Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Autumn and Metal

I’m back after a short break, found new photos to use for my challenges! So this week’s Cees Fun Foto Challenge is Autumn and Metal. I love Autumn, one of my favourite times of the year, days are pleasant (mostly) and the nights are cooler. Making sunrise and sunsets all the more spectacular and the night sky so much brighter. So here is my Metal and Autumn photos from a recent trip to the Outback (never tire of saying that, it seems so magical and romantic 🙂 – Blacksmiths, Metal water tanks and windmills, metal train tracks and iron ore mining sites…….. not to mention the sunrise and sunsets over a vast Autumn landscape

Til next time, happy snapping…

~ Julz

 

An afternoon in Fitzroy…

I recently spent a lovely afternoon in Fitzroy with Desley, we had lunch in a lovely little cafe and spent such a wonderful time catching up, good coffee and a fabulous lunch.

Fitzroy is an older part of Melbourne, in the inner city, and it is seeing a resurgence of artistic and creative types. There is street art (and tagging) everywhere, lots of hip bo-ho type, cool people wandering the streets and loads of cafes and clubs. There is the Rose Street Artists Market….such a wonderful place. Sorry no photos I was too busy looking and buying.

We wandered the streets shooting what ever took our fancy and we also shot out Regular Random segment here as well

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It really was such a lovely Autumn afternoon, which we topped off with another coffee and then hit the Movies for a fantastic few hours watching Beauty and the Beast! I can highly recommend it, if you have not already seen it……….‘Be our guest’

~ Julz

 

 

Our Outback Adventure, Day 5

Broken Hill – Silverton – Mundi Mundi Plains, 24 kms

We allowed ourselves the luxury of a sleep in this morning, as we had a free morning to ourselves, we did however miss a fabulous sunrise. We went to Bells Cafe for morning tea, it’s a retro 1960s cafe filled to the brim with retro goodies and decor. I got a lactose free Cherry Ripe Milkshake……yummo!

We then headed back out to the Line of the Load memorial for some more photos.

Next was the Royal Flying Doctor Service, a vital medical service which covers a majority of outback Australia, for which without, there would be no clinics or emergency services.  We did a tour of the facilities and had everything explained from changes in the last few decades due to technology and how operations work. We even saw the hangar where they house the air-planes.

We then wandered around Town for a bit, looking at some of the historic buildings, had some lunch at Thyme Cafe (delicious) and then met the others to head off to Day Dream Mine. Some ventured on the underground mine tour, I had read it was quite rigorous so I stayed above ground.  There is the remains of the old township and smelter, but it is quite dangerous and had to stay on the dirt road….the ground still has many open mine shafts which you could fall into, as well as some of the slag heaps still contain cyanide, arsenic and lead and disturbing them is ill-advised! The ones who did the mine tour all complained how stiff & sore they were from the cramped and difficult conditions they endured down there, for days! So glad I stayed up top. On and no I did not try the fresh scones 🙂

After carefully exploring the area we headed off again to Silverton. This area was used to shoot several Mad Max films, although they had to shoot the last one in Mongolia or something as the area broke out in a sudden case of Spring after some rains and wild flowers dotted the landscape………so very un Mad Max lol.

We wandered around this now ghost town, but as we arrived quite late we could not visit the many galleries dotted around the small town, nor the Mad Max Museum. We did photograph many of the abandoned houses and buildings, we met donkeys and horses, goats and some kangaroos. We then drove out to Mundi Mundi Plains for the most stunning sunset overlooking what could have been the edge of the world. So flat and barren and untamed, not a soul in sight except for ourselves.

We drove back (carefully dodging kangaroos, horses and donkeys) back to Silverton Pub for a lovely dinner, with loads of stories and laughs.

After dinner we went back out to one of the abandoned houses for some light painting in the ruins. No flaming steel wool tonight, too dangerous. True there is not alot left to burn down, but I am sure any damage would not be appreciated.

Some of us were so tired and still had the drive back to Broken Hill in the dark, so we didn’t play all night, even if I wanted to, I had some new ideas I had wanted to try. Oh well, can’t be greedy! Eventually made it back to the hotel safe and sound and that is where I will leave day 5…

~ Julz

Day 4 | Day 6

Our Outback Adventure, Day 3

St Arnaud – Mildura – 385 kms  – via Rupanyup, Sheep Hills, Brim, Warracknabeal, Patchewollock, Red Cliffs.

Our Hotel in Saint Arnaud, was on a VERY business Highway, with trucks travelling ALL night, so very short on sleep. We all packed up and headed for Rupanyup for the start of the Silo Art trail, a 200km trail across Victoria’s Wheat Belt featuring giant murals painted on otherwise boring wheat silos, by artists Matt Adnate, Guido Van Helten and others. The art at Rupanyup is not finished yet, but we still decided it was worth seeing. Julia Volchkova is the artist.

This was the first of four silo’s we would see today. These silos are near remote towns with not much else to offer, in some places not even a coffee or toilet! Our next silo was at Sheep Hills with the largest of the artworks painted by Matt Adnate. The thought was that this would bring in tourists and money for these regions; but being so remote I am not sure how it will bring in any money. Most places we could not even get a cold drink nearby?

The silo is the largest — 30m high x 40m wide — and is at the heart of a six-silo art trail through the district. Adnate used 300 litres of house paint and 100 spray cans on the project, which had its challenges, including working at height in heat and wind, as well as a curved surface for a canvas.

~ Herald Sun

We stopped at Warracknabeal for a great lunch at the Royal Pub and continued on. Brim was our Next stop; Silo painted by Guido Van Helten

And then lastly the Patchewollock silos painted by artist Fintan Magee, not my favourite, but still quite impressive. There will be several more added to the art trail by the end of the year I believe.

We Continued up the Woomera Highway; red dirt and blue skies and road that went on for miles and not much else to see.

We kept seeing signs for kangaroos and Mallee Fowl in the area, but never saw any. We finally drove into Red Cliffs and after much confusion and getting a little lost, we eventually found the Red Cliffs in the late afternoon sunshine, perfectly timed with the sun hitting the cliffs. After a brief photo opportunity we headed onto Mildura.

Again much confusion when we arrived at Mildura, as our booking had somehow been cancelled! It is the start of the school holidays and Mildura is a popular spot, but we eventually found alternative accommodation. We all met and had a lovely dinner at the RSL. We all decided on an early night for a Sunset Shoot in the morning.

This is where I leave Day 3, and will pick up on Day 4 in the next post.

~ Julz

Day 2 | Day 4

 

 

Our Outback Adventure, Day 1

We rose early, packed the car and headed off on the start of our Outback Adventure, we were not meeting the others in the group for two days, but we had decided to slowly make our way to the meeting point and stop off throughout Gold Country on our way up; making our trip a 9 day adventure.

Our first stop was Macedon, as there are several lovely gardens to visit as well as Hanging Rock, it is only about one hour from Melbourne. I didn’t realise it was also ‘Run the Rock’ marathon weekend and the whole area was packed, making parking and photography quite difficult. Also the leaves have not started to turn colour as yet…..so we thought we may come back in a few weeks, it is only an hour or so from Melbourne. Our next stop was Woodend and it was Market Day, a rather large event as it turns out……the town was so packed we could not move here either; our week was not off to a great start! We had no real plans, so it was not a major issue and we continued onto to Mount Macedon. This is snow country and the day we visited was 7C and the wind blowing fiercely making it seem even colder. We visited the Memorial Cross at the summit, this imposing structure stands 21 metres high and commemorates all those who served in wars. We also wandered the gardens, grabbed a hot coffee and then continued on our way.

There were a few old wheat Mills and old Farm yards to visit between Kyneton and Carlsruhe and we got very lucky that Windmill Farm; which is a private property and  was having an open day, due to it being sold. This Farm has used in a few films and can usually only be seen from the road. I got cheeky and asked if we could take photos, the real estate agents thought it was OK…..so we did! We also shot around the old bridge, such a fabulous area.

We then went looking for old viaducts and train bridges around the Taradale and Malmsbury area. We found an abandoned house in Malmsbury which was a delight to shoot, opposite the Juvenile Detention Centre.

Eventually as the sun was getting low, we headed off to Maldon, where we had booked a B&B for the night. After check in we headed into the town (or what is left of it) for a lovely dinner at the Spotted Cow Restaurant.

After dinner we drove out to Mount Tarrengower Tower to see if it was open and a good spot for Sunrise. We dodged kangaroos all the way up and down the mountain, it was quite scary in spots. Eventually made our way back to the B&B for bed……we planned an early morning.

I will leave Day 1 here and continue Day 2 in another post.

~Julz

Day 2

 

Autumn Wanderings – You Yangs Regional Park

On a recent weekend trip away we took the off ramp at Little River on the way to Geelong, we have never visited this area before and decided it was high time we did.

The surrounding area is quite flat and then there is this sudden upswell of land and we drive into the YouYangs Regional Park…….predominantly made up of giant Granite boulders. There are several dirt road tracks to explore, countless walking tracks and lots and lots of mountain bike and horse trail tracks, there is also rock climbing and abseiling. We did the Great Circuit Drive(12Kms), then drove up to Flinders Peak and then Big Rock………….wow what an understatement, that rock is enormous, you can walk on it; the shot with the smaller boulders and the tree is ON TOP of Big Rock! Great views over the western Plains and Geelong from up here. It must be (Dangerous) and spectacular in the rain.

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It was quite eerie in spots where the evidence of not too distant bush fires have devastated part of the Park, blackened trunks, no undergrowth and only a few trees with fresh growth at the top. We explored a pleasant few hours exploring this region, did a few walks and took lots of pics……great spot for some future photo shoots!

Until next time, 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

Still Life, Product Photography Workshop

I was talking to some people in my Photography Group about running a small workshop on how to shoot Still Life and Product Photography, there was a huge amount of interest, so I set up two to start with; I was inundated! I am trying to restrict numbers to about 6 people, other wise my studio will be too cramped and the weather is too cold at the moment to work comfortably outside.

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So I set up my first Workshop and then set up the 2nd…I will see how these go and then set up a 3, 4 and 5! I could possibly run one a month for the rest of the year…….shame I don’t get paid, lol. Anyway we set up two different areas in the studio and split into groups, we also tethered some of the cameras to a PC which I set up out there as well. We could see live on a larger screen the effects of different apertures and lighting scenarios. I wanted to cover off a variety of things from set up, lighting, shooting styles, angles, soft still life, product photography and more, as well as basic editing in Lightroom and Photoshop. It was quite a day. I had a large sheet of Black Perspex and a large mirror to use for reflective shots……..that caused quite a lot of interest I can tell you. (I only got the two shots at the top, I will have to play some more in my own time).

Once we went through a few basic concepts and discussed a few shot ideas, they were all in, sure a bit tentative at the start, and then everyone got so engrossed in what, where, how, lights, backdrops, subject matter………it was fantastic! Two ladies in particular were so creative and worked as such a great team, it was so rewarding to watch as their creativeness and imagination flourished in one day. I have not seen all their images yet, but I can’t wait. Silly me forgot to take any behind the scene shots :-(. Actually I really didn’t take that many shots at all, I was far to busy helping everyone.

It really was so rewarding to see so many people so inspired, excited and happy, it in turn made me excited and inspired. Some posted their amazing images on Facebook (private group) and wrote such lovely things about Us and the workshop; this got others really excited and my list of people on the waiting list is getting even larger. Moth never reads my blog posts……….but I do wish to thank him for everything he did to help during this workshop……I don’t think it would have worked as effortlessly as it did without him.Still I was exhausted when the last person left……such a long day, but immensely enjoyable.

-Julz

 

Horror Workshop – Part 2

Part 1 consisted of our First model for the day long studio workshop, Rachelle James. Rachelle took up the first part of this shoot with her terrific ghoulish makeup (HMUA – Dee Harding), then after several hours of treatment our second model Jess Ami, glamorous, sexy devil…with horns. I have not worked with Jess before, such a great gal. Loved those big blue eyes and sexy pout!

When she changed into her Rock-a-billy dress I found it hard not to rip the horns off, what a glamour queen! I must secretly confess to removing them in a few shots (yep you guessed it another Post). There really isn’t much more to say, I’ll let the gallery speak for itself.

 

Til next time, happy snapping….

-Julz

Horror Workshop – Part 1

In addition to Wednesday’s Autumn Outings I thought I would do a post today on a Studio Workshop I recently attended, with 2 gorgeous models and a fabulous Hair and Makeup Artist. Our Shoot for the day had a Horror theme. Right from the outset I really wanted to do old school Hollywood style Horror, with dramatic lighting and mostly Black and White. The Hair and Makeup (HMUA) was done by the talented Dee Harding and was so good, I had to keep some in colour. There was 5 of us who attended this workshop, which went for 7 hours…………long day; but so worth it.

Our first model was Rachelle James (I have worked with Rachelle before, you might remember her from the Bike Shoot?). This time no Bike and no Frank (Bikie), just her some glam costumes and that really cool makeup. We ran off 1 x overhead strobe, 1 x 45 degree main strobe and a strip light, no flash, but a little natural light. We all took turns putting Rachelle through her paces, I felt a lot more comfortable this time round, I knew Peter (our Host) and I have worked with Rachelle, plus I guess I am now a lot more experienced working with models now……….concept shooting is VERY different from toddlers, newborns and family portraits.

We used smoke machine, we had this creepy, cool old cemetery backdrop, lots of black and red fabric to play with the last two images, I had the idea to shoot through a veil (looks creepy huh?) and then shoot through some white chiffon to achieve this slightly blurry tintype effect (draped the fabric over the end of the lens).

Not much more to add, I will leave you with a gallery of pics and do a second post with the other Model Jess Ami.

Til next time, happy snapping…

-Jul