Cee’s Compose Yourself Challenge – Week 12, Critic

This is an interesting challenge, as I generally do not like to written nor verbally critic someone else’s images. A lot of it is aesthetics and very much up the the individual’s personal tastes, so what I may think is wrong with an image, may just be the thing some one else really likes.


I hope you’re enjoyed our holiday break.  This week’s blog is an easy one for you, I hope.  You get to be the critic.  Here are five photos I took that don’t quite work or at least have a couple things wrong.  You get to discuss them just like you’ve seen me do for weeks now.  Tell me what you like about then and more importantly what does work or you don’t like.  Have fun.  Think about all the topics we’ve discussed.

So I have picked two images and I am going to play with them, I find assessing in post production easier to get a feel for what needs to be changed, adjusted or modified.


Cee’s Original

Firstly is the Marina, this image did annoy me as the horizon line is out (to me it either has to be straight or purposefully off kilter). I think the colours are a touch under saturated, the highlights are blown out and the shadows have lost all impact and definition. So what did I do?



  1. Imported into Lightroom
  2. Straightened the image
  3. In Topaz ReStyle I gave it the Hot Coral Streaks filter, to bring in some more colour and drama
  4. Using various graduation and radial filters I toned down the sun glare and introduced more depth to the shadows
  5. I also modified the tint and temp in the sky with various brushes.
  6. I ran (or added) luminance, dehaze and clarity



Cee’s Original

Next is the Umbrella shot, there was something about it, I think it was the overall composition, looked slightly out. The dark bit in the bottom right corner and mid left hand side was distracting, the yellow perhaps not desaturated enough and the red need a touch more saturation. So what did I do?

  1. Imported into Lightroom
  2. I cropped it tighter
  3. put the umbrella on bottom right line intersection (rule of thirds)
  4. Then took it into Photoshop, duplicated and Multiplied to added depth
  5. added a curves layer the bring down the highlights, but masked out the umbrella
  6. added a B&W adjustment layer, but masked out the umbrella
  7. added a hue/saturation layer and brought up the reds……….a lot
  8. Then back in Lightroom, added a touch of luminace
  9. added just a touch of grain (10)
  10. added a slight dark vignette


This does not mean Cee’s are wrong, nor mine right, it was just how I ‘saw’ the images. It will be interesting to see what other people do to perhaps the same images. I still feel strange critiquing another person’s image, but that is what this challenge called for………..Cee you have a tough hide 🙂

Til next time, happy snapping


Imagecraft Bootcamp – Introspective

Mitch asks us to attempt to run our own Introspective Gallery on photos posted this last 12 months. This both daunting and frustrating, I have posted so many photos, but my favourite is always the one I just took.

So here is my gallery, the very first is my latest artistic shot – Angel, I spent several hours in the studio experimenting with lighting and minimal props. I love the moody, dramatic low key lighting. The rest of the shots I found in my media library, I picked the images that spoke to me, and still do. One thing I have noticed over the last twelve months is my sense of the dramatic. There is colour but I still tend to favour a more dramatic light; especially with people and animals. Perhaps my style is starting to emerge?

til next time, happy new year for 2016, travel safe and happy snapping


A New Year

As December draws to a close, I guess it is only natural to turn our thoughts to the year ahead. I have no real plans for 2016 at this point in time; however 2015 was pretty much the same, apart from our planned trip to the New Zealand. I ended up with three Holidays (NZ, Uluru and Great Ocean Road), plus a new car, a new camera, new lens………..add it all up 2015 was a damn good year!

What did I achieve in 2015

  • I learned how to take Long Exposures with and without ND Filters
  • I learned how to create fabulous images with light painting
  • I learned Astro Photography
  • I learned how to use fabulous software like Lightroom and Nik Effects, Topaz Labs and more in depth Photoshop
  • I learned stacked shots and macro photography
  • I learned a lot about New Zealand and Uluru & Kata Tjuta
  • I learned buying a new car is not always fun and games
  • I learned selling second hand cars is painful
  • I learned cameras don’t bounce very well :-p

What do I hope to achieve in 2016

  • Learn off camera Flash photography for portraiture
  • Learn more about Natural light photography for portraiture
  • Build my Studio up and take on more clients
  • Shoot more sunrise and sunsets
  • Visit more remote locations in Victoria
  • Do more creative photographic shoots, not just standard portraits
  • Getting fitter and healthier (to do all of the above), but we all say this don’t we, how many actually do it?

I have started to set up my online Portfolio, if you haven’t been to visit me on other Social Media Platforms, please do

Online Port Folio | Facebook – Julie Powell Photography | Flickr

You can find me on Instagram julie.powell.589

So, what were the high lights of 2015 for you? Was it a great year, a bad year or just so-so?

Here are just a few of my favs for the year, in no real order

Wishing you all the best for a Year Happy New Year in 2016, and may all your dreams come true. Travel Safe!





One Photo Focus -January, Laura Macky

January 2016……..amazing huh? I hope you all had a great Christmas and a Great New Year’s Eve. Another month and another One Photo Focus, this time from Laura Macky. I adore  Laura’s images so I really wanted to do justice to this one.

January OPF_5

  1. First I masked out the sky (not enough drama), and added in a new cloudy, stormy sky.
  2. Then in Topaz Adjust and ran a HDR Filter over it
  3. Then I added a peeling painted texture to the boat, as well as a rust texture on a separate layer, masking out all other areas
  4. Intensified the hue and saturation
  5. Added a abstract layer to give some additional colour and texture, especially to the grassy areas on the bottom and left, but masking out the boat, I wanted to keep the peeling paint and rust
  6. I then added the map as an over lay and masked out various areas I thought I didn’t need it
  7. I then applied a colour burn layer and brushed in additional colour to the image, more mauve in the sky, more yellow and red in the foreground
  8. Using special cloud brushes I added in more storm clouds
  9. Painted in additional colour and depth in the clouds
  10. Then ran it through Topaz Restyle and gave it a moody, stormy feel.
  11. Finally ran a frame around it

I did a few other versions as well (Painting and B&W, and Laura’s Original are below)…………but I was really happy with this one. Don’t forget to visit Stacy’s page to see all the other version

Til next time, happy snapping………


Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Red Flowers

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is Red Flowers. I have noticed from time to time that Red Flowers are my favourite, can’t actually tell you why, it is an innate sense, they ‘speak’ to me. They inspire me, the deeper the red the better, it’s moody and romantic and remind me of lovers from books and movies. Yes in the movies and books they are roses, but I thought I would share some different ones; Geraniums, Peonies and Tulips.

Til next time, happy snapping…….


2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 22,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Great Ocean Road – Day 4

Left Port Campbell and again drove back through Peterborough, in search of a few more ship wrecks, this time at Childers Cove. If you find Radford’s Road and drive right to the end there is a secluded little spot where the John Scott and the Antares were lost. Everyone on the John Scott was saved, but all hands were lost on the Antares. The Antares was the last major shipping disaster in the area, although many others have perished in smaller vessels or rock fishing.

Further down the road is another secluded little cove called Childers Beach, again more stairs to a pretty little beach. Betty Boo is starting to look a little dirty! Not so new now hehehehe.

This was the sight of yet another wreck Children (where on earth do they come up with these names?). All along this stretch were so many beautiful beaches and NO Tourists, it was a lovely pleasant morning. Eventually we headed off to Warrnambool. First stop was Logan’s Beach Whale Sanctuary, whale watching beach………..mostly Southern Right Whales in Winter (May – October), not summer so no whales for me, just lots of beach and surfers.

We then headed over to the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, this is a replica Maritime village, and lots of fun, although very hot and no shade.

Had a lovely lunch in the Pippies Restaurant and then wandered around Lady Bay Harbour (More ship wreck sites – 10 in fact) and then  the Breakwater, Thunder Point, gave up looking for Shelley Beach.

Finally wandered back into town, found a hotel, had dinner ($16.00 Parma and Pot night at Last Coach Pub, even did Gluten Free!) and planned our next step of the trip. Early night.



Great Ocean Road – Day 3

We packed up our car and left Port Campbell, as we had discovered not only did we leave the battery charger at home, also the card reader, well done us! With nothing here locally we headed off into Warrnambool for some camera gear, only 1 hour away!

We stopped in Peterborough on the way back to check out a few ship wrecks; Young Australian, Schomberg and Newfield (No wreckage to see). Managed to trip over a gutter and completely mash up my shin; brilliant bruises (I am such a clutz, honestly). Banged the camera on the concrete as well, a bit scratched and dinged up; but seems OK.

We then headed back towards Port Campbell, to start from where we left off yesterday. We stopped at the Arch, London Bridge and the Grotto.

The Arch is the latest version of the Bridge, still attached to the main land. London Bridge broke away from the mainland in 1990,  some say the Arch is better, but I still prefer the London Bridge. While Moth climbed up and down countless stairs I stayed at the looked out and took some much needed long exposures. They are a form of meditation! We stopped in next at The Grotto. I have never heard of this one before, must be fairly new.

We then proceeded onto the Bay of Martyrs, which is absolutely stunning and another wreck The Falls of the Halladale (almost impossible to find!). We found the plaque and anchor near a playground in Peterborough, by chance.

Back through Peterborough for the Bay of Islands. We went through quite a few little known tracks (after chatting to a few locals the night before) and found the perfect spot for sunset. Finding no decent, cheap accommodation in Peterborough we went back to Port Campbell for a hotel and dinner.

After dinner we headed back out to the Boat Bay for sunset, not quiet as good as the night before, sadly. We then drove the long, dark drive back to the hotel, dodging kangaroos and wallabies all the way.



Great Ocean Road – Day 2

As this post goes live, the places we visited not even two weeks ago have been destroyed by bush fires, it’s hard to fathom the devastation and loss. over 100 homes are gone and many people have lost acres of land and livestock. So even as you look at the pretty pictures, please spare a thought for what these people have lost – these fires started on Christmas Day, so sad. Lorne itself has been almost completely evacuated, as has many of the areas along this stretch of coast. There is talk of actually closing the G.O.R. until further notice.

We set our alarms for early; 3:45am to give us plenty of time to drive to Cape Otway Light Station for sunrise. Which I was assured I could shoot. After the early start and long drive out there it was shut, locked up tight behind huge metal gates……….could not even see it from the car park. We walked up to the look out and only barely see the top of it. To add insult to injury it was a brilliant sunrise, which we could barely see from the car park, due to the trees! The park did not open until 10am………so we left in disgust, not wanting to waste 5 hours until it opened. I wander HOW they get all the sunrise or even sunset shots when the park closes at 5pm?

We saw lots of Koalas and Kangaroos on the drive back out. The Koalas are too numerous in this area and have eaten and stripped all the trees bare, and they are starving to death; it’s so sad. People don’t like it, but they need to do a big kull, it’s more humane in the long run.

We briefly stopped of at Maits Rest Rainforest, but it was still very early (Sun just peaking through the trees); quite dark, but we never saw any animals?

We then continued on to the official start for ship wrecks. We headed out to the secluded Moonlight Head and Gable Cove (Wreck Beach)for some relics. It is a rough 4WD track and quite rugged in some spots, but easily passable at this time of year. These are the only relics we saw in any of the locations we visited,  some items in museums etc, but nothing still on the beach. Be warned there are 440 odd extremely steep steps to get to Wreck Beach, I stayed behind (due to my knee), shots on the beach were taken by Moth! Great job huh? I taught him well! :-). The anchor and windlass are from the Marie Gabrielle.

We then continued onto and entered the Port Campbell National Park; visited Gibson’s Steps and out first look at the 12 Apostles. Another gruelling set of steps, beach shots by Moth again.

Among many scenic and famous spots we visited was; Twelve Apostles, Razorback, Loch Ard Gorge, Thunder Cave, Castle Cove, Mutton Bird Island, and various other spots of interest.

We headed over to Port Campbell to arrange out accommodation, get dinner and then we headed back out to Twelve Apostles to shoot the sunset……….we were not disappointed!





One Four Challenge – July in Review

In July (WOW! it seems so long ago now!) I featured another of my favourite flowers in the One Four Challenge, this time a Camelia………I honestly loved some of the edits I put forward, I really did not want to re edit this one. My Favourite would have to be week 3, so soft and dreamy, but I do love the pop of colour from week 2.

If you would like to see all the edits for this month, please visit here

Well that’s it, short and sweet, I cannot wait for this challenge to start up again in January (at least I hope it is back then!)