Wrap up on July

I thought I might start to do a wrap up at the end of each month, everything seems to be so hectic and there is possibly a post here and there you may have missed. So I will break it down into some basics categories

Things we did and places we visited

Tech Talk, How to’s, Kit, Gear and Reviews

Featured Photographer


So what’s on next Month?

The usual Manic Mondays, Photographics Challenges of course; I do at least one a day, helps to keep me focused. I am featuring another favourite photographer, I have recently bought 2 new tripods (this year) and am thinking about doing a review on both. I’m going to do a post or two on our Wintery cold trip to Marysville and the Taggerty Cascade Waterfalls, as well as some other fabulous things we have planned; especially our trip to Central Australia! Add to that the Studio and a few day trips thrown in here and there, a few tutorials to round it all out and it makes for another busy month.

– Julz

How to Create the Orton Effect

Orton Effect 75%

Orton Effect 75%

I was asked recently what the Orton Effect is, after referring to it in a recent post, it’s funny – not so long ago I was asked if I used the Orton Effect on an image, and I had no idea what that was back then either. However I was too embarrassed and instead of asking for help, I googled it. It has now since become something I love to use, however it is really only suitable in certain situations. But I do love to play around with it and occasionally add a subtle grunge effect to it as well. Below is my take (with a twist) on how I create it. I also have it set as an action in Photoshop, which does it all really quickly for me, but here I have put down the steps involved.

So what is the Orton Effect?

Orton imagery, also called an Orton slide sandwich or the Orton Effect, is a photography technique which blends two completely different photos of the same scene, resulting in a distinctive mix of high and low detail areas within the same photo. It was originated by photographer Michael Orton in the mid 1980s.

– Wikipedia

The Technique

Some of this is based on personal taste, so please feel free to adjust any settings as you like.


  1. Open your selected image
  2. Create 3 Duplicate Layers; ‘Base Layer’, ‘Screen Layer’ and ‘Blur Layer’
  3. With the screen layer active, change blend mode to Screen
  4. I have added an additional layer, which has a Grunge effect…….but this is personal taste and not really necessary and can be dropped
  5. With the “Blur Layer” active, go to Filter > Gaussian Blur. Adjust the blur to a point where everything is blurring and nothing stands out; 20 is a good starting point.
  6. With the “Blur Layer” active, change the blend mode to Multiply, and adjust the opacity and / or fill slider bars to achieve the desired effect, try 50%, 75% and 100%.
  7. Depending on what you like you may find the blacks are over powering, try using an adjustment layer in curves, or adjust your levels until you are happy with the result.



This was hastily put together in PS3 (just to prove it can  be done on almost anything). But here are a couple of great links for tutorials as well.

So have fun and experiment you can come up with some really cool effects, and remember any time you are playing in Photoshop, you are learning and improving your skills.

– Julz

The 10 dumbest mistakes I’ve made while shooting

18-highly-illogical-vulcan-for-dumbassI have been doing photography for less than a year, it’s been a big learning curve, that’s cool I give my self credit for the good and the bad, there have been a few failures, but then there are the dumb mistakes, newbie or experienced photographer should KNOW not to do!! I mean seriously it is common sense stuff, but when you are in the zone, or get just a little over excited about a shot…………..dumb ass things happen lol.

  1. Left the lens cap on………..I know, I know in this day and age, it is actually harder to do than one thinks, but if you are shooting completely manual, it can be done. I did it for the first time, just recently and I was SOOOOOOOOOO embarrassed! Everyone else just laughed and said it was only something I would do; but surely I am not alone here?
  2. Loosing the lens cap…..you (remember) take the lens cap off to shoot, then what do you do with it? Put it in your pocket, in your bag? I lost one early on, I used to put them in my back pocket and then of course I would be bending down to take a shot and it fell out, and I didn’t notice. I now have this lens cap leash, a little sticky thing I attach to the lens cap with is attached to a stretchy wristband/ hair tie type thing, you can put on your camera strap, camera lens, your wrist etc, take the cap off and it just free dangles. Beware in high winds it can get in shot! Available online or Ted’s Camera etc
  3. Grab the tripod but forget the head mount…..not just embarrassing, but potentially expensive, I inadvertently left my tripod head at home when we went to New Zealand, no option but to buy another tripod, could not get a head anywhere in time frame we had. On the plus side; my tripod was not really suitable for my camera anyway, so I got a better tripod. But it can be an issue, especially if you have gone somewhere to shoot, that you need a tripod. You are then running around trying to find something suitable to lean your camera on. Tips here
  4. Not using the tripod………sometimes you get lazy and just don’t take the tripod, and wish you had. You decide that it is too much effort to drag it around, let’s face it tripod’s are large, heavy and cumbersome, unless you have one of those dainty little travel tripod’s (which I don’t), which often fall over in a light gust of wind, especially down at the beach. I have missed out on some great shots because I was too lazy. Reading around the net, I am not alone here. Sure I use the tripod in the studio all the time, but I don’t have to carry it anywhere!
  5. Not watching where you’re walking……..I’m a clutz, there I’ve said it! I have an affinity for water, emotionally and apparently physically. Anywhere Moth and I shoot, at the beach, near a lake, near a creek I frequently end up wet. I either am too preoccupied with getting a shot, that I don’t notice and step in, fall in, or trip over etc. Our other favorite at the beach is not noticing the tide turning. We have been caught a few times out on rocks etc and have not noticed the tide has turned and we had to wade back through water. One day this will happen when it is freezing cold and we have no change of clothes! ALWAYS take a change of clothes. Luckily our camera gear has not had a swim as yet.
  6. Incorrect footwear…I must admit this took a while to learn. I love barefeet, or thongs (flip flops) I’m an Aussie; it’s in our nature isn’t it? Barefeet and thongs are not good for nature or beach walking, definitely no good for climbing rocks; slippery, wet or dry. Even trying to walk a few miles with backpack, tripod and camera gear in thongs in the sand is bad for the feet. I pulled a tendon in my foot early on and it took months to recover. So now I ALWAYS  take my hiking boots with me. There have been so many times I was grateful, you can find damp, cold, wet, slimy, treacherous footing in the least expected places. And cold wet feet makes for a miserable time.
  7. Not changing lenses….now this one is sort of excusable, not everyone has different lenses. I do. I now have 4. There should be no mistake here. If I want a macro shot, I should use a macro lens, if I want a wide angle shot, use the wide angle lens, if it’s too far away – well I can use the telephoto or get off my butt and move closer, but that is not always an option. Sometimes I don’t change lenses, as I did not bring any other lens, sometimes I just can’t be bothered getting it out of my kit…………..sheer damn laziness. If you want to best shot, use the best available to you. I mean I bought them for a reason didn’t I?
  8. Forgetting to reset after a long exposure….I don’t know how many times I have done this. I am out shooting a long exposure with the ND1000 filter…aperture way up, ISO way down, shutter speed ridiculously long. I finish, I remove the filter but forget to reset the settings. Suddenly, something catches my eye, I turn, I shoot………..I don’t score; as the 20 second exposure I just took is blurry and completely blown out and I get NOTHING!! So please remove you filter and at least set camera to auto, not professional, but at least in a snap you can get a quick shot off without the embarrassment!
  9. Not emptying and re formatting memory cards…not something I am all that guilty of, but I have done it. I’ve gone out somewhere and realised I forgot to remove the last images from the card, or can’t remember if I did actually remove them or not, or the other is not formatting a card, new or used. It’s a really good habit to get into is to remove the images from your camera as soon as possible and store them on your PC, back up drive or what ever. Then once completed ALWAYS format before the next shoot. I have been lucky, I have not lost any images, but I know of others who have.
  10. Not charging batteries, or forgetting the spare battery…….something else I am usually pretty good at is making sure all batteries are charged before a shoot and making sure the spare is packed. Been in spots where batteries go flat fast (really cold, ND shoots, using live view also kills batteries quick), nothing worse seeing a great shot you could not get, as your camera battery was dead and you forgot the spare. Or you left the spare in the backpack…….and left the backpack in the car!

So read, take note, learn from my mistakes, don’t be lazy, use common sense and be safe while out photographing the natural and man made wonders of our world.

– Julz

Photo Rehab Cover Makeover – Simplified by Simply Red

simplifiedThis week’s Cover make Over from PhotoRehab is a Music Album; Simplified by Simply Red. I adore Simply Red, and this gave me the boost to find my copy of the album and listen – it’s been a while!

So I had this image, was not really sure where to go, so I added an Orton Effect over that. Cropped to 600 x 600px and then added painted black across the top to darken the area for the text. Then I placed the text, both lots of texts have an inner shadow to make dark shadowy. All of this to make then simple park bench stand out. To Me it spoke simple.

Simplified - Cover Make OverTil Next time, happy snapping

– Julz

D.I.Y. Digital Processing Pt 3 – Making your own brushes in Photoshop

Over the last few weeks I have been doing some posts on Digital Scrap Booking and creating the Watermark Effect with Brushes, I thought I might continue on with that with some Portraits. A Blogging Pal sent me a link for a great tutorial and Photoshop Masterclass, I am still considering the Masterclass, but I loved the freebie Photo Artistry Tutorial, by Light Stalking. Lensaddiction has been creating some wonderful stuff from her time doing this same course. Anyway I have been working on a portrait I took a little while ago.


And I came to the realization that even though I did a Post on creating your own watermark, I have not really made a post on how to make brushes, past that point. It is very simple really, take an image say this butterfly and we can make a butterfly brush, which can be saved and used again, and again. In the above image there are several brushes; The sheet music in the background is one brush, the flowers and flourishes are two more different brushes and the butterfly is another……….I’m going to run through making the butterfly brush, but you basically use the same technique for any brush.


Brush_1Open the image up in Photoshop, using the lasso tool draw roughly around the image, press ctrl + J and create a new layer from the selection. You can then deselect the bottom layer, as we are only working on the top layer.

Brush_2Image > adjustment > desaturated to remove all color. Using the eraser tool, remove any parts you do not want or like, remember to keep the brush very soft, until you are left with just the butterfly.

Brush_3Edit > Define Brush Presets………..this will then turn your image into a brush. Save it into your favs or start a new set.


You can now go into your brush panel and select your new butterfly brush, change color, opacity, size, add gradients, just like a normal brush.

Brush_5Don’t forget you can go into your brush adjustment panel and change direction, hardness, sharpness etc from there as well


So have fun and remember you can turn just about anything into a brush, flowers, text, clouds, ink blots, water splashes, feathers etc; Be Creative and let your imagination run free.

– Julz

OWPC – Humid


This week’s One Word Photo Challenge by Jennifer Nichole Wells is Humid. When it’s hot and humid I love to cool off with a dip in the ocean or pool. I can only vaguely remember humid, as I type this with cold stiff fingers lol. I long for humid, warm summer days. Soon Spring will come, and bring more rain, which will ease into the warmer months, then I can rid my layer, upon layer of clothes for going out on shoots! Meanwhile I offer this image, a lovely little spot which would be perfect for cooling off on a hot, humid summer evening; Bells Beach Victoria.

Bells Beach-0786

Bells Beach, Victoria

Til next time, stay warm and happy snapping

– Julz

Winter Outings – Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens

We visited here on a whim recently, I had just purchased a new wide angle lens (10-24mm f 3.5 Sigma), and Moth had just got the other camera back from repair, so we decided to do a few quick stops to test out both. First there is a little bridge, which I have been wanting to photograph, over the Yarra it is just before the City.

We were so close to the Gardens entrance, we figured we may as well go for a quick wander around. We honestly didn’t really do the gardens true justice while we were there, it is such a large place, with so many thing to look at, but it was so, so cold, and it kept raining on and off. We were, however more interested in trying out different lens on different cameras, but we did get a few nice shots.

Unfortunately it was very cold, very wet and windy day, that cold snap across the east coast of Australia, that brought snow to QLD! We hung around for a while, but when the rain returned we figured it was time to leave. I was surprised to see how many people were there, I am always surprised by the Tourist in Melbourne, and what they get up to when the weather is not too great, But I guess if you have limited time for sight seeing, you just get out and do it – that’s what we did in New Zealand.

I did get one little thrill…….I posted an image on Instagram and it was liked by the Gardens Instagram account! Someone is on the ball! I will leave you with a gallery from the gardens, we will have to re visit (like everything else).

Happy snapping

– Julz

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Peach or Apricot

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is something peach or apricot, I think mine has a little of both. This exquisite rose is from a neighbours garden, I found it, while out for a walk a few weeks back. Was not really sure what do with it until now. I am sure I am not the only one who seems to keep a selection of photos, because we like them, but have no real purpose for them?  Peach-12Until next time, happy snapping

– Julz

Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 Wide Angle Lens – Review

A few weeks ago I bought myself a new wide angle lens, I had been wanting one for a while and was just deciding which one I wanted (and saving up for it). Now I had been looking at the Nikon 10-20mm f/4, but it is extremely expensive. I had been doing a little bit of research online and talking to a few people and the Sigma was recommended. The fact that it was f/3.5 as opposed to f/4 was a slight bonus, the fact that it was 1/3 of the price was an even bigger bonus. Yes you get what you paid for, but sometimes you don’t always get fantastic from over priced named items either. In saying that I have been extremely happy with all my other Nikon Lenses. But I figured it got great reviews, so I would give it a try. I won’t go into all the specifications and technical details, others have done all that, but you can check out the Specifications, can be found here.

This review BYTHOM (Thom Hogan) is on the slightly older f4.5, but apparently the new version is even better. I must say it is nice having the wide angle, we are yet to really put it through it’s paces, but so far so good. Yes there is slight blurring and vignetting on the outer edges, but apparently that is expected on most DX wide angles. This is where the full frame cameras really win over the DX, but I still love my cameras and wont give them up now. Besides it’s the photographer more than the gear right?

The Sigma is reportedly the widest, highest aperture lens around, it is lighter than the Nikon, but heavier than the Tamron and has an 82mm lens. I am finding it difficult getting filters, so far only have the UV Filter, have order another ICE ND1000 filter and need to get a polariser filter before we go away.

Marysville-2089Marysville-1936There was a few things I did notice on this lens; The corners are a little blurry, granted you really have to look and these images here are not hi res, possibly you cannot make it out, but it is there. This is not a major issue, just something to be aware of. Also it does not really handle sun flare very well, sure it is here in these two shots, and is beautiful, but in other shots (without it being filtered by trees) just burns out the whole image……..not a good look. I guess being a wide angle and f/3.5 it lets in a lot of light?

I had one issue with this lens recently, which I did not have on any other lens in the same situation, was that in extreme cold it kept fogging up. None of my other lenses had this problem at the same time, and yes it was cold, damn cold, below 0. Is it because of the larger surface area?

Sunset 150715-1811It took quite a nice sunset, without any filters, albeit not a great, bright sunset, so that still remains to be seen. It does not have a severe ‘fish eye’ effect as I was expecting. From what I had read I thought there would be more at 10mm, but there really wasn’t very much at all.

There is one other thing I really like, but was not expecting, is that it takes a really nice shot vertically, as well as horizontally! Great for fitting in really tall trees etc. I will have to experiment with it some more. P.S. Moth really likes this lens as well, I honestly had to ask for it back……..which I think he did reluctantly. I can’t wait to get an ND Filter on it at the beach…..that is my next project.

So to sum up, am I happy with my purchase? Yes I am, sure I may have been slightly happier with the image quality of the Nikon, but I would have had less money in the bank after as well! If you are after the best possible image, perhaps you should look at the Nikon lens, Nikon are considered the best for a reason, but if you have a bank account to consider as well, look at the Sigma, it’s a great lens for a great price!

– Julz

Monochrome Madness 2-21

This week’s Monochrome Madness I’ve this image which I’ve titled  – ‘Just do it’. Perhaps they over did it? It begs the question why is one single running shoe just left there in the park, on a hill? Where is the other shoe, where is the owner, did something happen? I’m sure that there is a story there somewhere? Does the owner know it is missing? Maybe I should write my own?MM2.21-– Julz