Tag Archives: how-to

Beyond Snapshots


“Be inspired to see the beauty around you, everyday.”~Beyond Snapshots

For my 30th birthday I got the amazing gift of a DSLR camera. Certainly, this thoughtful gift from my husband was also a gift for himself, but I don’t care. It has turned out to be SO AMAZINGLY FUN. I would never have gotten up the courage to go out and buy one of those things because I didn’t really have a clue how to use them…..until now.

In my previous post about moving to Japan , I talked about my first couple of  point and shoot cameras. I did love them. And after a while I could get some pretty nifty pics out of them. But there is a limit to what you can do when your camera is set to Auto.

Have you ever looked on Facebook and thought “wow, they take such awesome photos….they must have a shit-hot camera”? They probably don’t, they probably just know how to use the camera they have.

I tried reading online forums about how to use my Nikon better. But they were boring. And confusing. And often didn’t have pretty pictures clearly illustrating the points trying to be made. They often used words that went right over my head.

Enter: Beyond Snapshots, a photography book written by Rachel Devine and Peta Mazey. This book is aimed at helping people like me who have a camera that you can adjust the settings on but aren’t really confident in the how.

This books covers all aspects of trying to get excellent images to look a little bit special. And after reading it, I can also say that even if you don’t have a DSLR, even if you are just taking photos on your mobile phone, this book is still awesome!

Some things covered:

  • The technical settings on your camera, how to best adjust them and why you would adjust them (I never really understood the point of ISO until now!!)
  • Getting inspired, how to compose a nice shot and setting up a home studio.
  • Talking about the Pros & Cons of different photo editing software, some easy ways to use them to make you photos a little bit WOW (you CAN make a good shot an AMAZING shot)
  • How to shoot different subjects (couples, singles, marking the passage of time, children, family, pets) and milestones (weddings, babies, etc)
  • Do’s and Don’ts for traveling with your camera (whether it be down to the park or overseas)

I just loved this book. It gave me so many great ideas. Not just the technical stuff explained easy, but also some great, often simple, ideas for photographing everyday stuff and making it a bit special.

I thought this book was good value, too. I got mine at a  little bookshop in Melbourne for  $40, but I have also seen it on Book Depository and Amazon for nearly half that price (no wonder all the bookshops are going out of business….please go to a bookshop!).

If you live in Australia, you can see Rachel talk about the book on The Circle this Friday (June 8th)!

Rusty Things – Monday Made


“Holey rusted metal, Batman!”~Robin (Batman Forever)

I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love the way rusted metal looks. If you ever come to my house, you will see loads of rusty metal around. Some of it is real and some of it is not.

The not real rust part is quite interesting, actually.

A couple of years ago I saw this segment on Better Homes and Gardens about special paint you could get that would look like metal and even reacts like metal (rusting, oxidizing, etc). It actually has metal in it!! I filed that little tid-bit away in my brain-vault for later use.

Fast forward to January this year, we had to fence our new country property because we have small children. I have never been a fan of gates. They are usually uninspiring and let down the whole house. There have been a couple that were great, but usually they were 10 ft high privacy gates. Not appropriate for a country town. My first choice was to get a couple of Sunshine Replica gates made ……until I got a quote. Eeeek.

Back to the drawing board. I wanted rusted metal gates with awesome cut-outs that didn’t weigh too much and weren’t too expensive. Quite the list of wants, eh? Then I remembered the metal effects paint and from there it was relatively easy sailing.

We got basic farm gate frames made. The wood we attached to the frame to make it look pretty is called “Weathertex”. It is some kind of particle board that is used to make outdoor signage. Unlike MDF, it will not swell up and go crazy when you add water. It isn’t as cheap as MDF, but at $50 for a 120cm x 120cm sheet (for the little gate) I thought it was pretty good. I bought a whole heap of saddle brackets to attach it to the metal gate frame without having to actually drill into metal. They worked a treat.

Dulux Design Rust base paint is not cheap. About $90 for a litre. You then have to use Dulux Design rust solution to get the rust happening. That one is $30 for 500ml. It is expensive, but you have to keep in mind how much using actual metal costs. But not only that, metal isn’t easy to work with and isn’t always practical (it’s heavy!!). The one that did annoy me a bit and I’m not entirely sure if there were other options that were cheaper, was the sealant I needed to put on after the rust effect was to my liking. The sealing process is important- it stops the paint from rusting more and rust run-off getting onto surrounding items (like a deck or paving) and it also stops the paint chipping off (I latched my gate before sealing it and the chain chipped off some paint!!). The one suggested on the back of the paint tin was Intergrain UltraClear. It is water based which means great cleaning up, but it only comes in 4 litre tins which cost about $140!! The guy in the shop assured me I would use it all over the years as it won’t go bad and you do need to reseal outdoor items every couple of years.


1. You need to do a primer/sealer before using the Rust Base Paint. I suggest using a dark colour like brown or black. I used white and you can see little spots I missed with the Rust paint. It does not cover that well (you can see what I mean in Dulux’s vid) and you end up doing a few coats. That’s ok, but I think you would feel less stressed if you base coat was more of a rusty colour to begin with.

2. The Rust Solution says to use a brush. I Googled the matter and came up with a YouTube vid giving tips about applying this stuff using a sprayer and then doing light brush strokes after to add a bit of texture. This worked well and I felt like I wasn’t wasting the solution.

3. Do a few coats of rust solution over a few days. Every couple of hours, go out and do a bit of spraying with regular water. It helps the rusting along and adds texture. I sprayed more water on the areas that I wanted to stand out (like the house number etc). Be careful of drip marks. I like a bit of drippy stuff, but some people don’t.

4. Remember that when you put the sealant on the colours will darken a bit, look a bit more like they do when it is wet. Keep that in mind when you think your rust has reached the perfect rusty colour you were hoping for.



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