Leaf & Frond Studios

Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

It’s time again to finish the year in photos. Here’s a snapshot of my favourite photos and the ones that sum up what my year’s been about. This is a long post, but lots of photos and nothing too onerous to get bogged down in.

The photos I have used are wonderful in my eyes, but there are a lot of other photos with friends and family that should have made it into this post to really sum up my year. But as I don’t use people’s photos on the blog, unless they give their permission, they haven’t been included here. But there are a few of me sprinkled in there so it doesn’t look like my year is all about plants and food!

This first group of shots is from a week in January when I visited Taronga Zoo, the NSW Art Gallery and the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney. I really loved being a tourist in my own city.

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A huge part of my year was being a full-time student again for my Masters course. I did a great variety of coursework and spent a lot of time on campus.

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My schedule was really unpredictable and I was often working late at the library. I ate out a lot, and as I love my food I definitely needed to include some food shots in this post. Looking over the final collection of photos, I was really surprised that there weren’t more food photos.

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Throughout the year I took short breaks from working, studying and caring for my plants to do some macro nature photography. First this was just with my iPhone, but later in the year I acquired an OlloClip, so that became my new favourite photography tool (used with my iPhone). I just love it so much, so convenient and such a cheap set of lenses.

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In October I spent 6 nights in Hawaii on the way to Las Vegas for my brother’s wedding. Even though I completed three assignments while in America it was still relaxing and I had a blast at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and shopping at the outlet malls in Vegas and at my brother’s wedding.

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One of the iPhone photography features I use a lot when I travel is the panorama setting. It really lets me capture the feeling of a place and lets me remember there was more than just one viewfinder’s worth of stuff to see. These are my favourite panoramas from my America trip (from top to bottom: the view of the Vegas lights from the wedding venue; the shopping and restaurant area in the Hilton Hawaiian Village; the palm trees along the Waikiki beachfront; and the lobby of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas).

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The second half of the year was when I really narrowed down what the focus of my Masters project is going to be. I’m looking at the extrafloral nectar (nectar outside the flowers) of Australian native wild cotton plants. I’ve been growing the plants in the campus greenhouses for about 6 months and these are some of the photos I’ve captured over that time. I still find it fascinating that there is so much nectar just dripping out of the leaves that ants can drink it and I can collect it to analyse.

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And to wrap up the year, Christmas photos from my time visiting friends in the Blue Mountains. Lots of laughs and so many beautiful Christmas decorations over our time together on Christmas and Boxing Day.

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Happy new year! Wishing you lots of love and laughter in 2015.

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I’m not a summer person. It’s rare that you’ll catch me outside in the height of summer. Last week the temperature in Sydney was over 30 degrees celcius almost every day. Normally in summer I’m only out of the air-conditioning just long enough to get from place to place and I rarely wander.

But this week there is a momentary lull in the inescapable summer heat and humidity, it’s 24 degrees and overcast at uni. So I felt the urge to wander and ponder the details. As a biologist I naturally gravitate towards things of the natural kind, so here’s a selection of shots of life on campus.

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Normally I walk past these plants without a second thought, they are just a green background wherever I’m walking. But today I walked this same path, but with intention. I opened my eyes to see what is always right there.

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It amazes me how many interesting colours and textures I notice if I really stop and look. There are so many greens and so many patterns. Yes, the flowers are pretty and give a nice highlight, but it’s really the broad range of shapes and shades of green that capture my imagination.

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I even saw some things I wasn’t expecting to see, just because I stopped and took a moment to look. The blackberry (?) plant with the vicious looking spines poking out of the plain, sensible hedge made me think it was trying to escape the insane asylum. The spider web formed into a tunnel left me wondering if that part of the web is designed for the prey to go in, or for the spider to be able to get out? And I did a double take at the bit of bark that had popped off the smooth tree, making it look that like a butterfly or an open pipi shell.

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For my recent trip to Melbourne I was looking to stay in a motel or apartment chain, but K persuaded me to look into a holiday rental. We wanted to stay close to the CBD, but not right in the middle of the city. The main thing we wanted to see in Melbourne was the Monet’s Gardens exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, so Southbank was the perfect fit for us.

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We found Southbank Royale on Stayz and the description suited us perfectly. We like a bit of luxury and we didn’t want to share a room so two bedrooms with a bathroom each suited us to a tee. It’s located on the top floor of a secure building so the view from the balcony was amazing.

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The kitchen was fully equipped which meant that K and I could cook up roast lamb and veggies that we picked up from the South Melbourne Markets (within walking distance). And for picking up those bits and pieces or a bottle of wine there’s and IGA and Chemist Warehouse just across the road.

From this Southbank location it was a three minute walk to tram stop 18 on St Kilda Road and we also walked to the Yarra riverbank, the National Gallery of Victoria, Federation Square, the Botanic Gardens and South Melbourne Markets.

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I went to sleep to that… and woke up to this 🙂

After a day of travelling I arrived in Melbourne before K so I ventured into the city for a bite to eat. K doesn’t like Asian food so I made my way to Chinatown to get my Asian fix before she arrived.

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I’m of the opinion that you don’t need fancy surroundings to have quality food, so when I saw this bustling Vietnamese restaurant it called to me. I had the sliced beef pho and it was spectacular – just the thing I needed after narrowly dodging a downpour after I hopped off the tram.

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To avoid the rain I window shopped my way around Melbourne Central and after a couple of hours made my way home via Flinders Street, snapping a shot of the beautifully lit station on the way.

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The next morning K and I walked from Southbank to the National Gallery of Victoria to see the Monet’s Gardens exhibition. I find it really interesting how many beautiful everyday things are everywhere, but no one sees them.

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Sometimes all it takes is a different perspective or some time to observe. Looking up opens up a whole new world. I love capturing the architectural details on buildings, and Melbourne has a wealth of them.

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I recently spent a long weekend in Melbourne with a girlfriend so we could see the Monet’s Gardens exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV).

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In the NGV foyer there’s an installation by Céleste Boursier-Mougenot who, as the NGV website describes, ‘creates large-scale acoustic installations and environments which draw upon forces of nature and the rhythms of everyday life’.

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Sitting around the edge of the installation had a communal sense of quiet and contemplation. The floating bowls moved with the water current and gently clinked together. Watching the bowls ‘stroll’ around the aqua pool was serene, but unfortunately I couldn’t sit there all day.

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The exhibition had about 60 works by Monet, ranging from the beginnings of his exploration of light in landscapes to his waterlily paintings in preparation for his Grand Decorations (huge artworks donated to the French nation and displayed in the Musee de L’Orangerie in Paris).

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There was no photography allowed in the exhibition, so unfortunately I can’t show you around – image from the National Gallery of Victoria

Seeing all the fabulous artworks was stunning, but the final part of the exhibition really made it for me. There’s a 180 degree screening room that plays a loop of approximately 5 minutes of images from Monet’s garden as it is today. It was beautiful sitting back and seeing the garden that inspired all the beautiful works we just contemplated and admired.

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K and I finished off our NGV visit with a Devonshire tea at the quiet cafe on the second level and a spot of shopping for some Monet artwork postcards (to put in my Project Life layout).


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Location: Sydney, Australia

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