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Genre a Month Photography Challenge: Travel

As February draws to a close, I think it’s about time I post my travel photographs for the month. During the month I’ve read a few articles on travel photography. All recommend trying to capture the essence of a place or a moment in a new way.

I have tried to take photographs during my travels (from Sydney to Brisbane) which sum up that place and that moment in time. Here are five of my favourites.

The Foggy Early Start

Foggy Morning
Andrew and I left Sydney at 4:55am when it was still dark. By the time we got to Newcastle the sun was finally making a decent appearance; hampered all the way by heavy fog.



It’s an obligatory part of every road trip: refuelling. Whether it’s just collecting petrol or stopping for some much needed food, there’s a certain atmosphere which comes with the ‘pit stop.’ It usually goes hand in hand with bad coffee, the smell of bacon and eggs and a feeling that everyone walking through this door is a transient.


Yet another lot of roadworks
Another inescapable experience of the road trip is the lollypop man. In the case of the Pacific Highway from Sydney to Brisbane, make that lollypop men (PLURAL!). Roadworks are more common on this stretch than roadkill. At one stop where we had to wait quite some time, Andrew took the opportunity to post a picture of one of these guys on facebook with the caption: ‘He wasn’t impressed when we offered him $20 to dance around the pole.’

The final two photographs I took at Bombah Point while waiting for the Ferryman. (He was reading the newspaper. You can’t rush a man doing that). I like these two shots as they were not only taken during my travels, but they are a means of travel in themselves.

So here are the last two: the Rusty Truck and the Bombah Point Boat

Bombah Point: Rusty Truck

Bombah Point


2012 Genre a Month Photography Challenge

Ok, a quick recap.

I’m picking a photographic ‘genre’ each month for the next 12 months in the hope that I will learn more about this media and different styles. I’d love people to join me and thanks to those who already have. For more on the rules of the challenge, how to participate and the topics, I’ve set up a separate page here.

So, 1 down, 11 to go.

February 2012 = Travel Photography.

Now, if you were planning on joining me but you’re not expecting to ‘travel’ anywhere this month, then I hope you’ll take on my ‘travel with a twist’. Whenever I think Travel Photography, I immediately think rich colours of countries far away; the bright colours of Indian Sari’s; the grittiness of some American cities; the historic buildings of the UK with some gloomy weather thrown in.

Travel photography for me until recently would have been impossible. I didn’t go anywhere. It wasn’t until I met Andrew that I started exploring places; first on short day trips and then overnight. We are about to embark on 9 days in the car together in mid February. (If I suddenly stop blogging, then check Australian newspapers for a story about a girl killed by her partner where he’s claiming justifiable homicide as she told him one too many times what the speed limit was!)

People take holidays for all sorts of reasons. Whether it’s to relax or trek the Inca trail (I don’t think the two can co-exist) people take a camera. Why? For the memories. To say ‘I’ve been there.’

What does this have to do with those of you not taking a holiday this month? Well, there’s another definition of travel. It is simply ‘to go from one place to another.’

Now unless your planning on confining yourself to your home for the next month, I’m presuming that everyone is travelling somewhere.

If I wanted to be especially pedantic I could claim that going from the living room to the bedroom constituted travel; it is afterall going from one place to another.

Travel Photography is often about memories and capturing the essence of a place. I think that’s what’s at the heart of travel photography and why I believe you can do a lot of travel photography in your own city. Indeed, your own street! When was the last time you really tried to capture the essence of those places? Well, February may be your chance! Become a tourist in your own city.

I’ve included a couple of photos I took at Bondi Beach this week. When people come to Sydney, Bondi is usually on their list. As someone who turns bright red quicker than you can say ‘cheese’, I’m not a fan of the beach. After this week, I’ll admit that it is a fantastic place for photography, particularly at dusk. There is so much on offer; so many ways to capture that place; Bondi in that moment. I’m quite happy to stand along side all the tourists with my camera and look like a blow-in from pommy land (I doubt they’d think I was from the tropics with my lily livid skin).

Bondi Beach Feb 2012 II

75-300mm lens at 190mm, f/5 for 1/125 sec, ISO 800, monochrome setting.

It seems the Bondi locals are very used to amateur photographers. No one seems to pay any attention to what you’re photographing. Their eyes are on the kid running through the sand; keeping the dog from inappropriately sniffing other dogs on the promenade or keeping your head above water.

So who’s up for the challenge?

If you are participating in the February Travel Photography Challenge, please go to this page and add a comment with a link to your efforts. 

Bondi Beach Feb 2012 I

75-300mm lens at 130mm, f/5.6 for 1/125 sec, ISO 800, monochrome setting.

2012 Genre a Month Photography Challenge: Nature’s final call

Here is the final instalment in my January theme of Wildlife and Nature Photography.

It seems only fitting to end with nature ‘on its way out.’ After a very hot day in Sydney of about 33 degrees, I’m not surprised this agapanthus was looking a little worse for wear. Despite the wilted blossoms, the colour is still so rich. I am delighted with the photo, which I took while stopped in a traffic jam. We were creeping rather than driving and the road around Centennial Park in Sydney has beautiful houses and plenty of dog walkers.

Most of the dogs were too fast for me to get a clear shot. This flower on the other hand was fair game. I’m not sure why I’m so taken with it. Perhaps it’s because in a moment when I expected nothing, I got a photograph which surprised me in its simple wilted beauty.

So here is the last shot of the month. February’s theme is Travel Photography… let’s see what that brings…

Wilted agapanthus

75-300mm lens at 210mm, f/5 for 1/1000 sec, ISO 3200.

If you’ve participated in my Genre a Month Photography Challenge please post a comment with a link to your entry on this page.

2012 Genre a month challenge: Wildlife Photography

I’m half way through my month of Wildlife and Nature Photography and I am getting better at shooting moving targets. My father grows a number of plants in the front garden which attract birds and bees. This one he calls the ‘cigarette bush’ which is not a particularly flattering name. Nevertheless, it remains enticing to bees. I had more than half a dozen bees to choose from, which was lucky, as the buggers are quick!

2012 Genre a Month Photography Challenge: Wildlife

18-55mm lens at 55mm, f/5.6 for 1/80 sec. ISO 125. Cropped slightly post production.

If you’ve participated in my Genre a Month Photography Challenge, please post a comment with a link to your efforts on this page

2012 Genre a Month Challenge: Wildlife & Nature Photography Take 3

2012 Genre a Month Photography Challenge: Wildlife & Nature Photography Take 2

The aim of the 2012 Genre a Month Photography challenge was for me to learn and explore different styles of photography. It’s working. I’m learning already.

I’m learning that with Wildlife Photography, the subject is often just out of sight:

Subject out of sight

Uncooperative Cows

Or the sun is in the wrong place:

Black Cockatoo plays hard to get

Black Cockatoo plays hard to get in Belanglo State Forest

or it is fleeting and inconsiderately against a poor background:

Settles in the wrong spot

When it does stay still you're in the wrong spot!

or worst of all, your subject runs away and hides in a big black hole!

Runs away and hides

Echidna last seen headed this way

On the positive side, I’m delighted that I can go out and spot a black Cockatoo – thank you Andrew. Better yet, I saw my first ever wild echidna!

Given Wildlife was proving difficult, I switched to the ‘Nature’ part of the challenge.

Here too, I am learning.

Learning that flowers are too small:

Flowers too small

look too much like cauliflowers:

Looks like a cauliflower

or cause Andrew to think he’s stumbled on an opium poppy growing in the middle of nowhere (a poppy maybe but an opium one… in a gravel ‘turn-a-round’ near paddocks of cows?)

What poppy is this

Above all I learnt that if you take a 100 photos, if you’re lucky, you may find 3 you like. Here they are:

Belanglo State Forest II

Belanglo State Forest: base of tree in dappled light

The tree above is a favourite because it is simple. I like the colour on the trunk. I like the shadows from the spindly branches above. I like the ‘cross hatching’ of the pine needle carpet.

Bertha the world is slipping

Bertha the world is slipping!

The ‘tipsy’ cows just makes me laugh. I’m not sure why but in my head they have names like Bertha, Marge and Mildred.

Finally, my favourite shot of the day. A really simple photograph really. I guess I like the juxtaposition of man and nature in the one picture.

Nature meets man

If you are participating in the Genre a Month Photography Challenge, please post a comment including a link to your efforts on this page.