I live in one of the most beautiful places in Australia – according to ME. I have a job I love (most of the time), 3 beautiful girls, who are old enough now to be independent…but still need their Mummy. #1 is nearly 21, lives with BF, #2 is nearly 18, saving hard for a gap year in the UK and # 3 is 14, loves One Direction and the Hunger Games. Hubby and I have been married 21 years and I don’t know what I would do with out him.

I spend far too much time on the computer – often pretending to work, so when all my words with friend’s games are played and the gossip and news of the world read, I will BLOG.

Friday, 28 September 2012


Yeah  ME....my self portrait photo won the monthly challenge for our Flickr group. Not only did it win, it won convincingly 29 points to second place 13 points.

It was judged by my peers so it may not be technically a good photo, I know a bit of my PS work is sloppy ***this is coz I am so new to it and basically lazy*** 

I am going to take nice photos of my girls and try very hard to get one of HWMBO and create the same photo with photos of the girls hanging up to dry, I will then print and give to Mum and the Monster in Law (MIL) for Christmas 
       ( Side comment -  gave MIL a photo last year of the Glasshouse Mountains, she asked my niece who studied photography if it was a good photo - then complained that it was not of her grandchildren like she expected. If she is not happy this year she can go to HELL)

Yesterday #3 and I went to Australia Zoo, I had asked a few other people to come with us, but as it was school holidays it put most people off. As I have been there a few times in the last 2 years it wasn't that exciting, I much prefer to have visitors to show around. Still #3 and I had a nice day together and she worked on her camera skills.

I really missed having my Chilean students with us as they were always so excited to see the Australia animals. There were a few baby koalas, I will post my photos on Facebook and tag the girls to ensure the see them.

baby wanted to play Mum wanted to sleep - considering koalas sleep 18 hours a day this is not uncommon

Taken though a thick glass wall - luckily relatively clean of finger and face prints

Tonight the girls and I are going to Riverfire - fireworks and music added to the laser lights, the finale of Brisbane Festival. I bought #3 a tripod and was pleasantly surprised at getting $15.00 discount (on a $40.00 tripod) I also printed my 'award' winning photo. to show the family who are coming tomorrow.

I am playing in PS at the moment to see if I can make some boring animal photos interesting..(not gunna get anything finished today - may revisit this post next week.


Thursday, 27 September 2012

Formal Dress Shopping

Is there anything more scary for a Mother of three girls than shopping for formal dresses?

With #1 we spent a whole day trying on dresses to find the perfect one, the day started with a budget, by the time we found the 'perfect' dress I didn't care anymore I just wanted it over - after all she would be able to wear the dress again, right? (she never did - one wear only and it has hung in my cupboard since dry cleaning)

#2's turn and I was dreading the day...OMG you will never believe what happened, 1 shop, 5 dresses and the one was found. All in under 1 hour. We picked it up yesterday and took it to this little Italian lady to be altered, #2 is so skinny a size 6 needed to be taken in 2 inches. Formal date is 14 November - 2 days before her 18th birthday.

She has been working every weekend for the last year or so saving to go the the UK next year, so we made the most of yesterday and went shopping for a new iPhone, not the latest the iPhone 5 (this needs all new connections - I hate it when they do that!) What was supposed to be a simple transaction turned in to a nightmare because the service tech, didn't want to serve us and couldn't be bothered checking my details - he transferred #3's number to the iPhone. So today I spent hours on the phone with call center staff who's first language is  not English trying to find out what the problem was. It was not until I spoke to a supervisor who read out the number for the iPhone that we worked out how to fix it - fixing it meant I had to drive back to the shop front and get 2 new sim cards. So much for my lazy day.

We gave the puppy her first bath (with us) today... while she didn't love it, she didn't hate it either and she is so soft a fluffy now. 

Yes I know I have posted twice in one day...its the holidays and I have been very busy, tomorrow I am off to Australia Zoo with #3, the fist time withthe new camera and lens, looking forward to my do over shots.

Bird Shooting

There is nothing like getting up at 4:30am and going for a photo outing....and would you believe not even a sunrise shoot.
2 of the men from the Flickr group joined me for an outing hunting for birds - Kitfox is a keen bird photographer who knows the best spot so I asked him for help with the new lens - I am still very shaky (I found out you need to turn on the image stabilizer first ***a very good tip***)

While waiting for 41C, a kestrel was obligingly flying around for me to practice on, too far away for a really clear shot but good all the same

We started the morning at a private residence at Obi Obi, the owners have planted heaps of gravilla plants to encourage the honey eaters, of course because the expectation was high for a lot of birds this morning only produced a few. I know I can get better shots of the honey eaters, this is just a sample of what I got Tuesday morning.

Bell Bird Creek cafe is a favorite spot of mine, they serve great coffee, the best service and the bird life is incredible. I had asked Kitfox to find me some wrens to photograph as they are so small and fluffy and one of my favorite birds. I was really keen for a blue wren or variegated wren with the blue head and the orange collar - I did get one, from a long way away so this photo is very cropped.

I am happy with my red back wren and his female. Lots more practice is required - it is a shame the birds get up so bloody early.

Two more that I had forgotten about the kingfisher and the red brow finch, I love these little birds, they are so small, yet it is easy to get very close

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Carnival of Flowers

Towoomba celebrates the Carnival of Flowers every year and every year I say I will go and see it...this year I did, my friend RaRa offered (maybe offered is too strong a word, more like agreed) to let me stay with her. 

RaRa spent 2 days sticking feathers on a 7ft chook, on a float for the parade, it looked amazing. I helped out by stuffing pot plants in to  holes on the sides of the float. ***just quietly they where a bit disorganized***

After hours of waiting around and heaps of walking the parade was ready to start - I was like a little kid it had been at least 20 years since I last saw a street parade. There were floats and vintage cars, dancers and street performers, kids and adults even horses and dogs. I took heaps of photos and waved and clapped with the rest of the crowd.

RaRa left me to explore Toowomba while she as she had work commitments, I walked for hours (wearing totally inappropriate shoes) I went to the carnival site where we had taken some slow shutter speed photos the night before (not very happy with the result as there was too much light)

I caught a train to the Food and Wine festival and watched Fast Ed cook some caramel for a very fattening desert, the afternoons music was good and the crowd was small. After a bite to eat (Hungarian Lagos - I have only ever seen this at the medieval fair before, I love it and was quiet happy to ignore the fat content - I had been walking for hours) I made my way back to RaRa's, she lives very close to the center of town - however the walk back was a killer - I also knew I was going to have to do this walk twice more!

A shower, a nanny nap and a cup of coffee later I was feeling refreshed and ready to start over, with a friend of RaRa's we walked back to the food and wine fair  - food and wine two of my favorite things, I was a bit bossy about the wine ***having just been to Stanthorpe where most of the wines were made*** so I let the others choose the food - YUMMMO, PHAT burgers - with horseradish. The crowd was much bigger - not a seat to be found. We listened to Ross Wilson - who was very good, followed by the headline act Mental as Anything (they had a few hits in the 70's and 80's) they were not so good - they played for over an hour before they did any hit songs, between songs Greedy Smith (the lead singer) tried very hard to be funny - he wasn't. My feet were screaming in agony on the walk home (we left before the band finished).

Not a good nights sleep, RaRa's 14 year old son had a mate over and they talked and gamed all night...I thought maybe they fell asleep about 5:30am everything went quiet. No they went out to get Maccas for breakfast.  This didn't stop them having a second breakfast of bacon and eggs when we got up.

Flowers, butterflies, ladybugs and photos what a good way to spend a Sunday morning, if my feet didn't hurt so much I would have loved the day. 

I am not very happy with the result of the photos I took, I was using the macro lens and I think I had my aperture to small so the focus was too narrow. Here is a few that I think turned out OK.... there were thousands of photos taken (OK hundreds)

Sunday, 23 September 2012

I love holidays

I am having the best time on my holidays, I have spent the last 2 weeks doing 'my' thing and going away by myself now the next two weeks will be about the girls (really it will be about me, I will just include them)

I have been away this weekend and have lots of photos to go through and edit before I post them, so this post will be about the night in Brisbane watching the laser lights...before I start I want to say HI to my first follower **** waves frantically**** I am excited to have a follower (and I am making the assumption that she will read this blog often. (She will also know that I read her blog after the whale watching weekend-  coz I 'borrowed' a photo from her - Thanks I have now subscribed to your blog as well)

Thursday night after a busy day in Brisbane, I went to the Brisbane festival to see the Santos laser light display. This outing was arranged by one of the lighting contractors from work, whie he is not doing so much of the work at UQ any more we are still good friends and have photography in common. 

I would never had made the effort to go to this show (even though it is twice a night for 2 weeks during Brisbane Festival every year) the grand finale is on Saturday night with River Fire a night of fireworks, laser shows and fly overs by the Air force. I am trying to talk HWMBO into going in with the girls...so far so good, Number # finishes work at 2pm allowing us plenty of time to get form home to town (hoping that Lighting Guy now going to be called LG saves us a spot).... now I am getting excited.

If the fire works are as good as the laser - there are incorporated, it will be a fantastic night. Fingers crossed it all works out. I really love night photo and slow shutter speeds so I hope he decides it is a good family outing.

I am going to edit my photos from the weekend in Toowoomba with Ra Ra, I leave you with my laser light photos

This was a bit of a cheat photo - I zoomed in and out while the shutter was open to create the laser lines - still looks pretty good though

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Why do I let it get to me

I had a wonderful day in Maryborough and Burrum Heads on Tuesday, one of the ladies I did the workshop with has an exhibit of her photo in the Gate House Gallery (Kent Street Maryborough) during September. It was incredible to see her photos printed big, framed and on the walls. I have seen all the photos before as we share on Flickr and Facebook - BUT WOW to see them as they are meant to be seen. *just quietly I am a little bit jealous....ok a lot jealous*. Looking at her photo makes me want to display mine. *sigh* one day.

Her beautiful hubby bought us lunch at a quaint coffee shop around the corner from the gallery then we had photo shop 101 lessons. RQQY (her logo/user name not made up by me -  usually we call each other 'the other Roz') has decided to join the world of photoshop. I am no expert on PS, I only know what I know...if I want to so something out of the box so to speak I look it up on you tube or one of the many books I have. I showed her how to process a RAW image - side note Andrew (our Mentor) had previously shown her this, but after a bottle of wine each not much sank in. Layers and Layer Masks. In my opinion this is the most important stuff to know, the rest you can learn as you need. I was very clear in tell RQQY that some of our other members are much better than me and there is heaps of different ways of achieving the same result, she needs to learn her own way and pick up tips from others.

The challenge for September is self portrait -   hard to do at the best of time. I had a 2 1/2 hour drive home, because I had been teaching and thinking PS all afternoon I came up with a great idea on how to do my entry. I had seen a few months ago a photo of someone hanging prints up to dry....(like in the olden days of film) I know this memory was triggered because RQQY and I were talking about how in the days of film there was processing in dark rooms where they removed blemishes and changed the saturation/brightness etc.

I spent a lot of the drive planning the photos, how and where I could set it up, what to wear, how I was going to do it in PS....I took hundreds of photos of me - it is very hard to do, we are most critical of ourselves and I am really bad. My idea was to peg up sheets of A3 over the kitchen sink then paste in the photos of me to look like I had developed them.

Great idea in theory...however I didn't think that the A3 sheets were going to be on an angle or twisted... it took a few hours of you tube (useless because I didn't know the question) and books before I just started to play with the transform tool and used the distort function.

This is the finished photo....pretty dam good if I do say so myself. HWMBO and the girls were all amazed with the result (correct response) so I posted it to the competition page.

Look at it large it is so worth it

I was so pleased with it I used it for my self portrait entry in the 104 photos in 404 days group on FB...this is where I let it get to me. I am on a high from a fun day of photos, plus getting some good shots of myself look good since I lost the weight. The first comments I got on the photo we asking if I develop my own photos....mission accomplished this is what I want the photo to represent, then one of the Jpegs (our Flickr group) commented that I stole her idea, here is the link to her entry. 

How is this the same idea....all I did was us the same PS technique...I think. I never even gave her photo a thought, in fact it looks like she could have done her photo without PS.

Stupidly I replied on FB being bitchy I said 'I was unaware that I was not allowed to use the same techniques as you for the challenges - sorry' her reply was insinuating that she taught me this technique....NOT. I thought we were friends! I know if this is ever mentioned again she will laugh it of as a joke...but too often I have felt put down by comments she has made. She comments on a lot of photos on Flickr yet rarely on mine, I don't comment often yet I have noticed that if I don't like something and say so she will LOOOVE it, I I think something is distracting in a photo - she will say it frames it.

Am I just supper sensitive, PMS and bitchy...probably, I was so pleased with my photo I didn't like my bubble being burst. Constructive criticism is Ok. My sister said I look scary in one of the photos...I didn't take offence at that - I do.

I never expect only positive feedback on my photos, personal taste is a big thing with all art work. Life would be boring if we all liked the same thing. I didn't like the accusation of cheating.

I have got this out of my system now and will suck it up and file it away in the don't take any notice box.

On a less bitchy note, my baby girl Lilly is very comfortable with us now, she has explored the whole property and is happy to play outside on her own, we still keep and eye on her. Yesterday she brought in a few dead ferns to chop on - I am very glad we do not have good carpet (it will be replaced soon I hope)

Is there anything funnier than seeing a puppy run away with something she knows she shouldn't have - this morning she went in to #2's room and came racing out with a pair of shorts that were left on the floor - watching a half asleep teenager chasing an alert puppy is so funny. I might manage to get my teenagers to keep their rooms clean for a while.

Monday, 17 September 2012

I got a puppy

My Birthday has come and gone, HWMBO took me away for a few days to Stanthorpe in Queensland's Granite Belt. He wanted to visit a few wineries, I wanted to take photos and visit Girraween National park - the last time (only) was for year 11 school camp. This camp was one on the most unpleasant times of my school life, it rained, it was cold, my two friends were more interested in hooking up with some of the guys they virtually ignored me. We were made to do a walk up the granite rocks, this was either really hard or I was so lazy I couldn't manage. I am amazed I even wanted to go back.

We visited 2 wineries on our first day and spent lots of money, we stayed in a beautiful self contained cottage called Apple Blossom Cottage. The owner advised us to set and light the fire before we went for dinner as we would need it when we got home. Dinner was at very well known Italian restaurant Anna's. Dinner was very good hearty Italian lots of it. We also  sampled a lot of the local wine during dinner - I will say I was impressed.

I REALLY wanted to get up early for a sunrise at Girraween, but after a night of fine dinning, wine and grown up games, we both decided it was better to stay in bed when the alarm went off at ridiculous o'clock - I checked the temperature and it was 5.2oC  we snuggled back down and got to Girraween at 8am (not bad considering it was a 20min drive) the kangaroos and wallabies were enjoying the cool morning and didn't seem to worry about us at all- I am sure if we got closer it would have been another story.

We decided against doing the tough walk to pyramid rock, preferring the easier walk to the granite arch. This walk was like a stroll down the street, it was flat and easy. The wild flowers were just beginning to bloom so I was stopping all the time to get photos, I was changing lenses all the time trying for the perfect shot. 

Because I missed the sunrise shoot, I asked HWMBO to come back for the sunset over the rocks and some star trails ( I had not tried this before and thought the rocks would make a good foreground for star trails) all day this was planned until 4 pm when he pointed out a flaw in my plan - the sunset was 5:30  but the stars wouldn't be out until at least 7pm. So we compromised - dinner at the pub and star trails.

Well the star trails were a complete fail. I needed more time, a blanket, a cup of tea, a chair and someone who was happy to wait. I look at it as a learning experience. I will try again when I have more time or am camping so I don't have to drive anywhere.

Lucky the next morning was not so cold, on our way out of town HWMBO wanted  to visit a small town that was known for its Artisans and art work. Apparently not any more there was two shops open in town - the post office and a factory warehouse clothes shop. I think once the highway bypassed the town, everything closed down. So we went to an apple farm and brought some cider and apple products. (unfortunately it was too early for lunch and too late for morning tea, the apple pie looked and smelled divine)

We stopped in Warrick for me to photograph a beautiful church, the lunch by the water at Springfield lakes. There were swallows nesting on the speakers outside the cafe, I am thinking of using one of the photos for my challenge photo this month - the signs of spring. (the other challenge is self portrait I am still thinking about that one.

Ok the heading of this blog is I got a puppy - because I did.

We got a Golden Retriever puppy named Lilly, she is 13 weeks and the prettiest ball of fur I have ever seen. She has such a nice nature, she is egar to please and she loves me unconditionally. Our previous dog was H's Lilly has bonded with me, when ever something scares her or she wants to sleep she looks for me. She has spent more time asleep on my feet than anywhere. We planned for her to sleep on the tiles in case of puppy accidents.This lasted about 10 mins she cried and barked until I caved in and brought her upstairs to sleep next to me. She will sleep there until further notice.

Lilly will be the most photographed dog. Especially went small children are