Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

ANZAC Day Dawn Parade 2010

Today was my first Dawn Parade. I have said for a while it was something that I should do. After all, if a significant number of Australian and New Zealand service people can give their lives, the very least I can do is get out of bed at 4:15am to show my respect.

I was absolutely overwhelmed by the number of people who did the same. The grassed area around Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance was simply a sea of people. Unlike many situations where so many people are gathered, the proper feeling of solemness and respect prevailed.

It was a simple service, with just an appropriate amount of ceremony that failed to impose on the opportunity to reflect. The dawn light silhouetted the participants in a very moving manner.

I went for a stroll around the Shrine afterwards – these are the pick of the photos. Lest We Forget!

Read Full Post »

The plan was to head to the Red Hill Brewery for lunch and a taste of some fine ale. The plan was thwarted by this thing called Easter. “We can get you a table at 2:00pm tomorrow” wasn’t really what we wanted to hear, but so be it. The dining rooms at three wineries down the road were all full as well.

So we headed to a cafe in Flinders for lunch and then went for a drive over to Hastings. That was where we came across the headless pelican.

And the swooping gull.

The pelicans and gulls were being fed by two small girls, with scraps from the fish shop at the jetty. It was the first time we’d been to Hastings – I can definitely see a weekend coming up down that way in the future.

Read Full Post »

How stupid would I have to be, thinking that no one in Melbourne could be bothered going to the zoo on Good Friday!

It’s been nine months since my last visit to the zoo. I wanted to see Mali, Melbourne Zoo’s new baby elephant. Mali was born on 16 January – you’ll find more details here.

In the period leading up to the birth and after her arrival, Melbourne has been captivated with her progress, and that of Dokkoon, her mother. It probably wasn’t surprising then that, when I arrived 45 minutes before her display was scheduled to open, there were already 200 people in the queue in front of me.

Was the wait worth it? Absolutely! Here’s the pick of the 620 photos I took. Camera is a Nikon D40X with an 18-135 Nikkor lens.

It wouldn’t seem fair not to include a photo of Dad, Bong Su.

The other thing I was keen to see was the new Wild Sea display, comprising mainly seals and penguins. As usual, it was really challenging getting good under water photos of the seals, but I managed to get some when they were basking in the sun. Interestingly, the seals have been victims of marine entanglements who have been rescued and placed at the zoo. The scars are quite obvious on some.

The apes and monkeys are always fascinating, but presented the usual photographic challenges, mainly from glass and wire.

Last step on the visit was at what I reckon is the best display at Melbourne Zoo, the Sumatran Tiger. I could seriously turn up at the start of the day with a folding chair and sit, watch and photograph this animal all day. It is absolutely magnificent.

Read Full Post »

Damn I had a great day today, on what I think was my fourth visit to Melbourne Aquarium (http://www.melbourneaquarium.com.au/).

I love trying to take good animal photos. You’ll find other attempts in other posts in this blog. Unfortunately the aquarium always presents some significant challenges. One can’t use a flash because of the reflection off the glass of the tanks, so there is a heavy reliance on a steady hand and fish that don’t move around too quickly.

For anyone who hasn’t been recently, the new penguin display is just brilliant. They have two varieties on display – King and Gentoo. There is a large area of ice where they walk around and a tank where they swim. In both cases, the viewing areas are great and it’s possible to get right up close – just on the other side of the glass.

Poor Carol! I spent a large chunk of time there as we entered, and then did it all again after we’d seen everything else. Apparently they have nine staff members there to just look after these fascinating birds.

The rest of the aquarium was great as well, albeit very much the same as when I was last there four or five years ago. The large shark and ray tank is great, although not as good as the one I remember from the Sydney Aquarium (that comment is only there for my Sydney-based brother, Ian – he gets sick of me talking down Sydney).

On leaving, I was delighted to find out I could upgrade my entry ticket to a twelve-month membership for an extra $32.50. Given I work just across the river from the aquarium, I can see myself spending plenty more time trying to get the perfect penguin photo.

Anyway, here’s the pick of the shots. Camera is a Nikon D40X with Nikkor 18-135 lens. Some photos have been cropped, but other than that, there’s been no digital enhancements.

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

I’ve never tried action footy photos before, so took my camera over to Trevor Barker Oval today, to watch the Sandringham Zebras play the Frankston Dolphins. Here’s the pick of them.

Read Full Post »

Alright, I admit it. I’m a train nut as well. About 12 months ago, Carol and I did a Steamrail Victoria trip to Seymour, with visits to three local wineries before the return trip. This was an absolutely fantastic day – Steamrail Victoria (http://www.steamrail.com.au) does a great job and deserves your support.

Here’s some of the photos I took on the day, of the train itself, and some of the locomotives and rolling stock at the museum in Seymour.

Read Full Post »

Melbourne Zoo

I love a zoo. Most importantly, I love going to zoos on my own. Why? Because it means I can spend as much time as I like looking at my favourite animals and getting the perfect photo. I can spend a good half to three quarters of an hour tinkering with settings on the camera to get the perfect shot.

Yesterday I headed off to Melbourne Zoo again – here’s the pick of the photos.


Read Full Post »

We’ve had a couple of free tickets to the Werribee Open Range Zoo stuck on the fridge for a while. When we looked at them the other day, we realised they expired in a week or so, so decided to go and check it out today. I’d been to Werribee Zoo a couple of times before, the last time being six years ago. Carol had never been before. It turned out the tickets were worth more than $50, so we were pleased we didn’t let them expire.

I don’t know why, but for some reason, Carol and I just love going to a zoo – the last one was the Calgary Zoo in Canada this time last year.

For those that haven’t been to Werribee Zoo, there are three walking tours and also a bus tour, the latter being a fully enclosed bus that takes you through a series of exhibits in an hour. There’s probably not a lot of point describing it in finite detail as that’s all here à
http://www.zoo.org.au/, along with the details for Melbourne’s other two zoos.

Suffice to say, we had a great day, certainly much better than we expected. The zoo’s definitely improved in six years – the lion and hippo exhibits are excellent. Disappointments? The usual expensive crap food one seems to get at these sorts of attractions and no elephants. The latter are coming soon apparently. I won’t hold my breath for the former to get any better.

Here’s the pick of my photos taken on a fairly challenging day as far as the light was concerned. Camera is a Nikon D40X with a Nikor 18-135 zoom.

Read Full Post »

To recap, Part 1 saw Carol and me travel from Melbourne to Banff. Part 2 covered Banff to Calgary and has us in a cab to Calgary airport. The flight to Ottawa was uneventful although I get the feeling Air Canada saw us coming when we checked in. We got slugged $100 for excess baggage – the same bags with the same stuff in them that Qantas carried at no extra charge suddenly cost us $100. The stupid thing is, if we had the same weight in three bags, it wouldn’t have cost us anything. Go figure! Trying to cover the cost of workers’ compensation claims I guess.

On arrival in Ottawa, our dear friend Geoff was waiting for us at the airport and it was fantastic to see him again. The last time we had seen each other was in January 2003, when Geoff and his partner Dale had stayed with us down at Sorrento and back in Melbourne. Into the car and back to Geoff and Dale’s place, a fantastic rural property about 40 minutes from the centre of Ottawa. The last time I’d been there, probably 10 years earlier, it had been under feet of snow. What a contrast! The barbeque was soon cranked up and what a great night we had.

What a great property Dale & Geoff have. Set in amongst masses of trees, completely private. Lots of walking paths through the forests. The wildlife is amazing – so much more and different to what we’re used to in Australia. The chipmunks and humming birds were fascinating. The same humming bird family returns from Mexico every summer.

This part of the trip was intended to be a combination of relaxing and sightseeing. And relax we did. Certainly a large amount of quality food and alcohol was consumed. In terms of sightseeing, the first few days comprised a few day trips locally (have to say locally because I can’t remember their names), into Ottawa, to the Canadian Science & Technology Museum, the Canadian War Museum and to a lodge called Montebello, built completely from logs.

We were going to head off to Niagara Falls, something I’d been looking forward to for some time. It’s about a four hour drive (from memory) – not an insubstantial trip. I felt guilty about not getting my international driving licence before we left – Geoff certainly spent a fair chunk of time driving while we were staying with them. It would have been good to relieve him a bit.

To make the trip a bit easier, Geoff’s brother Ken loaned us his all singing all dancing four wheel drive truck / ute, and we went over to his place the night before we left to pick it up. This was where we met Rupert – what a laugh. We were all sitting out the back having a beer when a squirrel ran across the back yard. I’d seen plenty of squirrels on the early morning walks I’d been trying to do each day of the trip, but this was the first Carol had seen and she was quite surprised. When she commented, Ken as quick as a flash said “That’s Rupert, he’s our pet squirrel”. He then called out “Sit up Rupert” and absolutely on cue, Rupert sat up on his back legs. He then called out “Climb the tree Rupert” and again almost on cue, Rupert raced up one on of the trees. We all absolutely pissed ourselves laughing, including Carol thankfully. Thanks for the loan of the truck Ken.

We stayed at a place called Niagara On The Lake (henceforth referred to as NOTL). NOTL is the centre of the Canadian wine industry and is about 20 minutes from the very touristy Niagara Falls. It has a large number of bed and breakfast places that are far more acceptable than the hotels in Niagara Falls. We stayed at a bed & breakfast place with magnificent gardens and lovely inside. The breakfasts were probably enough food to cover us for the rest of the day, although we didn’t rely on that. It was run by an American woman who would not shut up and spent a lot of her time bagging Canada and Canadians, pretty interesting behaviour given she was dependent on Canada to successfully operate her business. People who know me will know I am a particularly tolerant person (J) – this one certainly tested that.

After arriving, we did a few wineries. Well why not? You saw the size of the truck we had above. It would be a shame to head back to Ottawa with it empty. And was it this or another night we bumped into the Canadian liquor laws again? What, you want to buy liquor after 8:00pm? Where on earth have you come from, Man?

The next morning we headed off to Niagara Falls. While I had been looking forward to this, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. None of the photos I’d seen on the net were particularly impressive. There’s a natural tendency to think of the waterfalls where the water falls a long way as the most impressive ones, I believe. Niagara isn’t like that – it’s wide and a reasonably short fall. But I have to say, this is some impressive waterfall. The sheer amount of water that is constantly flowing over those falls is just staggering. At a time when many parts of Australia were, and still are in drought, it was almost incomprehensible that all this water was going uncollected. Having said that, there is a pretty reasonable hydro-electric operation there. We spent a good two or three hours at Niagara, before heading back to NOTL, and more wineries.

The next morning, it was into the big black truck and across the Niagara to the US, to a big shopping mall across the border. We picked up the obligatory perfume, Crocs, etc and headed back to, you guessed it, more wineries. The border control was interesting, both there and elsewhere on the trip. The US neurosis is amazing – guys, have you ever thought that if you minded your own business and didn’t go off fighting other people’s wars, then you might not need to be looking over your shoulder all the time? Sorry, just checking if the CIA’s still there.

After another tolerance testing breakfast, it was into the big black truck and off to Toronto. We didn’t spend a lot of time in Toronto – we were all pretty keen to get “home”. But we did have time for the CN Tower (out on the glass again) and a look at the stadium where the Toronto Blue Jays MLB team plays.

We were nearing the end of our holiday, so were keen to spend as much time as we could, relaxing with Dale & Geoff – good friends are indeed irreplaceable.

Just on three weeks after we’d left Melbourne, we were heading home, after a walking tour of Ottawa that morning. Ottawa is the seat of government for Canada – a really nice conservative city with a significant historical feel about it. It’s funny how many of the seats of government around the world that I’ve been to seem to have a similar feel – London, Milan, Washington, Wellington. So what happened with Canberra? I spent a week there one afternoon.

So it was onto a direct flight from Ottawa to the brothel, sorry LAX, and a direct flight this time with Qantas, arriving back early on Saturday 14 June. Everyone was pleased to see us, but none more so than a big black Labrador / Rottweiler cross, who wouldn’t let me out of his sight for the rest of the weekend.

This, of course, was the lead up to the events of 16 June, but that is another story for another time.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »