Monthly Archives: October 2014

More fun with poppies

The Flanders Poppy is fast becoming my favourite flower.  It has a simplicity about it, four petals and a rather cute centre, a miniature opium poppy head as far a I can tell.  Along with subtle differences in colour and some not so subtle variations the provide an interesting variety of shapes and colours.

For photography purposes not only can one just do the blooms but there is the ability to find a flower bud about to open that has a grin a somewhat cheeky grin I think. not that I have one in my crop so far.

Now to the photos, just two variations of three poppies, hope you like them.

three-popies-lr three-popies-v2-lr


Mixing art with significant events

I hummed and ahed about this post, should I do it or would it seem a bit crass.  In the end I decided that art has always attempted to represent humanity at its best and at its worst.  Including those terrible events of world wars. Therefore it should be ok for me to add my humble token to the ever enlarging pool of art about conflicts between humans.


So here goes:


I have been attempting to grow flanders poppies for some time, the first effort failed as the plants died while we were away.  This year I have finally succeeded in growing two batches of poppies.  The first is a very impoverished batch due mostly to poor quality soil and minimal water.  The flowers that resulted are very delicate with needle thin stems just strong enough to hold the bright red flowers up for the world to see.  On seeing how delicate they are I realised that in their own way they represented the fragility of humans, especially in times of great conflict and in particular the frailty of soldiers caught up in the horror of trench warfare that the first world war delivered.


I choose two poppies to photograph because for me that represents the mate-ship of soldiers at arms, their dependence on their mates to look out for each other.  I know that just a few weeks away is Remembrance  Day here and that the Flanders Poppy is the symbol used to represent our day of remembering their sacrifice.


I do hope that the message contained in the image will help remind us that war is something to be avoided.


A makeshift Macro

If you have a DSLR or a camera with removable lenses then one does not need to go out and buy a macro lens.  What I hear you say you don’t need to go out and buy a macro lens.  Yes thats right.  Save your money until buying a macro is really worth while.

So what do you do in the mean time,  well it is simple.  Take the lens off your camera and turn it around so that the front of the lens rest against the camera body.  It will serve as a nice macro, most likely produce great bokeh and is cheap.  Of course the down side is that one can drop the lens, dust can get into the camera body or one may touch the lens rear elements or control contacts.  Which is why sooner or later one really does need to buy a specific purpose macro lens.  However until that time one can make do with turning the lens around.

Just to show you what one can produce I have added in a quick shot of a flanders poppy that I took this morning using this technique.  It is a bit soft but that is more from foreground objects blurring the focus area.  Give it a go and see what success you have..


Around home

Haven’t been able to get out for landscapes the last few days and as always the itch to take photographs becomes to much so it is look around for something to capture.

This morning some French Lavender that I have growing caught my eye.  After some edits in photoshop which included a warming filter and some lowering of vibrance and saturation I ended up with this.  Hope you like it.



Murtoa is a small town in regional Victoria and roughly 350Kms from Melbourne.  There generally is not much on offer in Murtoa  That is until the first weekend in October.  Then all hell breaks loose for the small town.  They have a number of events designed to attract the visitor.  Now a number of those are in reality quite small attractions, such as the water tower museum.  There is not much room in there but what they do have is a very good collection of stuffed birds, it really is quite good.

For the motoring enthusiasts there is a motoring rally for old cars and such like and in the local town hall a collection of art works.  The town is also blessed with a nice lake by which one can have a nice picnic.

However there is one attraction that is unique to Australia and perhaps the world it is the Murtoa Stick Shed.  In reality it is an old wheat silo made during the second world war to store grain that Australia could not sell. It is called the stick shed because of the large number of Mountain Ash Timbers used to hold the roof up.  It really is well worth seeing along with being the only silo of its type left in Australia.  That makes it as rare as the other world monuments just not as grand in style.

I suppose by now you are curious as to what it looks like,  now I only took photos from the inside so that is all you are going to see.  By the way if you google earth Murtoa you cant miss the stick shed.

Here is the photo:


I Love Learning

All my life I have learnt new things.  Sometimes through work, sometimes by reading widely and sometimes by doing and seeing new things.  Over the years I have done many things that are intellectually, well for me anyway, challenging.  Such as learning to play clarinet, doing woodwork etc.  As you know my latest venture is photography and like any human endeavour to become proficient one must practise and read and learn.  Every time I go out with the camera I am learning something new, whether it is composition, light, angles, leading lines, subject it does not matter I am learning.

How do I know well Iook back at my work and observe the changes.  Some are subtle others clearly show progress.  Sometimes I look like I am going backwards as well.  Then again that is what learning is about, the ability to review and accept that sometimes intellectual progress requires regression.  If I had to say one thing about learning then it would be “develop an ability to reflect on what one has done”

So what has this little ramble got to do with photography.  Well probably not a lot it is just that I visited a site very much photographed here in Melbourne on two occasions and I am going to show the results of the two visits.  Its up to you which version you like but for me I think that the later work shows more skill but I could be wrong.

Now for the two photos ( the later by the way scored 93.4 on 500px which is my highest score for any photo that I have put there.  You have to be on 500px to understand the scoring system and what it takes to get to the first page in popular landscapes, a score of 99.9, so I have a way to go before I get to that level but I am very happy with 93.4 so far).

From the first visit.


The second visit.