The year that was……..2016

2016 was a turbulent year, on a personal note I had many highs and some fabulous adventures, but globally there was so much sadness. 2016 was a terrible year for singers, writers and actors; Jon English, Prince, David Bowie, Glen Frey, we lost Alan Rickman and Gene Wilder and now George Michael and Carrie Fischer; just among the few. I won’t go into the horrendous acts of violence here, but there were far too many of them too.

We did a great many day trips and weekends away;

I was so lucky to get so many of my digital art pieces published, and hope to have many more in 2017.

I started my own Vimeo and YouTube channel…….please visit, like and share. I have created and printed two books and a range of greeting cards, and participated in many fun and exciting workshops, as well as ran many of my own.

It has been one hell of a ride…………I hope 2017 is just as full of amazing adventures, with less sadness and loss.

~ Julz


Spring Outings – Mont de Lancey Homestead

Built in 1867 Mont de Lancey by Henry Sabire the estate had humble beginnings and was one of the early settlers in the are of Wandin in the Yarra Valley, about one hour from Melbourne. More history can be read here.

We visited on this occasion for the Draught Horse & Vintage Machinery Weekend 

A fun day with working displays including:

  • Draught Horses ploughing the fields
  • Vintage Machinery running up a huge head of steam
  • Blacksmiths firing up the forges to make horse shoes
  • Woodturners making a range of beautiful timber objects
  • Working dogs rounding up sheep
  • Creative chainsaw carving
  • PLUS much more

A great destination for a day trip, just an hour’s drive from Melbourne.

It was a cloudy morning, which then cleared into quite a warm afternoon, but such a glorious day up in the Yarra Valley.  We watched the Cattle dogs herd sheep, watched whips being made and used.

Watched woodturners and blacksmiths, draught horses ploughing, hay baling, vintage and classic cars, wood carving and vintage machinery. We explored the grounds and the homestead, the church and schoolyard, the roses gardens and the museum. We met some great characters and talked to many people, I adore to watch these Master Craftsmen (and Women) do what they do best. Sometimes the old ways are the best ways…..true modern machinery makes things cheaper and quicker, but not as well. It was such a wonderful day out.

~ 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



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.


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.


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.


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.


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


Monday’s Musings…

What a truly stunning weekend, good friends, and magnificent weather…….summer is finally on it’s way!

I am yet to go through so many photos from the weekend, I did a day long shoot with the ever wonderful Rachelle James, we did five mini shoots in one day…… much fun.


This so far is my favourite…… my new toy; see the crystal ball? It’s real and will be making a few appearances shortly.

On Sunday we met up with a group of Tog Friends at Tenby Point in Victoria (near Phillip Island) to shoot this old pier at low tide, the whole area is mostly marshland, so a lightle bit fragrant. Here is my new crystal ball again… was then used by many of my fellow togs, we were attempting to do long exposures, however it was so still my 4 1/2 minute exposure looked no different really to a quick snap.



4.5 second exposure with Firecrest 16 ND Filter


We gave up on the long exposures and played around with the ball and then because it really was getting quite hot, we left and went along the coast looking for a coast breeze. We explored a little of the San Remo region,  before heading home. Sometimes our day trips are exhausting and with a temp of 29c it was our first real warm day. Not much more from me today, will write more in depth post on the weekend’s shoots latter on.

Til next time, happy snapping…

~ Julz


Spring Outings – Myuna Farm

I recently visited the Myuna Children’s Farm in Doveton, it was for my Great Nephew’s 1st Birthday. I have not been there since my own girls were little and it has actually changed quite a bit. I wandered around taking a few photos here and there.

It was a lovely, warm Spring day and I managed to get some lovely shots, a cute smile and a touch of sunburn; ouch! I was not on official duty today, but I did take a few snaps of the birthday boy and his cake.

Lovely little spot to take kids to see some standard farm animals and feed the chickens, there is a great playground, BBQ facilities and a little train that takes you all over the farm, or you can walk and there is pony rides as well.

~ Julz

Super Moon……….Super Clouds!

The Moon is coming the Moon is coming……..sounds a little like Chicken Little and The Sky is falling, The Sky is falling; doesn’t it. There was a lot of hype over this particular Super Moon, but it really was not all that spectacular. If you read this post by Gary Hart, he explains it all quite well, he also has some magnificent photos. I on the other hand got nothing!

Melbourne put on it’s usual charm for a celestial event and had complete cloud cover 😦 . We all shuffled off to various spots around Melbourne, but did not get much at all. I did manage to get some lovely shots of the City Skyline (the plan was to get shots of the city in silhouette as the Super Moon rose above it). All I got was a Super Cargo Ship, Super Clouds (there was a glow through the cloud). Oh and I briefly saw the moon through a break in the clouds on the way home, honestly it really didn’t look that big??????????

Even The Age newspaper took a few shots of my group (I’m am just out of shot) and called it a #SuperFizzer. Moth was asked to comment for the paper and they took his name and number, I doubt that they called this morning for an update and photos hahahahaha! Poor Hubby his first 5 minutes of fame and he got nothing. Oh well there is still another 2 nights to grab something (maybe) and then there is always next month, it will only be slightly smaller.

Til next time, happy snapping and good luck with your moon pics….

~ Julz



Spring Outings – Yarra Glen

On the Saturday we had torrential downpours, hail and in some places even snow -(OK, Melbourne you’ve had your joke, only 5 weeks til Summer, get your act together!), so we thought visiting Alowyn Gardens on the Sunday was a brilliant idea.

I completely missed out a few weeks back as I was ill and I really wanted to visit them again this Spring, this was my only real opportunity for quite a while, so we just did it, I took a couple of friends with us who had never been before, shame they missed the garden in ALL their glory, but it was still a beautiful morning out, albeit a bit cold still. But rugged up in all our Winter Woollies, we drive to Yarra Glen, grabbed a coffee and wandered around the beautiful French inspired gardens, they were setting up for a wedding that afternoon and there was also a wedding shoot going on while we were there, so I snuck a few pics of the bride and groom and even the cake! Unfortunately I missed the wisteria again, and many of the water Iris were badly damaged and faded, not a patch on last year. As we have been before, Moth decided to practice with the Macro lens only and I was focusing on still life aspects and flowers only. My friends were shooting anything and everything and oohing and aahing at every corner…..they really need to come back and see it in all it’s glory (and so do we).

We then went next door to the Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery, where we bought some lovely Gluten and Dairy Free yummies and then also had lunch on the heated deck overlooking the valley……….such a fabulous lunch, good friends and a great view.

We then headed over to Yellingbo, where Camelot Castle receptions was hosting a Medieval Festival. I have been past this place many times and also yearned to see what was inside, as it is usually by appointment or functions only. Due to lingering (and waiting) far too long over our lunch we only had 45 minutes here, but it was plenty of time, the actual reception venue itself was not really all that exciting, nor castle like as such, not like Kryal Kastle. However, the people in costume were wondrous and varied, mostly from the Gippsland Sword Play Group. I struck up a conversation with Daniel from the group and promptly a few picks and managed to get myself (and Hubby) invited to photograph a session……….more on that later. So we snapped a few pics of various people and the wonderful Yellingbo CFA (Country Fire Authority) Volunteers, made a charitable donation to such a worthy cause and then headed onto our next location.

As it really was not that far away I wanted to head back to Mount Burnett, I knew the Observatory would be closed, but I really love the view of the valley from up there.With all the rain we have had it was so impossibly green, that will change as soon as Summer gets here.


It was then time to head home, but it had been a delightful day out with some good friends, we even got a bit of sunshine on our way home.

Til next time, happy snapping…

~ Julz