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

Summer Wanderings…Clifton Springs

Technically it is now Autumn, but the weather has been very summery! We spent a wonderful weekend down on the Bellarine Peninsula recently and paid a visit to a sleepy little fishing spot in Clifton Springs…….photographers love it for the remains of the old jetty, last time we were there it was so grey and dismal; the sky, the water and I swear even the sand was grey; but not this time.

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Gorgeous Summer blue skies and puffy white clouds, gentle sea breezes and peace and quiet. We were going to shoot sunrise, but at 5:30am it was raining! We arrive a bit before noon…..we should have gotten there earlier, as trying to do long exposure in the middle of the day, a really super bright day is quite difficult.

I didn’t realise the camera had slipped a bit on the tripod either, chopping off the bottom of the image, oh well…guess we need to go back one day 🙂

I was happy just to wander along the coastline and take a few snaps, I got out the crystal ball and played around with that too…..but I was happy to just BE. After spending more time than was probably necessary, we headed off to find other adventures.

Til next time…safe travels and happy snapping;

~ Julz

Monday’s Musings…

A wonderful week last week, followed by a wonderful weekend…had my first stab at underwater shoot……….learnt, that there is a lot to learn 🙂

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There is plenty to love in my marvellous Melbourne at this time of year, good weather and the multitude of public holidays……we have another long weekend right now, today is Labour Day and this weekend has been the Moomba Festival. Now don’t get me wrong I am sure it is loads of fun, Melbourne festivals always are………..but so many people, so instead we hit the Western Port Bay; Lara, You Yangs and Leopold.

We drive this road all the time, we have relatives in Geelong, but we rarely deviate from it, so today we went on the discovery path, headed out to Little River and went to the YouYangs…….yep kind of a funny name, even by Australia’s standards, but a lovely day for a drive. Mountain Bikes everywhere and there are dozens of Bike tracks, as well as AWD tracks, a bit bumpy in spots; but great views of giant granite boulders.

Then taking the scenic route  via Lara, found a tumbled down house or two, then off to stay at my Aunt’s in Leopold……..not much to say but we had a lovely catch up, went out to dinner with one of my Cousins and her daughters. Out plant was to get up early and shoot sunrise at Clifton Springs Jetty. Honestly what is it about me and sunrise? We went to bed relatively early and set the alarms for 5am……..woke up and all we could hear was rain…….YES! Rain! So we rolled over and went back to sleep. Slept in as it were and woke to crystal blue skies and high fluffy clouds……..by the time we got organised it was almost midday, not the best time for long exposure, but we took some anyway! Played with the crystal ball a bit and then off for more adventure…….we drove out to Lara again, this time to Pirra Homestead, but locked up tight, no trespassers allowed kind of thing 😦 damn!

This time we went off to Serendip Sanctuary…….lovely grasslands and bush lands and wet lands Sanctuary for Australian animals, saw some emus, a few lizards, lots of birds, a Tawny Frog Mouth owl and some wallabies. Took too many photos (what’s new?) and then finally decided to make the long drive back home. Yes Monday is another day off, but things to do and people to see……..literally I had a planning day arranged with fellow artist Tony Stephenson for an upcoming workshop…more on that later.

So that’s about it the rest of this long weekend will be spent in editing and doing boring household chores………..yukk! I hope everyone has a fantastic week. You know I’ll write posts about each stop eventually, until then happy snapping…

~ Julz

 

Daily Post – Expectations

I might have mentioned recently that we are going to Bali later in the year for a wedding…….honestly isn’t it a bit much to expect people to fly to another country just so they can get married on a beach? Initially I didn’t want to go, I have nothing against Bali…..just not something on my bucket list and I have a long bucket list.

But what do I know about Bali……….absolutely nothing to be honest. All I really know is Australians play hard over there, drink and do drugs and end up in Jail (often with a death sentence – Bali does not tolerate drugs), Australians get blown up in Bali  – pre 9-11, there was several bombings in Kuta. There are a lot of temples, there a lot of beaches and it gets hot. So my expectations were not really very high, but I figured if I am now going, I had better figure out what there is to do over there; if nothing else.

Stay away from Kuta is the main thing to remember, it’s where the young hooligans stay, it’s cheap and there are lots of bars and clubs………no interest here from us. We are heading inland to Ubud, more mountainous, with temples, water gardens, villages and such. We are spending a week there exploring the area before the wedding which is on the East Coast in a resort miles from any town. I want to see rice paddy fields and slopes, ancient temples; intact and in ruins, stunning water gardens, the Monkey Forest, artisans with silver and cloth and wood, lovely beaches along the coast and lovely sunrises and perhaps sunsets on the West Coast (if we get that far). We are staying at a Safari Park and I want to see elephants and giraffes, zebras and tigers, I hope my expectations are not too high for this place. I hope our stay here is not too short.

After the wedding we are spending a few days on one of the islands, rest and relaxation, snorkeling and swimming, and maybe some more exploring. I hope it will be enjoyable…what’s not to love; beach, sand, sun, warm weather, tropical forests, exotic animals and ancient temples. Supposedly the weather is perfect in October, not too hot, lower humidity and it is the dry season.

The down side of all this is my big trip back to New Zealand, which I had planned for October/ November has been pushed back another year. It tears me apart that I have to wait…….but then again I did not have such high expectations of New Zealand before I went and did not expect to fall in love with that country either. Perhaps Bali will be similar? I mean people keep going back again and again; surely it’s not for the cheap booze and DVDs?

If you have been to Bali and have any interesting places to visit, drop me a line…

~ Julz

P.S. Photos from Pixabay

52 Week Challenge – Week 27

This week’s theme from The Girl Who Dreams Awake is Architecture, I have just visited two amazing places this weekend where the architecture was wonderful, I am not normally one for buildings, but sometimes you have to make an exception.

Royal Exhibition Buildings – Melbourne

Montsalvat – Eltham

This place was built in 1934 and has been largely untouched, and lovingly maintained.

~ Julz

Share Your World – Jan 30th 2017

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Joyful Flight

What is the most incredible natural venue that you’ve ever seen in person? Are you kidding? Oh My where to start, sun rises over Uluru and Kata Juta, sun rising over The Remarkables (NZ) with fresh snow, Milford Sound (NZ), helicopter flight over Kings Canyon (NT) New Zealand (take your pick too many spot to choose), 12 Apostles (great Ocean Road), Cape Tribulation, Church of the Good Shepherd. Stop me now…

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How many siblings do you have? What’s your birth order? [I refuse to admit, that I actually have an older brother] – Only child with a dead head/idiot in the family somewhere. You cannot pick and choose your family, Huh? What a crock, my friends are my family and I have a wonderful family.

If you were a shoe, what kind would you be and why? Flip Flops (we call them thongs here in Australia)……I live in them Winter or Summer, so comfortable and reliable, but when they snap…………you KNOW it!

What is the strangest/weirdest thing you have ever eaten? I am a bit of a sook sometimes, if it wriggles I am not overly interested……however I have had witchetty grub soup……tastes a lot like peanut butter. I have also had snake, croc, emu, buffalo, and kangaroo.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?  I am so grateful to all my friends (see above aka family) who came to say hello and support me at my gallery exhibit last Friday.

This selfi is just a few! I was also grateful for a four day weekend, I wish we had more of them! This week, I am an open book……….it feels really weird, last year just about every weekend was booked up with stuff, this year I am taking things a little slower, but I am working hard behind the scenes to get new projects started and other exciting things happening.

~ 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

Manic Mondays…

You know that saying “Make Hay while the sun shines?” well I have been so busy making Hay, it’s becoming a wee bit………manic! Don’t get me wrong I am loving every minute, and I know I have to take offers as they come in, it’s just some times I wish things could sort themselves out a little me.

Exhibition

All ready and pieces pretty printed and framed, done my artist bio and statement, made the invites, you did get yours didn’t you? Had a few dramas with the framing…….picked up all the frames and then found out one was damaged. Too it back and when they went through their stock quite a few were damaged, finally found the correct size, colour etc (I want them matching) that was undamaged. Also I went into a bit of a panic as I had not written an Artist Bio and Statement before………..thankfully I have access to some wonderful, people in my Kaizen and Awake groups who steered me in the right direction.

Reviews

I have been asked by the wonderful people at SleekLens.com to review the Portrait Perfection Photoshop Actions Collection…….no money for it, but I did get the Actions for free, and quite frankly they are pretty good. Hopefully I might get asked to do more?

Read my full review here if you missed it yesterday

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Other Stuff

I spent all weekend pretty much working, had to finish up my projects/assessments for Kaizen Group, still working on my latest two concept shoots, will post soon I promise. I finished off and submitted my Shiftart submission for January, plus I am taking part in Brooke Shaden’s 20 Day Portfolio Challenge……..was doing great til Friday, now I am behind again 😦 …………no panic, no stress there. I have also been approached to do some still life shots for a web catalogue/ Blog thing…….still sussing that one out, more on that later.

Out and About

On Saturday we had a 21st for my Nephew and then met some friends in the city for a lovely evening out finished off with Papa Gino’s Pizza in Lygon St………BEST pizza! Yummo. We also did another shoot at Princes Pier……..I swear we are cursed with that damn pier, all afternoon had been beautiful blue skies and just a hint of cloud, perfect for sunset right? Get to Princes Pier, wind, wind and more wind, then cloud and it was cold (it’s Summer here remember)……….oh man, it’s just not fair lol. Also the sunset was pretty mediocre; one day, just one day at Princes Pier and I will happily give up!

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Finally after all the work, the food shopping, laundry and insanely inane house keeping duties were done I finally managed to get into the studio to play with some new finds at the thrift store (Pewter Milk Jug and tea cups)and some luscious summer fruits.

I am sure I have not covered everything, but it is enough for now………the rest will all come out in the wash. Til next time I hope you have a truly fabulous week and happy snapping…

~ Julz

 

 

Spring Outings – Tenby Point

On Sunday we met a group of Tog Friends for some fun at Tenby Point…….where on Earth is that I hear you ask? About 45 minutes from our place, 1.5 hours from Melbourne CDB.

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It’s just off the Bass Hwy on the way to Phillip Island, there really isn’t anything there apart from the ‘Tree’ similar to the one at Lake Wanaka in New Zealand, but not as pretty or as famous, and there is the remains of an old jetty. True, there are a lot of old jetties and piers along this stretch of coast, but we had not been to this one before.

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From the Bayview Road Car park it is about 1km walk to the right along Mangrove swamp, the pebbles and rocks strewn across the sand are a terrible tripping hazard for a clutz like me, so it was eyes down every step of the way. The jetty can only be seen at low tide, as access and the pylons are not really accessible at high tide; the tide goes out a really LONG way.

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Our plan for the day was to do some long exposures as the tide started to come back in and then make it back out before we got out feet wet……it was so calm, so still, the clouds barely moved and the water did not either. The above is a 4 1/2 minute exposure……….didn’t look much different from a quick snap. So we gave up on that.

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I did remember to take my new crystall ball. We set it up on the sand right in front of the jetty and took turns photographing through it. We also took shots on rocks, tripods, holding it in our hands. It was quite hot 29C and the crystal ball was actually extremely hot, hard to hold and at one point started to smoke and melt a tripod it was on….oops.Note for future reference Crystal Balls act just like a magnifying glass and you can burn or even set fire to anything with bright sunlight!

groupThis is a group shot (with me in front, holding the silly old crystal ball, lol) shot taken courtesy of Bev at Rusty Ramblers.

It was a lovely morning out, even if we did not get any truly great long exposures…….sometimes these sorts of things are incredibly difficult to plan ahead. Still, a lovely spot, good friends and lots of laughs…….and frankly that’s what this photography group is all about……….oh and a few photographs too!

We left Tenby Point and meandered our way out to San Remo and then turned around and came home again.

~ Julz