Back on the mainland – One on One Photography Workshop with Leanne Cole – Part 1

I have admired the work of photographer/artist Leanne Cole for quite some time and occasionally submitted photos to Monochrome Madness that Leanne puts up for us to participate in.


The way she treats her photographs and her attitude towards the final results appeal to me. She is not after a truthful representation of the subject in front of the camera; she wants a photo that expresses her feelings about the subject.

Leanne conducts various workshops and I in particular wanted to do a One on One workshop with her in the hope that her artistic flair rubs off on me. Some time ago Leanne asked her blog readers what they would do if they won $10000 to spend on photography. One item I put forward was lessons with Leanne. Needless to say I haven’t won $10000 – but I still wanted to spend some time with her.

As we were travelling through Melbourne to Tasmania (you can’t avoid Melbourne if taking your caravan to Tasmania!) I tried to organise a one day workshop with Leanne Cole on the way to Tasmania. However due to various delays, it did not work out. I was determined to get a day with Leanne on the way back, even if it meant staying two nights in a caravan park near Melbourne. This time it all worked out. Leanne picked me up early in the morning and we drove to Williamstown to catch sunrise over Melbourne across the water.

We soon realised that there was not going to be a great sunrise. The sky was very overcast and there was hardly any colour in the sky.

Leanne is well known for using long exposure times to smooth the water and we experimented a bit with that. However with my preferred foreground of sailboats, it really didn’t work for me as the boats were moving constantly and with long exposure they ended up blurry, not to my liking.

The following photo was exposed for 1/5 of a second, long enough to smooth the water just a little bit, but still sufficiently short to render the swinging masts still crisp. I like the way the Melbourne Sky Line can be seen through the masts of the boats.


A last photo before we left Williamstown.

It was quite a drive to our next photography stop at Point Lonsdale – we needed to get a coffee fix at Mc Donalds along the way. At Point Lonsdale we wanted to photograph the pier as well as the lighthouse. As we set up, this big ship approached the pier. Leanne thought it would make a good photo. I took a couple of shots and they didn’t turn out too bad. I know Leanne would have processed them quite differently – I am looking forward to seeing her version.

We now got serious with long exposure photography. Leanne brought a second set of Neutral Denisity Filters for me to use. She is an ambassador for Formatt Hitech so I was able to use the Formatt Hitech Firecrest system with three different strength filters. It certainly is a very well made system – what a difference to the cheap set I bought, used a couple of times and then discarded them as useless. Not sure I would go with Formatt Hitech as there doesn’t appear to be a mount for my favourite lens, the m.zuiko 7-14mm super wide angle zoom. Anyhow the next photo was taken with the 10 stop ND filter attached, which allowed a shutter speed of 50 seconds.

This long shutter speed has smoothed the quite disturbed water and also had an effect on the moving clouds. This is really the main reason why I am interested in Long Exposure Photography. The next two shots are looking at the pier from below. The first shot is with a 15 second exposure, the second was exposed for 9 seconds. Which one do you prefer?

The second shot was taken from a slightly different spot and I also changed the focal length slightly, so that might influence your preference.

This was taken from below the pier as well, but looking along the foreshore.

And this one is a crop from a shot around there, just showing the effect of the long exposure on the moving water.

Next stop was at the Bluff, Barwon Heads. The first photo is a standard photo looking from the Boardwalk down to the surf.

Here is a 2.5 seconds exposure of the waves crashing over the rocks.

Looking towards the Bluff.

Some more photos I took at the Bluff:

To be continued in part 2



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1 Response to Back on the mainland – One on One Photography Workshop with Leanne Cole – Part 1

  1. Leanne Cole says:

    You got some great photos Erich, it was a fantastic day and I really enjoyed it.

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