Monday’s Musings…

I am writing this from our hotel in Inverloch, grabbing a quick rest after a very long day. We were up at 5am to shoot sunrise back at Warratah Bay….paradise. We acually visited this spot 3 times in 4 days.

We have been visting this little stretch of coastline for three days and still two days to go. I hope the weather holds out. 

I am exhausted and sore, so many stairs, everywhere we go. Steep slopes and stairs 😣 my legs are so sore. But what an amazing area. Will post more soon. 

Until next time…happy snapping

-Julz

Summer Outings – Flinders

We recently went on a day trip to Balnarring / Flinders (Victoria) to visit the opening of a friends Art Exhibit and thought while we were down there to have a look around. The area has long since been a Summer holiday resort area and nothing has changed. We went to a few beaches but could never find a car park, we did wander the shops of Flinders and pop into a few lovely but pricey Vintage and Antique stores…..also some ‘junk’ stores that carried almost everything? We purchased a overpriced and horrible almond milk latte from a hipster coffee house and took some shots with our crystal ball from the side of the road at the gold club.

I did find this guy, I have been saying for ages I needed new crow/ raven images for my art (I can never remember which one is which)….I took a few snaps on my crappy phone, he didn’t care so I ran back to the car and grabbed the camera……I got at least 1o – 15 minutes with this guy………..I won’t bore you with the pictures, but I am sure you will see him in a few upcoming artworks!

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Honestly there really wasn’t a lot to take photos of, apart from crowded beaches, full car parks and people everywhere, the sky was fairly boring )photographically speaking some blue but mostly hazy…….looks grey in pics)……So I got a bit creative and will just leave you with a few pics, even dragged the crystal ball out as well.

Til next time, travel safe and happy snapping…

~ Julz

Spring Outings – Olinda Falls

Not too far from where I live is the fabulous Dandenong Ranges, I have written many posts about our various adventures up there. I was recently asked to do a Private Client shoot at Olinda Falls…..I have never been. Funny isn’t we sometimes don’t know about treasures in our own backyard?

We drove out there for an Engagement shoot for Rachel and James…..such a cute couple getting married in March 2017. This is where James Proposed, so a fitting spot.

Don’t let their clothes and sunlight fool you, it was actually a little chilly, considering we are only a few days from Summer. I finished the shoot and then we stayed and did a little bit of long exposure and playing around.

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It is a small spot, this is the higher falls and there is lower falls, I didn’t even attempt to get down too……….so steep and slippery. As it was I had to make the long arduous climb back up. For some this may not have been much, but being incredible unfit, with bad knees, hips and ankle, as well as carrying all that camera gear……….to say I was exhausted when I finally got to the top, was an understatement.

A few more months and this will probably be bone dry, or with barely a trickle, even now apparently it is not as full as usual, even with all the recent rains.

Til next time, safe travels and happy snapping…

~ Julz

 

 

Spring Wanderings – Beechworth Pt 1

It’s Spring! So no more Winter wanderings for this year……..warmer weather (in theory) and longer days, time to get back into nature and discovering more of this wonderful State. This time we were off to Beechworth, located to the North of Melbourne and takes about 3 hours by car to travel to (about 3.5 – 4 hours from my house), wonderful drive with many sights to see (once you get out of the city traffic).We passed lots of fields of Canola and some interesting abandoned properties.

This town is not overly large (pop. 4,000) but it is steeped in history & culture; from the gold rush, to mass murderers, mentally impaired and tall tales. The Gaol, the Mayday Hills Lunatic asylum, the old cemetery, Eldorado Gold Dredge and Woolshed Falls are just a few of the attractions high on our list….we have been before; but never with a DSLR! There was approx 30 fellow photographers with us and we planned a weekend of activities and surprises, good food and great friends, who could ask for more? We arrive mid afternoon on the Friday and wandered around some of the shops to get our bearings back, and then into nearby Yackandah. Honestly not much at Yackandah, although the whole town is supposedly listed by the National Historic Trust? Great bridge, a few interesting old buildings, a few shops in the main street, and I guess the cemetery…which is where we actually spent most of our time.

We then drove over to Woolshed Falls, after all the rain the area had received recently (and was still drizzling while we were there) the falls were raging full torrent of muddy brown water, full of branches, dirt and silt……..to be honest not very pretty, but an awesome sight.

We then headed back into Beechworth for a quick look around and then met up with the group for a wonderful dinner, good, food, good friends, full of laughs and excitement for the day ahead.

~Julz

 

Winter Outings – Steavenson Falls, Marysville

After what seems like ages, Moth and I headed out for some adventure, heading towards Marysville in country Victoria to shoot at Steavenson Falls, amongst other things. It was a beautiful drive up, in the eerie fog and sunshine that eventually broke through.

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The mountain range surrounding this area is still suffering from the devastating bush-fires of 2009, so much was lost; people, property, animals and livelihoods. This is mostly a rural farming area and is only just now starting to come back to life.

Getting the the falls is easy, once you get to Marysville (approx 90mins from Melbourne)and are quite well sign posted, to get there drive to Steavenson Falls carpark, which is located 3km along  bitumen on Falls Road, from the heart of Marysville. Then it’s an easy 700 metre walk to an awe-inspiring view of one of Victoria’s highest waterfalls. Plummeting 84 metres the falls have been a favourite since the 1860′s. They are very accessible by wheelchair as well, with viewing platforms with spectacular views. There are also a few spots to go which have steps.

We had received a fair bit of rain this past week and all rivers were running freely and quite high, making the waterfalls a wonderful sight. I played with some long exposures on this trip, especially my Firecrest ND 16 filter, which I have only had a chance to use a few times.

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ISO 400, 20mm F/11, 1/60 second

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ISO 100, F/22, 18mm, 39 seconds, ICE ND 10

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ISO 100, 40mm F/9, 360 seconds (6 minutes)Firecrest ND 16

I just love the silky water effects you can get with a long exposure. I used my ICE ND Filter, which has a warmer cast to it and the Firecrest 16 which has a cool colour cast, I could have matched them, but I actually like the two different versions.

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I even spotted one of those rock cairns up on the waterfall………how on earth they managed to get up there is beyond me, or even WHY?

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We then went on from here to Bruno’s Sculpture gardens, but that is for another post.

Til next time, safe travels and happy snapping…

~ Julz

 

Winter Wanderings – Warburton

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Frosty & Merlot

Recently, a photography friend invited Moth and I, away with them and another couple for some fun and light painting in Warburton, Victoria. It was Queen’s Birthday Long weekend……the official start of Victoria’s Snow season; and we were heading right into it!

So we went prepared with a car full of hiking boots, hats, scarves, gloves, jackets, thermal underwear, more hats, gloves, scarves and jackets and hope to keep warm! We did so much on this 3 day trip I may have to break up the posts. We all arrived and met up Saturday Afternoon and spent time chatting and having a few social drinks, while working out our plans for the rest of the weekend. We had already done some exploring on the way up (as the others had done too). We had a lovely dinner out, loads of laughs and great food. We had planned to go the the Redwood Forest to try our hand at a few new ideas with Light Painting, Moth and I planned to do our own thing Early Sunday Morning (I mean early) and then we went for a walk through the Rain Forest Gallery, followed by a touch of off road (more mud than anything) down to Healesville…….it’s a lovely scenic drive. We also went to Mount Donna Buang and played in the snow from the night before. The Snowman above we dressed ourselves (yes I took a Top Hat camping – don’t you?) and Merlot the dog……..usually referred to as Muddy Merlot; he belongs to Dee and Bill who went with us as well.

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We found treasures in the forest and along the Yarra River, moss and tress and toadstools, the cascades were wonderful for long exposures and with 4 photographers in the group it took us awhile to do the short walk :-)……..too many photo opportunities.

The evenings we spent with good food and lots of laughs, followed by freezing in nearing 0c temperatures playing with lights and flaming steel wool in the forest and on top of Mountains.

I still have so many photos to go through. I will break it all up into a few posts, I think and go into more detail for each. We also did a bit of antiquing and junk shop hunting and picked up a few bargains, a few treasures for still life and my new concept shoot. We spent a little time exploring the township of Warburton as well, but it is not very big. On Monday morning Moth and I slept in a little, did some shopping and exploring and then finally made our way home. It was a wonderfully funny and relaxing weekend with good people, good food and good fun (albeit very cold).

Will post some more photos soon, once I have gone through some more. Til next time, safe travels and happy snapping…

~ Julz

Autumn Wanderings – Alpine National Park Pt1

We recently went on a weekend camping trip over the ANZAC Day long weekend to the Alpine National Park in the Victorian High Country. It is Autumn here in Australia and the trees (well the one that do) were all starting to change colour, the days are sunny and warm, but the nights a crisp and cold. We drove the 2.5 hours to Mansfield which is the last major town before hitting the Alpine Region. We stopped for lunch, some supplies and information, and of course a quick look around.

We then made our way to the Sheepyard Flat turn off and left the bitumen behind. Autumn sunshine filter through the trees and made for a pleasant drive. We had planned to stay at Sheepyard Flat, however an exploration of the area led us to Fry’s Flat and Fry’s Hut, right on the Howqua River; just gorgeous.

After a bit more exploration we headed back to Fry’s Flat was much quieter (so many people already camped at Sheepyard) and then of course there is the river and a Cattlemen’s hut.

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Master Bushman, Fred Fry built his home in the late 1930s. Using split timber and with his own personal style of workmanship he erected many huts in the region including Upper Jamieson Hut, Ritchies Hut, Gardiners Hut and Noonans. Fred’s life in the Howqua Valley was the basis of Neville Shute’s 1950 novel ‘The Far Country’. 

They are very basic, but some of them in the Alpine areas can be used by campers and hikers in extreme weather. Fry’s Hut is the only original hut still standing after the 2006 bushfires. So I was very keen to visit here.

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Our Camp

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Howqua River

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View from Howqua River

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Howqua River

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Misty Mornings

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Tight Squeeze

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Fry’s Hut by Full Moon and light painting

It was very cold while we were doing some night shots and playing with a LED Torch, had the locals wondering what we were doing (one guy asked the next morning lol). It must have dropped to about 0C or less as everything was covered in ice the next morning: the tent, the car, the ground. We rose early to catch some early morning sun on the hut and mountains, but as we were low in a valley we didn’t expect nor receive any form of sunrise. We had breakfast with a Kookburra, and then packed up and moved on to our next spot.

This is where I will leave you, until next week……..

-Julz

Autumn Outings – Getting back to nature

So I thought I would do something just a little bit different this week, I have mentioned about my Mask series and how I had bought a new mask for Moth, (just a reminder of what I am talking about)…

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Now these two were a studio shoot, and I also plan on doing that as well, but an opportunity existed that I just had to take. We were up near the Alpine reaches of Warburton and Mount Donna Buang, recently, and I have always wanted to visit the ancient Redwood Forest up there. So I thought it might be cool to do Moth’s Mask shoot in the forest; dark, gloomy, kind of creepy. I am still playing with the whole conceptual photography thing, it offers something a little more unusual and is very subjective and very artistic. I am not sure if I am on the right track……….is there a right track?

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What we didn’t count on was getting completely lost! My GPS has come to the conclusion, that if the cameras are in the car, it’s OK to take us to some strange location we did not plan of going to……….oh –  it gets us to our destination, eventually! But we frequently find something very cool, we did not know even existed; freaky huh?

By the time we eventually found the forest, is was quite late, and very dark and gloomy……….a little too dark. Even with my tripod I found it difficult to focus and get a non blurred image. I had the flash, but even dialled down it was too strong and silly me did not bring a reflector or the speed light! We did see others in the forest shooting something; there was 5 ladies (I originally thought naked) in skin coloured leotards dancing around the ‘nests’ while someone was filming or shooting, with haunting music, barely audible above the forest noises.

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The nests? Well there are all these giant nests and burrows that appear all over the forest, we assume man made, from fallen branches and forest floor debris; all quite surreal, but beautiful. We found a few for Moth to climb into and I took a few shots there, as well as on an old forest trail we found.

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Midnight Madness

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Original Image

I think Moth was a bit worried about someone seeing him, but once I put him to work I think he forgot all about it, besides there really was no one around to watch us scampering through the ancient forest……….communing with nature. Eventually I had to give up as it was getting so late. So far I have really only played with a few pics, I really want to get something mystical and surreal………darken things up and maybe add some ravens, fog and much more. I will have to do a follow up once they are done.

The first one here, was getting mixed reviews (on it’s original edit), some liked it, others feel the villain does not work with this background, it is too dark, not enough detail, conflicting light source is the major one………went back and re edited, much happier with it now.

-Julz

 

Manic Mondays

Wow such a great weekend away, but I’m exhausted. We went away down to the Mornington Peninsula again, this time we stayed in a lovely old lodging house in Sorrento. We wandered the back beaches and explored the Sorrento / Portsea area. Then on Saturday night we met other Togs for sunset and a night of astro photography.

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Of course the clouds rolled in and and it was a complete bust, but they all learned the basics, and saw the Milky Way briefly, and few got some shots. I really didn’t take images, apart from Sunset: I was way too busy helping everyone else lol.
We then spent Sunday walking and exploring Port Nepean and surrounding area, here is just a few shots off the phone, I’ll do a separate post later in the week.

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That’s it for this week, til next time, happy snapping…………………

-Julz