Improving Your Image Through Visual Communications

Journalist - Photographer - Writer

Monday 22 December 2008

Ben Boyd National Park

By Darren Stones

Our recent trip to the Ben Boyd National Park in New South Wales, Australia has been fruitful. Here's a small sample of images taken in the park.

All Ben Boyd National Park images can be viewed in my stock photography gallery at Flickr here.

Click images to view larger size.

Ben Boyd National Park IMG_2949_Ben_Boyd_National_Park
Entrance to Ben Boyd National Park

Ben Boyd National Park IMG_3000_Ben_Boyd_National_Park
The Pinnacles Lookout

Ben Boyd National Park IMG_2961_Ben_Boyd_National_Park
Walking track to Pinnacles Lookout

Ben Boyd National Park IMG_2985_Ben_Boyd_National_Park
The Pinnacles

Professional Freelance Journalism - the journey continues

By Darren Stones

As 2008 draws to a close, I'm taking a brief interval from my studies in Professional Freelance Journalism with Cengage Education. At this time of year, most people need a break to refresh - I'm no different as I'm a bit buggered.

The tutelage I've received from well-known Australian journalist of 46 years, Simon Townsend, has been gratifying. Simon's continued support and encouragement is inspiring me to gain confidence in my ability as a journalist, writer, researcher and photographer.

The Professional Freelance Journalism course requires me to successfully complete 16 assignments before I gain my diploma. To date, 10 assignments have been submitted, in which all have been graded the highest grade possible - an A. At one point I thought I'd received a C grade for an assignment, but that was an administration error that was soon rectified.

There's been times during the course where I've had to seriously contemplate my approach to assignments. All assignments have required weeks of reading tutorials, research via various methods, in-depth story development, writing of drafts, planning and executing photojournalistic-style photographs both near and far from home, conducting online, email and face-to-face interviews, and importantly contacting my tutor Simon for advice, guidance and support.

I feel I'm becoming more confident in my ability at this caper and believe that good things are ahead. It isn't an easy course - neither is getting a gig. It's making me call on all my energy, and at times I just need a break so I can step back, evaluate and pursue the set tasks with a refreshed mind. That's when I go and take photographs for stock and editorial purposes, and potential gallery exhibitions.

Having been a painter and decorator for the first 23 years of my working life, I'm finding the transition to my chosen vocation to be extremely challenging. I'm not rushing the process as I'm in it for the long haul - that decision was made a long time ago.

I've had minor criticism directed towards me at various times in the last few years, for no good reason, however I've successfully shaken those negative influences from my life and continued to press forward positively by surrounding myself with people I respect and trust. Gladly, my contact list has grown and I've met many new friends.

Anyway, as 2008 draws to a close, I feel content with my achievements during the year. The people who have assisted me in recent years are truly cherished. If it wasn't for them, I would have probably gone back to painting houses. Fortunately for me, I've connected with good honest people. The various tutors and confidants I have are giving me strength. And of course my family are No. 1 in my eyes.

Gordon Stones IMG_1837_Gordon_Stones
Gordon Stones at the Ararat Cemetery

Above, is my own personal favourite image for 2008. This is my father pointing to the spot where his father's headstone should have been laid in 1987. Dad discovered on 11-11-2008 that no headstone was ever arranged and laid at the grave site. That situation has now been rectified by him. Dad bawled his eyes out just after I took this photograph.

Thanks to those who have taken time out to look at and comment on my work in 2008. Much appreciated.

Season's Greetings.

Sunday 21 December 2008

Sapphire Coast travels result in new imagery and interviews

By Darren Stones

During December 2008, we travelled to the Sapphire Coast region in New South Wales to shoot a new series of images for stock, gallery and editorial purposes.

One of the highlights of our trip was a visit to the Sapphire Coast's biggest community market at Candelo. I conducted interviews with locals and visitors in the Candelo Hotel, and as a result I've made new contacts for future story development.

Bobby O'Brien, Nobby McMahon & Kevin Slater IMG_2253_Bobby_O'Brien_Nobby_McMahon_Kevin_Slater
Bobby McMahon, Nobby O'Brien & Kevin Slater - Candelo Hotel

We visited Quarantine Bay near Eden to witness Canberra-based fishermen return with their catch of the day.

Quarantine Bay Eden IMG_2121_Eden_Quarantine_Bay
Catch of the day - Quarantine Bay, Eden

We visited the north and south sections of Ben Boyd National Park for photographic shoots. The work contains new imagery of forested areas, wildlife, plants, lookouts, walking tracks, roads, information boards, buildings, rivers, etc.

Ben Boyd National Park IMG_3000_Ben_Boyd_National_Park
Pinnacles Lookout - Ben Boyd National Park

I'm currently researching aspects of the Ben Boyd National Park with a view to returning in 2009 to conduct interviews with staff from the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Ben Boyd National Park IMG_3214_Ben_Boyd_Tower
Boyds Tower - Ben Boyd National Park

Trust you've enjoyed viewing this sample of photographs. More are being added to the Darren Stones Stock Photography library at Flickr for viewing.

I have a gallery at RedBubble and images there can be purchased as greeting cards, calendars, laminated prints, matted mounted prints and framed prints.

Inquiries are most welcome by email and phone.

Contact details here.

Saturday 20 December 2008

Music that makes one contemplate

By Darren Stones

Whilst listening to the easy-listening track So far away by Tania Rose, it projected me into the future. It may sound morbid, but Tania’s song made me contemplate losing those who are closest to me.

I have a strong and reliant bond with my parents, brother and partner. To lose these people in my life would test my resilience. I’ve witnessed my parents’ emotion as they both lost their mother and father to god. They say time heals, but after many years have passed, my parents still shed a tear.

Tania’s voice is both soft and melodic, and frankly, I enjoy it. I’ve played So far away continuously as I’ve worked in my home office because it makes me think of the good times I want to share with my family in the future.

To me, So far away is a song that I look to as a guiding light. I’ll share this song with my family during the festive season and tell them what it means to me. It’s best I do that now, because eventually we’ll all be so far away from each other.

So far away is the "hidden track" on Tania's Journeys CD. It can be purchased online by visiting her website.

So far away by Tania Rose

Friday 5 December 2008

Editorial Stock Photography

By Darren Stones

Images contained in the Darren Stones Stock Photography library at Flickr are available for editorial use by licence at competitive rates.

Art directors and interested parties from media outlets are welcome to inquire by email or phone to discuss short, medium and long term editorial requirements.

Being involved in the media, I'm familiar with the needs of editorial staff and art directors.

My contact details here.

The foundation of my photographic work is Australian travel, people, places, festivals, events and documentary.

My images have appeared in national magazines, been licensed for exhibition purposes, licensed for magnetised calendars, licensed for canvas printing, sold as cards, calendars, laminated prints, mounted prints, matted prints and framed prints.

Upon your request, the transaction is simple and quick. My license agreements are tailored to suit your requiremments.

Darren Stones Stock Photography library


Monday 1 December 2008

Digital camera sensor cleaning and those rascally rabbits

By Darren Stones

Camera maintenance is an important habit to get into, but of course no one has to be too meticulous about it. Hell, housework is certainly not my strong point.

This morning I gave my baby (Canon 20D) a spruce up. I thought it was perfect timing with the sun shining and a stunning blue sky – just as you’d expect in Melbourne. Of course at time of writing the clouds have rolled in to provide a diffusing effect to the scenery.

The camera sensor was due for a little dust removal. So, off I toddled with the 50mm prime lens attached and I set the camera to manual mode and proceeded to take exposures at F/22. F/22 is perfect for revealing those dust bunnies. You know the one’s, those darn spots that we remove in photoshop and are a right pain in the ass. What fun – not.

Anyway, I soon found a big dust bunny had come to the party. The bloody thing was bigger than Bugs Bunny. Huh, that big bugger was in fact on the rear lens element, so after a few exposures rocket science (a brain wave) soon dictated that he/she had to be exterminated with a quick wipe with a soft lens cloth. Done.

Onwards we go to a little fiddling in photoshop and a play with the auto levels option. That was interesting to say the least and clearly revealed those dastardly bunnies at their worst. After a few goes at exterminating them I have a relatively clean baby all ready to take for a spin.

Click images below for a larger view.

Sensor before cleaning

Sensor after cleaning

Sensor before cleaning with auto levels adjustment in Photoshop

Sensor after cleaning with auto levels adjustment in Photoshop

I use the Copper Hill kit products as supplied by Quality Cameras in Perth. I have no affiliation with them, but can recommend their prompt and courteous service and cleaning kit products.

Of course I couldn’t get rid of all the bunnies, so I suspect the mummy and daddy bunny will make more little bunnies for me to exterminate in the future. Those rascally rabbits.

Some great info here to assist.

And this is the way I do it.

Advice articles can be found on my site here

Monday 24 November 2008

Pride of the Murray cruise on the Murray River at Echuca

By Darren Stones

Had the pleasure of a one-hour cruise on the Pride of the Murray paddleboat at Echuca on the Murray River in Australia recently.

It was an enjoyable trip with an informative commentary provided by the skipper. He related a few stories about the history of the area, and how the paddleboat trade operated on the river in its heyday.

The onboard hosts were most welcoming and I highly recommend the journey. It’s reasonably priced at Adult: $20.00 Senior: $16.00 Child: $8.50 Family: $50.00.

Cruises operate at various times throughout the day and further information can be found on their website.

Photos: © Darren Stones 2008












Calendar with a 500% markup in aid of Aussie Helpers charity

By Darren Stones

The On The Land calendar is specifically produced to raise large amounts of funds for Aussie Helpers.

Click here for information and to view the calendar.


Back Cover

100% of all profits I receive from RedBubble from sales of this calendar will be donated by me to Aussie Helpers.

It’s not a cheap calendar, and it’s not meant to be. It has a 500% markup from the RedBubble base price.

Your generous purchase of this calendar will result in Australian drought-stricken farmers being assisted.
If you’d like a more affordable calendar to purchase, and assist Aussie Helpers, the Australian Photographers Alliance has available the 2009 Drought Relief Calendar for your consideration.

Aussie Helpers founders Brian and Nerida Egan rent a house in Queensland and live on a pension.

This video was shown at the Australia Society Tokyo Gala Ball, January 25th, 2008.

Sunday 23 November 2008

Seeking sponsors for an exchange of my service

By Darren Stones

I'm currently seeking sponsors for an exchange of my service for the following:

  • Two 4GB SanDisk Ultra II CompactFlash Memory Cards
  • Hotel/Motel accommodation
  • Mobile phone and internet service package
  • Notebook computer and protective case
  • Camera bag suited to a photojournalist
  • R.M. Williams clothing and footwear
  • Domestic car hire
  • Domestic air travel
  • Domestic train travel
  • Domestic bus travel
  • Canon DSLR camera and lenses
  • Gallery exhibition space in VIC and NSW
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Profesionally developed website & hosting

Please inquire by email or mobile phone to discuss an exchange of service.

Contact email

Mobile: +61 0419 200 469 (Australia)


Darren Stones
2008 Grenfell Henry Lawson Festival Of Arts
Photographic Competition Winner

The Great Ocean Road - one of Australia's most visited tourist regions

By Darren Stones

The Port Campbell National Park on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia has features which are visited by people from all over the world.

Last week, I had the pleasure to meet and chat with photographers from Pennsylvania, USA and Canada at the world-famous Twelve Apostles.

Twelve Apostles

They were amazed at our glorious coastline and were keen to find out some of the hidden gems in this area to photograph.

Unfortunately, one of the best places to photograph in this area is temporarily closed. Gibson’s Beach is not accessible to visitors due to the closure of Gibson’s Steps, which lead down to the beach. Large areas of ground at the clifftop are covered in hessian to stop erosion. We may never be able to access this beach again.

Gibson's Beach

It was one of the very few locations along this weather-beaten coastline which allowed access to the beach. Fortunately, Loch Ard Gorge is still accessible.

Loch Ard Gorge

The area is extremely fragile, and there’s now talk that the Twelve Apostles Boardwalk may cost visitors a fee to access in the near future.

I have a calendar for sale which contains features of this region which may interest you. Enjoy.

Click here for calendar details.

Calendar Cover

Calendar Back Cover

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Tathra Wharf tragedy

By Darren Stones

NSW Police report that a man and two boys have drowned at the Tathra Wharf on the far south coast of NSW last night.

Tathra Wharf
Photo: © Darren Stones

The two children fell into the choppy waters and the man and a local fisherman dived into the waters to assist about 8.10pm.

Emergency services pulled all four from the water unconscious. The man was unable to be resuscitated and was pronounced dead at the scene. The fisherman was revived and taken to Bega Hospital.

The two children were taken to hospital in critical condition but died shortly after.

Circumstances surrounding the incident are not being treated as suspicious.

Witnesses to the incident are being urged to contact Batemans Bay Police Station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Monday 17 November 2008

Photography with the Canon 20D and Canon 10-22mm lens

By Darren Stones

I’ve been asked a few times lately what lens I’m using on some of my latest photographs. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some information.

Port Campbell National Park
Focal length 10mm

My camera of choice for these photographs is the Canon 20D and it’s coupled with the Canon EF-S 10-22mm lens. The Canon 20D has a 1.6 crop factor which effectively means the 10-22mm lens becomes a 16-35mm lens.

Twelve Apostles
Focal length 22mm

The 10-22mm lens allows the photographer to go in close to subject matter and fill the frame, which is great for tight situations and to create a more dynamic composition. It does take a little getting used to and one must be careful to avoid having tripod legs and even the photographer’s feet included in the frame.

Gordon Stones
Focal length 10mm

Hope that helps a little folks. You’re most welcome to ask questions and I’ll endeavour to do my best to answer them.

Sunday 16 November 2008

2009 Port Campbell National Park Calendar

By Darren Stones

Recently I visited the Port Campbell National Park along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia to photograph some of the spectacular coastline.

Twelve Apostles

Many would know of the Twelve Apostles and the opportunity in which to photograph and view one of Australia's famous icons, but the angle light during the late spring is what attracted me to visit the region again.

Twelve Apostles

I've produced a calendar for 2009 which features images of the Port Campbell National Park. The calendar is printed on high quality paper and is available for purchase online via my profile at RedBubble.

Port Campbell National Park

To view the full calendar and see large preview images, click on the calendar cover or back cover below. Product information and pricing is also included. General enquiries are most welcome and I can be contacted by email, phone and mail. Contact details here.

Calendar Cover

Calendar Back Cover

Friday 7 November 2008

Parwan is parched

By Darren Stones

Statistics from Melbourne Water reveal drought-stricken Parwan has received nearly 50% less rainfall compared to the same time last year.


Empty dam

Recorded rainfall at Parwon Parwan Creek for the year to date – 6 November 2008 – was 163.20mm. This compares to 320.20mm in 2007.


Sheep skull

A farm property on the Bacchus Marsh-Geelong Road at Parwan is abandoned with its dam devoid of water, and many dams on nearby farm properties are also empty.


Loading the sheep

Any sheep that remain on properties have little to no pasture to graze on and the lack of rain and dam water is now causing farmers to move stock to other properties, or sell them to market before the summer heat arrives.

Thursday 30 October 2008

Darren Stones Stock Photography library

By Darren Stones

My stock photography library consists of photographs for short, medium and long term initiatives.

Darren Stones Stock Photography library

Pricing and contact details

To purchase or licence my stock photographs, please contact me by email or phone to discuss your requirements.

Images are catalogued by place name alphabetically to assist you for searching. The collection is for stock, tourism, editorial, corporate, exhibition, publishing and historical photography purposes.



Maribyrnong River
(Licenced to Juggler Design for 10,000 magnetised calendars in 2009 for Frank Trimboli Real Estate in Footscray, Victoria, Australia)

(Licensed to the Melbourne Museum until 2018)


National Carillon Canberra

Murray Valley Highway

Deniliquin Canola

Khancoban Dam Spillway

Parliament House