my (amateur) photography adventure



Garden of St Erth

The Garden of St Erth is a historic garden at Blackwood, Victoria maintained by The Diggers Club.

We visited on a wet winter day as part of our holiday through country Victoria.  Not much was in flower, due to the time of year, but there were plenty of subjects for my macro lens to target.

Garden of St Erth 6 x 8


Bees on a mission

I love the street trees of south east Queensland and have posted about lillypillies, frangipani, jacaranda, poinciana and ivory curl trees previously here:

The mock orange (Murraya paniculata) in my street is in full blossom at the moment, after the recent heavy rains, and the bees love it!

Here are some quick macro shots from my front yard:

Murraya paniculata

not a bee
not a beeMurraya paniculata

This the first time that I’ve used my new flash + diffuser for macro shots – pretty happy with how it turned out!

Rainy Day at Bangalow

Hydrangea and Bangalow palm at Bangalow





Snow Day!

While travelling in New Zealand’s South Island last year, we had a glorious “snow day” in Queenstown.  At approximately 300m above sea level, and with a large glacial lake, Queenstown rarely sees snow in the town itself – but they had 30cm of fresh snow on one of the days we were there! A local shopkeeper said that it was the most snow he’d seen in Queenstown in 20 years.

Our plans for the day were cancelled – we couldn’t travel as we had planned, but once we managed to find accommodation for the night, we had the most glorious “snow day” – a great experience for the girls (and the adults).

The outside photos were taken (with very cold fingers) near the cemetery, at the base of Bob’s Peak, the hill closest to town.

[click any picture for fullsize]

The Crags

Above: Beautiful coastline at The Crags

We stayed in beautiful Port Fairy as part of our Victorian trip – we used it as our ‘western gateway’ to the Great Ocean Road.  Just west of Port Fairy is this beautiful little coastal spot – ‘The Crags’ – it was a bit of an entree before the Great Ocean Road main course.

[click any picture for full size]

Kyneton Daffodils

While travelling in Victoria we stayed at a lovely farmstay, Laurimar Glen, in Kyneton.  The girls had a fantastic time even though it was coooold and wet.  The hosts were very welcoming, especially Farmer Eric who was very patient giving a farm tour and letting the girls ‘help’ to feed the llama, deer, pigs and donkeys.

Farmer Eric also grows beautiful daffodils and jonquils and supplies wheelbarrows full of daffodils for the annual Kyneton Daffodil Festival.  I had a chance to take some photos in his beautiful garden.

Macedon Ranges

Photos from the beautiful Macedon Ranges area, taken on our Victorian trip.

[click any photo for full size]

Photographers at Work, Part 2

Above: Pro Sports photographer in action – Hockeyroos vs USA international

It’s fun to catch other photographers at work – I especially like to try to get them in action, with their subject matter in shot as well.  Here are a few which worked out pretty well:

Miss Eight, photographer at work, Botanic Gardens
Wedding pro in action
photographer at work, Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens

You might find the photographers a bit harder to spot in these next two ‘long exposure’ pictures.  Hint:  they’re the ones standing fairly still!

other keen amateur photographers at work, in my long exposure – The Wheel of Brisbane
extra hint: follow the line of the flagpoles in the above picture. ISO100, 45mm, f/8, 15s.
Miss Eight, photographer at work. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky statue stargazing in the background

This is my second “Photographers at Work” story – the other one is here: Photogs at Work 1


I finally bought a tripod.  I’ve been ‘making do’ with a Joby Gorillapod for almost a year – it’s pretty great but you can only do so much with a 30cm tall tripod.

So, my “industrial strength” Induro AT413 tripod arrived in the mail today.  It’s a heavy beast but I wanted something really simple, tough and stable.  It weighs nearly 4kg but I have small kids so I’m used to carrying stuff around everywhere :).

Naturally I had to give it a go:

I turned off all the lights and set up a couple of candles for lighting.  You can get some fascinating effects with flickering light and long exposure.  Here’s the result:

Gerberas - ISO100, 60mm, f/5.6, 30s with color temp SOOC.

That’s interesting but the red / orange glow wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. Fortunately I use Lightroom 4 for developing my pics and when shooting in RAW, this is an easy color temperature adjustment.

Here is exactly the same picture – the only change here is a slide of the color temperature down by 1200 Kelvin (i.e. shifting color from red towards blue):

Gerberas - ISO100, 60mm, f/5.6, 30s with color temp fix.

That pink is pretty close to the original gerbera colour.  Lightroom is cheap to buy, simple to use, powerful and pretty amazing.

Oh, the tripod was (naturally) solid as a rock :).  I look forward to using it in much more challenging circumstances, soon!

The Buderim Studio, part 2

Grevillea ‘Lyrebird’ above

More photos from my parents’ tropical garden at Buderim.

Ginger flower
Clivea flowers in the afternoon sun

For more pics from the “Buderim studio” look here:  Buderim pictures

Anzac Day

Anzac stood, and still stands, for reckless valour in a good cause, for enterprise, resourcefulness, fidelity, comradeship, and endurance that will never own defeat.

C. E. W. Bean, Australian official historian

Related post about Anzac Day is here: The kind old sun

NZ South – Dunedin Chinese Garden

an unexpected pleasure in the middle of Dunedin.

tortured pine
looking across the Dunedin Chinese Garden, back to the First Church of Otago on the skyline
Dunedin Chinese Garden details

More NZ South photos here: NZ South

The Buderim Studio

Above: The freakish looking “bat plant”

My parents have an extensive tropical garden on a steeply sloping block, at their house at Buderim.  It is their recreation (seems like a lot of hard work to me!) and their pride and joy.  It really is of show /”open garden” quality, though they don’t open it for show (except for a few flower entries in the local garden club show).

When I first bought my DSLR I spent a weekend learning to use it in their garden and I have shot there regularly since.  Here are a few pictures from the Easter weekend:


Gum tree leaves in silhouette, at dusk

NZ South – Larnach Castle

These photos are from our trip to the South Island of New Zealand in August 2011 – I’m finally starting to go through them properly.  We had the most fantastic winter family holiday; this is a small part of it.

Larnach Castle is located on the Otago Peninsula near Dunedin.  I was in two minds about whether it was worth a visit, when planning our trip, but it was a really good family outing and the garden was full of opportunities for a photographer.

Click any picture in the galllery for a full size slideshow.

Photos are, unfortunately, not allowed inside (the interior photo above is taken in the cafe, located in the old servant’s quarters).

Lillypilly: Street Trees

Lillypilly are another common and popular street tree of SE Qld.  They have glossy dark green leaves, red or pale green new growth and are suitable for hedging, topiary or specimen trees.

When flowering they can be hugely attractive to insects and I was alerted to the fact that one of ours was flowering, by the buzz of hundreds of bees.

Profuse lillypilly blossoms
One of the many bees going crazy
Lillypilly buds opening, tiny native stingless bee collecting nectar

See my former posts in the Street Trees series here:


Jacaranda, Poinciana and Ivory Curl trees

Little Life

Newsflash: Insects are small.  And they move.  For these reasons (and others such as shallow Depth of Field for close subjects) taking macro shots of insects is, usually, just plain hard work.  90% of the shots are not good enough to share, but occasionally I get some that are worthwhile.

I’ve added the EXIF settings to the pics to follow on from a discussion with Jeremy about macro shots and depth of field etc.

click the pics for full size.  In the full size pics you will see the pollen on the bee’s head and leg if you look closely (the web-quality pics don’t really do it justice so I have included a blow-up).



Experimenting with different textures in the macro lightbox which I built following the tutorial by Nick Exposed.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My lightbox is still a bit dodgy and needs lots of tweaking but thanks for the idea Nick – this should be fun once I start getting it right.

Seussical Succulents

Truffula cactus? ;)

Inspired by this post at (a wonderful garden / photography blog) enclos*ure: From there to here , and by Dr Seuss’s birthday.

While visiting the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens today, these plants looked positively Seussian (or should that be “Seussical”).

If you’re not familiar with his work, here’s what you’re looking for:

His strange plants and landscapes — tops of mops, spikes, and feathers; elongated, twisty trunks; improbable angles, odd hills and rocks — form a visual vocabulary that we all understand and use routinely.

Cindy @ enclos*ure

twisty trunk..... check!
Horton's ear?
improbable angles..... check!
feathery.... check!


Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.  ~Leonardo DaVinci

Succulent 'flapjacks'
Gazania, opening
Eucalyptus "Summer Beauty" - new shoot
Gazania, up close
deep purple

Look Now, See Forever – Yayoi Kusama, GoMA

‘Look Now, See Forever’ is a “major solo exhibition by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama” at Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art.

Quite stunning.

photographers enjoying "Dots Obsession” by Yayoi Kusama
"Flowers that bloom at midnight” by Yayoi Kusama
"Dots Obsession” by Yayoi Kusama
"Flowers that bloom at midnight” by Yayoi Kusama
"Flowers that bloom at midnight” by Yayoi Kusama, other works in background
2009-2010 paintings by Yayoi Kusama
"Flowers that bloom at midnight”; Yayoi Kusama
"TRANSMIGRATION" by Yayoi Kusama, seen through "Flowers that bloom at midnight"
Entry to "The Obliteration Room” by Yayoi Kusama
Looking back through "The Obliteration Room” by Yayoi Kusama
Resting, "The Obliteration Room” by Yayoi Kusama
Up close, in "The Obliteration Room” by Yayoi Kusama

Previous posts from GoMA:

GoMA turns 5
Yes, sometimes there are people… (part 2)
Across Country

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