Touring Tasmania- Old Hobart Town Model Village

Click to embiggen

Old Hobart Town is a unique multi award winning model village depicting life in Hobart as it was in the 1820’s – their website

This was something that was all over the tourist flyers etc I picked up, combined with the historic bridge it put Richmond on the map as a place to visit.  Personally this was an utterly delightful place to visit, was much larger than I expected and clearly a labour of love for the people who have created it.

Carefully created so you can walk all around and see all sorts of action going on in interesting places and you do really have to stop and look to notice the small relevant goings on like the above image or the jailbreak in the one below

Click to embiggen

A great sense of humour had been used when setting up some of the scenes, there is a couple in a hay wagon, some guys fishing in a stream, children playing, dogs and chickens and goats and cattle in various places.

The water wheel actually turns – click to embiggen

Moss has been used instead of grass to keep it to scale, and the bushes bonsai style to look like trees in the appropriate scale as well. Some features like the water wheel turned too.

This image should give you an idea of the scale – its not a SMALL feature by any means. I shared my wandering with a family with three children who delighted in finding the 4 key elements you were challenged to find on the map you got at the entrance – the hardest one was a woman killing a snake and I never saw it.  Kept the kids well entertained tho.

The level of detail was incredible, washing hung on lines, horses harnessed, clothing painted on appropriately and accurate to the period.

This village was a recreation of the original settlement in Hobart and some of the very original sandstone buildings are still standing and I think this is a recreation of one of them.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, it was a delightful whimsical thing to find and truly unique and genuinely entertaining.  If you go to Tasmania and miss out on this, it would be a great sadness.

Next up in our Tasmanian Tour is Port Arthur – this time full scale colonial buildings with a lot of grim history

I hope you enjoyed these miniatures as much as I did – have you visited too?

Feedback and Comments welcome!

Posted in Camera Adventures | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Touring Tasmania – Richmond Bridge

Richmond Bridge – click to embiggen

Richmond Bridge is the oldest bridge still in use in Australia (Wikipedia) and by still in use they mean cars drive over it to cross the river and it is the only bridge that I saw in the township.

The foundation stone was laid in 1823 as per this sign in the middle of the bridge.

By now the sun was at the right angle and it simply glows on the yellow sandstone the bridge has been built out of.  They were doing some construction or repairs on the bank on the other side so I have cropped that out.  Many ducks and other birds were swimming in the river and on a sunny morning it was a lovely spot to be.

View from on top of the bridge – click to embiggen

I walked across the bridge – it is narrow but has a pathway on one side for pedestrians and this was the view on that side, a lovely path along the side of the river that goes up to a park and playground up further in the middle of the town.  Very nice walk on a sunny day I am sure!

View of the shady side of the bridge with a colonial building across the river – click to embiggen

I was intrigued how the stone of the bridge looks so different taken from the shady side, you can see the pale mortar they used quite clearly in this image.

Next up is the wonderful Old Hobart Town Miniature Village – the two reasons I came to Richmond, but all the wonderful colonial buildings distracted me as well :)

Posted in Camera Adventures | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Awake – An Exercise in Black and White Conversion

BW created in NIK Silver Efex – click to embiggen

One of the cession 5 Awake classes  was Black and White conversions and we were taken through ways NOT to do this in PS and also a couple of ways TO do it in PS.

I found this very interesting as I fell in love with NIK Silver Efex around the same time Google bought it and released it for a fraction of the previous price and have been a user ever since.  Not being shown how to do BW in PS before, I had never used it and there are some nifty tricks.

One of the clever ones is how you create a BW Adjustment layer and blend that back with the original image for interesting effects – I found the blend modes you would normally use seemed to work in reverse for this which was unexpected.

BW Adjustment layer blended back into original colour image – click to embiggen

This is what I created blending the two layers, and it feels like a realistic representation of the day – it was very dull and dark and overcast and raining.

BW image created using PS Adjustment Layer – click to embiggen

Above is my first BW image created using the BW Adjustment Layer function in PS – it was actually quite easy – this is Intense Red Filter with some tweaks – started to get some pixelation in the clouds if the sliders got pushed a bit far.

Its interesting to compare this to the NIK version at the top – the NIK one has more contrast and drama and energy and typing this I realise I forgot to go in and tweak the levels and the contrast in PS!

That kind of summarises my experience with doing a BW conversion – there are many different programs and ways of doing it – we got a look at the Topaz and the On One programs as well and both had some neat features.  What I like most about Silver Efex is that I can do everything I need in the one program, it has lots of presets to get you started and lots of ways to edit globally and locally without having to remember to do this step and that step.

While it is really useful to know how to do this in PS, I am glad that Silver Efex is in my toolbox and will happily continue using it :)

Here is the original image after I edited it in LR6, aiming for a realistic interpretation of the day – it looks rather a lot like the blended image above which I find quite interesting :)

Original image edited in LR6 – click to embiggen

Do you do Black and White?

What tools do you like to use and why?

Any handy tips to share?

All feedback and comments welcome!

Posted in AWAKE, For Beginners, LR & Photoshop | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Awake – Tui Portrait

In my Awake course I have been using a lot of my images of our Native NZ birds as subjects and this was an image I have wanted to create for a while but lacked the skills to do it.

The original image is not 100% sharp sadly – the perils of handholding a heavy body and long lest but I love the pose and the sunlight highlighting the colours on his chest so much I don’t really care.

The background was pretty awful so first I had to try and select him out of it which turned out to be not possible with my current skill level so I did a vague selection around him and then spent AGES AND AGES masking out the bits I didn’t want.  Making a major mistake and having to start again meant I got lots of practice at this, painting with a 2 pixel brush around the fine hairs and feathers!

Added some subtle grunge colour and texture as the background with a hint of text for extra interest.  Then added a black rectangle blended with hard light I think and a drop shadow for that floating effect.

Worked really hard on this and learned a lot, I like the very simple clean look to this, the action is going on with the gorgeous bird, I just needed to set him off properly :)

Here is the original image for comparison

Like it?  Don’t Like it?  Tell me what you think!

Posted in AWAKE, LR & Photoshop | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Am I In The LOTR Film Set?

Aoraki or Mt Cook – click to embiggen

Once you get into alpine country in the South Island every where you turn or stop there is a stunning vista.  The image above is the usually shy Mt Cook or Aoraki – our tallest peak and in the many times I have driven past this is the FIRST time it wasn’t completely covered in clouds.  This was taken from Lake Pukaki shore with my 70-200 F4 IS at full extension on the tripod.


You don’t have to go far, above is on the Milford Sound Road, the last safe spot to stop before the Avalanche No Stopping Zone which goes through to the other side of the Homer Tunnel – I’m standing on the side of the road for this image.

Click to embiggen

When I pivoted to my right, this view above was right in front of me!

The image below was take at the end of the Chasm carpark and the lighting was lovely

Click to embiggen

Two more views along the Milford Rd

Isn’t it just fabulous!  I really felt like the Riders of Rohan would come galloping round the corner any minute :)

The air was so cold and yet crystal clear and pure, I think I got a little high :)

All Feedback and Comments Welcome!

Posted in Camera Adventures | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Great Southern Lakes of NZ

Lake Te Anau – click to embiggen

This is the view I was hoping to get on my trip down south, bright blue skies, crystal clear lakes, snow capped mountains OH MY!

As you can see from the above image of Lake Te Anau – taken from the edge of the township with a very nice driftwood tree for added interest, yes I got that weather on the last two days of the trip.

For the first two days I got THIS – dark murky and overcast but it still makes for quite a different feel of image, so no sulking, out into the rain I went with my friend P who kindly volunteered to be a mobile umbrella for my camera and tripod.

Manapouri – click to embiggen

On the Sunday P and I had a day of adventures, so many adventures!  We drove the Milford road but didn’t actually make it to Milford Sound, we were too busy exploring all the little nooks and crannies and side trips on the way that most people never see.  She had been to some already and some were new to both of us, it was an EXCELLENT day, a real treat for me to be a passenger and fully able to enjoy the scenery.

Lake Te Anau from the Milford End – click to embiggen

Everywhere you look there are fabulous views, it is easy to see why tourists flock by the busload and even though this is one of the most remote parts of the South Island, the buses stream in from Queenstown from dawn til dusk.  The three images above are all different scenes taken from the Milford end of Lake Te Anau.

There are many lakes in this part of the world, Te Anau, Manapouri, Benmore, Aviemore, Pukaki, Tekapo, Wakatipu, Dunstan are the big names, some natural, some formed behind dams.  The South Island runs on hydroelectric power provided by these lakes and rivers which are all snow fed so a good cold wet winter is important to us.

Lake Pukaki South Arm – click to embiggen

The last lake on my photo tour is Lake Pukaki – famous for its astonishing blue colour and for being the home of Aoraki or Mt Cook – our tallest peak.  This is a shot to the south of Mt Cook – I love all the textures in the snow covered landscape, white clouds across a blue sky and the reflection in the lake.

It was truly gobsmackingly gorgeous and many times I just stood there and luxuriated in the natural wonders spread before me.  Really need to get out of the city more often!

Next Up – drive along the Milford Sound Road and see many many mountains!

All feedback, thoughts and comments welcome!


Posted in Camera Adventures | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Topaz Impression

Please click to embiggen and see all the lovely painted detail

Yes I got a new toy – a copy of Topaz Impression – get your 30 day trial here

I actually got the trial but didn’t quite pay attention to the details so never used it properly and thought it was a bit of a waste of time.  However in my Awake course I have seen wonderful images created with it, or where it was used to good effect.

Yesterday I posted the image of Lake Tekapo with the sky enhanced with Impression – it occurred to me that a slightly less than perfectly focussed image might still be useable with it.

This is a photo of Cognac as a small kitten but its just out of focus enough to be unuseable for anything but I loved his sweet face in this image a lot and kept it.  So I processed it in LR and bought it into Impression and played with the brushes to get one fine enough to pick up the detail in the whiskers and fur around his face and ears – this is Van Gough II from memory.

I really like how this came out and can see many more uses in my Photo Artistry classes – it was an expensive purchase but I already feel like I got my money’s worth!

Like it?  Hate it?  All feedback and Comments Welcome!

Posted in AWAKE, LR & Photoshop | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments