Australian Bush Babies

I’ve sort of been playing with a new technique which I have talked about before with Topaz FX Labs, which was fantastic for birds, but it is truly wonderful with other animals as well, I have some old photos that I never really did anything with of Australian Animals, even attempted to ‘paint’ my own background with the Cockatoo image at the bottom. Jai Johnson’s background are even more impressive after trying to make  my own 🙂

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No doubt the list of what you can work with, is ongoing…

~ 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

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Friends

Over the years I had a few fur babies and constant companions, mostly four legged and mostly cat or dog, a few horses and birds thrown in, I also now have turtles. As far as friends go, personally I don’t think you can beat a dog…..faithful, loyal and unquestioning, unconditional ALWAYS by your side, and extremely emphatic; they just know when something is wrong or you are unwell. I know mine do, they become quiet and patient and just sit by your side (or on your lap). Cats on the other hand, some care (when it suits them) others don’t care about anything but themselves 🙂

These are our current bunch of Furbabies……Chloe the Small white Pomeranian X Maltese, is my Baby…each animal has their own Human, but I am Mum to all.

 

Oh and yes! Ted does have one green eye and one blue, for those who picked up on it.

Chloe is the Matriarch of the boys, and all were born within a eight month period, From June 2006 – Feb 2007; Buddy is the Baby. Each friend leaves an indelible mark on your heart, but these group have touched my heart in extra special ways.

What do you Friends mean to you? This week’s WPC

~ Julz

Topaz FX Labs

I have fallen in love with an old program that is fairly new to me; Topaz FXLabs, I received this in a bundle I got a little while ago from Topaz Labs. Sure I regularly use other programs in Topaz; Adjust, Denoise, B&W, Impressions, just to name a few. Some of them seem to crash while trying to use them and I eventually gave up. FXLabs didn’t really seem to make much sense until I watched an eye opening tutorial by Jai Johnson at Daily Texture.com. Once I learned just how amazing and powerful this program could be, I could not wait to start playing with it.

Now my first few tries, weren’t exactly a huge success, but it did not take long to get use to it. It has built in layers and masking and scale, and adjustments, you can open multiple images from Photoshop or without, but the beauty is you can then access all the Topaz plugins directly, and so far………..NONE of them crash while inside FXLabs.

The control and ease of use of the program as become a go to for me, sure there are some things I still do in Photoshop and Camera Raw and basic editing I still use Lightroom, but I must say I am adoring this cool new (to me) program. It can be used with other editing software, like Paintshop Pro as well.

I must admit I have done several YouTube tutorial by Jai now and they are mostly quite long, but very informative on this subject, her backgrounds and overlays which can be purchased are truly stunning as well, and yes I have purchased a few to play with.

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I was concentrating mostly on animals, birds in particular, but have branched out and used it with people with equally stunning results.

There is something so sumptuous and earthy about these textures and this technique, I love the end results I am achieving. There is a 30 day Free Trial available on Topaz Labs if you want to check it out too, it’s not on special or anything and quite frankly the whole bundle is expensive, but if you can get it on sale or afford just a few of the kits, FXLabs, Clarity, lens effect, Adjust and Impressions……….it’s a great start.

~ Julz

Dog Boy and Rabbit Girl

I did a post recently on a recent visit to St Kilda with some artist friends, while walking down the beach path toward Luna Park and Acland Street, I passed these two amazing bronze sculptures by Gillie and Marc, check out their page, some very cool stuff.

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Anyway I have seen their sculptures before with the Paparazzi Pack (were on display somewhere in Melbourne, can’t remember where or if they still are?). But I had several comments on my post about how interesting they were and thought they deserved their own post.

~ Julz

P.S. Yes some of them have been ‘altered to cover Facebook nudity rules 🙂

Cee’s B&W Photo Challenge – G or H

This week’s B&W Challenge is all about things starting with the letter G or H; so off I trot, to find a suitable gallery – Hippos, ghosts, geese, happy, historic and heritage listed grand old Houses.

Here’s hoping you all have a brilliant weekend, safe travels and happy snapping…

~ Julz

 

Autumn Wanderings – Serendip Sanctuary

DSC_8207I’ll admit it, it is actually Autumn, but here in Melbourne we are having an Indian Summer and the warm days are still with us; in fact some days are quite hot.

A recent weekend adventure lead us to Serendip Sanctuary in Lara on the Western Plains of Victoria (between Melbourne and Geelong). The sanctuary, an excellent example of the open grassy woodlands and wetlands of the volcanic plains. There are over 150 different species of birds which breed or visit the Sanctuary and they can be viewed from the excellent bird hides. Birds can be seen within metres of the viewing areas preening, feeding, sitting on eggs and looking after their young.

The Wildlife Walk is a popular walk offering close encounters with wildlife, although we only saw a few emus, wallabies and some pademelon (very small wallabies), supposedly walking these paths you should also see Grey Kangaroo too. The flight aviaries perfect for bird watching, you can get up close to some Brolgas, Cape Baron Geese and parrots, we even got up close and personal with some (not very well hidden) Tawny Frogmouth.

There are other walks, which we declined due to getting quite warm. There are picnic tables and an information building. It was a wonderful afternoon and would be a great spot for children.

~ Julz

Early Evening Geraniums…

I decided to take the new Olympus Camera out for a spin in the gardens, it was early evening, twilight almost and the crickets were singing. Sitting in the back corner of the garden, enjoying a cuppa, I picked and placed some geraniums for the pop of colour. Of course my girl Chloe was there to keep me company.

I love Summer evenings and wish they would never end. So the camera performed adequately in low light, hand held on F/2.0 aperture. I think I am starting to get the hang of it…..still very different from my big Nikon DSLR, and the images are a little grainy. I certainly would not use it for a Wedding or Newborn shoot, but I think for things like still life and holiday snaps it is actually quite good.

I hope you have an amazing weekend…

~ Julz

Regular Random – Hippos

I love me some Hippos, apart from Elephants Hippos must be my second favourite of the large animals on this planet. Sure I love a lot of little animals too………but of the really big, can’t keep as pets variety, for me it’s elephants and Hippos all the way. I know both are dangerous, especially Hippos, but there is just something about them, so on a recent trip to the Zoo I took a lot more than just five minutes with these guys, but here is a few pics.

 

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Want to join more Regular Randomness? Check out Desley Jane’s blog, where she hosts this weekly challenge.

Til next week, happy snapping…

~ Julz