Winter Outings – Light Painting

Winter means one thing, shorter days and time for light painting with our favourite people Melbourne Light Painting; honestly Dee and Bill Holmer are SO Much fun. This time we met at a new secret location on the outskirts of the inner city in an abandoned building. Bill and Dee had already arranged permission and had gone ahead to clear away most of the debri so it was safe, but we still need to be careful.

So rugged up with lots of warm clothes and jackets, snacks and camera gear we all met just before dark at the gates and then set up, such a large group tonight, but still heaps of fun…..really not much to say, I’ve said it all before, oh and of course the big finale? Flaming Steel wool – orbs, vortex and helicopters.

Nice to have a camera and battery and remote hassle free night for the most part, all went smoothly and got heaps of pics. I also caught up with a few friends as well. I just wish there had been a bit of time for some exploring, have not done much Urban Exploration of late 🙂

~ Julz

Mondays Musings…

Go big or Go home..isn’t that what they say? So I jumped, sometimes you have to make a leap of faith that all your training, your planning and sheer determination will make an endeavor pay off; sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. This weekend marked the launch of Pixel Sisters Studio, I wrote about this yesterday. We also had out Instagram, Website and Facebook all went live as well. Desley and I have been very busy behind the scenes, planning and arranging our very first workshop, which is already starting to fill up, so very exciting.

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I ran another of my own smaller workshops from the home studio on Saturday, Light and bright, cakes and candies; I dubbed it the Sweet Tooth Workshop. People commented it was the tastiest workshop they have ever done…lets hope I have not set a dangerous precedent 🙂

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Sunday was the last of the planning and editing I had left to do and just pottering around, even a bit of a tidy up in the studio.

Oh and did I mention I had another two images published in Living the Photo Artistic Life magazine (page 8) last week, yay me!

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I am hoping to work with another new model next weekend and getting everything arranged for the next Pixel Sisters Workshop.

I hope you all have a fabulous week ahead, safe travels and happy snapping…

~ Julz

Introducing – Pixel Sisters Studio

I have been hinting at something big being afoot again lately and now I can finally let you in it…..Drum Roll please;

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Desley (Desley Jane Pictures – https://musingsofafrequentflyingscientist.com/) and I have started a new business venture together, creating fun photography workshops for Melbourne based photographers. They say you should go big or go home, right? So we have been extremely busy of late, we have a brand new website – Pixelsistersstudio.com, a Facebook page and an Instagram Account. We are moving all this to a large professional photography studio in Melbourne’s South Eastern suburbs and the first workshop is set for 29th July, this has been a huge undertaking and a big adventure for both of us. Until then I am still running a couple of small workshops in my home studio, but it’s time to go big!

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Our first Workshop is a Floral Fantasy Still Life and Macro, (honestly did you really expect anything else from us two?), but we are planning more workshops with varied themes, including; Desley’s Planner stuff and my Conceptual Portraiture, with lots of other fun stuff thrown in too. We will be catering to all levels of photographer, with an aim to getting beginners off auto and exposing seasoned photographers to different genres.

So if you are in Melbourne, check out what we have on offer and perhaps join us, if you live elsewhere in the world, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, as we will be posting lots of fabulous images and BTS stuff as well.

~ The Pixel Sisters (aka,  Julz and Desley)

 

In the Studio – Boho Forest Fairies, with Desley

What makes a huge studio concept shoot even more fun? Sharing it with friends. I had Desley (Musings of a frequent flying scientist) join me in the studio for a Conceptual Boho Forest Fairies  Photo shoot, as opposed to our normal Still Life, which we normally do together. This was Desley’s first time shooting under lights in the studio with models, we had my favourite girls Jess and Mel come in, with dresses, makeup and wigs by Micaela (Glam to Perfection), we refuelled the Smoke Machine, we also got smoke emitters, Floral Crowns were specially made by Desflora. Oh what a day…….three hours in make-up and then three hours in the studio.

While the girls were getting ready Desley and I set up, checking lights and things, while also organising a few bits and pieces………I think I can spill the beans (a little) Desley and I have formed a business Partnership and will be teaching Workshops out of a big Photographic Studio…..Pixel Sisters Studiois about to be officially launched shortly, stay tuned.

Now the Boho Forest Fairies did not come without it’s share of issues, the original outfits (ratty tutus and corsets) were not used as A) Jess had a fabulous outfit she brought with her, B) Jess also fell in love with another dress she wore for part of the shoot and C) none of the corsets and most of the dresses would NOT fit Meellisa and her ample bosom…in fact I only have one dress that fits this girl, and she didn’t bring any backups…oops! We also could not find any fairies wings I particularly liked (they were all covered in feathers……fairies have dragonfly wings, not angel wings!),  so I resorted to shooting without and adding them in Photoshop on a few.

This was also my first time working with smoke emitters (AKA Smoke bombs – but we are no longer allowed to use that word)…oh dear, lucky for me Desley and her cool hand luke persona were there. We tried one in the studio (with ALL doors open), there was a LOT of smoke, but what we didn’t count on was it falling apart, poor Mel got a slight burn on her arm (nothing major) and a big chunk of it fell on Jess’s wig, which Desley quickly snatched away; getting her own minor burn 😦  before Jess’s wig went up in flames, a few minor scorch marks, but Jess was all OK. And it stinks! I mean really stinks. Luckily the weather was good, so we ended up going to the local park to play with some more smoke, the late winter afternoon sunlight hit the smoke in the most beautiful shafts of light……….so dreamy.

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Not much else to say, so I will just post a few pics………I took SO MANY!!!

And here is a few behind the scenes shots……..I really must remember to take more!

~ Julz, xo

Monday’s Musings…

As Victoria (Australia) celebrates the Queen’s Birthday (funnily enough not our current Queen, but one from our past – figure that, weird Commonwealth traditions) we have a public holiday today, so I am probably off hunting toadstools and mushroom (I kids you not), this is a scheduled post. Perhaps I am still snug in my bed; it has been a huge weekend after all.

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Jess & Mel – Forest Fairies

So Saturday, was a super huge massive day, Jess and Mel came at 10am for 3 hours of Hair and Makeup with the talented Micaela (from the Alice shoot), and I was joined in the studio by Desley (the not so frequently flying scientist 😛 ) for a Boho Forest fairies studio shoot, we also shot a nearby park. Lots of fun, laughter and hi-jinks, a few oops moments (I’ll explain that one later) and a brilliant day with some amazing shots, I am still to edit them all. I then literally kicked them all out, to head off to the next shoot – Light Painting! In a new old abandoned building, not much time for exploring before set up, but it was a fun night, with a fun group of people.

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Then an early wake up to clean up the studio after the dump and run, from the day before, as I had yet another model shoot, another lovely lady, Ally Xu;

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Such a wonderful and creative shoot……but as per usual, more on that later.

I hope you have an amazing week, I have so much editing to do from three very different photos shoots, plus getting ready for another workshop on the weekend.

~ Julz

 

Autumn Outings – Hanging Rock, Macedon Ranges

About 70km NW from Melbourne in Central Victoria, not far from Mount Macedon (a former Volcano) is Hanging Rock, a 105m goliath and distinct rock formation. Hanging Rock is a mamelon, created approx 6.25 million years ago by stiff magma pouring from a vent and congealing in place.

Hanging Rock contains numerous distinctive rock formations, including the “Hanging Rock” itself (a boulder suspended between other boulders), the Colonnade, the Eagle, the Flying Saucer, Stonehenge and Morgan’s Blood Waterfall, amongst numerous others. The highest point on Hanging Rock is 718 metres above sea level and 105 metres above the plain below. It is quite steep and access is via a Ramp or stairs.

Of course Hanging Rock is famous for other reasons, mainly the iconic movie made by Peter Weir in 1975 – Picnic at Hanging Rock (Original novel written by Joan Lindsay in 1967). The plot focuses on a group of students from a girls college in 1900 who inexplicably vanish at Hanging Rock while on a Valentine’s Day picnic. It also explores the outlying effects the disappearances have on the school and local community. The book is entirely fiction, but written as though it is a true story, corroborated by ambiguous historical references. It quickly reached Urban Legend Status, with so many different theories on what actually happened to the girls, from being murdered, to UFOs and Time Warps. The plots, the intrigue, all shot beautifully with a haunting soundtrack. A must see if you never have. Considered groundbreaking for it’s time for the Australian Film Industry and the book is still considered one of the most important and classic novels of Australian literature.

I visited here in my youth and I seriously do not remember so many trees, it is quite difficult to actually see the rock formations until you are quite close. I also don’t remember ever seeing so many tourists. Way back when, I went with a few friends and I don’t think there was very many other people. If you stood still and quiet, you could hear cicadas and the wind move eerily through the trees and sigh as it moved through the rocks. All I heard on this trip with parents yelling and children laughing (or screaming).

There is a racetrack (for horses)and expansive picnic and sporting grounds, as well as a cafe and tourist centre, none of which were here my last trip 30 plus years ago. They also use this as a outdoor concert venue, but for the life of me (after visiting) I can’t think why? I guess this can be crossed off my Bucket List, as quite frankly I think I preferred You Yangs from a photographic point of view (I also didn’t have to work so hard to get to the rocks, call me lazy!), but Moth had never been.

Excerpts from the movie and the trailer can be seen on Youtube.

~ Julz

 

Share your World – 6th June, 2017

Cee’s Share Your world for this week

What’s your strongest sense?

I guess it has to be sight, although I wear glasses, especially on the computer. My hearing is not so good, my tastebuds are my own worst enemy (love food and tastebuds are functioning perfectly 😛 ). My sense of touch is still fine, possibly more than fine…..such fine details in most of my work, although I am finding my fingers ache these days…perhaps a touch of arthritis? My Sixth sense is not as strong as it was…..either that or I don’t worry as much about things these days. I change what I can and the rest I just have to deal with.

Which of Snow White’s 7 dwarfs describes you best? (Doc, Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey) Happy, but Bashful? I am generally a happy person, but shy around people or situations I am not familiar.

If you could be one age for the rest of your life, what age would that be? I guess I would have to say now, I love my current life, I wish I have the body of a 20 year old with what I know now, but I never had the wisdom to enjoy it back then. I thought I was, but the party girl did not know what she was missing out on!

List of Jobs You Think You Might Enjoy: Even if you aren’t thinking about a career change, it can be fun to think of other jobs you might enjoy.  [Remember:  This is SYW where even your dreams can become reality.] Archaeologist, think Indiana Jones! An explorer, even though I really am a big scaredy cat most of the time lol

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

I have so much in my life to be grateful for, every day, it often seems a little trivial to focus on small details; but it’s the small details which really make life more interesting, isn’t it? I had such a great week last week, got lots of exposure for my art on Social Media, print and competitions, it really was a week of celebrations; big and small. I got to meet and work with a new model, and it was wonderful. I get so nervous working with new people, I know it sounds silly, but that’s just the way it is. I tend to work with the same people, because it is more comfortable. Sure I might reach outside my comfort zone, artistically, but with people I know and trust. So working with someone new on a current series is fraught with anxiety, I know nothing bad can really happen, at worst a horrible picture and waste of my time. But it was a great afternoon and some wonderful images were taken.

I have such a busy weekend coming up, multiple photo shoots, including another shoot with Mel and Jess, Light Painting……and another new model!

Here is hoping you all have a wonderful week…

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Snow is Falling with Jess Ami, selected for Fine Eye Magazine, July edition

~ Julz

Celebrations…

Wow another really big week for me, opening of my third exhibit this week, while my 2nd one draws to a close; and it’s only June!

I won 6th place overall in the Photography Category for Light, Space and Time ‘Animal’ competition, with my Kestrel, plus also got an Honorary Mention for my Barn Owl.

This is following on from my two Special Merits I also received in the Figure Competition recently.

I have recently won 9 Gold Awards on Foto Arte II, for two images and won banner pics as well, I will also be in July issue of Fine Eye Magazine.

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I was also just recently had a few pics in Artists Down Under Magazine, that’s their third issue now and each one just gets better and better. Check it out it’s free online.

There is also more exciting things happening, but can’t spill the beans on them; just yet! Oh My this year is such a whirlwind, I’m finding it difficult to catch my breath. But then if I did, this snowball might stall………..push, push, push. All these exhibitions, awards and prizes are due to a LOT of hard work, so yay me!

~ Julz

 

 

Winter Workshops #1 – Dark & Moody

Well Winter is here; the cold, grey, windy, drizzly days in Melbourne are upon us. Yes, I could rug up and go out chasing waterfalls and such, and I probably will; but it also means it’s time to run my Winter Workshops. I have advertised three so far, and all are fully booked, granted not overly hard when I limit them to six people each. I will run more and am currently looking at a larger studio space (but more on that later). I am also running themes for each of these workshops to keep it all a little more tightly controlled; and………….they are only for three hours, not six – too exhausting! 🙂

Workshop #1 is Dark and Moody Fruit & Veg

I had three workstations set up, and I split my students into groups of two, very manageable. They get to spend at least 30 minutes at each workstation and then we change them all up, so they get to shoot approx 6 settings each.

An Introduction to Light Sculpting

As everyone in this group attended one of my Beginners Classes last year, I decided to teach some more advanced techniques, so we spent the first hour introducing them to the intricacies of Light Sculpting or Light Painting for Still Life. Sitting in the dark with my light wand, we did two set ups to show the difference between flat matte and colour and shiny metal objects.

Table 1 – Dark Backdrop, Natural Light

So this first table is actually old fence palings still held together (just) on the floor in front of the window, with diffused and quite poor afternoon light. Just enough of a challenge. This table features some country charm, citrus and pears and a little autumn colour.

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Table 2 – Dark, Dark, Dark

This is probably the easiest table, but looks the hardest. My small, old works bench with a blackboard backdrop to keep out all the light, in the darkest spot on the studio (with the lights off), using just one artificial light source, with a snoot – to keep the light pin point precise. The trick is to underexpose each shot by st least 1/3. This is the Berry table, it was also be a bit of an experimental table for some.

Table 3 – Vintage

This was actually the largest work area, as we switched between a shabby chic table table with old vintage elements, coal scuttle, enamel ware, linens etc. And then brought out the perspex to really have some fun with light painting and reflections.

We then finished off with trying to capture dusting icing sugar over a chocolate cake, much harder than it looks………..oh and then finished off by eating the cake!!

Even though we kept things fairly simple this was a more advanced class than the ones I taught last year. Concentrating placement, exposures and shooting angles; which works best on tall objects Vs flat objects, which is better for various light conditions, flat lay or 90°  or 45° or even 20°.  WHAT is the hero of a setting?

What a blast, so much fun sitting in the dark with six friends playing with light wands and random bits of lighting.

~ Julz

Autumn Outings – Tieve Tara Gardens, Mount Macedon

On a lovely sunny Autumn weekend, possibly the last for awhile,  we decided to head to up Mount Macedon. We had tried to visit here on our Outback Adventure, but random events meant driving on through, with a promise to return soon.

The Gardens “Tieve Tara”, nestled in the Macedon Ranges truly is a jewel in the crown; especially in Autumn. This is a spot I have been wanting to visit for quite a while, but there always seems to be some reason I could not. The Gardens are only open during Autumn and Spring. We were here I think, a week too late, most of the trees have suddenly lost their leaves in the cold snap of the week before, but there was still a fair bit of colour and of course all the fresh leaves on the ground.

Originally purchased in 1854 by W.  Christian and set up as an Orchard.  It has passed through several families and as been partially destroyed by bushfire on at least two occasions, the current owners purchased the property in 1995. The original gardens were laid by local landscapers Taylor and Sangster. The previous owners (Wade) built the now existing residences and extensively landscaped the former horse paddock into the bottom lake and conifer beds, as well as the cottage gardens.

The current owners extended the gardens even further, adding the second lake, the rose walk and arbours, Treasure Island children’s play area and the fountain and bog garden. The Gardens are located at 751 Mount Macedon Rd, Mount Macedon, VIC 3441, entry cost is AUD$10.00.

We spent a lovely few hours here in the Autumn sun and then we headed back into the township for a wonderful lunch at the Trading Post Cafe. After lunch we visited a few galleries and shops and then headed off to Hanging Rock, but I will leave that for another post.

~ Julz