Hi everyone!

As part of my photography course, I have to track my development on a blog. The posts from September 2011 until January 2012 are part of a module called Project Management, for which I was required to work in a group of eight students to create an exhibition. The blog followed every step we took in order to create a successful gallery. The blog posts starting from September 2012 follow my final year on the course. I'll be documenting my research and analysis of my final year projects, as well as include notes of my Professional Practice unit - which prepares us for a range of post graduate options. Finally it also looks at a project called New Creatives, where I'll be working alongside an artists to help college students get more involved with art.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Time Lapse: Yarra River

Right, finally time to start blogging about my time lapse. I have been working on my time lapse for about 4 months now, so I have a ton to catch up on with that too!! I few bits have already been mentioned in previous posts, such as the botanic gardens and luna park, so I won't go into that again.

I started off with shooting sunset scenes. I always find sunset shots to be the most interesting and attention grabbing. They're also my favourite kind of time lapses. I like how, along with all the other movement, it starts to get darker and how buildings start to light up. Melbourne is a very colourful city so for the night shot I wanted it to be a scenic view of the city overlooking the Yarra River for reflections.

This posts will have quite a few photos that are small. Click on them to see them full size. The map below shoes where I've taken my photos for this post.

My first try was on the Princess Bridge - the red dot on the map above. It turned out beautiful! It went from a light blue/white sky, to a medium blue/yellow sky, to a dark blue sky. The clouds were a very drastic orangey colour. The lights on the southbank and buildings in the background started to light up introducing even more colours. The only thing that didn't work was that I forgot to put my camera into manual focus. Unfortunately there was a slight camera change. Some people didn't notice it, but it too obvious for me and I know it would irritate me if I'd put it into the final piece.

Here is the scene from the time-lapse:

Although this is a really iconic view of Melbourne, I didn't feel like it really showed Melbourne. So I tried out some other locations.

The second time lapse I took was much further down the Yarra River at Swan Bridge - the blue dot on the map. This looks directly at the CBD and had a beautiful reflection in the river. I think the composition of this shot is beautiful. The CBD is right in the middle of the photo with its tall buildings, and the edges of the frame are much quieter meaning the focus is only on the CBD.

The time lapse was on for about 30 minutes taking a photo every 5 seconds. Although you can't see the glowing sunset from this angle, you still see it going from light to dark. I decided to stop it before it was pitch black so that I could connect another sunset time lapse after it from a different angle.

So the third place I went to was on top of Hammerhall, one of the two theatres in the Arts Precinct - the purple dot on the map. You can actually get on top of the building where you'll have a stunning panoramic view of the city. Not many people know about this area as it's a bit hidden away, so it's always empty! Anyway we started this time lapse a little too late so it was already pitch black outside! I decided to shoot it anyway to see how it looks and maybe come back another day and shoot it earlier.

The photo looks directly at the CBD from another angle. You can see the princess bridge and the cars/trams crossing it. Behind that is Federation Square and in the corner you can just see St Pauls Cathedral, which creates a nice contrast with the skyscrapers. On the day I shot this time lapse the olympics were showing on the large screen in Federation Square so that area actually changes colours from the screen. It looks really interesting in the time lapse.

I really liked how this shot turned out so instead of coming back and shooting it again earlier, I decided to shoot in a third location - the pink dot on the map. This is located just along the CBD side of the Yarra River and a little bit further down, but not quite as far as Swan Bridge. There is a little area that slightly sticks out where you have another beautiful view of the City, but this time the other side of the river. I really wanted to have a shot including the Eureka Tower as that's the tallest building in Melbourne. The pointy tower next to the Eureka tower is where the Arts Precinct is so I also wanted to include that in the shot.

I actually had a really hard time shooting this time lapse. The first try it started off beautiful, but as time went on it started to get incredibly cloudy. It wouldn't have been a huge problem, but the clouds brought light pollution, changing the colour of the photo from blue to orange. It wouldn't fit in with the rest of the shots I'd taken so I decided to go back a few days later and reshoot.

The second time I tried people were setting up for the Moomba Festival, the largest free community festival in Australia. There were bright lights behind us turning on and off and I think that messed with my camera so throughout the entire time-lapse the shots were flashing. I'm not sure if you can see it in the photo to the left - the top photo is slightly lighter than the bottom - but in the time lapse sequence it was very obvious.

Finally third time lucky! It was a completely clear night, no builders behind us and the water actually had a much better reflection. It was perfect - and thankfully it was because this was going to be my last try! Melbourne weather is pretty up and down so trying to shoot on an almost cloudless day was pretty difficult. I didn't want to waste all the cloudless evenings on the same shot that kept messing up!

That's it for the night time/sunset Yarra River shots. I've really happy with the three sequences and they fit together really nicely!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Eureka Skydeck

I'm finally catching up on everything we've done in Australia, which is good since I start my travels in 4 days!!

On Thursday we went up the Eureka Skydeck. It's the highest public vantage point in a building in the Southern Hemisphere at 285 m (935 ft). I thought it was the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, but it's actually the highest public vantage point. The panorama above isn't the best I've every taken, obviously, but it'll do. On the left side of the image is the CBD, the city centre. Just below, the yellow lines, is Flinders Street Station and across that is Federation Square. The river is the Yarra River, and on the right side of the River is Southbank and the Arts Precinct. The blue point is on top of one of the two theatres. The green lights are alongside the road. When we first moved to Melbourne they were a pale purple but in November they turned green. If you follow the street with the green lights, St Kilda Road, you'll get to the Shrine Of Remembrance.

We went up the Eureka Skydeck at about 18.00, right after sunset. When we got up to the top it was still pretty light, and by the time we went walked a circle it was pitch black. The photo to the left is my favourite photo. It's right as the sun is setting over the CBD with the reflection of the building.

It took 4 years and 2 months to build, and opened on the 11th of October 2006. The lift is the fastest lift in the Southern Hemisphere - it was incredibly quick. It took less than a minute to get up to the 88th floor (an estimate!). The top 11 floors of the building are golden and are actually infused with 24 carat gold!

The photo to the right faces towards the MCG, the cricket sports ground. The lights are off, but you can just about see it on the top left hand side. The white stripes underneath are all tennis courts.
The top of the tower can flex up to 600mm in high winds. Two 300,000 litre water tanks on level 90 and 91 help to dampen the oscillations! Source

The building stands 297 metres in height, with 91 storeys above ground plus one basement level. It is one of only seven buildings in the world with 90 or more storeys and is the 50th tallest building in the world. It is also the second-tallest building in Australia and the tallest building in Melbourne. Source

The photo to the left looks towards the CBD and the station. 

The photo to the right is facing towards Docklands. Again I love the reflection on the right side of the photo! The colourful wheel is the Melbourne Star. Kind of like the London Eye but then smaller and more unstable. It originally opened in 2008 but closed after only 40 days because of structural defects. There were 14 cracks found in the steel. They completely scrapped it and had to rebuild the whole thing. It opened again in December 2013. Three days after the second opening they had to stop the wheel again as they found another crack in a window. A few days after that the wheel was stopped again for a full inspection as it stopped turning.. After that a family was traumatised because their cabin started turning as the wheel turned. However, the CEO said the wheel was safe to use so it stayed open and he refused to answer any questions about the mechanics of the wheel. In January 2014 the wheel was stopped again due to a software problem.... I don't think I'll be going there!! 

Anyway, back to the Eureka Skydeck. The photo to the left faces further down St Kilda Road towards the Shrine of Remembrance. At this point it was pitch black and very hard to take photos!

When you go back down to the ground you pass Australia's highest post box, which is a real post box and you can buy stamps from the shop. There is also a sign saying "Down To Earth"! 

This is after we left. I was standing underneath two bright lights.. cool effect right?? 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Anzac Day 2014

Today is Anzac Day in Australia. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

Why is this day special to Australians?
When war broke out in 1914, Australia had been a federal commonwealth for only 13 years. The new national government was eager to establish its reputation among the nations of the world. In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies. The ultimate objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul in Turkey), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany.

The Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated, after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian soldiers had been killed. News of the landing on Gallipoli had made a profound impact on Australians at home, and 25 April soon became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in the war.

Although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the Australian and New Zealand actions during the campaign left us all a powerful legacy. The creation of what became known as the “Anzac legend” became an important part of the identity of both nations, shaping the ways they viewed both their past and their future. source

Anzac Day starts off with a dawn service at the Shrine Of Remembrance. We woke up at 5.30 in the morning for the 6.00 service. It was still pitch black and freezing outside, but all we could see were tons of people. It lasted for about half an hour. 

This year is the 99th Anniversary of the Gallipoli landing and all those who have served and died in war. There was an estimated 80,000 people attending the dawn service at Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance. source

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wilsons Promontory

For the second part of the holiday we went to Wilson Promontory, about the same distance as where the 12 Apostles are, but in the complete opposite direction. It took us about 6 hours to drive from one place to the other through Melbourne. We stayed in Waratah Bay at a little hotel with only 6 rooms. It was more of a Bed and Breakfast feel which was really nice and homely. This is the view from where we stayed and also where we saw our first wild wallaby!

The first thing we did at Wilsons Promontory was go on a hike to Squeaky Beach. The hike was nice and we saw some great views and it wasn't very long or difficult. Squeaky beach is beautiful. It's the whitest sand I've ever seen. It was a really rubbish day, but I think it made the photos look even more impressive. Everything about it is just white. It's called Squeaky Beach because the sand is supposed to squeak when you walk on it, but I didn't really hear any squeaking. Regardless, it was a stunning beach.

We had some lunch at the visitor centre and saw another Kookaburra. It was searching for food and you could see it jumping down with its beak going into the ground full speed. You'd think it would break its neck by doing that, but their necks are very thick compared to other birds.

After that we went on a wildlife walk. I'm not sure what the exact walk was called but it was somewhere between the entrance of the park and the visitor centre. There was a huge car park which was completely empty, then you walk through this small little bushy area into a huge open area. For the first minute or so we were really skeptical, it didn't look like there were going to be any animals, but we were soon proven wrong when we saw our first kangaroo... and another one... and another one... etc! There were tons!!

These were our first wild kangaroos. They were literally everywhere in huge herds. They didn't really seem to mind having people walk around. They looked up at us for a few seconds before going back to whatever they were doing.

We also saw our first wombat. At first we just saw this lump of fur on the ground that was completely still, we though it was a dead kangaroo or something.. We then noticed a face and ears, and then it started running! It turned out to be a wombat. They're so cute! They're kind of a mix between a fox and a koala?

That was it for our day in Wilsons Promontory. On the second day we spent in that area we went to Phillip island to see the Penguin parade. There is no photography allowed at the penguin parade so unfortunately I don't have any photos of that, but I do have some from the drive over!

Our first stop was a few minutes away from Waratah Bay, at Sandy Point. This is a huge beach that during low tide is just a sandy point. We could actually drive on the sand! It was a huge area and there were tiny crabs everywhere! There were so many it actually looked like a huge blanket on the sand was moving.

A bit further along we stopped again for this view. I'm not sure where it was or what it was called, but it was awesome!

The penguin parade starts at sunset, which was at about 8 when we were there. You're advised to come a bit earlier to buy your tickets, have some food, watch the 5 minute video look at the souvenir shops and find a place to sit. There were 2 normal priced seating areas and one VIP area that's more expensive and further out of the way. As soon as it gets dark you start seeing large groups of little penguins come out the water. They go back in and out quite a few times before they get the courage to run out on the sand. We sat watching them for about 30-45 minutes when we got up and walked back to the visitor centre. The little penguins walk past the path so as you're walking back you get really close to the penguins. The little penguins are about 30cm tall and the closest we got to them was probably that same amount!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Great Ocean Road Day 3

On the third day of the Great Ocean Road we drove to some more scenic points. The first stop was The Arch. It's a beautifully naturally sculpted arch that's 8 meters high. There is a walk way around the area so you get a few different views of the area.

The second stop was the London Bridge. The London Bridge used to actually be 2 bridges, but the first half of the bridge fell. "On the evening of 15 January 1990 the main arch connecting London Bridge to the mainland cracked and fell into the sea. Fortunately no one was injured. Two people marooned on the new island were rescued hours later by helicopter". The area has 4 different view points. Two are very easy to find and the last 2 are a bit more hidden and out of sight.

The third stop was the Grotto, my favourite of the three. When you arrive at the Grotto, there is a long stairway down to sea level where you're met with this beautiful view. The water inside the Grotto was completely still, yet there were huge waves in the ocean. It was a very interesting sight. We went on the perfect day. The sun emphasised the orange of the rock formation which highlighted the blue of the ocean and sky.

After that we went to a cheese factory. It was amazing. We weren't allowed in the actual factory, but there was a shop next to it where we had a cheese tasting of all the cheeses they made locally. We then ordered this cheese platter. It was delicious.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Great Ocean Road Day 2

On the second day of our Great Ocean Road journey we started off by driving to Cape Otway Light house: the oldest surviving light house in mainland Australia. On our way to the light house, we drove through some beautiful forests where we saw some more Koalas. Although the Koalas we saw on the first day were wild too, they were all around a camp site and easy to spot. These were much further up in the trees and seemed more wild. Which made it more exciting too!

The lighthouse is located in it's own little precinct. It costs $19.50 for adults to enter and $17.50 for students. Thanks STA! The precinct includes the light house, a museum, an aboriginal culture site, a World War 2 bunker and a restaurant/cafe. The panorama above is taken from the World War 2 bunker, from there you have a beautiful overview of the area and a different angle of the light house.

The trees on the way to the light house were all completely bare, it was the strangest site. It looked like there had been a huge fire, but it was due to the Koalas. They had eaten all the leaves from all the trees. No matter which direction you looked or how far you could see, everything was bare.

After the light house we went to an Australian wildlife park. It was only a small park but it had tons of Australian animals. We bought a bag of food and went round feeding most of the animals. The photo to the right is me feeding a wallaby. They're a smaller and cuter version of kangaroos. We also saw Dingo's, Kangaroos, emu's and more. It was nice to see wallaby's and kangaroos for the first time, but obviously we'd rather see them in the wild!

There was one kangaroo that had a joey in its pouch. It wasn't like what you'd see in cartoons where the joey pops its head out and looks all cute. This joey was in upside down and its legs were sticking out.

At sunset we made our way back to the 12 Apostles. It was such a beautiful sunset. I originally wanted to time-lapse it, but it was so incredible windy my tripod wouldn't stop shaking. It's such an iconic Australian photograph and it's still unbelievable I actually saw that in person.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Great Ocean Road Day 1

In the middle of March my parents came to visit me in Australia. I got to show them why I love Melbourne so much, and they took my boyfriend and I on a trip to The Great Ocean Road and Wilsons Promontory. They were only here for 11 days, but we did a ridiculous amount in such a short time.

After 4 days in Melbourne, we drove down the Great Ocean Road to the 12 apostles with a few stops along the way. Our first top was Bells Beach, a renowned surfers beach. Bells Beach is where the longest running surf competition, Rip Curl Pro Surf, takes place. It's a beautiful crescent like beach with loads of surfers.

There was a view point at the top where you could see the surfers, and a long wooden stair case down to the beach. The water was freezing. We had a quick stroll on the beach when we were attacked by the waves.

This was just a random stop along the way. It shows off how windy the road actually is. You're driving on the side of a mountain so the majority of the time this is the view, but ever now and then the road takes you through the mountains and you see beautiful valleys. A very different type of landscape.

We had some stunning ocean views along the way... obviously.

We stopped by Kennet River at a place called Koala Cove Cafe. This is where we saw our first wild koalas!! There were 3 koalas just chilling out in the trees surrounded by these vibrant red and green parrots. After we had some lunch (delicious!) we bought a bag of bird feed and were attacked by the birds and ducks. They even sat on my head!

This is also where we saw our first kookaburra. The Kookaburra is found in Australia and New Zealand and their cry is a discordant, abrupt laugh. The cackle of the Kookaburra is actually a territorial call to warn other birds to stay away.

Finally we made it to the 12 Apostles! Unfortunately the weather had caught up with us and it looked a bit gloomy, but it was still an amazing sight. I have seen so many photos of the 12 apostles, but to see it in real life was very different.

We stayed at the 12 apostles for 3 nights in a place called Port Campbell. It's a cute little town but there wasn't really much to do. That's it for the first day!