Category Archives: Photography Challenge

The milestone

April is supposed to be the month of Event and Milestone Photography. When I started the year I had all this enthusiasm to explore a different photographic topic each month. I’m not even half way through the year and my attentiveness of petering out.

It’s not anything to do with lack of enthusiasm for the subject. It’s more to do with lack of time. Available time to be specific. I have quite the same number of hours this month per day as I did the month gone by. I’m just using lots of those hours working.

My neices first birthday would have been a fantastic opportunity for some good Event and Milestone photographs however I missed it as I was preparing to run a workshop the next day.

Indeed the rate i’m going the only milestone this month will be writing more than one blog post! April has arrived. Sneakily. I swear it was still March. At least 6 days ago it was. I didn’t even get around to posting my final landscape photography shots before the end of the month.

So here are the tardy landscape shots. They were actually taken at the very beginning of the month when I was still on holidays. They may seem like unusual choices for landscapes.

Northern NSW sugarcane

Northern NSW sugarcane. Captured from moving car. Approximate speed 110km/hr.

I get it that not many people are probably excited by sugarcane. Mum said to me:

it’s just like big grass.

Indeed mum it is. The reason it makes it to my list of landscape photography shots is because I managed to get this super clear photo from the moving car while Andrew was driving at between 100km/hr and 110. Of course I think I took about 50 shots before I got one that was a) clear, b) without a roadsign pole and c) not at an angle.

So it is that I have some pride about my picture of ‘big grass’ as mum puts it.

The building nature took back

The building nature took back

The second one, is a shot where man came along and made something and then nature took the landscape back. My father mocks Andrew and I for our love of photographing decaying buildings. This one I love particularly because it is not only the building which is weathered, but the trees as well. It seems such a lovely harmony. It’s one of my favourite shots of the trip as it is as I photographed it; no colour adjustments, no sharpening or tweaks. It is just as it was.

Finally my third shot is another ‘moving car feat’. I like this one for the contrast of the white tree trunks against the green of the landscape. I love how nature is so regimented, vertically ordered and rhythmic in this shot. It is also every bit the Australian road trip. When I travelled through parts of England, Wales and Scotland I was struck but the varying countryside. I remember emerging from the magical Snowdonia National Park to find a landscape of slate hills that were strangely beautiful. The other thing about the UK was the different kind of green. It wasn’t until I experienced that green, that I realised our green was different. Ours is limey, earthy, faded and scratchy. Only until I was without it did I realise that this slightly different green was home.

Nature's verticals

Nature's verticals

Weekly Photo Challenge: Through

Self Portrait

Looking through Andrew's self portrait

The assignment: complete a self portrait for tafe.

The painting: attempted.

The irony: it came unstuck.

I doubt few others can look ‘through’ their self portrait and see themselves behind it!

Self Portrait destruction

Self Portrait destruction

And the picture below brings a new meaning to ‘I was torn.’

Genre a month photography challenge: Landscape photography

Well, it’s almost halfway through March and I haven’t progressed much on the landscape photography since getting back to Sydney. This a a shot I took while still on the trip headed home.

The morning school run

It’s one of my favourite pictures from the road trip. I think I like it because with the school children, the sign and the early morning fog, it has a story to it.

If you want to participate in the March challenge – exploring landscape photography – then simply check the rules and paste a link to your photographs via a reply on my Monthly Photography Challenge page.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrast

When I saw the weekly photo challenge theme was contrast, I knew immediately which photograph I was going to choose. I took this on my recent trip, somewhere near the town of Rathdowney in Northern New South Wales. It’s the perfect contrast of man meets nature.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present The Datsun Tree.

The Datsun Tree

Weekly Photo Challenge: Indulge

My interpretation of indulge came not in a single image but a series of pictures representing my day. I spent the morning at the Matisse Exhibition Drawing Life at GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art Brisbane). Matisse I think must be the master of ‘less is more’. His drawings are often seemingly missing lines yet your mind fills them in. I said to Andrew it’s like the visual version of ‘auditory closure.’

We followed up GOMA with a trip to the Art Gallery, the Museum and a children’s illustrators exhibition at the Queensland State Library. When your morning is peppered with viewing paintings by Renoir, Rubens, Degas, Whiteley, McCubbin, Drysdale and Dobell… how can it be anything but indulgent?

Whilst photography in the Matisse exhibition was not permitted, it was allowed in other areas. Here are just a few of the treasures I got to see today.

Lorely’s Travel photos for the monthly challenge

Lorely's Travel Pics for Feb's Monthly Photo Challenge

Woohoo! I have a companion this month out taking Travel photos! (I know there are a few of you actually).

Unfortunately, I had a few issues getting Lorely’s link as my spam filter was intervening. They are anything but spam. Check them out!

2012 Genre a Month Photography Challenge

Ok, a quick recap.

I’m picking a photographic ‘genre’ each month for the next 12 months in the hope that I will learn more about this media and different styles. I’d love people to join me and thanks to those who already have. For more on the rules of the challenge, how to participate and the topics, I’ve set up a separate page here.

So, 1 down, 11 to go.

February 2012 = Travel Photography.

Now, if you were planning on joining me but you’re not expecting to ‘travel’ anywhere this month, then I hope you’ll take on my ‘travel with a twist’. Whenever I think Travel Photography, I immediately think rich colours of countries far away; the bright colours of Indian Sari’s; the grittiness of some American cities; the historic buildings of the UK with some gloomy weather thrown in.

Travel photography for me until recently would have been impossible. I didn’t go anywhere. It wasn’t until I met Andrew that I started exploring places; first on short day trips and then overnight. We are about to embark on 9 days in the car together in mid February. (If I suddenly stop blogging, then check Australian newspapers for a story about a girl killed by her partner where he’s claiming justifiable homicide as she told him one too many times what the speed limit was!)

People take holidays for all sorts of reasons. Whether it’s to relax or trek the Inca trail (I don’t think the two can co-exist) people take a camera. Why? For the memories. To say ‘I’ve been there.’

What does this have to do with those of you not taking a holiday this month? Well, there’s another definition of travel. It is simply ‘to go from one place to another.’

Now unless your planning on confining yourself to your home for the next month, I’m presuming that everyone is travelling somewhere.

If I wanted to be especially pedantic I could claim that going from the living room to the bedroom constituted travel; it is afterall going from one place to another.

Travel Photography is often about memories and capturing the essence of a place. I think that’s what’s at the heart of travel photography and why I believe you can do a lot of travel photography in your own city. Indeed, your own street! When was the last time you really tried to capture the essence of those places? Well, February may be your chance! Become a tourist in your own city.

I’ve included a couple of photos I took at Bondi Beach this week. When people come to Sydney, Bondi is usually on their list. As someone who turns bright red quicker than you can say ‘cheese’, I’m not a fan of the beach. After this week, I’ll admit that it is a fantastic place for photography, particularly at dusk. There is so much on offer; so many ways to capture that place; Bondi in that moment. I’m quite happy to stand along side all the tourists with my camera and look like a blow-in from pommy land (I doubt they’d think I was from the tropics with my lily livid skin).

Bondi Beach Feb 2012 II

75-300mm lens at 190mm, f/5 for 1/125 sec, ISO 800, monochrome setting.

It seems the Bondi locals are very used to amateur photographers. No one seems to pay any attention to what you’re photographing. Their eyes are on the kid running through the sand; keeping the dog from inappropriately sniffing other dogs on the promenade or keeping your head above water.

So who’s up for the challenge?

If you are participating in the February Travel Photography Challenge, please go to this page and add a comment with a link to your efforts. 

Bondi Beach Feb 2012 I

75-300mm lens at 130mm, f/5.6 for 1/125 sec, ISO 800, monochrome setting.

2012 Genre a Month Photography Challenge: Nature’s final call

Here is the final instalment in my January theme of Wildlife and Nature Photography.

It seems only fitting to end with nature ‘on its way out.’ After a very hot day in Sydney of about 33 degrees, I’m not surprised this agapanthus was looking a little worse for wear. Despite the wilted blossoms, the colour is still so rich. I am delighted with the photo, which I took while stopped in a traffic jam. We were creeping rather than driving and the road around Centennial Park in Sydney has beautiful houses and plenty of dog walkers.

Most of the dogs were too fast for me to get a clear shot. This flower on the other hand was fair game. I’m not sure why I’m so taken with it. Perhaps it’s because in a moment when I expected nothing, I got a photograph which surprised me in its simple wilted beauty.

So here is the last shot of the month. February’s theme is Travel Photography… let’s see what that brings…

Wilted agapanthus

75-300mm lens at 210mm, f/5 for 1/1000 sec, ISO 3200.

If you’ve participated in my Genre a Month Photography Challenge please post a comment with a link to your entry on this page.

Not a hope in hell: weekly photo challenge

Yesterday I read that the weekly photo challenge was ‘Hope’.

Initial response: nothing. Blank. No idea.

I told Andrew the theme and he suggested taking a photo of the cat drooling over a cat of food. Then I saw Isobel’s post of her cat hopefully pursuing a bird.

So I went about the day I had planned and had my iphone at the ready. Perhaps I would see something today that inspired me to complete the challenge.

Garbage TruckPhotograph One: A garbage truck.

I wondered whether there was any connection with hope here. Hopes about greater recycling in the world? Hopes that my garbage room was not going to be as disgusting as it usually is. It didn’t take me long to realise that this wasn’t my ‘hope’ photo.

I kept looking.

Photograph Two: Generation minus the G

This is a mural painted along the brickwork at Redfern station. It is clearly part of a hope; a dream for the Aboriginal community.

Yet I’m missing a G, the rail was in the way so I’m thinking it is a lousy photography and doesn’t really qualify.


The next photograph I took aroused my curiosity. Why did this guy have pointy things on the back of his helmet?

Of course, I couldn’t muster any link to hope; not even the most tenuous one. I liked the photograph though so here is: Photograph Three: Enmore Sydney.
Enmore Sydney
I arrived home at my unit to read this message someone had posted in a common area.
One of my neighbours, apparently
I walked on in happy in the thought that I was a cat owner through and through.

I spent the next four and a half hours, with three helpers and two star wars films cleaning my unit for the inspection tomorrow. No one is going to tell me that the top of my cupboards are dirty or I haven’t cleaned the track in my sliding doors this time! Of course, none of this aided my quest for a ‘hope’ photo.

My last attempt was when the shadows of the wheelchair on the floor caught my eye. Once again, no idea what this had to do with hope; just had to photograph it just the same.
Shadow of a wheel

After all those attempts, I realised I had not a hope in hell of cracking this nut.

I look forward to next week’s theme.

2012 Genre a month challenge: Wildlife Photography

I’m half way through my month of Wildlife and Nature Photography and I am getting better at shooting moving targets. My father grows a number of plants in the front garden which attract birds and bees. This one he calls the ‘cigarette bush’ which is not a particularly flattering name. Nevertheless, it remains enticing to bees. I had more than half a dozen bees to choose from, which was lucky, as the buggers are quick!

2012 Genre a Month Photography Challenge: Wildlife

18-55mm lens at 55mm, f/5.6 for 1/80 sec. ISO 125. Cropped slightly post production.

If you’ve participated in my Genre a Month Photography Challenge, please post a comment with a link to your efforts on this page