Meet Grant Alexander McDougall

I normally don’t do street photography, I rarely strike up conversations with complete strangers on the street either, but a recent trip into Fitzroy had me cross paths with Grant, a very cool dude with whom I chatted with for a while, introduced myself, asked if I could take his photo, I gave him my business card and asked him to contact me. I probably should have gotten his details as well. I hope he does contact me…..I’d love to give him a copy of these images. As part of my year of Brave-R, I am pushing myself to expand and try things I normally would not do, challenge myself to overcome silly fears. I mean it is drummed into us as kids DON’T TALK TO STRANGERS……strangers, in some cases are just friends, you have not met yet. Others have random meaning, I may not ever meet this gentleman again, but he will have left a mark on me. I wonder if I left a mark on him?


Isn’t it funny what Karma will throw at you if you open you heart and mind to possibilities? Have a fantastic week my friends…

~ Julz

Tuesday’s Textures…

Last month’s Kaizen Group Challenge was inspired by the amazing Artist Brooke Shaden, now she does not do Steampunk (well I don’t think so), but it is her methods and use of textures, objects and story creation that in part inspired this piece.



Now I have not really done much Steampunk before either but I bought some Steampunk kits from Mischief Circus and I really wanted to play. My Model Luke again. I actually did quite a few images using Luke, we did a shoot months ago, and we did some strange stuff in hopes I would someday use them……..and now I have πŸ™‚ .



This is another piece using Model – Lizzy D photo by Caroline Julia Moore, titled “Portal” what if you could step through one door and be transported to another world? Frankly I was just playing around and loved how it turned out, so did Ms Lizzy D who contacted me and thanked me and asked to put it on her Facebook page………how cool is that?

~ Julz


Monday’s Musings…

Isn’t funny how things happen? I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic and she thinks that when karma, kismet or whatever it is happens, it’s Big Magic….and maybe she is right. When creativity, muse, divine intervention throws an idea at you, you need to be ready to catch and run with it, or it might just move onto someone else.

As you all know I am taking BRAVE-R to the edge this year, I also believe in trying not to say NO (Unless of course it is something that I really don’t want to do), so I got a message from a fellow photography asking me if I wanted to work with a new model……sure why not, if it’s free then I am interested. A few messages were exchanged and a date set for Saturday just gone. Β I am still going through a real Brooke Shaden phase and many of the images I set up with fantasy, but dark, with hope and light on the edges, if that makes sense.

I had many ideas set up and notes taken, I had only seen a few photos of this girl. What I did not know about this girl…well woman actually, she is a survivor of domestic violence. I spent the morning with her, chatting away about stuff I honestly knew nothing about; it set fire to my creative soul……I wanted to bring beauty and fun and fantasy to her life.

My Kaizen Project group this month we are working with a charity, any charity…….can’t say much more about it yet, when I read this I cringed….really? A charity, who, The Lost Dog’s Home, Children’s Hospital, Red Cross………what could I possibly create for them that was inspiring and unique. Now don’t get me wrong, these are all good and worthy charities, but they didn’t excite me creatively; and then I met Hayley…….wow – KISMET!


Time to see what the future holds

So we had a wonderful few hours together, such a lovely, courageous young woman, who started modelling to build her confidence back up…………..WOW, kudos to her.

I am still editing those, but I did manage to sneak in a little Still Life, a Regular Random for this week, food shopping and cleaning, and even sat down and watched a movie – call me super woman! lol.


This weekend we are heading away for a few days, the weekend just gone Moth was on call, so we really cannot plan on anything, it is frustrating, but we are used to it after so many years. So the next few weeks we have loads planned, trying to fit is some Conceptual Portraits this month as next month is crazy.

Anyway I hope you have an amazing week, til next time, happy snapping…

~ Julz


Concept Shoots – The Red Dress

A little while ago I took The Red Dress out again for another spin, this time it was my daughter (Youngest), and her flowing long hair (before she cut it all off for charity). This time I saw sweeping beach vistas and knew just the place to visit. Down Blairgowrie/Sorrento way. It was still quite warm and not too hot and my eldest daughter cam with us as well.

I have three shots I really wanted to try, two meant climbing through sand dunes, lugging camera gear and paraphernalia with us. This is both my daughters, assistant and model……we made a girls night of it.


It was lovely and warm, but not too hot, I wanted several images for my Brooke Shaden 20 Day Portfolio challenge, as well as a Kaizen Group Project and also to add to me Red Dress collection.


Sunset Reflections


Learning to Fly

This is one of my favourite spots for long exposures and night photography, it is part of the Mornington Peninsula National Park in Blairgowrie on the Back Beach (Bass Strait) side of the point. Then lugging all the gear back down to the car we drove to St Paul’s Beach Β (Other side of the point) to much calmer, warmer waters. Where I really had an image in mind, but we tried a few other things first, just as well, as it did not work as well as I wanted……dress is too big and too heavy in the water.

We had quite an audience by now, remember – Summer Peak Holiday Season, at the beach on warm night. My Daughter decided to then fall back into the water, my other daughter did a live feed onto my Facebook, I can’t seem to show you the actual video, but if you go here it might work, scroll down til you see the live feed of the women in a red dress standing in the water. Oh man was it funny, all the people watching could not believe she just fell back in a full ballgown, there were audible sighs, groans and shouts of NO! Then lots of laughs as she repeated it again………..she then got a round of applause as she attempted to climb back up the beach dragging a VERY heavy wet dress behind her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We were all laughing so hard. What a great night out and a special memory for me with my daughters.


Into the Unknown


The Waiting

I love the first two, and I have processed these last two images, but I seem to be drawing a blank with some of the others, I am sure it will happen in time. Forcing the issue does not help. “Into the Unknown” has become a Nemesis of sorts, with about six edits and I am still not completely happy……..maybe it will never be what I imagined?

Now will the dress survive for another shoot? Time will tell, I had to hose all the sand and salt water off and just let it hang to dry…….poor dress, but it has served me well.

~ Julz

Tuesday’s Textures…Pet Portraits

Holidays are good for many things; drinking, eating, catching up with family and friends, travelling and then for me, there is just quiet time to play in Photoshop. I have been playing with the Mixer brush in PS and I think I am slowly getting the knack of it. Taking simple photos with ‘blah’ backgrounds and turning them into digital paintings…buddyOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAteddy

For those who know me and my fur babies will note that a certain black cat is missing. It turns out I really do not have any great images of him to work with, also he has short fur, which it seems to be more difficult to work with. The backgrounds are from Jai Johnson………just gorgeous for this sort of work, do not fear I will have one done soon; just not for this post.

Now this is the kind of thing I would love to print on a canvas and hang on the wall. If you would like one of your pet; past or present…give me a shout.

~ Julz

Bright Lights and Hot Rods

Moth and I recently (Yes, Hubby went to this one too..I am slowly corrupting him), to a Fine Art Nude/ Fashion Workshop with Brett Dorron from Australian Photographic AcademyΒ , featuring the wonderful model Denisa StrakovaDenisa Strakova and Light Painters extraordinaire Bill and Dee Holmer from Melbourne Light Painting. Billed as Bright Lights and Hot Rods, it started as more natural light and vintage cars (also a cool thing); but then turned into cool lights, lasers, dry ice and smoke machines; all set in an actual hot rod car garage, full of cars and machinery and cool collectibles.


Brett ran us through our paces with natural light and strobe lighting, while Denisa strutted her stuff in, on and over a very cool vintage car. Using mostly natural light while still available and the strobes as a fill, we moved more into strobes as the main source of light as it got darker. Once it was dark it was time for the light painting to start. Loads of fun and ideas thrown around, costume changes (it was not all nude), we used two different vintage cars, as well as some of the collectibles as sets. Culminating with a dress made of LED light strips and lasers through smoke……..very cool.


~ 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.


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



Conceptual Photo Shoot

I have been very lucky to shoot some of the people, events and things over the last year or so, I seem to have a knack of being in the right place at the right time…occasionally. Sometimes it’s just down to plain old hard work and lots of planning. One of the people that photography has brought into my life is Model Rachelle James. This girl is beautiful on the inside as well as the outside, nothing is ever too much to ask and she trusts my vision, even if she doesn’t necessarily fully get my concept until the finished edit; hey some of my concepts are pretty weird! But trust me she does…so when I suggested another full day shoot, she of course said yes. I think the girls love the weird stuff I come up with, the weirder the better, it’s so different from Fashion Photography.

My First idea for the day was a gypsy/fortune teller, I had the crystal ball. I had bought a few bits and pieces online as well; the dress, the belt, the hoop earrings and jewellery I already had.


Mystical Energies

I have learned that using a crystal ball is not brilliant for portraits, it really does odd things to peoples faces! So the reflection in this shot was blurred out and I added this wonderful fractal/ energy bolts. The Red glow was done using a red filter on the end of a light box (well a snoot actually). I then turned the smoke machine on…….oh what fun. The smoke machine is often a challenge to work with, the best results come from turning it on and waving it around and then take a photo or two once the smoke starts to fall. It seems to hang in the air for a moment or two before it dissipates.

We then tried the card through, this is actually harder than it looks. The image below is a composite of several images, just to get plenty of cards in the shot.


These two shots I hit the crystal ball with a snoot light and then bumped up the exposure in lightroom, to really make it glow.


We actually did five mini shoots this day, with costume changes and location shots….it was lots of fun, many laughs and I think we both learned a thing or two about each other during our conversations in the car rides.

I will save some of the other for another post.

~ Julz


What a roller coaster…

Pre – warning there will be a possible rant in here somewhere!

Man this has been such a roller coaster of a week, such highs and such lows. It all started last weekend with the freezer door being left open………lost a lot of food, but the positive out of it was sharing with family and friends to eat up all the food so it did not go to waste. THAT’s a good thing, the fact that it costs hundreds dollars to re stock the freezer………not so good. 😦 πŸ™‚ 😦

Then My Mum spent a night in the coronary ward, in Hospital; turned out all OK, but still very worrisome as I am sure you can all imagine. 😦

I received a notification that this month’s Living the Photo Artistic Life magazine is out and I saw that I have two of my Fine Art Nudes are in it, so that is very nice. My model Chey was quite hyped about it as well. πŸ™‚

real life-1-2


I spent yesterday morning with my dog, Buddy, with an Orthopedic Surgeon, what we thought was a strain or perhaps a small tear in his ACL turns out to be a complete rupture and he needs a replacement, poor Buddy………and my poor wallet. This will be costly, painful and lengthy, he is nine years old, so too young to leave without surgery. 😦

πŸ™‚ I then opened my email and saw that I have received an in-depth Portfolio review from the wonderful Brooke Shaden, she does this every year and I was too scared last year to apply and too clueless the year before to even know to apply, lol. She said some wonderful things about my digital art, my ability for working light and colour and creating a story. She also made a comment along the lines about my sense of purpose was perhaps a little confused……was my style more photographic, fine art, collage, painterly. She made some constructive criticism about 3 pieces in particular. My initial excitement dimmed a touch. 😦

Once I cooled off and got over my initial angst (no one likes criticism, right?), I re-read her review and looked at my images, and she is correct; the lines are blurring in my style. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Am I blurring the lines on purpose or due to lack of purpose. I though perhaps my style was evolving and I was growing and moving as an artist, I am evolving as a photographer; perhaps this is a natural progression? Β ;-P

Brooke’s email was so wonderful and full of such positive comments, I know her intent was not to scare me off, or even to make me second guess my own integrity, but instead to make re evaluate my mission, my purpose. So I have found myself at a loss. My style is quirky and mixed media and very difficult to pigeonhole, not that this is a bad thing, but WHERE do I want to take my art? I do portraits and landscapes and still life, concept, Fine Art. I know of late I am moving away from Landscapes, I still enjoy the travel and the photography, but it does not take up much in my digital art portfolio. I adore Fine Art Nudes and Light Painting, but again on a photographic level, not my digital art. Still Life is like my Meditation, my Zen… perhaps it’s more just for me than for the public, although many people say they adore my Still Life.

So that leaves me with my portraits and concept shoots, to be honest my heart is not in my portraits like it used to be, it helps pay the bills, but it doesn’t make my heart sing…not like my concept shoots. I still enjoy doing them, so don’t get me wrong on that score……….it’s just when I am working on a Concept Shoot, there is days, weeks even in the planning and I feel ALIVE; I need to do more of them.

Then there is my more recent collage work, I love it it is such fun, but again I guess it’s not my stuff……….a lot of it is bits and pieces created by someone else and I am just putting all together in a pleasing way.


Berkly Pack by Rebecca McMeen – Berkly in Paris by Me

I have also just opened up my Etsy Store….not much in it yet, but I’m working on more as we speak……….so that is very exciting. πŸ™‚

Like I said this was going to be a bit of a rant, sorry and thanks for sticking with me if you got this far!

~ Julz


A warm welcome Tyler…

I recently did a shoot with Master Tyler……8 weeks young, and his Mum & Dad. No Fuss, no tears, so calm & relaxed and oh so inquisitive; the lights, the camera, the bubbles…..did not like me behind the camera so much, preferred to see my face (I have no idea why?) I was chatting to his Mum & Dad during the shoot and I guess it boils down to most babies and toddlers these days have their photos and video taken on a Smartphone and are not used to a great big hulking DSLR……they have no concept of what it is or what it does. They understand (well toddlers and children anyway) the concept of having their photo taken and often revel in it, but a DSLR that hides most of the photographers face? I could shoot on a tripod, but it’s easier to move freely with babies and toddlers. Anyway here are just a few of my favourites.

So young and already such a serious young man………but such lovely cuddles.

~ Julz