Melbourne Laneways and Alleys: Best Worst Kept Secret

Hidden amongst the Melbourne central business district’s highrises and giant modern department stores are cafes filled with old world charm. One such establishment is Cafe Segovia located in Block Place.

Paul Mihailidis, whose son nows runs the cafe, still comes in everyday before 6 am to read his paper and have his coffee. He’s 80. Cafe Segovia and others like it, tucked in the series of alleys which run from Little Collins Street to Flinders Street, as the title implies, are certainly no secret to Melbourne’s locals or indeed savvy visitors.

Now unlike others genre of photography, early morning is not always best for street photography, particularly in Melbourne as I found. My wife is used to me occasionally waking early and on impulse going for a drive or walk with my camera. I expected Melbourne to be bustling with people between 5.30 and 6 am. My assessment was completely incorrect. After through the CBD and seeing a grand total of four people, my mind turned to the Queen Victoria Market, surely butchers and bakers and fishmongers would be about preparing their wares for a busy day of sales. In that I was partly correct and I got to see the butchers doing their thing. Of course, that just goes to show that if you only have a day in a city you need to make the most of it.

One of the attractions I’d been anticipating visiting in Melbourne for some time (maybe 6 months) is a coffee and donut shop, Short Stop Melbourne. Sadly, my visit coincided with their Christmas, so for this time round I would have to console myself with their instagram feed. Serendipitously, I would be returning a couple of weeks later to photograph the first match of the Asian Football Cup, Australia (Socceroos) v Kuwait.

Of course, that meant that I would make my way to Short Stop. Anthony Ivey, the owner and an engineer by trade got into the coffee and donut game through his love of coffee, which led him to leave an engineering job to become a barista in a Melbourne cafe. Along the way, he was the coffee manager for Vue de Monde (no biggie) and then at Market Lane Coffee, whose coffee Short Stop stocks. Short Stop is dedicated to coffee and donuts, but donuts unlike any you’ve seen the like of in Australia. The origin of these donuts is the reason I’ve been following them online for so long and looked forward to finally tasting their wares. Anthony was developing the project basing their donuts on what was available in Melbourne. A donut research tour covering six US cities; San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, New York and LA (and one Canadian; Vancouver) changed all of this for the better. After eating donuts in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, I refused Krispy Kremes when offered them by a friend in Sydney. Once you try Short Stop, you’ll refuse Krispy Kreme as well.

Short Stop uses natural ingredients such as the Australian Honey and Sea Salt Cruller, donut mixes made fresh each day (yeast donuts are only made in the morning and once they sell out, you’ll have to wait for tomorrow). Flavours are experimented with and paired based on rigorous testing I’m sure. My favourite was the Macadamia and Orange Blossom, the orange blossom cream had a delightful light orange flavour. I was also fortunate enough to hang around to try a freshly glazed blueberry donut. The verdict; the only donut better than a Short Stop donut, is a fresh Short Stop donut.


More Townsville Photos

This photo was a happy accident, I pulled my camera up mid exposure to save it from a rogue wave (2ft rather than 1ft given it’s Townsville and we actually don’t get any surf). I’m pretty happy with the result, thoughts?

Airlie Beach for the Weekend

A little experiment with a black and white pool shot loosely inspired by a favourite shot of mine.

Photograph Poolside by David Cooling on 500px Poolside by David Cooling on 500px

The view from our hotel balcony, thankfully stayed out of Airlie Beach because we inadvertently booked our weekend for the start of schoolies.

We were walking through a car park when we noticed this cockatoo, he was kind enough to let me take a couple of shots, before disappearing.

Please let me know what you think of this, I liked the mix of colours with the glisten of sun on the water, a little more abstract than I usually do.
My lovely wife.

Seattle Part II: Why it’s called Mt Rainier

Seattle doesn’t seem to make a big deal out the rivalry with Portland, perhaps because they already have all the well paying jobs etc. Portlandians seemed to play it up a bit and one apparent advantage Portland had over Seattle was its lower average rainfall, hence why it’s called Mt Rainier. To steal a joke from one of our tour guides if 50 shades of grey were set in Seattle it would be called 100 shades of grey. (Disclaimer: I have not and never will read 50 Shades of Grey not even ironically or for the purposes of criticism, if you must read something with Shades of Grey in the title read Jasper Fforde’s distopian future/dark comedy; Shades of Grey

As a city which was previously the last vestige of civilisation where explorers and prospectors would buy their stores before heading sailing North to Alaska, Seattle still has a very maritime feel to it in parts. From the chowder on the waterfront to the seafaring scandinavians who used to make up a majority of the Ballard population, Seattle has a love of the sea. Not hard to see why when it is located on the beautiful Puget Sound, which is, apparently, a great diving spot. It would be far too cold for me I’m afraid. We enjoyed the food which came with this love of the sea. In Ballard we tried fresh local oysters at the Walrus and the Carpenter, this place is award winning and it isn’t hard to see why. I’m not usually a fan of oysters but they have 12 different varieties which range in flavour and their mains were also delicious. Try their fried oysters. The owners clearly understood the visual beauty of food when they designed the oyster bar, you are able to see the chefs as they create the food and the aesthetic of the restaurant has been developed from the ground up. I would recommend eating at the bar so you can appreciate it all.  

Photograph The Walrus and the Carpenter by David Cooling on 500px The Walrus and the Carpenter by David Cooling on 500px Ballard’s scandinavian population is dwindling and it is being replaced with Seattle’s young trendy crowd, you can still see glimpses of its heritage though, from the vintage Volvos around the area. Ballard now feels more like Portland and San Francisco than the rest of Seattle. Just a short walk from the centre of Ballard is the Ballard locks, this spot has some great opportunities for wildlife photography with cormorants, herons and kingfishers flying around and seals and salmon swimming in the locks.


More Seattle photos here.

Seattle or Sealth: Home of the original, more anatomically correct Starbucks mermaid (if you can say that about a mermaid)

Seattle has a different feel to the other cities we’ve visited so far on the West Coast, not vastly different but enough that it’s noticeable. Perhaps we spent a bit more time in the city. Seattle is the home of Microsoft and in contrast to Portland, the people who come to Seattle generally get jobs. Seattle more of a white collar city but it has its gems. Gems like the newer suburbs and the Pike Place Market.

We booked in for another free walking tour which turned out to be excellent, Jake from Seattle Free Walking Tours does 2 tours and we did both. Seattle 101 covers the downtown area and the waterfront and Jake covers the Pike Place Market in the Market Experience. You’re probably beginning to pick up a theme here with the walking tours, I really can’t recommend them enough.

Jake showed us some of the more interesting parts of the Pike Place Market (the ones you’d take hours to find on your own). Apart from plentiful free samples and discounts on future purchases, Jake showed us one of the most disgusting tourist destination in the world (not just opinion, apparently second to the Blarney Stone). The wall started when people entering the adjacent cinema had to get rid of their gum, now, the ground underneath the wall has a few centimetres of compressed gum, sticky underfoot.

Jake was great for finding us great deals, deals like getting into the Seattle Art Museum for 25c each. The admission price listed in the museum is actually around $20 but museum policy says that no one can be refused entry so you can effectively give them any price you want. We gave them about $1 of change and the older gentlemen at the museum gave us change, he just seemed incredibly cheerful to have us visiting.

Some more bits of money saving advice from Jake was cheaper places to get a view, rather than paying $25 to get into the Seattle Space Needle, you can go to Starbucks on the 40th floor of the Columbia Tower to get free views which are actually higher than the Space Needle. The other warning was about the ‘underground’ tours. Whatever you do, don’t go on these tours expecting an underground city, apparently it’s akin to a series of basements instead, fair warning.

If you’re after some other great views of the city, head to Kerry Park (where I took the first photo) or take a ferry to Bainbridge Island or Bremerton around dusk. Why pay for a cruise on the Puget Sound when you can pay $8 for a return ticket to Bainbridge or Bremerton?

Apart some generally delicious free samples including smoked salmon with jelly, salmon jerky which has the consistency of gummy bears, delicious dried fruit and fresh Rainier cherries we also had some more eccentric food. This next option is apparently becoming popular with professional athletes because ‘it’s got electrolytes’ or it’s good for hydrating etc. I honestly think that people who pickle pickles just wanted to squeeze a little more profit from their product, so now they’re also marketing the brine they use to pickle the pickles. To be fair, it didn’t taste half bad and if you must shot dubious liquids, why not shot dubious liquids that are good for you.

Photograph The Cherry Picker by David Cooling on 500px

The Cherry Picker by David Cooling on 500px

I can’t write about Pike Place Market without mentioning the main attraction, the Pike Place Fish guys. These guys are famous in Seattle for their fish throwing antics. It turns out it wasn’t actually a marketing gimmick, what started out as a quick way of getting fish around their stall soon caught people’s attention and now they’re regularly featured on the TV and have even authored a recipe book.

Photograph Pike Place Fish Guy by David Cooling on 500px

Pike Place Fish Guy by David Cooling on 500px

Well, Jake’s tour wasn’t all free samples and good deals (I forgot to mention most of the places we went offered deals to tour members) he taught us some interesting Seattle history. Although they didn’t quite get the name or the spelling right, Seattle was named after a local Indian chief, who was instrumental in making peace between the settlers and the local Indians. The city honours his memory by bearing his name. Of course, back then it wasn’t all roses. The City of Seattle stole a totem pole from one of the local tribes and erected it in the city. When the totem pole burned down a few years later and the tribe it was originally stolen from actually gave a replacement to the city as a gift you may be right in thinking it was very generous of them after everything. Turns out the totem pole they gave the city, currently standing in Pioneer Park may actually be a shame pole, the Indian equivalent of giving the city of Seattle the bird, in the form of a totem pole with prominent animal genitalia. Probably fair enough after your tribal pride gets stolen. Another bit of Seattle history trivia involves a coffee chain which you can see on most american street corners (it was a running joke in Portland). Starbucks originated in Seattle in the Pike Place Market in 1971. Don’t be fooled the cafe deemed the original Starbucks in the market now, the 1911 on the door is the street number and the original Starbucks was actually located a few doors down with a warehouse (until it burned down). The Original logo that you can see on that Starbucks is legitimate. It’s the only place you can see the original logo in all its anatomically correct glory (as far as a fish woman hybrid can be anatomically correct).

Photos With Depth

The Dish

by Dish Staff

tautochronos series

Leslie Tane features the delightful work of Michel Lamoller, who “takes multiple photographs of the same place at different times, then prints and layers them, physically carving them into one image, sculpting two-dimensional space into three-dimensions”:

By then photographing the transformed image Lamoller returns the work to two-dimensions, playing with space and volume, echoing the compression of time and place in his work. The deconstructed figures in the resulting photographs are a visual reminder that people are always changing and never fully revealed.

Margaret Rhodes connects the series to Lamoller’s previous projects:

Tautochronos evolved from an earlier series of Lamoller’s, called Layerscapes, that applies the same technique to landscapes and cityscapes. It’s not nearly as personal as Tautochronos, which is dotted with Lamoller’s personal acquaintances (and sometimes shot in their own homes or bedrooms), but both “come from a more personal wish to describe this happening of two things at…

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