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

 

Summer Outings – Night time Beach Bliss

I am sure you are all aware now of my affection for the ocean, I always feel a sense of calm and release when I can see, hear and smell the ocean; apparently I’m not alone. I guess Seafarers for centuries have spoke of the desire to be near the ocean. The is a way to heighten the senses while near the ocean; a warm summer night, with clear skies allowing you to see the Milky Way over the water………sheer magic if you ask me.

We recently found ourselves pulled back down to the Mornington Peninsula for another spot of Astro Photography, not our normal spot, it was too windy, we decided to try another, it appears I have come full circle, as this is the same spot I learnt astro to begin with….life is funny like that isn’t it? Now Summer is the perfect time to be outside at night, warm tropical breezes and all that……it is not the best time for doing astro; the Summer heat radiates off the ground and adds to any possible light pollution….but hey! Light Pollution can be cool too!

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So we set up for the night, I was on top of the cliff (for want of a better word) and Moth climbed all the stairs down to the beach, he wanted to shoot from ground level and I wanted to look down, across and up. He wanted to do star trails, I just wanted standard shots.

Even though it’s night, once your eyes adjust it is quite light enough to see and light enough to get light leak in my silly camera, I am also finding a really bad graininess at higher Higher than I used to get. This is a three shot vertical panorama, done in PS, you can see the light pollution near the ground, I like it; gives a cool ombre effect as the sky darkens.

Astro is not as easy as taking a snap in the dark, there are processes to follow and sky maps to check, processing to be done afterwards. But sometimes, like this night I didn’t really take that many photos – I just stood and looked and listened, and felt a sense of rebirth and wakefulness. Staring at that big expanse of the sky, puts me in my place, the sky is stunning, but has no ego, it was there long before me and will probably exist long after me. Someone else will be standing in this spot, staring at the night sky and thinking the same thing.

Mysteries of the universe and all that…….are we alone? I doubt it, I mean the universe and galaxies and such, are we so egotistical to think we are the only ones? I mean seriously, look at Humans as a whole……would you want to be friends with us? We fight and bicker worse than 5 year olds, we kill each other for ridiculous reasons; hello?????????? why is your God any better than theirs? I’ll stay atheists thanks. If you want proof of a higher existence, look at the night sky; billions of years old…….it gave birth to this galaxy and many others, it gave birth to Mother Earth……….and it is stunningly beautiful.

WOW! I am getting so deep and philosophical, see what the ocean does to me, expands my mind. I will stop now and leave you with some pretty pictures.

If you look really close on the last image in the middle, left hand side, some one in the distance was light painting with steel wool 🙂 we tried to find them, but never succeeded.

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Playing around and making it look like meteor showers, kind of cool huh?

Seriously though folks, every now and then, stop and look up at the night sky and enjoy its majesty.

~ Julz

Summer Outings – Werribee Zoo

Werribee Open Range Zoo is located 35 kilometres west of Melbourne’s city centre, on the Princes Freeway. It is a short 30-minute drive from the city over the Westgate Bridge or via the Geelong Road.

I was in need of a little bit of fun and frivolity, and we both needed to get out of the house; we vowed over the last 12 months to visit all three of Melbourne’ Zoos – this was the last one. Each of the Zoo’s have a different aspect to them, Healesville is excellent for Australian Wildlife and the Birds of Prey Show and Melbourne Zoo has the Butterfly House, the Elephants and so much more…but to me I still love the Werribee Zoo, it has an African Theme and most of the animals and many of the plants even are African. There is also an Australian Bushland Section, for the overseas visitors I suppose.

Werribee Zoo also has just put the new Lion Cubs on display this week…….have to see these guys!

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So that was out first port of call, as they were only on display in the mornings to start with and we got there a bit late…….they had finished playing were getting ready for a nap. Awwwwwwwww so cute.

Next were the Hippos….I gotta love me some Hippo, second only to elephants in my book. I know they are actually quite dangerous, but there is something about them, maybe coz my butt resembles one? lol

Anyway we wandered around and saw a few animals, Wild African Dogs, Gorillas, Monkeys, Meerkats and such, then headed over to the Safari Tour, we just did the standard bus tour, but next time the special photography tour by 4X4 might be in order. We got to drive out on the savannah and see buffalo, giraffes, ponies, zebra, eland, rhino and a few others, as well. The tour ride is about 40 minutes and sees quite a lot of animals and there is a guide pointing out animals, habitats and other interesting facts.

We sat and had lunch at the restaurant/cafe which has a long glass wall shared with the main Meerkat enclosure, eat and watch the cutest animals on the planet….yes please!

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As we still had plenty of time and had been around once, we decided to head back and see if the Lions had moved….we got some new ones this afternoon, but no movement.

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And then went back to the Hippos (of course) and then the Meerkats (for a coffee and cuteness).

Something new for us is the Australian Bushland exhibit and wetlands, we had not seen that before, and I will leave it for another post…I hope you enjoyed our wonderful day at the zoo; we certainly did.

Til next time, happy snapping…

~ Julz

 

 

Summer Outings – Exhibition Buildings

I feel like it’s been forever since we just went out with photography friends and shot, chatted and just hung out. I know it’s really only been a few weeks, but still it’s good to relax and have a few laughs. This is the old Royal Exhibition Buildings in Melbourne, not the new Exhibition Centre (aka Jeff’s Shed). It is a stately old building with a fountain at the front and beautiful gardens surrounding it all. At night the lights are turned on and it is all like a Summer wonderland. This is one of those things on my Smaller Bucket List, kept meaning to do it, but just never quite found the right time to go, until now.It’s not difficult to get to or to find, it was just a matter of timing.

We did some long exposures, but not enough cloud to make the skies really interesting, and no real sunset to speak of. Then once it was dark the lights came on and we shot for a few hours. It was a warm pleasant evening to shoot and chat amongst ourselves. There really isn’t much more to say, I’ll leave you with the gallery…

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You can read more about the buildings and grounds here, there is often exhibition on here and well worth a visit.

~ Julz

Flinders Pier – Sunrise

So we were invited to go and photograph Flinders Pier at Sunrise, keeping in mind sunrise was 6:26am and approx one hour from here; we were looking at a 3:30am wake up…..OMG! Sure Julie says………….so drag my butt out of bed, and it’s actually chilly (remember, Australia, middle of Summer!) so we grab lots of fresh coffee and drive down the Flinders and meet the others at the car park, first thing we notice……….lots of cloud. That’s OK we can wait it out and hope it lifts.

And……………..nope grey on grey on grey, so I went B&W

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ISO 100, F/20. 30 Seconds ND6 Filter

We then went and grabbed a coffee, Moth and I thought we would try down the ‘Sticks’ what is left of the old Jetty. I love being at the beach, even on grey days; the sounds the smells, the atmosphere. Gulls circling and squawking, the waves crush against the sand (OK so not many waves, but still) I feel connected and in touch, I can and did spend ages just standing there feeling it all wash over me, the peace the serenity.

Lots of people walking their dogs, but still very little colour, then the clouds really closed in and it started to rain………so we ended up going home for a nap!

~ 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

Summer Sunsets…

January 1st, 2017, let’s go to the iconic Melbourne Bay Princes Pier and shoot sunset, shall we? Asked a guy in one of our Photography groups…….sure we said. Not much of a sunset, skies turned stormy and it drizzled on and off while we waited for the sky to clear. This is as good as it got.

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We gave up and left after about 45 minutes. On the way home, we stopped at a footbridge near our house over the freeway, we had always wanted to try to do some light trails there, but never seem to find the time……..well the skies had cleared a little so we went for it.

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Looking away from the City

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Looking towards the city

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Not a huge amount of traffic, this night, not sure if it made this better or not? This is the end of the footbridge. So overall the first few days of 2017 the weather has been less than average, well that’s Melbourne in Summer for you; last week we were melting this week we need our winter woolies out again 🙂 it has taken me ages to post as I have been busy removing rain spots from the first image lol

We are planning on do the Princes Pier again in a few weeks, hopefully we will get better weather then?

~ Julz