WINTER – Queen Street, Melbourne

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MELBOURNE’S OLD GPO CLOCK TOWER

Once upon a time, Melbourne’s General Post Office was the centre of the city’s postal service where thousands of letters were received and sorted. Located on the intersection between Bourke and Elizabeth Street, the GPO building was conveniently positioned in the city’s central business district and its location continues to be used as a point of reference to measure distance from the centre of Melbourne. From the mid-19th Century right up until 1992, Melbournians visited the GPO to post letters, buy stationary, check their PO boxes and pay bills, but these days the building is home to retailers and restaurants.

(note: I didn’t have the right lens to capture the rest of the building when walking through the city earlier this week, but I liked the image all the same).

ARCHITECTURE – OLD & NEW – MELBOURNE

From the Archives……

I didn’t go out of my way to make images comparing old and new architecture for these shots.

They are just various cityscapes made over a number of years when I was in the city (of Melbourne) and happen to contain architectural styles.  Originally shot in colour, they seemed to lend themselves to B & W conversion.

 

DUSK IN MY NEW BACKYARD – Somewhere in Suburbia

Light was fading fast as I left the riverside walking path late this afternoon.

I took a quick short-cut through my new backyard and made a few photos along the way.

One can’t help but admire the strong architectural lines and shapes that marked my path (after the natural landscape and silhouettes that ended a nature walk along the river).  A pity it wasn’t earlier with more light,  but the nature walk was unforgettable and my Living with Nature blog will show off the highlights over the coming weekend.

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SHRINE OF REMEMBRANCE (Melbourne)

Photo made 23rd April 2014
Photo made 23rd April 2014

The Shrine of Remembrance commemorates those men and women who gave their lives in war and more can be read about it here.  It underwent a major multi-million dollar upgrade with a new underground education facility recently.

I’ve made dozens of ‘picture post-card‘ colour images like every other tourist/visitor, so when I had an ‘hour to kill‘ before an appointment last week, I spent some time trying to think of how I really see it.  There are so many stairs and not easy to walk up and down with heavy camera gear and shopping as I had last week and in the end, I just sat on the bottom of the eastern steps in the shade while eating my lunch and photographed the stairs beside me.

IMG_9844In one of the new sunken forecourts which lead to the visitor centre, the solemn stone structure and stark architecture is broken with a highly creative new ‘sculpture’ of red shade cloth and with my limited lenses, quite impossible to photograph, so I decided to just make an image of some of the flowing lines that greet you as you enter through an archway.  While you can’t see the shapes in the image below, I thought they looked like the petals of a red poppy and wondered if that was the intention of the designer, (as we wear red poppies on Remembrance Day in Australia).

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And some more images from my archives…

7th September 2010
7th September 2010

Personally, I think the building looks more majestic in the winter, especially with storm clouds in the background.  The image above and below were shot in September 2010 with my little point and shoot Canon Powershot A3000 IS. This tiny camera may be small, but the image below is still my favourite image of the building.

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OLD CORNER BUILDING (colour version) – Fitzroy

The more I view this image in colour this morning afternoon (I slept in!), the more I am intrigued by the blend of original and modern features, so I thought you might like to have a second viewing.  If you’ve only got a tiny computer screen, I guess the details won’t be as clear.

Note the modern electricity pole reflected in the window, the CCTV attached to the brick façade and the bulb (?) in the old gas lamp.  Obviously the electricity and tram wires in the top right are modern too.  Although trams were operating in part of Melbourne in the early 1900s.  The modern brick wall repairs are obvious.  We can see just a few bluestones in the brick wall on the ground floor.

Another interesting note – early Melbourne architecture is mainly bluestone quarried from nearby in the early 1830s when Melbourne was established and yet the 2nd storey of this building looks very much like sandstone (on which Sydney’s early architecture is based).

Altogether an interesting image for the early Australian history buffs out there.

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FITZROY (Melbourne’s first suburb)

IMG_2929Yesterday, I caught a bus, and then tram, over to an inner suburb I haven’t been to in many, many years.  I don’t know why (as it is renowned for its Street Art and one of Melbourne’s vibrant entertaining areas – very Bohemian in fact – great for artists, and………..photographers).

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IMG_2939Superb weather and blue skies but I was overdressed and got so hot that I made it a pretty short walk (compared to my usual long stroll).  I spoke to one of the young local street artists taking a break in the shade of a building (opposite to the one he was working on).  He suggested I go to Rose Street, Fitzroy to see some great Street Art (which was some blocks away, a bit of a long walk for me in the heat of the bright sun).  But I made it.

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Many shops were closed for the Christmas/New Year break, but there were many others, (including bars and restaurants), open.

Fitzroy was planned as Melbourne’s first suburb and is located about 2 kilometres north-east of Melbourne’s CBD.
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Brunswick Street is one of the main streets in the area and has changed (or should I say revitalised) into a lively stretch of old (about mid to late 1800s) terraced shops, hotels and eateries with a sort of …………. Grungy, Quirky style that is irresistible to someone like me with an interest in history, cafe society and camera in hand.

I love the peeling paint and multi-layered posters curling up on some of the walls – quite a highlight of the exterior façade of many of the buildings.

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I’ll go back another day and make some more photos for you.  My 50mm f1.4 prime lens was fabulous in this area, but in the narrow lanes I had to resort to my ‘wonky’ unreliable 18-200mm lens because I couldn’t get far enough back to capture the whole length of the murals I saw.
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CHINATOWN ON A WINTERY DAY – Melbourne CBD

Having been stuck at home with a winter virus all week, I was feeling a little desperate for some exercise and fresh air yesterday, so I rugged up with woolly scarf, gloves and coat and ventured into the city centre for a walk around Chinatown and the surrounding streets for an hour or so.   (It was a little too windy and cold for Beach or Botanic Gardens for me, especially as I haven’t got rid of this lingering cough).  The city centre was crowded as usual, but Chinatown in Little Burke Street was quiet and relatively pedestrian-free (in comparison).

Can’t say there was anything spectacular to photograph, so this series could be classed in the Mundane & Ordinary category, perhaps.

This afternoon’s rain will herald the start of a week of very chilly days and inclement weather, so I might have to scour the archives for some images to share.

Melbourne’s winter is relatively mild – even on a rainy day. But the ferocious winds can make the rain in my inner city location downright unpleasant.  I always used to say that the street next to my local corner shops (opposite the Botanic Gardens south-eastern entrance), is like a wind tunnel and HAS to be the most blustery in Melbourne.   This means ordinary rain can fly under even the sturdiest of umbrellas and soak you through (that is if the wind doesn’t blow you over and turn your umbrella inside out).  I really don’t remember these vicious winds being present in my childhood.

The weather forecast also predicts snow in Victoria’s Alps in the coming week, so at least the skiers will be happy.

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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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.

 

 

The Old Forum Theatre – an architectural gem

It was overcast, very dark and with the threat of heavy rain, I took 6-7 quick photos before my 12.30 free Meditation Session in The Atrium at Federation Square in Melbourne’s CBD today.

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I can’t profess to be an experienced architectural photographer, but each time I see the ornate towers and clock face of the Old Forum Theatre, I’m astonished at how well it blends in with Melbourne’s wide variety of architectural details.  So while a little dull for Black & White images due to the weather, I liked these 4 images enough to share them with you.  When I started this new blog, I wasn’t going to do any writing, just share photos, but I feel the ‘dullness’ and flat exposure needed a little explanation. For those new to my blog, I must add that I dislike photo editing, so try hard to take a reasonably exposed shot ‘in camera’ these days.  I daresay an experienced photo editor would have improved these somewhat.  (I was also going to only post once a week, or less, but there you go,  a few posts to start this new blog in quick succession gives you more than a glance at the city I love to call home).

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A few weeks ago, I overhead a British tourist express astonishment  at the remarkable array of architectural styles in Melbourne’s main shopping precinct and central business district (CBD).  This tourist was right.  I zoomed out as far as I could with my 18-200mm ‘walk about’ lens and tried to capture a line of the some of the styles.

The 5th image, (below), was shot just over a year ago, late one afternoon as the sun dropped below the skyline and only lit up one tower of the theatre.  At least there was a cloud in the sky and one shaft of bright light to add some interest to this composition.

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