Improving Your Image Through Visual Communications

Journalist - Photographer - Writer

Tuesday 31 December 2013

What is ahead in 2014?

By Darren Stones

As 2013 draws to a close, I'm looking ahead philosophically in the knowledge that my main goal for 2014 is to complete studying my Diploma of Community Services Work and Diploma of Community Development at the Kangan Institute.

My studies went well during the year, and I feel a strong sense of accomplishment. The opportunity to use my new skills has seen me move into areas where I can support people in a variety of ways.

2013 was an enjoyable year and one that presented new opportunities. I feel those opportunities assisted me to make new friends and connect and engage with people in the community services sector. I feel hopeful for my future to become a worker in the sector, however I'm aware we're in difficult times regarding employment opportunities. And this is where my life experience helps me to remain hopeful in the thought that being flexible and open to new opportunities may see me achieve a position where I can become a staff member as part of a team servicing people in our community.

Towards the end of 2013 I made shortbread biscuits and butterfly cupcakes. No big deal I suppose, however the inspiration for doing this came off the back of volunteering with the Young Carers I work with. Youth and people younger than me have inspired me to greater heights this year and I'm grateful for the opportunity to assist and support them as they grow as people.

Homemade shortbread biscuits made for Christmas gifts in 2013
Photo: Darren Stones

Shortbread and chocolates ready for gift wrapping
Photo: Darren Stones

Gift-wrapped shortbread biscuits and chocolates for Christmas 2013
Photo: Darren Stones

Butterfly cupcakes
Photo: Darren Stones

With my TAFE studies concluding in 2014, I am mindful of further education. Undertaking a university degree would be challenging and rewarding. I believe education is an important pathway to skills development and making new friends and industry connections. The Bachelor of Social Work is a degree that interests me and I may be investigating this further.

New technology is something else that I'm mindful of keeping up with, and recently I've been checking out the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy tablets. Having purchased an iPhone in 2013, I believe it's important to keep moving with the times so as to be contactable whilst also wanting to enjoy the functionality of these types of devices.

I'm hoping that 2014 is at least as good as 2013 because I'd like to build further upon the good things I've been involved with as a student studying community services work  and community development at TAFE.

Bronwyn and I enjoyed shopping and coffee together this afternoon - the last day of 2013. It's something we've done regularly through the year because we've needed time to chill out together and just chat about stuff. Good fun and an opportunity to share our respective experiences. I feel it's important to spend time together like this as it just gets us out amongst the hustle and bustle and seeing people going about their lives.

Last coffee for 2013
Photo: Darren Stones

And here's one of my favourite images of Bronwyn and I together whilst on holiday in Merimbula, New South Wales. We had a great time sightseeing, visiting places, and enjoying a rest and each others company.

My favourite song for the year is Roar by Katy Perry. I find this such an uplifting and inspiring song. Enjoy!

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Jimmy Barnes

By Darren Stones

One of the great functions of YouTube is that you can create your own Playlists. So, being a long-time fan of Jimmy Barnes, I've created a playlist with some of my favourite Barnes songs.

A few years ago I had the pleasure to photograph Jimmy Barnes during an outdoor concert in Melbourne and I have to say it was a great experience. I've seen him perform four times since the late 1980s and believe he is one of Australia's great rock and roll singers. Maybe the best. Enjoy!

Jimmy Barnes IMG_9926_Jimmy_Barnes
Jimmy Barnes performing in Melbourne in March 2011
Photo: Darren Stones

Wednesday 4 December 2013

A new career ahead

By Darren Stones

It's been an amazing year. I know that sounds a bit clich├ęd, but it has been. In February this year I engaged in a whole new career direction and commenced studying the Diploma of Community Services Work and the Diploma of Community Development at the Kangan Institute Broadmeadows campus.

I feel satisfied with the quality of work I've completed this year and the various achievements whilst studying. I went the extra mile in assisting and supporting some student peers, and that was kindly provided to me in return.

R U OK? Day education and workshop session
During my studies on-campus during the year, the highlight for me was co-facilitating an R U OK? Day education and workshop session with study buddy Kerryn Hardstaff. Our training during the year led up to this high point where we both delivered the 1-hour session seamlessly and with a high degree of confidence.

The session gave us the opportunity to educate our peers about mental health, whilst facilitating their creative ideas during the workshop. I feel proud of how Kerryn and I carried out this whole assignment from start to finish where we worked closely on developing the concept and then all the way through to delivery. I believe the high quality of our work was accurately reflected in the feedback by our trainer Marta Kreiser where she described the session as "excellent".

TAFE funding cuts
Kerryn and I protested the funding cuts to TAFE during a class this year. TAFE is providing us with the opportunity to learn the skills we need as community services workers and I believe it needs to be protected and restored to where it was before the savage funding cuts were commenced.

Darren and Kerryn photo DarrenStonesandKerrynHardstaffatKanganInstitute3-6-2013_zps81929187.jpg
Darren Stones and Kerryn Hardstaff protesting the funding cuts to TAFE
Photo: Colleen Austin

Student placement
During my 20-hour student placement in September-November, I was able to experience the operations of a mental health outreach agency in Sunbury. I loved the opportunity to be on placement at the Western Region Health Centre Hume Community Mental Health agency as it gave me the opportunity to observe experienced workers and learn from them.

I was fortunate in that I had the opportunity to work with some clients, with the two highlights being mentoring a client regarding travel training, and planning and co-leading a client group outing to Bendigo. I enjoyed being part of a team and believe I gained a good working knowledge of what it's like to be a mental health outreach worker.

Volunteer opportunities
In studying the diplomas this year, it has opened some doors for me. I have become involved in the community services sector as a volunteer and that has provided me with good opportunities to work with experienced staff and volunteers.

I've commenced volunteering activities with Merri Community Health Services as part of their Young Carers program, and I'm involved in providing 1:1 social and recreational support to a person. These activities are good fun and an opportunity for me to support people in our community.

Expression of gratitude
I want to thank my family for their tremendous support during the year. Without them I would not be able to do what I'm doing. To my partner Bronwyn, Mum, Dad and my brother Matthew, you've been awesome.

I want to thank my TAFE teachers for guiding me towards my goal of becoming a paid community services worker, which I hope to achieve in 2014. Special mention to teacher Marta Kreiser, who I believe went the extra mile with our student group in what were difficult circumstances regarding TAFE funding cuts. I nominated Marta for a teacher's award with Hume City Council in 2013 due to the brilliant work she carried out with our class. She didn't win the award, but she won the students!

I want to thank my student peers for their support and encouragement, and in particular to study buddy Kerryn who has been fantastic to work with on various projects. A generous person indeed.

I want to thank my mentor Graeme, who provides me with emotional support and encouragement. He and I have regular conversations where we share information and ideas. I learn a lot about mentoring and counselling from Graeme, and I believe it helps me when I mentor and counsel people.

I realise there has been many other people who have supported me during 2013, and I want to thank you all for giving of yourselves. Cheers.

Sunday 17 November 2013

Carers Victoria Walk To Care 2013

By Darren Stones

What a fantastic day! On Sunday 17 November 2013 it was perfect weather for Carers Victoria Walk To Care 2013, and with approximately 300 walkers, everyone had a great time raising awareness and funds.

It was a bubbly festival atmosphere with entertainment, a petting zoo, Zumba dancing, wellbeing and massage stall, and a terrific BBQ. Participants wore their supplied lime green t-shirts for the 4-kilometre walk along the banks of the picturesque Maribyrnong River.

If you would like to donate to Carers Victoria Walk to Care, see my personal sponsorship page. Donations will be open until mid December 2013. Thank you!

Here's a series of photos I took with my iPhone during the event.

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Walk To Care Registration Area

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Darren Stones and Bronwyn Galofaro ready to walk

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Rotary Club of West Footscray BBQ

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Carers Victoria Ambassador Charlie Pickering
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Crowd listening to speakers

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Crowd listening to speakers

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Moira Kelly AO, Charlie Pickering, Caroline Mulcahy and friends at the start line

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Kids at the start line ready to go

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Bronwyn Galofaro and Darren Stones walking to care

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Walkers enjoying the sun and raising awareness 

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Walkers enjoying the scenery

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Walkers crossing the Afton Street Footbridge

Saturday 9 November 2013

Sponsor me as I 'Walk To Care' along the Maribyrnong River

By Darren Stones

On Sunday November 17, 2013 from 9:00am to 2:30pm I will be taking part in Carers Victoria 'Walk To Care'. This event is a non-competitive 4 kilometre walk along the banks of Maribyrnong River.

Commencing from Coulson Gardens, which is located on The Esplanade/Chifley Drive in Maribyrnong, the walk aims to support and celebrate carers who go about their duties on a daily basis.

I'll be taking part in the walk and I kindly ask you to consider sponsoring me as my aim is to raise a minimum of $200.00 for Carers Victoria.

As a volunteer working with the Young Carers Program as part of Merri Community Health Services, I can say that these people need our support, and importantly, some recognition for their efforts.

Thanks for your support. Give generously!

Further information:

Darren Stones personal fundraising page

Carers Victoria Walk To Care

Sunday 11 August 2013

Stop TAFE Cuts advocacy presentation

By Darren Stones

This is the PowerPoint I used as part of my Stop TAFE Cuts presentation for my advocacy assessment task for the Human Rights subject I'm studying as part the Diploma of Community Services Work and Diploma of Community Development at the Kangan Institute Broadmeadows Campus.

My teacher provided this feedback for my presentation: "Extremely well prepared and presented. You demonstrated well the scope of system cuts and the impact upon individuals. Very engaging use of personal case studies, YouTube, PowerPoint, and passionate speech and handouts. You have addressed all of the assessment criteria to a high standard and hopefully inspired your peers to advocate as passionately and strongly as yourself. TAFE is truly much more than skill development. Great work."

Sunday 30 June 2013

Mayor For A Day of the Moreland City Council

By Darren Stones

Recently I had the privilege to be Mayor For A Day of the City of Moreland. My written submission for the competition was one of a hundred that Councillor Oscar Yildiz, Mayor of Moreland, considered, and to my delight, I was one of seven selected to see what our mayor does during a working day.

On Thursday 27 June, 2013 at 9:00am, I was warmly greeted in the council foyer by Oscar and his Executive Assistant Monica Bucciarelli, and they both kindly introduced me to staff members at the council.

At 10:30am, Oscar and I were photographed outside the Coburg Town Hall where I had the opportunity to wear the council robes and chains.

Councillor Oscar Yildiz (left) and Darren Stones
Photo: Courtesy of Moreland City Council

At 11:30am, Oscar and I arrived at the former Glenroy Primary School site in Wheatsheaf Road for the artwork launch Homeward Bound. The artworks launched were created by Leith Walton and it was great to meet and chat with him. Leith and his family were thrilled to be supported by the council for the project.

L-R: Darren Stones, Leith Walton and Oscar Yildiz
Photo: Courtesy of Moreland City Council

From 12:30-1:30pm Oscar, myself, Monica and Moreland City Council CEO Peter Brown enjoyed lunch with the Italian Pensioners Group of Merlynston at the Coburg Town Hall, where I estimate there were 350 in attendance. The three-course meal with red wine was excellent and we enjoyed the company of those who attended.

Enjoying lunch with the Italian Pensioners Group of Merlynston
Photo: courtesy of Moreland City Council

Darren Stones and Moreland City Council Chief Executive Officer Peter Brown
Photo: Courtesy of Moreland City Council

At 1:30pm I had the opportunity to see Oscar carry out his duties as a JP and witness the signing of a document.

I had the opportunity to share some time Clr Yildiz and his staff where we chatted about various operations that the council has to perform as part of local governance.

During the morning and later at lunch, Chief Executive Officer Peter Brown explained to me various aspects of projects that the council is involved with, both at the local level and on a broader scale in partnership with neighbouring councils. Peter talked about projects like the grade separation at the Coburg and Glenroy Railway Stations, and how they are requiring substantial planning due to site challenges, budgetary considerations and future growth in the area.

Between 3:00-4:00pm, Nalika Peiris, Unit Manager - Community Development and Social Policy - and I walked around Coburg to see and discuss some community development initiatives that the Moreland Council has been involved with.

We visited Pepper Tree Place, which is a volunteer-driven, local garden initiative at UnitingCare's Kildonan community hub on the corner of Sydney Road and Urquhart Street.

We also visited the Victoria Mall redevelopment between Sydney Road and Waterfield Road, which was buzzing with people enjoying coffee and each others company. Nalika and I got into the swing of things and shared a hot chocolate together.

Darren Stones
Photo: Courtesy of Moreland City Council

As part of being Mayor For A Day, I received a framed certificate, a writing compendium, business card holder, pen, 8GB USB stick containing photos of the day, the council's 2012 Annual Report, and the latest edition of Inside Moreland.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and feel it was a valuable opportunity to learn about how the Moreland City Council is positively contributing to our community.

Given I'm currently studying a Diploma of Community Services Work and Diploma of Community Development at the Kangan Institute Broadmeadows Campus, I feel fortunate to have been chosen for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

I extend my gratitude to Councillor Oscar Yildiz, Mayor of Moreland, and to the Moreland City Council staff for a memorable day.

Further information:

Seven locals get to be Mayor for a Day

Monday 3 June 2013


By Darren Stones

Monday June 3, 2013 was National TAFE Day - STOP TAFE CUTS! It was a day of national protest and an opportunity for people to express their views about the funding cuts to the TAFE sector in Australia.

Here is the full transcript of the speech I delivered during the Legal Structures class, which is part of the Diploma of Community Services Work at the Kangan Institute Broadmeadows campus.



By Darren Stones

Hi everyone. I'd like to welcome you all to the Kangan Institute Broadmeadows campus. I'd like to share some thoughts with you about the funding cuts that are happening to TAFE and how it can negatively impact on how people learn the skills they need for the workplace.

State government funding cuts to TAFE is now having a negative impact on how students learn in Australia. As someone who has done much learning by correspondence, I believe that attending classes on campus at TAFE is a far better option.

I'd like to relate a little of my recent personal journey. In August 2009 I experienced a mental breakdown in the Centrelink Office in Broadmeadows. Many have said to me that Centrelink can have that affect on people, and I can clearly see why. It's not fun being treated like a number by some people who seemingly lack empathy.

Having experienced depression and anxiety, and now at the point of a full recovery, I know how important tertiary education is in an environment where people can connect and become friends.

Last year I decided to enrol in the Diploma of Community Services Work and Diploma of Community Development at the Kangan Institute because I wanted to change my career direction and use my lived experience to the betterment of others. Like many of you here, I have aspirations for my future, and I'm sure you are all mindful of gaining the skills that employers will be seeking in conscientious job seekers.

Let's not beat around the bush here. Cutting funding to TAFE does not make economic sense. For starters, studying in isolation can lead to a complete loss of motivation and willingness to learn. There's definite potential for people to slide into depression and withdraw from society. They can become unemployed and disconnected from society very quickly. I know what I'm talking about because that's exactly what happened to me. When studying via correspondence in isolation, my mental health deteriorated and it also impacted on my family. Fortunately for me, they stuck by me. I know for many others, they experience being pushed away due to stigma and shame.

Folks, TAFE provides a fantastic opportunity for people to gain the skills they need for the workplace. TAFE is a widely-respected institution where people can develop connections and expand their network whereby potentially leading to employment.

Darren and Kerryn photo DarrenStonesandKerrynHardstaffatKanganInstitute3-6-2013_zps81929187.jpg
Darren Stones and Kerryn Hardstaff protesting the funding cuts to TAFE
Photo by Colleen Austin

For me personally, I've been fortunate to connect with a younger student peer and I've been assisting her with her studies. A mentoring relationship has developed between Kerryn Hardstaff and I to a point where mutual respect is evident and we are both gaining from the experience. This is exactly the type of scenario that would play out in a real work environment, and here we are facilitating our own mentoring relationship at the Kangan Institute. Our mentoring relationship is proving to be beneficial for both of us. Kerryn and I are supporting each other through our studies in a professional manner, and I believe the Kangan Institute has provided us with a valued opportunity.

In years to come, Kerryn and I will reflect at our joint learning experience and recall how the process unfolded. I believe it will hold us both in good stead in the workplace because we will both know how a mentoring relationship works effectively.

Sometimes Kerryn and I share a cuppa in the cafeteria before going to class. We chat about stuff and support each other in a manner you'd expect of conscientious community services workers. We are just part of the whole face of TAFE in Australia. We're studying here at the Kangan Institute to gain the skills we both need so we can go on to assist people in our community. We're not simply here to kill time − we are here to learn from highly-experienced industry-skilled trainers who have our interests at heart.

In my opinion, studying in isolation is not good for people's mental health. Yes, I'm sure some would disagree with that statement, however the learning Kerryn and I are experiencing clearly demonstrates what can be achieved in a healthy learning environment.

In closing, I would like to leave you with this. Speak up for yourself, so you can go on to speak up for others. As future workers and possibly team leaders and managers, the skills you achieve during your studies at TAFE will form the foundation you need in the workplace.

Thanks for your attention and enjoy your studies at Kangan.


Further information

Stop TAFE Cuts

Facebook - Stop TAFE Cuts

Twitter #stoptafecuts hashtag

Sunday 26 May 2013

Bite the bullet and have a red hot go

By Darren Stones

There's nothing to be frightened of. It takes a mind shift and maybe it's a big one; however that depends on your thought process. When changing career direction, the sense of uncertainty can be palpable. Questions start circulating through your head as you start to over think: "Will I succeed or will I fail?" "Will I do well in a job interview, or will I crash and burn?"

Education provides a key starting point to a whole new adventure. Are you the type who is willing to embrace the challenge of leaving one career behind to pursue another? What is it that bubbles away within us to the point where we think it's time to move forward and leave other things behind?

Lots of questions, there is always lots of questions. Do they need answers, or shall we just bite the bullet and have a red hot go?

At age 46, I decided to bite the bullet and move in a whole new career direction. Earlier this year, my application was accepted by the Kangan Institute to study a Diploma of Community Services Work and Diploma of Community Development. For me, it's a huge change of direction. Learning about casework, counselling, cultural differences, and on it goes. What an exciting challenge, and one that has picked me up from the point of despair.

In August 2009 I had a mental breakdown in the Centrelink office in Broadmeadows, Melbourne. Many have since said to me that Centrelink causes many people to break down due to the way they operate and treat their customers like a number.

In writing these types of articles, one runs the risk of being stigmatised for ever. People like to judge, it comes natural to most. Frankly, I don't care what people think as this is me expressing my inner self with the intent to educate others. My story of experiencing depression and anxiety is something I've not written about often. That's a choice I've made due to not wanting to be perceived by others as a middle-aged white bloke who is piss weak. Piss weak I am not.

I'd like you to reflect on those who you know experience mental ill health. I don't anymore, so consider those who do. What is it about those you know who have depression, anxiety, or another mental illness that makes you think deeply about the type of person you are?

Let's consider for a moment those people who do not go outside due to not wanting to be seen. The people who are gripped with fear and their self-esteem is so low that they're embarrassed of who they've become. What can you do to help those people? What if I told you there was a point in August 2011 where I was afraid to go to my letterbox, but 12 months later was delivering a training session about marketing to my peers whilst learning the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment? Would you believe me or think it not possible?

I don't know whether we've become a society so full of apathy or not. I really don't know, but one thing I do know is that as a community we need to lift our game. I strongly detect that stigma is thriving in our community. The unsaid is often so telling. Saying and doing nothing leads to apathy. It was only a few days ago that I wrote to someone that I'm surprised at how little is done in my area for those experiencing mental ill health. Basically, it's difficult to get involved. Everywhere I turn there seems to be roadblocks to assisting people. What the hell is wrong in a city the size of Melbourne where so many people are choosing to be blinkered to what's happening right next to them?

In engaging in new studies, I've become to better realise that Australians are becoming more self-absorbed. I think it's unhealthy and I believe we need to take affirmative action to stem the tide of increasing mental ill health. We need to engage face-to-face and better appreciate one another.

Sunday 17 March 2013

Most Successful Exhibitor Award at Harden-Murrumburrah

By Darren Stones

The 2013 Harden-Murrumburrah Camera Club Photography Competition and Exhibition was held on March 8-10, and I'm thrilled to have achieved six awards including the Most Successful Exhibitor Award.

The Harden-Murrumburrah Camera Club hosted the exhibition, which was held in the Old Court House building at Murrumburrah, New South Wales. More than 350 print entries were entered into the competition, and I submitted eight entries in total into four separate sections of the competition.

The six awards I achieved are:
  • Most Successful Exhibitor Award
  • 1st Place Landscape Colour section
  • Commended Landscape Colour section
  • 2nd Place Birds and Animals section
  • Highly Commended Birds and Animals section
  • 2nd Place Open Colour section

Gibsons Beach, Port Campbell, Victoria, Australia IMG_0453_Gibsons_Beach
Gibsons Beach
1st Place - Landscape Colour section

Rocky Point at Torquay, Victoria, Australia IMG_8464_Torquay
Rocky Point at Torquay
Commended - Landscape Colour section

White-faced Heron, Merimbula, New South Wales, Australia IMG_7539_Merimbula
White-faced Heron
2nd Place - Birds and Animals section

Emu, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia IMG_4291_Emu
Highly Commended - Birds and Animals section

Kite Surfing at Merimbula, New South Wales, Australia IMG_8470_Merimbula
Kite Surfing at Merimbula
2nd Place - Open Colour section

Sunday 10 March 2013

Merit award achieved at national level for Gibsons Beach

By Darren Stones

The results of the 2013 Australian Digital Photography Awards have been announced and I'm pleased to have achieved a Merit Award in the Photo Travel category for my photograph titled Gibsons Beach.

Gibsons Beach, Port Campbell, Victoria, Australia IMG_0453_Gibsons_Beach
Gibsons Beach

Recently I decided to reprocess this image so I could better portray the beauty of this location, and also convey how people can experience this unique beach.

The Port Campbell National Park in Victoria, Australia where Gibsons Beach is located, is an area where I would like to suggest that if you visit it for photography, it's best to take some time to immerse yourself in the landscape.

Saturday 9 March 2013

Point Lonsdale to feature in new Museum Victoria exhibition

By Darren Stones

Museum Victoria is currently working on the redevelopment of Bunjilaka, the museum’s Aboriginal Cultural Centre, with a new exhibition titled First Peoples, which will be opening in mid 2013.

Emma Hutchinson, Image Management and Copyright Officer of Bunjilaka Redevelopment Project at Museum Victoria contacted me this week to inform that the museum's curatorial team were interested in using my Point Lonsdale image for use in multimedia projection within the First Peoples exhibition. Emma said that the multimedia projection will contain up to 50 landscape images depicting Victorian country.

Point Lonsdale, Victoria, Australia IMG_5230_Point_Lonsdale
Point Lonsdale

So, as a proud Melburnian with that exciting offer in front of me, I gladly accepted the opportunity to support the museum for its new project.

Currently, I have an image of the Melbourne city skyline featured in a digital projected display as part of The Melbourne Story exhibition at the museum, which is running from 2008-2018.

The First Peoples exhibition will be a permanent gallery at the Melbourne Museum and it will be on display for 10 years. I feel honoured to be involved, and encourage people to visit the museum when the exhibition opens.

Further information:
For more information and the latest news about the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, see Museum Victoria's website for details.

Friday 8 February 2013

Special Presentation: Landscape Photography - Research, Plan, Accomplish

Landscape Photography
Research, Plan, Accomplish

Join Darren Stones at the Essendon Camera Club to be part of an interactive discussion about how you can improve your landscape photography. Darren will guide guests through a process in how to research, plan and accomplish a series of photographs with the purpose of sharing them in various ways.

Darren will discuss how choosing a favourite landscape location can accelerate the learning process and lead to a photographer improving their technique, style and motivation. Guests will be encouraged to share their thoughts and experiences and ask questions. Visitors welcome.

Venue: Essendon Camera Club, Aberfeldie Baptist Church
Address: 3-5 Price Street, Essendon, VIC
Date and Time: Monday 18 February, 2013 at 8:00pm

Event Flier:
Download and print the Event Flier.
Landscape Photography - Research, Plan, Accomplish

Information Sheet:
Download and print the Information Sheet that accompanies this event.
Landscape Photography - Research, Plan, Accomplish - Information Sheet

About Darren Stones:
Darren Stones has been making photographs since 1987 and he assists photographers to improve their photography knowledge and skills. His photographs are purchased for use in travel guide books and maps, educational books, corporate brochures, calendars, and are sold internationally as various print products.

Contact details:
Mobile: 0419 200 469

Friday 25 January 2013

Return to Victoria's Surf Coast

By Darren Stones

Here are two of my latest photographs made at Torquay on Victoria's magnificent Surf Coast. This area is a gold mine for photographers, and I find it an inspiring place to create new images.

Surfing and landscape photography are currently my two favourite photography pursuits, and with Torquay providing these opportunities, I'd like to suggest to you to visit there and investigate for yourself. I think you'll be rewarded for your effort.

Surfing at Winkipop, Bells Beach, Torquay, Victoria, Australia IMG_8439_Torquay
Surfing at Winkipop

Rocky Point at Torquay, Victoria, Australia IMG_8461_Torquay
Rocky Point at Torquay

Thursday 24 January 2013

How photography is more than just RAW

By Darren Stones

Ever wondered how much work goes into making a digital photographic image from the original RAW file to the completed Edited image? Here's a sample of a recent photograph I made at Rocky Point at Torquay along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia.

This is an example of what can be achieved in the digital photography process from the point of capture in RAW, to the completed Edited photograph using Photoshop Elements.

If you want to improve your photo editing skills and knowledge, I offer a photography mentoring service to amateur photographers. See the Mentoring page for further details.

Saturday 19 January 2013

Join me for a Landscape Photography Master Class at the Essendon Camera Club

By Darren Stones

On Monday 18 February, 2013 at 8:00pm, I will be presenting my Landscape Photography - Research, Plan, Accomplish master class at the Essendon Camera Club. The presentation will be interactive and we will explore the reasons as to why some people are motivated to make excellent landscape photographs.

We will closely analyse as to how a series of recently made coastal landscape photographs was achieved. This will make you critically think as to how you can better prepare to make the landscape photographs you want.

The master class series of presentations at the Essendon Camera Club is a new initiative for 2013, whereby skilled and experienced club members will be passing on their knowledge by presenting four master class learning experiences during the year.

I would like to invite you to visit the club and enjoy my Landscape Photography presentation. Visitors are welcome.

See the Essendon Camera Club website for location details.

Point Lonsdale, Victoria, Australia IMG_5230_Point_Lonsdale
Point Lonsdale by Darren Stones
Winner of the Kevin Phelan Landscape Award 2012

Thursday 17 January 2013

Photographing nature's splendour at Rocky Point during low tide

Travel Photography - Landscape

By Darren Stones

On Monday January 14, 2013, I travelled to Torquay on Victoria's Surf coast to specifically photograph Rocky Point during low tide at sunset. Fortunately, the sun was shining and this provided gorgeous lighting conditions for landscape photography.

I've never seen the tide so low at Rocky Point during my previous visits, so the opportunity to make new and unique photographs was most pleasurable.

I did plan this trip because I wanted to coincide the tide height and sunset conditions to give myself the best chance to photograph the beauty of this area.

Before making this series of photographs, I investigated another beach area to the west of Bells Beach earlier in the day for a future photographic shoot.

As you can see in these images, the sky was clear and devoid of clouds - sometimes not the ideal conditions for landscape photography, however perfect for including natural textures of the landscape.

Rocky Point at Torquay, Victoria, Australia IMG_8464_Torquay

Rocky Point at Torquay, Victoria, Australia IMG_8467_Torquay

Rocky Point at Torquay, Victoria, Australia IMG_8472_Torquay

Rocky Point at Torquay, Victoria, Australia IMG_8485_Torquay

These photographs can be purchased as print products via my Redbubble portfolio. Products include:
  • Postcards
  • Greeting cards
  • Posters
  • Photographic prints
  • Matted prints
  • Mounted prints
  • Canvas prints
  • Framed prints
Darren Stones Redbubble Portfolio

These photographs are also available for licensing. Contact me for details. See Stock Photography page for pricing and suggestions.

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Creating new photographic art with textures

By Darren Stones

Every so often I get the urge to try something different regarding my photography, and my latest work is to add textures to some of my photographs. I like the look created by the addition of textures as it tends to have more of an appearance of photographic art. What do you think?

Canola at Grenfell, New South Wales, Australia IMG_4579_Grenfell_Texture
Canola at Grenfell

The Presbyterian Church at Junee, New South Wales, Australia IMG_4476_Junee_Texture
Presbyterian Church at Junee

Cosy Corner at Torquay, Victoria, Australia IMG_3250_Torquay_Texture
Cosy Corner at Torquay

Cunningham Pier at Geelong, Victoria, Australia IMG_2410_Geelong_Texture
Cunningham Pier at Geelong

These works are for sale via my Redbubble portfolio. Products include:
  • Postcards
  • Greeting cards
  • Photographic prints
  • Posters
  • Matted prints
  • Mounted prints
  • Canvas prints
  • Framed prints
Darren Stones Redbubble Portfolio

Sunday 13 January 2013

The fun of photographing surfing at Winkipop

By Darren Stones

Travel Photography - People

With the guy in the background riding the surf, the two making their way out to the breakers are carefully watching where they walk.

Choosing a low perspective and including part of the shoreline can help create interest in a surfing photograph. Having multiple people in the same image can also allow the viewer to see any interaction happening.

Winkipop can get real busy, and it's great if you're a photographer creating a series of surfing culture. This is something I'm doing, and it's fun. Simply fun.

Surfing at Winkipop, Bells Beach, Victoria, Australia IMG_7934_Torquay
Surfing at Winkipop, Bells Beach, Torquay, Victoria, Australia

Friday 11 January 2013

Why am I creating photographs pre sunrise at Bells Beach?

By Darren Stones

It's an eerie yet exciting time of the day to find oneself standing on Bells Beach before sunrise. An early morning start - and by early I mean getting out of bed at 2.50am - can certainly stir the creative juices, whilst having at the forefront of the mind the need for thinking clearly about the image making process.

Motivating force
Wanting to make new photographs can be a motivating force, particularly when you have a presentation to deliver in the not-too-distant future and you want to show some new images to an audience. Landscape photography is a popular subject, and when pursued with the intent to inspire people to create, it is a case of walking the walk - not just talking the talk. So, it's up before the sparrows.

Bells Beach, Torquay, Victoria, Australia IMG_8048_Torquay
Bells Beach, Torquay, Victoria, Australia

A little daunting
In February, I'll be presenting a Master Class about Landscape Photography. In no way do I consider myself a "Master", so delivering a presentation under that banner is a little daunting. However, researching, planning and putting together a "Master Class" requires a different thought process from which I'm familiar.

It would be fair to say that the thought of delivering a "Master Class" is inspiring, motivating and an exciting challenge. I don't ever recall rising before 3am to photograph landscapes, so it's now obvious to me that being involved in this process is stimulating my photographic creative juices in a way I've never experienced.

Level of proficiency
As a member of the Essendon Camera Club, it's a privilege to be even considered to deliver a Master Class at our club. I believe there's an important aspect to this upcoming series of Master Classes at our club during 2013. That aspect being that anyone has the potential to deliver presentations on photographic topics in which they have a reasonable level of proficiency. Sometimes people don't actually realise how proficient they are regarding a certain genre.

We don't have to be high profile experts in our field to share knowledge and anecdotes to inspire people to create images. If we are reasonably proficient, we can assist others to pursue improving their skills, and possibly guide them towards delivering their own presentations.

Healthy pursuit
Let's think about the motivational angle to creating photographs, and the pleasure that brings to us. That's what I call a healthy recreational pursuit. What do you think?

Please join me at the Essendon Camera Club on Monday 18 February, 2013 at 8pm so we can learn more about each other and what our motivations are regarding landscape photography. I want to know what motivates you to create landscape photographs. Visitors welcome and entry is free.