Jim McElvaney - Another Title

Jim, a talented artist/illustrator from Matlock, Derbyshire has been showcasing his work at an exhibition titled 'Another Title' in Sheffield.

He has a unique monochrome linework style that achieves a rough, sketchy look but with meticulous consideration and shading. The detail is amazing, it's worth checking out his work, prints available to buy.

http://www.jimmcelvaney.com/

Volcanic activity in New Zealand

New Zealand’s North Island has many volcanoes, active, dormant and extinct. There are hot springs, mud pools and many areas of thermal activity with steam smelling of sulphur erupting from the ground. The area we recently visited was the Okataina Caldera region.

It feels as though something is definitely happening underground and the whole place feels tense. I'm not sure if this is 'normal' geothermal activity or this area is soon to blow!

Much of this area was created after the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886. This eruption destroyed one of the wonders of the world, the Pink and White Terraces. The Okataina Caldera region was once home one of the largest geysers in the world, the Waimangu Geyser. Now, it is home to the largest hot spring in the world, which is featured in the photos below, Frying Pan Lake. 

Steavenson Falls

After a brilliant last week working as a Digital Account Manager for AJF Partnership, I decided to leave Melbourne for the day in search of fresh air and some nature.

I drove northeast for an hour up to Healesville, a town in the Yarra Valley, which is famous for its abundance of wineries. It's a stunning area easily visited in a day from Melbourne, I couldn't help thinking how nice this place would be to cycle around. 

From Healesville, I drove up towards Marysville and along the way I stopped at Steavenson Falls. These waterfalls are 122 metres high, with water cascading down over 5 tiers. The waterfalls are lit at night powered by a turbine turned by the force of the waterfall. It's the only turbine of its type in Australia and made me wonder, what else is powered in this way?

Melbourne Screen Industry Tour

As part of Screen Futures Sumit and Youth Media Festival, I attended a Melbourne Screen Industry Tour.

It started at the Docklands Studio which is one of three major complexes around Australia. Along with other major complexes available on the Gold Coast and Sydney, this film studio is one of the reasons Australia is often seen as a leading location for cost effective production. This is largely due to the amount of amazing talent around the country, abundance of suitable facilities and equipment and freelancers that are readily available.

 Image from  Docklands Studios

The Docklands studio has 5 large soundproof stages, suitable for filming large TV commercials, films and TV shows. We saw a Ford commercial in the making, and visited the set of The Footy Show that is filmed each week.

Next, we went onto visit Soundfirm where we were shown a demonstration of some professional film grading from a colourist using Davinci Resolve 12. It was amazing to see how colour grading is done in the film industry using the professional hardware. We were wowed with the power and control of the Dolby Atmos Sound Studio which is used to professionally mix audio for Dolby Atmos Cinemas. Dolby Atmos allows the viewer to experience sound in tru 3D with speakers located all around them, it is possible for sound experts to pin point exactly where they want a sound to appear and how they want it to travel around the viewer. It was incredible, I can't wait to see a movie with full 3D sound.

  Davinci Resolve Colour Grading Facility.  Image taken from the   Soundfirm

Davinci Resolve Colour Grading Facility.  Image taken from the Soundfirm

 Dolby Atmos Sound Studio. Image taken from the  Soundfirm

Dolby Atmos Sound Studio. Image taken from the Soundfirm

Finally we were taken to South Melbourne's Ilouria, where we received an inspiring presentation from Executive Producer Simon Rosenthal. We were shown some of their great work including Ted, Spongebob and the special effects for the recent Battle of the Bastards episode from The Game of Thrones. Ilouria are incredibly proud of this scene, it's so immersive and incredibly well produced, viewers are on the edge of their seat for the full battle. I can imagine Directors all over the world will be knocking on Ilouria's door looking for special FX of this caliber. 

View a VFX breakdown showreel of Iloria's amazing work here:

 

 

 

Circus Oz Promo videos

Circus Oz has been putting on extraordinary shows around the world for over 35 years. Born in Melbourne in 1978, the team are diverse in both their background and skillset. One thing is for sure, they put on an incredible show! Expect amazing stunts, acrobatics, humour and live music!

I was lucky enough to work with Paoli Smith and create these promo videos for 2016. Using their slick branding and photography, I created the animated intro and cut the footage to the soundtrack recorded by Circus Oz.

 

 

Rottnest Island, Western Australia

 

When Rottnest Island was discovered by Dutch sailors in the early 1600s, there were no signs of people living on the island. However, evidence does show that Indigenous populations were present before the island was separated from the mainland due to rising sea levels around 7,000 years ago.

The Dutch sailor William de Vlamingh named the Island Rotte Nest (rat’s nest) because of the high numbers of what he thought were large rats (we now know these animals as quokkas) present on the island. The quokka population was significantly reduced when European settlers introduced domestic cats, dogs, foxes and dingoes to the island. However, all these predators have now been eradicated, and it is now illegal for four paws to touch down on the island.

We went to visit this island in June, and had the pleasure of snorkeling in Little Salmon Bay, a beautiful part of the island surrounded by coral reef. The Leeuwin Current brings warm waters to the island, creating the perfect conditions for tropical marine life.

The permanent population of Rottnest is around 100 people, but it gets up to 500,000 visitors every year. There is so much to discover on the island, with great roads for cycling and 96 beaches for swimming, snorkelling, diving and surfing. In the warmer months there is a boat trip that circles the island and it’s possible to catch a small chartered flight around the island to view this A-class nature reserve from the skies.

Fashion shoot - Storiesofb

I met with fashion blogger Briony Kent and make-up artist Zoe Crawford this week to capture Briony's styles at a beautiful location in Melbourne. Briony was a great model to work with, very confident with her poses and happy to take direction whilst Zoe did an amazing job choosing make-up to match the outfits and ensured Briony looked her best! 

The Three Sisters and The Blue Mountains

Situated 100km west of Sydney, amongst the Blue Mountains are The Three Sisters, a soft sandstone formation that was shaped due to erosion. Around the city of Katoomba, the mountains appear to be a collection of huge, wide, deep gorges created by rivers and bodies of water. 

Katoomba is the chief town of the Blue Mountains and used by most tourists as a base to explore the Blue Mountains National Park. There are many large waterfalls and walks to do around the area amongst incredible rainforest. The Blue Mountains is also home to the steepest funicular railway in the world which was once used to facilitate oil and coal mining but is now a major tourist attraction to help exhausted tourists return back to Katoomba from the depths of the Jamison Valley.

Wilsons Promontory National Park

White sands, wild and empty beaches, beautiful mountains and wildlife in abundance, it's Victoria's best kept secret. Whenever I mention this to people living in other Australian States, they have rarely heard of this rugged paradise.

Sitting at the furthest most point on mainland Australia is Wilsons Promontory. Otherwise known as 'the Prom', the National Park consists of 50,000 hectares. It's by no means small, and is only accessible with one road, down to Tidal River, the main campsite in the Park. 

Wilsons Prom is so popular, that during the busy seasons, punters have to enter a ballot in order to get a spot at the campsite. There are many other camping spots throughout the park, but these must be accessed by foot, meaning everything would need to be carried on your backpack! 

Wilsons Prom is very susceptible to bush fires and nearly 50% of the park was destroyed in the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires. Therefore, Wilsons Prom has a total fire ban all year round, make sure you bring your thermals!

The whole area is well trodden and tracks are maintained for hiking all around the park. Some can be done in a one hour round trip, some in a week. Accessible walks from Tidal River, are the tracks to Oberon Bay and Squeaky Beach. 

Melbourne White Night 2016

Inspired by Nuit Blanche, Melbourne White Night is an amazing annual event that fills the city with audiovisual delight. There is some of the most complex projection mapping in the world and the scale is huge, running from 7pm until 7am. We were advised to go as late as possible, in order to avoid the claustrophobic crowds but it was still super busy, but a great atmosphere and very well organised.

Australian Aeropress Championships 2016

Proud Mary Coffee Roasters were proud to host the Australian Aeropress Championships 2016 at their coffee training school above their coffee bar Aunty Peg's. This is the first coffee championships I have been too, and seems very different to the Barista Championships I've seen on YouTube previously. Instead of getting a run through from the barista, each competitor gets 8 minutes to quietly brew coffee using an Aerobie Aeropress

Invented in 2005 by Aerobie's frisbee entrepreneur, Alan Adler, the Aeropress creates a light brew and has become a popular choice for home coffee enthusiasts around the world, and has sold well over a million units! Usually, an Aeropress coffee is drank without milk or sugar, as it brings out many of the natural flavours of the coffee beans.

Professional tasters were employed to judge the coffee produced by the competition competitors. Tasters were tasked with slurping the coffee blind, and voting which they thought tasted better.

Georgina Lumb from Adelaide consistently came through as the best brewer, and managed to win the event, grabbing a free flight to Dublin for the World Aeropress Championships held in June 2016. Georgina's recipe was simple, with brewing for only 30 seconds before plunging. Other competitors brewed for much longer, or added various water temperatures, some triple filtered, but it seems the simplest was the best.

I saw sights I've never seen before. A competitor counting, and picking the best beans, snapping them in half. A competitor from Sydney insisted on bringing his own water, as Melbourne water "wasn't good enough". One competitor from WA, bought along a drill, to attach to the Pocket Porlex Grinder, unfortunately, I don't think it went to plan...

Overall, a great evening, with some interesting coffee obsessed people attending from all over the world. Free beer was provided by Byron Bay's wonderful Stone and Wood, and all coffee was supplied by Condensa Co Lab. Big thanks to Nolan and the team at Proud Mary coffee for making everyone feel so welcome. The event raised enough money to send two of their Honduran coffee farmers to enable them to install power in their houses.

Ecoshift bicycles

Over the past few months, I have been working closely with Ecoshift, an awesome Melbourne startup that aims to change the materials that people use and chose for products they use everyday. Currently, they are creating bamboo bicycles and there are three types available in their 'family'.

The bicycles are hand built with using high quality components and can be made exactly as the customer requires. Here are a few shots I have taken of the bicycles during the summer of 2015/16 including the Sustainable Living Festival. I will continue to support my good friends at Ecoshift throughout 2016.


Mount John Observatory

Owned by the University of Cantebury, the Mount John Observatory is New Zealands premier astronomical research factility. Based in the South Island, the area around the observatory one of four dark spots around the world, some of the best places in the world to see the stars at night. It is possible to take a guided tour of the telescopes and get a tour of the constellations and planets. Here is a shot of my own taken on a Canon 7D with an exposure of around 5 seconds from a campsite very close to the observatory at around 2300hrs.

Astro-photography is something new to me, I think it requires some dedication, looking into the equipment/techniques and staying at a sight for at least a few nights to gain some photos to be proud of like Fraser Gunn.

The Correspondants - Shadow Electric, Melbourne

Melbourne was lucky enough to be graced with the presence of The Correspondents for a last minute gig whilst they were traveling around Australia. They played at Shadow Electric (usually the outdoor cinema). I first saw The Correspondents at Boom Town festival in the South of England in 2010, since then, i've always kept an eye out for the duo's energetic performance. Consisting of DJ Chucks and Mr Bruce's amazingly long-legged dance moves and double time drum-and-bass style emceeing, they never fail to get an audience sweaty and riled up!

Taking a Helicopter over the Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier runs from the Southern Alps (3000m) all the way down to less than 300m in a mere 12km.  What better way to see this amazing glacier than to fly over it in a helicopter? 

The flight was less than smooth, each gust of wind throwing us around, as if were a remote controlled camera drone, which was a little terifying. However, the views were fantastic, it was a reasonably clear day, a very fast ascent meant we were quickly greeted with views of the Southern Alps from 4000m.

We flew over Mount Cook, the tallest mountain in New Zealand, where Kiwi Sir Edmund Hillary started his training to climb Mount Everest.