Golden Plains

Every year, on the Labour Day long weekend, Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre plays host to Golden Plains Music Festival. Nestled among giant pine trees the amphitheatre plays host to local and international musicians. There were plenty of photo opportunities over the weekend, including sunset over the scenic Inspiration Point.

Golden Plains Music Festival 8, held at Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre 8-10 March 2014. http://polymu.com/

Golden Plains Music Festival 8, held at Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre 8-10 March 2014.

Brighton Bathing Boxes

This evening I ventured to the beach to capture a shot I’ve been aiming to take for a while; the Melbourne skyline nicely lined up behind the Brighton Beach bathing boxes. Taken from a distance with a telephoto lens, perspective compression brings the two sets of buildings close together. As summer draws to a close there was perfect weather for this shot.

Bathing boxes at Brighton Beach with a backdrop of the Melbourne skyline. http://polymu.com/

Bathing boxes at Brighton Beach with a backdrop of the Melbourne skyline.

Midsummer Faerie Rade

Once again on a beautiful summer’s day faeries amassed from across Melbourne at Treasury Gardens. The Faerie Queen and Faerie King led a grand procession of Faerie Folk through the streets of Melbourne. Accompanied by a cornucopia of other fantasy creatures, and adorned with streamers, bells, bubbles and other fancies, the rade was quite a spectacle. The merry folk concluded the rade with a picnic at Fitzroy Gardens.

The Midsummer FAERIE RADE - 2014 in Melbourne, Australia hosted by Golden Owl Events.

The Midsummer FAERIE RADE – 2014 in Melbourne, Australia hosted by Golden Owl Events.

Mentone Firewalk

New Year’s Day was quite wet, and was overcast much of the day. Just before what would’ve been sunset I arrived at Mentone beach for the New Year’s Day Photo and Firespin. It was nice to briefly catch up with a few of the regulars and thanks to Paul Pavlinovich, Charles Strebor and Trace McLean get a few nice fire play shots.

New Year's Day photowalk and firespin at Mentone Beach.

New Year’s Day photowalk and firespin at Mentone Beach.

Southbank from Sofitel

From No 35 Restaurant at Sofitel Melbourne amazing views overlook much of Melbourne. I was fortunate enough to visit for breakfast and enjoyed this view over the Yarra River, including Princes Bridge and the iconic buildings lining the entrance to Melbourne.

Along Southbank there is Alexandra Gardens, the Arts Centre spire, Hamer Hall, and a cluster of tall buildings including Eureka Tower. Along the river near Sofitel are Birrarung Marr, Federation Square and Flinders Street Station.

No 35 Restaurant at Sofitel Melbourne overlooks Southbank and Federation Square.

No 35 Restaurant at Sofitel Melbourne overlooks Southbank and Federation Square.

Golden Reflections

From Eureka Skydeck 88 there are plenty of vantage points from which to photograph Melbourne. With the building roughly in the shape of a star, it’s possible to look into the next window along through the gold coating. Sometimes, however, it’s possible to view spectacular reflections of the city alongside the direct view.

Reflected is Abbotsford and East Melbourne, including the Hilton and Carlton and United Breweries. On the right is the direct view over the CBD and along Drummond Street and Rathdowne Street in Carlton. The sharp building edge divides the image and gives the impression of a diptych.

Looking north towards Carlton, Abbotsford is reflected in Eureka Tower’s gold coated windows.

Looking north towards Carlton, Abbotsford is reflected in Eureka Tower’s gold coated windows.

Lapu-Lapu Shrine

In 2010 I travelled to the Philippines for the first time, travelling mostly around Cebu, including several trips to Mactan Island. Here I visited the Lapu-Lapu Shrine; a memorial to the tribal chief who, in April 1521 during the Battle of Mactan, defended against the invading Spanish, including defeating Ferdinand Magellan. Lapu-Lapu is remembered as the first Filipino hero.

The story goes that Magellan was confident of victory; that the natives would surrender to his more advanced weapons and armour. With his men Magellan waded in armour through the shallow tidal flats. Lapu-Lapu and his men, unencumbered by armour, outmanoeuvred Magellan’s attack, killing Magellan and forcing the Spanish expedition to retreat. Standing on the shore looking out it’s easy to imagine the difficulties Magellan faced.

A twenty metre tall statue of Lapu-Lapu stands proud over Mactan Island, Philippines

A twenty metre tall statue of Lapu-Lapu stands proud over Mactan Island, Philippines

Werribee Park

On a warm spring day we set off for Werribee Zoo. After a walk around we went on the safari tour bus and travelled amongst the giraffes, zebras and other open range animals. Despite the harsh shadows from the midday sun the photos turned out well.

More impressive was our first visit to Werribee Mansion, a grand old building that’s been well maintained. I just had my kit lens on me, so that was the best lens at the time. We mostly explored the rooms around the main stairs and hall, though also took the tower tour. Just before closing time we wandered through the gardens and past the fountain. A nice house, though out of our price range.

The entrance hall of Werribee Park Mansion in Melbourne, Australia.

The entrance hall of Werribee Park Mansion in Melbourne, Australia.

Hamer Hall

In 2011 during Open House Melbourne I visited Hamer Hall while it was being redeveloped, the interior of the hall still bare of seating. I got some great shots, but my lenses just didn’t go wide enough for what I wanted. Last year I took some vibrant shots of the Hamer Hall reopening, including some fantastic lighting, though didn’t get the opportunity to see inside. This year during Open House Melbourne I finally had the opportunity to tour the inside of the redeveloped Hamer Hall.

I spent a long time inside Hamer Hall, admiring the fittings, the sandstone style walls, the lavish seating, the stage set up for Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and the elaborate lighting that frequently changed colours. I patiently timed my photos for consistent lighting, wondering what weird pattern the changes were set to; then just before leaving I overheard one of the guides say that she was controlling the lighting!

Last year I was successful in the Open House Melbourne Focus on Photography competition, winning the series category with some wide angle shots of the ceiling of Parliament House. This year I again entered the Focus on Photography competition, and again won the series category, this time winning with wide angle shots of the refurbished Hamer Hall. I’d like to thank the judges Diana Snape and Mark Munro, and all the organisers, sponsors and volunteers who help make Open House Melbourne what it is.

Centre stage view from the balcony inside Hamer Hall during Open House Melbourne 2013.

Centre stage view from the balcony inside Hamer Hall during Open House Melbourne 2013.

Hamer Hall seating viewed from stage left balcony during Open House Melbourne 2013.

Hamer Hall seating viewed from stage left balcony during Open House Melbourne 2013.

Hamer Hall viewed from backstage, stage right, during Open House Melbourne 2013.

Hamer Hall viewed from backstage, stage right, during Open House Melbourne 2013.

Hamer Hall stage set up for Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to perform.

Hamer Hall stage set up for Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to perform.

Open House Melbourne 2013

Sometimes it’s nice to be a tourist in your own backyard. Open House Melbourne is an opportunity for locals to explore many of the grand buildings of Melbourne, old and new, including some that aren’t usually accessible to the public. This year I focused on taking wide angle one point perspective shots, attempting to capture the full dynamic range. I’ve processed different crops of some shots, with dramatic results. I was also pleased to see one of my winning shots from last year’s competition featured in this year’s printed program.

An organist performs at Scots’ Church during Open House Melbourne 2013.

An organist performs at Scots’ Church during Open House Melbourne 2013.