Sunday, September 30, 2012

Macro Monday - A kind of homecoming


A year or so ago I walked into a small gallery near Castlemaine  in Victoria and started to have a look around.  In a box in the corner were the pages from a 1910 road atlas of the UK.  It was a remarkable thing to look at and think about.  It was published before either of the World Wars, with no motorways,  
and no urban sprawl.

I thought - "If I can find where I was born, I'm going to buy it!" and there it was.  Half a world away from where I was born there was a picture of my world that my grandfather would have known, but one that had disappeared by the time I was born.  This is a world where horse power still involved horses and a whole generation of young men had no real idea of what was about to happen to them.

I can't help but think of the number of people who lived in these villages who were killed in the wars over the next 35 years - each of these villages has a War Memorial, which for most of the year will stand unnoticed, but in early November becomes the centre of attention and memory.

Maps are memories cast on to paper - so I decided to take these memories and bring them into my world.  


You can find more macro shots here at Macro Monday.

You can find the latest post to my other blog by clicking on the Paying Ready Attention image on the RHS of the screen.

Enjoy the close ups.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

SkyWatch Friday - When central Australia came to visit

I was sorting through some old images last night when I came upon these.

They are from January 2008 - thats pre-blogging for me!

We were still in the grip of drought and the middle of Australia was bone dry.  A weather system parked itself off the coast and started to suck air down towards the south.  This created a wind that picked up the red/brown dust of central Australia and brought it south.

The rain that fell from the sky left blood red patches on my white car and the clouds turned a pale orange brown.  If ever I was going to be frightened by the sight of the sky it would have been on that day.  It looked light nothing I had ever seen, and I've not seen anything like it since.

The light was red and orange and even green at times - it was unearthly.


I dont mind if I have to wait a few more years to see another sky that looks like this!

You can find other skies - and probably cheerier ones! - at SkyWatch Friday.

You can find the latest post to my other blog by clicking on the Paying Ready Attention image on the RHS of the page.

Enjoy the skies.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wild Bird Wednesday 11 - White-Eared Bulbul

This is one of the few other birds I was able to get a shot of when I was in Dubai - last weeks flamingos were the highlight - but this was one of the birds I saw the most of!

Given that the temperature were VERY high I was rather pleased to get any pictures of anything!  Its hard to focus with sweat in your eyes and taxis stooping insisting that you need to be rescued!

This is a White-Eared Bulbul.  Its not the most remarkable bird in the world - but there is a good story attached to it.



The arabic for bird is pronounced "bul",  so this is a White-Eared BirdBird!

There, now you know!

To join in with WBW 11 you just need to click on the link below! Enjoy the birds!








Monday, September 24, 2012

Our World Tuesday - Dubai at night

Im not really a fan of flashing lights and artificial song and dance - but I have to say the "Dancing Fountains" that are created in the evening in Dubai are impressive.




I was sitting having a vanilla milkshake while these fountains were dancing - it was all rather relaxing!  This kind of show is part of a long term plan to keep Dubai going when the "black gold" runs dry.  The aim is to make it tourist destination in its own right.  As a long term strategy you have to hope it works.

You can find more images from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

You can find the latest post to my other blog by clicking on the Paying Ready Attention image on the RHS of the screen.

Enjoy the pictures.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Macro Monday - Blue Ringtail

This is a shot from last summer; but photo opportunities have been a bit thing on the ground this week - so it was off the the archives!

If I have got the identification of this cracking little insect correct it's a Blue Ringtail (Austrolestes annulosus).   It's a damselfly rather than a dragon fly - thats all to do with the exact form of the wings, and in many cases the way the wings are held.  As far as I know that vast majority of damselflies hold there wings along their body (like in the picture) rather than away from the body.

I end up taking lots of pictures of these insects, the great majority of which are deleted!

I'm hoping to have a better hit rate this summer!


You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday.

You can find the latest post to my other blog (its the final one from my trip to the Daintree Rainforest) by clicking the Paying Ready Attention image on the RHS of the screen.

Enjoy the close ups!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

SkyWatch Friday - Dubai Skies

You will not have been able to escape noticing that I've been in Dubai - so the subject of this post should be no surprise to you.

On all but one evening - and you guessed it, the "one evening" was when I was driving back to the airport! - the skies were never really clear at the end of the day. A kind of dusty pall hung over the city - a combination of  dust from the desert and other, less natural, products.

As a result the skies seemed a little flat, although often orange in colour!

I tried a few shots, but it was not really working - I blame my lack of creativity on the heat!  So it broke the runs and shot into the sun.  Dozens of different exposures, trying to get a good balance.  These are the two I like the most.



You can find more skies from around the world at SkyWatch Friday.

You can read the latest post to my other blog (and I put one up yesterday!) by clicking on the Paying Ready Attention image on the RHS of this page.

Enjoy the skies.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wild Bird Wednesday (10) - Greater Flamingo

I have to say that I was surprised to fins out that I may be able to see Greater Flamingos when I was in Dubai.  While I have no prior experience of these birds - zoos and TV shows excepted - I not associate them with the Middle East.    Which just goes to show how much I really know!

About 15 minutes drive from the middle of modern Dubai you can find series of tidal salt pans known as the Ras al-Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.  They also seem to be watered by waste water from city. They are an extension of the tidal river - Dubai Creek - which was the original point of settlement in this area.

Even as we drove along the six lane highway that flanks the salt pans you could see a strange pink white line in some parts - and that was the flamingos.  At peak times there are about 4000 of them gathered at this spot.

Even further evidence that money is not always lacking in this part of the world the hides around the salt pans (there are three) have there own security guard and Zeiss telescopes and binoculars for the public to use!  The views of the distant birds were great - and much better with the provided glassware than with my "travel" bins!

Eventually I found a couple of birds that came within lens range - and with a bit of cropping (The poor man's telephoto!) I got some decent images.

As far as I can tell the single bird shown here is a juvenile - but I'm a bit out of my pay scale here!

Although Dubai can be very hot it's worth going to have a look at these birds - I saw a couple of other species as well, but they were distant - although half  a dozen Red Winged Lapwing showed in the scope and kept things "ticking" along!





So, now its over to you!

Click on the link below to join in Wild Bird Wednesday.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Our World Tuesday - Dubai

I spent last week in Dubai - work rather than play, but it is interesting to go somewhere new.  And this part of the world is completely new to me - but given that the air flight lasted 16 hours (and felt like half a life time) I may not just go back for the weekend anytime soon!

Two words spring to mind about Dubai - "Hot" and "Tall".  The temperatures were well into the 90's everyday - and more often than not broke the 100 barrier.  Many of the buildings have a similar number of floors to the temperature!

A super wide angle lens would have been nice for some street shots - but I don't have one!




The building in the background of the last picture is the Burj Khalifa - the worlds tallest building, at 828 m tall.  Incidentally, you can enter the Burj through the Dubai Mall - which (you've" guessed it) is the largest mall in the world.  Dubai is that kind of place!

You can find more pictures from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

You can find the latest post to my other blog by clicking on the Paying Ready Attention image on the RHS of the page.

Enjoy the pictures.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Macro Monday - Surface Tension

Back from my busy week - now all I have to do is recover from the flight, last nights wedding and empty my inbox!

This is a shot from my trip to the Daintree a couple of months ago.  I found this water strider on  a still pool by the side of the path.  There were about six or seven of theses insects wandering about on the surface.  I think this species is called Limnometra cursitans - but I could be well off the track there.



You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday.

You can find the latest post to my other blog by clicking in the Paying Ready Attention image on the RHS of the screen.

Enjoy the close ups!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

SkyWatch Friday - Evening over Shallow Inlet


On the last day of my recent trip to Waratah Bay I went out for a walk/drive in the evening to have a look at Shallow Inlet.  This is an estuary with a big tidal range and good fishing.  Although the whole thing only lasted about 45 minutes was well worth it, with a some good wildlife (but no pictures) and a good sky.  It was also the last walk I'll do with my brother for a while - possibly a couple of years - so I was glad that the sky put on a little bit of finery.



My hectic week will end today at 7pm - but forgive me if I just take myself to bed and try to recover!

You can find more skies from around the world at SkyWatch Friday.

You can read the most recent post to my other blog by clicking on the Paying Ready Attention image on the RHS of the page.

Enjoy the skies.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wild Bird Wednesday 09 - Sooty Oystercatcher

These rather smart looking birds are Sooty Oystercatchers.  There are two races of this bird in Australia - and this is the one known as 'fuliginosus' and it has a longer bill and a smaller eye ring than the other type which is found in Northern Australia (Note to self: book flight to Darwin)

I often see these birds on the open, ocean beaches of Wilsons Prom.  And this is exactly where I found these birds.

If you look closely at the birds you can see that there are droplets of water on their backs - and the pale lines sweeping across the image are not some weird  photoshop effect.  You may have guessed by now, but it was raining when I took these shots!  I really like these birds and in better weather I have been known to watch them for a very long time - they are always so busy and they have a comical plumpness that makes them very watchable.






By the time this post hits the web I will be deeply into a very busy week - so please click on the link below to join in with WBW - but don't hold your breath on my reply!  Sunday is looking good for this, but I could be alseep!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Our World Tuesday - no rain today

The weekend had a real feel of spring to it - so I banished all thoughts of rain and such like and went with this picture.

Gulls and blue skies - my world was by the sea.



By the time this is posted I will be deeply into a busy week - please comment, but don't get cross if it takes me a while to get back to you! (The weekend is looking good for that!)

You can find more images from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

You can read the latest post to my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention image on the RHS of the page.

Enjoy the pictures.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Macro Monday - Fence

I found this set of leaves on the way home from work a while ago.  I like the clash of the colours and the intensity of the red in the leaves.

I was only when I looked at the image on the computer that I noticed that some of the leaves had been painted green.  The whole idea of the picture was a combination of the natural and the man-made so I think this adds to this aspect of the picture.



This is the start of a Very (note capital "V") busy week, so replies may be a little thin on the ground.

You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday.

Enjoy the close ups.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

SkyWatch Friday - the next day

I have become aware that many of my recent posts have mentioned "rain" in some form or another.  Yesterday I had a visit from the Australian Tourist Police pointing out that I was driving the tourism industry into the abyss of financial ruin.  I pointed out I was only telling the truth, but they threatened to cart me away to the big house if I did not post something more sunny and liable to fill the planes with eager tourists!

Luckily I had a picture to hand!  If you remember my SkyWatch image from last week it looked like the world was going to end!  But it seems that the forces of light won the atmospheric battle and the next day the sky produced this:



I have to say I stayed much dryer getting this image than the last one!

You can find the most recent post to my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention image on the RHS of the page.

You can find more skies at SkyWatch Friday.

Enjoy the skies.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wild Bird Wednesday (08) - Great Billed Heron

This is a Great Billed Heron, Australia's largest heron - it stands about 1.1 m tall and weighs in at around 2kg.  I managed to get these pictures during an evening boat trip on the Daintree River. It's general scarcity means that our knowledge of this bird is patchy to say the least. It was only know to breed in 5% of the record squares in the most recent Australian breeding atlas.  Not surprisingly it is considered to be rather elusive and shy.  This bird may be been elusive, but it was not shy!  As you can see we managed to get quite close and have a really good look at it.

The changes in colour between the pictures are caused by the use of a torch (flash light to some!) to get a better look.  You may ask why we were doing this.  Its hard to tell from the pictures just how dark it was at this time - and it really does show the light gathering power of the high ISO speeds on digital cameras - but you can also see the grain in the picture.




You can find a longer account of my boat trips on the Daintree River here.

Now it's you turn to get involved with WBW - click the link and off you go.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Our World Tuesday - Windy Beach

I took my visitors - who happen to be my brother and family - down to Wilsons Prom National Park when they were here.  I happens to be one of my favourite places, so it was a good chance to show off some of Victoria's best scenery and wildlife as well as visit a place I like.

One of the most popular places to visit is Norman Bay - its next door to the visitors centre and camp sites and as a result its often crowded.  But that's only true if you visit in the summer!  Go in the winter and you can the place almost to your self.



(This is an older picture of the beach - and this is crowded compared to how it was when we visited.)

One of the reasons that you can have to the place almost to yourself is that there is almost nothing between you on the beach and Antarctica (except Tasmania) So when the wind blows it really does blow!


You can see the amount of sand that was on the move in this picture.

You can find more pictures from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

You can find the latest post to my other blog by clicking the Paying Ready Attention image on the RHS of the screen.

Enjoy the pictures.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Macro Monday - Beach Stones

While I was down at Waratah Bay last week I was surprised by how much variation there was in the composition of the sand and stones that made up the beach.  Within a few strides the beach would go from pure sand to stones, back to sand and then be made of stones of a different size.





I suppose that its all down to the force of the tides and the shape of the waves.   What looked like a bare stretch of beach turned out to have some good detail hidden in it!

You can find more macro shots at Macro Monday.

You can find the latest post to my other blog by clicking on the Paying Ready Attention image on the RHS of the screen.

Enjoy the close ups.