Ridge Dairy, Freeman’s Reach NSW

By Stuart Borthwick

It was a hot and smokey day in the Western suburbs of Sydney when I headed out on a trip up the Hawkesbury. Recent bush fires were still not fully under control and this blanketed the West in a hazy smog.

My destination was a little disused dairy located in Freeman’s Reach on the outskirts of Sydney close to Windsor and about a 50 minute drive from Parramatta.

So up Richmond Road I go and through Windsor, out on the other side and head towards the Putty Road, very nice scenic drive.

This location tip had come via a fellow photographer and local artist on Google + , so thanks Amanda (+AmandaMoore)

Even finding the actual position on Google maps was a bit of an educated guess, however was pretty easy in hindsight. This was not an easy property to get information on and so i have added as much as I know below. Ridge Dairy 1

Location Background:

Still owned by the Ridge family, dates back to the early 1900’s and was a working dairy up until the early 90’s when the farm property was established as a new business. Glenridge Turf Farm was started shortly thereafter & in 1994 Natural Kikuyu was the first grass established.

Then followed many trials to achieve the top quality grasses now being grown on the farm. Although the original barns have now been replaced, the house still stands on the property, however its fair to say its seen better days.

On arrival

Having located the old dairy homestead it is clearly marked as private property, so please if you are going to visit either do the following:

1. Contact Glenridge Turf Farm ahead of time a gain permission to enter the property.

2. Alternatively go visit the office next door on arrival and speak to the lovely ladies. This was my approach & found everyone very friendly, i was directed to a lady called Margaret who was more than happy to give me permission to enter the property. Gaining permission also takes some of the pressure off shooting and allows you as much time as you need. A couple of things to note at this stage:

1) Previously photographers have visited and entered this property without gaining permission. Something that was not viewed well and was expressed how annoying it was by the owners. I got the impression that these photographers had been chased away.

2) One of the conditions I was given to enter the property was I could not actually physically enter the old house and walk around. It was not deemed as being safe & once I got on site I realised why, as the structure has fallen into a significant state of dis-repair. It important to point out that this will not inhibit your ability to take photos in anyway though. Some walls on the side of the building are no longer in tack and so give clear access into some rooms.

First things first

Generally my first approach is just to have a quick walk around and have a look at what I have to work with. Personally, I find this helps me get my head in the right space & quickly finding a starting point or general approach. As I had not previously visited this location its a good thing to do anyway. So I found many pleasant compositions i could capture so lets start on one side of the building and work an arc of 360 degrees.

This approach is definitely going to be bracketing as it is a bright day and also the building has several lighting scenarios to work on. Makes sense to use bracketing to ensure I can get the full tonal range and be able to work quickly.

My intentions are to write a separate blog post on bracketing & how I personally utilise this camera function, so I wont go into detail here. Very simple set up then, my Manfrotto tripod, DSLR, 17-70 mm lens and a cable release. Personally I usually take a couple of test shots using Aperture Priority mode to see what the lighting is doing and then flick to manual mode.

Camera Settings:

So generally a test with each composition in Aperture Priority mode and then flick to manual. Generally I work with the lowest possible ISO native in the camera, which in this case is ISO 100. A word to the wise though, if you are shooting indoor or as in this case partial indoor scenes you may need to bump your ISO up a fair bit to capture the range of tones. To illustrate this better I have included two test shots:ISO Example

With the newer DSLR’s noise is pretty minimal at high ISO settings, so I was not worried about this. You will notice my f-stop is set at f11 here and was for most of the shoot as I wanted to get as much detail in my captures as possible. This is partly a security step of mine to ensure i capture all the details & tonal values which personally gives me more flexibility in post.

Of course image quality is set at RAW and please, please check your camera’s exposure compensation is set to zero. This is one i miss all the time & usually find about half way through a shoot and although you can fix this later better to have the correct starting point.

Now the good stuff 

Everything is set as far as the camera, so now to just get on and shoot as many compositions as takes my eye. Generally here I set my tripod after finding the composition with the viewfinder of the camera. Once I have set the spot I use a couple of things to capture the shot. Bracketing switched on with a plus/minus 2 stops and 3 shot capture.(limitation of my camera) Cable release plugged in & camera set to timer mode at 2 secs, lastly Live View switched on.

TIP: The timer function is important & one I found by accident to some degree, as it fires all 3 bracketed shot in sequence without touching the camera or holding down the shutter button. This of course reduces the chance of camera shake when firing.

LV: I also find Live view is an invaluable tool when working in the field, i tend to work back & forward between this and the eye viewfinder. There are a couple of reasons i love Live View(LV) mode, firstly with the Nikon system i use means any adjustment I make, such as exposure compensation, can be seen automatically changing in real time. Remember what your eye can see & how the computer in the camera sees things can differ, LV helps you have a visual reference. Secondly it helps to minimise camera shake whilst showing you if your horizons are straight, giving an automatic preview after the shot is taken.

So now just move from composition to composition and click away. This actually took 1-2 hours to complete such was the number of shooting opportunities.

Overall This location was for me exciting and offered plenty of content. Finding the property and gaining permission to enter where straight forward. Although there were some restrictions on access it was not totally inhibitive. Ensure you take water with you to stay hydrated, plus bug spray as the flies make friends very quickly.

My personal rating would be 8/10.

Feel free to check out the images in the project gallery Ridge Dairy Collage https://stuartborthwickphotography.wordpress.com/projects/urban-discovery-gallery/



Urban Discovery Project

By Stuart Borthwick

Project Introduction

As photographers we get excited about many things around us that others may find unimpressive or even downright ugly. We are certainly a funny breed and see beauty in  many abstract things.

Urban Project Collage

With this in mind I would like to formally launching my new project called “Urban Discovery”  which endeavours to show little gems hidden within our suburban landscape. I have already been very active in tracking down several places of interest, which has surprised even me, as many where sitting right under my nose, but more about that later.

As this project is a work in progress the timeframe is not clear, however I already have a long list of venues that i intend to visit, photograph and then write updates via my blog.

A selection of photographs, from each locations will be uploaded to the “projects” section of website.

Hopefully i can pass on some great venues for you to explore, give inspiration and also share tips along the way. Please feel free to share comments, experiences or alternative locations as we go via the comments section. I intend to post this to a broad photography community through various social media outlets.


I tried to find locations that you may not necessarily know about and which offer multiple shooting opportunities at each place. I will go through in detail the positives & negatives i personally find at each location. Key thing you need to keep in mind is you may need to visit the same location multiple times and at different times of day to get the best results.


Many of the locations I have chosen don’t have a huge amount of information in web searches and I had to dig deep to get the right information beforehand. Not all the locations i chose were successful or offered enough content to shoot exactly what I personally was looking for.

I would also like to stress that i endeavour to gain permission, wherever possible, to access the properties when i visit these location or beforehand if possible. Unfortunately in some locations other photographers have not gained permission and have trespassed, even being arrested in the process.

So its best to check, although this can also be a difficult process in tracking down the owners.

The gear used

I wanted to keep the gear I used on this project to a minimum, so that if you gain inspiration from this project you can go out and shoot. Absolutely essential is a tripod, i must confess i was never one for using tripods outside a monopod for sport shooting. Over the last 12 months though i have used tripods more & more, which has benefited my photography greatly.

You will certainly need a DSLR or a digital camera that offers exposure compensation, i am being non specific here on brands of camera intentionally. The important thing is to get out & shoot, I am happy to list my specific gear if this helps.

I intend to use only two to three lenses during the project, specifically only travelling with two at any shoot.The focal length of these as follows:

17-70 mm

24-85 mm

70-300 mm

The thinking is to have the options of really wide angle and the ability to compress landscape elements using zoom.

Cable release is an essential to have in your bag as it helps gain sharper images by minimising the amount of camera shake whilst shooting.

And thats pretty much it……..a couple of optionals though

Polariser filter

ND Filter

Hoodman Loupe



I add these as they can give you another dimension to your work and help you use your creativity in a positive way.

The Hoodman Loupe is invaluable if your in bright sunlight conditions to see the back LCD screen on the camera, i highly recommend this.

Polariser/ND Filters – of course a polarising filter help to cut out glare and also control the saturation of colours. as well as cut reflections. It can also help you to take longer exposures, which is mostly how i will use it during this project. For the same reason I have added the ND filter to my list.

Post Processing

Post Processing is another important step in this overall process to ensure your images look their best. Although I have the philosophy to get as much right in the camera, as you will see some locations have limitations of access and therefore what times of day you shoot in.

Therefore some compensation is needed in how you shoot and therefore the methods you use in post to get the images looking the way you want.

Personally I use a number of tools in post depending on the subject matter and the particular look i want to achieve. Software as follows:

Nik Software Suite

Colour Efex Pro 4

HDR Efex Pro 2

Silver Efex Pro 2

Photoshop CS6

Lightroom 5

Photomatrix Pro

So welcome along, enjoy the ride and I hope you gain inspiration

– Stuart

Shooting Football

And so the new season begins in earnest…………..time to re-learn how to shoot football again!!

It’s amazing how quickly you get out of practice shooting certain things and for me after a couple of months off I finally got back to sports photography.

Of course my timing is way off and everyone that I hadn’t seen for a couple of months wanted a chat. Great to be back doing something you love, but I gotta get the shot guys.

I thought it might be a good time to share some tips and settings on how I approach Football (sometimes called soccer) as I though it may help.

Know the game you’re shooting: I am lucky that I have been photographing football for over 5 years now and therefore can anticipate where the action will be. Having said that I still miss shots, mainly cause I am chatting (another passion of mine) so I am not perfect.(who knew) A good tip is to watch some games before the one you’re going to shoot, look at where things happen relative to the ball in certain situations, goal kicks, throw-ins , this will all help you to focus and anticipate the action.

Camera Set-up: Think about what shots you want, are they mostly action shots??? What time of the day will you be shooting??? Which lenses will you need??

Typically for me I have my camera set-up as follows:




Shooting Mode                                 Aperture Priority

Shutter Speed:                                 1/1000s – continuous shooting mode

Aperture:                                            F 5.6 or lower

ISO:                                                        100 to 1600 this depends largely on the available light*

Focus Mode:                                      Multiple points/Centre Weighed/AF-C

Lenses:                                                 150-500mm/70-300mm

SD Cards:                                             SanDisk 16 GB Extreme Pro x2

*Key for me is to ensure I keep my shutter speed high to freeze the action and have a nice blurred out background

Take plenty of shots: You have the luxury of digital technology so use it, take multiple shots. It not unusual to fire 1000 shots during a game. You will get a lot of missed shots, blurry images, etc….so by increasing the amount of shots you take the chances are you will get a few you can use. If I fire 900 to 1000 shots in a match, I will be happy if I get 20 photos that stand out and are usable. Keep shooting after a goal is scored or there is an incident on the park, or the crowd becomes vocal, this will help you to capture the emotion around the contest.

Look for the best view point and vary it: Many of the grounds I shoot at have restricted access or are not perfect to shoot at. This is just a fact of life, so get as close as possible and be prepared to move several times during the match. This also applies to your camera angle, go high, go low, the key is don’t be static.

Spare everything: As photographers we are a little paranoid about a whole range of things, especially gear failure. So bring spare memory cards, spare batteries, a back-up lenses, etc…just in case. It’s good to get in a routine on the night before a match in charging and packing everything you need. Remember over time you will figure out what to pack and what you don’t need, however when you start always have more than you need to give you choices.

Share your Images: Please make sure you are able to share your images and get feedback on them. For me I use a Facebook page and get direct feedback from players, coaches, family, spectators, etc…. I also use my images as end of season’s gifts plus a DVD of the season, all of which helps me gain better and better creative shots.

The most important thing is to have fun, learn the basics and then experiment, be creative once your comfortable.

Happy Shooting

Bonnyrigg White Eagles crowned NSW Manchester Cup Champions

Monday, 7 March 2011

Bonnyrigg White Eagles have been crowned NSW Manchester Cup Champions after defeating the Sutherland Sharks 2-1 in the Grand Final held at Seymour Shaw Park over the weekend.
The White Eagles took on Bankstown in the Semi-Finals on Saturday 5thMarch and defeated their rivals 4-2 on penalty shoot-outs while Sutherland recorded a narrow victory over Sydney Olympic with a 1-0 win.

The Grand Final stage was set as the Bonnyrigg White Eagles took on the Sutherland Sharks in front of a healthy crowd and from all reports the match was played at a feverish pace.

It was the White Eagles who were left smiling in the end however as they defeated a 10-men Sharks outfit 2-1 which sent the players and fans into raptures.

The White Eagles went throughout the whole tournament undefeated and only conceded two goals in seven matches which was a massive achievement towards Greg Carluccio’s squad.

Bonnyrigg’s Club Secretary George Mandic was delighted with the club’s progress and was proud of his coaching staff and players.

Carluccio was equally delighted with his squad’s achievement at Seymour Shaw on the weekend.

“We have no superstars, just a group of hard working boys that play as a team and with their heart.

“We were the underdogs but we showed everyone what football is all about.”

The club now travel to Melbourne on the 2nd of April to contest in the Australian Titles with the winner playing travelling to Manchester for the 2011 Manchester Cup.

source: fnsw


NO! It’s not just a big iphone!!!


There were many knockers of Apple’s new IPad when it was launched last year, the most common observation was that it’s just a bigger iphone.

Having converted to the religion of IPad in January this year I can tell you this is a whole new level of electronic communication. Now I was among many that just get the Twitter thing….140 characters instant messages about what you bought at the supermarket or what you had for tea.

With apps like Flipboard , Twitter becomes a whole new experience and actually makes much more sense, opening up a whole new world in the process.

I travel a lot and find my laptop will last 2-3 hours at best without power and of course there is the whole booting up, logging on and waiting for everything to load. Enter the IPad with 10 hour battery and about a 3 second boot time, which one would you pick???

There is a lot to like about this Apple product it is light and very portable, much easier to throw in your bag when travelling.

Email – You can manage multiple email accounts from one place very easily. I currently have 5 different email addresses and managing these is a breeze.

Social Networking – This adds a whole new level to social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, MSN Messenger, etc… mainly because it displays things in a different way.

Web Browsing – The size of the IPad is just right for web browsing and with the backlit screen it is a very pleasant experience. YOUTUBE is great to view

IBooks & Magazines – I must admit I was very sceptical about books being electronic, however I have been proved wrong on this. Reading an iBook is more flexible than reading a real book as you can change the zoom to suit your eyes, you can bookmark you spot easily and there are so many choices online. Magazines are also available electronically via subscription easily and with a large choice also. All of this reducing our carbon footprint and helping the environment.

Remote desktop access – You have the ability to remotely access you personal PC and stream videos, view photos, listen to music, etc….. very easily

Multi-tasking – Great finally with OS 4.2 you can have programs running in the background such as IPod or internet radio while you work. Multitasking allows you to move quickly from app to app as needed.

Gaming – Wow what a great gaming platform that fits most people’s tastes. There are so many apps to choose from and the HD one are graphically superb.

There are many more features to like about the IPad and I have listed what work well for me personally. To give this post some balance I want to also state that the IPad does have some shortcomings which you need to be aware of:

No Camera of any description in the IPad 1 – beyond belief why there is no cameras given both the IPod and Iphone 4th generation have reversible cameras as a new feature. Anyway the good news is that IPAD 2 is “rumoured” to have this issue fixed….watch this space.

Email Attachments – There is no ability to attach documents to your emails in the IPad email programme…….WHY NOT???? Why something so basic has been overlooked is beyond comprehension and I would hope this will be fixed in OS 4.3 or beyond.

File Manager – One thing to watch out for is that once you have files in your IPad it’s hard to remove them or send them anywhere using the factory settings. Luckily help is on hand through a number of apps to allow you to work around these issues. Try apps like ReaddledocS, Dropbox, USB Disk for IPad and many more similar programs.

All in all though the IPad is a great innovation by Apple but be warned it is also very addictive so happy surfing and ENJOY.

Vietnam: What A Gem

The thing I love about travelling in Asia is it never disappoints me and always throws me some new gems every time I visit.

This time it was Vietnam’s turn to amaze me and offer up new surprises. You didn’t have to look far either as it was pretty much around every corner or in this instance at every intersection.
This was my first time travelling here so i didn’t appreciate at first the reliance the Vietnamese have on the motor cycle to get around. Coming in from the airport there was just a constant stream of motor bike flying past your window. Likewise every intersection you stopped at there just seemed to be this never ending line of bikes.

Probably nothing really surprising to the outside reader, however what you don’t at first realise is that it would seem that most things get transport by bike.

During my week here I saw some very inventive ways of transporting all manner of things from beer to furniture. Amazing how many people can actually fit on to one bike, I think 5 was the largest number I counted. That was with all the shopping, handbags, etc…. but you know what if it works, it works.

I also learned a new game we termed “Saigon Suicide” which is generally called crossing the road anywhere else. Given the huge volume of traffic though this was more of an adrenaline rush than just a small task.

Luckily a good Vietnamese friend of mine provided some great tuition on how to do this and what you learned is that the bikes are very good at dodging pedestrians.

The lesson I received late at night after a few beers certainly help to ensure I didn’t get seriously injured over the next few days.

As we drove out into the country I spotted some curious huts set up on the side of the road. On closer inspection these huts were just full of hammocks. It would seem that siesta time happens between 12-2pm everyday so you can just pull the car over and have a wee sleep.

I witnessed this first hand as when visiting a customer their manufacturing site was deserted. Around 2pm all these people just started to appear or materialise, never really found out where they actually came from.

Finally I need to share the marvel that is electrical wiring in Vietnam. This is a sight to behold and I think photos are better at illustrating the point here.

And so I make my weary way home after a fun week…..missing the distant rubble of the Vietnamese bike chorus already.


>I was bumping along the road in Indonesia a few weeks ago just think how surreal life can be some time. Certainly the fact that we landed in Surabaya from Jakarta, having taken a earlier flight, at the original time we planned…..hmmm not sure how that happened may be the pilot decided to take the scenic route????

A there we were taxiing into our parking spot when a happened across a dog sitting on the tarmac watching all the activity…….. So this is added to list of experiences I have had when travelling.

Of course if you travel anywhere by plane in Indonesia you need to pay. Pay for your visa on arrival, pay some kinda tax to fly from city to city and finally pay to leave.
For a meagre visitor to this country after spending so many hours to get here it is totally confusing trying to work out just how many zero’s you need on the local currency to enter……all I can say is thank goodness they also except US dollars……much easier to calculate.
I must say though I was pleasantly surprised during this visit, the food was great, as was the accommodation and people were generally friendly.
The reliance on bicycles to get around was also a nice change of pace and is customary in Asia,I witnessed many things being carried around this way, far too many to list her.The most out there item I found was two bald headed blow-up cartoon twins called lok and lak, which can be purchased on the roadside.
Of course luck would have it that I landed in the middle of rainy season, well should I say still rainy season. The locals assure me that rainy season should be all done and dusted by now, but still it rains, maybe yet another example of how our planet is changing.
Anyway with the torrential tropical rain comes another problem…..MUD and lots of it. It get so bad in the southern half of Indonesia that they had built a wall to keep it in, much the same as a dam or breakwater.
An yet despite these conditions the locals still attend their crops and harvest the rice as the rest of the world flashes by at breakneck speed.
Incidentally if you have a nervous disposition especially related to travelling then Asia is probably not the right exploration for you. In this respect Indonesia did not disappoint with the usual drive fast, sometimes on the wrong side of the road and brake at the very last minute…..a bit like being in an F1 race. Having travelled this way for so long now I am getting quite immune from this, although no seatbelts still worries me.

Again I added to my long collection of road signs, maybe I feel a FB album coming on, with two distinct favourites. One with a very nice pretty police lady directing you to turn left (I looked hard at this intersection but no sign of the real deal) and also a series of signs showing what can’t use the road.

Hmmm…….then I am confused who can use the road in this area, you decide??? Anyway everyone seemed to be ignoring this anyways so it really didn’t matter.

And then there were the rice drying activities on the side of busy roadways and the collection of grass for animal feed. It’s fantastic to see as being held up in a huge metropolitan city sometimes isolates you from these wonderful ways of life.
And so as the clock ticked around to the twelve hour we had spent on the road and light faded away, we crept back into Surabaya along busy city streets. Our trip back to the hotel and nice warm shower was lined with young teenagers with small guitars serenading us for tips in the traffic…….like I said life is sometimes surreal.