Sarah and Rupert at the beach

It's been almost 7 years since Rupert the cheeky Dacshund went to live with his new Mum, Sarah, and I started commuting back and forth to Melbourne. It was a bold and somewhat rash decision but one of the better ones I've made in my time. Melbourne has been good to me. The Coast will always be 'home'. When I get stressed at the complexities of living between two places, I remind myself how bloody lucky I am to have the best of both worlds.
I went to visit Rupert and Sarah last week and we went for a walk on their local beach (Yaroomba, I think it is). I'm absolutely certain that Rupert got the best deal in the world when Sarah adopted him. He is so well loved and looked after. 
Sarah not only took on Rupert but she kept Wild Honey Photography running while I got up to speed with teaching photography. She's a great portrait and event photographer. You can find her at Your Life Photography.
I'd seen Sarah's great sunset shots and put an order in for a similarly spectacular sunset for my visit. And then I got lost and nearly missed it. The light was fading fast (up the ISO on the Fuji X-T2) but we got a couple of quick snaps with Rupert before heading back to Sarah's place for a Thai Green Curry and a bottle of red. 
Blogging is a good way to remember that amongst all the shit that goes on in the world, there are good things that life offers up. Beautiful beaches, sunsets, good friends, cute puppies, yummy food and red, red, wine. 

Sunshine Coast Beach
Sunshine Coast Beach Sunset

While I was walking (on the Sunshine Coast)


I went for a walk around the Moffat Beach Headland yesterday afternoon. I popped in to share a wine with a friend at Shelley Beach and then walked back in the dark. 
I walk home from work in Melbourne in the dark too. 

"Be Careful" people say.

"Remember what happened to Jill Meagher" they say.

I wonder what the statistics are for people getting raped and murdered at night time, as opposed to in the day time or in their own homes. I figure I'm much more likely, statistically,  to die or get injured in a car accident. But nobody frowns at you disapprovingly when you say you're going for a drive. 

Anyway, it was an absolutely beautiful night. And I was just grateful to be alive and to live in such an amazing place. I feel doubly lucky to also live in Melbourne, which just landed the "most liveable city in the world' for about the 7th time in a row. 

I took a few happy snaps along the way. I was a little bit too early and then a little bit too late for the best light (that was the wine drinking time, which is surely a reasonable alternative to taking photos).

MOffat Beach
MOffat Beach
Moffatt Beach

I spotted this guy watering his peas and as I walked past I thought it would make a great photo with the old house in the background. My confidence and outgoingness waxes and wanes, and as somewhat of an introvert, I usually keep walking, and then berate myself for my cowardice. (PS. No problem approaching strangers if I'm getting paid to photograph, but when it's just for me...).
But then I thought of my friend in Melbourne who is so sick going through cancer treatment, and I figured I had nothing to lose by asking. So I backtracked, said g'day and asked if I could take a photo. Simple as that. I then had a lovely chat in the afternoon sun talking about old houses, (multi)million dollar views and growing vegies. His daughter came out and got the obligatory squirt with the hose and for a moment life seemed quite simple.
One day this house will be gone and apartments put in its place and I will be so glad I stopped to take this photo. Thanks for being a good sport Travis. 

Moffat Headland Old House

Suburbia at Sunset.  

Moffat Beach after dark
Moffat Beach at night

Photos taken with the Fuji X-T2. Night shots balanced on the edge of a railing. 

Sensuous Serendipity

I walked outside my back door and the wind had blown this little Bougainvillea beauty right onto my door mat. I stooped to pick it up and study it. Then placed it on my lightbox to capture the exquisite beauty of nature. 

I love the details that are so often overlooked in the bigger picture. The intricate patterns of the veins. The sensuality of a curve. 

Macro flower
macro flower photography

Student Profile - People & Portrait Photography Course @ RMIT

It's always sad when a Short Course comes to an end. We spend an intense eight weeks together (one night a week) and then it's all over.  So I've decided to occasionally feature selected students and their work just to ease the withdrawals. 

Jeremy has just completed the Rmit Short Course in People & Portrait Photography. He presented this series of photos, 'ORANGE' as part of his final folio.  

What camera are you shooting with?  
Sony a7rii

What's your favourite lens?
50mm f1.8 lens

What's the hardest part about portraiture for you?
Trying to achieve the closest photo to your idea. I usually have small compromises or have sudden new ideas while shooting. So I would always be experimenting while I’m shooting. This applies not just for portraiture but for photography for me in general.

What did you enjoy or learn or like the best about the People and Portrait class?
I enjoyed learning how to use studio lightings. I’ve always admired photographers create amazing photos using studio lighting in unconventional ways. I also enjoyed seeing other student’s work and perspectives in their photography.

How old are you? 
23 years old.

How/why/when did you get interested in photography?
Photography has always been a hobby of mine but I really got into it in my 2nd year of university. The ever-changing creative culture in Melbourne has definitely deepened my interest in photography. Seeing new ideas from students and/or people working in different creative fields are one of my inspirations for my photography.

Why did you choose to do the People and Portrait Course at RMIT?
I studied in RMIT before so I knew that in terms of creative subjects, RMIT is one of the more practical and hands-on universities, which is my preferred method of learning.

What's your next photographic project?
Probably another single color theme. This time, I would like to experiment more with studio lighting with the next project.

Would you like to go pro one day or is your photography strictly for fun?
I definitely would like to go pro one day but I like to find balance between two aspects. I would want my work to be professional and be fun for me at the same time.

What do you like to do when you're not taking photos?
I would be either be hanging out with friends, listening to music or finding new music to listen, learning how to cook new recipes or playing video games.

Working or studying? 
I graduated from RMIT last year with a Bachelor’s Degree in Games Design but after realizing that I want to have a change in career to photography, I took a few months off and practiced on my photography and eventually signing up for the People and Portraiture class. My next move would be to look for an internship in photography.

Where did you grow up? (How long have you lived in Melbourne?) 
I grew up in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. It’s an island kind of town, slow and chill. I have stayed in Melbourne for 4 years now ever since I left Malaysia for university.

Will you continue with portraiture or venture into other genre's? 
I would definitely continue experimenting with portraiture but I would also like to develop on my street photography too. I was even considering learning videography at one point.

How did you come up with the ideas/inspiration for Orange?
I was inspired by Korean photographer @ralachoi for his use of strong, single-block colours, as well as his simplistic set design. I stumbled upon his work when I was listening to Spotify and saw an album cover that stuck out to me.

Do you have any portrait tips to share?
Always try to have a good composition between subject and space. Sometimes what you show less is better.

You can follow Jeremy on Instagram: @jrmy_wng

If you're interested in learning more about photographing people, the next People and Portrait course starts in October. 

self portrait - jeremy wong

self portrait - jeremy wong

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers - Photography Holiday - Sept 2017

Who is it for?

  • Anyone who likes taking photos!
  • Or more specifically, anyone who likes photography and taking photos and likes to get to the best locations and don't want to be hurried along by others who don't understand if the lights is just right. 
  • Anyone who wants to learn more about their camera or how to take better photos.
  • Anyone from complete beginners through to serious enthusiasts. 
  • Anyone who wants to be at the best places at the right time but doesn't want to figure out how to get there or worry about parking. 
  • Anyone who wants to learn more about using composition and design elements and light to take better photos.
  • Anyone who loves taking photos. Who loses themselves in the moment. Gets lost in the lens. 
  • Anyone who loves parks and gardens at their most beautiful. 
  • Anyone who has questions about photography or their camera but doesn't know who to ask. Or even 'how' to ask or 'what' to ask. Q. "How do you get that thing to do the whatsit so it looks like a thingamibob." A. "Oh, you press that button and spin that dial and bobs your aunty."  

The tour offers lots of opportunities to practice different aspects of photography. Macro, low light, action, landscape, movement, fireworks, street photography. There's something for everyone.

My favourite part is getting in amongst the flowers with a macro lens in the early morning light before the crowds move in. 

The photos here are of my brother Stew, who is also our bus driver and horticultural expert. I visited the Carnival in 2016 to plan for this years tour and gave him a few photography tips along the way. He's pretty happy with his slow shutter speed shot of the flowing water in the waterfall. 

Learning Photography.png

Night Photography at the Carnival of Flowers

Apart from Fairy Floss and Dagwood Dogs, both of which I'll be avoiding (unless there's a good photo opportunity), there's plenty of other action in Side Show Alley at the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers. A great opportunity to practice those slow shutter speed shots with colourful action rides and fireworks on over three nights. 

Night photography

Learn to Take Better Photos while you're on Holiday

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers Photography Getaway

I covered 'Why Toowoomba' in the previous post. This time I'll share 'Why Me". Or the lengthier version of, Why would anyone want to go on a Photography Holiday with Deborah Dorman?'

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers Photography

Why Me?

1. I love sharing photography knowledge with others and seeing their 'aha' moments as they learn knew skills. 

2. I'm a qualified photographer AND a qualified trainer. (Dip of Photography, Cert IV in Training and Assessment) and I'm passionate about both. There's an art to photography and there's a skill to teaching. A great photographer does not automatically make a great teacher of photography. 

3. I've taught photography at the esteemed RMIT University for the last 7 years (and continue to do so).

4. I especially love gardens and nature and flower photography. 

5. I know how to teach photography at any level. I'm great with beginners and explaining things in simple, non-techy language.

6. You can talk about photography until the cows come home but you really need to get out and do it. There's no better way to learn than out in the field (with or without the cows!). And with a qualified photographer on hand to answer all your questions. 

7. I've planned a great itinerary with plenty of action, enough 'down time' to chill out, the best locations and the best time of day to be there. I've chosen a range of activities to challenge and stimulate you photographically. There is flexibility in the schedule to opt out if you want to skip an activity and do your own thing. There is opportunity for feedback and I'll be there every step of the way to answer questions and give tips. 

8. I'm friendly and fun and occasionally funny. I love photography and it's a never ending journey of discovery. I'd love to share that journey with you. 

9. Don't take my word for it.  Here's a couple of testimonials from others.
"Deb is inspirational and full of enthusiasm for her craft. A talented photographer and a gracious teacher" Sherlaine Charisiou
"Thanks Debs. I loved learning with you! Lots of knowledge, experience and a relaxed environment gave me the perfect platform to really develop.
If you are looking to improve your skills you should definitely get in touch with Deb!"
Paul Johnstone

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers Photography Holiday

It's 8 weeks until the Carnival Weekend Getaway. (Tour? Workshop? Holiday?).  

I thought I'd share some thoughts on why I'm doing this and what it's all about.  It's not too late to book.

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers Photography

Why Toowoomba? 

1. It has so much to offer in one location.

2. The Carnival weekend is splendid with opportunities. 

3. The parks and gardens are at their most spectacular for the Carnival.

4. There's also Parades, and Fireworks and Markets and Old Churches and Street Art and endless other things to photograph. 

5. I grew up in Toowoomba

6. My brother is co-hosting the tour with me and he still lives in Toowoomba and is a Prize Winning gardener. 

7. You get to practice a wide range of photography skills in the one (long) weekend, including macro and action and landscape and low light and fireworks. A bit of everything!

8. I've booked the most amazing, historic accommodation to make this a really special getaway. 

9. There's also a photography exhibition we will visit to inspire us on our photographic journey.

If you've been to Toowoomba for the Carnival of Flowers before, I'd love to hear what you liked best. You can leave a comment on the blog or pop over to the Facebook page and leave a comment there. 

I'll be back with some more thoughts in a new post soon. 

While I was procrastinating...

'tis a windy winters day in Melbourne. Instead of tackling the pile of paperwork on my desk, I photographed the paper daisies near the window. It's nice to be able to connect with the wonders of nature even if it's in the nice, warm confines of my bedroom.

I did start off with a much more complex idea, but ended up liking the simplicity of these shots. The shapes and patterns and lines and shadows and subtlety of colour all work nicely for me. 

As for the actual flower... strawflower, paper daisy, everlasting, helichrysum, Xerochrysum bracteatum, Rhodanthe chlorocephala? I have no idea. I'm trying to get better at identifying the flowers I photograph, but it's a bit of a mine field. If you know what it is, please leave a comment and help me out. 

Shot on Canon 5DmkII. 100mm Macro lens. Window light. 

(now to tackle the paperwork that hasn't miraculously dispeared)

Garden Photography Tours
Photography Lessons
Flower Photography

While I was walking... (Fitzroy North)

Autumn leaves, rows of trees, wedge shaped buildings, famous soup bars, views to the city and a rotunda. 
And that's just a small section of what Fitzroy North has to offer. 

(This walk was a couple of weeks ago)

#11 Tram to Fitzroy North
Edinburgh Gardens Rotunda

Edinburgh Gardens Rotunda

One of the grooviest looking library's around. Bargoonga Nganjin North Fitzroy Library.  

One of the grooviest looking library's around. Bargoonga Nganjin North Fitzroy Library.  

I don't often see this stretch of road in the morning. It's a hive of activity in the evenings so has an eery quality about it seeing is so deserted. 

I don't often see this stretch of road in the morning. It's a hive of activity in the evenings so has an eery quality about it seeing is so deserted. 

Autumn leaves falling. Edinburgh Gardens. 

Autumn leaves falling. Edinburgh Gardens. 

Avenue of Trees in Edinburgh Gardens.

Avenue of Trees in Edinburgh Gardens.

While I was walking...

Glimpses of Melbourne. On the walk home from the State Library. 
I walk these roads often but they always offer something new. The seasons have a way of transforming the cityscape. I like the way the trees compliment the architecture.

La Trobe St. Hints of Physical Graffiti. Anyone agree? Anyone know what I'm talking about? lol

La Trobe St. Hints of Physical Graffiti. Anyone agree? Anyone know what I'm talking about? lol

Carlton. Trees and architecture create winter tonal delights. 

Carlton. Trees and architecture create winter tonal delights. 

Carlton. Something about the trees and architecture again. They were really talking to me (visually) on that day.

Carlton. Something about the trees and architecture again. They were really talking to me (visually) on that day.

Sidewalk art. 

Sidewalk art. 

Winter tones in Carlton. 

Winter tones in Carlton. 

Carlton. Just caught my eye and appealed to me. 

Carlton. Just caught my eye and appealed to me. 

Oh the stories that must live in these walls! 

Oh the stories that must live in these walls! 

Almost home. Carlton North.   

Almost home. Carlton North. 


State Library - Part Two

Some more favourites from hanging out at the State LIbrary in Melbourne. All of these photos were taken on the Fuji xt-2 Mirrorless Camera. 

I like the idea that the birds are playing chess. 

I like the idea that the birds are playing chess. 

This guy didn't feel the cold at all! Everyone else is rugged up in layers and coats and scarves. He's not even shivering!

This guy didn't feel the cold at all! Everyone else is rugged up in layers and coats and scarves. He's not even shivering!

State Library of Victoria

This is my last Saturday off for a while. Next Saturday I start the next Level 2 - Introduction to Photography - Technical & Aesthetic at RMIT  in Melbourne (Still a couple of places if you want to join us).  Once of the activities we'll be doing is photographing the State Library, so I thought I'd head down this morning and see where the light was falling and make sure it's not covered in scaffolding like it was one other time. I ask the students to edit down to 6 of their favourite images so I limited myself to the same number.

I love the State Library. It's a fantastic building inside and out with so much to see. It's a 'must see' for any visitors to Melbourne.  I stuck to the outside of the building. Apart from the striking architecture, I'm always impressed by the 'life' and activity that goes on out the front. 

I have more favourites though so I might cheat and do another post! Oh, and I had arranged a meeting at the Cafe (Mr Tulk) but in the end no one else could make it, so it was Eggs Benny and a Bloody Mary for one. 

Wild Honey Photography _ State Library 1
Deborah Dorman State Library 4
Wild Honey Photography State Library 3
Deborah Dorman Photographer
Deborah Dorman
Mr Tulk

Alowyn Gardens

What an absolute delight these gardens are. I left Melbourne in the morning with an anxious, muddled mind and came back clear headed and relaxed. Best medicine ever. 

I'll be making a point of visiting this garden every season. It's such a wonderful design.

Aboriginal Heritage Walk

Change is slow coming but I hope for a time when as a Nation we respect and honour Australia's First People with a genuine pride. 
I went with my housemate Phil to the Melbourne Botanic Gardens for an Aboriginal Heritage Walk. It was a wonderful way to learn about the people and the culture. The walks are held every day but as part of Reconciliation Week they are free (you're too late, today was the last free day, so you'll have to pay unless you want to wait 'til next year). 
We had a terrific guide to educate us and were treated to a traditional smoking ceremony. I was struck most by the talk of listening to your spirit and felt a sense of the purposefulness of the culture as opposed to the busyness of todays society. It was humbling.

Aboriginal Heritage Walk

Still Life Scarf and Flower Series

Some of my images from the recent "Show of Hands" exhibition I coordinated with a group of past Photography Students from RMIT short courses. 
My work was an exploration of beauty and ageing. 

If you're in Melbourne and would like to learn more about Photography, you can check out the short courses on offer at RMIT.  I teach Level 1 and 2 Introduction to Photography - Technical and Aesthetic as well as the People & Portrait course. 

Deborah Dorman Scarf & Flower 1
Deborah Dorman Scarf & Flower 4
Still Life Scarf & Flowers 2.jpg
Still Life Scarf and flower 3 lr.jpg

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers Photography Tour - September 2017

It's only 17 weeks until the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers Photography Tour gets under way. It's going to be a great 4 day photography adventure, staying at the historic Vacy Hall, visiting the amazing parks and gardens and watching the grand parade. One of the first things we'll be doing is going to see the Heritage Bank Photography Awards Exhibition for some inspiration. 

The exhibition just happens to be held next to the fabulous Japanese Gardens and there's plenty to photograph there. And that's just on the first afternoon. If you'd like to join us, click here to find out more. 

TCOF Heritage Bank Photo Comp 1
TCOF Heritage Bank Photo Comp 2
Garden Photography Tours

Cloudehill - The final Diggers Garden

Of the three Diggers Gardens, this one was my least favourite. Not that there's anything wrong with it (it's majestic), it just wasn't my style. It may have been tainted by the service (or lack thereof) at the cafe on the day.  It's not often I walk out of a place but one can only take being ignored for so long before giving up. 

It was not the best time of day to be taking photos on a bright sunny day. Too much contrast between shady and sunny areas ruled out a few photo options. The camera just doesn't cope with such extreme contrast (unless you're doing HDR).  I still managed to grab a few favourite shots before we headed to Sassafras and Miss Marples for a late lunch.