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.

Anniversary Photowalk at Shrine of Remembrance

Around sunset on the Google+ Second Anniversary International Photowalk many photographers slowly congregated at the Shrine of Remembrance on St Kilda Road in Melbourne. The shrine is located within Kings Domain, part of the splendid Domain Parklands adjacent to the Melbourne’s Central Business District.

The Shrine of Remembrance is a memorial to all Australians who have served in war. With impressive classical style granite columns, and with a forecourt and views that lead straight through to Swanston Street and the heart of Melbourne, the shrine is an ideal vantage point for photographing Melbourne in the early evening and to regroup during a photowalk.

Photographers gather at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.

Photographers gather at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.

G+ 2nd Anniversary Photowalk Melbourne

Last Saturday I attended the G+ Second Anniversary International Photowalk – Melbourne. Last year’s event was my first ever photowalk and since then I’ve enjoyed numerous photowalks with the group. We met at The Astor Theatre, which we were graciously allowed to photograph, before heading along Chapel Street and various back streets, slowly making our way to the halfway point at South Yarra Station.

During this first section of the walk I predominantly captured the street art and graffiti of the back lanes, in particular Bowling Green Street in Windsor. While sometimes appearing garish, I enjoy processing such images to bring out the details, bright colours and strong contrast as I see them, and how I imagine the artists might intend their art to appear. I’m constantly amazed at the sheer volume of street art hidden in back lanes throughout Melbourne.

Street art in Windsor during the Google+ Second Anniversary Photowalk in Melbourne.

Street art in Windsor during the Google+ Second Anniversary Photowalk in Melbourne.

Brunswalk with Fire

Last month on a beautiful autumn day Charles Strebor kindly organised Brunswalk with Fire, a photography photowalk through the back streets of Brunswick, culminating in some fire play in Parkville. Charles was even nice enough to provide fire water so I could juggle my fire torches and for his poi. Paul Pavlinovich put on a fire display with burning steel wool. Unfortunately I was too busy juggling to get any nice shots of the fire play, though I did manage a few of the back streets and photographers along the way.

Colourful autumn leaves in Brunswick during Brunswalk with Fire.

Colourful autumn leaves in Brunswick during Brunswalk with Fire.

ANZAC Day 2013

Every year on ANZAC Day there is a march in Melbourne from the city along St Kilda Road to the Shrine of Remembrance. This year the weather started off cold, though warmed up to be a nice clear day. I watched most of the march, capturing photographs of many of the participants. Lest we forget.

ANZAC Day 2013 march on St Kilda Road in Melbourne, Australia.

ANZAC Day 2013 march on St Kilda Road in Melbourne, Australia.

Largest Rizal

Dr José Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda is considered a national hero of the Philippines for his life as a nationalist and reformist. José Rizal was well educated and well respected, an inspiration to younger generations. The date of his death is celebrated in the Philippines as a national holiday. Many monuments and statues have been built in his honour. At 22 feet this statue in Calamba City is the world’s tallest, and was built in his home town in commemoration of 150 years since his birth.

I stopped off at Calamba on the way to a family gathering, taking a few quick shots under the morning sun. This particular statue also holds significance as a key portal in the augmented reality game Ingress; by capturing this portal I seized more than half a million ‘Mind Units’ from the enemy team.

World’s tallest Jose Rizal statue in Calamba City, Philippines

World’s tallest Jose Rizal statue in Calamba City, Philippines

Icarus Sunset

Here are a couple more shots from last weekend’s ‘black glass’ workshop at Mentone, and a shot of the brilliant red sunset later in the day at Brighton. The different shots reflect just how dramatically the lighting conditions can change throughout the day along Port Phillip Bay.

A branch washed ashore by a weathered groyne in Mentone, Australia.

A branch washed ashore by a weathered groyne in Mentone, Australia.

A long exposure of seagulls resting on rocks in shallow water at Mentone.

A long exposure of seagulls resting on rocks in shallow water at Mentone.

A seagull glides over sunlight reflected on the water of Port Phillip Bay at sunset.

A seagull glides over sunlight reflected on the water of Port Phillip Bay at sunset.

Mentone Exposed

Today I attended a workshop on using neutral density filters, hosted by Melbourne Photowalkers. I went along to share some of my experiences using “black glass”; filters as dark as welding masks that block almost all light. I’d used such a filter in my “Floating Islands in the Philippines” photo and they are ideal to make water look silky smooth, even on a sunny day.

We met up at Mentone beach, in Melbourne, and while waiting for everyone to arrive I took a few shots. It was such a nice sunny day today that even with the black glass it was a challenge to make the water smooth. This shot features one of the many little jetties along the beach. I like to include a solid feature in such shots, otherwise the photos pretty much all turn out as a sliver of detail wedged between silky smooth sky and surf.

A jetty in Mentone at the Melbourne Photowalkers “black glass” workshop.

A jetty in Mentone at the Melbourne Photowalkers “black glass” workshop.