Escape the big city and get lost in a world of quaint and quirk at Radio Springs Hotel

A self indulgent blog post about a purely indulgent weekend. 


Less than one and a half hours north west of Melbourne, in the middle of nowhere (or the centre of the universe according to the street sign), you'll discover the quaint and quirky world of Radio Springs Hotel. On a spur of the moment whim in early Autumn, my partner booked a room with a king size bed and a claw foot bath and off we headed for an adventure.  


We stopped along the way to meander around The Diggers Garden of St Erth and enjoyed a tasty lunch and Chardonnay in the cafe.

Country Victoria is pretty damn beautiful and I took full appreciation of being chauffeured by exploring the capabilities of the Fuji X-T2 and playing around with slow shutter speeds.


We arrived late afternoon after exploring a bit of nearby Daylesford and entered a magical wonderland of visual delights, with every corner revealing an eclectic mix of part junk shop, part museum and a healthy sense of humour. You really have to discover it for yourself. Once you get past the quirk, the real character and sumptuousness of the place becomes evident. 


We wandered through the ramshackle garden (two acres!) with a glass of wine in the late afternoon sun and discovered an ancient cinema with tiered seating and plenty of charm and intrigue. They have movie nights, but not just any ol' movie night. Tue nights is Back Beach Bar Date Night (we're in the country remember) with wood fired pizza and a mystery noir film. Hawaiian shirts not compulsory but definitely encouraged. 


On to the evenings proceedings and with a variety of warm and welcoming rooms to dine in, we landed seats right in front of the rock-a-billy entertainment.

The service was good, the food was good, the ambience was good. It was a bloody good night. We drank too much good wine and then wandered back to have a bubble bath. 


A lazy start to Sunday and then breakfast in the dining room before driving through more country roads and towns with gorgeous buildings covered in vines before heading back to the big smoke. It wasn't a budget weekend away by any means, but in terms of originality and value, it was a quality weekend away. I highly recommend it if you're looking for an escape to another world. 


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.


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.


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?

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.