The last few nights I’ve been out and about shooting the stars. It’s one of my first few times doing so, so I still have much to learn. My first port of call on Sunday night was Blue Rock Dam, a place about three quarters of an hour from home. It’s 11km from the nearest major town, about 2-3km from a small town, and about 20km (or more) to the nearest power station, so I was well away from light pollution (though you could still see some in the final shot).

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Today I travelled to Melbourne to visit my aunty, who was hosting a lunch for various family and extended family members. To get there, we had to travel along Eastlink, a tolled road that takes you to the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Along the way, there are plenty of green and orange perspex panels that line the road, seemingly purely for decoration. Turns out that due to a parallax effect, they make a really neat long exposure photo!

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And here’s another shot from Mayday Hills. I do have other photos asides from ones taken at this location, you know. Just check out my portfolio!

This place really gave me the creeps. Nowhere else on the tour did as much as this location. I guess partly because there was a bed down there, all set up, and it looked like it had been slept in recently. One of my big fears when exploring places like this, is meeting someone inside, when you don’t know they’re there. Continue reading

Laundry at Mayday Hills, Beechworth

While touring Mayday Hills lunatic asylum in Beechworth, we came to this room, which is part of the laundry. On the wall were steam pipes that could dry clothing in three minutes flat. Some of the patients were assigned to do laundry, which could be a never ending job.

The door off to the left was also nailed shut. According to the guide, it was to stop people from breaking in (because honestly, who wouldn’t want to give themselves a self-guided tour?). They’d kicked down the door so many times, the owners finally nailed the door shut. It’d take a hell of a kick to get in after that.

For this shot I used my new Yongnuo YN560-IV which can be found on eBay for around $80. It’s different to my previous flash, the YN460, but still managed to light this large area perfectly — after I’d warned my wife and the tour guide to avert their eyes, because I had it set to full power.

As with other shots in the Mayday Hills series, this one was a single RAW file, edited in Lightroom using the John and Marcus Salvation LR preset with some tweaking.

A while ago I backed MIOPS, a high-speed camera trigger, on Kickstarter. The idea being, a sub-$200 high speed camera trigger that has support for sound, lightning, laser tripping, time-lapse, HDR or a mix of all the above. You can control it via Bluetooth, using the buttons and colour display on top of the unit, or via a cable that plugs directly into your phone’s audio jack and camera (and operates using sound. Very nifty!)

I had some fun doing high-speed photos (keep an eye out for more posts about this, coming soon), but on the Easter long weekend, I was given the chance to test out the time-lapse feature at Mayday Hills lunatic asylum in Beechworth, Victoria. We walked up to the women’s wing and into a room overlooking the courtyard. I set my camera up, attached my MIOPS, set it to take a shot every 10 seconds, then let it go for two hours while we walked around the place taking photos. The results are amazing:


I used Lightroom, and LRTimelapse 3 to deflicker my shots (as MIOPS doesn’t have bulb ramping yet) and added my logo in Windows Movie Maker (a great program for doing quick movie stuff where you don’t need the world.

I’ll do a better review of MIOPS soon, as I’m still playing with the various settings, but I thought I’d share a successful time-lapse

I’ve been out to the wreck of the S.S. Speke at Phillip Island before, but had always wanted to go back again during different weather. So yesterday during our 11 hour trip away from home, I did just that. I had almost decided against it, because I didn’t have my sturdy shoes on, plus you have to climb up a steep hill, battle the heavy winds across the top of the cliff (a few meters from an electric fence), then descend an even steeper hill (where I almost sprained my ankle last time). But as we did a U-turn at the entrance, I thought back to Friday. We had our monthly Google+ hangout for The Arcanum. +Ron Clifford joined in and told some great stories of not wanting to go out taking photos because it was horrible and wet or too far or whatever, but in the end going out and doing it, and catching some amazing shots.

So I said “You know what? Bugger it.”, pulled back in and walked up and over to the wreck. I had to toss my tripod down the hill because it was getting in my way (and I had no straps to attach it to my camera bag), but I managed to get down the wreck and take some great shots, about half an hour before the tide started rolling in.

If you ever feel like something isn’t worth it, do it anyway. You’ll be surprised at the results.