Monday, 24 October 2011

Vanuatu – Through A Child’s Eye

Guest Blog by Lily, Jack and Cate Ellis

Two years ago Sheryn and her husband Michael took their three children – twins Lily and Jack and younger daughter Cate on the Bluedog Photography Vanuatu Tour. It was a life changing experience for the three of them. The twins at that time were 6 years old and Cate 4.

The children constantly ask when they are going back to Vanuatu to see their friends so when Sheryn told them they may be able to go back with her in May 2012 they've already started writing to everyone telling them they will be back soon. This week Sheryn has been sorting through images with them to create a collage of their memories. I asked them to write down, in their own words, what they liked and disliked about Vanuatu. However there are no dislikes as they all want to go back. The friendliest nation in the world (voted by Lonely Planet for years in a row) had cast a magical spell upon them.
Thanks Jack, Lily and Cate for sending this in and Levi (the man you called 'Milo') says hi!

I liked swimming and snorkelling including staying in a house that is close to the spot where we liked to swim. And I liked how they plaited my hair and the cool things at the markets. Seeing the baby turtles was cool and we saw the giant turtle shell and you could pet the baby turtles and we fed the big turtles and the big sharks. And they gave us necklaces for a welcome and i made about ten friends and when we went to Pentecost Island we were shown how to make funny noises by blowing (whistling) with leaves and we also made woven grass balls and we caught lots of hermet crabs. And I want to go back and see the whole island again. Tank u Tomas (Thank you very much)

I liked how the people were nice and you can hold baby turtles and feed a lot of animals. For the girls they can get their hair plaited. You can see a lot of hermet crabs and for the boys there is a lot of waves. And if you go snorkelling you can see nemo fish. You meet lots of new friends. And I can speak their language - hullo, tank u tomas!

I liked swimming and snorkelling. I liked meeting people. I liked getting my hair plaited. We got to feed the sharks and turtles. I like catching hermet crabs and we got to hold baby turtles. 

Bludog returns to Vanuatu next year. Tour Dates are the 2nd-8th May 2012

Jack being cool with his new mates.

Cate's friends feel in love with her as Cate did with them.
One of the many wildlife experiences the children encountered.

Another wildlife experience the children had.
All images by Sheryn Ellis

Saturday, 22 October 2011

A Man I Met Yesterday

By Danielle Lancaster

With the grey skies lingering yesterday it was been a mostly inside day yet one filled with discovery.

After a much needed and relaxing manicure and pedicure with my daughter – yes now sporting bright red toe nails and light pink finger nails though in truth don’t have much in the way of fingernails - I found my two sons next door in a second hand book store. Soon we were all rummaging through the neatly packed shelves of books all perfectly indexed into authors and subjects.

At the front of the shop a grey headed gentleman sat quietly reading today’s paper though he soon realised we were genuine book lovers and enquired on our preferred reading subject matter. Already Mitch had under his arm ‘Eurpoe of the Ancien Regime 1715-1783’ when he soon spotted a Terry Pratchett book in the front window. Of course the book was the furtherest in the bay window but the gentleman retrieved it for Mitch without a word of fuss. After reading the reviews, intro and already being a few pages into it within a couple of minutes, Mitch was digging out his savings to purchase it.

To say Mitch loves book stores is an understatement. So finding this store was an added bonus during our visit to Melbourne and yes we walked out with a bag of worthy reading matter. Sitting at the table is Ken Cox.

By now the rain was falling heavily and the gutters were becoming miniature rivers flowing over the cobbled road edges. A good excuse we thought to stay a few minutes longer.

The shop we had discovered was “Out of Print Books etc” which you’ll find at 739 Glenhuntly Road, Caulfield. The gentleman, Ken Cox proudly told us, ‘we are on line, you know, so even if you want something you can search on line and I can send it up to you in Queensland.’

Now please don’t take this the wrong way, but I was at first a little surprised at Ken’s on line presence however I was soon to find out not only does this gentleman have a profound love affair with books old and new he understands that the web is a means of research, communication, a way to stay in business and most importantly for ken a way to connect with other book lovers.

Ken first turned this love affair into a business selling second hand books from a tiny shop near Caulfield Park before moving to the Glenhuntly Road premises eight years ago.
His wife Beryl works searching for out of print titles while soon Mike has been on board in the business now for more than 12 years.

I am curious, what is the ‘etc’ for in the title of the shops name? Ken explains that not only do they stock thousands of classic out of print books and provide a specialised service in finding out-of-print titles they also have modern second hand titles as well.

You’ll find books for all ages and reading genres here from Australian classic, crime, science fiction, romance, history, art, travel, sport: well I am sure you are getting the drift – you name it they will try and find it.

As we scroll the shelves we spot classic children’s tales that bring back memories of the stories my grandmother’s read to me while the more modern Harry Potter series also sit waiting for a new home and the pages to be turned. 

Neatly lined books line the shelves at “Out of Print Books etc”

I could have stayed and chatted with Ken longer but my children had other things on their to do list in Melbourne for the day so it was time to bid Ken farewell and wish him luck.

For book lovers out there, check out Ken’s little store or go on line and they may be able to find you that title you have been looking for.

“Out of Print Books etc”
739 Glenhuntly Road, Caulfield,
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Mon - Fri 10:15 am to 6:00 pm
Sat - Sun 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Ph +61 3 9528 3822

Friday, 21 October 2011

Doorways, windows and Nuns intrigue us in Melbourne

By Danielle Lancaster

The drizzling rain paused here in Melbourne late this afternoon and though the skies lingered a dark grey I decided to take a short hike around the block. Except I got sidetracked: there are alleys and doorways and I wanted to know where they went and who was behind them.

Melbourne to me associates more with many a European city than an Australian one at times. While Sydney is brash, Brisbane appears a teen, Perth can be deceiving, Adelaide a feast, Hobart a gateway to wild wilderness and Darwin a tropical party city, each has their own something a little different and yet something the same, Melbourne is different.

My abode for my stay is The Nunnery in Nicholson Street, Carlton which I was directed to by a fellow photo journalist that calls Melbourne home (more on this in another blog to come). Its history excited me and what better place I thought for my two teenage boys who have joined me to stay. Surely they could get up to no mischief here. Instead The Nunnery is humming and it’s not hymns that are being sung.

Travellers of all ages are here – though I will admit I think I must be the oldest or as I like to say these days the most mature, however that hardly matters. Tonight its free hot soup down in the kitchen, so the international back packers are not missing out. Some are reclining in the lounge room reading, playing cards or catching up on their laptops. I catch glimpses of Facebook pages and hear the blimps of Skype messages coming in, no doubt from all corners of the world. The room feels warm with the tungsten lighting giving an orange glow and the myriad of accents has my ears straining to place them all. So far I think I have nailed everyone and their country of origin. It’s a friendly, tender atmosphere in the air - a nice feel for a home away from home for a few days.

One thing I love about Melbourne other than the food, art and shopping is the architecture. Old versus new and in my short walk today once again doorways and windows gain my attention. Their frames so carefully  constructed in an array of colours, shapes and in the materials used. Somehow I think I’ll be back out there tomorrow capturing some more.

All images by Danielle Lancaster and straight out of camera.

All alike but a little different and within half a block of each other, these windows and doors lure me to know more what goes on behind. Luckily enough I struck up a conversation with a gentleman who lived across the lane this arvo so hoping to catch up with him tomorrow. All are private residences. He tells me 'Friday is a bad day to meet his neighbours as everyone is out'.

For more info visit

Monday, 3 October 2011

It’s all in the eyes

By Danielle Lancaster
Ever wondered how photographers set up their lighting – well check out the eyes. This is where you can tell what lighting source has been used.

In this portrait a ring flash was used to light the subject.
Image Danielle Lancaster ©

The eyes in a portrait should have catch lights – preferably between 10 and 2. And ideally there should only be one in each eye. I saw an image today that a ‘professional’ posted on Facebook of a shoot they recently did of a young girl. Lovely image of the girl but the eyes had more than one catch light that made her look a little peculiar.
Catch lights make a portrait 'pop'

Some photographers these days also place the catch lights in post processing. We won’t get into that debate here as this article is on lighting and making the eyes pop.

The eyes are usually the first thing we notice when we look at a portrait and without the catch light can look a dark hole. Our eyes can be very powerful in an image and reveal much about the person and their emotion at the time of shooting. As they say ‘the eyes are the window’ to the soul’.

Eyes with without a catch light can look dark and as if a black hole.

Multiple catch lights can make the subject look 'odd'.

When we look at a photo of a face, the first thing we notice are usually the eyes. Eyes themselves make a powerful subject and can say a lot about the person and emotion.
The lighting we use in a portrait is important as it sets the mood. With Side-lighting we can create a very moody image, back lighting can be extremely powerful while direct frontal lighting can flatten the image. 

So next time you are wondering how that image was lit – check out the eyes.

In the image below a soft box was used.
Image Danielle Lancaster ©

In this image above reflector was used while in the image below direct flash was used.
Image Danielle Lancaster ©