Improving Your Image Through Visual Communications

Journalist - Photographer - Writer

Saturday 11 December 2010

Photographs published in The High Country Atlas & Guide by Hema Maps

By Darren Stones

I've had the pleasure to have four of my Australian travel photographs published in The High Country Atlas & Guide by Hema Maps.

I was approached by the publication's Editorial Assistant & Project Leader Kate Armstrong to supply a selection of four images for the publication. An image of the Great Alpine Road taken at Mount Blowhard is published on a full page. Also, an image of Mount Bogong taken at Mount Beauty, an image of the Omeo Post Office, and an image of a field just outside of Omeo.

Part 4WD guide, part travel companion, The High Country Atlas & Guide will help you make the most of your time in one of Australia’s most spectacular alpine regions. The guide provides in-depth coverage of the High Country from Mansfield and Wangaratta in the west to Snowy River National Park in the east and from the ski fields at Perisher Valley in the north to Lakes Entrance in the south.

It offers loads of useful information on the area’s rich history, activities and attractions to be enjoyed in all seasons. It also highlights the 25 most outstanding 4WD excursions the High Country has to offer including inset maps, track descriptions, tips, warnings and more. Along with town and supply centre information you can read about the many sights and activities available in Alpine National Park, Snowy River National Park and Baw Baw National Park.

Whether you’re looking for a serious four-wheel drive adventure, a winery tour, a walking trail or a place to stay, this book with its easy-to-follow maps throughout is an indispensible companion.

  • Handy atlas for navigation – from Hema’s best-selling High Country East & West map
  • Top 25 4WD Trips, including inset maps, track descriptions, warnings, tips and sites worth exploring along the way
  • Detailed maps throughout, including southeast New South Wales
  • Towns and localities GPS index
  • When to go and how to prepare for the alpine conditions of the High Country
  • Where to go for the best outdoor experiences – including bushwalking trails, camping and fishing spots
  • Where to stay, from B&Bs to the best bush-camping sites
  • Extensive listings of tour operators – tag-along tours, rental equipment, guided hiking and horse riding, and much more
  • Background reading on the region’s geography, history, flora and fauna
1st Edition, Spiral Bound, Soft Cover, 160 pages, 215mm x 297mm. Price: $34.95.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Steve Parish: 50 Years Photographing Australia

By Darren Stones

Visitor Information Centres around Australia are where people usually get their first taste of Steve Parish’s magnificent Australiana photography. Wildlife books, calendars, diaries, discovery guides, fun books for kids, coffee table and instructional books are just some of the vast range of products that Steve Parish Publishing offers.

I recently interviewed Steve, and thought it was interesting that as a passionate advocate for wildlife protection, he says that governments need to consider implementing policies which lessen human impact on the environment.

Darren Stones - After 50 years photographing Australia, and seemingly still having the fire in the belly, what inspires you to travel and take photographs around Australia?

Steve Parish - A sheer love of the landscapes and wild places of this nation, and the flora and fauna that inhabit them, is what keeps me on the road — as well as the knowledge that the only way people will ever protect nature is if they connect with it. My publications help make that connection. I know not everyone has the luxury of spending half of the year or more on the road visiting far-flung Aussie paradises —let alone five decades travelling Australia! — but I hope that when they see photos in one of my books or calendars they think “How amazing. I want to go there one day and see a tree-kangaroo for myself”, and I’m sure they then will. And when they do, they’ll care so much more about the fate of that animal. That’s inspiring, to think I can inspire someone else to care more about the natural world.

Steve Parish
Photo: ©Steve Parish

Darren Stones - Steve, as an experienced photographer, how do you prepare yourself mentally for a photographic journey on the road for weeks away from home?

Steve Parish - I find that for me, there is a great solace in solitude, so I don’t prepare myself mentally as much as it prepares me! Travelling and photographing is not a job to me, it’s a release. Being on the road, just me and a tent and a camera, frees me from the everyday stresses of running a very successful Australian natural history publishing company, and allows me unbridled creativity and freedom. It gives me time and space to think and feel and, for me, that’s extremely cathartic. Most times it feels like I am more at home on the road than anywhere else!

Darren Stones - Who assists you with your photography when out in the field and what are the key things they do to help you?

Steve Parish - My wife, Catherine Prentice, travels with me a lot, and Greg and Emma Harm, two of my talented image library staff, also accompany me on occasion. They all keep me grounded, help with equipment, navigate when necessary, and keep a track of where we’ve been and when, which is useful for when we add photographic metadata to the database. Greg and Em also sometimes help with post-production, and of course, they’re all good company. All of them usually also take their own photographs too when on the road and I’m always astonished by how different each person’s photographic “vision” of a place can be. Sometimes we can be in the same place at the same time, but the individual shots are very clearly unique to that photographer. I love that.

Steve Parish photographing ephemeral wildflowers in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
Photo: ©Steve Parish

Darren Stones - Before leaving home, what type of research do you undertake about the subjects you intend to photograph? Do you call on other people to assist you with your photography research?

Steve Parish - After five decades of photographing Australia, I find a lot of the places I’m visiting are like old friends, so I know what to expect. But part of my work is not just in taking images but also in interpreting them for others in books, so that I can create educational resources like the recent Nature Watch range we did for children. So I do spend time in museums and reading about local history. We also produce a range of calendars every year, so it’s imperative I research what’s new in each city or region architecturally and any new popular attractions.

Above all, I like to research the unique or endangered animals and plants that make their homes in a region and do my best to find and photograph them. Also, it always helps to understand who the bushies or “characters” are in small outback towns, because they spin the best yarns and fill you in on local history. I’m lucky also to have a dedicated team of editors and fact checkers in the office who do their own research and fill in any blanks for me.

Darren Stones - What have you discovered to be your greatest challenges when travelling to various locations in Australia to photograph landscapes, seascapes and wildlife?

Steve Parish - As I say in my Wild Australia Photographic Guides: Weather, weather, weather, and climate! When you live in Queensland everyone expects bright, hot summer days with not a cloud in the sky, but we all know that those days are not great for photography because there are too many contrasting overhead shadows and because clouds and weather features make beautiful enhancers for landscape and travel shots.

As a photographer, there’s so much I can manage — my equipment, the time and date of travel, how many days to stay, etc — but I can’t control the weather. There’s nothing more disappointing than getting all the way to Litchfield National Park only to have to leave because it’s boggy and wet the whole time, or trying to get a wonderful turbid seascape in Leeuwin–Naturaliste National Park only to find it’s flat and grey when I visit. Of course, I work around it as much as possible and try to get dawn and dusk shots or wait for the clouds, storms or interesting weather to arrive, but I would say it’s my greatest challenge to be patient on clear weeks where every day is like Groundhog Day. I love dramatic, unusual weather that brings something different to an image.

The Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge illuminated at night
Photo: ©Steve Parish

Darren Stones - Steve, what’s been the funniest moment you’ve experienced whilst taking photographs?

Steve Parish - Hard to pinpoint just one — there’s been so many amusing moments over the years, which is another reason to keep me on the road. One that springs to mind is that recently, up in the Daintree, I was bailed up in a thicket by a male cassowary. I was so in awe of this majestic bird and his chicks, that, despite keeping a fair distance, I failed to notice his chicks had seen my shadow and started following me instead of him. Well, Dad didn’t like that one bit, of course! In a flash he turned around and charged me. They’re bloody big birds and an altercation with one is the last thing any photographer wants, so I bolted for a little stand of trees and vines and holed up inside, while he tried his hardest to get at me. Actually, it was pretty scary at the time, but very funny afterwards once he’d conceded I wasn’t a threat if I stayed out of his way — I did too!

Darren Stones - As a passionate advocate for protecting Australia’s nature areas and wildlife, what do you believe are the greatest challenges our governments face to ensure that the impact of people on our nature areas and wildlife is minimized?

Steve Parish - Well, firstly I concede that government agencies have very difficult jobs to do when it comes to wildlife conservation — there are just so many issues to juggle, and a lot more research that needs to be done in order to do the job properly. When I photographed for the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service all those years ago, I quickly discovered how much of a political hot potato the whole issue is. But for me, the hardest thing is probably balancing the needs, or perceived needs of humans, with those of wildlife and ecosystems. We’re a very selfish species — we don’t like to share — but the truth is, we have to, and our lives can be enriched by having possums and birds in the backyard or encouraging native plants to grow in our cities.

We have to stop letting our comfort override the rights of animals that share our habitats. We have to recognise that there’s not just a dollar value in big industry but also in wildlife and habitat, and not just from tourism. Some things, like the biodiversity value and spiritual value of wild places, are priceless, but sometimes that makes it difficult to convince politicians they should be given more consideration. Everything boils down to dollars, which is a great shame as the animals don’t care about that. And I hope future generations won’t either — that they’ll realise being able to see a Koala or an endangered Northern Quoll in the wild is worth more than a mine or a new housing development.

Yachts set sail on Sydney Harbour
Photo: ©Steve Parish

Darren Stones - There's times when photographers are harassed in public areas for taking travel documentary style photographs. What advice do you have for photographers who encounter these sticky situations? Have you ever had to deal with any awkward situations yourself, and what did you do when confronted?

Steve Parish - I think the thing to remember is that you’re just doing your job. I can honestly say I’m rarely hassled in public, though. I’ve also found that people are happy to be included in my books and I sometimes get letters from people who recognise themselves in an incidental travel shot and are chuffed. But I think travelling with my wife helps, because it means I’m a bit less conspicuous as a professional photographer, and probably a bit less threatening than a man by himself. Of course, you have to always be careful about photographing children, so take the time to let parents know what you’re doing and get their permission. Many parents are happy to oblige and extroverted kids can make delightful subjects and love to turn on the smiles for the camera once they know you’re a professional. If confronted about photographing in a public place, sometimes it may just be easier to apologise and pack up rather than try to argue your right to be there. A lot of people are in the dark about the laws relating to public photography, but the truth is you can photograph in most public places without having to obtain a license or special permission.

Darren Stones - Steve, is there something you haven't photographed in Australia as yet that you really want to photograph?

Steve Parish - There’s an awful lot of endangered species that I haven’t seen hide nor hair of in the wild, and would love to photograph, and of course, some of the very isolated and rugged terrain in the Top End and Kimberley I’ve photographed only from the air. What I would love to do most is get back in the wetsuit and do some more diving so I can photograph marine invertebrates again. The colour down there in the ocean is truly astonishing. So I’ve made it a bit of a mission to try to get fit so I can return to scuba diving. At sixty-five, it’s ambitious, but I’m working on it.

Camel train at sunset, Cable Beach, Broome
Photo: ©Steve Parish

Darren Stones - Can you share three practical photography tips that you believe a travel photographer can implement in the field to improve their travel photographs?

Steve Parish - It sounds over-simplistic, but take vertical shots, horizontal shots and shots that are framed up close and from a distance. When you later sell them to magazines or use them in books where you want to bleed the image off the page you’ll be happy you took that loosely framed shot, even if your natural instinct is to crop it close. Also, I like to take a series of shots that “tell a story”, so if the editor wants something deeper, you can provide a gallery of images that reflect the place’s landscapes, flora and fauna, culture and “spirit”.

Choose your time wisely. In Australia, the time of year is critical to the photos you’ll get. The south-west of WA for instance is just spectacular in spring, with all the wildflowers, but a few months later will have lost some of its gloss. Even if you’re photographing outback towns, you should time it to be there for local events, such as rodeos or outback races, which can help you capture the townspeople at leisure and add some colour and interest to your shots.

It’s all about mood, content and design. And of those, to me, mood is the most important. I’m a very emotional photographer and mood helps people connect with an image. You can have the best content in the world and frame it beautifully, but if an image lacks mood and emotion it will still just attract a passing glance, rather than make someone stop and truly absorb the “feel” of the moment.

Alice Springs Rodeo
Photo: ©Steve Parish

Darren Stones - Do you believe it's important for travel photographers to dabble in writing about their travel and photography experiences? What do you believe is a good starting point for them to write?

Steve Parish - Absolutely, but I also recognise that not everyone is a writer. They say a picture tells a thousand words and some photographers are skilled enough to make that entirely true. Like photography, however, writing is an art form and for me, it’s about creativity. I like exploring all aspects of my creativity and that’s why I also write. I don’t write all the time, but when it comes to trying to explain what is a very personal journey, as in my new book Steve Parish: 50 Years Photographing Australia, well, I’m the only person who can truly explain what it felt like to stand there and watch that shy young Common Wallaroo staring at me, or how I got to where I was and why.

Actually, I’m very proud of Steve Parish: 50 Years Photographing Australia because I’ve always been a little insecure about my writing (particularly when I’m writing about myself), but my editors were impressed and the public response to it has been overwhelming, so it’s nice to finally feel that my writing is also a legitimate part of my creative process. I’m blown away sometimes that people are so interested in my life and my personal story of five decades doing what I do. I would say that if you do choose to write, make it personal. Make it as much of an insight as your photos are, and always have someone else edit it. They’ll pick up things you never considered or that your over-familiar eyes miss.

Uluru in close-up, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory
Photo: ©Steve Parish

Darren Stones - When away from home and travelling on the road, what do you do to relax and unwind after a day of photographing?

Steve Parish - Sounds strange, but editing my photographs and adding the relevant metadata, so we can ID them in the image library, is often what I do to relax and unwind! It helps me reflect on the day I’ve had and I just love seeing those pixels on the screen and admiring the place again. It’s a far cry from the old days when you had to wait days or even week for the prints to come back from the developer or dark room. I also like to relax by watching a good film. I’m a bit of a film buff, and of course, sleep is always a luxury.

Gnarled Eucalypt
Photo: ©Steve Parish

Darren Stones - What lies ahead for Steve Parish as a photographer?

Steve Parish - More of the same, but better. The great thing about getting older is that you’re always looking for new ways of doing things — you’d get bored if you didn’t! So I feel even more creative at sixty-five than I did at twenty-five. At the moment, I’m really absorbed by the abstract artistry of landscape, particularly the effect of water on stone, vegetation and ecosystems. Water really is a master architect and sculptor, as well as gardener in a sense, so I’m working on something to do with that. I’m also on a mission to catalogue Australia’s national parks again. We have so many incredible wild places and I want to be able to share them with the world.

Also, the publishing industry is undergoing a digital revolution at the moment, and I want to be at the forefront of that too, so we’re working with a company called Brisware to develop some innovative eBooks and Apps, which are an entirely different way of thinking about the concept of the “book”. I’m loving the greener, cleaner benefits of that too, and it’s adding some great interactive creativity. It really is an exciting time for book publishing and I think one that will provide great opportunities for all photographers and creative types.

About Steve Parish:
Based in Brisbane, Queensland, Steve Parish Publishing provides a unique Australian nature experience that will inspire you to celebrate and connect with an incredible natural world.

Sunday 21 November 2010

Discover Victoria with Darren Stones - Beechworth

By Darren Stones

Welcome to Discover Victoria with Darren Stones featuring travel photography of the high country town of Beechworth.

Beechworth is 267 kilometres or approximately three hours from Melbourne via the Hume Freeway, Great Alpine Road and Wangaratta-Beechworth Road.

For your photography licensing, service or product infomation requirements, see the Photography and Merchandise pages for further details. Contact me now for assistance.

Beechworth, Victoria, Australia, Ford Street, autumn IMG_9901_Beechworth
Ford Street Beechworth, Victoria
Photo: Darren Stones

Beechworth, Victoria, Australia, bank IMG_9968_Beechworth
Former Bank of Victoria, Beechworth, Victoria
Photo: Darren Stones

Beechworth Post Office, Victoria, Australia IMG_9922_Beechworth
Beechworth Post Office, Victoria
Photo: Darren Stones

Beechworth Bakery, Victoria, Australia IMG_9997_Beechworth
Beechworth Bakery, Beechworth, Victoria
Photo: Darren Stones

Beechworth, Victoria, Australia, Corner Ford and Camp Street, autumn IMG_9981_Beechworth
Corner of Ford and Camp Streets, Beechworth, Victoria
Photo: Darren Stones

Beechworth, Golden Horseshoe, Victoria, Australia IMG_5142_Beechworth
Golden Horseshoe, Beechworth, Victoria
Photo: Darren Stones

Chinese Burning Towers, Beechworth Cemetery, Victoria, Australia IMG_4932_Beechworth
Chinese Burning Towers, Beechworth Cemetery, Victoria
Photo: Darren Stones

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Australian landscape photographer Ken Duncan says hello to a wild stallion

By Darren Stones

Recently I had the opportunity to ask Australian landscape photographer Ken Duncan a question on his Facebook fan page. Not wanting to get bogged down in technical talk, I asked Ken to share a story about an experience whilst out in the field.

Darren 'Daz' Stones - "Hi Ken,
Trust you're well, and thanks very much for this opportunity. Could you share one of your funniest moments while undertaking photography in the field?
Cheers, Darren."

Ken Duncan - "Hi Daz,
One of the funniest things that happened to me was while I was in Vermont, USA. I was waiting to take a shot called New England Reflections - you can check it out on the website - which as the title suggests, needed reflections.

There was a wild stallion in the field we were in and my assistant at the time started trying to be friendly to the horse. The next minute, this wild stallion was trying to push me and my camera into the pond. The only way to settle the horse down was to punch him in the mouth.

The horse took off and just at that time, the farmer came along, saw me on his property and stopped to warn me that there was a wild stallion in the paddock. I told the farmer, 'Don't worry, I'm Australian - we're all born in the saddle. I've already said hello to your stallion!' It must be noted that no animals were permanently injured during the capture of that photo!"

Darren Stones Visual Communications at Facebook:

Friday 22 October 2010

Merimbula is more than a location – it’s where X marks the spot

By Darren Stones

The evening before a crisp, still morning of potentially fulfilling photography reinforces earlier thoughts of the likelihood of recording Mother Nature’s golden light. With the forecast looking promising, the idea of awakening early from a deep slumber is all the more pleasant given I’ve researched my location and used Google maps to my advantage.

Merimbula, New South Wales, Australia IMG_7438_Merimbula
Middle Beach – Merimbula, New South Wales, Australia
Photo: Darren Stones

Casting my mind back pre Google map days, I vividly recall relying more on guess work and vigorously scouting locations after travelling hundreds of kilometres for a keeper or two. But how times have changed for someone like me – a research nut who adores Mr Google’s invention and how it’s allowed me to place myself wherever I wish – almost.

Merimbula, New South Wales, Australia IMG_7417_Merimbula
Middle Beach – Merimbula, New South Wales, Australia
Photo: Darren Stones

When perched in my home office navigating the Monday to Friday grind and attempting to earn a razoo, I cast myself forward a month or two and begin dreaming of “Location, location, location.” My heart begins to race and a clear picture begins to form in my mind. I momentarily find myself imagining where X marks the spot, fiddling with f-stops between 8 and 16, and contemplating which filter to slide into the holder. Again I’m in dreamland and projecting myself forward into the future.

Excuse me for a little while as I’m craving to surf the web. I have another X spot to investigate.

Friday 8 October 2010

The Sapphire Coast calendar by Darren Stones

By Darren Stones

Hi and welcome. The Sapphire Coast is a pristine coastal area in New South Wales, Australia. A relaxed resort region ideal for: fishing; bushwalking in national parks; walking barefoot along miles of clean beaches; enjoying coastal vistas from clifftops; and enjoying fresh seafood and a chardonnay.

I’ve been visiting the Sapphire Coast since 1988 and it’s always a pleasure to relax in what is my favourite holiday area in Australia.

Everyone needs a calendar, and what a beaut gift they make for family and friends. Here is a new calendar I've added to my merchandise range that you may like to consider: The Sapphire Coast.

The Sapphire Coast calendar features my travel photography of Merimbula, Eden, Tathra, Bermagui, Mimosa Rocks National Park, Camel Rock, Green Cape Lighthouse, and the historic Merimbula and Tathra wharves. This collection of photography highlights some of the most popular attractions in the region.

About the calendar:
This calendar is printed on a luscious 200gsm satin art paper at the size of A3 (297x420mm). The calendar has a wire binding ready for hanging. You can select your own start month as the calendar is customisable.



If you'd like to purchase this calendar, click on the preview images or links above. For bulk orders, please contact me to arrange a discount.

Contact details:
Darren Stones Visual Communications
Journalist - Photographer - Writer
42 Melbourne Avenue
Glenroy, Victoria, Australia 3046
Phone: 03 9306 0100
Mobile: 0419 200 469

The full range of my merchandise can be found by clicking on the merchandise tab near the top of the page.

Friday 1 October 2010

Special event: Australians travelling beyond blue

By Darren Stones

As a member of blueVoices, the consumer reference group for beyondblue, and Founder of the Australian Travel Photography and Writing group, I'm coordinating the special event, Australians travelling beyond blue.

The event is in support of beyondblue’s Anxiety and Depression Awareness Month for October 2010. It is a participation event for individuals to take part in an activity to raise awareness of anxiety and depression, and help reduce stigma.

Now in its fourth year, beyondblue’s Anxiety and Depression Awareness Month has become an important mental health awareness event in Australia’s health calendar.

You can participate in Australians travelling beyond blue by following the link to where the event is being conducted in the forum of the Australian Travel Photography and Writing group.
Special event: Australians travelling beyond blue

By being involved, you will be helping to raise awareness and reduce stigma. There is also five beyondblue awareness kits to give away.

Each kit includes:
  • beyondblue mouse mat
  • beyondblue Wristband – Blue
  • beyondblue non woven carry bag
  • Flyer – Understanding depression and anxiety
  • Info Card – Keeping Active for a Healthy Mind and Body: Walking
  • Wallet Card – beyondblue Info Line
  • Anxiety and Depression Awareness Month Thank you letter

Thank you for supporting beyondblue’s Anxiety and Depression Awareness Month October 2010. Have fun!

Please note: This is not an official event run by beyondblue.
I kindly thank beyondblue for granting me permission to use their ADA Month October 2010 logo. Thanks also to Bridget and Emily from beyondblue for their encouragement and support.

Friday 17 September 2010

Australia is an experience of a lifetime

By Darren Stones

They say Australia is the lucky country and I suspect any dinky-di Aussie would agree. Visitors from around the globe are continually attracted to the world's driest continent, and it's no wonder given the scenery on offer to enjoy. Exploring the big cities, the rich colours of the outback and the relaxed coastal resort towns is high on the agenda for many domestic and overseas travellers.

Australians are regarded as a happy-go-lucky lot, with sheilas wearing next-to-nothing on our golden beaches, whilst the blokes just chill out enjoying an ale with their mates at the pub.

Our wildlife can be shy, but it can be friendly and approachable, too. You can handfeed kangaroos in some national parks, and possibly cuddle a koala in a zoo.

The land down under is ready to embrace you and offer an experience of a lifetime. If you are like me, you can have a lifetime of experiencing the best country in the world.

View my Australian travel photography video which features:
  • The Great Ocean Road, VIC
  • Twelve Apostles, VIC
  • The iconic Murray and Darling rivers, NSW & VIC
  • Eastern grey kangaroos in the Kosciuszko National Park, NSW
  • A breaching humpback whale at Hervey Bay, QLD
  • The unique Red Car Door tour at Lightning Ridge in outback NSW
Darren Stones Visual Communications merchandise sales

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Get involved in beyondblue Anxiety and Depression Awareness (ADA) Month, October 2010

beyondblue Anxiety and Depression Awareness Month provides an opportunity for workplaces, community groups and individuals to take part in activities to raise awareness of anxiety and depression, and help reduce the associated stigma.

How you can be involved

At home:
  • Wear a beyondblue wristband during October
  • Take a beyondblue carry bag with you when you are shopping
  • Put a beyondblue magnet on the fridge
  • Encourage your family and friends to keep active – organise a group walk, bike ride or game in the park
At work or in the community:
  • Become a workplace or community group organiser for beyondblue Anxiety and Depression Awareness Month. Free Organiser Kits can be ordered online
  • Organise a blue-themed day or event and screen the beyondblue DVD Stories of Hope and Recovery
  • Display beyondblue awareness posters on your staff noticeboard, in your local community centre or club, or other community group space
  • Order beyondblue Awareness Kits for your colleagues, club mates or community group members
  • Use a beyondblue mouse mat throughout the year – it’s a great way to remind people that it is OK to talk about anxiety and depression every day

Order ADA Month Kits
Click the link below to order your Anxiety and Depression Awareness Month Kits via our online ordering system. You can order single kits without registering via our Individual catalogue, or organisations can order multiple kits by registering for access to our Organisation catalogue. The kits are listed at the top of each catalogue.

Order your free awareness or organiser kit:

For inquiries or if you require assistance ordering information resources, please call the beyondblue info line on 1300 22 4636.

Information supplied by beyondblue.

Darren Stones
Member of blueVoices – the consumer reference group for beyondblue

blueVoices members provide national mental health consumer or carer input into all beyondblue programs. This input varies from giving feedback on new resource development, input into development of beyondblue programs, disseminating materials at events, speaking about personal experience of mental illness at forums or to the media, representation on committees and many other involvements.

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Discover Australia magazine Issue 3, September 2010

By Darren Stones

Issue 3 of Discover Australia magazine is available for viewing online in full screen format. It can be downloaded as a PDF to your computer, be printed, and shared.

In this quarterly issue, my feature article The heart, mind and soul of the Utes in the Paddock highlights a quirky tourist attraction at the 12,000-acre Burrawang West Station in Ootha, New South Wales, Australia.

Utes in the Paddock Project Coordinator Jana Pickles explains how this unique outback art gallery has an underlying objective, which is supported by the Australian artists who volunteered their time to create such amazing art works.

Discover Australia magazine Issue 3, September 2010

I trust you enjoy reading Discover Australia magazine Issue 3, September 2010. Your feedback is most welcome. Suggestions are also welcomed.

If you have Australian tourism or travel related news you'd like considered for inclusion in my Travel Bites column, please contact me by email:

Darren Stones
Deputy Editor and Journalist
Discover Australia magazine

Thursday 26 August 2010

Bob Katter is no loony

By Darren Stones

The 2010 Federal Election has given Independent MP Bob Katter the opportunity to put an important issue into the public domain – suicide. Whilst the majority of discussion surrounds which major party the Independents will side with, Katter has taken the bull by the horns and is the only elected representative in the spotlight willing to mention an issue which many people are reticent to discuss.

With Katter constantly being referred to as a ‘loony’ on Twitter, and in comments by readers in various online newspapers, it’s his ability to get the message out at an opportune time that is worthy of credit.

Katter has said that one farmer commits suicide every four days in his electorate of Kennedy. The sense of despair felt by those farmers who are taking such drastic action is not to be ignored. These are real working people from real working families who see no future for themselves. They are people who see no reason to live and cast a vote in the future.

Mental health has been in the spotlight during 2010, but Australia's political leaders became more concerned with the non-issue of Work Choices and stopping the boats during the election campaign.

It will be interesting to see if the leaders from each of the major parties act on what Katter is saying, or simply dismiss him as a ‘loony’. Time will tell if Katter’s comments lead to a paradigm shift.

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Supported by the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme, an Australian Government initiative

By Darren Stones

It's with pleasure I recognise the Commonwealth by supporting my new business, Darren Stones Visual Communications. This business is supported by the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme, an Australian Government initiative.

On August 5, 2010, I gained approval from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for my new business to be operated with their support. As part of the agreement, I'm obliged to run the business in accordance with my NEIS Participant Agreement and my Business Plan.

Throughout the first 12 months of the business operating, I'll be mentored by qualified mentors who will assist me to develop my business, financial and marketing skills for my business venture.

Recently I completed the Certificate IV in Small Business Management at the Kangan Institute Business Enterprise Centre in Essendon, Victoria as part of the NEIS program. The course was a terrific opportunity for me to gain knowledge and learn new skills. The staff and trainers at Kangan are friendly and they made me feel welcome from the very first day.

I'd like to acknowledge the following people at the Kangan Institute Business Enterprise Centre in Essendon:

Tim Cremean - Manager
Reg Eustace - Assistant Manager
Angela Nitchov - Senior Staff & Mentoring Co-ordinator
Carmela Arceri - Administration
Leigh Spiden - Administration
Ilona Way - Marketing
Martin Dowling - Marketing
Rod Cook - Accounting
Eula Jackson - Accounting
Julie Carsewell - Accounting

I'm looking forward to growing my new business and trust it can provide the services and products which can satisfy the needs of businesses and the general public.

Further information:

New Enterprise Incentive Scheme
Kangan Institute Business Enterprise Centre
Certificate IV in Small Business Management

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Mark Latham

By Darren Stones

It's obvious to me that Mark Latham is a broken man...struggling to find a positive direction. From what I can see, 60 Minutes is taking advantage of him.

My advice to Latham would be to step out of the limelight and find someone to discuss personal issues with.

In our society, we often fail our people. I see a bloke who has to take the necessary steps to improve his quality of life.

Thursday 5 August 2010

Nature scenes from the Sapphire Coast

By Darren Stones

The Sapphire Coast in New South Wales remains a pristine environment. It's a popular holiday region which attracts nature lovers who like to get away from it all and enjoy walking along the beach and exploring some unique natural features.

During my most recent trip to the Sapphire Coast, I photographed The Pinnacles in the Ben Boyd National Park, Middle Beach at Merimbula, and Bournda Lagoon in the Bournda National Park. These areas are a great place to unwind and get back to nature.

You can license these images or purchase them as photographic print products. Business discounts are available. See Photography information page for full details.

Sapphire Coast Online Gallery

The Pinnacles, Ben Boyd National Park IMG_7657_Ben_Boyd_National_Park
The Pinnacles
Photo: Darren Stones

Merimbula, New South Wales, Australia IMG_7417_Merimbula
Middle Beach, Merimbula
Photo: Darren Stones

Bournda Lagoon, Bournda National Park, New South Wales, Australia IMG_7440_Bournda_National_Park
Bournda Lagoon
Photo: Darren Stones

Wednesday 28 July 2010

Interviewee wanted - an Australian travel photographer who has been diagnosed with depression

By Darren Stones

I’m seeking an interviewee to take part in a special interview. The type of person I’d like to interview must be an Australian travel photographer who has been diagnosed with depression by a General Practitioner, Psychiatrist, or Psychologist.

Here is the criteria I’m seeking in the person I wish to interview:
  • An active professional, semi-professional or enthusiast Australian travel photographer
  • Willing to share their personal experiences about depression with the general public
  • Willing to have their story published
  • Willing to share and give permission to use selected travel photographs and a current photo of themself for publishing
  • Willing to share their Australian travel photography experiences
  • Willing to provide travel photography advice
  • Must have good knowledge of the beyondblue website

The objectives of the interview are to promote the photographer, showcase their travel photography, allow him or her to tell their story about depression, raise awareness of mental health issues amongst the general public, and inform the public of the role that beyondblue plays in the Australian community.

Travel photography is a tremendous creative outlet for many Australians. I’d like to make the Australian public more aware of the positive aspects of participating in travel photography, dealing with depression, and promoting the good work of beyondblue.

If you fit the criteria, or would like more information, please contact me by email no later than Sunday August 1, 2010 9am.

You can read about my involvement with beyondblue here.

Monday 12 July 2010

How would you like coverage of your Australian festival, travel or tourism business?

By Darren Stones

As journalist for Discover Australia magazine, I write a regular column called Travel Bites. The purpose of the Travel Bites column is to provide one item of travel and tourism related news from each state and territory of Australia each quarterly issue.

If you have a festival you'd like promoted, or have a travel or tourism business which needs promotion to improve your brand recognition, contact me via email today with a brief outline. If you have photography to accompany your outline please attach 2-3 lo-res JPEG images for consideration.

See the Travel Bites article on page 27 in Issue 2 of Discover Australia magazine:
Discover Australia magazine Issue 2, June 2010

Darren Stones
Journalist, Discover Australia magazine

Hay, New South Wales, Australia, The Long Paddock, sheep shearer IMG_5805_Hay
Glen the shearer at Shear Outback, Hay, NSW

Sunday 11 July 2010

Travel Bites - Winter 2010

By Darren Stones

Travel Bites Winter 2010 informs as to what’s coming up, what’s going on, and what’s to see around Australia. From golf in the outback, to listening to politicians waffling – there’s something for everyone.

New South Wales
– For a taste of good old-fashioned Australiana, the 53rd Grenfell Henry Lawson Festival of Arts will held during the long weekend of June 11-14, 2010. Highlights include art and photography exhibitions, woodchop, street procession, car show, guinea pig races, poetry on the boards, buskers, kids’ rides, entertainment, and billy tea and damper. Phone: (02) 6343 2855.

Grenfell Henry Lawson Festival IMG_1589_Grenfell_Henry_Lawson_Festival_of_Arts_2008
The Canobolas Highland Pipe Band
Photo: Darren Stones

Torquay – Located at the start of the Great Ocean Road, Torquay is a popular weekend or day trip destination for Melburnians. A beaut seaside location for recreational pursuits such as: walking, fishing, surfing, kite surfing, and para gliding. Visit Surf World museum – the world’s largest surfing museum. Lunch and dinner is served at the Torquay Hotel Motel, which has 10 newly refurbished motel units. Phone: (03) 5261 2001.

Torquay, Victoria, Australia, lookout IMG_7252_Torquay
Scenic lookout above the main beach at Torquay
Photo: Darren Stones

Hervey Bay – The Hervey Bay Whale Festival celebrates the return of the humpbacks as they migrate south from northern Queensland to the Antarctic. Each year they put on a tail-slapping show in the bay for tourists from around the world. The festival is sponsored by Queensland Events and highlights include: Blessing of the fleet, street parade, carnival, entertainment and fireworks. Phone: 1300 794 929.

Humpback Whale, Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia IMG_5751_Humpback_Whale
Humpback Whale, Hervey Bay, Queensland
Photo: Darren Stones

Western Australia
Monkey Mia – See hand-feeding of bottlenose dolphins in their natural environment on the Coral Coast at Monkey Mia. You may get the opportunity to feed the dolphins under the supervision of a national park ranger, and there’s up to three feeding times between 7:30am to 12:00pm. Entry fees apply, and bring your camera. Call the Department of Environment and Conservation Monkey Mia Office on (08) 9948 1366.

South Australia
Coober Pedy – Consider a trip along the Stuart Hwy to Coober Pedy. This outback town has unique homes, shops, accommodation and museums located underground. For those who like to play a round, The Coober Pedy Opal Fields Golf Course features crushed rock fairways. Amazingly, the club has reciprocal rights with St. Andrews in Scotland. During summer months, players use luminous balls for rounds played after dark. Phone: (08) 8672 5555.

Northern Territory
Uluru – When it comes to icons in Australia, Uluru would be the most recognisable. Rising 348 metres, the monolith is regarded by its traditional Aboriginal owners – the Anangu people – to have great significance. The Anangu people request that visitors don’t climb the rock and kindly suggest listening to everything, and enjoy the guided walks and interpretative attractions on offer. Entry fees apply. Call the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre on (08) 8956 1128 for details.

Port Arthur – Nominated for World Heritage listing, the Port Arthur Historic Site is one of Tasmania’s most popular tourist attractions. Located 100km from Hobart, it’s recommended to allow a full day to experience the precinct. Activities include: 20 minute harbour cruise, a guided tour which is included in the entry price, and ghost tour. The Visitor Centre contains the Port Café, Felon’s Bistro, gift shop, and interactive experiences. Phone: (03) 6251 2300 or Freecall 1800 659 101.

Australian Capital Territory
Canberra – Parliament House is not just for politicians, swinging voters are welcome to visit and listen to the verbal jousting during Question Time. Tickets can be booked for Question Time by telephoning (02) 6277 4889 before 12.45pm on the day required. The Queen’s Terrace Café is ideal for a snack, and the Parliament Shop stocks souvenirs. Free public tours are conducted at 10:00am, 1:00pm and 3:00pm each day. Visitor information desk is attended 9am-5pm every day. Phone: (02) 6277 5399.

Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia IMG_8600_Canberra
Parliament House, Canberra, ACT
Photo: Darren Stones

Wednesday 7 July 2010

New member of blueVoices - the consumer group for beyondblue

By Darren Stones

beyondblue have recently approved my application to become a member of blueVoices - the consumer and carer reference group for beyondblue. They have included me in the following e-Group based on personal experience: Depression.

I have also expressed interest in their Ambassador Program which they are currently piloting and evaluating for blueVoices members. The program encompasses future training opportunities which will take place as opportunities arise.

blueVoices opportunities include:

  • providing input into the development of beyondblue resources and community awareness campaigns
  • representing consumer/carer perspectives on committees and advisory groups
  • assisting to distribute resources at events and forums
  • participating in research studies
  • speaking at public events or to the media about your experience

I'm looking forward to being an active participant with blueVoices as it will be a privilege to assist beyondblue in continuing their great work in the community.

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Discover Australia magazine Issue 2, June 2010

By Darren Stones

Issue 2 of Discover Australia magazine is available for viewing online in full screen format, can be downloaded as a PDF to your computer, can be printed, and shared.

In this quarterly issue, I've been interviewed by freelance writer and photographer, Sonia Ellem, who gets to the bottom of how I tick. It's an in-depth article which covers many aspects of my 43 years. Being a school jester, a painter and decorator for 24 years, changing careers mid-life, suffering depression, my love life, most embarrassing moment, my travels, and a quite a lot more. There's also a few fun photos included. It's Darren Stones, uncensored.

Discover Australia magazine Issue 2, June 2010

As the Journalist for Discover Australia, I've contributed my regular From the journo's desk column which outlines: the success of Issue 1 of Discover Australia; provides advice about travel writing and photography courses; and how the removal of entry fees to Australia's National Parks could have a positive impact on the health of Australians and the tourism industry.

I've also had the pleasure to contribute the Australian Travel Photography and Writing group's What's happening page which details: the growth of the group; sponsorship opportunites; what people are saying about the group; group promotion activities; and information about the Time To Go Touring travel writing and photography competition which I devised, administered, judged and sponsored.

My regular Travel Bites column this issue features events and places from all round Australia. From visiting Uluru in the Northern Territory, listening to politicians waffling at Parliament House Canberra, playing golf at Coober Pedy in outback South Australia, hand-feeding bottlenose dolphins at Monkey Mia in Western Australia, the Grenfell Henry Lawson Festival of Arts at Grenfell New South Wales, the Hervey Bay Whale Festival in Queensland, Port Arthur Historic Site in Tasmania, and visiting Torquay on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. My images are featured in the column, plus images supplied to me by the Northern Territory, Tasmania, and South Australia tourism image libraries.

I trust you enjoy reading Discover Australia magazine Issue 2, June 2010. Your feedback is most welcome. Suggestions are also welcomed.

If you have Australian tourism or travel related news you'd like considered for inclusion in my Travel Bites column, please contact me by email:

Darren Stones
Journalist, Discover Australia magazine

Thursday 6 May 2010

Sales of Tourism & Travel Photography

Sales of Tourism & Travel Photography

Welcome, and thanks for your interest in my tourism and travel photography of Australia. I sell my Australian tourism and travel photography to interested parties by licensing photographs and selling products. For service, contact me direct via email or mobile phone to discuss your needs.

Mobile phone: 0419 200 469 (Australia)
Darren Stones Gallery:
Industry membership: Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance
Flickr portfolio:

Pricing details for stock, print and photo licensing sales is here. Photographs are catalogued in sets for ease of viewing. If you require assistance to locate a photograph please contact me.

Tourism & Travel Photography of Victoria, Australia
Tourism & Travel Photography of New South Wales, Australia
Tourism & Travel Photography of Queensland, Australia
Tourism & Travel Photography of Tasmania, Australia
Tourism & Travel Photography of the Australian Capital Territory, Australia

Monday 5 April 2010

Travel Bites - Autumn 2010

By Darren Stones

Travel Bites Autumn 2010 informs as to what’s coming up, what’s going on, and what’s to see around Australia. From a high country autumn festival, to a snappy time with some crocs – there’s something for everyone.

New South Wales
Wentworth – For something completely different, head for the Perry Sandhills near Wentworth on Saturday 6 March, 2010. Music Under The Stars will feature the singing talent of Kasey Chambers amongst the sand dunes of this iconic natural landscape. Bring a table and chair, and watch films on the big screen. And, listen to the playing of the didgeridoo. Phone: (03) 5021 5100.

Perry Sandhills, Wentworth, New South Wales, Australia IMG_6305_Wentworth
Perry Sandhills, Wentworth, New South Wales
Photo: Darren Stones

Bright – With deciduous trees displaying a brilliant palette of red, green and yellow, Bright is arguably the best place to see autumn at its finest in Australia. The 2010 Bright Autumn Festival is scheduled for Saturday 24 April –Wednesday 5 May, 2010. Festival highlights include: Autumn Art Show, gala day featuring brass and highland bands, brewery & winery tours, and evening entertainment. Phone: 1800 111 885.

Bright, Victoria, Australia, Delany Avenue, autumn IMG_9825_Bright
Delany Avenue, Bright, Victoria
Photo: Darren Stones

Seventeen Seventy – Commemorating the visit of the Endeavour and landing of Lieutenant James Cook on 24 May 1770, the 18th Annual Captain Cook 1770 Festival will be held Friday 21 May – Sunday 23 May, 2010. Highlights include a re-enactment of Cook’s landing, street parade, live music and fireworks.
Mobile: 0458 49 1770.

Western Australia
Margaret River – For wine, food, music and art, head for the Margaret River Wine Region Festival from Thursday 8 April – Monday 12 April, 2010. The festival will showcase a taste of the nation’s best wines. The Vintage Concert will feature live music from classic rockers Daryl Braithwaite and Jon Stevens at the Leeuwin Estate Amphitheatre on Sunday 11 April 11am-6pm. Also, if you enter the Win-A-Cellar competition, you’ll have a chance to win a case of premium Margaret River wines.

South Australia
Adelaide – The Australian Dragon Boat National Championships will be held on the Ramsey Course at West Lakes from Thursday 22 April – Sunday 25 April, 2010. It promises to be a colourful affair, and for those in and around Adelaide, this splashing event will be a winner. See the Australian Dragon Boat Federation website for details.

Northern Territory
Darwin – Crocodylus Park has four guided tours each day where you can get up close and personal with the largest reptiles on Earth. See the crocs being fed at Darwin’s largest attraction and have a snappy good time. Lizards, snakes, big cats and monkeys are also on display. Open 7 days, 9:00am to 5:00pm. Phone: (08) 8922 4500

Hobart – Mount Wellington overlooks relaxed Hobart and seemingly half the world. Okay, a slight exaggeration, but nevertheless the view from 1270 metres on a clear day may be the best of any capital city in Australia. It’s a leisurely 20 minutes’ drive from the CBD, and from here you can see Wrest Point Casino, the Derwent River, Tasman Peninsula and Tasman Bridge. If the weather closes in, head for the cosy Pinnacle Shelter.

Mount Wellington, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia Pinnacle Shelter IMG_8394-01_Mount_Wellington_Hobart
Pinnacle Shelter, Mount Wellington, Hobart, Tasmania
Photo: Darren Stones

Australian Capital Territory
Canberra – The Australian War Memorial honours those who have served our nation on Anzac Day, Sunday 25 April, 2010. The Dawn Service commences at 5:30am, and the National Ceremony begins at 10:15am. The war memorial gates open approximately 15 minutes after the national ceremony, so consider venturing inside to view displays and learn about the Anzacs. The spirit of Anzac lives on in the nation’s capital on this special day. Lest We Forget.

Simpson and his donkey, Canberra, ACT, Australia, Australian War Memorial IMG_8714_Canberra
Simpson and his donkey, War Memorial, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Photo: Darren Stones

Fishing the Maribyrnong River

By Darren Stones

Maribyrnong River, Essendon, Victoria, Australia, fishing IMG_7236_Maribyrnong_River

Title: Fishing the Maribyrnong River
Photographer: Darren Stones
Location: Maribyrnong River, Essendon, Victoria, Australia
Date and time: Wednesday 20 January 2010. 12:42pm.

“For those seeking to enjoy recreational activities, the scenic Maribyrnong River in Essendon represents an oasis amongst bricks and mortar. Fishing along this stretch of waterway is popular, and I’ve witnessed many catches of bream during the summer months. I’ve seen blokes fishing alone and in the company of mates – all of whom seem relaxed and relishing the environment. This easy-to-access patch of suburbia is ideal for anyone to enjoy, and to think it’s so laid-back and within 15 minutes of the bustling Melbourne CBD.” – Darren Stones

Series: In The Field

Cattle Trough - Hay Plains

By Darren Stones

Hay, New South Wales, Australia, The Long Paddock, cattle trough IMG_5946_Hay

Title: Cattle Trough – Hay Plains
Photographer: Darren Stones
Location: Cobb Highway, Hay, NSW, Australia
Date and time: Tuesday 11 August, 2009. 5:48pm.

“A drenching shower had just passed and freshened-up this northern section of the Hay Plains in outback NSW. The silence and environment was invigorating. The ground had become slightly muddy, and with 400 metres of off-road driving in a two-wheel drive car to negotiate, the reward of a new image beckoned. A few hours earlier, I spotted this windmill in the distance and took the detour off the Cobb Highway to investigate. It seemed a promising location. With clouds passing quickly, we were in for a pleasing sunset. After taking a few shots, I returned to the car with an inch of mud on my shoes.” – Darren Stones

Series: In The Field

Sunday 4 April 2010

5 tips for photographing Anzac Day

By Darren Stones

Travel photography involves more than photos of sunsets, landscapes and architecture, but most photographers seem hesitant to photograph people they don’t know. People are an integral part of a city or town’s heartbeat, and people are inquisitive by nature and enjoy looking at photos of people. Major outdoor events in cities and towns are prime opportunities for photographers to undertake travel photography as it’s relatively easy to blend in with large crowds. With some research under your belt, and suitable equipment for the task, consider photographing an Anzac Day march and ceremony.

Kiama, New South Wales, Australia, Anzac Day 2009 IMG_4287_Kiama

On Anzac Day in recent years, I’ve been away from home undertaking travel photography in VIC, ACT and NSW. The primary purpose was to photograph the splendid autumn colours on display; however my mind was fixed on expanding my photographic library.

In 2009, I was visiting Kiama in NSW and decided to photograph the local Anzac Day march and ceremony. Being from out of town, I had no idea where the march would start and finish. I headed out early for a coffee at a local café and began chatting to the locals so I could ascertain where the march would start and finish. The march was scheduled to commence at the Kiama Town Hall, head north-east along Manning Street, turn left at the roundabout into Terralong Street, and proceed to the imposing Memorial Arch at the intersection of Collins and Terralong Streets.

Kiama, New South Wales, Australia, Anzac Day 2009 IMG_4188_Kiama_Anzac_Day_2009

I surveyed the streets for an hour-and-a-half before the march searching for positions which would avoid distracting backgrounds in my photographs. Before the march commenced, the clouds rolled in and lighting conditions became favourable as harsh shadows disappeared from people’s faces.

Kiama, New South Wales, Australia, Anzac Day 2009 IMG_4211_Kiama

With youngsters waving Australian flags, school children carrying banners, teenagers and family members wearing medals, older vets being pushed in wheelchairs, and proud returned service men and women marching, there were numerous opportunities to take photos.

Kiama, New South Wales, Australia, Anzac Day 2009 IMG_4195_Kiama

The Salvation Army Band was in attendance, and this later provided opportunities for close-up shots of musicians playing instruments. With a broad age range of people marching, and later congregated for the official ceremony, I believe it was an interesting event to photograph. I trust the following tips inspire you to photograph on Anzac Day.

Kiama, New South Wales, Australia, Anzac Day 2009 IMG_4311_Kiama

No. 1 – Look for interesting faces
Children who have a look of excitement on their faces tend to be good photographic subjects in a crowd. If you see a child waving a small Australian flag, keep your camera pointed towards them for a while and take a few shots. You may not realise it at the time whether you’ve captured an interesting facial expression, so the trick is to keep shooting.

Kiama, New South Wales, Australia, Anzac Day 2009 IMG_4319_Kiama

No. 2 – Equipment to use
Travel photographers use a range of lenses, however some prefer to use one camera and one lens when photographing an outdoor event. By doing so, it allows you to concentrate on the subject matter and be less concerned with equipment. Zoom lenses in the range of 70-200mm are a popular choice as they provide versatility whilst walking around. Depth of field is a major factor and the best photos tend to be those which are taken with a shallow depth of field. Anywhere in the range of f/2.8-f/5.6 seems to produce pleasing results. A wide-angle zoom is handy if you can position yourself close to the action. You can produce dynamic portraits by moving in close and using a wide-angle setting. A second camera body is ideal as it can eliminate the need to changing lenses. If you use one body only, it may be best to use a lens in the range of 70-200mm.

Kiama, New South Wales, Australia, Anzac Day 2009 IMG_4243_Kiama

No. 3 – Camera settings
I prefer to keep camera settings simple for these types of events. I use aperture priority, set the aperture to f/4, and adjust the ISO as conditions change. Outdoor events generally allow for shooting 100-400 ISO, with preference given to shooting an ISO as low as possible. Shutter speeds are critical for sharpness, and my preference is to shoot at 1/500sec and faster.

Kiama, New South Wales, Australia, Anzac Day 2009 IMG_4175_Kiama_Anzac_Day_2009

No. 4 – The angle of light
Finding the ideal positions to photograph people at Anzac Day processions can be difficult, however the most important advice I can offer is to keep the sun at your back. This will help alleviate sun flare in your photos, blown out highlights in the background, and dark shadows on faces.

Kiama, New South Wales, Australia, Anzac Day 2009 IMG_4253_Kiama

No. 5 – Be respectful and have fun
Anzac Day is a day of reflection, and is probably Australia’s most patriotic day. My experience is that people are not surprised to have their photograph taken on this day when attending events. Be respectful and acknowledge someone if you make eye contact. A nod of the head and brief smile will put people at ease. Wear an Anzac badge and do your best to blend in with the crowd. Lest We Forget.

Friday 2 April 2010

Published in Discover Australia magazine Issue 1 March 2010

By Darren Stones

I'm thrilled to have my various articles and travel photography published in Discover Australia magazine Issue 1: March 2010. The magazine is the official magazine of the Australian Travel Photography and Writing group which has 766 members.

As founder, host and journalist of the Australian Travel Photography and Writing (ATP&W) group, I'm pleased to see this free publication come to fruition as it's providing a rare opportunity for budding and experienced Australian travel writers and photographers to showcase their skills, and inform a worldwide audience of Australian travel and tourism experiences.

Discover Australia Issue 1: March 2010 is available for viewing in PDF format via the following link and by clicking on the front cover graphic below. The publication can be saved to your computer and shared with family and friends.

Discover Australia magazine Issue 1, March 2010

The magazine has an appointed volunteer editorial team consisting of: Leanne Nelson, Editor; Darren Stones, Journalist; Susan Adey, Deputy Editor; Nerida Smith, Assistant to the Editor. Their responsibility is to publish the magazine, seek and provide quality content, seek interesting and informative travel writing from group members, search for and seek quality travel photography from group members, communicate with contributors, conduct a photography competition, arrange sponsorship, and promote the magazine via email, and various websites including RedBubble, Facebook and Twitter.

I had the vision and concept for the magazine, and with the support and dedication of the editorial team, and contributions and support from members of the ATP&W group, Discover Australia has become a reality.

Articles which I've had published in the first issue of the magazine include:

* From the journo's desk
* What's happening in the ATP&W group
* The journey chronicled
* Travel Bites
* 5 tips for photographing Anzac Day

The magazine has impressed many people and they have kindly expressed their thoughts in writing within the Australian Travel Photography and Writing group and other areas on the internet.

Greg Barton, Editor, Australian Traveller magazine - which is Australia's best-selling travel magazine - has described Discover Australia as "Top Stuff!" Greg was appointed as Patron of the ATP&W group by me in May 2009.

Enjoy reading Discover Australia Issue 1: March 2010. I sure enjoyed being part of the first issue.

Sunday 7 March 2010

Shear Outback - Hay, NSW

By Darren Stones

Every so often a sense of anticipation washes over me about a far away tourist attraction. Planning a trip which encompasses a visit to a sheep shearing shed – one which requires a fee to be paid – may not be at the top of everyone’s list of things to do. The intrigue surrounding Shear Outback was enough for me to drive from Melbourne to Hay to check out what it was all about.

Shear Outback, Hay, New South Wales, Australia, The Long Paddock IMG_5930_Hay
Shear Outback

Located in the New South Wales outback town of Hay, on the Long Paddock touring route, Shear Outback is an attraction that is Australian to the core. With a Shearers Hall of Fame, a windmill the size of a baby wind turbine, and an ornate indoor display of sheep shears, how much more dinky-di could it be?

Shear Outback, Hay, New South Wales, Australia, The Long Paddock  IMG_5907_Hay
Rebuilt Southern Cross windmill with 7.7 metre wheel on a 13.9m tower

As an Aussie bloke in his forties, I’m embarrassed to say I’d never witnessed a sheep being shorn, so Shear Outback provided me the chance to witness Glen, a professional shearer and about-to-retire Aussie rules footballer, using some fancy motorised clippers. Unfortunately, there was no clicking of the shears in the shed with its dappled light, just the humming noise of the clippers and a slight struggle from a couple of sheep.

Hay, New South Wales, Australia, The Long Paddock, sheep shearer IMG_5837_Hay
Glen the shearer

I was given a brief lesson from Glen about a day in the life of a shearer. From the equipment they use, to the way they dress, it was all news to me. In many respects, the life of a shearer has changed from the old days where they now travel locally to give a flock of sheep their free haircut.

Shear Outback, Hay, New South Wales, Australia, The Long Paddock  IMG_5853_Hay
Shearing action

Shear Outback, Hay, New South Wales, Australia, The Long Paddock IMG_5878_Hay

Shear Outback, Hay, New South Wales, Australia, The Long Paddock  IMG_5869_Hay
Wool rack

The Shearers Hall of Fame features mounted boards containing profiles and achievements celebrating various shearers who have given back to the trade. Henry Salter MBE, Kevin Sarre and John Hutchinson OAM may not be household names, but their achievements are noteworthy.

Shear Outback, Hay, New South Wales, Australia, The Long Paddock  IMG_5773_Hay
Shearers Hall of Fame

Henry Salter (1907-1997) was inducted into the hall of fame in 2002. He learnt to shear sheep at age 16 at Kerang in Victoria. At 18, he landed his first job as a shearer and sheared only 41 sheep on his first day. On his third day, his tally had reduced to 30 due to being that sore he could hardly move.

Shear Outback, Hay, New South Wales, Australia, The Long Paddock  IMG_5910_Hay
Henry Salter MBE

Kevin Sarre (1933-1995) a five-time Australian shearing champion sheared 200 sheep in a day with his left hand, just to prove he could do it. His tally-hi shearing technique reduced shearing time by up to 30 seconds per sheep. On 26 October, 1965, he set an Australian record by machine-shearing 346 full-grown merino sheep in 7 hours and 48 minutes at Batesworth Station near Penshurst.

Shear Outback, Hay, New South Wales, Australia, The Long Paddock  IMG_5912_Hay
Kevin Sarre

John Hutchinson, born 1943, is a third generation shearer and was taught to shear by his father. A six-time Australian shearing champion, John found satisfaction in training and teaching, and was awarded the OAM for doing so. He was inducted into the hall of fame in 2002.

Shear Outback, Hay, New South Wales, Australia, The Long Paddock  IMG_5775_Hay
John Hutchinson OAM

For kids, and kids at heart, there’s a beaut opportunity in store. You can pretend to be shearing a sheep and have your photo taken by a relative or friend; however grabbing the sheep around the throat and smiling for the camera is a look which had me in stitches.

Shear Outback, Hay, New South Wales, Australia, The Long Paddock  IMG_5918_Hay
Bronwyn pretending to shear

I came away from Shear Outback with a greater knowledge, respect and understanding of farming families and their lives in the bush. An experience I highly recommend.
Further information:
Shear Outback: