END OF THE DAY AT THE QUEEN VICTORIA MARKET

When I arrived at the Queen Victoria Market in North Melbourne last Saturday, I found the Market area (600 stalls – both indoor & outdoor) packing up for the day.

Apparently on Saturdays, the market closes at 3.00pm (not 4.00pm as I thought – Sunday is 4.00pm).  I had hoped to make some images of the crowded market stalls, which include fruit/veggies, a marble Art Deco Food Hall, fishmongers & meat refrigerated areas (as well as the clothing, footwear and all manner of other goods in the vast expanse of covered and uncovered market space).

So the best I could do was make a few images of the mostly deserted market, much of which looked a little dull on such an overcast day, and even more dull by the lack of bustling crowds.  There were the occasional bursts of sunshine, but the image below was made when the sun disappeared behind the cloud cover.

(I always take photos when out & about, even when the activity & location is disappointing, as in my mind, photography is all about practice, practice & more practice).  No photography means wasted opportunities.  Especially now that I’m getting into B & W photography which requires some extra work in learning to see in a different way.

At least it didn’t rain.

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OLD EMERALD RAILWAY STATION & STEAM ENGINE TRACKS – DANDENONG RANGES

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How lovely it was to …………finally………..get some new subject matter to photograph.

Don’t know whether I did justice to the scene on such an overcast day, but I was lucky enough to get short bursts of sunlight peeping through the clouds overhead, so I tried to make the photos in those quick time slots.

Toadstools in Black & White

I’ve been busy with other activities recently and had less time to spend on photography, but I’ve always wanted to try some landscapes and nature photography in Black and White.

Yesterday I had the chance (albeit brief).

On a roadside stop while up at the nearby Dandenong Ranges (the range of hills overlooking the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne), I was lucky enough to make some images of large toadstools on a grassy roadside edge and in the nearby field.  While I made the photos in colour, I tried converting a few to B & W and this is the result.  The lens used in these two was my 50mm f1.4 – at f3.5 and then I tried f1.4 on a toadstool hidden in the grass.

Unfortunately, a barbed wire fence stopped me getting on the other side of the patch and I shot mainly into the light (resulted in some over-exposed areas in some images).

I’ll look forward to trying again sometime.  I must admit, getting up off the ground was extremely difficult with my stiff back and neck, so I don’t think I’ll be getting this low down next time though.  The ground was covered in pine cones and twigs from a nearby tree, so it was a bit prickly and uncomfortable too.  At least now I know what it feels like to lie on a bed of nails!

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Sculpture in Colour

A couple of followers wanted to see this sculpture in colour, so here is the original straight out of the camera.

The sculpture is actually pure white (and the purple on the legs and arms is purely the reflection off the building and the light at the time of making the image).

The building is dark grey, not this bluish tone, so my camera settings didn’t even get that colour correct.

Made about 2.40pm on an overcast day with an ISO of 800 which is about the highest I can go without getting noise.   The shutter speed was 1/20 and since I can rarely hand-hold the camera steady below 1/40, I thought the focus turned out pretty good (in the absence of a tripod with the slow shutter speed).  I rarely take a tripod into the city centre as it’s too bulky on crowded public transport and on this particular day, I also met the protest rally up this northern end of the city and it was very crowded in the nearby main street.

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SCULPTURE – northern end of MELBOURNE CBD

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Located in an inner city lane, is this enormous, remarkable sculpture above a doorway.  I’ve seen it before and can’t help but be impressed by the building owner’s creative touch to an otherwise dark uninteresting bluestone cobbled lane near the northern end of Melbourne’s CBD.  Highly creative with beautiful flowing lines, it shines like a beacon outside a restored old warehouse style of building.  I don’t know whether the building is a residence or an office as there was no sign and the windows were made of mirrored glass so one couldn’t see inside.

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PROTEST RALLY

I went up to the north end of Melbourne’s CBD to photograph some new Street Art during the week and came to a standstill outside the State Library of Victoria.  I don’t think I’ve ever tried to photograph this type of crowd scene before.  I was a little unsure how much to zoom in (or out) to capture the atmosphere.  Of course, I had to find a gap in the crowd where there weren’t too many heads in the way too.

University Students, (and other interested parties), were staging a protest against the newly released Federal Budget’s changes to higher education fees.  The Government has made this an especially difficult Budget Forecast and drawn some hard lines for Pensioners and Medical service co-payments too.  As a person with chronic and somewhat serious health problems, (two of which are genetic), I just hope the new Budget does not affect my own health care – I can’t afford it (mentally, physically or financially).

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To be honest, I was more than a little dismayed to hear that our Government is making changes which will affect those who can ill afford the cost (of extra fees).

OK, I know I am lucky in that I can go out for 2-3 afternoons  a week following my Photography hobby which I love so much, but there are also times when chronic pain keeps me at home too.  I choose not to take medically prescribed analgesics regularly these days.   I am also very fortunate in that slow walking for a few hours usually dissipates my chronic pain………… and mindful living and a relatively stress-free daily routine gives me choices in how I deal with my health.  I also have the benefit in being educated and trained in Alternative Therapies, which is a saving on some prescription meds.

But………..why don’t they, (the current Government), increase the taxes on the Wealthy to pad out the Government Coffers?  We Health Pensioners didn’t choose to get sick, and the elderly didn’t necessarily choose to be living on the Government Old Age Pension (instead of being self-funded retirees).  Many of the poorer class have worked hard all their lives and just can’t keep up with the rising cost of living, especially health care and education, let alone saving for old age (when they should be enjoying more in life).

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In Australia, current trends show the middle class is diminishing and there is an even greater gap between the Rich and the Poor.  Many more middle class people are ‘feeling the pinch’ in their living expenses and starting to fall into the Poorer class, or below the Poverty line.  The number of Homeless and People with mental illness, or stress-related health problems, is rapidly increasing.

Ok, I’ve had my little rant now.

Back to Photography.

(note the hoof guards in the background of the last photo – something I’ve never seen before.  I didn’t notice them at the time of making the photo, so didn’t change the Aperture to bring them into sharp focus.  It was just a random shot of the horse leg protectors).

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SOMEWHERE IN SUBURBIA

I travelled via bus and train to one of the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne yesterday – to the town where I was born (literally) and lived for the first 10 years of my life.   My…… how it has changed.  The murky ‘dam’ 10 minutes walk from the railway station, set among rustic bushland and gum trees, is now a beautiful (but natural) landscaped lake from which walking trails extend.

More of that journey on my other blog vickialfordnatureblog.wordpress.com (when I find time to review and/or edit my photos and upload them).   Probably next week or when the next series of cold, rainy days come across the horizon. 

Melbourne has put on her very best show of gorgeous blue sky and pleasant Autumn weather this week (and next weekend) so I’m not going to waste it blogging, or reading other blogs this morning.  I did like one of the images I made when I got off the train and walked to the bus stop (on the homeward journey).  It’s in colour because that’s the way I ‘saw’ it and liked it.  No doubt it would take some fiddling with the contrast and exposure to convert it to B & W.   It was an old shop (and upstairs accommodation?) across the road from the rail station entrance.  The first photo is the one that I particularly liked, but I thought I would share the whole building as well.  I only wish the focus had been sharper, but fatigue had set in and I couldn’t be bothered unfolding the tripod or taking too long to aim,  as I wanted to get home and relax after the journey.