself, that would be some new kind of hell wouldn’t it?  The whole wooden stake through the heart would be a bit of an issue, not to mention garlic………I love garlic I put in it nearly every dish I cook………

That’s me I ran out of time hehehehehe. I almost forgot 216 words in 5 minutes

I pass onto to;

Moxieluster always something interesting and amusing

Our rumbling Ocean always amazing images

a Momma’s view always a great read

Left with louie.…..interesting aspects and photos

Marilyn Armstrong Serendipity……..a life less ordinary

You topic is………………..

Where do you find your Zen?

Cheers – Julz

Victorian Lighthouses and Shipwrecks – Point Lonsdale

So a few weeks ago, Moth & I did our trip down the coast of the Bellarine Peninsula, one of the prettier and most interesting spots, as far as i was concerned was Point Lonsdale. There is so much to really like about this sleepy little town.

Point Lonsdale History

Point Lonsdale-0716Like most of the Geelong region, Point Lonsdale was originally inhabited by the Wathaurong people who hunted and fished in the area. The first recorded European visit dates back to 1802 when Lieutenant Murray and his party spent some time in the area, followed by Matthew Flinders later that same year. Escaped convict William Buckley lived in this area with the local natives during his 32 years on the run. He lived for some time in a cave beneath where the Lighthouse now stands.

The town was named after a police officer; William Lonsdale; he was the first Police Magistrate for Port Phillip area. He came to Australia, from England in 1831 and joined the army making his way to Captain 1834. Lonsdale married the eldest daughter of Benjamin Smythe, Martha. Today you can see Mount Martha in the distance on the Mornington Peninsula.

There was a small settlement after the 1830’s, but it didn’t really happen until 1876, when the land was sold and then sub divided. Inhabited mainly by squatters before this time. The first signal station was erected in 1852 and the light house built 1863. Fishing and shell processing became employment opportunities for many. Point Lonsdale was made more accessible in 1879, when the Geelong to Queenscliff railway opened, many guest houses started to flourish with people travelling from Melbourne to stay at Point Lonsdale.

The waters around Point Lonsdale have taken several vessels including the schooners Sophia and Thetis which were wrecked on the submerged reef off the shore. In 1948 the Princess Royal suffered the same fate. During the 1850’s quite a few ships were destroyed entering the dangerous heads including the Conside, Portland, Isabella and Sacramento. This tragic period cemented the need for a signal station which was commissioned in 1852. The Local Surf Life Saving Club began in 1946 and has saved over 1600 people. The area is considered extremely dangerous and should not be swam at if not patrolled.

Point Lonsdale Lighthouse History 

Point Lonsdale-0650

Built in March, 1902, the Point Lonsdale Signal Station or Point Lonsdale Lighthouse as it is colonially known overlooks the mighty Rip at Port Phillip Heads. The lighthouse is an important warning system for the nautical traffic entering this treacherous and narrow channel of water. The current lighthouse replaced several other navigational aids including a flagstaff which began operation in 1852 and a wooden lighthouse structure that was relocated to the site in 1863 from Queenscliff Shortland Bluff. The 1863 wooden structure was cut up and burnt, once the current building was in operation.

Point Lonsdale-2-11The lamp of the lighthouse was first lit by an oil lamp, this was later replaced by an acetylene lamp. Today, the lighthouse uses an electric light and has been fully automated since 1999. A white horizontal beam flashes every 15 seconds and can be seen around 22 kilometres out to sea, there is also a red beam and it can be seen around 19 kilometres into Bass Straight.

The white tower itself is 21.3 metres high and built of concrete, and is of similar design to many other lighthouses in Australia built around the time. The lower floors of the lighthouse were built in 1951 and take on an octagonal footprint, these floors were built to house the signal station and observation room. There is also a cantilevered platform up the tower which holds special red and green navigation lights.

The lighthouse and the structures around it have been put on the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR) along with the buildings around its base which mainly consist of military structures built during World War I and World War II. One very significant building is the fog horn shed that is located close to the lighthouse, this shed houses boilers which produce steam for the lighthouse’s fog horn that is still used during heavy fog.

Today the lighthouse still plays an integral role in shipping movements in and out of Port Phillip Heads and is staffed 24 hours a day to control commercial shipping through the heads. This makes Point Lonsdale a quite unique facility in Australia, now that nearly all other lighthouses are unmanned.

– http://www.intown.com.au/locals/point-lonsdale/point-lonsdale-lighthouse.htm

– Julz

Share Your World – Week 21

041514-sywbannerCee Neuner has some great challenges and I thought I might try my hand at another one. She came up with a new way of doing Share Your World for this Week.  Begin making four lists and have at least four items on each list.  

  • Favorite Songs;
    • I have some many different songs, but I guess if I had to choose;
      • Fragile by Sting,
      • Yesterday by Paul McCartney,
      • Hotel California by The Eagles,
      • The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel
      • Oh but then there is Pink, AC/DC and…………….oooooooooooh so many more 🙂
  • Favorite flowers or plants
    • I love Australian Native Plants, especially the grasses, there is something about them rustling in the wind, it’s so soothing.
    • I also loves Gerberas, so bright and colorful they always make me smile. Such a sweet simple plant
    • Palm Trees, nothing says tropical like a palm tree……..I just love thee look of them too
    • Ferns, in Australia we have some amazing ferns, tropical and rain forest, so soft, so verdant
  • Favorite types of animals
    • Dogs
    • Cats
    • Turtles
    • Horses
  • Stuff that makes you laugh
    • Usually my animals
    • My Children
    • Other people’s post
    • I hate to admit it, but when people trip, fall or hurt themselves, my instant reaction is to laugh, then check they are OK, then usually laugh some more
  • Favorite actors/actresses
    • Brendan Fraser
    • Keanu Reeve
    • Sandra Bullock
    • Rachel Weis
  • Best desserts
    • Chocolate
    • Chocolate
    • Chocolate
    • Chocolate ice-cream 🙂
  • Games to play with friends
    • Scrabble
    • Monopoly
    • Wii – Ravin Rabbids Dance Party
    • Cards (21, Go Fish)
  • Fun things for a rainy day
    • Read
    • Watch movies
    • Edit Photos 🙂
    • Snuggle with my dog and watch the rain on the window.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

  • Last week I was grateful for the push to get up the nerve to reach out and try something new, scary and exciting. If it was not for the encouragement and push of some friends I would never have done it.
  • My Son in Law had an Operation and spent a week recuperating with us……He is Fine BTW.
  • Also for my new ICE ND1000 filter, which I got to finally start playing with the other day.


Next week I am looking forward to being able to hopefully spend some time with some friends for a catch up, take some more photos, visit some nice gardens and possibly meet some new friends.

Til next time…………happy snapping

– Julz

OWPC – Cold

owpc-logo-21This week’s OWPC is Cold. Jennifer Nichole Wells asks us to show images of what we feel depicts a certain kind of weather, or what we do in that weather, or what that word means to us. Colors were relatively easy in the last set of challenges, just find the color and shoot (ok so finding the right color was often the challenge). Weather is proofing a little more difficult.

12 Months ago, I tended to hibernate, just like a grumpy old bear. I did not leave the house unless I had to. Now, armed with my camera, new inspiration for life and photos. I figured after my trip to New Zealand earlier in the year, that cold does not necessarily kill you, in fact in some cases it can be exhilarating, I still do not particularly like snow, but on mountains it is very pretty. If sufficiently rugged up, early morning, evenings, stormy weather and extreme cold can be endured and often worth it.

And if it all gets too bad I can always shoot in the studio with a heater and a nice cup of coffee.

– Julz

Autumn Outings – Delving into the World of Macro

reverse-lens-macro-close-up-photography-03Autumn is drawing to a close in the Southern hemisphere, I need to make the most of what is left of the sunshine, only problem it appears the sun has forgotten us in Melbourne, barely any sun, just clouds and wind and rain. So just for fun (certainly not for profit) I have been turning my hand at some Macro shots, but what to shoot? I look at a lot of Macro shots and they are all insects or flowers, or both. Surely that is not the limits of Macro Photography? Initially I had thought I did my self a disservice by getting a 50mm Macro lens and found I just could not quite get close enough, not like the images on WordPress, 500px, Google+YouPic or even Facebook. etc. So do you spend an exorbitant amount of money for a really big (or is that small?) Macro lens to get closer? So what about Reverse Macro Photography? or even using extension tubes? How do they compare? Apart from the cost, extension tubes seem a little daunting, don’t get me wrong the whole idea of using your lens backward in reverse macro is still pretty strange. I get the science that dictates, but still. Anyway I ordered a $5.00 Reverse Ring from USA and I am still getting used to it. Mine is just the reverse ring (in picture below) I did not go for the reverse protector ring – perhaps I should have?

reverse ring

Courtesy Google Images

So you attach the reverse ring to the front of your lens (like you would a filter), I am using the kit lens 18-55mm with my Nikon it has a 52mm diameter,  and then attached the other side to the camera. This makes everything really basic as there are no electronics……..no auto focus or zoom capabilities. The apertures are all backwards, and the depth of field is really small, everything is also really dark…….this is taking quite a bit to get used to, perhaps I should have gone for the more expensive extension tubes?


So if you don’t want to photograph flowers and insects, which seem a logical choice for Macro (according to some), what else is there? I mean there is cutlery and fruit and vegetables, water droplets (liquid of any kind really), coffee beans, lollies and chilies? There are cars, fences, old rubbish bins, animals (well bits of them anyway), rusty tin, padlocks and old door locks, I guess when you really look at it, it is endless. So do you ever shoot in Macro? Where do you find inspiration for your choice of subject?

Then there are backgrounds, whether you are shooting flowers, bugs or cutlery, what about the background? Do you use what is already there or do you use colored card/ paper to create an illusion of something else? I have heard good old fashioned baking paper can add a really cool translucent and edgy feel to a setting, almost a reflector if you will, whether a contrasting color in the background, or subtle highlights (if you put it in front of the light source). I guess something else I should mention is that I shot most of these off tripod……..really should use a tripod next time! I am not the steadiest of hands and I am too used to having the VR mode on my camera. Going Old School has given me a new appreciation of my camera 🙂 . So all in all I cannot say it was a success and most of the photos are quite awful, but I thought I would show them anyway. So I guess more practice is in order, especially the manual focus thing! I’ll post some more non flower pics next time.

This next image is another macro shot, that I have given the whole fine art treatment, this was probably more fun that trying to get the macro shots, to be honest. If you would like a little more tutoring on that subject try this tutorial, very informative


Giving your Macro Photography the fine art touch in Photoshop

Well til next time………happy snapping and safe travels

– Julz