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Posts from the ‘Teaching’ Category

Weekend Wanderings – Landscape Photography Classes

All around the world on the weekend there are people teaching photography classes and people taking them.  Here is no different to anywhere else and yesterday I was teaching my new students landscape photography.  There is a place I take them in Eltham, and while not the greatest place in Melbourne, it is close to where I teach and they get to take photos and experiment.  I help out, but I can usually get a couple of photos myself.  It is good for them to see me doing this as well, I think.

LeanneCole-landscapeclass-6951These gates are usually where I start.  They are so old, yet so out of place for where they are.  They do seem to imply some sort of old world grandeur that now is long gone. I don’t know if the gates have always been there and did lead to something else, or are more recent.  It doesn’t seem to matter, it is a great place to start.  It is contained, so they don’t wander too far.  Every class I have taken here have seemed to enjoy photographing here.  They stand afar, apprehensive to get in close, but you can see that they all want to.  As soon as one does it, they all go.

LeanneCole-landscapeclass-0463It is good for them to realise that they should look all around, up and down, that good images don’t always come from eye level.  Looking up can also give a different view.

LeanneCole-landscapeclass-6990Yesterday we went further a field than we have before and found a lovely spot to take photos where they could all wander around and just see what they could find.  I hung around so they could ask me any questions.  I think it is good to let them go off on their own too, see how they go.  I know in next weeks class there will be lots of questions once they have looked at their photos and maybe didn’t get quite what they wanted.

LeanneCole-landscapeclass-7011It was nice for me too, to photograph somewhere new and see what I could get.  I will try this week to take some of these photos and do more to them and see what else I can bring out.  Turn them into fine art images, as opposed to just straight images with little processing, which is what you have here.  I like to show them the possibilities of what they can aspire to, if they so wish.

LeanneCole-landscapeclass-6969I am also trying to show them that there is the big picture and also the smaller one.  I am trying to do more of this myself and so I try to encourage my students to take in the details.

We were lucky with the rain, it did rain a little, but then it went away and we had a great time.  It poured all afternoon, but we were all home by then.  I am going to give you a gallery now of more photos. Some taken yesterday and some taken in my last landscape class.  Happy Wandering.

Weekend Wanderings – From One End to the Other

Last weekend I went into the city to do some night photography shots, most of you know this already, as I took my class in for a night photography class.  It was the final class in the course and it was a great way to finish it off.  There were 10 of us with our tripods and camera gear going along the Yarra River for our night shots.  Each week we approached something new to help them learn how to use their cameras.  My classes are very practical, I always think you “Learn by Doing”, so taking photos is an important aspect of what I teach.  I haven’t seen what they got when they went out, but I have been working on the images that I took.

LeanneCole-citylight-1404054981_5HDR-2You have seen a few of them already, and there aren’t that many more of them.  I am happy with what I got.  One thing I did with my class was to let them know they should do more on their own.  I would set up my image and then do 5 exposures for HDR and if they needed help my camera would be fine taking its photos while I helped them.  It worked really well.  I felt more like the person who was keeping them together and moving them along when the time was right than the teacher.  It was a lovely relaxed class.

We started down at Docklands and ended up near Flinders Street Station, not quite to it. We ran out of time and then had to rush to get the train.  I don’t think anyone minded.

Then yesterday morning I went into the city very early in the morning.  The sun was coming up, but thought I would take some photos along the Yarra River again, only daylight ones.

LeanneCole-city_5013-10hpmWe have had so much rain, and I was hoping that if it had stopped raining that maybe, fingers crossed maybe, the Yarra River would be still, and look at that, it was.  I have seen it much calmer, but this wasn’t bad.  Unfortunately the rowers started coming up and down, with their coaches in motor boats and that stillness disappeared.  It was lovely while it lasted.  I love seeing all the buildings reflected in the water.

Nearly all the night photography images are HDR images.  They were all done using the Nik Collection HDR Efex.  It seemed to work much better for the night shots than Photomatix.  Most of the morning shots are straight images, except for two, the above one and one of the bridge.  I used Photomatix for these two, as it seemed to be better for the day ones, softer.  All images were taken with the 14-24mm wide angle lens.

The gallery will have all the night images I have processed, the image I used for the MMC is here too, but the colour version.  I will also put the morning images.   Some of the morning images that I have done were taken at the same spots I did the night shots.  I should have done that more, it would have been interesting comparing them.  If you are interested in my classes then please go to my website,  Enjoy your Sunday.

Taking Students Out to Familiar Places

Last Thursday I showed you two images that had been taken at the same spot, but two years apart.  We talked about how it is can be an interesting thing to to go back to old places and see what you can get.  Last Saturday I had my last class with the term 1 students doing my Practical Photography course, and we had decided that for the last class, instead of doing sports photography, we would go into the city and do Night Photography.  It was clearly a great idea and they all were very keen.

The plan was to catch the train in, where we would start at the Docklands end and continue to Flinders Street Station.  It worked wonderfully.  I told them, it was time for them to work on their own while I was still there, and if they had problems or questions, then they could still ask.  Of course I told them how to do the shots first and gave them the notes to help them in the future, I didn’t leave them to work it out on their own.

As we walked along the river there was a spot where I had taken an image last year.

LeanneCole-scdocklands-3hpm5774It has always been one of my favourite night images, so I told them to try doing one for themselves.  As I was able to photograph this as well, I thought I would have another go at taking it.  This image is a HDR and it was done with 3 images in Photomatix Pro.

LeanneCole-citylight-1404054920_HDRThey have both been taken around the same time of night, but at different times of the year, the first was taken around July last year, and the one above taken last Saturday night.  This one is also a HDR, though processed with HDR Efex from the Nik Collection.  I tried using Photomatix, but they have a new version and it kept blowing out all the highlights.  I need to play with it more.  I like how Efex has done it though.

They are the same image really, there isn’t much difference between them, the second one is a slightly wider angle, and the moon is in it.  I like the reflection of the moon in the water as well. Interesting to get almost identical shots.

The class went really well, and did go overtime a little, but I think they all had a great time.  One student said the course was great, but Saturday was brilliant.  You can’t ask much more than that when you are teaching.  It was also nice to hear quite a few of them say they would like to know of more classes that I will be teaching.  So now I think I have realised the direction that I have to go in, I need to do more teaching. I will have to start planning a variety of courses, some to be taught at Eltham and some that I can do myself.

My next six week course starts on the 26th of April, so if anyone is interested there are still a couple of places available.  If you are interested then the details and how to book are available at Living & Learning Nillumbik, or click here.

Of course people can always do my  One on One Photography session though, I am planning on offering more group things, like Photographing the Architecture in the City, Night Photography Along the Water, and some other ones around the city and near by places.  I thought I would start a mailing list for people who would be interested in doing classes with me and want to know what is going on.  If you are interested and would like to get emails on dates and courses available, then please email me, with Classes as the subject.

A gallery to view the images better.

Weekend Wanderings – Zooming in at the Zoo

Anyone who follows me on Google+ or Facebook will know that I went to the Melbourne Zoo this last week.  I had another One on One Photography session with the same person that booked a few of them and we decided this week to go to the Melbourne Zoo.  It was great, she loves animals and the Zoo is a great place to get photos of them.  I didn’t take the macro with me, but I took my very, very cheap Nikon 70-300mm lens.  It is a very cheap lens, you get what you pay for really, so you can tell me what you think.  I used it to zoom in a lot with the animals and the flowers.  I got so many images, that I am afraid, I will have to two posts on the trip, the second one, I don’t know when.

LC3_3423The Meerkats were playing around, and I tried to get lots of images of them, shame they blended into their background so much.

LC3_3435It was a gorgeous day there at the zoo, and it was looking fantastic.  There were flowers out everywhere and with my interest in the macro recently I tried getting some shots with the zoom lens.  I thought they came out okay.  I tried doing lots of zooming. It is very well to go to the zoo and get photos of everything, but I really wanted to try out zooming right in, getting as close as I could with that lens.


The Butterfly house was perfect for that.  They move around a lot, but if you wait, they will sit still for you.  I did crop some of the other photos so that you could see the butterfly better.

LC3_3791When I was photographing the Giraffe I decided to try using the full frame as a cropped sensor, which in effect turned the 300mm into 450mm.  You could do the same thing on the computer, but it was good to try it.  It meant also that I could really compose the image in the frame.  I just had to remember to use the right lines for the composition.  I need to remember that I can do this more.

LC3_3901See that look on the Kangaroos face?  See how worried he/she is?  Well he/she had every right to be, that Emu started attacking them.  Very nasty.  The Emu wasn’t after the food, just wanted to scare them off, bully boy.  I yelled at him/her to stop, and then he started heading my way.  I thought I was going to get it.  Thankfully it stopped before it got too close.  It wasn’t nice.  I did get some good images of it though, which I will put in the gallery.

We didn’t see everything at the Melbourne Zoo and because I was there to teach her how to take photos, that took up a lot of time.  It was a great day though and I really enjoyed myself.  I am going to put more photos in a gallery for you to enjoy now.  I hope your weekend is going well.

Weekend Wandering – Teaching at Point Lonsdale

This last week I had another opportunity to go to Point Lonsdale. It is one of my favourite places to go, so with my One on One Photography session this week I suggested going there.  We were working on shutter speed and water is a great way to show how shutter speed really works.

pointlonsdale-20140319-3016_1I love this pier and taking photos underneath it.  When we were there the waves were big, and coming right under the pier.  I haven’t seen that before.  I also haven’t been there many times in the afternoon.  I have been there quite a few times, the first time was in the afternoon, but every other time has been in the morning.  The light is probably better in the morning, but you get lots of shadows in the late afternoon.

pointlonsdale-20140319-3002I do like it when I go there and there is a large ship either leaving the bay, or in this case, entering it.  Point Lonsdale is at the entrance to the bay that Melbourne is on. The city is on this very large bay, Port Phillip Bay.  It is quite good in some ways as it means that Melbourne is really protected from many things.

pointlonsdale-20140319-3012The lighthouse here is a very high tech one, you can see that by looking at it, and I am sure part of the reason for that is because it is on the entrance to one of Australia’s major cities.  It also serves as a light house so ships know where the entrance to the bay is at night.

Many of the photos that I took here were more demonstration for my client.  I needed to show her different ways of taking photos.  It is all very well to show them how their camera works, but I think it is equally important to teach composition and show them how I take photos.  I know that people, when they come out with me, like to see how I take photos, they want to see how I see the world through my camera.

pointlonsdale-20140319-3019Once we had decided to move on we went over to Barwon Heads to have some dinner before heading down to near where the river enters the ocean.  When working on shutter speed it is great to do some long exposures.  It was dark, the sun was long gone, but around the boat house there was ambient light so we made use of it.  You can see the streaks there, a whole heaps of students went through that area and they had torches and the camera picked up some.

Another reason I wanted to do down this last week was because of the moon.  I wanted to see if I could photograph the moon.  It was going to be pretty close to a full moon and I wanted to try getting the light of the moon reflected on the water.  It is not something I have ever done before, but thought it was worth a go.  When we first got down there, the moon hadn’t risen, I have a lot to learn. Then suddenly I turned around.

pointlonsdale-20140319-3021There it was, in all its beauty.  It was in the perfect position for what I wanted.  I am a bit disappointed that the moon is blown out, and if I ever do it again, I would do some images so that the moon is exposed better.  I wanted the pier in the image and having fishermen there was an added bonus I think.  There were a lot there that evening.

It was a great evening, cold, but fun.  I really need to put my cold weather gear back in the car.  I was happy that my client wanted to go down there.  The session went over time, but I didn’t mind, I never mind if it means I can get images as well.

I have a heap more photos for you now, and here is the gallery.

Learning to Teach

One of the reasons I decided to pursue a Fine Arts Degree was so at the end of it I could do an additional course and learn how to teach.  I thought it would be a good way to earn some money as I pursued my art career.  Well the additional course didn’t happen, but teaching has.  I started teaching kids how to do art, but after about 2 years, it stopped happening for various reasons.

Then almost two years ago I decided that I should teach photography.  Someone I knew at the time suggested I contact Living & Learning Nillumbik in Eltham.  It has been a great experience for me, and the staff there have really nurtured me through the whole experience.  I really love teaching, but I have had to learn some things along the way.

Some of things I’ve really had to work on is believing in myself, believing in what I know and sharing it.  Not always easy, the first that is.  I also recently learned something which was new, that I need to be careful showing my images to my students.  If we go out and take photos and then I show them what I do, it didn’t occur to me that some of them would be put off, or decided that their images were no good.  So in last weeks class we did architecture and went to the local library in Eltham, fantastic building.

LeanneCole-classes-20140315-2860As a single building to help teach people how to photograph architecture, it is great. (In all my classes the class takes photos) There are lots of lines, shapes, and interesting art works all around it.  It was fun doing a small demonstation and then letting them all just go and take photos.  I walked around and made sure that they got help if they needed it.  I did get a chance to take a few photos myself.

After the class was finished I didn’t show them the images I had taken.  I decided to let them wait until after they had shown me theirs, which they will do this Saturday in our next class. I did, however, ask them if they would like me to process one or two images and show them what I would do to them?  The idea was to do it during the week, which I have now done, and then show them to them on Saturday.  I will probably do the original and then the processed one, so they can compare.

I thought I would show you what I have done here today.  I am going to put them in a gallery for you.  Well in a minute.  I just wanted to say that I do love teaching, and it has been a surprise to me how much I enjoy it.  The class I have at the moment are fantastic.  It is my first time doing a short course like this, and it is just wonderful.  I hope they are enjoying it as much as I am.  I am excited that my next course for next term is also filling up, if anyone is interested, go to my website for details.

Here is that gallery.  Oh, and before anyone asks, it was a very overcast dark day.

“Learning isn’t a means to an end; it is an end in itself.” ~ Robert Heinlein

In the last 10 or so years I’ve spent a lot of time trying to learn how to be better at manipulating images.  I purchased a book by Scott Kelby on Photoshop about 3 or 4 years ago and I haven’t looked back.  I really pushed myself to keep learning more, and I have, but there are always new things to learn.

I initially looked into courses on Photoshop, but they were so expensive, hundreds of dollars for one day, and you couldn’t take it away with you.  Then someone I knew introduced me to online learning, and I haven’t looked back.  I have spoken often about one particular place, but after sending emails to them about some ideas, I received nothing back.  I am sure most of you know this is a pet hate with me, how hard is it to send an email back to say “thanks for your interest, but it isn’t something we are interested in right now”.  There you go, took me 10 seconds to type that.  So I decided that if they were going to be silent with me, I would be the same, which meant that I had to find something else, and I did.

I know that many of my followers are new to photography, or know that their skill level needs work, I don’t mean that in a horrible way, but I realise that many of you do want to learn, so I have been doing some research.

Screenshot at 2014-02-19 09:37:32When I was doing some research on Joel Grimes he mentioned somewhere that he had done some courses for KelbyOne.  I had never heard of it, of course, I knew who Scott Kelby was, but not this website.  I decided I had to do more research.  So from what I can work out it seems fantastic.  It is another one of those pay by the month sort of deals, but at only $25 per month, and you get a discount if you pay for the whole year, it is really reasonable, especially when you consider what you are getting.

Screenshot at 2014-02-19 09:21:48

It is a site for photographers.  It is where photographers share what they do to other photographers.  There are so many courses available.  There are courses on Photography, courses on Photoshop, Lightroom, then there are courses for running a photography business.

Screenshot at 2014-02-19 09:19:50Business for photography is not something I have wanted to watch much. How you run a business in the US can be very different to how you run a business in Australia.  I have often found that much of the information is not relevant, but then there is always something you can pick up, so I have been watching this one about Social Media, which isn’t country specific, and I have picked up some great information from it.

Once you pay your monthly membership you can view the courses online anytime, where and when it is convenient for you.  At least that is the impression I get.  If you want to download the courses and have them on your computer, then you can pay for specific ones as well.

One of the things I enjoy about the courses is that they aren’t too long, a couple of hours or a few hours, but not for days.  If you are like me, and find it hard to concentrate and just stare at the computer, then this is good, it doesn’t require hours of attention.  Actually, it is perfect for me.

Screenshot at 2014-02-19 09:22:56There is a long list of instructors and I have found some of my favourites here as well.  It has been great going through what courses there are and working out which ones I would like to watch.  Ben Willmore is there, Joel Grimes, Dave Cross and Lindsay Adler, and I am sure some others that will become favourites too.

Screenshot at 2014-02-19 09:23:32It seems to be more than just a site to learn and there seems to be a real community there and you are encouraged to participate in that as well.  I haven’t gone into it yet, but it will be interesting to see what is there.

They release new courses every week, at least one or two, and you receive emails from them to let you know what is available.

Screenshot at 2014-02-19 09:20:21They are doing a Creative Cloud Month and a new course is being released every day for the whole month.  I imagine you would learn everything you needed to know about CC here.  Creative Cloud is the new thing that Adobe are doing, my version of Photoshop is Photoshop Creative Cloud, and I pay a monthly subscription fee to be able to use it.  However Creative Cloud is a lot more than just Photoshop, there are more programs that come under that “cloud”.

I think this is the best online service I’ve seen for photographers.  At $25 a month, it is reasonably priced, and what you get for that money is amazing.  It is something I would definitely do.  If you want a discount, then paying the yearly amount is good, you get 12 months for the price of 10, so you basically get 2 months free.  I think I am going to save the $249 and do that.  I love a bargain.

The courses are designed for all levels of knowledge and experience.  There are courses for the beginners, and there are courses for those who have more experience, but want to know more, or try something different.  I am sure as the community grows, the number of courses being offered will grow as well.

I hope you will all go and take a look at KelbyOne, it really is a great place for learning.  Going back to the top bit, of course the best thing about them is that I sent an email and I got a response, you have to love companies that realise customer service is important.  The idea that if you don’t hear from them then they aren’t interested, says to me, we aren’t interested in providing good customer service, we don’t care about our customers.

So KelbyOne, go check them out.

Just going to add a gallery so you can see the screenshots better.