Tag Archives: photography

Canon SX110IS and great kids make for a happy New Year


Where ever you are – Happy New Year to you (albeit a little late).

I hope you had a good (and safe) time, and that 2009 brings you much happiness and satisfaction.

We (M & I) spent New Year’s Eve on the grassy bank bordering Birrarung Marr, watching the fireworks with Meg and five of her friends.

We thought we were brave taking six fourteen and fifteen year-old girls into town, where the crowd numbered in the hundreds of thousands, but they were a real delight – all skipping along arm-in-arm and having a lovely time. The worst problem we had was keeping up with them as they practically ran through the crowd!


These (obviously hand-held) photos were taken with my Christmas present – a Canon SX110IS compact. I’m in the process of putting it through it’s paces, and must say that I am impressed so far. A (largish) pocket-sized camera with the equivalent of a 36 – 360mm lens and everything from fully auto to fully manual control is hard to beat, and Canon’s menus are consistently easy to navigate, making it easy to take advantage of its many features. I think it performed really well under difficult circumstances – I mean, who would try to take photos of fireworks without a tripod?!

Just wait til you see the photos of the hippos at Werribee Open Range zoo…

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Random things

The ceiling near the cinemas

Here are a few random images I’ve taken over the last week or so. This first image is of the ceiling at Northland Shopping centre, in the open space at the foot of the escalators that lead up to the cinemas: an unexpectedly creative ceiling and one that is easy to miss. I mean, how often do you stand around at the shopping centre, gazing at the ceiling?!

This second image has appeared recently on the wall of an old garage in Fairfield, at the northern end of the shopping strip. I like the fact that whoever painted it, used a rectangular hole in the wall (made by a missing brick,  perhaps?) as the mouth.

Another fun bit of graffiti - this time in Fairfield.

This morning when I walked past, someone had put a stick in it, so that it looked like it was eating.

My next image is another one of the shot tower at Melbourne Central.

In black and white you can really concentrate on the strong lines and contrasts. This was taken coming up the escalator from the station.


Finally, a detail shot of the carved paving at Federation Square. When the light hits it at an angle you can see all the carving in great detail, providing yet another focal point to consider. The more time I spend there, the more I discover and the more I like.

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giant poppiesOn one of my daily walks with the dogs, earlier in the week, I came across this magnificent poppy growing through a woven-wire fence.

I have never seen such a large poppy (at least, I think that is what it is – the seed capsules and leaves look like it, but it seems more like a shrub, in habit, than I would have expected). I must introduce myself to the home owner one day, and ask!

Whatever it is, the bees love the flowers and swarmed all over them. I’ll admit, I lamented only having my phone camera with me, as macro shots were not possible. I would have loved to capture the bees with their chaps loaded with pollen, but it wasn’t to be. In the end, I was quite happy with the result above, but it did highlight something I’ve been worrying about over the past weeks – the lack of photography I’ve been doing with my ‘big’ camera – my much-loved Canon 10D, since I started this project.

In theory, I should be taking both my phone and my DSLR out with me. This would mean that I would be taking more pictures than usual rather than fewer. The reality is, though, that this has become all-consuming and I have been leaving my other camera at home far more often than I like.

The other thing I have come to realise, is how difficult it is to post daily… I find that, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t get here every day, and so have been re-thinking the premise of this project.

So – an early New Year’s Resolution: I must take at least one photo daily with each camera! That way I will have more to contribute here, and won’t feel like I am neglecting my other projects! Will let you know if I am successful…

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The city at night

city skyline from the mcg footbridge

We were lucky enough to be given tickets to see the Choir of Hard Knocks on Saturday night at Vodafone Arena. The concert – which was very enjoyable – finished much later than expected, so that when we were leaving our crowd mingled with that from the My Chemical Romance concert at Rod Laver Arena, making for an interesting and fun walk across the bridge to the MCG.

I find it really frustrating to be out anywhere without my camera – especially when the views are as spectacular as those of the city were. The beauty and limitations of mobile phone cameras were demonstrated to me again, in that I was able to get some pictures of the city skyline, and the footbridge between the MCG and Vodafone/Rod Laver arenas, etc., but wasn’t really able to exercise any control over exposure, other than by turning the flash off.


It has been a really interesting exercise going back to using what amounts to a basic point-and-shoot camera, after many years of using SLRs. It really pares down the process to the key elements of subject and composition, and has made me really think about what I’m doing as I’m taking a picture. And, while the images are not of sufficient quality (in terms of file size) to be enlarged much beyond a 10 x 15cm print, I’ve been really happy with some of them. I hope you’re enjoying the process, too.

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There was a crooked house…

Crooked house

No posts for a few days, with no excuse other than life getting in the way…

The last assignment has been handed in for the year, so I’m free for a few months, but I’m thinking of trying my hand at something new – in terms of study, that is – for 2008.

There  is a photography course I’ve had my eye on for a little while, and I’m having an interview on Tuesday to see if they think my pictures are good enough, and if I show enough potential, to learn the business of photography. So, the next few days will be spent in preparing my folio for presentation, and in clearing away the papers that have accumulated on my desk throughout the term. It is satisfying to see a collection of photographs together, to see the range of work and the consistent style showing through.

The dogs are loving that I have the time for longer walks, although I have to remind myself that Cher’s leg is still just recovering from her knee injury back in August.

Yesterday, while walking around the back streets of Fairfield and Northcote, I found myself compelled to take this picture of a house I pass nearly every day. How I would love to restore it!

The angle shown in the picture is the true angle of the house (rather than it just having been poorly framed), so it would take an enormous amount of work to return it to its former glory, but it has such potential that I would really relish the task. Affording it would be another matter, of course, with the way house prices are around here! Oh well, I can dream…

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City architecture

City scape

I love walking around the city and try to steal a few minutes for just that, every Friday when I’m in there for classes.

When I think I might get time to have a serious look around, I take my camera bag with me, and spend my time photographing the buildings.

I literally had about three minutes to spare last Friday, and yet again was glad to have my phone camera with me. In this case, I particularly liked the contrast of the old buildings  on the right with the much newer one at left. The leafy canopy above provided a nice frame.

Although I would have framed this differently if I’d had a zoom lens, I like the challenge of composing shots with limited controls and a fixed focal length. It takes me back to the basics and really makes me think about how I frame a shot, before I take it. Mind you, I wouldn’t give up my other camera for anything!

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Life cycle

life cycle

I’ve no idea what the person who wrote this was trying to say, but the fact that they went to the trouble of writing it on the sign, cracked me up.

Its been an interesting week.  On the plus side, NanoWrimo started today and I had an idea and got my first 1649 words written; on the negative side, my dad has been diagnosed with a malignant melanoma. We’re not anticipating anything, just waiting to see what happens, but it’s pretty horrible none the less. I think it is particularly hard for Meg, who adores him, not to worry, but we’ll just make sure that we see him often – daily, if we can – and give him lots of hugs. Mum, too, of course.

In the meantime, there will be lots of love, laughter, singing, photography and good food – all the things that make life worth living.

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Fairfield station

fairfield railway station

Fairfield Railway Station

I’ve been searching the internet to try and find some historical information on Fairfield Railway Station, and the closest I can come is a photograph dated 1910, on the Darebin Historical Encyclopaedia: http://dhe.darebin-libraries.vic.gov.au/uploaded/images/lhrn1817.jpg .

Regardless, it makes an interesting subject for photography, no matter what type of camera you are using. General paranoia about people taking photographs of public buildings such as stations can lead to you getting some funny looks, though, as I discovered when I took this picture yesterday.

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Using my mobile phone camera to take photographs for this project has reinforced my belief that the strength of an image lies not so much in the camera used to capture it, but in the ‘vision’ of the photographer.

I’m finding that, although I have very little control over exposure or focal length, and am often shooting blind because I am reliant upon using the lcd screen to compose, I am getting  images that I’m happy with,  and that are comparable to those taken with my (much more versatile) DSLR.

Composition, as always, is paramount.  The ‘rule of thirds’ is a compositional rule of thumb in photography and other visual arts such as painting. The rule states that an image can be divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines. The four points formed by the intersections of these lines can be used to align features in the photograph. Proponents of this technique claim that aligning a photograph with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the photo than simply centering the feature would.(Source: Wikipedia)

However, sometimes these rules can be adhered to, to the detriment of the final image.

The two images I’ve included here – taken on my walk along Birrarung Marr on Friday -demonstrate how sometimes breaking the rules can produce a better image.

The image above does not follow the ‘rule of thirds’.  The bridge, which is the main subject, almost bisects the photograph, rather than falling on one of the ‘golden’ or ‘power’ points/lines of the photograph, and yet it works because of the effects of perspective on the bridge.  The bridge leads you into the photograph from the right hand side to the left, and gives a sense of movement to the image.

12102007006-web.jpgThe image to the left, follows the ‘rule of thirds’, with the Eureka Tower falling on the right-hand vertical ‘power’ line, and the bridge falling on the lower-third ‘power’ line, albeit on a bit of an angle.

The composition of this image – although more in line with the ‘rule of thirds’ – is much less pleasing.  The portrait format contributes to the unsatisfying final result, with the curve of the bridge being interrupted by the narrow frame.

Taking ‘arty’ photographs with your mobile phone camera – or with any other camera for that matter – is not everyone’s idea of fun, I know. However, if you – like me – are entranced with image making, you will automatically try to get the best out of any camera in your possession.  Remembering the rules of composition will help make the end result something you want to include in your album – or put on your blog!

Now I’m off to play with my latest ‘toy’, which is both literally and figuratively a toy – my new Holga medium format camera.

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