Always something to learn

Today I spent the afternoon at a Blue-Dog Photography class on Mt Tamborine, it was the second half of a workshops recently cancelled due to bad weather and there wasn’t a cloud in sight. We traipsed through the rainforest to a rock pool and waterfall, the path well worn making it reasonably easy to spot snakes sleeping in the sun. Mt Tamborine has a number of national parks that are perfect for short or long walks, it is an area of the Gold Coast that I never tire of although if you visit the main street on a weekend you might wonder why. The main street is known as Gallery Walk and it is extremely popular with tourists, lots of shops and lots of cafes.

Surrounding the waterfall is an environment that is home to glow worms, you can’t see them during the day which fools people into thinking that nowhere is out of bounds as they clamber over the rocks towards the waterfall. Glow worms are extremely sensitive and their environment easily made uninhabitable by hapless humans, our teacher Danielle lets visitors know that it is a ‘no-go zone’ because it is obvious that they cannot read the signs.

Waterfall, Mt Tamborine

Waterfall, Mt Tamborine Waterfall, Mt Tamborine

After struggling with my tripod, my shaking hands and my camera settings I finally succeed in getting some shots that I am happy with. Learning how to use the manual settings on my DSLR is a slow process, but the class has helped immensely and actually having the time to practice is even more important. Today we played with white balance to create a different mood with our images and a slower shutter speed helped get that dreamy effect I love to see with waterfalls, using a remote shutter release helped with the shaky hands. Local wildlife showed up for a brief period, this really tested the brain and gave me the chance to see if I could capture a creature without resorting to the P setting on my camera. I’m pretty happy with the result :-)

Water Monitor, Mt Tamborine

Favourite things…raindrops on gerberas

Raindrops on gerberas doesn’t quite fit into the lyrics of the popular Sound of Music song ‘Favourite Things’ but they are beautiful and one of my favourite flowers. This week I planted some in a large pot and hope that we’ll have lots of colour for a few weeks, they’re surprisingly hardy and even the hubby likes them. Keeping my fingers crossed that they don’t die as a result of me lacking a green thumb :-)

Bright red Gerbera Bright red Gerbera

I love this time of year

Outside the heat of a Queensland Spring is destroying the green blades of grass and drying out the garden beds, the talk of an El Nino persists and I’ve been shopping for wetting agents, mulch and drought resistant native plants. Despite the heat, I love Spring and early morning walks with Bundy (Maxi is usually still snoring). This year all of the native plants seem to be in full flower with their sweet scent permeating the air and the low hum of buzzing bees following us wherever we go.

As the heat dissipates towards the end of the day both Bundy and Maxi take to the yard and play a short game of ‘catch me if you can’ or Bundy returns to playing with his favourite toy of late, the bucket. When not playing with his bucket you can find Bundy sleeping on the tiles or making himself comfortable on one of the outdoor chairs, Maxi can usually be found not far away, snoring loudly and blissfully ignorant of what is going on around her.

Summer is predicted to be long, hot and dry, quite different to the very wet and muggy summers we’ve had over the last few years. When it gets really hot we’ll take the dogs to the beach before the sun comes up and head home before traffic jams make being on the road unbearable, for now Bundy and I will continue to enjoy the fresh, early morning Spring walks.

Using Lightroom for processing my photos

Photoshop came into my life in the early nineties, at the time I was in my last year of a degree in graphic design and had just bought an Apple LCIII with an 80MB hard drive. Since graduating there has been numerous upgrades to the software and my computers and I moved from using Photoshop for processing photographs to Lightroom. Lightroom doesn’t have the millions of features that Photoshop has but it is sufficient for most things I want to do and the interface is easier to use, and it has the added bonus of being alot cheaper.

There are heaps of tips and video tutorials available for users of Lightroom, and a few days ago I came across a short YouTube clip demonstrating how to add a bit of oomph to my images. The technique is quite simple, boost saturation of the Blue Primary in your Camera Calibration menu.  Below is the video tutorial by Trevor Dayley:

Although it may not be suitable for all images, you can choose the level of saturation and it does work quite well with my landscape photographs. Below are a couple of before and after pictures so you can see the difference. I’d love to know what you think, does it work for you? Which image do you prefer?

Having coffee in Riomaggiore, Italy

The Hubby ‘before’ pic with only minor adjustments made and no adjusting of the blue primary.

The before pic with only minor adjustments made and 100% saturation with blue primary.

The Hubby ‘after’ pic with only minor adjustments made and 100% saturation with blue primary.

Vernazza at dusk

The Vernazza ‘before’ pic with only minor adjustments made and no adjusting of the blue primary.

The Vernazza 'after' pic with only minor adjustments made and 100% saturation of the blue primary.

The Vernazza ‘after’ pic with only minor adjustments made and 100% saturation of the blue primary.

A sample from Swell 2014

The annual Swell Sculpture Festival is currently underway at Currumbin Beach Queensland. Traffic was bumper to bumper and parks were scarce but after 20 minutes of stalking potential parking spots we were successful and joined the hordes on the esplanade at Currumbin Beach. Bundy always enjoys an evening stroll, he and the hubby spent most of their time people watching and patiently waiting for me to finish taking photographs. Here is a sample of some of my favourites from this years festival.


Winter is almost over

Today we farewell Winter and although it still feels cold in inside our house, the warmth of Spring has arrived and with it comes screeching Sulphur Crested Cockatoos and Rainbow Lorikeets. Our Grevillea trees are flowering, as are the Coco Magnolias and neighbouring Eucalypts. The Koala has been returning every few days and is showering our yard with Koala poo and small branches of gum leaves, Bundy is obsessed with sniffing everything that falls from the tree and is happy to be outdoors for several hours at a time during the night whilst the Koala is around.