Welcome to my blog, in the coming weeks I'll be adding to my blog here telling a little bit about myself and my photography, Once you get to know a little bit about myself I'll start to get into more details of how I get some of my shots and the set ups involved. Welcome to my site and I hope you enjoy my journey through photography. My main photography is bird life, Mushrooms and landscapes, a lot of my photography is taken in the Australian Botanical Gardens, Mount Annan, a great place for photography.

Australian Botanical Gardens, Mount Annan 7/01/2017

January 12, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

This week’s blog post is a walkthrough of the shots taken last weekend in the Australian Botanical Gardens, Mount Annan.

Before we get into the shots for the week, a look at where my blog was been viewed over the last two weeks shows Australia is on top this time, with the USA second, then the United Kingdom and Brazil, with a five way tie for fifth place with Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand with another four countries with one viewer each being Colombia, Cambodia, the Philippines and Poland, So a goods catering of countries the last few weeks. Thanks of reading. 

Not so many shots this week to go thought, compared to the last few weeks. 

First up a Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus) there was a small group of these in their normal location around the stolen generation memorial area in the woodland. If you wait long enough they start to come back to the area. So just a matter of waiting and not moving around and they come back looking for the insects there hunting.

The wrens were a bit skittish and I soon found out why. Again I meet one of the people from my first work shop in the gardens and they pointed out that they had seen a lace monitor (Varanus varius) in the nearby gum tree. This one was going up and down the various branches looking to see what it could find. 

This next shot I've had a play with Topaz again in the background so you can see the textured effect of what looks like a canvas that the image is printed on. 

Walking around the gardens I heard a few Common Myna's Call out and there was a large lace monitor being hurried on by them. They have a nest in the nearby tree so don’t appreciate one of these on the prowl.

This week with a few slightly cooler days and a good day of rain before the weekend I found a few more mushrooms this week, these ones were growing on a stick and not in the ground so made an interesting subject for the week. So the next series of shots are of the same three mushrooms. with different angles and lighting positions. 

These next two shots are taken with my phone showing the actual lighting conditions and setups I used to get the above shots. As you can see from the actual lighting conditions you can really create a different feel to the above shots with the speedlites. 


So thats it for this weeks shots, finally found a few mushrooms to shoot again the last few weeks, not sure I'll be so lucking the coming weekend with several days over the 40 deg C.  mark this way. not the best conditions for mushrooms, but we'll see whats about. 

Thanks for dropping by my Blog, I'll be back next week with more. 



Australian Botanical Gardens, Mount Annan 24/12/2016 and 2/01/2017

January 07, 2017  •  1 Comment

This week’s blog post is a look back at the shots taken in the Australian Botanical Gardens over the last few weeks over Christmas. I didn't get to go out with the cameras as much as I would have liked to over the break as back on the bathroom renovation works again, tiling the second Bathroom floor, so only got out twice during the time off. 

First up I started a walk from the plant bank along the board walk, in the small ponds at the start of the woodland area is some bulrushes and I noticed some movement in there. So looking closely I found this red-bellied black snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus) in the water swimming around after a while it came out and into the grass around the pond.

A few Superb Fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus) were about in the area but not to much else of not for the day around the stole Generation memorial area

A few Superb Fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus) were about in the area but not too much else of not for the day around the stole Generation memorial area. I did meet a couple on their last day in Australia from Scotland (Philip and Sheila) who said they had seen some Tawny Frogmouths in the Banksia Garden, Not having got a shot of one of these yet in the gardens I decided that was my next stop. So after not finding anything else here I drove down to the Banksia Garden area. I got a good description of where to look so went straight there. First think I found was  a few Australian King Parrots (Alisterus Scapularis) abut so I managed to get this shot of a female from a distance.

Then exactly where I was told the Frogmouths were I found them, three of them. You can certainly see how they camouflage themselves to look like tree branches. I managed the first show with the eyes open, but the rest are partially closed.  Still happy with these shots.  

On the last day of my holidays I went back into the gardens to see what I could find after a few cooler days and some light rain I was hoping for some mushrooms this time round. Been a while now since I had found any in the gardens. First up another new bird to cross of my list a Rufous Whistler (Pachycephala rufiventris) high up in the canopy, I’d spotted it last time but didn’t get a good shot, this week a little better but still not the best quality, I’ll have to keep an eye out for these in the coming visits to see if I can get a better shot. Hopefully they will come a little lower to the ground.

This shot captured it in full song.

This next shots taken in the dam opposite the plant bank and is of a young Dusty Moorhen on the hunt for reeds at the bottom of the dam.

While walking along beside the cannel there I spotted this young Fan-tailed Cuckoo (Cacomantis flabelliformis), I didn't see what the host bird to this one was after waiting a while, would have made for a good shot if its still being looked after. Another thing to look out for next trip. 

The woodland areas and most of the gardens are full of these next ones the Willie Wagtails (Rhipdura leucophrys) Theres not to many places in the Gardens you don't find these filtering about. collection insects as they go. 

A small family of Variegated Fairy-wrens (Malurus lamberti) are often found around the area where the stolen generation memorial is located in the woodlands. 

This ones not the cleanest shot but shows the broad shoulder patches across the the back as it flys up to the next branch, been better getting a cleaner shot with out the sticks in the way, maybe next time round.  

In amongst the Variegated wrens are a few Superb Fairy-wrens (Malurus cyaneus) Missing the brown patch of the Variegated wrens, thou still quite colourful and just as timid.

After all the hot weather of late a few cooler days and some rain as well seemed to have bought out a few mushrooms, well two anyway. So I made the most of these two doing three setups with different lighting and angles to get these three shots of these ones. 

So thats it for this weeks blog a round up of the shots for the last two weeks with only two days of shooting, but still some good shots this time round, good to get back into the mushroom shots again after so long with out. 

Thanks for dropping by my blog this week, I'll be back next week with the usual blog post. Till then take care. Back again next week. 




My top ten shots of 2016

January 01, 2017  •  1 Comment

As I've done for the last few years, following on from Martin Bailey’s Podcast each year when he creates his top ten shots of the year, again I've done the same. This task each year doesn't get any easier and I can see the improvement in my work over the years reviewing the previous imaged compared to this year’s work. 

This year I went on my first photography workshop / photo tour with Steve Parish in Central Australia, it was a great experience and some amazing landscapes out there. The only Landscape shot in my top ten came from this tour, there was so many images for the tour I would have liked to include but only ten images so only one for that trip may my top ten for the year. Again, this year Mushrooms and Bird shots made up the bulk of my shots this year and mainly in the Australian Botanical Gardens, Mount Annan. Which is only a few minutes’ drive from my place. In fact, only the Central Australian Landscape shot was the only one not taken in the Gardens.

This year along with Google plus which is still doing great with my mushroom collection now having 83000 plus followers, Where I post a mushroom shot each week. I've also started to post in Instagram now, something I kept clear of for some time, but it’s now starting to gain some traction. The Gardens have found my work on Instagram and have asked me to run a workshop in November which we've now done, my first workshop that I've run. Seemed to go OK from what I can tell and everyone said they learnt something from it. So, happy with that there should be more this year, So all up a good year for me Photography wise. 

So on with the top ten shot, this first shot was the shot from the Steve Parish workshop photography tour in Central Australia. This shot is taken for a Helicopter, my first time up in one, the doors were removed to enable a cleaner shot and certainly happy with what I got out for that. I've had printed two of the shots from this flight at 1 metre long. This one is my current favourite, the other one has the most amazing geological shape but I like this image better.


Again a lot of the shots this year was of mushrooms in the Australian Botanical gardens and this shows the spores falling, little golden dots under the cap you can see them on the left side more easily then you can pick them up on the right once you know what your looking for. I used two off camera speedlites and the second light was behind to give back light which lit up the spores.  

The next shot was a lucky shot, well planned but lucky, I was shooting a mushroom on the ground but had set the bird camera (Canon 7DmkII with Sigma 150-600 Sports Len) to focus on this dead tree stump hoping something may come along as it’s a favourite perch for a lot of birdlife, so as I was taking a focus stack of a mushroom this Golden Whistler (Pachycephala pectoralis) landed on the stump which was only about 4 metres away, so I slowly got up to take this shot, I managed about six shots this being the better of the six. Happy with all the detail in this shot. Really liking the 7dMkII and Sigma 150 to 600 Sports lens combination.

Again this year I got into Focus stacking of the mushroom shots with two off camera speedlites. Still using the Canon 60D for these shots, as the articulating screen is great for lining up the shots with the camera on the ground, saves me getting so low. I like the light and shade in this image as well as all the detail. 

This image of the Yellow Thornbill (Acanthiza nana) as it sat and watched me frame up the shot is again one of my favourites with the leaves framing up the shot and the little piece of moss growing on the branch lower down offsetting the bird. The sun behind the bird adding the rim lighting on the right and eliminating the greenery behind, normally you want the brightest part of the image to be the main subject but in this case I think it works well with the bird being a little darker than the background. 

This year has been quite dry towards the end of the year so not much in the way of mushrooms about but as I spend most of my time in the botanical gardens hard not to take plant shots as well. This ones of a Red Waratah the New South Wales State flower. This one was taken in full daylight but again using the speedlite to light the flower and underexpose the image to loose the background. These flowers are always eye catching and to see them in the bush late October these bright red flower heads is really something. 

This next shot was again something special with a pair of young Welcome swallows (Hirundo neoxena) being feed by the parent. The Parent bird made regular trips over the lake collecting insects then fly back without landing to feed the young. The one on the left looks to be saying “Hey, what about me” as it watches the other bird being fed this time around, it was feed not long after. 

This next image of an Eastern Yellow Robin (Eopsaltria australis) again taken in the Australian Botanical Gardens, Mount Annan, shows the catch it just made, these little ones are usually sitting on a branch or side of the tree studying the ground looking for something to feed on, this time a poor lizard was the victim, it flew away with its catch to feed its young. The gardens are alive with these pretty much year round. 

This next image or a pair of Long-Billed Corsellas (Cacatua tenuirostris) was picked up by the ABC News facebook page as its image of the day and ran as the ABCs banner image for the day on the new facebook page. The ABC got the image from Instagram after I tagged them. This one if you look around the edges you can see the results of the post processing I did to create the effect of a painting, from the comments on the ABCs facebook page it led to some confusion from some not noting if it was a painting of a photo, one thinking it was a photo of a painting. This was something I picked up from the workshop earlier in the year. The Image was taken again in the Australian Botanical Gardens, Mount Annan. 

The last image in this year’s top ten shots was taken just after my first workshop in the Gardens. The gardens asked if I would be interested in running a bird photography workshop with them in the gardens, after seeing my shots posted on Instagram, so we gave it a go, after the workshop I went back in to the gardens, with a few from the class. Walking around in the gardens we came across this Lace Monitor (Varanus varius) as it went about its business looking for bird nests in hollows.  You can see the large claws these have to climb trees with, this one was looking around exploring then after the photoshoot casually climbed back down and went in search else where. 


So that rounded out this year’s top ten shots, this year I took 32466 images but these soon add up when you start to use focus stacking where one mushroom shot is made up of 20 odd shots stacked together then three or four different lighting set ups and you’re at 100 images from the one mushroom. Similarly, birds in flight shots soon add up. First step in getting to the top ten was a short list of 98 images this year, then cutting it down to ten, the first few were pretty easy to remove but after that by the time you get down to the last 25 shots each shot you remove you feel guilty for taking that shot out, shots that missed out were my first ever milky way shot taken in Central Australia another aerial shot, several mushroom shots and birds in flight shots, all of which have been covered in the various blog posts throughout the year if you’re interested. But happy with this year’s quality of shots and I’ve already booked on for another photo tour in a month or so’s time again with Steve Parish in Tasmania this time in Mid Feb. Looking forward to that.


A couple of reference links.

Martin Baileys website where you'll find links to his podcasts


Steve Parish's website where you'll find links to what Steve is up to and his work. 



Thanks for dropping by my blog this week, I’ll be back next week with the regular walk through shots from the last week or so.  Have a great new year everyone.





Australian Botanical Gardens, Mount Annan 18/12/2016

December 22, 2016  •  1 Comment

This week blog post covers the shots taken last weekend in the Australian Botanical Gardens, Mount Annan South west of Sydney. This week I thought I may have had better luck on the mushroom front as we had a few days of decent rain here last week. But that was soon to be found to be not the case as I didn't find any yet again this week. So on with the bird shots for this week with a few floral shots thrown in to keep the speedlites running. 

First up this week, not the best shot but the best one so far of the Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis) These birds are migratory and are only in the country from few months of the year. At the moment, I've spotted them in the woodland area and also in the connections gardens so seem to have made the gardens home for now. Look high in the tree tops for thee you will hear them before you see them most times, a very distinctive call. Still need to work on getting a better one of these, though they seem to be staying high up in the Canopy so not so easy so looks like it’s a waiting game for these. This one was taken in the woodland area. 

Next up I walked along the stolen generation walk and came across a small group of Variegated Fairy-wrens (Malurus lamberti) This one was happy to pose for a little bit. Very unlike these. They usually see you and are off. 

From there I headed up to the connections gardens hoping to find mushrooms there after n luck in the woodland area. But again, no luck. This first shot here’s of a common blackbird (Turdus merula) There’s a few of these about in the gardens but seem to be more in my garden.

So with no luck on the mushroom front and a few weeks now of carrying the speedlites about I thought I’d better put them to use before I forget how to use them So this first shots of Xanthorrhoea macronema, it’s like a mini grass tree. With one flash used in a small soft box of to the right, taken in full daylight, under exposed them re-light with the speedlite on low power to give the effect.  

This next version of the same shots after playing around a little in post processing to see what effect I could give it, this one I've toned down so only a little difference in appearance this time. 

While taking these a crested pigeon (Ocyphaps lophotes) was watching on. In this shot you can see the lighting conditions the last shot was taken in. It gives you an idea what you can do with the camera just playing with exposure and lighting. 

Next while I had the speedlites out and the 60D camera set for the Tripod I gave a Flannel Flower ((Actinotus helianthi) a go with the speedlites. Again same lighting conditions as the shot above. But concentrated the light on the one flower in this case. 

From there I took a walk down around the lake to see if anything interesting was going on there, only a few Little Pied Cormorants (Microcarbo melanoleucos) sitting around with this one having yawn. 

In the lake was another one, this one on a fishing expedition, thought looks like its catch was a bit small and should have been through back, it nearly was as it was dropped and had to have a quick dart to re-catch it. But made short work of that.  

The last shot for the week Was this rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) sitting amongst this bunch of flowering blossoms (Corymbia ficifolia) (I remembered this week to get the plant names) The colours of these flowers is so orange. The shot is ok but still not there so in this case I thought I’d try a little extra on it to see what I could do with it, after several attempts I like the last one best.  

The first is the original.

This next one added a painted effect while leaving the bird alone. Still not happy with it. 

So gave it another go picked a different style and this time added in a canvas texture to the shot making it look more like a canvas painting with again the bird bought back to the photo image untouched. Think its the best of the three here, feel free to add which one you prefer in the comments section at the bottom here on this post. 

Well thats it for this weeks blog post, and nearly the end of the year again. Next week I'll do my best of for the year picking my ten best shots as I've done the last few years. Not an easy task working out only ten images from the year, so we'll see what I come up with this year and how it compares to last year. 

Last week’s viewers of my blog were again world-wide with Russia again taking out the top spot for number of views well above anyone else with the USA next down by a factor of ten nearly then Australia, followed by France, Croatia then Italy. The number of views this week was down a little compared to last week, but still a health number of readers each week. 

Wishing every one a happy Christmas and a great new year out there no mater where you are. All the best of the new year. 

Thanks for dropping by my blog, this week, I'll be back next week wiht my best of shots from 2016. 


Australian Botanical Gardens, Mount Annan 10/12/2016

December 15, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

G'day welcome to my blog, or welcome back if you a regular reader. 

For those that read this blog regularly you might be interested to know the last week there were readers from Russia, the United States, Australia, Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom. With Russia topping the number of views this week. 

So as usual this weeks blog will be a look at the shots I managed to take last weekend in the Australian Botanical Gardens, Mount Annan.

This week I ran my first photography workshop in the gardens, a Bird Photography workshop with nine participants, so a nice number for a first workshop. A great group of people with varying levels of skills. The weather was good for the day not to hot, and no wind, bright light so good for the faster shutter speeds so a good morning for Bird photography, all we needed was the birds to show up.

The Workshop started with going over some settings for Bird shots and how to get the best focus using a few methods, there was also a morning tea provided by the Melaleuca House.

The last few weeks I’ve been going over the walk each week working out where the birds are and out first stop was at the tree shown in the last few blog posts, however this week not so active, after the last few weeks a bit of a disappointment for me, we did manage to find a few Striated Pardalotes, but the Galahs and Corellas were not showing their faces in the hollows this day. So we moved off along the walk into the woodland. AS we started down the path a blue tonged Lizard was making its way along the path towards us, well it was till it say a group of photographers with long lenses and decided it wasn't somewhere it wanted to be. 

There we got lucky and managed to get a few shots of a Channel-billed Cuckoo. (Scythrops novaehollandiae) This one was into the woodlands a bit so not the cleanest of shots but still something different, so the morning improved from the first disappointment.

We continued along the path to the next large Gum tree with a hollow and this one for the last few months has had a Corella in residence in the hollow, again not this time. So the two places I pretty much was assured there would be some stationary birds to shoot to practice on turned out a blank.

From there we crossed the road and stopped at the small dam there for a group photo and spotted a little pied Cormorant in the trees on the other side of the bank of the dam.

After a few shots there we moved down towards the stolen generation memorial area, where there is always plenty of bird life about as its one of the usual water locations in the gardens.

This is where last week I found the Scarlet Honeyeater, and again there was a few about so quite a few got some shots of these here.

From there we started to make our way back to the plant bank with a few stops along the way.

At one stop a Kookaburra was in the trees after it had caught a mouse so a few got shots with the Kookaburra with the mouse in its beak.

From there we stopped briefly at the dam opposite the plant bank to see if there was anything interesting there, a couple of young Dusky Moorhens about, that was about it on the day. Then we made our way back to the room for a wrap up of the morning, so for a first up workshop a few disappointments from my side, regarding the birds co-operating but still some good opportunities and everyone said that they gained something from the morning so It seemed to go well. We’ll see where it goes from here.

After the Photography workshop I went back out into the gardens to get some shots for myself, I ran into a few of the workshop participants so we did some more shots. 

First up I managed to capture this white faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) in flight as it took of from the Dam opposite the plant bank. (Now they come out after the workshop.)

Then I saw this Lace Monitor Lizard as I was walking long the side of the dam, Well actually a Willie Wagtail pointed it out to me they don't like these about, most birds set of their alarm calls when these are about and I've seen them be moved on by Cockatoos who don't like the thought of these raiding there nests for eggs. 

Its here I ran in to the first of the participants after the workshop, so they both got a few shots of the monitor up the tree as well.  

While we were shooting the Lace Monitor a Purple swamp hen (Porphyrio porphyrio) was sitting in a tree, usually see these in the edges of the waterways in the gardens not so often up the tree. So something a little different. 

We moved back along the path and the Scarlet Honeyeaters (Myzomela sanguinolenta) were about so I managed a few better shots than last weeks shot, still not happy with these yet so still need to get a good one of these. 

From there I moved back along the path and found this Yellow faced Honeyeater (Lichenostomus chrysops).

I did go back to the hollow beside the road and just to rub it in the Long-billed Corella was back at its post guarding its hollow. I was happy to run into one of the other participants there as well so at least one found out that I was telling the truth there. 

Last up for he week this shot of a Red-browed Finch (Neochmia teporalis) Just watching the world go by.

So that wraps up this weeks shots from the Australian Botanical Gardens and a run down on my first photography workshop. With luck there will be more in the coming year. 

Thanks for dropping by my blog this week, feel free to leave comments in the comment section of the blog post, good to see its getting a global reach. 

I'll be back next week with more.