While I was out walking... Darebin Parklands

I've been staying in Carlton North for over 7 years now and last week I discovered a new parklands just a hop, skip and a jump away from me. Darebin Parklands is a hidden gem. Melbourne never ceases to amaze me with its abundance of parks and nature reserves. You can easily forget you are living in a major capital city and imagine you're out in the bush in the middle of nowhere.  

So this morning, before the 42degree temps hit, a mate and I grabbed our dirty great big lenses (70-200mm) and hit the track to try our hand at a bit of bird photography. Neither of us are particularly keen on bird photography, but we figured it would be good practice. And we were right. It's bloody hard! 

You need a lot of patience, some pretty good camera skills, a bloody long lens (I had a x2 converter on the 70-200), some good light and a nice background. And did I mention lots of patience? Oh, and a good bit of luck too.

My mate got some cracker shots. But she's one of those uncannily gifted people that can easily make the rest of us think we should hang up our camera's right now. 

I kept getting distracted by bugs and berries and the light on the grasses and things other than birds. It's a great place to go for a walk. Straight down Separation St and you're there. Check it out. 

Favourite Photo from 2017

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain.

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To be honest, I find it bloody near impossible to choose a favourite photo from a whole year. My Lightroom catalogue on my laptop alone has over 10000 photos from 2017. 
But this one stands out to me. This is my photography buddy Bryce. He was one of the first people I met when I moved to Melbourne in 2010 and it's because of him I started teaching at RMIT. He and I are pretty much interchangeable in what we teach. He's one of my best friends and this year, he nearly died. The specialists informed us he had about two weeks to live and they were looking at palliative care. 
This photo was taken in Qld a couple months AFTER that phone call.

Moral of the story? Get a second opinion. 

And don't take life for granted.

And sometimes it's ok to have a crooked horizon line. 

Below is another favourite. A Smart-Phone shot of me dancing with Bryce on Christmas day. Best present ever. 

So maybe a favourite photo isn't about the best technical or creative or clever photo. It's about the memory, the moment, the story, the person. 

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Feeling pretty chuffed.

I received an email from RMIT yesterday with a review of feedback from photography courses I've taught this year. Below are comments from one of the People and Portrait courses. I am very pleased and grateful to get such wonderful feedback. It means a lot to know you're on the right track and doing a good job. 

If you'd like to learn more about photography, take a look at the Short Courses offered by RMIT. I'm excited about the new 4 day intensives we have just introduced for over the holidays. 
I also do one-on-one training. Shoot me an email if you're interested. 

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Student Profile - People and Portrait Photography

Would you like to take better people and portrait photographs? RMIT have introduced a new 4 day intensive course that starts 11 Dec. Mon to Thurs, 9 - 4. 
Join me as I guide you through equipment, lighting, location selection and technical considerations for formal and environmental portraits, studio and street photography.  Clck HERE for more info. 

 

Peggy Chow

The following images were taken by Peggy as part of her final folio in the 8 week People and Portrait Photography Short Course. Read more about Peggy below.

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What camera are you shooting with?
I am shooting with Fujifilm XT10

What's your favourite lens?

Fujifilm XF35mm f2 is my go to lens. 

Is there a lens you wish you had?
Yes, Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f2.8 R LM WR

What's the hardest part about portraiture for you?

Capturing the soul of my subject. 

What did you enjoy or learn or like the best about the People and Portrait class?
What I enjoyed best about attending People and Portrait class is that I get to push myself and test my own boundaries after every class in order to finish the task given. 

How old are you?
29.

How/why/when did you get interested in photography?
I was always into photography but I never took it seriously and didn't pay enough attention to really learn. I only really started going back to photography seriously after a bad break up, so it has been almost close to a year now. 

I like how I can convey my feelings into photographs and looking at a good photograph that I took gives me a feeling nothing else can.

Why did you choose to do the people and portrait class at rmit?

I trust RMIT to be a good place for education, big or small. 

What's your next photographic project?

I'd like to gather my grandmother, my mom and all her sisters to take a ladies family portrait.
I'd also like to work on a series that show the way our generation live our lives, mainly attached to technology. 

Would you like to go pro one day or is your photography strictly for fun?

Photography to me is mainly just a hobby or my creative outlet but if one fine day I could go pro, I'd be really glad to be able to finally make it. 

What do you like to do when you're not taking photos?

When I'm not taking photos, I like to go on Pinterest or Instagram for inspiration, read up some quotes or watch some videos and listen to music. 

Working or studying? (More info?)
I'm working as a barista so I make coffee all day everyday. 

Where did you grow up? (How long have you been in Melbourne?)
I grow up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and I've been in Melbourne for 3 years. 

Will you continue with portraiture or venture into other genres?

I'd like to continue with portraiture, especially on street portraiture but I would also like to try other genre's to open myself up. 

Do you have any portrait tips to share?

A good brief with your subject before shooting and chat em up to release some tension. 
 

You used a digital camera for the course but I know you shoot film also. How did you get into shooting film?

I used to own a Diana F but never got around to using it because film to me was too much hassle. 

But when I started taking photography seriously, I wanted to improve in a different way so I decided to try film.
Fell in love ever since then.

What camera do you use for that?
I have quite a number of different analogue cameras but my favourite one is definitely Nikon F3. 

What's the biggest challenge with shooting film?

The biggest challenge with shooting film is that I need to have a lot of patience and the fact that there's no screen for me to look at. 

Is it very different from shooting digital?

Definitely! The limited frames that I get from shooting film makes me shoot a lot slower, to really stop and think before shooting. Besides, the result of the pictures won't be available until (at least) a few hours later.

Anything else film related that might be of interest to share?

Film in my opinion is making a comeback and if you're interested to giving it a try, Filmneverdie is a good place to start as they have a film walk almost every month. 

Level 2 Photography Course - Student Profile

Jarrod Fogarty

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Jarrod's a busy man, a builder with apprentices on the job, but he's a keen photography student so when I set the task of choosing one day and taking a photograph every hour, he documented a typical work day, from start to finish. He makes a building site look pretty damn interesting.

He came to class thinking they were pretty ordinary photos and it took a while to convince him that he tells a great story with his images. Jarrod did the Intro to Photography earlier in the year and once he figured out what the camera could do, he was hooked. This task was early on in the Level 2 course and Jarrod continued to improve his photography skills and impress us with his unique way of seeing the world. The shot of the shoes above was his high-key submission. Below you can see the slideshow of his 'Day in the life' series. And you can read more about Jarrod below that. 

A day in the life of a builder. 

What camera are you shooting with?
I'm currently/still shooting with my original camera which is a Canon EOS 1300D

What's your favourite lens?

Other than my 18-55mm kit lens, at the moment, I only have a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8, and a Canon EFS 24mm f/2.8, but due to the crop sensor factor of my non full frame camera I don't get those focal lengths. I enjoy using all three at this stage of my photography journey. I recently purchased a 10stop ND filter to fit my kit lens, so thats been getting the most use at the moment.

Is there a lens or other piece of equipment you wish you had?

Not that I wish I had. An upgrade of the camera will be on the cards soon and some more lenses that cover most focal lengths. I also like the creative images that tilt shift lenses and lensbaby lenses create, so wouldn't mind those to add to the kit. I've been getting bits and pieces along the journey like extension tubes and ND filters just to mix it up a bit. 

What did you enjoy or learn or like the best about the Level 2 class?

You know the answer to this one already haha. I really enjoyed being given homework to submit each week. Being set a task of photos to create using the skills/techniques/concepts that we went over that day, was quite fun. To be honest thats when I think I learnt the most. I also think I learnt to look for the light more, and how important this aspect is in photography. Especially while we were doing high and low key, and high contrast. 

How/why/when did you get interested in photography?

It was my trip to Nepal last november that got me interested in photography. I didn't have a camera so my partner bought me one before I left. I was pretty much just shooting in auto while there, and felt a bit guilty having a decent camera and not knowing how to use it properly. When I got back I started watching and reading tutorials online, many of which I found conflicting, thats when I decided I had to be taught. 

How old are you? 

Im 31 years old. Still trying to convince myself I haven't picked up a camera too late!!! 

Are you working on a photography project?

Im not working on an official project as yet. But I am spending a fair bit of time out doing daytime long exposure shots. Thats where my interests lie at the moment. 

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Do you have a website/instagram/facebook page we can stalk you on?

Not as yet, Instagram not far away

Would you like to go pro one day or is your photography strictly for fun?

Haha that would be my dream job. I'd love to be able to travel and take photos for a living, unfortunately I don't see it happening any time soon. Maybe you could hook me up with a job Deb? hahaha. I'm pretty happy doing it for fun at the moment, shooting most weekends, but can never stop dreaming right?

What do you like to do when you're not taking photos?

At the moment thats all I really have been doing in my spare time this year.

You have a unique way of looking at the world photographically. Can you share how or where you get your ideas/inspiration from? Or the process you go through in planning a photo?

To be honest I don't really have a process that I go through. If I have something in mind I might have a quick look online like pinterest or something, but try put my own kind of style into it. I feel my composition and design is my strong point so I try to use these as my key elements in my photos. I also like seeing the world from down low, always looking for a different angle, a more interesting angle.

What's next for you with your photography?

Whats next? Im just gonna keep doing what I'm doing, trying to shoot most weekends that I'm free. Hopefully just keep learning, keep trying new stuff and mixing up genres/styles and get some of my photos out there for people to see. Maybe a little project should be next!!!!

 

You can find out more about this and other RMIT Photography Courses by clicking HERE: